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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday January 13 2006

I am pondering entering the world of amateur TV broadcasting, over the internet naturally.  Humorous monologues and interviews are the kind of thing I have in mind.  I aim to start very cheaply and cheerfully.  Later, when I get better I could maybe think about architecturally illustrated political rants, but that comes later.  I think this stuff could be the long awaited break-up of the left hegemony in TV/etc., just as blogging is already the left break-up in the written media.

Do any of you among my regular trickle of readers have anything to say about such notions, and about how to do them?  I now know pretty much nothing about this, technically, other than that Jessops the Camera Shop has for some time now been full of cheap video cameras, and that it looks like fun.

As I say, I want to start cheap and cheerful.  Load fire take aim, etc.  But what about formats, whatever exactly they are?  Should I record onto DVD, or onto smaller media, such as digital still cameras use?  Or straight onto my hard disc?  Do I need to get a massively bigger hard disc?  What about editing software?  How do you present this kind of thing to viewers, to achieve maximum convenience for them?  Any good links about such things to suggest?

Rightly or wrongly, I am not interested in mere sound files.  I would rather do technically crappy video with sound, than technically much better sound on its own.  Is that stupid?

Also, does it make sense to combine a camcorder with a digicam for still photos?  I particularly like the apparently superior optical zoom powers of camcorders.  (I want to do a distinct post about the way that digicam design in influencing still camera design.)

Do any of my London friends have similar telly-internet ambitions?  Maybe we could get together and pool our knowledge?  I know that Sean Gabb is already doing this kind of thing, for the Libertarian Alliance, although most of what you’ll find at the end of that link will be sound files.  And yesterday Tim Evans asked me about filming his Putney Debates, so his brains would also be worth picking.

Any comments about all that and related matters would be extremely welcome, in fact they will count twice, in my mind if nowhere else.  Once I begin to understand all this better, I will put a similar posting to this one on Samizdata, but I thought I would try here first.  If no response here, then on to Samizdata anyway.

So, no pressure or anything.  But just bear in mind that I really, really want to know what you think about all this.

You’ve probably opened a can of worms here, as there are a million different ways of getting moving images onto the web.  However, if have Windows XP on your desktop, here is a simple way which won’t require you to pay out for any software:

1. Use a digital video camera with a USB2 interface to record your video.

2. Use “Windows Movie Maker” (built-in to Windows XP) to get the video from your camera to your PC

3. Use “Windows Movie Maker” to edit the video.

4. Upload the resulting video file to your web server using ftp or your blog interface.

5. Link to the file.

This will allow you to put video on the web that can be viewed by the vast majority of web users.

Caveats:
1. Windows Movie Maker is pretty basic, but should do the job.

2. Some Mac and Linux users may not be able to view the video, but there will comprise a tiny minority of your viewers.

3. This is not really video streaming, but progressive downloading, which means that the viewer can copy the file to their computer with ease.

Posted by Charles Pooter on 13 January 2006

Charles

This was just the kind of thing I was hoping for, but frankly not expecting, and certainly not so quickly.

I confess I have not yet been able to do more than glance through that.  But in the meantime, my deepest gratitude.

You sound like you have done this yourself.  Is that so?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 13 January 2006

I had always rather fancied a look at the month talk thingies you mentioned on your old site (or was it Samizdata). It would be interesting for us provincials to see what you sophisticated metropolitan types were like in real life.

Posted by Bishop Hill on 14 January 2006

I don’t think there will be any problems with Mac and Linux users accessing - most users will already have players on their computer that let them views Windows Media Video (WMV) format. However, if you want to be super-helpful, you could include for your readers a link to this page where users of a wide range of systems, including PocketPCs, can get a viewer that plays every video format in common use.

I’d concur that Windows Media Player is the way to go. Simple and free.

A camcorder is the way to go if you want to be able to record events held elsewhere. It is also going to give you the best results even recording from home. But will be a lot more expensive than a webcam. A webcam will plug into a USB slot on your computer. For a camcorder, you will need a Firewire port which your computer might not have, but a cheap Firewire expansion card in the back will do the trick.

There is probably space to install a second hard disk inside your computer, so your existing one can carry on with Windows running off it as usual, and the second one kept just for movies (and any other files you want to save there). ebuyer.com sells 400Gb Seagate hard disks (product no: 95630) for £129.52. That’s a flipping big hard disk, but I’m guessing you’ll take to it like you have to photography.

Posted by Alex Singleton on 14 January 2006

Brian, in answer to your question: in my last job I was told at short notice that I had to set up a streaming video server that would allow both live and recorded broadcasts. As it had to allow live broadcasts and be easily viewable on all computer platforms, the solution was more complicated than the one I’ve given you.

By the way I think this is a very exciting idea!

Posted by Charles Pooter on 14 January 2006

Idle objection to using Windows Media: it bars you from using podcasting (or video casting) to distribute your work through iTunes, which cuts users of the nifty new video iPods from appreciating your work.

You may not, of course, care.

Posted by Adam Tinworth on 17 January 2006

Adam

Thanks.  I certainly do care.

Can you spare the time and/or thought to say what your answer would be?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 17 January 2006

Certainly. I’ll do a little research and then post again.

Posted by Adam on 23 January 2006
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