Monthly Archives: March 2009

Media sharing with Drop.io

Drop.io is a web service that allows you to conveniently share a variety of media files online. This is useful for any situation in which a group wants to privately exchange items such as text files, audio files, or video clips via the internet. Members of a group log on to their “drop,” which serves as an online forum for users to post computer files and comments among other things. Once a file is “dropped,” it becomes group material; others may access it, download it, and comment on it. However, all content remains private within the drop since it is not visible in search engines, the address is only known by the users, and a password can be set.

To begin, visit Drop.io and select a “drop name.” This will be used to create the URL for your drop space. By clicking on “Additional Settings,” you can set a password and expiration date for your drop as well as alter the guest user abilities. The password privatizes your drop and is needed by all others to gain access to it. Options for the expiration date range from 1 day to 1 year from the last view. All content will be deleted once the expiration date passes. Once logged into your drop, there are a variety of view options for the screen. The chat view is convenient because it posts files and comments in a vertical chronology and allows you to see all the other guests online.

Once you are ready, it’s time to start “dropping.” By clicking on “Add Files,” you can select a file from your computer, write a note, or attach a link to be posted to the drop. It may take a while for large files to be converted for drop posting. You can comment on the drop at any time by using the message box at the bottom of the screen. The message option is useful as it allows users to quickly talk while sharing media. You’ll also notice that the drop is also assigned an email address, voicemail number and conference call number. Any media that is attached in an email sent to this address will be posted to the drop. If you call the voicemail number and leave a message, this too will be posted to the drop as an audio file. The conference call feature allows users of the same drop to connect by phone. All three of these additional features are free of charge.

On their website, Drop.io suggests that this could be a useful technology for anyone who wants to privately share their digital media, such as families, teachers, or businesses.

DVD to MOV

We at ITG, and specifically we at FSC/Clip Capture have often been stuck with the conundrum of trying to get a DVD, which is not under copyright or in the public domain, made into a full-length QT file. The typical process that we have often resigned ourselves to is similar to VHS capture and output, taking the analog output through the converter, having to watch the entire film, then having to spend another hour and a half compressing the huge DV file to a more manageable H.264 QT file. This process was cumbersome and frustrating, mostly because the process for converting the VOB files off of a DVD seemed so tantalizingly simple, but continued to elude our collective minds.

However, the solution has come. As long as the DVD is not copy-protected (a good practice to follow anyway, as this should ensure that we are indeed using public domain/non-copyrighted material), the Turbo.264 compression stick or Toast Titanium will allow us to add the VIDEO_TS folder from a DVD and compress it straight to a beautiful H.264 QT movie. The added bonus of using the Turbo.264 stick allows us to take some of the load off of the computer processor while doing so.

Occasionally, a DVD burning program will send out multiple VOB files for a single movie, and this will cause the stick/Toast to balk, and get confused. So, as of now, if a DVD is burned in such a manner, we still have to do it the [now] old-fashioned way. In the end though, this process will save us from engaging in 1-2 hours of extra work per project.