Cast for two

Saturday, September 29, 2007

HD videocamera's that record on Flash cards

It looks that in the near future MPEG-4 AVC video will be possible along the three main steps of a web video production flow : 1) capturing, 2) editing and 3) presenting on the web.

  1. In the coming months, a lot of new consumer and prosumer camera's will be released on the market, aiming at the Christmas shopping window, that capture H264 video in HD resolutions (720 lines or more). Interesting is that some record straight to non-volatile flash memory. This allows for smaller camera's that can be made cheaper, more low power, smaller and more robust because of less moving parts. Flash cards become affordable. For example a 4 GB class 6 SDHC card can be bought for around 50 euro. An 8GB card with the same speed cost less then 100 euro. Another big advantage is that they can be mounted as an extra drive to the computer for editing. This completely nullifies the time ingest take with tapes.
  2. Also editing software get ready for MPEG-4 AVC: Imovie 08, Final Cut Pro 2 and Adobe Premiere CS3 support it.
  3. Adobe's upcoming release "moviestar" allows for playback of MPEG-4 AVC/AAC in the browser with hardware acceleration using Flash 9. (Earlier post about this news)
With the advent of MPEG-4 AVC/AAC camera's, editors and ubiquitous web playback, it's time to explore a new innovative workflow optimized for video on the web. Let's start with a look to the camera's:
  • Hercules Webcam Dualpix HD
  • Price: 49,95 euro, available in Fnac
  • Format: 1280x960p30
  • Website from manufacturer
  • Remark: altough this camera allows for 1280x960p30, in practice limited bandwith, disk or processor speed may be require to lower the video size. The HD stands for Hercules DualPix and NOT for High Definition. Don't fall in marketing trick (like I did).
  • De Aiptek GO-HD 720p
  • Sample1
  • Price: $299
  • Format: 1280x720p30
  • Sensortype: 1x 5MP CMOS, size unknown ?
  • Video Codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264
  • Audio Codec: AAC, Stereo, 48,000 kHz
  • Capture bitrate: +/- 4Mbits/second
  • Container format: Quicktime Mov
  • Kodak Easyshare Z1275
  • Price: 230 euro
  • Specifications from manufacturer
  • Sensortype: 1/1.72 in. CCD
  • Format: 1280x720p30 , 30 frames per second
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 2
  • Audio codec: μ-Law 2:1, Mono, 16,000 kHz
  • Container format: Quicktime Mov
  • Capture bitrate: +/- 8Mbits/second
  • Available: september 2007
  • Sanyo's Xacti DMX-HD700
  • Price: $609
  • Sensortype: 1/2.5 inch, 7.38-megapixel, CCD
  • Format: 1280x720p30 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video, 30 frames per second
  • Bitrate: [HD-SHQ] 1280 x 720 (30fps, 9Mbps), [HD-HR] 1280 x 720 (30fps, 6Mbps), [TV-SHQ] 640 x 480 (30fps, 3Mbps ), [TV-HQ] 640 x 480 (30fps, 2Mbps ), [Web-SHQ] 320 x 240 (30fps)
  • Available: end of October 2007
  • Mac OS compatible
  • Sanyo Xacti HD1000
  • Price: $800
  • Format: 60 fields/s for 1080i or 60 frames/s for 720p 12Mbps or lower modes.
  • Sensortype: 4MP 1/2.5" CMOS (!) sensor
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264
  • Audio codec: AAC, Stereo (L R), 48,000 kHz
  • Bitrate: +/- 12Mbps for 1080x720p60
  • Containter format: MPEG-4 system file with .mp4 extension
  • Available: november 2007
  • Sanyo Belgium
  • Panasonic HDC-SD5
  • Price: $900
  • Format: 50 fields for 1920x1080i50, HG: 1.920 x 1.080, HN/HE: 1.440 x 1.080
  • Sensortype: 1/6 inch 3xCCD-beeldsensor
  • Format: 1920x1080
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264 (compatibel with AVCHD-standard)
  • Audio codec: Dolby Digital (Dolby AC3)/ 2-channel
  • Bitrate: HG: ca. 13 Mbps (CBR), HN: ca. 9 Mbps (VBR), HE: ca. 6 Mbps (VBR)
  • Available now
  • Sony HDR-CX7
  • Price: $1200
  • Format: 1920x1080i60, AVCHD, 1280x720p60???
  • Sensortype: 1/2.9 inch ClearVid CMOS
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264 (compatibel with AVCHD-standard)
  • Audio codec: Dolby® Digital 5.1
  • Bitrate: HD XP (15Mbps), HD HQ (9Mbps), HD SP (7Mbps), HD LP (5 Mbps), SD HQ (9Mbps), SD SP (6Mbps), SD LP (3Mbps)
  • can record 3 seconds at 240 frames per second
  • Remark: USB on dock only
  • Available: september 2007
What camera would you buy ?

Technical remark: some camera's deliver a .mp4 file and others deliver AVCHD
. In AVCHD, the compressed audio and video data are encapsulated in a MPEG-2 Transport stream, called BDAV. In that case, the essense (the video and the audio stream) are MPEG-4 but they are encapsulated as payload into a MPEG-2 stream. Some editors/tool handle mp4 files but barf on AVCHD MPEG-2 streams. Conversion from a AVCHD file to a mpeg-4 file is possible but adds another step to the video productionflow.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Now in Google Maps: length of line segments

In previous post Calculating the length of Google Maps line segments I presented a program that calculated the length of line segments drawn in Google Maps. Today Google Maps incorporated a new feature exactly for this purpose. If you go to your maps and click on the line segment, a popup appears on the map that contains the length of the segment. Look where the red arrow is pointing in the following screenshot:

So if you'r planning your next biketrip, you now know the distance instantly. Nice.

My script calculated the biking trip from my work to home is 36.35 kilometer and Google Maps reports 25.74 kilometer. I wonder who's most correct ?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Testing video upload in Blogger

Recently, Google's Blogger added the ability to upload video. While the video is uploaded you can continue working on your blogpost. Neat.
Here is the result:

This is a screenshot of how the post appears in Google Reader:

Also in Netvibes, the video appears (but twice ;-)).

This is the code generated (with long encoded URL's edited out):

<object width="320" height="266" class="BLOG_video_class"




<param name="movie" value="">

<param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF">

<embed width="320" height="266"





<a href="rtsp://" type="video/3gpp">

<img width="320" height="266" alt="video"



class="BLOG_mobile_video_class" id="BLOG_mobile_video-c97b748c29cea499">


So if the Flash object can not be rendered, at least a link to a RTSP server with a 3GPP video is presented. The latter is probably the case on mobile browsers (Iphone?). The movie size is 320x266. Probably this corresponts to a default 4:3 aspect ratio and 320x240 pixels video surface. So there are 26 lines at the bottom for the controls. So if the the original footage has 16:9 format, black borders are added automatically so that aspect ratio is maintained.

Conclusion: Google Blogger upload works well, uploading goes fast and allows continuing editing while uploading goes on. Nicely done!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nintendo DS evolves into smartphone for kids

As already mentioned in a previous post about the "Wiivolution" the Nintendo DS Lite gets Voice over IP. I means that if you are in a free hotspot with wireless internet, you can call somebody else for free. It's not yet official by Nintendo as Endgadget reports: Nintendo DS Lite gets VOIP.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

From 2399 to 2400: more then 43 love games needed

The chap stryving for the ultimate 2400 Wii Tennis level has completed 43 love games. I somehow hoped for the jump to 2400 after 42 love games ;-). He says he'll persist in the chase of 2400 fame until 140 love games. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 07, 2007

If your Wii Tennis level is 2399, can you reach 2400 ?

A collegue reached a 2399 Wii Tennis level:

I wonder how much love games he has to play to reach 2400. If he will ever. To get from 2398 to 2399, 13 love games were needed. Already 24 love games with 2399 have been played. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Interesting times ahead

Apple invited the press tomorrow 5 september. A lot of rumors are going on. New Ipod, the Beatles on Itunes, .... stay tuned.
Other rumours are heating forecast Google Wiki will be launched next week. Somthing I was waiting for more then a year (after they acquired Jotspot). Remember that it's more important how you can write the web than reading it. I guess Google Wiki will prove that.

And in case you didn't notice, Google buys news directly from press agencies and publishes on Google News. Just like Lost Remote I also think it's a landmark for Google because they leave the position being a neutral platform and become competitors of news agency's. Cutting out players in the value chain has always been a interesting strategy. The question will be if the automated news aggregation that taps the wisdom of the crowd will outperform human intelligence of experts. Indeed, interesting times ahead.