Friday, December 08, 2006

Spam comes to YouTube

The last couple of days I've been getting spam through the YouTube mail box. Someone signs-up on YouTube and then starts sending emails to other people on YouTube. Great! Just what I need; more junk mail.

I sent YouTube an email, and got the following:
Hi there!

We realize that there has been a recent rise in spamming issues here on YouTube, but thanks to you and many other users, we have been able to ban 100s of users who have been spamming such as lolitabrasil, xacana, moodswing, sirirca, kanefevehure47 and many others. We are working on creating a spam free site and hope to have ways of implementing this soon. We know it annoying!!! Keep reporting these users and we will do our best to rid you guys of spam!

Thanks for reporting this!

Yes! It annoying!

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Sony love blog

I just noticed that the last three postings in this blog begin 'Sony' and then list a product name. Seems I'm a little Sony obsessed lately.

Okay, so I promise the next post won't be about Sony. Or Blu-Ray.

I'm looking at buying a new tripod and wireless microphone system, so maybe I can write about that...

Sony HVR-DR60

A couple of months back I went to a demo of Sony's XDCAM HD system which was pretty cool; the cameras record to an optical disc. When editing with Final Cut Pro you see the individual clips immediately, and can quickly pick what you want to copy across.

Pretty cool; but at $20,000 for the cameras, not something I am looking at getting soon.

Then about a month ago Sony announced new consumer HD camcorders that will record to DVD and HD. Look interesting, though quality may be compromised by the compression used, and work flow with Final Cut Pro is unknown.

Then Sony announced new pro-sumer HD camcorders (the FX7 and H1U) and a 60GB hard drive that can be used to record content (while at the same time you record to tape.)Very cool, though work flow with Final Cut is unknown.

But the downside; the unit is $1,800. That's just way too much to even consider for me. I guess I'm stuck with tape for the next few years.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sony HVR-V1U

Not really a surprise, but Sony announced the 'pro' version of the HDR-FX7, the HVR-V1U.

It's about $1,000 more than the FX7, and adds 24p recording, which is exciting for those that want to make something for film distribution (or even just film-like.)The other cool feature is support for recording to an external hard drive (the HVR-DR60.)

CamcorderInfo has a comparison chart between the HVR-VR1 and HDR-FX7.

I want one, but at $4,000 I can't afford it!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sony HDR-FX7

Sony has formally announced the HDR-FX7, a replacement for the two year old HDR-FX1. It seems to have the same basic specs as the HDR-FX1 with regard to video performance, zoom lens etc, but the camera is a lot smaller, and also features an HDMI output.

I have an HDR-FX1 and like it. I can't say that the size really worries me; though I really want to get some kind of shoulder brace for it and I don't want to spend the $250+ Sony wants for their one...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

No more Blu-ray

I garantee it!

I was reading reviews of the Samsung Blu-ray viewer and they were less than encouraging. Made me want to buy an HD DVD player. In fact I almost did! more Blu-ray discussion until

a) The Sony player is out and everyone raves OR
b) The PS3 is available OR
c) Apple releases a machine with a Blu-ray burner

Until then more Blu-ray.

I promise!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blu-ray discs

I seem fixated, but really this is my way of working off the obsession.

Amazon currently has 39 Blu-ray titles listed.

They list 46 HD DVD titles

They currently have a promotion where, if you buy three discs in one order, then you get 10% off any Hi-Def disc (meaning either HD DVD or Blu-ray) title that you buy for the next year.

Sony's Blu-ray player is listed at $999, and not available; but I've actrually been toying with the idea of buying three discs anyway.

I think I have completely lost it....

NOTE: in the future I'm going to use Hi-Def disc to mean either HD DVD or Blu-ray. I toyed with the idea of saying HD Disc, but that's too easily confused with HD DVD

RV: get it on DVD or Blu-ray disc

Just saw an ad on TV for the movie RV (It's so-so) and they said 'get it on DVD or Blu-ray.' Wow!

Amazon is selling the DVD for $13.99 ($28.95 list)

The Blu-ray disc: $27.25 (list $38.95)

Big Discing Deal

Sony announced that they have 50GB Blu-ray disc's available. Woot!

But wait! They are going to cost $48 each. Ouch!

Meanwhile they just can't seem to make up their minds what will happen in the upcoming HD DVD/Blu-ray battle.

Anyone care?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Canon HV10 vs. Sony HC3

David Pogue at the New York Times compares the new Canon HD camcorder. He seems to like the Canon for it's fast focus and good stablization. It also performs better in low light than the Sony, though it's not a clear win for the Canon.

I'm still waiting to see what the Sony Hard Disk based camcorder is like...

Friday, August 11, 2006

More bad Blu-ray news

Man, the bad news just seems to keep on trickling in. CNET reports that Sony has released in Australia the BWU-100A, a Blu-ray drive for desktop computers that does everything BUT play back commercial movies released in the Blu-ray format. Evidently it has something to do with copy protection issues.

I don't necessarily blame Sony for this, but it just seems like there's one piece of bad news after another.

Bad Blu-ray news


Apple announced new Mac-Pro desktop machines, but no Blu-ray support. Guess we'll have to wait at least until January for any hope of that.

High-Def Digest reviewed the same titles from Warner released on HD DVD and Bu-ray discs and found the Blu-ray versions wanting; notably issues with aspect ratio, compression not as good, slow navigation, and Warner dropped the Dolby Digital-Plus track off of the Blu-ray release. Admittedly they were comparing a Toshiba HD DVD player (Toshiba developed the standard) with a Samsung player that is known to have some issues, but this is kind of troubling.

Meanwhile, analysts predict that "the battle between two hyped formats for high-definition DVD will confuse shoppers and turn many of them off the whole technology." I don't think anyone needed a crystal ball to come up with that prediction, but it's making me feel kind of blah again about Hi-Def discs...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blu-ray speculation

Looks like others are speculating about Apple adding Blu-ray support.

I'm still excited about this, but I'm thinking that Apple probably won't release support until the new year.

DVD Duplication

I've been making copies of DVD's the last few days, and it's a slow and tedious process. It takes about 20 minutes to duplicate the DVD (which is about 3/4 full, I think.) The problem is that I wander off to do something else so I have to keep remembering to come back and switch the discs.

So I saw this thing; the Pico DVD/CD Duplicator- it's a low cost DVD/CD duplicator that has a little robot arm to load and unload the discs. The amazing part is that it's under $1,000; $699 to be exact.

I guess the downside is that it doesn't print the labels; which also takes a lot of time. Hmm..maybe I should just get them mass produced; but it's not really cost effective when you want less than 100 discs.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Canon HD

Canon has announced a nice little HD Camcorder, the HV 20 which feature a 1/2.7-inch CMOS that captures 2,048 x 1,536 stills, 10x optical zoom, opticial stabilization, a 2.7-inch LCD display, and miniSD slot for storing photos.

If I wasn't salivating over Sony's recent disk-based camera announcement, I might want to get one!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I've been sitting out the HD Disc wars (Blu-ray and HD DVD) since a) if you can't buy any hardware, then why worry, and ii) with two competing formats, it looks like a party I want to stay away from.

But then yesterday I was having lunch with a friend and I was telling him about the video I'd just finished and I was talking about how it would look better in HD because it was shot in HD rather than in the NTSC it had been downsampled to. And then I had this moment of realization; the HD Disc format I was going to go with would be determined by Apple; since that's the hardware I use for video editing.

Well for some reason, suddenly I got all excited about the idea of creating an HD disc and was wondering which format (if any) Apple was planning to support. If I had to guess, it would be Blu-ray, since it's Sony and Apple and Sony have a bit of a thing going from way back.

So today I did a bit of research; okay, I typed Blu-ray into a search engine and clicked on the first thing that came up. First thing I see; Apple to support Blu-ray.

If you read that page, it seems pretty clear that Blu-ray is going to toast HD DVD. But who knows for sure?

One thing I'm wondering; when will Apple come out with Blu-ray support? THey are supposed to annunce new Intel desktop's in a couple of weeks. It would be kind of cool to announce Blu-ray drives and support with those new machines (and it wouldn't be the first time Apple was a step ahead of the market in bringing new technologies to market just ahead of others i.e. SuperDrive.)

It's hard to know; there have been delay's with Blu-ray, and the players seem expensive still...but now I'm thinking I'll hold off upgrading my desktop machine for a while incase they do come out with new Blu-ray hardware/software in the next six months...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Canon HDV Camcorder

Canon has announced two prosumer HDV camcorders; the XH G1 and XH A1 (MSRP $6999 and $3999, respectively).

Wow! And the interesting thing; at that price neither accepts interchangeable lenses!

Not being in the market for that kind of expensive camera at the moment, I can't really get excited. Canon has a habit of coming out with really cool semi-pro video cameras about a year or so after Sony, and by that time, I've already made my buying decision. Bad luck for me I guess - and I'm very happy with the Sony - but it's still a little annoying that they couldn't get in the game a little sooner.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

New Sony HD Camcorders announced

Holy C$%^!!!

Less than a week after I saw the Sony XDCAM HD cameras, Sony has announced a couple of low-end HD camcorders that record to DVD or hard drive. These are at the high-end of the consumer line (they have a micro-phone in, which the current HDR-HDC3 does not.)

Questions I have; how will they work with Final Cut Pro (will they?) and how big is the hard drive on the HDR-SR1 and what's the quality difference between the HDR-SR1 and the HDR-UX1. A posting on CDRinfo suggests that the DVD is 10MBPs and the Hard Drive is 12MBPs, so the Hard Drive should have higher quality video (though at larger file sizes.)

I'd love to go tapeless, though I see a problem with making backups etc. Particularly with the hard drive model; would I save the stuff off to DVD's or just buy lots of hard disk space?

Update: Looks like the Hard Drive model has a 30GB drive.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Last week I went to a seminar that Apple and Sony put on for XDCAM HD, which is Sony's Pro-HD system that uses optical drive technology to record video. There's more to it than that, but for me, the idea of doing away with tape is appealing.

A really neat feature; connect the camera to your computer (using FireWire 800) and then using a Sony supplied plug-in for Final Cut Pro, it will show you icon's for all the clip segments on the disc. You can choose parts of those segments to then transfer (capture) to the computer, and then use for editing.

Pretty damn neat; but, the cheapest camera is $15,999. Just as well, I only bought my tape based HD camcorder last year, and I can't afford a camera that expensive!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Shake 4.1: All Shook Up

Apple announced an update to Shake 4.1. They also dropped the price from $2999 to $499. That's a significant price drop (and don't forget Shake had been $5K prior to that!)

I guess I'd be excited if it wasn't for the fact that I haven't even broken the seal on Motion. I don't really need Shake as it's more for 2D/3D compositing (so I guess I have to learn Maya before I can really have a use for Shake!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

DVD Studio Pro

I have a copy of DVD Studio Pro, and have never bothered to use it! Weird, I know, but it's always seemed very intimidating, and iDVD is so fun and easy to use (and for most quick projects does 90% of what you want anyway) that I just haven't felt the need.

But I'm starting to feel that I should at least consider exploring using it. Adventures in HD editing and compressing are leading me to wonder if using Compressor separately to create the MPEG2 file for the DVD might be able to produce better results than by using iDVD's off-the-shelf default settings.

I had a lot of problems with iDVD 5 compressing HD video to an NTSC Anamorphic DVD (lots of jitter when the camera was panning). I upgraded to iDVD 6, and the quality has improved 100% with almost no jitter, but there's still some flickering of horizontal lines going on that I don't like and am wondering if I can eliminate or minimize even more.

My first experiment was to try exporting from Final Cur Pro HD format to DV NTSC Anamorphic first, and then putting that into iDVD. In other words, creating an inter-step file and seeing if iDVD compressed that better (or the combined conversion to anamorphic and then compression was better that using the HD content straight into iDVD.) That test was a failure. The HD->iDVD material looked better than the HD->Anamorphic DV->iDVD content (slightly less flickering in places.)

Oh, so anyway, figuring that DVD Studio Pro is pretty complicated, I was looking for a good book. I see that there's Apple Pro Training Series : DVD Studio Pro 4 and Apple Pro Training Series : DVD Studio Pro 3 available at Amazon. That's different editions of the same book. Interestingly the reviews for the 'new edition' say that it hasn't really been updated to cover the new version and (this is where it get's interesting) the DVDSP 3 edition is $3.15 cheaper. So should I just buy the old version even though I have DVDSP 4?

Mobile Editing With Sony's XDCAM HD System

Apple and Sony are doing a seminar series on Mobile editing with Final Cut Studio and Sony's XDCAM HD System:
Experts from Apple and Sony will show you how Final Cut Studio, MacBook Pro, and the XDCAM HD system combine for the ultimate tapeless HD workflow. See these powerful tools in action. Ask questions. And learn how Sony put this solution to the test shooting the Iditarod sled dog race.

I'm planning to going to the session in Boston, even though I have no plans to use XDCAM. Figure I might learn some stuff on HD...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Capturing Video

I've had a lot of trouble capturing video from my Sony HDR-HC1. I thought it was because Final Cut Pro HD didn't recognize the camera. I just upgraded to iLife 6 to get the new version of iDVD (to solve another problem) and discovered that iMovie HD did work with the camera - mostly. Then I tried Final Cut Pro HD again, and it worked! After a fashion. Seems there's a problem in the FireWire cable; because if I movie it slightly then the connection is broken. Which could explain why I was having troubles to begin with.

Yet, I didn't have problems with my other camera and the same it could be a problem with the camera's jack...

The pain of video editing!