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 Post subject: Creating videos for YouTube
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:22 am 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:01 pm
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Here is an over of how I have been assembling John’s YouTube videos, and I will be fleshing this out with more detail, screen captures, and hopefully (at some point) some video demonstrations.

Keep in mind that it may take me a while to accomplish this, so I am going to sort of use this post as a wiki and edit it as I go. The thread will be open to questions and discussion, because while I am using Mac-only software for a significant portion of this process, the concepts are the same and I know a good bit about encoding even if I may not use the same software that you are using. So feel free to ask questions and discuss things in this thread so that it is not only The MordEth Way™.

The Fuji FinePix F10 that I have (inexpensive 6.3 megapixel digital still camera) also has the ability to record video, and so John and I decided some time ago to record his phonographs for YouTube. With a 1 GB xD picture card, I can fit approximately 15 minutes of video on my camera at 640 x 480 pixels (standard definition).

Our current procedure works like this:

  1. We set up with a tripod and film as many videos will fit on my storage card.
  2. I then dump the video off onto either my laptop, John’s computer, my iPod (it makes a great portable external hard drive), or another means of storage.
  3. We repeat the first two steps until we either run out of light (e.g. the ‘Victrolas in the Park’ series) or otherwise have done whatever we want to get done.
  4. I take all of the recorded videos from the camera (which are recorded 30 FPS in an AVI container) and put them on my laptop.
    Note: Your camera will quite possibly record in a different format, so you may need to handle it differently.
  5. I prefer to use QuickTime to trim the beginning and end of the raw video from the camera. You can use QuickTime on either Mac or Windows, but you can use other software for this.
  6. Optional: If the video that I am using is intended to be one of more than one cut used in a video (a number of our newer videos switch camera angles), I have a video file from which I export just the audio as AIFF. This will be added back to the video later.
  7. If I did not yank my audio to mix in later, I take a still of the first and last frame in the video to use for fading. The version of iMovie that I am still using has certain bits of weirdness when you go to cross fade content with audio and content without audio, and so I fade a single frame still instead of the video. Look for it in our videos.
  8. I then export the video from QuickTime using the h264 codec. This is the best quality codec that you can use. Depending on the aspect ratio (keep in mind that I am doing standard definition), I use 1600 kbps for my bit rate, with a 2-pass encode, 30 FPS, at the best quality. If the video still has audio, I encode at 192 kbps, again at the best quality.
    You should play with these settings until you figure out what looks best for you, and if you do not want to add any more bells and whistles to your video, you are done at this point.¹
  9. I import my video and audio pieces (the latter if applicable) into iMovie. Since iMovie uses QuickTime using the h264 natively, this only takes a few seconds, rather than the minutes the encode in the step above takes. Quality takes time.
  10. I then order my pieces. We have pre-made splash graphics for John’s YouTube videos, and these are saved in an iMovie template so they can be dragged into place. The cranking sound (and other sound effects) used in the beginning of a video is also saved in the template. We also scan the label (and not photograph it), and import PNG images (for optimal quality) of the record label(s) into this template. The usual order is: (fade in) opening splash, (cross fade) artist/composer image (if applicable, and if so, fade afterward), record label image(s)—and if multiple, fade between them, (cross fade) the still used for fading (if applicable)—with no between it and the video, the video, the end still (again, if applicable) and a cross fade followed by the credits images. We add an audio file that I made of John winding one of his machines during the intro stills.
    Note: I will be adding screen captures to illustrate this because I think seeing is easier than reading about it.
  11. Once all of the pieces are in place, I watch the transitions to make sure I did not mess up anything (e.g. flip the stills used for fading). Always check your work.
  12. I then encode for YouTube in iMovie. Since Apple uses QuickTime’s core for all of its video handling, it is exactly the same as encoding in QuickTime, but this time around we want to encode using the DivX codec (or Xvid if you don’t want to pay for DivX—for all practical purposes they can be used interchangeably). DivX produces better results for YouTube. For standard definition (640 x 480), I use at least a 1100 kbps bit rate, 2-pass encode, 30 FPS, at best quality (if you are using the DivX codec and not Xvid, this would be ‘insane quality’). For audio, DivX leans towards MP3, so I recommend 192 kbps MP3 audio. Here, it’s actually better if you ripped out your audio originally, because doing one lossy encode is better than doing two, but on YouTube no-one is likely to notice the difference.
  13. You are now done, watch your video to make sure it encoded well.
  14. If the video looks good, upload it to YouTube, tag it thoroughly, and enjoy sharing your phonographs with others.

¹ If you are ending at this point, it would be better if you use the settings for encoding using DivX.

As I mentioned before—stay tuned for screen captures and further illustration of my process—and note that it can (and no doubt should) be fine-tuned for what you are using. I am using ‘home’ software for the Mac and not ‘professional’ software, even though I have it—for what we are doing, this works quite well enough.

Also—if you are interested in having me help you with splash graphics for your channel or videos, please let me know. I would be glad to, although I’d ask that you please credit me for them.

Your friendly internet daemon,

MordEth
Proudly supporting phonograph discussion boards, hosting phonograph sites and creating phonograph videos since 2007.
Need web hosting or web (or other graphic) design? Support MordEth by using J-D Strong Consulting, Inc. for all of your IT consulting needs.
Want more phonograph discussion? Be sure to visit The Online Edison Phonograph Discussion Board.


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 Post subject: Re: Creating videos for YouTube
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:46 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:22 am
Posts: 1001
MordEth wrote:
phonophan79 wrote:
I just got a Hi Def camcorder... so i made a test video with my Victor E "Monarch Jr.".

phonophan79,

That looks incredible, apart from what appears to be a few encoding glitches. Are you uploading right off of the camera, or are you editing it in something first?

phonophan79 wrote:
...oh and be sure to click "Watch in HD" right under the display box.

You can link YouTube video in high quality by adding ‘&fmt=18’ after the video ID in the URL, so your video in high quality is:

Code:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nydogm1knbw&fmt=18

To link it in HD, you would use ‘&fmt=22’, like this:

Code:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nydogm1knbw&fmt=22

Here are links you can test that with: High Quality and High Definition.

I should add a [youtubeHD] (and probably a [youtubeHQ]) tag to this board (which should not be too difficult) to complement our advertisement-free [youtube] tag, for which you can read the tutorial here.

phonophan79 wrote:
I'm still trying to figure everything out. It is the right aspect ratio (16:9), but for some reason it's not the full display frame. (it has that black window outline)

I think that this is because you are encoding it with a 4:3 aspect ratio (which is letter-boxing it) as opposed to encoding with a 16:9 ratio (HD). I started a thread in the Board Tech section to share my encoding methods and for us to discuss making videos for the benefit of anyone who wants to encode for YouTube. I will be adding to it (e.g. screen captures and hopefully demonstration videos captured from my computer) as I have time/motivation.

phonophan79 wrote:
...and while the HD picture quality is great, it seems to lose some of the FPS (frames per second), looks a little jumpy.

This is probably a result of however you are encoding it.

phonophan79 wrote:
If anyone has suggestions, let me know... otherwise just enjoy the phono video! :-)

Sure, come over to the Board tech thread so we can have YouTube information conveniently consolidated for discussion and use.

I’ll need to know exactly how you encoded the video you uploaded before I can give you any truly relevant advice on it, but I am sure that I can help you.

Your friendly internet daemon,

MordEth


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 Post subject: Re: Creating videos for YouTube
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:48 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:22 am
Posts: 1001
MordEth wrote:
That looks incredible, apart from what appears to be a few encoding glitches. Are you uploading right off of the camera, or are you editing it in something first?


It's a SONY HD camera... I love Sony, but they are kings of making their product proprietary. So, when I capture from the camera it's in .m2t format, which I don't think I can upload directly to YouTube.

MordEth wrote:
I think that this is because you are encoding it with a 4:3 aspect ratio (which is letter-boxing it) as opposed to encoding with a 16:9 ratio (HD).


No, the source files are correct, even when I open them in multiple media players, they are true HD 16:9 files.

Ok, so I have .m2t files. I downloaded a program that reads and converts .m2t files. So, the conversion programs lets me determine the output format, in this case I used .mp4. Random Googling told me for YouTubing I should have video in 1280x720 width/height... so I did. I'm thinking that may be why it looks "window boxed"? I use a program called "Ultra Video Converter".


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 Post subject: Re: Creating videos for YouTube
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Victor IV
Contact me for TMF tech support.
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 1077
Location: Boston, MA
phonophan79 wrote:
It's a SONY HD camera... I love Sony, but they are kings of making their product proprietary. So, when I capture from the camera it's in .m2t format, which I don't think I can upload directly to YouTube.

phonophan79,

No, as far as I am aware, you cannot upload this format directly to YouTube (and it would be ridiculously huge—you’d want to encode it first).

From a quick cursory look into that file extension:

.m2t is a high-definition video recording format used by many HD camcorders, commonly referred to as “HDV”, which uses MPEG-2 compression to store HD video data on DV or MiniDV tapes and supports resolutions of 720p and 1080i.

720p is just a shorthand for denoting a resolution of 1280 x 720 (progressive scan, or non-interlaced). This is the smaller ‘high definition’ aspect ratio.

While the iMovie that I use (which comes free with any Mac) can handle .m2t files, I do not believe that Windows Movie Maker can, unless you have Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate (and Vista is a train-wreck of an operating system, from my experiences having to support it).

If your problem turns out to be the software, I’ll find some free (or at least inexpensive) software for you to use to work with these files.

I’m also a fan of Sony for audio equipment, although like you say, they favor proprietary formats, so I prefer to choose them when this isn’t detrimental to me (e.g. I do not own one of their portable music players). Both my tape deck (TC-WE475) and stereo receiver (STR-DE897) are made by them.

phonophan79 wrote:
No, the source files are correct, even when I open them in multiple media players, they are true HD 16:9 files.

Are you talking about playing your encoded .mp4 video, or the .m2t video? If you could get VLC (cross-platform media player) and take a still (VideoSnapshot viva the menu) of your mp4, this would be very helpful. You should be able to do the same thing with the .m2t, also.

This way, I could figure out whether it is YouTube that is letter-boxing your video, or the converter you are using.

phonophan79 wrote:
Ok, so I have .m2t files. I downloaded a program that reads and converts .m2t files. So, the conversion programs lets me determine the output format, in this case I used .mp4. Random Googling told me for YouTubing I should have video in 1280x720 width/height... so I did. I'm thinking that may be why it looks "window boxed"? I use a program called "Ultra Video Converter".

I’ve never heard of this program, but as long as your input and output resolutions are the same, you should be good. Go ahead and attach stills from VLC (as I mention above—VLC is a nice media player that works on any major operating system, so I recommend it strongly, because it can play everything and the kitchen sink).

And yes, the ratio you used is a proper HD ratio. Your ratio would not explain the letter-boxing; the HD YouTube player is that same ratio, and you’ll see that it adds black space to both the top, bottom and sides. Normally on a 4:3 display, it would just add black to the top and the bottom, and on a 16:9 display, 4:3 video would add black to the sides, were it a different ratio.

I use my LCD as a television quite often, and see the latter quite often with TV shows that are not broadcast in HD.

Hope this helps (and I’ll assist you more when I have gotten to take a look at before/after stills).

— MordEth

Proudly supporting phonograph discussion boards, hosting phonograph sites and creating phonograph videos since 2007.
Need web hosting or web (or other graphic) design? Support MordEth by using J-D Strong Consulting, Inc. for all of your IT consulting needs.
Want more phonograph discussion? Be sure to visit The Online Edison Phonograph Discussion Board.


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