Thursday, October 04, 2007

Getting Turned On To YouTube

With my Celtic Ways work there is an obvious list of priorities.


Top priority is that when I am tour the tour takes 100% attention.


When I am not touring compiling and keeping on top of itineraries and their changes is quite a considerable task. A 10 day tour can take up to and over 50 hours of back office planning, arranging and changing when compiling of reports, email exchanges and phone calls are added together.


Next on the list is broadcasting news, developments, changes and places I have taken time to explore that may be important for future tours. Broadcasting to date has been by blog and email newsletters. I should add web site updates to this, but somehow this is something I get to do quite rarely.


After this is participation on “social network” sites which I truly wish I had much more time for. Its a wonderful medium to find folks who share your niche interests and, in my situation, find folks who are naturally matched to and would experience wonderful benefits and joy from the tours we do.


Add to this is my collection of well over 200 hours of video footage of places, people and activities connected to Celtic Ways tours, performances, and workshops. I keep promising myself to turn this valuable archive into DVDs and it just does not happen


…… but now I have found YouTube


Well, I found it a long time ago since it kicked off, but like MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, etc. I never got around to using it.


It was the “Harpers For Tara” event that finally motivated me to discover YouTube as this was an event that was worth broadcasting as soon as possible. I managed to put the news up on “NowPublic” which still gets an article into the top 5 listing on Google using the keywords used in the tags, within 5 minutes. I could have had an accompanying video up quickly too ….. but I was stuck.


Trying to make a decent YouTube video, wow, that’s not easy.


This is due to YouTube’s own limitations, which are essential if it is to remain a free service for uploaders. I spent a few days trying a range of different compressions. There are online instructions but none seem to work well, to me. There are some programs out there with single click AVI to YouTube compatible MP4 files, but I was not happy with any of them.


I have settled for using Pinnacle for easily capturing video footage in AVI, as compressing during capture seemed to create problems eventually. Pinnacle’s storyboard is quick and easy to use, and then I saved clips under 7 minutes long, again in AVI.


Unfortunately, I was not happy with any of the Pinnacle compression results I tried so I tried several video compression program demos and did not like the results of any of them either. A friend suggested I tried Apple’s Quicktime Pro, and then I wondered about this after reading a barrage of negative review comments about it. As a complete video editing tool Quicktime Pro would be useless, but I am sure it was not created for this. Also the time it takes to compress an AVI file to MP4 is extremely slow, but the wait is worth it. I concluded that no compressed video uploaded onto YouTube passing through its additional compression going to be great.  


Here’s what I settled with


Video Format H.264, 2000 Kbps, 30 fps, 320 x 240 frame size
Audio Format AAC (Quicktime does not format MP3), 64 Kbps, mono, 44,100 kHz

Anyone who’s achieved better results with different specs please let me know. 


I look forward to sharing more of what we do and explore, and also discovering more of the utilities that YouTube offer. I’m still a novice with this service.


One niggle with YouTube is that it barely works with dial up connections 


This is the main reason why I have not been as active as I would like to be on social sites, but there is one exception.


I am amazed how Facebook works quite well with dial up connections. My daughter, Ivy, who lives in New Zealand introduced this to me. Also, I find Facebook is way, way ahead of MySpace with what it offers, especially with its 100s of plug in applications. While MySpace is brilliant for showcasing I can see Facebook fast developing as the number one place for getting people together, interacting, making arrangements, exchanging and doing deals just as Google is number one for search. Its also wonderful for getting together with people that have lost contact with you. Elderly people should find Facebook priceless.


Feel free to visit my Facebook Profile and hook up as a friend there.


 

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