Sunday, July 03, 2011

Lessons from sharing our team videos

In a burst of foolish optimism, I volunteered to do some videos of our team pitchers and share them.

This turned out to be much harder than I imagined. It's one of those tasks where each step has multiple options, but only a few choices really work.

Along the way I tested and abandoned MobileMe's video gallery [1] and Karelia Sandvox [2]. I briefly considered then discarded Picasa Web album video sharing.

I did figure out a path that works. Two of 'em actually. I'll share the easy one first.

The easy option

Use an iPhone. Take short clips. Don't edit. Upload. Share links.

The much more painful deluxe option

The deluxe option assembling multiple video fragments from a Canon dLSR HD video camera into a one video for each pitcher, then embedding them in a web page.

If I ever do this again, this is what I'll do for the deluxe option.

I. Getting the video

  1. Bring a tripod (!) and an external microphone.
  2. Have the coach use the external microphone to narrate comments.

II. Use iMovie and share via YouTube hidden links

This was the first time I used the new iMovie. I read a few pages in the surprisingly well done Portable Genius Guide to iLife (see [3]).

  1. Each player gets one Project/Movie.
  2. Edit in 3:4 ratio -- this is the pitcher we're working on.
  3. From iMovie share to YouTube as "private" at the highest available resolution.
  4. In YouTube change these to "hidden".

This is time consuming. It took about 10 minutes for each clip to create a movie and upload. An alternative would be to export as .mp4 (NOT default .m4v) then bulk upload overnight [4]

III. Share images using Blogger and MarsEdit or HTML markup

  1. I tried a few web page editors, but, as noted above, I didn't have much luck.
  2. Instead I used YouTube's embed code (iframe markup) and pasted the embed text into the MarsEdit HTML view for each video. It was tedious but gave good results.

- fn -

[1] I'd not tried it before. Now I see why Apple gave up on the Galleries.
[2] Crashed on me during my video uploading attempts. Could be just bad luck -- pretty much every OS X app I use crashes sooner or later. Almost like 10.6.7 is an unhappy host OS. Still, bad timing.
[3] iMovie notes

  • Clip Library is a pool of shared clips that can be included by reference in multiple Projects (movies). Clips can be stored in iPhoto, Aperture 3+ or iMovie. I think Clip processing is smoothest if they live in iMovie. Clips can be split, reorganized, rated, merged. Even deleted, though that's not obvious.
  • A "project" is a movie.
  • In a clip or a project/movie click to set start point, space to play
  • click then drag to create a frame within a single clip (can't span clip): Click into  this frame and drag and drop to the Project area. It took me forever to understand this. I kept thinking I had to edit the clip first.
  • Native export is .m4v -> evil, vile, worthless, foul spawn of satan. Want .mp4

[4] The settings to make this work are not obvious. I got decent results when I used Export to Quicktime, MP4, then set data rate to 4096, image size 768x576, Fit within size for crop, and "best quality" encoding mode in video options.

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