YouMakeMedia is here to help you along every step of your media creation journey, from pre-production through post-production (and beyond).
At YMM’s sister site FOSSwire, we offer a lot of video-based tutorial content. Up until this point, it’s been offered in Flash with OGG downloads available as a backup. With the <video> tag in HTML becoming a hot new standard, it seemed like a perfect time to jump aboard. But our old videos were encoded in FLV (pre-MP4 support in Flash) so we had to do some conversion. This tutorial will teach you how to turn your old FLVs into HTML5-friendly MP4 video files.
It’s important to mention that these MP4 files won’t work in every browser. Opera and (most) Gecko-based browsers won’t support MP4, preferring OGG Theora or Google’s WebM instead. Still, MP4 gets you Chrome, Safari (including the iPad), and the soon-to-be-released-if-we’re-lucky IE9 – a sizable chunk of browsers. You’ll certainly want a Theora backup though, and we’ll go over how to do that next week. FOSSwire has covered a bit of the codec madness, head there for more details.
Follow me past the jump to begin your journey toward HTML5 fun…
Do you work in live event production? Use a Mac? If so, you’ve probably encountered QLab, the definitive application for managing cues and producing live entertainment.
Just released is version two of this amazing application. The basic version is free, like previous versions, with premium add-ons available. The change list is impressive, with a host of upgrades, bug fixes, and new features joining the ranks of the already impressive featureset.
We haven’t written about QLab before, so I thought it’d be good to give a brief outline for those of you who aren’t familiar with it.
QLab was designed primarily for theatre, concerts, and other situations where you need to have recorded cue-based playback of audio and video. QLab lets you import audio clips and assign them all sorts of properties: length, fade times, wait times, names, targets, etc. You build a show, then when the time comes to perform you simply load it in and every time a new sound or clip is needed the program will automatically ‘cue it up’ and launch it. QLab handles your levels, fades, effects, output, etc.
The new version has a brand new GUI, and it’s great. It’s streamlined from the previous version, and brings a lot of controls back into the workspace. You can now output to 48 channels per cue, allowing you to create complex multi-track effects.
As you can imagine, syncing in a live production is important, and QLab 2 improves synchronization features. There are new vamping features so if a transition or set change is taking a little longer, you can allow your music to continue indefinitely until the next cue is ready. Don’t be tripped up by cues going off at the wrong time! And a new fix prevents computer calculations from impacting the timing your cue: there’s now minimal processing interruption whenever you launch a cue.
Changes have been made to the way you look at audio: there’s now a waveform display, making it infinitely easier to trim, select sections of audio, and (also new) draw your own fade curves.
There are changes in video too: new animation cues allow you to create effects associated with opacity, scale, rotation, and transitioning. And you can even insert live video feeds now: great for broadcasting your event across a large venue in real time. Mac users might be familiar too with Quartz Compositions and Core Image filters (those are the sorts of things that power Photo Booth): now you can render your video and live video through those effects.
That’s just a brief overview: as the change list says, QLab2 has been rebuilt from the ground up and there are a vast number of exciting new features that you can check out.
As previously mentioned, the basic version of QLab is totally and completely free – no pop-ups, interruptions, or obstructions. Check it out – even if you don’t work in live audio/video production you can probably find some cool use for it (create a video/audio slideshow for a party for example).
QLab is highly recommended, and version two looks like a tremendous step forward.
Sometimes though, Celtx has its problems. One such problem is the easy ability to overwrite a project while you and your screenwriter are working on the script and decide to upload at the same time. When you’ve just written up a slew of notes on the latest draft of your script, it can be a pain to have to type them all in again. As you might expect, Joel and I ran into this issue while working on our script. We needed another alternative for sharing notes on drafts of the script.
The solution came from Preview, the PDF and image viewer that’s built into Mac OS X. Apple has built annotation features right into Preview, so you can easily write and draw basic shapes on your PDF. With a PDF generated from Celtx’s TypeSet tool, I easily was able to start adding in my notes. When done, I just sent it off as an email to Joel.
It’s very clear and readable what my notes are, and additional features like highlighting. strike-thru and underline (not shown) make it even easier to communicate about the script. You’re even able to change what colors and icons you want by opening the Inspector (Command+I).
Hopefully this can help you get an idea of one way collaboration is possible. It’s easy, fast, efficient, and there’s no risk of overwriting someone else’s material! Best of all, it’s still cross platform, meaning you don’t have to worry who’s on the other end. Any platform using Adobe Reader (and other third-party PDF reader) can easily access the annotations.
Are you a Windows or Linux user? We’ve shown how Mac users can easily annotate PDFs, share how you do it on your platform! Are you making use of PDF annotations? Show us how and where. We’re always curious to hear the cool ways that collaborative technology is being used in media production.
The script featured in the screenshot is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada license.