Tag Archives: mp4

Digital Camcorder Incompatibilities Insanity!

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One of our community members by the name of James sent a very well thought out email to me the other day. He has a rant about the proprietary software that must be used by each different camcorder manufacturer. He has some excellent points that I wanted to expand on.

Hello Chris. I must rant about something for a few moments.

I am extremely annoyed with the fact that corporations like Sony, Canon, and JVC (amongst others) feel the need to restrict users to a certain video editing application by utilizing a proprietary format. What is the point of forcing us to use a certain video editing software over another? Why make users go through the process of rendering out a video to another format only to edit it in yet another video editing package? Does anyone really benefit from this?

If I want to use Sony Vegas — then let me do that! If I want to use Adobe Premiere, then I should have a right to do that as well.This goes for all other video editing software. It is common sense. It does the consumers no good in my opinion, and it has been a problem that I have seen discussed in forums for years. Why do these companies fail to take notice of this?

Do you believe it is possible in the future to have access to a video format that will allow all amatuer and professional videographers alike to edit with any software of their choosing?

I just became an Uncle recently, and I’m really excited about it. I asked my brother if they’re taking videos constantly of Xander, and he said no… just pictures. I was like “WHAT? Why not video?!?!” He replied that it’s just really difficult to manage their camcorder, etc. That’s very telling, right there.

Most digital cameras today have the ability to take movies. It may not be “amazing” quality, but I find that it’s good enough for my needs. Most cams record in an .AVI or .MP4 format. The first universal audio format was .MP3. No matter how hard other developers try to introduce new formats to compete… MP3 will still be there. Anyone can play them, and use that format. The same holds true for video recorders. In my opinion, if a video recorder doesn’t support .MP4, it’s not worth buying.

I agree with James. This proprietary stuff needs to go. We need to be able to just use the hardware and software of our choosing, and be able to do the same thing. Why do companies do this? They want to lock you into their brand or products. History has shown us that this will fortunately not be the “norm” for long. Consumers demand that products be consumer-friendly.

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How to Buy an MP4 Player

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One community member wrote in to say: “Over the last few years I have come full circle when it comes to MP4 players. So here are the 5 steps to choosing the right player for you.”

  • What do you need it for? If you want your MP4 player for listening to music and taking your favorite video clips with you to watch when you have a minute, you’ll probably be looking for a small screen player with 2 – 8 GB storage. Or if you’re looking for a device to use on the train to watch that TV show you missed last night or on an airplane to watch a movie or two, you’ll be looking for a larger screen player so you don’t strain your eyes with between 10 and 120 GB of storage.
  • Choose Your Brand! I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this but whenever Apple comes out with a new iPod, Creative will come out with something a month or so later that does just the same thing, looks a lot uglier but costs a lot less too. So if you’re a big apple fan with no budget, go for the iPod. If you’re not bothered either way, save some money and take the creative. Alternatively, if you’re just going to use it for watching videos, get an Archos.
  • Chose Your Model! With each different model you get a different screen size. If you’d rather have a small player, you’ll be looking at the new iPod nano with its sleek design and versatile storage, the new Creative Zen MP4 player with between 4 and 16 GB of storage, or the new Archos 105. If you prefer the larger player, you’ll be looking at the Apple iPod Classic, iPod Touch or the iPhone, the Creative Zen Vision M or W or the Archos 406, 506 or 706.
  • Protection. As with all small consumer electronic products, you’d be a fool not to buy a case. The Archos is the only device that comes with a half decent case. The others just come with those pouches to keep away dust and scratches. These are no good if you knock or drop the product so invest in a hard wearing case. It might also be worth looking into extended warranties and accidental damage cover. These things are expensive don’t forget.
  • Get the most out of your product! Now that you know what you want, look into the extra features and see how they will benefit you. You’d be surprised what features are on these devices. Wifi and internet browsers, card readers, AV input/output ports, docking stations, TV recording features… There’s a lot more than meets the eye to these players and most people don’t realize it!

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Speed Up MP4 Video Encoding


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – If you do any video encoding, you know how long of a process it can be at times. Before I went to Germany, I used Visual Hub to encode several videos, and it literally took days!

I wish I had known about the Elgato Turbo.264 back then. This little USB-like device takes much of the work out of encoding, and significantly speeds up the process. While in Germany, I used iMovie to encode some videos I threw up on YouTube, including the one where Ponzi speeding around the GM test track.

Videos can take a surprisingly long time to encode – sometimes longer than the actual playing time. What’s more, video encoding can demand a sizeable chunk of system resources. How long and how much depends on the processor speed of your Mac, the length and complexity of the source video, the size of the video file, and the amount of video compression required for the desired end result

Turbo.264 accelerates video encoding up to four times faster on Macs with Intel Core processors.

You have a collection of videos on your Mac. They’re movies you downloaded from your camcorder or digital camera, or perhaps projects you created yourself with iMovie. They could be short video clips that friends and family sent you by email, or TV shows, music videos, and movies that you recorded with EyeTV.

How do you make them iTunes-ready for your iPod or Apple TV? How do you put them on a Sony PSP?

The solution is Turbo.264, a blazingly fast and easy-to-use video encoder with a high-perfomance engine. Use the included software to convert your Mac videos one at a time or in a batch; The application drops the converted file(s) into iTunes for you, ready to synch automatically with your iPod, Apple TV or iPhone. Alternatively, plug in Turbo.264 while you use the MP4 export command of popular Macintosh video applications. Not only does Turbo.264 get the job done faster, it frees up your processor for other tasks. Think of it as a “co-processor” for your Mac.

The software application that comes with Elgato Turbo.264 offers an easy-to-use choice of five presets: iPod High, iPod Standard, Sony PSP, Apple TV, and iPhone. For Apple TV content, the quality of videos encoded with Turbo.264 software is unrivaled: Turbo.264 converts standard definition television recordings without scaling so that recordings appear on Apple TV in the same resolution they were recorded.

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Formats Available: MPEG4 Video (.mp4) Flash Video (.flv) MP3 Audio (.mp3)

Zune: Good and Bad

The Zune good:

  • Wireless capabilities
  • Content subscription
  • Easy media sharing
  • Plays MP4 & AAC formats
  • Microsoft-backed product
  • Forces Apple to do better
  • A unified experience

The Zune bad:

  • No podcast management
  • Another closed system
  • Completely new ecosystem
  • Not cross-platform
  • Smaller capacity than iPod 5.5G
  • New software to install
  • Yet another device to manage
  • Just launched, few accessories
  • Likely won’t dent iPod market share
  • Questionable battery life
  • Not clearly better than the iPod

The Zune needs:

  • Wireless downloading on-demand
  • Built-in DVD ripping
  • OS X port of management tool
  • Support for RSS, enclosures
  • Mini-games support (like Clix, iPod)
  • New firmware, software features every 6mos

MP4 Support in WMP11

Don’t count on MP4 playback out of the box in the next version of the Windows Media Player. I filed this “bug” a few months ago, but apparently not supporting MP4 (by default) in WMP11 is a feature: “Spend the money. Pre-install the codec. The PSP relies on it, the iPod relies on it, and Microsoft should have had its hands in one MP4 spec or another. Drop the political bullsh*t and just do it for the sake of your users who don’t know what’s going on.” Their response this morning was simple: “This is currently expected behavior.” Expected behavior? Language barrier. Perhaps Microsoft is hoping that more people install and use iTunes. I’m not sure why? Meanwhile, I’m looking at my iRiver Clix and wondering… why can’t it support the leading video format?