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Entering into video podcasting with Blue Box Video Edition #1

Well, I finally did it. After toying with the idea of doing a video podcast for quite some time, I took my trusty Canon PowerShot point-and-shoot camera out onto the show floor of VoiceCon San Francisco 2007 and recorded a quick little 5-minute video with Sachin Joglekar of Sipera Systems. The result is now visible on the Blue Box site and also later in this message.

Like I said, it was shot with my Canon PowerShot SD1000 camera. Imported into the free Windows Movie Maker application, where I added the titles, credits, overlay title with Sachin's name/title and mixed in the audio of the intro/outro we use for Blue Box audio podcasts. The result was saved to a WMV file. After a quick message to the CAPOW mailing list and a (as always) detailed response from Christopher Penn, I was off and running with the iPod conversion. Christopher pointed me to the free Videora iPod Converter, which will take WMV and AVI files and convert them to the MP4 needed by the video iPod. (Thanks, Christopher!) I synced it to my iPod, verified that I could play it, and was ready to go.

It turned out to be a bit of a trick to host it somewhere. It was easy to just upload it to my LibSyn account where I host all my Blue Box podcasts... that worked great and is how it now wound up in the Blue Box RSS feed. However, I wanted to host it on a site so that I could embed it in pages like this one. My first thought was naturally YouTube, but I found that there is something funky with my firewall that wouldn't let me use their http upload to upload files. I'm not surprised since I run my own firewall and have some paranoid settings, but it was rather annoying!

Since a number of people had recommended after I had posted a request for recommendations, I thought I'd give it a try. I had the same issue with http uploads... but then I was delighted to find that supported good old ftp. Ta da... the upload worked fine and the result can be seen here:

Now this was my first experiment and already I can see several things I would do differently, namely:

  • Record at 640x480 versus 320x240. It would be good just to have a larger picture. (Christopher Penn did highly recommend this in his message, but unfortunately I got that after I had already done the recording.)
  • Use a separate recording device to record the audio. I had my Marantz PMD-660 with me and I have a nice cardoid mike that probably would have gone far in reducing some of the background noise. On the other hand, recording with the Canon was dead easy.
  • Several people I trust recommended dropping ~$50 for Pinnacle Studio for video editing and I'll probably consider that.  Windows Movie Maker was surprisingly functional and easy-to-use, but I pretty rapidly ran into some limitations such as the placement of titles, formatting of credits, etc. You have options, but not a whole lot.

Anyway, this was a fun little experiment and I think now I'll look to give it a try at future shows as well.

Comments about the video are definitely welcome.  Feel free to be harsh (but civil, please!).