Archive for April 2009

Still learning the tools…

April 30, 2009

There nothing to equal the frustration of spending several hours on an effects sequence in AfterEffects and FXHome, only to export it to Premiere and discover that when you decoded the footage off the source DVD using DVDx that DVDx decoded it at half-size.

Aha!, you think, not trusting yourself to not put a fist through your monitor, no wonder it was so hard to line the fire up with the building windows.

Shit. And it took hours to decode. So, not only do I have to start over on the effects sequence (thankfully, it’s short-ish, seven seconds or so), I have to back up even further and re-decode. This time, I’m using Super© and I’ve confirmed what I’m getting by dragging twenty seconds or so into Premiere.

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Thoughts on the Linux box.

April 10, 2009

Through the whole Church video project, the Linux box has been a real trooper, allowing me to do day-job work – or even blog entries like this one – while the primary box was rendering. I can’t work as fast or efficiently, but some of that can be attributed to unfamiliar software and workflow.

Not ALL, mind you: some of it is that the box is eight years old and software for Linux is sorely trailing behind what’s available for Windows. I’ve only found one code editor that allows remote open/save, Komodo, but it functions no better than Notepad in a lot of ways: no tag completion, no syntax hilighting (at least for classic ASP/VBscript), no Intellisense. Thankfully, I have most of VBScript, CSS and javascript syntaxes memorized, but I’m still typing a lot of stuff longhand and that slows a chap down.

Can’t do video on this box; it’s just too old and can’t handle the throughput. There are precious few software NLE offerings anyway.  (Kino? Please. It’s shit.) I got to thinking, though, that it would probably work just fine for audio recording, and there are good options for that for Linux. My first love is still the Windows box, but when it’s busy and I have a hankerin’ to lay down some tracks, why not plug in to ol’ Tux and go?

I need some additional cabling and I think I can make a go of it. It’s worth a try.

Finally.

April 10, 2009

After more issues that I care to deal with again, I’m burning DVDs. As it turns out, I have to split the video between two discs since the whole three hour session came to just over 9gb, and I don’t have any double-sided discs.

That’s okay though. I’m seeing the end of this project, finally.

TMPGEnc was just the software I needed, though after first use it started throwing errors – or rather, vsfilter.dll started throwing errors. I haven’t had time to really investigate and a cursory Google search turned up – surpise! – nothing. Okay, next to nothing. The only “solution” I found wasn’t really a solution, insofar as it didn’t work. Again, that’s okay. When this project is over, I’ll have time to investigate further.

The summary is that by tomorrow morning’s Easter festivities at church, I’ll have two discs – the second is in the burner right this minute – to give the pastor, and we can call this one done.  I need to invoice the church, even if it’s all donated: I want to know, come year’s end, exactly what I did this year.

OK, this is getting stupid.

April 9, 2009

I won’t lie to you: I’m a DIY videographer. Having shot my last reel back when Super-8 Kodachrome 40 was still available from Fotomat and Ektochrome 160 was all the rage, I’m playing catch-up. I admit it. But this is nuts.

Let’s begin with a quote: “I don’t want it good. I want it Tuesday.” Jack Warner.

The Church Video Project

I realize this is all growing pains. As I learn new tools and techniques and figure out what each piece of software does this will get much easier, but damn, folks. Who do I have to fuck to get this 16:9 DV project to render to elemental streams (m2v and mp2/wav) I can actually work with?

The first render blew up after six hours. Actually, the Adobe Premiere process just quit. Vanished. I’d have never known if I wasn’t looking at the screen at the time.

The second render, in five 1/2-hour pieces from Adobe Premiere, wouldn’t work because the DVD authoring software wouldn’t stitch the pieces together, and there was a slight delay while switching from one to the next.

Okay, so I’ve got a half-dozen different video conversion programs on my PC. I rendered to AVI – Premiere will do that to any length apparently – and started going through the options.

AVIDemux. No good. If they made a software called AVIMux without the “de” I’d have had better luck. For future reference: muxing is the process of breaking a video/audio stream into two “elemental” streams. Demuxing is the process of combining two into one. Plus, the damn software is written by the open source community, so the documentation is – to be charitable – shit.

Oh yeah: muxing is just a geeky way of saying multiplexing, and is presumably easier to say around a mouthful of Doritos and Diet Pepsi.

Handbrake. Nope. That rips DVDs to AVI.

MPEG Video Wizard. Nope. Same as Handbrake, just a whole lot less friendly.

Super ©. Shittiest software ever.

VSO. Only slightly behind Super ©.

It would seem I’m the only person on the planet who uses DVDLab Pro for DVD authoring since there’s precious little to Google when you start having difficulties.

Finally, deep in a video help website, someone mentions TMPGEnc (which supposedly is short for Tsunami MPG Encoder) in the same paragraph with the words “elemental streams.” Feeling a little out of breath with anticipation I break out Utorrent and pull the sucker down.

Sure enough, it worked.

It’s taken two more attempts – at twelve hours apiece – to render the project properly. TMPGEnc doesn’t read the aspect ratio from the source file and defaults to 4:3 output. My first render using the software was usable but the wrong aspect ratio. I think I’ve got it now. I’ll know in seven hours.

(And just so you don’t think I’m a total moron, I did all my testing using a fifteen second snippet, not the whole two and three-quarter hour seminar.)