Archive for June 2nd, 2007

Canon HV20 HD clip

Here is our first exported video from our new Canon HV20, captured by JBQ. The camera grabs 1080i video (1440×1080 anamorphic to 1920×1080 at 30 fps, 60 fields), has support for external mic, hotshoe and component, composite, HDMI & S-video output. The clip was exported with QuickTime Pro to 2 mbps h.264 (7 MB), 1280×720, audio removed. There are quite some interlacing issues visible in the clip because of the conversion to 720p, but if you overlook these, capture quality is top notch. Right click below to save the clip and then watch it (might be slow if you try to render it inside your browser).

It looked great when we played back the original capture in our 55″ 1080i-capable HDTV. We liked it so much that we are thinking that we should buy an Apple TV in the near future (especially if the rumored 160 GB model gets released and if it’s updated to playback 1080i), or a PS3 which is able to playback h.264 at 1080p. All our movie editing is done on our dual 2×1.25 GHz PowerMac G4 with iMovie ‘05. Not sure if there is a good reason to upgrade to iMovie ‘06 yet. We won’t opt for iLife ‘08 because it might not be able to run on Mac OS X 10.3.9 that this PowerMac runs — JBQ does not want to upgrade the OS because of expected driver problems with some of his scanners/printers (that machine is loaded with exotic third party hardware, so we can’t afford to break the current installation).

I found one interesting bug btw. The raw file encapsulated in .mov that iMovie ‘05 exports under its “share” option playbacks fine on the PowerPC with QuickTime Pro, but the same file does not playback when using the exact same version of Quicktime Pro on my PC! So even if my PC is faster than our PPC (which would make it ideal for re-encodings), we are completely tied on using just the PPC for all video-related work just because of this incompatibility.

Update: It seems that iLife ‘05 does all of what we need to do — with a few workarounds. iMovie ‘05 does everything we need to do. iDVD ‘05 does not support widescreen menus, but that’s ok (the actual video is correctly encoded at 852×480 anyway). iDVD can’t burn to our external burner (even with patchburn/tricks, neither iDVD ‘06 is guaranteed to be able to because we run an older OSX version), but thankfully our Toast 5.2 is able to burn disk images, so all we have to do is export our iDVD projects as .img. Unfortunately, the DVD-video bit is not set on the DVD-RW disk, so some players might have trouble recognizing the burned DVD as DVD-video, but all our devices and software players seem to cope well with that, so we are in the clear.

Update 2: Wow, the whole Final Cut Studio 2 suite costs just $1300. This is amazingly cheap considering all these pro apps that you are getting as part of the deal. Similar software until recently would cost $20,000.

Star Wars == Harry Potter

Obviously, JK Rowling has copied Star wars. :P

Ubuntu and DELL

Oh, my f****** God.

So, if you buy a Dell machine with Ubuntu in it and you configure it using the available options, there is a good chance that Ubuntu Linux won’t manage to auto-configure itself to adjust to the newly added/modified hardware. For example, this guy’s 1680×1050 monitor was under-utilized by Ubuntu at 1024×768. Of course, as always, “all he had to do” was to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to specify the right resolution list.

How fucked up is that? I mean, really. This is a fucking joke for the average consumer.

You sell a machine, and you don’t even take the time to FIX the damn Xorg and its drivers to do the right thing — at least for your own hardware options. This is where both Canonical and Dell have failed. There is no way you will ever buy Windows or Mac OS X from a major PC manufacturer and won’t come pre-configured with the all the right drivers, or the OS won’t be able to perfectly adjust automatically.

And if Xorg does this shit, I don’t even want to think what HORRORS will await the user with ACPI. Dell/Ubuntu obviously don’t know how to either test or create a real product. Dell has failed me here, but Canonical really needs to get its shit together, because they are the No1 distro and they truly need to get new engineers to WORK on stuff instead of just putting packages together. They can’t “pull a Slackware” for much longer. They are a respected company with millions of users. As I said in my editorial a couple of months ago, with great power comes great responsibility. And of course, yes, they need a way to make money so they can pay these new engineers.

Canon HV20

1 hour of happiness, followed by lots of anger.

Our local photo equipment shop had a special sale this week where we don’t have to pay sales tax. So, looking at their price of Canon HV20 ($1000 out of the door) looked like a good price for this HD camcorder. In fact, we checked the prices online and both Amazon ($1050+tax+shipping) and Adorama were more expensive than our local shop (when you count tax and shipping).

So, we get on our red Ford Focus, we drive to Palo Alto and we buy the HV20 from Keeble & Shuchat.

Fast forward 45 minutes, I get to my PC to blog about it. I visit the Amazon page, and now Amazon sells (through their affiliated TigerDirect shop) the same camcorder for $784+tax+shipping. Overall, that’s about $860 I think. So, we lost $150 (if you count the car’s gas) just because Amazon hadn’t updated the HV20 page when we first looked at it just an hour ago.

I was very excited when we decided to get the HV20 this afternoon, but I don’t know how to feel right now. I almost don’t want the camcorder anymore. I feel betrayed by my own luck. And having my brother’s parcel that never arrived in its destination on the back of my mind (I even have nightmares about it), it makes me want to put on fire all my gadgets and go live in a cave and never have to deal with all that crap anymore. >:(

Update: And if the day could not be worse, JBQ forgot his credit card in the store. Thankfully, they called us to go get it back.