YouMakeMedia is here to help you along every step of your media creation journey, from pre-production through post-production (and beyond).
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”.
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.
Ogg Theora is a relatively new codec (as they go) for video. It’s an open format, much like the OASIS OpenDocument format. Theora is based on VP3, targeting MPEG-4 codecs.
Because of its young age, their aren’t nearly as many tools for transcoding into Ogg Theora compared to, say, H.264. We have to use tools that aren’t dedicated to the cause. Here we’re using VLC, the wonderful free/open source media player we’ve written about in the past. Again, VLC is not a dedicated transcoder, so your mileage may vary. In fact as I’m writing this post I’m talking with Peter from FOSSwire (another Oratos Media blog) who is having some difficulty transcoding a video into Ogg Theora.
The first step is to get VLC. Head over to http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ and find a download for your platform.
Now you want to open your file. Make sure it plays in VLC, and check it against the transcoding list so you don’t get any unpleasant crashes or errors.
Once you’ve done this, open the “Streaming/Exporting Wizard”. This will enable you to change all the fun format stuff and determine export quality.
This screen is where you choose the video that you want to transcode. As you see in the screenshot, you simply click the “playlist” option and select your video. You can then advance to the next window. The option is also available to choose what portion of the video is transcoded.
This next window is likely the most important: it’s where you choose the output format. The screenshot here outlines the formats that you’ll want to convert to. Make sure you choose Theora as the video codec and Vorbis as the audio codec. We use 1024 and 192 as the video and audio bitrates (respectively) but the choice is ultimately up to you.
The next window in the wizard gives you the option (or not) of the Encapsulation format. OGG is the only available choice, so you will have to accept it and move on. Don’t get confused – Ogg is colloquially referred to as an audio format. Actually, Vorbis is the real name of the audio codec (that’s why we chose it above). Ogg is just the bit that wraps it all up nicely.
Finally, you can save the file. You probably shouldn’t check “Local playback” either. The name may make you think it’s necessary if you want to be able to play your output file on your computer. The name is misleading though – they’re actually just asking if you want to have the file playback while it renders. Unless you have a lot of RAM to give up, you’d be smart to pass this up.
Then press Next and your file will begin cooking. Once it’s done, you will ideally have a new Ogg Theora file to share with the world!
If you’re a Mac user, you can test playback in VLC or by using the components available from Theora’s open source home, Xiph.org. It might be slightly out of wack in Quicktime, so VLC is recommended. Windows users can also use these two techniques. As for Linux, any decent Linux media player should be able to play Theora. You guys invented the format after all!
Wikipedia offers a very extensive collection of free classical music. I’ve utilized their music before for my short “The Bet” (in the sidebar – and the music was selections from Anton Vivaldi’s Four Seasons) but I wasn’t aware they had this much!
I love classical music, though I don’t listen to it enough (a little on our local classical station, some BBC Radio 3, but not much else). I’ve currently downloaded the first part of Handel’s Messiah, and I’m on my way to grab more. Just a note – all the music is in the OGG Vorbis format. OGG is playable in VLC, Foobar2000, Winamp, and Audacity.
This is a fantastic resource for anyone – those who need some background music for a podcast, film, or those who simply want to expand their collection. Definite bookmark!