family fun

look ma, no film

From Saturday’s videotaping extravaganza (oh, how much I have to learn about videography) to this afternoon, I have been able to create a CD with a video on it, suitable for sharing.

I did end up with a couple of coasters as I experimented with mkisofs(8) and it’s options. It was easy to create a disk image that could be loaded on a Mac as a disk, but counter-intuitively, that’s not what you want to burn to a CD.

I took what I learned and put it in a shell script for safekeeping. Variable $1 is the image file to be created and $2 is the directory tree that will be on the CD.
mkhybrid -R -J -hfs -l -o $1 $2

If I was to do one of these again, I’d do a few things differently:

  • go to the dress rehearsal and tape it, end to end, to see how long everything will be and get some cues
  • set up so you can see everything without being a distraction. I used a tripod but because I didn’t keep my face in the eyepiece, folks assumed I wasn’t shooting and walked across the frame. A step ladder (how geeky is that?) would have been a good idea, with a good clamp. The camera had a rotating LCD panel and a remote: I could have shot from across the room.
  • the camera has a still frame function: that would have been useful for head shots

If you believe that no experience is valuable unless you learn from it, I had a fine weekend.

I can certainly see the appeal for this kind of work.

it could be called work

fun with iMovie

The most succinct result I can give is: horsepower helps. It’s amazingly simple to do stuff like titles, music tracks, transitions, but boy, is it CPU-intensive. I am doing all this on a 500 MHz iMac DV, and I have run into multi-hour render and export jobs. Rendering titles is very well-done: the renderer takes a long time but it doesn’t bog down the machine at all. Exporting is just brutal. I am pulling a load of 6-8, with no other processes running.

The only feature I can think of to add is an estimate of disk space as well as of time to complete. If you’re trying to scale something to fit on a CD, it would help.

For example, I have a 19 minute project that takes about 140 minutes to export as a quicktime movie: it would help to know how big it will be so I can see if I’m wasting my time or not. If it’s too big for a single CD, I’ll need to work on it some more.

Update: The movie came in at 460 Mb or so, so it was fine for a CD.

The camera worked fine, though I think it came with a flaky firewire cable: I swapped one of my own in and it seemed to work better. The symptom was dropouts and extra clips: I had to extract the video a couple of times and would get different numbers of clips.

Firewire itself is very nice: I love a standard that more than one company supports. You drive the camera from the computer as soon as it’s detected, so you never need to touch it after that.


it can happen anywhere

We were just thinking of bringing the kids in for dinner when the neighbor popped her head in the back door to say the police were on the street looking a man with a gas mask and a large knife.

Sure enough, there were two cruisers two houses down, and a deputation of neighbors giving an officer some details. I secured our perimeter and am keeping an ear out.

family fun

I am going to do this

The Seattle Times: Northwest Life: Shipshape: From tip to stern, this boat’s got family written all over it

It floated, rowed straight and turned like a happy beach ball. And like every proud family with a new baby, we could boast she was ours.

How can you beat the idea of a well-made wooden sailboat, made with your own hands in 4 days, all for $800?