Monthly Archives: October 2007

Photo Story & You Tube

Some folks have trouble uploading Photo Story WMV’s to You Tube. This has something (no telling what!) to do with certain versions of the Windows Media 9 codec.

You’ll know you have the problem if you upload your WMV and You Tube takes an unusually long time to process the file. Finally, at the end of the process, you’ll see an error message saying You Tube could not convert the file.

PapaJohn, a Microsoft MVP in Windows Movie Maker and Photo Story, has provided a special Photo Story Profile that cures the problem. Here’s how to use it:

1. Go to http://www.papajohn.org/Downloads/
2. Find ‘YouTube-PS3-Standard-PapaJohn.prx‘ on the list of files, and right click to download it.
3. Save the file in c:Program FilesPhoto Story 3 for WindowsProfiles1033 folder on your computer.
4. Open Photo Story 3, open your project, and go to the ‘save your story’ page.
5. Select the ‘Settings‘ button, and from the profiles list, select the ‘YouTube PapaJohn standard profile‘.
6. Save the movie, and then try uploading again

Good luck – and thanks to PapaJohn for the fix and Bill Myers for the pointer to the fix

Definitions – Frame Rate

As you probably know, the speed with which 35 mm movie film passes through the camera’s gate is measured in Frames Per Second. With film, this is a literal measurement. Every properly calibrated movie camera and projector moves the film at precisely this speed, and any movie can be played on any projector – as long as the equipment is in good working order, the movie should look just as the director intended.

With video, it’s a little more complicated. There are no real “frames,” so measurements in “frames per second” is a convention, not a literal fact. Instead, pixels are “drawn” on the screen in horizontal lines at a very high rate. A “frame” is usually understood to mean a full screen’s worth of data. TV screens, computer monitors, flat panel displays, and HDTV all use different methods to illuminate the pixels, and they may have varying frame rates.

For professional television, the standard is 30 Frames Per Second. For a Quicktime video, the frame rate might be 15 Frames Per Second.

Who cares? And why should you, as an eBay seller, care?

Frame rate will directly determine how smoothly your video plays. A high frame rate produces a high quality, easy to watch, professional looking video. But it also produces a large file. Compression applied to compensate for file size can mean degraded color or dropped frames, leaving you with a You Tube video that looks nothing like your original production.

Think of silent movies, which were shot at a lower frame rate than later sound films. When a silent movie is played back on a sound projector, with no adjustment to the frames per second, the movie seems to be in fast motion, giving everything a slightly ridiculous look. On the other hand, if the frame rate is too low, the film seems to move like molasses, with jerky and choppy motion.

To further add to the problem, video on the internet is dependent on the bandwidth of both the broadcasting and the receiving computer. If the connection speed cannot keep up with the video traffic, the video may stop and start repeatedly while traffic catches up with content.

So it is very important to choose a frame rate for your video that will

1) Keep your content flowing smoothly within the video and
2) Keep your data flowing evenly across the internet

On You Tube, this is usually between 15 frames per second (for a low motion video, such as a screencast) and 30 frames per second (for a full motion AVI)

Everyone’s Guide to Photostory DVD Pre-Launch Sale

Do you want to add video to your blog, eBay listings, web site – even iPhones and iPods? Ghost Leg Media has produced a series of CDs and DVDs that will show you how to do just that. They are easy to follow, step by step How To videos, aimed at sellers, not at computer programmers.

The latest in this series is the Everyone’s Guide to Photo Story 3 DVD. To celebrate its release, Ghost Leg is offering a special eBay Seller’s Video Bundle.

You can order

  • Add Video to Your eBay Auctions (DVD)
  • Everyone’s Guide to Photo Story 3 (DVD)
  • Beyond You Tube (CD )

at a special bundle price. Ordered separately, they would cost you over $55.00 plus $3.00 shipping per disc.

Readers of this blog can order all three at the Special Bundle Price of $45.00 plus $5.00 Shipping.

The videos will be shipped together via Priority Mail anywhere in the USA. Please note: due to shipping costs and DVD region compatibility, this offer available only in the USA.

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Don’t miss this amazing opportunity. You’ll be able to use the power of video to sell in any venue if you follow the simple directions in these instructional videos.

Photo Story DVD

Folks who attended the free four part webinar have asked for more information on using Photo Story 3. So we’ve put together a DVD tutorial called Everyone’s Guide to Photo Story 3.

It should start shipping on Oct 22. The regular price will be $14.95. If you buy it directly through Ghost Leg, you’ll get a $2.00 discount. Ghost Leg price is $12.95

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However – if you pre-order, you’ll not only receive the special, Ghost Leg discounted price of $12.95 but you’ll receive Free Shipping as well. Once the DVD begins shipping, this offer will end – so don’t delay.

Everyone’s Guide to Photo Story 3
Pre-order $12.95
Free Shipping

Definitions – Bit Rate

The speed with which data is transmitted is measured in bits, and is known as the bit rate. In general, the higher the bit rate, the higher the quality.

Video can be encoded in two ways – with a constant bit rate (CBR) or with a variable bit rate (VBR).

Constant Bit Rate is frequently used for streaming video (for instance, You Tube) where it is important to control both the size of the file and the amount of data that is transmitted.

Variable Bit Rate is used where quality, rather than file size, is the main concern, and where unpredicable transmission speeds will not be an issue. A DVD movie is usually encoded at a Variable Bit Rate.

You can further affect quality by having One Pass or Two Pass encoding. In one pass encoding, the content is encoded immediately. In two pass encoding, the content is analyzed during the first pass, then encoded during the second pass. The quality of two pass encoding is higher, but the time required to encode a clip is doubled.

As you can see, in theory the best quality videos will be achieved with two pass, variable bit rate encoding. However, the time required to make the video, and the size of the file may make such encoding impractical. In additon, when a video with a very high bit rate is streamed over the web, a slow connection speed or an inadequate video card or memory in the viewer’s computer can make the video appear jerky as the computer struggles to keep up with the amount of data being streamed.

So – with current technology – when you make a video for You Tube, it is usually best to encode it using single pass constant bit rate, even though it may mean sacrificing a bit of quality.

Definitions

Video uses some uncommon words to describe common practices, some common words to describe uncommon practices, and some just plain indecipherable jargon. Let’s start defining some of these terms. Once the jargon is demystified, video becomes a much friendlier medium.

CODEC

Codec is a contraction of compress/decompress

Video files are very large. A 30 minute DVD quality file with CD quality audio can easily grow to over 2 GB in size. This is clearly much too large a file to be streamed over the internet, even with a broadband connection. So the file needs to be compressed for transmission and then decompressed for playback.

There are a dizzying number of codecs, each with partisans who say this one is the best of all. Indeed, some codecs are better for certain jobs than others.

If a video is compressed using a particular codec, you will need to have that same codec on your computer to decompress it. Lack of a particular codec or having an outdated version of a codec leads to error messages and munged videos. It’s a source of frustration for many viewers. Because of this, if you plan to make your video available over the web, it is a good idea to encode it with a widely available, commonly installed codec. Windows Media codecs, whch are supplied with Windows Media Player, Quicktime codecs, and DivX are all good choices.

Which one is right for you video? Experiment! If you like the way your video looks, you’ve probably found the right codec.