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HD Video Formats are Wave of the Future

Tips and LETTERS - Andrew/ Brian * Reader question: How much coverage will we be giving to high definition formats? * Part three of four on How to Create your Own Vidcast. * PLUG: Contact us at: Web /forum Page

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HD Video Formats are Wave of the Future Brian Peterson: Hi, I’m Brian Peterson. Andrew Burke: And I’m Andrew Burke. Brian Peterson: And this is reader tips, and letters, and a little bit more than that. Andrew Burke: Right. Brian Peterson: As promised in the last, actually it was two episodes ago. Episode #11, we had part 1 of how to make your own vidcast. And then episode 12- Andrew Burke: part 2. Brian Peterson: And guess what today is. Andrew Burke: Part 3. We gave them a little time to digest the last two. Brian Peterson: We did. A lot of good information there, we hope. And if you have any questions, send them to us, of course, we’ll give you the e-mail address at the end of the segment. But this is part 3, we’ll get into that in just a moment. But first, we had one e-mail that we just got, actually, yesterday. And I wanted to talk about this a little bit. Because I think a lot of people might be asking the same question. This is question from Jason Crane, from New Jersey. And he says that he’s noticed an increase in coverage of HD and HDV in our magazine, and in some other magazines. He says, it’s understandable seeing how this is a new up-and-comer. His question is, how much of the magazine will be dedicated to this new format. Of the 6 to 10 videographers he knows, none are saying that they plan to go into HD in the next year or so. Well, actually two years or so. He said why don’t we take any kind of poll to determine whether or not this is a big thing for our readers, and I thought, wow! Great question. Andrew Burke: Yes. Brian Peterson: Yes. We’re taking a poll. In fact, our most recent poll shows some interesting mix of interest. We asked a couple of different questions. First of all, we asked how interested people are into HD? Andrew Burke: Right. And it seemed like a lot of people were either very interested or somewhat interested. Brian Peterson: Yeah. In fact, I think number showed 92%, actually, are either somewhat or very interested. Andrew Burke: So if we didn’t respond them in some way, I suppose we would be doing them a small disservice. Brian Peterson: Yeah. Andrew Burke: But I don’t think we’re planning on going all HDV either. Brian Peterson: No, we’re not turning magazine into a completely new format coverage magazine. Absolutely. So, that’s the short answer. Absolutely. And addressing his second part of the question, you know, that he doesn’t really have anybody in his sphere that is planning on that move, and I think that’s probably true for a lot of people. You know, you tend to be in circle of folks with similar capabilities and interests, not that they would all share the same equipment interest, but in this case it does. But we asked the question, when do you plan to purchase your HD or HDV camcorder, and the results stack up this way. Within a year – 44%. So that’s a fairly significant saying, hey, you better make the move quick. And what’s your take on where HD and HDV is right now in terms of these people being first adopters, or second, I mean, what kind of risk is there? Andrew Burke: You know, I don’t think, I don’t think it’s first adopters any more. I think this is, you know, we’re on the up slope of second, you know, if you buy a camcorder, HD or HDV camcorder next year, you’re not going to be able to laggard by any means. You’re still going to be in it. And I think there’s still enough support, the editors are supported by all this different companies that are supporting native players. Brian Peterson: All the major players. You know, even some of the minor ones. Movie factory, oh, they’re not minor. They’re major players, just not the pro or semi pro versions. But yeah, they’re all out there supporting it, so, it’s not, like you say, bleeding edge any more. The other part was folks planning to purchase in more than a year, and that was only 28%. And then, very, very few percent said they were never planning on shifting. So, that is what we use to really gauge the amount of coverage in our magazine. And I think we’ve been pretty close about to that 40% mark. Andrew Burke: You know, a lot of the new products that we cover too, you know, they make a DV product, and then with HDV capabilities now. So the newer products are coming out now with these kind of, you know, the dual personality kind of stuff. Brian Peterson: Right. Andrew Burke: So, you know, they’re supporting it. Brian Peterson: Many manufacturers have realized we’re in transition. And unlike the original transition. Remember when we went from analog to digital where you had to invest in a lot of significant, and expensive, analog to digital conversion, and then they had intermediates, it was really expensive. This at least, I think there’s a chance where folks will adapt to this new format fairly soon, and still feel comfortable. Andrew Burke: Right. Brian Peterson: All right. Let’s move on. This is part 3 where we’re going to talk about editing and encoding your vidcast. Now, the first one we talked about planning your vidcast, the second one we talked about shooting the vidcast, and again, if you need a refresher, go back to very first one, it was episode 11, second one was episode 12. So, let’s get into it. Now, let’s just give a little background. You’re the one in charge of doing this about all the editing, I mean, this wasn’t the plan, but Andrew just happens to be a very good editor, very quick. Tell me just a little bit about the experience from, say, the first one that you edited to where we’re at right now. What are some of the things that we’ve learned? Andrew Burke: All right. Definitely dealing with length of overall files. A lot of the videos that I included to the web before coming here have been short format. 5, 10, 15 minutes. And so, if you’re doing a vidcast with some length, like a 45 minutes, half an hour, you’re going to want to really get that in file size down to something that your viewer or end user will be attracted to. You know, if I threw something on the web that was a gig, and someone had to download my video for a gig, you know, it may be less attractive if it, definitely for a vidcast style. Brian Peterson: So, what you’re saying is, we’re good, but we’re not that good. Andrew Burke: We’re pretty good. Brian Peterson: A gig good? A gig good? Andrew Burke: Why not? (both laughing) Brian Peterson: Maybe next time. Let’s break it down to some of the components. There really seems to be three ways that you can start editing your piece. And we really considered these really deeply before we even started going into. Method A, let’s just call it Method A, the best takes method. And, what it would start with is, you know, when we’re done here, you take tapes back, capture them. Maybe, take us through your process here. We’ve got it roughed out here, but let’s talk about this. Andrew Burke: All right. Well, definitely, you know, after logging the tapes, I definitely make a rough cut, and you know, I throw in a little bumpers in there and don’t go to lower thirds or any special effects, maybe I’ll have some jump frames in there, some little black frames. Very rough. And then, I’ll go through and refine everything. So, it’s definitely, it takes a cue from just general editing. There’s no, nothing super special about editing a vidcast versus - Brian Peterson: something else. Andrew Burke: Something else. Brian Peterson: Right. So you take best takes, create your rough cut, then insert your second camera, we have two cameras here, so if you may consider doing that for your products and everything, it’s nice to have that second camera to come into close ups. Andrew Burke: Absolutely. Brian Peterson: So, often times editors will call that first cut a rough cut, a cuts only, maybe your master. In other words our two shot is our master, we let the camera roll the whole time, and we know we’ve got our coverage that way. So, that’s method A, a best takes method. Next method B could be live from tape. And how that would differ is, first of all you have to capture, let’s say, your two tapes, or three, or four, or however many cameras you want. Then you would import that into some sort of multicam capable software. Andrew Burke: Yeah. There are so many now. I could, you know, probably five or six editors that allow multicam editing, where you can take three tapes worth of footage, meld them into one and then do live switching on the computer. Pretty handy, especially if you have maybe more than two-three cameras. For us, it’s not the method we use today, we thought it would be more effective to just do method A. Brian Peterson: Method A, yes. So this is just method B option, live from tape. Method C is one we haven’t tried, but is still something we might want to look into in some point to even streamline our process further. Method C is live to the Internet. In other words, really doing what’s, is done with television. Andrew Burke: Right. Brian Peterson: Now, big barrier is hardware. Really, you have to have encoded us to be able to encode live whatever that encoding process is. Probably a little more expensive than some of you have the equipment for the budget for. So, it’s not one we have experienced or lived so we probably won’t get into detail, but that is one option, and some people are doing it. There are some encoders out there you might want to look at, any ones come to mind to you? Andrew Burke: Well, some of the, some of the tricast that the video switchers offer… Brian Peterson: New techs. Andrew Burke: And- Brian Peterson: And a streaming output. Andrew Burke: Right. Brian Peterson: So, it’s the hardware solution, but method C is live to the Internet. All right. So those are the methods. Let’s jump into the encoding part of it. Now, this is the challenge. Andrew Burke: Absolutely: Brian Peterson: Determining the primary audience was really tough for us because we didn’t know, and you may have a better sense of that now that you’ve perhaps watched these and others to know who your audience is going to be. But you need to really figure out who that primary audience is to know the encoding format, how big is the file, like you say, going to be. Andrew Burke: Right. Right. And what people are using to watch the different types of formats. Do we make a divx style, which we haven’t yet, some others do, but we’re waiting for responses, your responses, to tell us what you like and what you don’t like. Brian Peterson: So what are we using right now? Andrew Burke: Oh, let’s see. We’re using 2 mpeg 4versions, let’s see, we’re doing an h.264, which is the advanced video codec, AVC, and we’re doing an mp3 audio only, podcast style. And, let’s see, we’re doing Windows Media, we’re encoding Windows Media for live streaming. Brian Peterson: For streaming. Andrew Burke: Right. Brian Peterson: So, we’ve got a lot of coverage here- Andrew Burke: We do. Brian Peterson: We do. Most likely you would not need all of these, but frankly, since we have fairly diverse audience, well, that could also be defined as we don’t know who are audience is, so… Anyway, we’re trying to cover our bases. You may find that just doing an h.264 encode QuickTime is all you really need. But experiment around and find out what becomes most popular. That’s kind of where we’re at, still with 14-15th episode coming out here? Andrew Burke: M-hm. Brian Peterson: The final part is upload. And this can be as simple or difficult as folks want to make it, I suppose. Just describe that process a little bit, the upload. Andrew Burke: Well, I guess there’s two main ways you can, you know, you can download a piece of software that is an RSS aggregator that will find all of these video feeds and bring them to you. And so, that’s one way, and it’s a matter of cutting and pasting. Right now, a little bit clunky, but not terrible. But uploading you can use, let’s see, anything from feed burner, what’s a couple more popular ones? iTunes, you can upload from iTunes. And really, these places aren’t storing your video, they’re merely a kind of a middle man to send them out to other people. Brian Peterson: Exactly. They’re pointing to where your video is residing, which is usually a server or your web host. So your upload is really going from your local computer to your web host. Now, one thing you want to keep in mind. I think we’ve mentioned this before, is bandwidth. If you can get incredibly popular, you’re going to find that you have a bill that perhaps comes to you from your provider, so look into your bandwidth and the size of your files. So that’s another thing. The smaller your file, the probably, probably, the less your bandwidth cost is going to be. So look into that. Some popular vidcast are looking up towards a million dollars a month. Is that correct? Andrew Burke: That’s, that’s a site. That’s, what is it, YouTube? That’s their bandwidth. Charlie Fulton: Yeah. Brian Peterson: This is on an extreme end. Charlie Fulton: YouTube is about a million dollars a month worth of bandwidth. Andrew Burke: That they’re paying? Brian Peterson: That they’re paying out. Charlie Fulton: Yeah. As soon as their regional capital runs out, then they got to transition to admodel, and it’s going to be, I don’t know… Brian Peterson: So, I think we’ll assume you probably won’t become a YouTube, but do keep in mind that even running over whatever your ISP is giving you for monthly bandwidth allowance. That could happen very easily, so just be aware of that part. All right. Next, on our next episode we’re going to talk about the file part of this, which is distributing and just marketing your video. How do you get people to even know you’re there? So, join us for that part of it. Anything else? Andrew Burke: I think we’re good. Brian Peterson: See you next time.