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.

Tutorials for Adobe After Effects

I’m currently trying to get to grips with the latest version of After Effects. It’s been years since I last upgraded (version 4.1!) and so much has changed that I’m treating the exercise much like learning a new system from scratch. Here are some of the useful-looking tutorials I have found so far:

Any other good suggestions?

One page guide to iMovie 09

A few months ago I finally gave in and bought myself a Macbook. There are many things I like about it, and also a bunch of irritations and disappointments.

One of the disappointments was the video editing facilities. I know a lot of happy Mac-using video editors, and so had assumed that the Mac ecosystem would contain a wide range of video editing choices, just as the Windows world does. Unfortunately not. For video editing on a Mac you actually have very few options. Each new Mac comes with a very basic editor in the form of iMovie, effectively the equivalent of Windows Movie Maker. Anything more than that costs big money either for Apple’s “own” Final Cut, or the crazy world of Avid. There are a very small number of open source video tools but none of them is really a general purpose video editor.

On my Windows PC I have a handful of different video editing systems ranging in price from the nearly-free (less than £5), through a few at £40/£50 to the top end of my budget (around £100 for the likes of Sony Vegas or Adobe’s introductory version of Premiere). My favourite at the moment is Serif MoviePlus although from time to time I take another try at using the generally highly-regarded Vegas.

My initial attempt at using iMovie on my new Mac left me pretty much baffled. It seems to have no time-line and common tasks such as splitting and trimming clips, inserting cutaways and boosting/cutting spot sounds make me scratch my head. I know I need to spend more time with the tool to get used to it, but Apple’s video tutorials and on-line help don’t seem to answer my questions and frustration gets the better of me.

I have recently found Ken Stone’s obe-page iMovie 09. I hope this is more help…

CameraBright! Review

Those little LED lights are getting better and better. My Nisis DV-H10 solid-state camcorder has LED lights which work great and can even be used as a torch (flashlight) in emergencies. If your camera or camcorder doesn’t have these kind of lights, but does have a standard tripod screw socket, why not attach one of these little gadgets.

Super Simple Light Tent

Here’s another neat low-cost idea.

Ever got frustrated at the poor quality of your pictures of small objects (things to sell on eBay, stop-motion animation props, etc.)? You might find that a “light tent” is the answer. With these instructions you can get a smooth, even, light and a plain background to your images for next to no cost.

Read more at: Super Simple Light Tent

(via DV For Teachers)

Setting Windows virtual memory settings

One tip which I have found very useful when capturing and editing video on Windws over the years (since my first Windows 95 PC, in fact) is to tell Windows to keep its grubby hands away from the Windows “swap file” (also known as “page file” or “virtual memory”).

When installed, Windows initially sets itself up to manage its own virtual memory, growing and shrinking it as needed. Sometimes, though, this can get in the way of processing large, timed media (like video). So on a PC used for video editing it’s usually a pretty good choice to set the swap file to a fixed size and leave it there.

Recently, I was reminded of this by some discussion on the Media Studio Pro User Group mailing list.

To explain how to do this on Windows XP, I have made a short “screencast”. I hope it makes sense, and I hope it might be useful to someone, sometime.

Click here to watch the video (WMV, 320 x 240, 1 min 31 seconds, 2.28MB)

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