thoughts and decisions for a creative edge

MPEG4

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Sounds we hear..

Finally found time to experiment the use of head-worn binaural earphone CS-10EM with static directional sound in a visual mix. Its very sensitive and highly susceptible to wind noise thus the fluffy beanie helps well in winter as a windjammer. You should notice how it captures the low rumbles coming from the school at a distance and cars driving by. Quiet pre-amps from the R-26 surprised me again here. Mind you these are connected to the Plug-In mic I/O, not the XLR. The XLR connections are much quieter. CS-10EM picks up a full range of 20Hz-20KHz well but I’d only trust the built-in earphone solely for level monitoring and nothing else. And for that, the big gain knob on the R-26 helped greatly to dial in the right level.

For those who are new to Binaural Audio, the next paragraph is a brief introduction about it. If not just skip to the video to hear it for yourself. WAIT!! Before you get to that, grab yourself a good headphone.

Binaural hearing has been emulated in sound laboratories by using mannequin heads with built-in microphones. Except this time, I’m the living breathing head. 🙂 From these signals, human beings can determine characteristics such as inter-aural time and level differences and—based on the listening experience—information about the spatial origin of the sounds being heard. Are they coming from in front or behind, from the left or right, or above or below? This ability to perceive where a sound originates from is referred to as binaural hearing.

Interesting? Read more about binaural audio.

Also noted, that GoPro WiFi app does not work well in snow somehow. It was -5ºC that morning and the range was somehow drastically reduced. My iPhone sees an connect to the GoPro ad hoc WiFi connection but buttons initiation does not relay well even at this rope length. It could be either the iPhone or GoPro. But phone is warm in my pocket while GoPro is close to the freezing floor.

Oh well, only the sound matters here..

Tech specs:

Binaural Mic
Roland CS-10EM

Field Recorder
Roland R-26 which also powers the binaural mics internally.

GoPro Hero2 + Wifi BacPac + Dive Housing

Manfrotto Super Clamp

Velbon Alu Mini Ball Head QHD-51Q

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WatchBot Hack

So you fell into that groupon deal for this surveillance camera. Camera worth €240 going at €45, who’d wanna miss that. But now you found out the camera doesn’t allow WPA encryption. And the annoying GnG advert URL creeps on you whenever you’re on the Browser UI. Let’s iron those out shall we?

You’d need to do this 2 things to upgrade the cam..

1. Flash cam with compatible Apexis cam firmware
2. Update to Foscam’s latest UI

!!! WARNING. YOU’RE VOIDING YOUR WARRANTY, NO TURNING BACK AFTER THIS !!!

Download Apexis J802-WS firmware 17.37.2.41. It allows the use of both unencrypted and WPA2-TKIP+EAS instead of just WEP encryption on Watchbot’s crippled firmware.

What’s bizarre, Apexis use mediafire.cc to distribute their firmware. This is the direct link to it from their website: Apexis firmware J011 J802 J803 firmware_17_37_2_41.bin.

After flashing the FW you can reconfigure necessary port forwarding and Wireless LAN setup within your network router and camera settings. The camera should work wirelessly but lets toss that ugly Watchbot UI especially that cheesy Gadget&Gift advert. You already paid them your dues with the camera purchase.

Download Foscam latest UI 2.4.18.17 from FI8918W’s latest update link.
http://www.foscam.com/Private/ProductFiles/FI8918W-11.22.2.38.zip
– unpack the zip file and keep only the UI.bin
* ShenZhen Foscam firmware source http://www.foscam.com/down3.aspx

The rest is pretty much self explanatory..

ENJOY your new browser-free UI with latest and best working drivers with your Watchbot!

*** Fair warning – do this at your own risk. Im not responsible for you. ***

Wij zijn toch niet gek!


Fandi Ahmad’s return in Groningen

I can’t take any credits for this. The idea came about when friends in Singapore asked what the commentator was saying.. Real fans, especially those in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia might have watched it but not understand the commentators report. The whole coverage was in Dutch. Thus all it really needed was English subtitles.

I hope I didn’t make many errors with the translation. I tried the best I could to make better sense of this much viewed report from 2010 from both RTV Noord and FC Groningen’s TV.

After a couple of week’s upload and getting 900+ viewings to date, I think I might have helped hundreds to understand what a real hero our football legend is when it comes to goal scoring in his career’s peak.

This one is for you Fandi. And all your fans. Enjoy!


Learning process of shooting 3 point music video..

I have never tried making promo video from a LIVE band performance. And I never thought it would be this tricky, but I am glad I took up that challenge. It introduces new challenges, a steep learning curve that requires me to apply all that I have learnt from audio recording and video editing into one project that I am keen to finish.

Preparation before the shoot is vital. Reliable working equipments that would deliver good audio and video is key. A general direction on how the finished video should look like also plays an in important factor. This would determine the gears to bring and the angle of shots you’d need to capture which means possibly less editing in post.

What I think is most important is the ability to communicate with the band on and off stage. To be able to communicate with the band on set, upon your 1st minute of introduction is crucial to let them open up to you later on while they’re on stage, while you’re behind the lens. They are after all the talents that the whole project will showcase. You want them natural in camera, not feel intimidated, or even worse, agitated with your presence around their performance area.

Thank goodness I have a real friendly team of people to work with for this shoot. I have known 2 of the band members for a very long time. Both are very deeply involved in sculpting Dutch pop music, one which I got to know whilst living in NYC, the other at recording studios here in Amsterdam for my graduation project in SAE. Both this gentlemen are well-honored for their work and I have that standard to uphold for this project. I want to make the band look at their best. Nothing more nothing less.

It is no doubt the first LIVE band that I will record and I certainly need extra hands for a 2nd or 3rd angle of view. I remembered instantly a previous edit I did with camera shots collaborated from Dajimstar. He’s fresh into DSLR video, and he shows that same passion with photography and has that creative edge to learn. We shot Gwaan back in spring of 2010. That was a wild party from local party connoisseurs Sized. I simply asked Dajimstar if he wanted to make a copy of his shots to be used as 2nd camera angle in the edit. And there it began.

Unlike Gwaan, this project consists of a 3 set performance for the evening from the band Company Live. Each in a 45 minutes session thus it’s a long evening of trying to catch good moments.

We have over 90 mins of HD footage captured between the three cameras altogether. Now it’s time to narrow it down to highlight the best ones we got and also based on the bands preference. This one is a full length feature on one of the songs they performed that night. Excuse the cheesy floating logo on the screen. It was a quick try out using motion after I made a quick update of the band’s logo. Certainly could use some creative advise on that one. 🙂

So this was put together in a short period. It will be updated once the festive season is off our way. 🙂

Ladies and gentlemen, highlight to the band, Company LIVE.

3 Camera edit in FCP
Nikon D300S with 50mm F1.8 / 17-85mm F4.0
Canon 550D with 24mm F1.4 / 50mm F1.4 / Samyang 8mm F3.5
JVC GZ-HD7 shooting 1080i at 30fps
Røde Stereo Video Mic
Glidetrack HD


Let Me See!

I guess it all goes down to the final servings.

Try to watch GZ-HD7 consumer video posts on Vimeo. It has better resolution as opposed to youtube which does not deliver HD playback. There are groups in Vimeo that are evidently enjoying their camcorder. And if you must compare them to let’s say the HV20 videos. Then do just that! Evidently videos posted on Vimeo are more well directed for community of users. So you definitely see better quality edits and professionalism in the posts there as opposed to youtube. You get optimum video if you on a fast connection and a good video card. Due to the odd downsized ratio in my blogger, the video might not play as good as it is in full screen. Also try to let the flash buffer bar finish uploading if you’re on a slow connection.

Go ahead and view the rest of my posted videos on Vimeo. Feel free to comment on this blog or Vimeo about the HD7. I’m no video professional but I try to keep my creativity at flow. If you don’t own the camera and need to know more about it, you’re more than welcomed to eMail me with your questions. But of course its best if you address your technical questions to JVC themselves. Thanks for visiting my review blog.


Clarke-Tech 5000HD-Combo + TechniSat Multytenne TWIN with 4 Satellites reception (Part 4 of 4)

After 2 months of using this setup, I have to say that I’m pretty content with it. But just like any other consumer we can never be content comparing to what’s available out there for best experience possible with a digital satellite setup. The quality out of the 2 units used side by side has been a great one.

There is nothing more to say about the Multytenne dish. Besides the easy assembly along with proper guidance as to which direction to point the dish to, its one of the best value-for-money dish today. Thus the weakest link (possible) in this setup is clearly the Satellite Box which is key for ultimate experience.

External Hard Drive recording:

I’ve attempted plugging in all kinds of external Hard Drive in the CT and as long as its formatted FAT16, it will be recognized and thus recordable via the available USB port. USB Sticks, Self-Powered USB 2 HS Hard Drive, Micro Drive all works with this. But the time it takes the hard drive to be recognize by the CT depends on the (initial buffer) size. Thus a 2GB stick will be more instantaneously recognizable instead of a 500GB Lacie HD like the one I use. But to overcome the delay, you simply need to initiate the drive earlier to prepare the drive for instantaneous recording. And then you’re sweet to go.

The inability to Record one channel and watch another simultaneously really is starting to bother me. How many times within the family has it happened that you want to watch football or Top Gear and the family comes around and asked for NCIS? OK I want to watch both if possible and here’s where the squeeze comes it. You can only watch one with the current CT.

There is however an option out there that enables the Recording of one program while watching the other. In fact you’d be able to watch both at once since today’s TV enables PIP viewing!! And I want this new box. How unsurprisingly, its made by TechniSat and was just released weeks after I bought my setup.

TecniSsat DVB-T Receivers

This will be the next acquisition I guess. While the CT can go up into the bedroom for a smaller HDTV that we plan to get to be mounted to the wall. It does all the CT does and even more with it’s built in 160-500GB option of internal HD along with an external USB connectivity. And of course the much yearned for Twin Tuner.

The only difference I see since its release is the placement of the USB slot. Some images has it placed in the back where as newer ones have it placed under the flip-open faceplate of the HD S2. I would highly recommend the one behind. Based on experience with the CT, its not a nice sight having cable sticking out from the front face plate. You want to possibly keep it well stream-lined and clean on your entertainment deck.

The only let down will be the asking price for this unit. At EU500 to EU600 depending on the internal storage size is quite another bullet to consider. Guess I will wait til there’s more of the same kind of box designed by other companies. But looking at the specs from the HD S2, I rally think there is nothing more to be improved unless if they start recording compressed video in H264 instead of the current ‘alien’ format in the storage. Imagine what you can do when its in a recognizable format. YOu can then transfer it to your iPod or burn it to CD or DVD in a format more transferable for other medium playback. Now THAT would be hot!


Clarke-Tech 5000HD-Combo + TechniSat Multytenne TWIN (Part 3 of 4)

The HDTV Satellite tuner

Face it. If you’re gonna place an HiDef SAT Receiver under your TV, it better look as good as your (probably) brand new HDTV. And I gotta say, right out of the box, I love the design of this Clarke-Tech. The buttons are well placed with no distracting dials. The CI Card slots are well covered behind a pull-down plate. The USB port is at the front for easy access. And heck, its slick shiny black!

If you’re a sci-fi fan you’d have known that Clarke Tech is the author of the 2001 Space Odissey.

A tribute to a great dreamer

It was during the late 40’s when writer C.Clarke (Author of 2001 Space Odissey) had imagined that, if a television transmitter could be placed at a certain distance from the earth, it was possible to cover with its signal an entire continent. To achieve this intent, those transmitter would have been placed on satellites orbiting at 36000Km from earth at equatorial line level. An ingenious system seen the fact that in this way the satellites would have followed exactly the earth rotation. The satellite, viewed from the earth would have appeared as a fixed point in the sky. With three of these satellites, Clarke thought it was possible to let the television signal cover the whole globe. The vast majority of the scientist back then was laughing at this proposal, defining it science fiction.

Many years needed to pass before the first radio/television comunication satellite was launched during the cold war at the end of the 50’s. The president of the United States of America Eisenhower was able to irradiate his Christmas whish speach to the whole world through the satellite Score.

The belt at 36000Km positioned right above the Equatorial line, where the satellites are orbiting has been nicknamed Clarke’s belt, in honor of the guy that first thought of making use of it.

It was the beginning of a new era….~ Quoted from ClarkeTech.com

Clarke-Tech 5000HD-C with 500GB external drive
Blue LED light indicating Standby Mod.
This option is can be turned off if you think its not your thing. But after a while using it, it served me as a quick indicator to let you know if the box is turned on or off.

Black Box
Unlimited USB external Hard Drive recording enabled.
I tried this with my Lacie Porsche 500GB USB2.0 drive and it records without a problem. In fact if you’re format savvy, you could easily open the captured video and watch the recorded program in your laptop / computer. Sweet! By the way, the captured format is in MPEG4 which I will elaborate on.

Hi-Definition Multimedia Interface output.
Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) in MPEG-4 means you have Tomorrow’s Media Today.
MPEG-4 is designed to deliver DVD-quality video (MPEG-2) at lower data rates and smaller file sizes. And the same folks who created the popular .mp3 file format — a.k.a. MPEG-1 layer III — developed the new Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) codec, providing much more efficient compression than MP3 with a quality rivaling that of uncompressed CD audio. If you’re an Apple Quicktime fan, this is great news!

MPEG-4 is ready to stream incredible-quality audio and video today in QuickTime. With the free QuickTime Player or browser plug-in, you can play back any compliant MPEG-4 file.

STAB® Universal Satellite Automatic Location System
Digital Satellite Equipment Control 1 & 2 (DiSEqC1.2) for motorised enabled dish

I don’t use this option since I have TechniSat’s 4LNB auto align system on my dish. (See my previous input on TechniSat Multytenne.) But if you use a motor-controlled dish, you’re well prepared for an auto locating system.

Clarke-Tech 5000HD-C for Combo
Intergrated Card Reader and 2 additional Common Interface slots for various additional channels subscriptions. For the Dutch users, this box can be used to receive Digitenne TV channels if you slide in a KPN Digitenne card into the CI interface. This is possible since this system is DVB-S/S2 and DVB-T compliant. Yep you read that right. It has 2 tuners built in. The USB slot being behind the face plate do kinda bother me a little. If you plan to leave a USB Drive there permanently, there’s no other option but to leave the plate down thus ricking dust gathering on your CI module slots. Other than that, its good for easy access I guess.

CONTINUE TO PART 4 (FINAL VERDICT)