YouMakeMedia is here to help you along every step of your media creation journey, from pre-production through post-production (and beyond).
Recently, Peter Upfold (of our sister site, FOSSwire) and I interviewed Mark Kennedy, CEO of Celtx, a cross platform program for developing a production that I have reviewed favorably in the past. To use their words:
Celtx is the world’s first fully integrated solution for media pre-production and collaboration. It replaces old fashioned ‘paper, pen & binder’ media creation with a digital approach to writing and organizing that’s more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share.
The interview, which we have been planning for months (and finally got to do this week!) talks about Celtx as an open source project and the impact of Celtx to a typical production workflow. It’s around 20 minutes long.
ffmpegX is one of the most useful tools in a content producer’s arsenal. It’s fast, easy, and powerful beyond belief. Unfortunately, it has the occasional error that may make you scream! When a client needs a video in a certain format and you are getting error messages, it isn’t fun.
One such error that I frequently encounter (especially when converting files to Flash Video) is this one:
Codec type mismatch for mapping #0.0 -> #0.0
See, normally video comes before audio in the layout and organization of a multimedia file. Sometimes though (and it’s happening more frequently), codec creators are switching things up for a bit of fun. They’re putting the audio first. I can only assume it’s somehow related to compression – but this switch causes ffmpegX to freak out and cease encoding.
Luckily, this is a one check-box fix. Simply open your file and navigate to the audio tab. Then check the box titled “Invert Mapping”. This will let ffmpegX know about the alternate structure of your file, and make the appropriate changes.
Below is a screenshot that highlights the audio tab with Invert Mapping selected.
Traditional FFmpeg, for *NIX platforms, offers this feature as well, albeit in a more complex manner. From the official documentation:
You can encode to several formats at the same time and define a mapping from input stream to output streams:ffmpeg -i /tmp/a.wav -ab 64k /tmp/a.mp2 -ab 128k /tmp/b.mp2 -map 0:0 -map 0:0
Converts a.wav to a.mp2 at 64 kbits and to b.mp2 at 128 kbits. ‘-map file:index’ specifies which input stream is used for each output stream, in the order of the definition of output streams.
Do you have a fix, tip, or trick that you want to share with our readers? Email us, our email address is editor (at( youmakemedia )dot) com.
Synfig, the Free and Open Source animation studio, needs your help to stay alive!
The project, which began life as a proprietary tool for the Voria animation studio, was open sourced upon the closure of Voria. Unfortunately, due to a lack of interested developers and community, the project has slowed.
Robert Quattlebaum, founder of the project, posted a message on his blog about the status of the project as of now.
The project is not dead per-se, but I am not able to contribute to it in any significant capacity any more other than to be a resource for anyone with questions. Paul Wise, who has all but taken over managing the project, is currently on a three-month long sailing trip. Things have grown a bit stagnant without him.
Think you can help the project? Able to report bugs and develop? Any support helps. YouMakeMedia fully supports what Synfig is trying to do, and wishes it the best. Personally, I know I’ll be seeing if there is any way that I can contribute.
VLC is not your average media player.
In addition to supporting every single format known to humans, it has more features than you ever thought you’d need. VLC (which stands for VideoLAN client) just released a new version, 0.8.6.
I’ve always been a loyal user of the application, but in celebration of the release, I decided to learn more about VLC and figure out why it’s unchallenged in its field. Here’s a rundown of three features offered by VLC that bump it up from “average media player” to “uber media player”.
Linux users are often slighted when it comes to media tools. Macromedia/Adobe’s shameful implementation of Flash 7 is one example (though Flash 9 is due out in January). When trying to watch a YouTube video this makes for some very difficult viewing, because the video and audio become out of sync.
Fortunately, we have a fantastic tool in FFMPEG. FFMPEG is a collection of free software for recording, transcoding, and streaming digital video and audio. It is a fantastic tool for Linux users who need to convert.
Of course, being able to convert to MPEG only works if you have an FLV. If the video is natively in SWF form (e.g. it doesn’t use an FLV embed) you are out of luck, Linux users. To download your FLV, use a site such as VideoDownloader. You can also usually tell if the video is an FLV if it uses a player similar in style to the one available at Jeroen Wijering‘s site.
I’m on Ubuntu Linux (6.06) and FFMPEG is already installed. It’s best to check again though. You can open up the Synaptic Package Manger and search for “FFMPEG”. If it’s checked, you’ve got it. If not, install it! While you’re there, you’ll want to install nautilus-open-terminal as I reference this in the tutorial.
Now navigate to your home folder (using Places > Home) and create a new folder for “My Videos” (or whatever you want to call it). This is important because Nautilus-open-terminal won’t pick up your standard home folder. Move your downloaded FLV into this folder, and make sure it has a good name (I recommend video.flv for ease). Note that YouTube videos always are named get_video.htm, but you’ll want to change this to an flv extension!
Now right click somewhere in the folder and select “Open in Terminal”. This will launch a terminal specific to that folder. Edit the below code to suit your needs, paste into Terminal, and press enter.
Ubuntu users might need Sudo, might not. I usually use it out of habit so I’m not positive if it’s required or not.
ffmpeg -i video.flv -ab 56 -ar 22050 -b 500 -s 320x240 test.mpg
The script, in this order:
When I tried this, I changed nothing and got fairly decent video quality but the audio lacked. I’d definitely recommend tweaking the settings a bit to improve quality.
This is a far more stable method of converting video (in my testing) than the most dominant free Windows alternative, RIVA FLV Encoder. I plan on utilizing FFMPEG in the future, and hopefully looking into Windows implementations!