if its too loud, turn it down

Monday, December 20, 2010

Final Cut Express Import/Export settings for getting Kodak Playsport Videos onto YouTube (mac howto)

If you have ever used Final Cut Express (FCE), and are not already familiar with video editing software, you know that there's nothing "Express" about it. It's basically just a slightly less feature-rich version of Final Cut Pro. I'm not sure who the target audience is for FCE, because it ain't newbies! NOTE: Pro editors will probably have a more efficient way of doing this...but that's not what I am, and that info is nowhere that I can find on the internets.

Anyway, after alot of trial an error, I figured out a decent process for getting videos from my Kodak Playsport camera, into FCE, editing them, and then exporting for YouTube.
  1. For max expediency, scrub your raw footage with Quicktime. Create a folder of small clips you want to edit in FCE. Otherwise the next step (conversion) will take many hours. Use Quicktime's "Trim" function.
  2. You have to convert your Quicktime files to something FCE can use without having to render. Super lame. So, get MPEG Streamclip. It's free. Open that, hit Command-B (Batch list) and drag the clips you want to convert into that window. Choose "Export to Quicktime" on the next dialog box, choose a destination folder for your converted clips in the next dialog...then in the final window use these settings: Compression: DV/DVCPRO - NTSC, Quality: 100%, un-check "Interlaced Scaling" and leave everything else the way it is. Click "To Batch" and then click "go" in the batch window. This takes a long time. If I have alot of long clips I just let it run overnight.
  3. Create a new FCE project, and add your clips to the project. Do the editing on them. You shouldn't need to render.
  4. When you're all done editing, go File->Export->Using QuickTime Conversion.
  5. Click "Options" in the file dialog box.
  6. In the "Movie Settings" dialog, click "Settings" and use these settings: Compression Type: H.264, Quality: Best. Leave everything else.
  7. In the "Size" dialog, use "Custom", enter "960 x 720" (can also try 1280x960) and leave everything else.
  8. In the "Movie Settings" dialog, leave everything else, and go ahead and export
That's going to produce a file that should be good to go for YouTube. I do not know why it doesn't fill the whole screen. I'd love to know.

Final note: if you also use the Fuji Z33WP or XP10 in video mode and mix in footage in with the playsport, you have to crop the fuji stuff. In the "Motion" tab of the viewer, expand "Crop" and add a value of 1.5 for left and right, and a value of 12.5 for top and bottom.

Update: this is very helpful

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Comcast SUCKS! Sucks, Sucks, Sucks...

I am visiting my parents in Florida for Christmas. They, like millions of people in America, suffer under the oppressive thumb of the giant cable-and-internet monopoly known as Comcast. I have disliked Comcast for years for their ambilavent attitude about service and support, but this experience broke me. I wanted to post this on the internet just to have it out there. Rather than typing it all out, I'll just give you the Instant Message chat transcript where I tell the story to my friend.

I implore you...IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE - DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH COMCAST!

2:08:10 PM rory: we should dump comcast
2:08:12 PM friend: sounds like Comcast pissed you off?
2:08:21 PM rory: they outright lie to their customers
2:08:42 PM friend: what happened?
2:09:02 PM rory: our internet was out all day the other day.  I suspected it was may have been due to high winds (even tho i think cables are buried), but I gave it time
2:09:31 PM rory: finally contacted them in the evening...oh yes, there's an outage in your area, but it's showing here they are 98.9% complete fixing it.
2:09:41 PM rory: Please be patient for 24-48 hours.
2:09:44 PM friend: haha
2:09:49 PM friend: 24-48 hours
2:09:50 PM rory: what?? 98% complete??
2:09:56 PM rory: but ok, i'll check in the am
2:10:17 PM rory: am comes, still no internet.  contact them again...we're not showing a record of any outage in your area
2:10:24 PM rory: for [CENSORED]'S sake!
2:10:56 PM rory: they determine it's the cable modem.  so i take it to the damn office and wait in the [CENSORED]ing line to get it replaced.
2:11:07 PM rory: get back, set it up, activate it
2:11:34 PM rory: all i get when I try to connect is redirected to a comcast.net page "OOPS - your activation is not complete"
2:11:38 PM friend: haha
2:11:45 PM friend: jeeez
2:12:20 PM rory: call them again.  the idiot woman goes thru all this same bs they do every time someone calls.  finally she says, "sounds like a software problem on your computer"
2:12:39 PM rory: I say, "well, it's the same on both the pc and mac". 
2:12:48 PM rory: she says, then they are both broken
2:12:58 PM rory: that I need to contact microsoft
2:13:18 PM friend: oh my god
2:13:20 PM rory: I was LIVID
2:13:23 PM friend: i bet 
2:13:36 PM rory: I flew off the handle.  my mom had to come take the phone from me.
2:14:01 PM friend: haha
2:14:10 PM rory: so i said, no way.  no [CENSORED]ing way are we doing business with them anymore
2:14:21 PM rory: I will do whatever it takes to switch to verizon.
2:14:34 PM friend: so did they eventually get it working at your parents' place?
2:14:37 PM rory: which is a FAR better service
2:14:45 PM rory: well...
2:14:47 PM friend: or you switched already
2:14:54 PM rory: they're coming saturday
2:15:04 PM friend: they have cable?
2:15:07 PM rory: but I can't tether til then
2:15:08 PM rory: yeah
2:15:22 PM rory: so I contacted comcast again today
2:15:51 PM rory: on the "live chat", so they couldn't [CENSORED]ing say it was a problem with the computer
2:16:10 PM rory: because if i'm [CENSORED]ing chatting with you over the internet, then the [CENSORED]ing computer works
2:16:37 PM rory: anyway, the dude in india finally got it to work
2:16:44 PM friend: did he say what the problem was?
2:17:10 PM rory: he didn't know, he just "sent a new signal" to the modem a couple times and it started working
2:17:18 PM friend: sounds fishy
2:17:30 PM rory: the whole [CENSORED] company is fishy
2:17:39 PM friend: yeah, i've never liked them
2:17:40 PM rory: they have been doing this to people for years
2:17:43 PM rory: years and years