Kodak Zi6 Pocket Camera

Wow, no idea how I missed this a few weeks ago. Kodak announced the Zi6, a 720p, SD-based pocket-sized digital camcorder that retails at $180.

Has the same flip-out USB connector and built in editing software that you find on the Flip, includes rechargeable batteries, a bigger screen and uses removable memory. Even if the quality is just moderately crappy, this could be a winner.

 Eknec Documents D4 0900688A80924Cd4 Zi6 Fl-Bf Black02 250X200

Sanyo HD800 on the way – Santa, please?

Sanyo launched the Xacti HD800 in Japan this week, and it’s hopefully headed for the United States before too long. Electronista has an article with some hands on shots, or you can read a translated version of the japanese page via google.

It’s essentially an update to the HD700, which is the evolution of the HD2 and HD1. It maintains of the smaller form factor of the bulk of the Xacti line, rather than going with the bulky look of the HD1000. You get 720p with an 8 megapixel sensor, and much improved noise reduction.

I’m a big fan of the quality of the HD1000, but I’ve missed the smaller form factor of the HD1. This looks like the perfect balance.

 Esta Content 0807 Sanyoxactihd800-Lg1

YouTube audio compression (volume, not bits) smashing up sound

Slashdot ran a story a few days ago, discussing the new audio compression filter YouTube seems to be using on content. Essentially, they’re trying to get everything into a single intensity range to, presumably, make jumping between videos on YouTube a bit more pleasant. However, like anyone who uses a compression plug in for the first time, they’ve over done it. Waaaay over done it.

There’s a thread on YouTube’s forums discussing the issue, and a fellow named ‘ccalam’ has posted a video demonstrating what happens with and without the compression.

The fix, until YouTube does something, is to mix in some constant volume high frequency noise, which will get stripped during the bit-compression phase, but which misdirects the audio compressor enough to keep your actual audio safe.

I can sort of understand what YouTube is up against, as this is an issue I struggle with on Media Mill as well. There are lots of things I can do to make really bad videos look and sound better, but those same things will make good videos look and sound worse. You always try to walk the line between both extremes, but you always wish you could do more.

Review of the Steadicam Pilot

Although it’s a month old, I hadn’t seen this review of the Steadicam Pilot by Charles Papert. It’s very well written and in-depth – I wish there were more reviews of this quality on this sort of equipment. The Pilot seems like a great choice at well under $4000. Not quite as sexy as the $10,000 Sachtler Artemis, but hey…

 Articles Camsupport Papert Missionarybig

Edit: A good tip when linking to a review is to link to the review. Fixed that..

XDcam EX + FileVault = Fail?

I was using an XDCam EX on a MacBookPro today and getting very strange results – copying the BPAV folder from the SXS card to the internal drive resulted in totally corrupted video in both the Clip Browser and XDCam Transfer. When I tried copying the BPAV to an external drive, there were no problems at all. The laptop had FileVault enabled. I’m beginning to wonder if FileVault interferes with the XDCam software in some way.

More testing is needed, but it’s very curious.

A load of Batman stories

I haven’t had a chance to see ‘The Dark Knight’ yet, but StudioDaily has three really excellent articles about the post process that the movie went through.

For those that don’t know, large chunks of the movie were shot on IMAX and in fact in an IMAX theater the film switches between 35mm and IMAX shots. This was the first hollywood film to integrate significant IMAX, and the post workflow is pretty incredible – my favorite quote:


“Filmmakers increasingly want us to work in 4K, and that used to be a big deal,

Lessons in Bad Dialog Design – From Apple!

I just purchased a season pass for Dr Horrible from iTunes, using a machine other than my desktop.

iTunes prompted me with this dialog box:

Picture 3

Wow, someone should really write a set of interface guidelines for stuff like this.

Here’s a tip – if the bulk of the dialog box has to explain what will happen when the user clicks each of the buttons, you probably haven’t done a good job. What it should be, and what 99% of other Apple applications would do, is “Would you like to make this computer automatically download all of your iTunes Season Passes?” with a button saying “Yes” and a button saying “No.”