21 April 2012

Qomics Quintology IV: What If? No. 83


We take a look at one of What If...?'s boldest and most experimental "alterniverses."

Something about my current editing process:
As I'm using Linux, my video editing options are somewhere between slim and nil. For a time, I used a program called OpenShot, which I was very impressed with to the point of calling it the Linux equivalent to iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. The trouble is that I went from using a small form-factor Linux computer that I built to a Dell Optiplex that some law firm my roommate's nephew worked for didn't want anymore. It ran Windows XP, but was locked with a password and had no recovery disk, which prompted me to just running Linux Mint on it. All seemed well and good, but somehow Openshot decided it didn't want to work anymore. The first time I used OpenShot, I got an error message telling me I needed some codecs so it could properly export the video. Luckily, all I had to do was enter the names of the codecs and the error message in a search and I got a solution right away. Later, when I got the Dell, I ran into a similar problem, but when I downloaded and installed the right components (and a few others) just like before, absolutely nothing happened. OpenShot just didn't want to work at all.
This meant I had to use YouTube's built-in video editor, which is serviceable but has two important problems. The first problem is that I basically have to upload all my raw footage, edit each clip individually (namely trimming), and then open a new project in YouTube's editor. This takes hours. One of the great advantages of recording to SD cards or an internal memory is that all I have to do is drag and drop the clips into the editor, which works almost instantly. With using YouTube's editor, it's akin to using tapes, where you have to sit and watch it download in real time. The second and most irritating problem is that, if I use multiple cameras, the video's overall resolution defaults to the lowest.
The Nokia Nuron, which could well be my favorite video camera ever, has the ability to shoot with colored filters, trim and merge clips, and even allow me to dub over the soundtrack. It's surprisingly robust for a feature that's essentially an afterthought on a phone. The catch is that not only is it not a high definition video, it's barely standard definition.
Without getting into a whole mathematical mess of aspect ratios and resolutions, the key point is that my Sony Cybershot shoots HD video, which means each frame is 720 pixels tall. A DVD, by comparison, is 480 pixels tall (that's standard definition). The Nuron's widescreen mode is 360 pixels tall. Since I'm recording the introductions to most of these videos on the Nuron, that means I'm asking YouTube's editor to merge a 720 image with a 360 image. In the end, the maximum resolution of the completed video project is only 360 pixels tall. No high definition, not even standard definition. It's still 120 lines more than a VHS tape, but it basically means I'm not getting the best image possible.
On the whole, though, while shooting in HD is appealing, I care far more about my videos being widescreen, so it's a small loss and really just irritates me because HD video eats memory card space.
In short, I really should just upgrade my system to something that can handle a more practical and versatile editing program such as Sony Vegas, but two things: 1) I can't afford that kind of upgrade (got a bit eaten alive on my taxes thanks to something from my past coming back to haunt me) and 2) In the end, I don't make videos all that often. It's only rarely that I get the bug to film something and it often goes as quickly as it arrives. About the only reason I put as much effort into it as I do is because apart from sales of my prints on DeviantART, my videos are one of the few things I produce that can generate money via ad revenue. Granted, it's not going to supplant my day job anytime soon, if ever at all, but it'd be nice for a few embellishments and frivolities, so anything that can help get me a return on my investment (even for a hobby) is worth pursuing.
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