I’ve never been a video guy. I tried out a camcorder, but the video I took was jerky, upset-stomach-inducing stuff.
I suppose this will change when I become a parent next year, but for now, my unborn daughter is giving me a crash course in video and copyright.
We had a 4D ultrasound done recently, and the clinic sent us home with a DVD of the video, complete with an uplifting score.
Naturally, I wanted to store a digital copy on my Mac, with all the other ultrasound stills, and upload it somewhere for family viewing and sharing.
This is where I hit the format and encoding hurdle. The DVD had the video in .vob format, but none of the applications on my Mac can open that file type, not iMovie, not Quicktime.
I should mention that I have VLC, which did open the file. I’m sure VLC could also handle the conversion, file my taxes and wash my car at the same time, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I’m a video n00b.
Granted, I didn’t spend very long trying, but VLC is one of those applications that’s too powerful for its own good.
Anyway, I did some digging and found an open source format converter, Open Shiiva, to convert .vob to .mp4. Searching took most of an hour.
Open Shiiva worked like a charm; hooray for open source.
I failed to include the audio the first time, so I ended up with two versions, scored and silent.
I went first to Dropbox to share the video, which was a snap. Dropbox provided a viewer for the file, but it took a while to load, being a large file and all.
Unfortunately, the people who I want to share this video with won’t have the patience, knowledge or pipe to wait on this viewer to load a 100 MB file.
I went next to Google Docs, which now supports file uploads of any type, but again, no viewer.
Then it dawned on me to try YouTube.
I happily uploaded the file and went on my merry way until the post-processing informed me that the clip was too long, i.e. more than 15 minutes.
Grr. Now I had to trim, upload again, and send a note to everyone pointing them to a different link, which won’t end well.
This time post-processing succeeded, but sent me an ominous note about copyrighted content. I remembered Gary’s (@syd_oracle) comment pointing to Jeff Atwood’s post about the YouTube copyright algorithm, an interesting read.
Oh right, the clinic laid down some funky Enya beats behind my squirming daughter.
Now, YouTube was informing me that WMG owned the rights to that content and might change them at any point. If I hadn’t read about this and didn’t have a basic understanding of copyright (and fair use), it would be pretty scary.
Google took the protection of copyrights on YouTube very seriously, and the result is a scary marvel of code.
Incidentally, I wonder how that will fit into its plans for Google TV and Google Music.
Anyway, now my unborn daughter is hawking Enya’s music on YouTube. You can easily click to buy Enya’s “Wild Child” from Amazon or iTunes while watching her wiggle around inside her mother’s womb.
This feels icky, like the future where everything is for sale, and we don’t care.
Anyway, lots of lessons to learn here about video, encoding, sharing, copyrights, etc.
Busy day for me.