Recording a Pyowa Meeting

This month, I finished uploading the videos I had recorded for May's Pyowa meeting. I thought it would be relatively easy to do some recording and uploading, but I think I made it harder than I needed when I bought an HD camera. Here's my story of how I go about recording our meetings right now.

So, in February I did some research on video cameras. I've always been interested in getting one and Pyowa seemed to give me the perfect excuse. Plus, I had dreams of recording some doofy videos with my brothers. Anyway, I thought I had found the perfect camera in the Sony product line, but then when I went to buy it, the stupid camera wasn't available anywhere. Thus, I ended up going with the Canon HG20 which records in high definition and has a good 12X zoom lens. I also bought a Rode Videomic. Unfortunately, Canon had switched from a cold foot to a proprietary hot foot technology and my cool mic wouldn't fit on it (the "foot" is a weird looking port on the top of the camera where you can hook mics, lights, and other equipment to). Thus, for the March meeting, I put the mic on its own tripod with a long cable running to my camera. It worked pretty good as you can see here: http://pyowa.blip.tv/file/2093166/. (FYI: I tried to embed the videos in this blog, but every tutorial I read on how to do that didn't work...if you have hints, drop me a line.)

I had found a converter to mount the mic on the camera, but it didn't work. Take my advice and don't waste your money on that junk! So for the May meeting, I decided to eschew the Rode mic and use the Canon DM-100 (DM = Directional Mic) because it was a pain to try to point the mic and the camera at the person if they moved around a lot and the DM-100 can be mounted on the camera itself, thus simplifying the situation. I think the audio quality is about the same, but if you want to compare, here's a link to one of the May talks: http://pyowa.blip.tv/file/2114129/

The next issue I ran into was that the Vixia records in AVCHD (which has an extension of mts), which I'd never heard of. Thus, more research! I discovered that Adobe Premiere Elements 7 could edit that format and since I'd heard of Adobe Premiere and the reviews of the latest software were good, I bought it. I run this program on a laptop with Windows Vista, an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 (2 Ghz) with 4 GB of RAM. Premiere is a resource hog even when idle, but it doesn't use up all the processor power when encoding; just 80%. Unfortunately, Premiere doesn't like it if you run other programs while it's doing its business. I had it freeze up several times and even cause Vista to lock up. Premiere also doesn't come out of hibernation very well. Premiere does have some pretty good features, but I decided to get Cyberlink's Power Director Ultra 7 since the reviews for it made Power Director sound more newbie friendly.

Cyberlink doesn't eat up as much RAM when running or encoding as Adobe does, but it runs the CPU at 100%. Oddly enough, I can continue to mess around on my laptop while Power Director does its work. I should note that I did manage to make Director freeze too, but that was because I pulled a flash drive out of my PC that it thought it needed. I can say that Power Director is easier to use and allows the producer to edit more tracks than Premiere Elements allows.

The next issue was finding a place to put my videos. Cyberlink's software thought that Youtube only accepts 10 minute videos and thus, it wouldn't convert anything to flash video that was longer than that. So what I ended up doing was creating all the titles and junk in Power Director and converting the MTS file to DV-AVI. Then I took that file and opened it in Premiere and used it to convert to flash. But then I hit another wall! Those blasted people at Youtube didn't accept the file size either. So, I decided to follow in PyCon's footsteps and use blip.tv as my host instead.

So there you have it. That's how I go about recording Pyowa and then producing a video for upload to blip. Let me know if you have any tips, tricks or ideas for better recording, hosting or if you have any questions.

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