The One Minute Film & Video Festival

Video makers and videobloggers, here’s a great chance to enter a real “film festival”. Make a film or video on any interpretation of the theme “intersections”, of exactly one minute in length and submit it to some guys in Toronto.

The festival screening will take place in Toronto in November 2005, so you have plenty of time to put together those sixty seconds of brilliant material…

Read more at: The One Minute Film & Video Festival

Low Budget Filmmaking with Nick Zedd and Michael W. Dean

If there is one thing that characterizes video club members and videobloggers it’s the lack of “budget” in traditional movie terms. We can’t even manage the $10000 or so that would count as no/low budget in the movie world. So we need to think of other approaches to get a powerful message across in our video.

Luckily, there are some significant “filmmakers” who have been exploring this field, and they have some interesting results and observations.

Read more at: Low Budget Filmmaking with Nick Zedd and Michael W. Dean

How to watch Beyond TV recordings on a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

In my continued quest to seek out new formats and new codecs, I thought I’d have a go at making some mp4 files. I still can’t seem to produce sensible small Quicktime movies (although I think I’m getting closer). However, MP4 is supposed to be the new “standard” – the video lingua franca and equivalent of MP3 in the audio world. Most importantly it’s the format of choice for the new PlayStation Portable (PSP).

Luckily I found a neat piece of free software called PSP Video 9 which has a good stab at taking any old video file and encoding it into a PSP-compatible MP4.

My first try with the software ws reminiscent of my QT efforts – a file that was over three times bigger than the equivalent WMV. After a bit of tinkering with frame sizes and rates, and limiting the bit rate, I got an MP4 that’s only a shade bigger than the WMV, and roughly similar quality.

Now I just need to work out how to:

  • script the software as part of my videoblog “workflow”
  • get two RSS feeds on my site with the same posts but different enclosures

Read more at SnapStream Blog » Blog Archive » How to watch Beyond TV recordings on a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

A “found footage” music video

In my gentle ramble through the various genres of videoblogging, I thought it was about time I did a “music video”. However, I was having a lot of trouble deciding what to do.

Then, out of nowhere, I found the clip I have enclosed. It was on the end of a VHS tape of my old stuff from the mid 1990s that I was digitising. I guess I had recorded something from the satellite TV that I subscribed to at the time, let the tape run on, then reused it. In this case, however, the sound and pictures are not from the same show, even though they were being broadcast at the same time on the same channel. The audio is from a satellite radio station (I have no idea which one) which was transmitting on one of the unused audio channels of the Sky News service.

I don’t recall ever hearing the music before, but I looked up the lyrics and it seems to be a song called “roam” by the B52s. What surprises me is how well the pictures suit the music. Not just the news reports, but even the adverts! I love the model vehicles section, but I think my favourite is the shaver roaming through the “wilderness” near the end.

The only editing I did on this was to grab this section from the tape, and fade the music in and out. I hope you enjoy it.

What is Video Blogging?

Raymond M. Kristiansen of dltq.vlog asked “What is video blogging” in a recent blog post and video. He specially asked for replies in the form of video blogs, so here’s my take on it.

I’ve deliberately held off from participating in the dicsussions on the videoblogging yahoo group, as I feel that text is so much easier to misconstrue. Video can convey feeling as well as just the words. My video reply is enclosed, or you can click on the image below.

unmediated: Why Aren’t Portable Media Players More Popular?

It’s a conundrum isn’t it? Portable media player products have never been smaller, more capable, or more affordable, yet they are still an underdeveloped market. I put up a survey on the videoblogging yahoo group asking how people watch videoblogs, and the great majority of respondents seem to watch on a computer rather than a portable device. I suspect the reverse is true for audio-only “podcasts”, though.

I’ve been thinking about this, and I have a few ideas:

  • There is no cultural history of carrying video around to watch. before MP3 players there was a whole generation who got used to “walkman”-style personal cassette and CD players. Listening to music has become a personal thing rather than a shared group activity. Video is still something you “go to” rather than something you “take with”
  • Unlike listening to music or speech, video demands much more of your attention. It’s hard (or at least dangerous) to watch video while doing other things. There are many more gaps in a typical day that might benefit from being filled with portable audio, than are free for video but don’t already have a TV or computer.
  • As the article linked below points out, there is still a shortage of content. Video copyright owners are typically wary of offering video for download, and the “buy a single track” approach that has paid so well for iTunes seems hard to fit to video.
  • Video formats are a complete mess. There are many incompatible standards for file formats, video codecs, audio codecs, compression settings and metadata. Unlike MP3 audio there is no single obvious format for sharing video. Until this is solved, distribution of video will remain a cryptic, geeky pursuit.

There are changes happening, though. probably the most popular portable video platform at the moment is the mobile phone. The communication capability provides a socially acceptable reason to carry the device, and typical phone videos are short enough to fit in gaps between activities. Muscling in to the same space are other multi-function devices such as the Play Station Portable which offers video as a respite from gaming.

My guess, though, is that the breakthough device will offer all of the above – communications, games and video, but (crucially) it will also record, functioning as a reasonable digital camera and TV-resolution camcorder..

The sword to break the gordian knot of incompatible standards will very likely be the explosive popularity of a portable recording device and whatever format it favours. Unfortunately the current Play Station Portable does not include a camera, so it is doomed to remain a “destination” format rather than a force for change. If a new crop of phones include good quality video and easy transfer/sharing of it, or a new portable games machine includes a camera and some basic editing software, then issues of content availability and formats may well become irrelevant.

Read more at: unmediated: Why Aren’t Portable Media Players More Popular?