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Week of 11 January 2010


Latest Update: Sunday, 17 January 2010 09:43 -0500

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Monday, 11 January 2010
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12:12 - I was just about to give up on Linux for video editing until I came across this article about the OpenShot NLE video editor. I've installed OpenShot, and will give it a try.

I've been using Kino to import raw .DV video from my camcorder and Cinelarra to edit. Yesterday, Cinelarra crashed, wiping out a considerable amount of work. Unfortunately, this is by no means the first time that Cinelarra has crashed, and, of the half dozen or more Linux video editors I've tried, Cinelarra is actually the most stable. I'll see what I can do with OpenShot, which reminds me of iMovie. It's a lot simpler and less capable than Cinelarra, but I don't really need a lot of features to produce simple videos.

If OpenShut doesn't cut it, I'm going to order a Mac Mini with iMovie to do my editing. I'd thought about ordering a Mac notebook, which'd give me both a video-editing system and a notebook, but upon reflection I prefer to do video editing with a full-size keyboard and large display. For the difference in price, when I need a portable system I can buy an inexpensive notebook or netbook and install Linux on it.


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Tuesday, 12 January 2010
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13:45 - I installed OpenShot and played with it for a while. It seems straightforward and it looks like it does everything I need to do. The problem is, when I tried to export a video, it crashed reproducibly. I was trying to export to YouTube HD format, and a quick web search on OpenShot and crash turned up a bunch of hits from other people who are having the same problem, not just with YouTube HD, but with a lot of other formats. So I tried exporting to Flikr HD, which appeared to work. The problem was, there was no audio on the exported file, at least on my system. My video player programs all said they were missing a codec needed to play the audio, and I couldn't find that codec. So I uploaded that file to YouTube, thinking that perhaps YouTube's conversion process would fix the problem. No dice.

So I played around for an hour or two with the Mac notebook and iMovie 08. I absolutely hated it. I was able to import the nine clips that make up the video I'm trying to assemble, but I never was able to get iMovie to export the video. So I went back to OpenShot and tried some other export options.  The AVI (h.264) option appeared to work, and the video looked and sounded fine when I watched the local copy. I'm uploading it now to YouTube to see how it fares.

At this point, although it sounds ridiculous, I'm using three separate programs to capture and process video from my camcorder. I use Kino to import the video as .dv files from my camcorder. I then use Cinelarra to trim the individual segments and save them as edited .dv files. I then use OpenShot to assemble those .dv clips into a single video and export them. Geez. But at least it seems to work, so far.



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Wednesday, 13 January 2010
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Thursday, 14 January 2010
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Friday, 15 January 2010
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Saturday, 16 January 2010
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Sunday, 17 January 2010
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09:43 - Sorry for the lack of posts. The week kind of got away from me. And it probably won't be the last time that happens. I'm busier than the proverbial one-armed paper hanger. Here's part of what I've been up to.

This all really started several months ago, when I came across NurdRage on YouTube. NurdRage is clearly a working scientist, and he's put together a fascinating series of science videos, mostly chemistry. I'd been intending to do the same, and watching the NurdRage videos encouraged me to get moving on it. I've now posted the first half dozen of my videos, and have more than a hundred more in the planning stages. I noticed that since his debut in November 2008 NurdRage has posted more than 60 videos and accumulated more than 17,000 subscribers and 2.5 million views. In the spirit of friendly competition, I'm going to see if I can top that.

Actually, it's not a competition at all. It's really about cooperation, because NurdRage and I have the same goal: to encourage a rennaisance of hands-on home science, of people actually doing real science in their kitchens and basements and garages. Of course, doing videos like this is really a two-edged sword. I hope they'll encourage people to get off their butts and actually do the science themselves, but there's always the danger that a lot of people will be satisfied just by watching it done. And, while watching a video may convey the essence of a procedure, it's just not the same as doing it for yourself. Still, the more the merrier.

If you have a YouTube account, please subscribe to my new channel. There should be some pretty interesting stuff coming up.


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