Fast, Cheap, and Under Control

Angry female naked mole rat.Credit: Buffenstein/Barshop Institute/UTHSCSA This is the infamous page that is a catch-all for digital video resources. It is a page that on first glance needs more structure, but it’s also chock full of useful information. As one person said “ it’s like Xmas for teaching video” . And so, here it is.

With the new building, we will have equipment available for checkout at the ITCC Information Desk. There is still equipment available in the library that can be used in your video projects. We will gradually be adding more higher end equipment in the ITCC .

When it comes to using digital media in your projects, it is recommended you get familiar with Copyright and Fair Use , and read the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video (Here’s the PDF ). Then watch “ Everything is a Remix – Part 3 ” and realize how copying and tinkering with what already exists has lead to innovations throughout history.

A documentary employing elements under fair use – Punchlines For Progress: Freedom of Speech and The Court Jester (Warning! Adult Language)

Encountering digital video on the web

* h.264 (YouTube, Vimeo) vs. Flash (flv) – Reached its zenith?
* WebM – the future? Maybe it doesn’t have a future .
* Dirac – open source broadcast quality codec
* Windows Media Video (wmv files) Less associated with web video. Windows (Internet Explorer) is moving to h.264 .

If you have trouble playing or working with various video on you computer, it’s probably because of a missing codec . If you are using a PC, try downloading the K-Lite Codec Pack . On the Mac, Perian will add several popular codecs to your system.

VLC is a multi-purpose program (available on Windows, Mac, and Linux) for playing all manner of digital video. It will also allow the creation of video clips from DVDs. VLC is strongly associated with the open source x.264 project .

Play a DVD with VLC (Windows)

Play a DVD with VLC (Windows)

Play a DVD with VLC (Mac)

Play a DVD with VLC (Mac)

Record a clip from a DVD movie using VLC (Win)

Record a clip from a DVD movie using VLC (Win)

Record a clip from a DVD movie using VLC (Mac)

Record a clip from a DVD movie using VLC (Mac)

Use Clips Recorded with VLC in Movie Maker

Use Clips Recorded with VLC in Movie Maker

Video Concepts

Interlaced video De-interlacing – “Comb” – effect of interlace video with fast motion

Progressive scan video – complete frame drawn

Telecine – motion picture to video


* Composition, Framing, and Rule ofThirds –
* Lighting ( , flat)
* Audio – as important if not more important – mono vs. stereo
* Use Headphones to monitor what’s being recorded


* Compression – What it is .
* Taking away information (“lossy”) with minimal affect on video quality – making smaller files
* Contrast Ratio and Backgrounds affects compression

Aspect ratio

* Common ratios are 16:9 (newer, high definition TV) and 4:3 (older, standard definition televison)
* Stretching 4:3 to widescreen (fatties)
* Shrinking widescreen to 4:3 (skinnies)
* Text – beware of text when changing aspects ratio
* Aspect Ratio Calculator – Allows you to resize videos properly


h.264 has by far and away won the web video format war. It is also known as AVC (camcorders labeled as AVCHD). It is also used as one of the Blu-ray codecs.

h.what? The Conversation podcast about h.264 licensing

An alternative is x264 an open-source implementation of h.264 (Handbrake – see below)
x264 for Mac
x264 for Windows

Video “Hosting”

* YouTube –
* Vimeo (HD) –

YouTube Quick Answers

* Help –
* How to Upload
* Optimize Your Video

If you are having issues with video that’s been uploaded to YouTube, start with .

Vimeo Info

Vimeo Basics including how to upload videos to Vimeo

Vimeo Video School

Other Links

YouTube Creator Hub –

YouTube Creator’s Playbook

UMW New Media Center –

Digital Media Cookbook –

Digital Video Site –

Diary of an x264 Developer - The Future of Internet Video


Videos to make you think about video


Top Tools

Handbrake (PC/Mac)
MPEG Streamclip (PC/Mac)


Jing (PC/Mac) – Free for 5 minute recordings to Flash output. Unfortunately, Jing Pro is gone . Jing Pro allowed you to save in MPEG-4 format which was easier to edit or add to video projects. It was $15/year. If you were a Jing Pro user you can get a program called Snagit , that does video capture as well as screenshots.

There is built-in screen recording in the Mac OSX QuickTime Player (as well as video and audio recording). Other low-cost screencasting software for the Mac include iShowU (starting at $20) and Screeny ($15). There is also BB Flashback Express (starts free) on Windows.

More “professional” screen recording software would include Camtasia Studio ($299) for Windows (there is a $99 Mac version), and Screenflow ($99) for the Mac. Be aware that there are education discounts that can save you some money. You will need to provide proof of enrollment at a school. The current pricing is $179 for Camtasia Studio, $30 for Snagit , and $89 for Screenflow . The educational discount for Camtasia for the Mac brings it down to $75.

Video Conversion

Evom (Mac)
Handbrake (PC/Mac)
MPEG Streamclip (PC/Mac)
WinFF (PC/Ubuntu)
Miro Video Converter

YouTube Video Downloading

Using Video DownloadHelper to Download YouTube Videos

Using Video DownloadHelper to Download YouTube Videos

Video Download Helper – Download YouTube videos in the browser

Download YouTube videos as MP3s – SnipMP3

TubeChop – take a clip from an existing YouTube video and change the start and end time.

Video Editing

Helpful Wikipedia chart comparing video editors

iMovie (version 10) –

Windows Movie Maker –


YouTube Video Editor – Edit your existing clips in your YouTube account
Jaycut another online video editor

Avidemux – Simple video editing (successfully used by Aaron)

Video Analyzer (codec identification and video information)

MediaInfo (PC/Mac/Linux) – Allows you to analyze multiple files and export as a spreadsheet.

Video Players (alternatives to QuickTime and Windows Media Player)


Movist (Mac) – can sometimes outperform VLC

MPlayerX (Mac) – A player for Mac

List of video players at Wikipedia

DVD Ripping Programs

Mac DVDRipper Pro ($25) – I highly recommend this program
(PC/Mac) –

MacTheRipper (Mac) – Very difficult to get any more.

Record a clip from a DVD using VLC (Mac)
Record a clip from a DVD using VLC (PC)
Ripping a DVD Using HandBrake

Imaging Programs

Paint.Net (PC graphic editing program)
Seashore (Mac graphic editing program)
Gimp – a cross-platform editing program

QuickTime Extras

QuickTime Pro ($30) – Essentially MPEG Streamclip has the editing features, which does trimming and converting, but still has many option for working with video and images.
QuickTime MPEG2 Playback ($20) – Works together with MPEG Streamclip on Macs prior to OS X Lion
Get a copy of the QuickTime Player 7 program (you upgrade QT Player to Pro by “registering” it.

HTML5 and Video

* HTML5 (h.264 or Ogg – Theora and Vorbis) – Video for Everybody

* HTML 5 WordPress plugin .

* MediaElementJS HTML5 Player – WordPress plugin for doing video, and audio (!), embeds with Flash fallback. Just announced that this will be built-in for WordPress 3.6

Encoding and Digital Video for DS106:

DS106 Video from umwnewmedia on Vimeo .

Fast forward to the 2:18 mark to bypass the final setup tweaks I do and get to the meat of the presentation.

UPDATE: Since this video was produced in 2011, I wanted to update a few things. Fastest YouTube Downloader has been an up and down program. They have since moved to a monthly fee model where you get faster response based on what you pay. I can’t say I’m a big fan of that model when the Video Download Helper plugin for Mozilla Firefox exists.

As far as codecs go Flash (FLV) is on the wane. h.264 is becoming the standard for web video because of it’s high quality.

Videolan (makers of VLC player) are STILL working on a video editor, VideoLan Movie Creator . Still no release of this beta software.

(end update)

Finally, here’s a bit of basic information regarding streaming video. Many things have changed since it was broadcast, but it covers some good basics.

Link to PDF of slides

Source: Video: streaming production: improving your video quality

Mole-rat Flickr image by Jedimentat44

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