Stockstock – an introduction to videoblogging

As some of you may know, I recently paid my $20 to enter the StockStock film festival. The idea is that they select and send out about 40 minutes of strange, effectively random, stock footage from the internet archive, and all entrants have to make a movie of three minutes or less using just this footage.

Yesterday, I finally finished and posted my entry. At the end it was a real race to get it done in time to send.

Things were made especially tricky by

  • my distance from Seattle, where the “festival” is organized from
  • the requirement that I work in NTSC, when all the TVs and cameras here use PAL
  • we went away on holiday for 10 days during the small interval between retrieving the tape and the submission deadline

Rather than produce some wierd “art” piece , I thought I’d have a go at making an “introduction to videoblogging”.

Mostly I’m happy with the result, although my voiceover is apalling. I recorded it all very carefully in a quiet place away from noisy computers, but when I got back to my edit station I realised that the audio levels were way too low. So I had to boost the level and remove what noise I could. The result is just about understandable, but sounds awful. I just had no time to re-record it though.

I used a wide variety of software to produce this piece. I digitised the initial footage using Pinnacle Studio 8, did most of the rough cut assembly in ArcSoft ShowBiz 2, Created Titles in Ulead PhotoImpact 8, Processed audio in Audacity, added titles and extra sound using Serif VideoPlus 4. For this weblog, I also converted the resulting DV- AVI to WMV using Windows Media Encoder 9.

The end result was full-screen NTSC, but the enclosure has been compressed and reduced in size to save bandwidth. If anyone actually _wants_ a full-screen version, I can pop it on a CD.

Take a look, and see what you think.

All comments welcome.


Oh well, looks like I’ve just missed this year’s one, but “HOME MOVIE DAY” seems like a good idea. A day to get together and show old home movies, and absorb the slices of life they represent.

What hit me hardest is the bit that says:

Your home movies may be easier to watch if you transfer them to videotape or DVDs, but the original films will actually last MUCH longer than any new media.

I know I’ve just lost some of my digital footage, and it occurred to me that there ought to be some sort of archival service which will transfer digitally produced/edited video onto stable, human-viewable, analogue filmstock. The equivalent, I guess, to printing an e-book on “acid free paper” for long-term storage.

If the promise of recording the day-to-day details of our lives for posterity is to make any sense at all, then the stuff we are recording now needs to still be there when posterity comes looking.

Drive Crash Thoughts

After shopping for the weekly groceries at Sainsbury’s supermarket a couple of miles from my house, I had another look around the car for my small flash camera which I had lost since our recent trip to Jersey. Eventually I found it at the bottom of a plastic carrier bag under the passenger seat.

So I took the opportunity to record some thoughts on my recent computer tribulations.

Back from a trip to Jersey

Just in case anyone was puzzled by the lack of posts here in the last week and a bit, I was away with the family getting a bit of sunshine in Jersey. No, not New Jersey, the original Jersey, in the Channel Islands.

Google Maps is usually pretty reliable, but check this out: you can see the island of Jersey on the satellite image, but when you switch to the map view it vanishes. zoom out one stop, it appears again, labelled and everything. Spooky, huh?

Anyway, now I’m back. With well over two hours of raw footage to wade through and edit into presentable chunks. I’ll try and get some more video up before my meagre suntan fades completely. In the meanwhile, here are a couple of photos.