Monthly Archives: August 2008

More on the EyeTV

Joe posted with regards to a piece of technology known as the Elgato EyeTV about a year ago, and something that he wrote in that post caught my eye – that being “it could be helpful for VHS to DVD transfers (or something along those lines).” I have been doing a number of large scale conversions of archival or otherwise unavailable VHS material at the Film Study Center, and have been capturing the material into DV format, and following with a compression into both .mov (with the H.264 (x264) codec) and mpeg2 streams (for DVD video). This process is time consuming, but not overly so. I tested the EyeTV software/hardware combo a few days ago to see if the ability to capture straight into mpeg2 video would expedite the process of at least the DVD compression. I found the following:

1. The process can be expedited, but not to a huge extent, for some reason iDVD still took a substantial amount of time in authoring the DVD (perhaps this was an error on my part, but I tried it more than one time).

2. The process can be expedited, but the editing capabilites within the EyeTV software are limited, and at times a bit clunky to use. If I only needed to trim a bit off the front and end, they are fine – but sometimes there are internal breaks in the video that require a number of trims and cuts and I think this might prove frustrating to do in the EyeTV software. Importing into iMovie would result in a DV conversion, cancelling the benefit of using the EyeTV for capture, and probably taking more time than if I had used iMovie from the start!

3. The interface for the EyeTV software is very nice, and is easy to use as a general video capture tool.

4. There is a wizard in the program for VHS to DVD conversion, but I found this to be near useless unless you are simply making a 1:1 copy, no menus, no chapters, no frills. If you want a copy of your VHS that will just play when you put it into a DVD player, the wizard is for you. However, I usually put chapters and menus in, per the request of many faculty members so this tool is not particularly useful.

5. The interface for a conversion to .mov files is the typical Apple compressor interface, and the compression takes a similar amount of time.

So I might take the EyeTV down to FSC and give it a try on one capture to see if there is any difference in the worktime, but I suspect that the limitations present might cancel any benefits.

ITG WordPress Blog Notes (just in case)

To Add a Blog Account

  • Connect to home Blog Page and log in: http://wordpress.commons.yale.edu/wp-admin/
  • Click the Site Admin link under the Meta menu.
  • Click on the ITG Commons WordPress server tab if not already displayed.
  • On the next page click the Site Admin link in the upper right-hand corner.

  • Click the Create a New Blog button from the WordPress MU: Admin Page.

  • Fill in the Blog Address, Blog Title and Admin Email fields (the Admin Email address should be your own); Click Add Blog to create the page.

  • The new blog will appear in the list on the Blogs page (should be the last entry).
  • Click on the newly created blog link from the list under the Path column to direct to the page.

To Add a User Account

  • From the blog page, click on the Site Admin link under the Meta menu.
  • Verify that the blog tab at the top corresponds to the newly created blog.
  • Again, click on the Site Admin link in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Click the Create a New User button from the WordPress MU: Admin page.

  • Fill in the Username and Email fields and click the Add user button at the bottom of the Users page to create a user (Note: both username and email fields need to be unique and cannot already exist).

  • Once the user has been created, click on the user from the list (should be the last entry), change the Role of the user to either Editor or Administrator and click the Update User button at the bottom of the Edit User page (this will typically only be done for the owner of the blog).
  • Add additional users the same way, however, remember to limit the Role to the appropriate authorship:

Administrator
The Administrator is the top role and has access to all of the administration features in our Content Management System.
Editor
An Editor is able to write, manage, and publish posts as well as manage other’s posts.
Author
An Author is able to write, manage, and publish posts.
Contributor
The Contributor is able to write and manage posts, however, cannot publish them.
Subscriber
The role of Subscriber is only able to read comments, place comments on the site, and receive newsletters.

Roles and Capabilities Chart

Additional Notes:

  • To CASify a page, click on the Plugins link in the upper right-hand corner and click the Active link under the Action column (it will turn to “Deactivate” when active and the status column will read “Active”).
  • To change the Header image file, click the Design tab and Customize Theme link. Click the [edit] link next to Header and click the Select New Image link. Either upload or use a URL to an image file. Click the Insert into post button. Click Update Skin.

Some Thoughts on the use of Movies and Websites within Second Life

For the ongoing “Greening Business Operations” project, we had hoped to implement a variety of educational strategies within Second Life, including websites, movies, note cards, and even a pre-programed “virtual tour.” Embedding Quicktime movies is simple enough, and potentially of great value. But I’ve discovered that support for web-based applications and sites within Second Life is still rather primitive.

The process to embed a website is almost identical to the process for embedding QT movies. You must navigate to the “World” menu and select “About Land…” Assuming you have the proper permissions, you can then select the “Media” tab, enter the URL for the website or movie you wish to embed, and choose a texture that will serve as the default “projector” surface.

If everything has been configured correctly, you can walk up to the chosen texture and press the blue play button on the bottom right corner of the screen (there should also be a little icon down there that says something like: “This location has Web content”).

Unfortunately, the embedded website is only a static image and cannot be clicked on or changed in any way. It also appears that you can only embed one website or movie per parcel, which seems kind of ridiculous. If anyone out there knows of a way to embed multiple URLs, please let me know. More information on “HTML-on-a-Prim” technology can be found here.

One solution to the static website issue is to simply take screen captures of various pages and upload them to the Second Life matrix at 10 Lindens a piece. This would allow you to create a kind of website slide show. But it could get expensive and complicated. Another option is to simply link to the website using a script:

{
touch_start(integer total_number) {
llLoadURL(llDetectedKey(0), “Name of Site Here”, “http://www.siteaddresshere.com”);
}
}

When the user clicks on the object containing this script, they will be prompted to open the website in their default browser. I actually think that this method, combined with the “Y” notecard info stations, is the best way to go. This great website includes information on how to create interactive signs, notecards, teleport links, etc.

Of course, this may all be a moot point if Congress decides to ban Second Life from schools and libraries. It would be almost comical, if it were not so tragic.