Tag Archives: visualhub

"It’s not for girls!"

One of the reasons I go to ALT-C is the workshops! Now don’t get me wrong I enjoy the short papers and some of the longer ones even interest me. The keynotes can be inspiring, whilst the demos can inform, but I seem to get more out of the workshops than the other parts. Though it has to be said that I did also enjoy the debate and discussion at the F-ALT events.

Last year at ALT-C 2007 one of the workshops I enjoyed was the Web 2.0 Slam, from which Hood 2.0 was born.

This year at ALT-C 2008 Frances, Helen, Josie and Christina presented us with the Digital Divide Slam.

It's not for girls!

Creatively create something which explores the digital divide.

So myself, Steve Wheeler and Joss Winn got together and thought about what to do.

We decided to do a talking heads video, influenced by Monty Python, Smith and Jones and Pete and Dud.

We had 30 minutes to develop, write, create, film, edit, export and upload this video. Shot in one take it’s not perfect, but it was never suppose to be perfect.

We enjoyed making it, and the other workshops delegates seemed to enjoy it too – they voted us the winners in the workshop vote.

I was surprised to find out later that a lot of people thought we had created it the day before, or even before ALT-C. No we actually created it in 30 minutes. Thanks to a wonderful camera a Panasonic HD Camera and iMovie ’08 on my MacBook Pro it was possible to shoot, edit and export a short film like this. Obviously the technology can’t do anything about the acting.

It wasn’t as easy I make out. I didn’t have a SD card reader, and the Panasonic HD Camera I used records onto SD cards. Helen’s laptop did, so I had to copy the files from the SD Card onto my 1GB USB stick which I did remember. I then managed to import the HD video files from the USB stick into the MacBook Pro. I then realised I had left my DVI-VGA adapter in my accommodation and there wasn’t one to be found. Hmmm, so I had to export the movie from iMovie as a Quicktime movie, I then used VisualHub to export the movie to a Windows Media format, copy back to the USB stick and show the audience on Helen’s laptop. I couldn’t use Windows Movie Maker (as you may have thought) on Helen’s laptop as it doesn’t support the HD footage from the HD camera.

In the end it worked.

More slams can be found here.

Vote for this video here by Monday in the online voting.

Full Resolution Video on the PSP

If you have a PSP with firmware 3.30 or later you can now (much more easily) play full screen h.264 video.

Prior to firmware 3.30 adding video to a PSP was a bit hit and miss.

Full Resolution Video on the PSP

When I first got a PSP I was very disappointed with the quality of the video I encoded for it using either EyeTV or Toast, more so when I compared it to the demo video I had on the demo UMD disk which came with it.

It wasn’t for some time that I didn’t realise that the PSP did not support full resolution video from a Memory Stick.

You also had to convert the video to a specific MP4 format and importantly change the name to something unfamiliar like M4V01011 and then find the obscure \MP_ROOT\100MNV01\ folder. You were restricted to a 368 x 208 resolution. If you wanted a thumbnail you had to create a jpg file and then rename it as .thm all quite complicated though there were quite a few tools that allowed you to do this quickly and easily (I used Toast quite a bit). One problem was working out what video files  were what (easy on the PSP, more complex on a computer).

With the release of firmware 3.30 this changed.

Encoding full resolution h.264 video for the PSP is now possible, this means that you can use the full 480 x 272 resolution and the excellent quality and compression of h.264.

However when I started to encode video for a PSP with firmware 3.30 I did initially have a few problems.

I tried to encode some full resolution video using VisualHub and the in-built settings and then some settings from a forum. However in both instances the video would not play on the PSP.

I initially thought it was maybe because at the time I was using the trial version of VisualHub (which has a two minute limit). However using the default low res settings it encoded and played fine.

I even formatted the Memory Stick wondering if that would solve it, it didn’t.

So I encoded the video in the original pre 3.30 firmware specificiations. As I copied over the video to the \MP_ROOT\100MNV01\ folder when I noticed a Video folder in the root of the Memory Stick.

So I copied the full resolution video over to this video folder, and guess what, yes full resolution h.264 video on my PSP.

Really impressed with the quality.

Really impressed with VisualHub.

So if you have firmware 3.30 or later ensure that you use the PSP to format the memory stick and then you will have a video folder into which you can copy the video files without having to worry about any naming conventions and be able to have full resolution high quality video.

Digital Video Tools

At a recent HE Academy event I presented at I offered to provide a series of links relating to digital video and podcasting. Here are the digital video tools.

Windows Movie Maker

This is part of Windows XP (and Windows Vista) which allows simple video editing.

With Windows Movie Maker, you can use your computer to create and edit home movies with a few simple drag-and-drop moves. Then you can share your movies through the web, e-mail, your computer, or CD.

iMovie

Part of the iLife suite which comes pre-installed on every Mac. It is a quick and easy video editing application.

I have not used the latest version (part of iLife ’08) however it should be noted that this new version has a very different workflow compared to previous versions.

iMovie ’08 makes viewing and working with video as intuitive as enjoying your photos. A built-in library automatically organises your video, so all the clips you’ve captured and movies you’ve created are just a click away. With its revolutionary interface, iMovie makes it quick and easy to browse your library and create new movies. And iMovie is built for sharing. In just a few steps, you can add movies to your website, publish them on YouTube, and create versions for iPod and Apple TV.

I also mentioned Keynote which is the Mac presentation software, presentations can be saved as movies or can even be sent direct to YouTube.

VisualHub

An excellent tool for converting video into various different formats, very useful if converting video for mobile devices and Windows PCs, note this is Mac software.

VisualHub bridges the gap between numerous complicated video formatting standards, and people that just want to get the job done.

Roxio Toast

Primarily a DVD burning application, it also have video conversion functionality.

Media-convert

Online video conversion tool that doesn’t require you to install anything. I have also been recommended zamzar.com, however due to the plethora of pop-ups and the fact you have to give an e-mail address means that I for one would not use it.

YouTube

The infamous video website that allows users to upload and share their video.

TeacherTube

Like YouTube but for teachers.

My Top Ten Applications for e-Learning

My top ten applications which I use to create and support the use of e-learning are…

Keynote – a superb presentation package, not matter how many times I start creating a presentation in PowerPoint, I virtually always end up in Keynote. The latest version (iWork ’08) is a real improvement on the previous version and I will admit I do like the audience going “ooh” when I use the cube transition.

Toast – not only a superb disk burning piece of software, but extremely capable of converting a range of video file formats and doing it well. Another useful video conversion tool I have started using is VisualHub.

EyeTV – though Windows Media Centre (and now Vista) has a much better interface, the versatility, the editing and exporting functionality make EyeTV the only real choice when it comes to recording and editing television. Combined with Toast and VisualHub you suddenly can record, edit and watch that video wherever, whenever and on whatever you want.

Dreamweaver – steep learning curve, but if you need to get your hands dirty with HTML and websites then this package is perfect. Though I do like Dreamweaver, I know with web tools such as WordPress and Drupal tools such as Dreamweaver are becoming less essential than they were in the past.

Fireworks – For manipulating images for the web then I go with Fireworks every time. Can also be used to create simple animated gifs. I do use PhotoShop, but for web image editing I always start Fireworks first.

Firefox (with Safari a close second and Flock in third place) – I can’t work with non-tabbed browsers, so on the PC it’s Firefox all the time, on the Mac I mainly use Safari. Safari with it’s .mac integration allows me to share my bookmarks over multiple computers and over the web. Now Safari (in beta) is available for Window and I like how Safari for Windows looks almost exactly like Safari for the Mac. Flock is for me relatively new and I do like the integration with online tools such as Flickr, del.icio.us and WordPress.

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