Video Software

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YouTube member Dod3032 shows some simple mock vertical crane shots and other interesting camera movements all on a slider. Get out and get creative..

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Vimeo is one of my favorite video channels next to Netflix. Both support HD video streams but it's not often I ever saw it on a big screen TV. So for my Netflix convenience and Vimeo addiction, I picked up the Roku XD Streaming Player. You'll find other options like Apple TV and Google TV, but I decided on the Roku mainly because of the price. It's such a tiny unit, it's easy to move it around to different TV sets or even bring over to a friend's house. All the unit requires is an Internet Connection via LAN cable or by connecting with it's built in Wireless (Wireless N supported too). Setting it up took a few minutes as it went through a software update, but nothing difficult or overly techinical. Here's a look at the unit and the steps required to set it up to my Vimeo account.

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The entire Roku player is small, and not far from the size of the included Remote. The remote is basic with no way to program for a television. So you'll still need a seperate remote to control the volume of the videos playing. Although this version supports HDMI, it did not come with an HDMI.

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Different versions of the Roku include only Composite video out and basic Wireless, while higher end models include HDMI outputs and support for Wireless N. This version is the Roku XD that has an HDMI output.

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Wireless Setup was pretty straight forward even with Security enabled on the router.

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You'll need to setup a Roku account to activate the device for streaming video. Same process for Netflix devices.

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The Roku can be setup to adapt for different resolutions and aspect ratios.

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There's a ton of different Internet Channels to keep you entertained, including Facebook Photo Galleries. If you own the Nintendo Wii, there's a market place of Channels you can add to the menu for free - and some you'll need to pay a subscription fee for like Hulu Plus. I have to note though that the included remote needed direct line of sight like other infrared remotes, but even to operate even from a few feet away. The menu does navigate fairly quickly, and channels loaded up in a few seconds when launched.

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Linking to the Vimeo Account is similar to setting up a Netflix Device. Visit Vimeo's special page and enter a passcode from the Device.

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Streaming video depends on the quality of the video you're watching, and bandwidth. Watching Vimeo HD movies was clear on this small screen, and Netflix was also very impressive. With the push for Internet Video channels from GoogleTV and Apple TV times are definitely changing. For film makers who care about the quality of their videos being watched through internet streams, this definitely opens up a whole new perspective.

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find-price-button Roku XD Streaming Player 1080p

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Now that Panasonic has announced the GH2, i'm sure this is going to open up a market of new Panasonic shooters. If the GH2 shares the same form factor and weight as the GH1, this might be a Panasonic GH2 video camera stabilizer worth looking at. I posted an earlier article on this website with Vimeo member Choon Ean showing off some Hague MMC skills with a GH1, but here's another one that should sell it as a capable GH1 / GH2 steadicam. Lots of panning and full on jogging shots while maintaining great results in this video. Remember, this isn't on flat smooth ground, but more on an uphill run in some uneven terrain. Good job showcasing the product on this one.
[Thanks - Choon Ean]

The Hague MMC can be found here: Hague Mini Motion Cam Video Camera Stabilizer
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click image for pricing on Hague MMC

40 Comments

Well I wanted to do a cool little Zoom H1 Portable Audio Recorder video review, but looks like bhphotovideo.com beat me to it. I'll just post theirs instead since they touched on a lot of what I wanted to talk about. One of the things they point out is the use of the LAV microphone. Everyone's been talking about using this method since this unit is so small and portable, you can save some big bucks from buying a wireless mic kit. They even found a way to jamb this thing into a Microphone Shock Mount.

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click image for Zoom H1 kit

I'll still do my own little video review, but i'll talk about some things I don't like about it. My intent was not to use the built in microphones on the Zoom H1, but if you're planning to, get the foam windscreen which is part of a separate Zoom Kit (above). It's nice that the Zoom H1 leaves everything out to control many functions like WAV or MP3 settings, but these buttons are completely exposed. Using it as a body pack, I fear these buttons will be easily pressed. They should have placed these switches under a cover like the Rode VideoMic. There is a 'Hold' feature, but that only works to disable the playback buttons, not the other feature buttons.

The unit is also mainly plastic. It's nice because it shaves some weight, but feels real fragile. Not something I'd throw in my bag without a hard case, or at least the case shown in the Zoom H1 kit above. Even the microphone covers are chrome plated plastic. DSLR's as of now have terrible audio compared to the Samson recorders. For the audio quality of the Samson Zoom H1, the features this little gadget has, and the low low price point of $99 bucks + Free Shipping, it's a must have item for any DSLR shooter. The only thing we need to narrow down now is what's the best 'bang for the buck' LAV mic to use. My search continues for the cheapest and best LAV mic to use.....

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Wow, I knew there was software to mimic the Tilt-Shift effect you get from $2,000-$3,000 dollar lenses, but never saw it look this good. Here's a couple of Timelapse videos shot by Photographer Martin Wallgren, and edited in post to mimic the Tilt Shift effect with Alien Skin's 'Bokeh' software. The focus drop off looks very very smooth, it's hard to tell it was done with a Photoshop Plugin.

This sounds like a more time consuming process, but a real Tilt Shift lens is another piece of equipment to drag around, not to mention the crazy price too. I haven't been using Photoshop very much after Lightroom, but here's a reason to get back into it. It may not be true tilt-shift, but these awesome results speaks for itself.

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apple-iphone-4g-picture

I know this blog is more about photography and video, but the iPhone does these things quite well too. The new iPhone 4G wasn't a big secret, and now it's been officially announced today by Apple I believe as ' iPhone 4 ' with a new operating system OS called ' IOS 4 '. Supposedly there will be 100 new features including a front facing camera, second microphone on top (this all leads to video conferencing on a mobile phone), and a higher pixel display quality at 326 pixels per inch. A more scratch resistant screen, and LED flash, and still 25% thinner than the previous iPhone 3Gs. Wow, there's alot of new things which i'm sure includes faster processor and now 4G speeds. I haven't caught anything online, but there was rumors of the new iPhone shooting in HD. If so, that would be an awesome little camera for the Tiffen Smoothee. Check out the new iPhone Video Stabilizer from Hague. Anyone hear anything about that HD recording?

New Hague iPhone video Stabilizer
Check out the new iPhone Video Stabilizer from Hague.iphone-stabilizer-hague
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Tiffen iPhone Stabilizer

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Update: Readers commented with 720 HD 30fps and new iMovie for iPhone. Check out the Comments for more iPhone 4 details. Thanks readers! I guess those video Stabilizers (above) would be awesome now!

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Red-Giant-Software

There's some fancy new software in town from Red Giant, you probably know them from terms like Magic Bullet. It's actually called Magic Bullet Grinder 1.0, designed to convert those nasty DSLR video files into something more editable. There's a video on the Red Giant website here.

Magic Bullet Grinder 1.0

Features Easy Conversion
Convert H264-encoded video to edit friendly formats

Insert Timecode
Timecode data can be inserted for any .mov file, including original Canon format files

Final Cut-friendly Output
Support for ProRes 4:4:4, SQ, LT or PhotoJPEG media for online work

Offline Format Support
Handles ProRes LT and PhotoJPEG format in 1080p to quarter resolution

Simple, Powerful Batch Processing
Grinder is multi-threaded for speed. Transcode as many files at once as there are cores (8 cores = 8 simultaneous files)

Frame Rate Conversion
Conform files to one frame rate for converting 30p and 60p media to 24p for slow motion use (Speed conversion only: Does not alter optical flow)

File Naming
Automatically adds file name burn-in to proxies, making it easy to track offline files

Timecode/Frame Number Burn-in
Makes matching of specific frames from offline to online media easy