After some time I eventually figured out I can not only take pictures with my Nokia N70 but I can also take video in bot mp4 and 3gp formats. It was really cool to take video with sound when I went round to see Frances and I was impressed by the quality–but as usual I managed to take one video on its side by holding the phone sideways.
When I take pictures I upload them to flickr, usually making the necessary rotations and corrections first. I know several ways to tweak jpeg images, but when it came to video I was at a loss. I needed to
- rotate the sideways video
- put both of them somewhere where the rest of the family can get to them and view them without too much effort
- do this without compromising the quality further
Perhaps it is a sign of age, coming from a non-networked computing background, but my first though was to find an application that would do the editing (by searching the network). I did find a couple of free candidates but I was not able to get them to work properly.
Web 2.0 to the rescue.
Eyespot made everything very simple. I was able to upload the video as a “clip” and then add it to a mix. Mixes are suppose to bring together lots of different assets, but I just added one and applied one effect to the whole clip, rotate. The resulting mix was a copy of video in the right orientation with the audio intact. Making it available was more tricky.
Eyespot allows you to publish on your own eyespot blog or a number of social networking-cum-video sharing sites, none of which were really the sort of environment that made viewing the videos easy for family. However, in common with other similar site, eyespot does generate a fragment of html that can be pasted into a website or blog which will embed the eyespot player.
The embedded player is the route I have chosen. It is a bit limiting because there is no control over the size of the video, but the controls are straightforward and it is of course easier to annotate when you are embedding a video in a page rather than adding notes to a media page. So you will find the videos here under the “family” tag.
I also experimented with blip.tv but did not find that it added much in this context. The interface for viewing videos is arguably better than the eyespot embedded player, with links to alternate versions of the video, etc. But it is not particularly friendly for family use and there is no obvious way of controlling access. In fact neither eyespot nor blip.tv offer access control like flickr, but I think that posting the video on an obscure blog offers a little comfort.
While blip.tv worked well with the video I took the right way up there is no option to edit the clips blipt.tv as this is not really the point of the service. I did experiment with the facility to post edited mixes from eyespot to blip.tv but could not get it to work, and had already decided not to use the blip.tv site as the viewing portal anyway.
Another feature I experimented with was blip.tv’s option to post videos into flickr. What seems to happen is that the clip thumbnail (which you upload separately from the video file) is posted to flickr with a link to an embedded player. This seemed to work as advertised by there were two problems
- I had uploaded a rubbish thumbnail that did not make any sense with the video
- the embedded player did not seem to be the proper blip.tv player and did not work properly
Blip.tv also promised the facility to cross post to this blog, but the results were not that great
Finally the html fragment that blip.tv generates does not produce a preview (in Opera at least), but links back to the original file on the blip.tv site. This would be handy for downloads, but not for the average user.