Videoblogging on the road

My trip to India is a good opportunity to experiment with videoblogging on the road. I’m just jotting down some thoughts here, I might expand on this post in the future. You can see all my India trip posts, including videoposts, here.

I took a small digital photocamera that fits in my pocket and also takes short videos, and an Apacer stand-alone CD writer that lets me write my memory card to CD. This way I can take a lot of movies (a day of movietaking – 20 or 30 short movies – fills up my 256M memory card). I just save them to CD and then empty the memory card.

At first I posted individual short movies. However, they were too short, my fan (there’s only 1) complained he wanted to see larger movies. And in fact, I tend to take a few movies if something interesting is going on.

I’ve settled on a process of finding a computer with Win XP, using Moviemaker to join those few related movies together. I don’t really “edit”, I just throw them together and save the movie, which also optimizes it. I don’t even review the movie – it takes too much time and I’d rather not spend my entire trip locked up in an internet cafe.

I tend to rent 2 computers at the time in the internet cafe, so I can use 1 computer to work with Moviemaker, and the other to do my emailing meanwhile. Moviemaker takes some time (can be 15 minutes) when importing movies from CD, and when optimizing movies. So I just spend that time on the other computer.

Then I send the movie to my friend’s Gmail address who ftp’s it to my website. I should be able to ftp it myself to my site, but I haven’t figured out how that works yet.

When my friend lets me know the videos (I usually sent 10 at the same time) are online, I create posts for them in my blogging software. I spread out the dates of the posts so one movie a day gets posted, instead of 10 movies and then 2 weeks of silence.

A disadvantage of this technique is that my movies end up in a proprietary Windows format that doesn’t play nice with anybody else’s formats. But it’s the only easy way I found to edit and optimize on the road. Win XP computers aren’t in every internet cafe, but I could usually find one. And after optimizing, most internet cafes have enough bandwidth to upload a few movies.

Windows Moviemaker works well. It’s very easy to use, and I only need to put a few movies together, so no problems there. It comes installed by default together with Windows XP. And it optimizes movies quite well if you choose Save Movie. I choose the highest quality, which still produces files that are usually below 1 Meg for my short movies.

My tiny camera is a Canon Powershot SD100 – I bought it last year for about US$300. It’s stainless steel body sets it apart from other digital cameras. The memory card cost US$70 then, now they’re much cheaper. It works great for taking videos – its size means I almost always carry it with me (except on the beach and when partying), so I can take a quick video whenever something interesting happens.

Questions and comments welcome. I’m sure there are other practical techniques for videoblogging while on the road.

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