Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New toys aren't all they're cracked up to be

There was a joint birthday party for Jer and I this weekend, and we got a digital video camera as an awesome joint gift. I've been snapping little video clips ever since we got the camera, and I'm loving it. I decided that today was the day to figure out how to upload some of those videos to my blog, so that I can officially join the ranks of annoying mommy bloggers posting videos of their babies doing things that are only cute to them and their moms.

Problem Number One: Our camera has a nifty "feature" that allows you to plug it directly into your USB port - no cables required! Which seems like a nice idea until you remember that a video camera, however small, is still bigger than a normal USB cable. First, I tried to plug it into the desktop, which meant fumbling behind the couch to access the back of the tower. Once I got to the USB ports, the camera wouldn't fit into the small space allotted. In order to make room to plug the camera in, I had to unplug three other things. Unfortunately, two of those things were the keyboard and the mouse, which left me with no means of actually interacting with the computer. Not directly, anyhow. I'm still only a partial geek, so rather than getting excited about an opportunity to hack into my desktop from my laptop, I just decided to upload the videos to my laptop instead. I only had to unplug the power cord to make it fit into the back of my laptop. So far so good. I now have the videos off the camera and onto a computer, time for step two.

Problem Number Two: I read a lot of mommy blogs, and I have decided that 30 seconds is approximately when my patience runs out for cute kid videos, unless something dramatic and exciting is happening. Maybe I'm just easily distracted, but unless something is on fire, "Aw, that's so cute" gets replaced with "How much more of this is there?" after 30 seconds. So, before I upload any videos, I want to be able to crop them to around 30 seconds. Oh, and did I mention that I need to do this on free software that runs on Linux? So now that I have videos on my computer, I have been trying to figure out some way of trimming the length. I would have thought this was a simple request, but Jeremy always tells me that the things I think are simple are actually complicated. All I want to be able to do is pick a point on the video and say "cut out everything before this point" or "cut out everything after this point". I've been trudging through long pages of lots of Linux jargon that I don't understand, installed and uninstalled three different programs, and I've managed to find software that will layer videos on top of each other or next to each other, but nothing wants to let me cut them shorter. Is this really such a difficult request? Maybe the problem is that it's too simple. Open source programmers are too busy doing things that they think are cool, no one has time to do boring things like making video clips shorter. Alternatively, there could be many programs that do what I want, maybe even the ones I just installed, but the capability is lost to me in the forest of features that I don't have the first clue about. It took me ages to figure out how to use the Gimp to do simple things like resize pictures, so the latter is probably much more likely.

I'm pretty fed up with the whole thing right now, so I'm going to drop it and come back to it later. When I figure it out, I'll post some videos. Or, when I give up, I'll post obnoxiously long videos. One or the other.


Heather said...

Picasa now allows video trimming... highly recommended!

Dan said...

I have a Flip and love it to death. I still can't edit it in OSX because iMovie is a steaming pile, but Windows Movie Maker handles it nicely. Hearing that Picasa does it too is uber-cool. The easiest way to work the USB interface? Get male-female cable.

Jessie V. said...

We LOVE our flip. We specifically requested one for the baby shower and use it weekly.

I thought the Flip came with software that lets you edit videos? I'm not sure because I've never used it but I have seen it at least as an option.