CineMoco – a time-lapse robotic camera dolly

It’s a while since I wrote about a new gadget here, but this one really caught my attention. A tiny dolly suitable for modern lightweight DSLR and video cameras, with the added extra of a precision robotic drive so you can do all sorts of moving camera video and stop-motion. The company is also interesting – they had a lot of success on kickstarter with their first idea, and are now going back to the crowd-funding site with the new product rather than taking a more traditional route through sales and funding.

Read more at TechCrunch:

CineMoco Is The Time-Lapse Robotic Camera Dolly Of Your Film Noir Dreams.

NaVloPoMo screening, Hove, Saturday 12 January 2008

Following last November’s successful NaVloPoMo “post a video every day for a month”, some keen Videoblogging folks have organised a screening and a bit of a social get-together at “The Werks” in Hove (near Brighton) at 2:30 on Saturday 12 January 2008.

I plan to be there, and there are plenty of other interesting videobloggers on the list. Jay Dedman and Ryanne Hodson will be there, as well as more local names. Sounds like a whole lot of fun.

For more details see the NaVloPoMO wiki

Top Four Non-Linear Editors – DV Guru

When you are looking to buy some video editing software it can be really hard to find useful information. Manufacturer web sites and user-groups are often very one-sided. So it was nice to find an interesting comparison review at DVGuru of four “top” video editor programs.

There’s not a huge amount of depth to the article, but make sure you read the comments – there’s a load of interesting thoughts and suggestions.

Read more at: Top Four Non-Linear Editors – DV Guru

Neuros MPEG4 recorder

I have been looking around for months trying to work out how best to get some of my hundreds of hours of analog video into a usable form for digital editing and posting on my video blog. I’ve seen hardware digitisers which require specific software (I used one that only worked with Pinnacle Studio, for example, but the hardware suddenly stopped working and I have no desire to get another one of those.) I’ve seen general purpose analog to firewire adapters, but those can be expensive and require the player to be connected through the box to a firewire PC and typically record big DV files. I’ve read about several low-cost USB video digitisers, but many of them don’t digitse the sound, and quality seems very variable.

So, I was particularly interested to read about the Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder 2 which seems to win on all fronts. Essentially it’s a tiny portable solid-state VCR which records analog video and audio at a variety of resolutions to Memory Stick or Compact Flash media. I’m seriously tempted to get one and give it a try.

Read more at: Neuros Technology International, LLC.

Update: I’ve just read on the Neuros Blog that this device has recently been mentioned in the “Computer America” radio show/podcast. See here for more information.

Ulead VideoStudio 9 now has iPod export

You may rememember that I wrote a while ago about the MPEG4 export plugin for Ulead VideoStudio 9, and how it is now available for free. At the time, I lamented the lack of MPEG4 quicktime output, and wondered if it made much sense to offer MPEG4 without support for the new video-capable iPod.

Well, it looks like the Ulead folks understood this too. As of 23 December 2005, there is now an upgrade patch for the MPEG export plugin that offers iPod compatible MPEG4 Quicktime export as a built-in option. Sweet.

I guess my next “video blog” might be in Quicktime, after all 🙂

Read more about Ulead VideoStudio 9, or All Ulead’s Video Editing Software.

unmediated: HP Labs – Research – StoryCast: Simple, digital storytelling with photos and narration

Here’s a neat idea. Use a camera phone to make videos, even if it’s not a video phone! The trick is software that lets you record a voice-over using the regular phone microphone, while selecting a sequence of photos to form the visual side.

I can think of a whole bunch of interesting ways to play with this.

Read more at: unmediated: HP Labs – Research – StoryCast: Simple, digital storytelling with photos and narration

Cinemasports – High pressure filmmaking

Looks like another interesting attempt to break out of the traditional idea of a film festival.

Cinemasports is the Iron Chef of Filmmaking. Teams have hours to complete a movie with a list of ingredients. Finished movies screen that very night. Concurrent global events often exchange movies in time for the evening screening.

Filmmakers and audience participate in a unique cinematic experience. An electrified screening that is both world premiere and wrap-up party. Art exploded from a creative pressure cooker. Global exchange and local community building.

Thousands of filmmakers worldwide have embraced Cinemasports – from guerrilla filmmakers in Eastern Europe to 3-Time Academy Award Winner Walter Murch.

Murch says about Cinemasports, “Something emerges that’s not contained in any of the films…”

Generally, these guys seem to have a prety good grip on the social and collaborative aspects of internet technology, and even produce a “video podcast”.

Read more at: Cinemasports :: Welcome

Play WMV videos in Quicktime on your Mac – for free

This made me smile a wry smile.

For what seems like ages, there has been a rumbling argument among web videomakers about which format(s) to make and distribute video in. People who work on Windows tend to find it easier to make and distribute WMV. People who work on Macs tend to find it easier to make and distribute Quicktime movies.

However, the real deciding factor ought to be how easy it is for visitors to your site (and subscribers to your feed) to play (and otherwise re-use) the video.

Most people agree, if grudgingly, that more people can use Flash video than anything else. But Flash video can be clumsy to edit and produce. Next in market share is probably Windows Media, due largely to the sheer number of Windows PCs which came with Windows Media Player pre-installed. Trailing in third is Quicktime. Available by default on Macs, and available as a (possible but irritating) free download from Apple for Windows machines.

But raw current market share is not everything. If your video is good enough, it might tempt people to install the required player even if they didn’t have it before. Or, at least, so goes the argument often advaned by Mac users to justify only distributing Quicktime movies.

The argument goes along the lines that since Quicktime can be installed on all systems, then quicktime can have as large a userbase as Flash.

And so on to what made me smile. Microsoft is now offering a Quicktime plug-in for Mac users to allow them to play Windows media files right in their familiar Quicktime player. So now relatively convenient players for all three major formats are available as free downloads. The playing field is level once again, and we are back to installed user base: Flash, then Windows Media, Then Quicktime.

Will we see all these Mac evangelists who have been urging every Windows user to install Quicktime rushing to install the WMV plug-in?

Read more at: play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) directly in QuickTime Player