GoPro Time Lapse: Stinson Beach

Last weekend at Stinson Beach I attached a GoPro to a tree and had it shoot one image every 5 seconds for a couple of hours. Later compiled the image into a 29fps half-speed video in GoPro Studio. Not sure why I enjoy making these so much; something oddly satisfying about the process.

Miles’ Minecraft Channel

Over the past few months, my 10-yr-old son (now 11!) has been producing his own YouTube video podcast series. Nearly every morning before school, he’s in the office with a microphone and QuickTime’s Screen Capture feature, narrating a Minecraft how-to or walk-through sequence of some kind. He’s becoming a real pro.

Now that he’s developed a solid set of videos, he asked me for a bit of help promoting his channel. He’d love to have more subscribers, if you or your kids are into Minecraft. Here’s the channel link.

I much prefer his tips on creative build techniques, like the “Epic sandfall” embedded below. I’m not nearly as into the PvP mode game tours, but as long as it’s clean and non-violent, I’m OK with it.

Kauai 2010 Montage – Zipline, Kayak

Just found some video scraps from our 2010 Kauai trip and decided to edit them down into a little montage. Includes footage of my mother-in-law and my wife zip-lining over a stream together (worth the price of admission alone!)

Not sure why I didn’t shoot much video on our 2013 trip. Sure wish I had had the GoPro camera then.

Kauai is my happy place. Revisiting this footage is awesome.

Schmidt Lane Descent

Five-minute descent through the Hillside Nature Area in El Cerrito CA (our family affectionately calls the area “Schmidt Lane” for the name of the street you enter from).

Shot with GoPro Hero3 Black + helmet mount, edited in the new GoPro Studio software. Sorry about the abrupt music ending – Studio currently has no audio envelope controls.

Ironically, I wiped out on the way going up and wracked my knee, though managed to stay upright on the descent :).

Music: Can – One More Night (Ege Bamyasi)

Vimeo vs. YouTube for GoPro Footage

Owning a GoPro camera is a total blast, but having to deal with the ultra-high-def footage and non-standard frame rates it generates forces you to think of details you might not have had to think about before. And beyond that, of course you want to show off all that pixel clarity. Watching one of your clips on the desktop is a jaw-dropping experience; watching it again after it’s been uploaded to the web is comparatively disappointing. But hosting the original files on your own server isn’t a very nice option either.

After spending the day with a GoPro on my head at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk yesterday, tried uploading one of the clips to both YouTube and Vimeo, and you can check them both out below for sake of comparison (try both of them full-screen).

Here’s the Vimeo version:

Double Shot, Santa Cruz Boardwalk w/GoPro Helmet Cam from Scot Hacker on Vimeo.

Since Vimeo is known for having the highest quality, it’s no surprise that the Vimeo version has less pixelation and more retained detail. But I’ve got seven clips to upload, and have to “wait for my week to reset” before I can upload more high-def footage, unless I spring for the “Plus” version at $10/month. Otherwise I have to wait for Wednesday to roll around if I want it free.

And here’s the YouTube version:

I don’t mind paying for services that provide quality, but $10/month is kind of steep for me, given how seldom I’ll need this ability. Hrmm, what to do.

Pollywogs Redux

Back in 2006, I posted a digitized copy of a 1950s Coast Guard hazing ritual on YouTube. In July 2008, the video suddenly became unavailable, with no reason given as to why, other than “Violation of terms of service.” I suspected that the video may have angered veterans who felt that the video depicted the military in an unflattering light, and that they had flagged it enough times that it was removed. I blogged about the takedown here.

A few nights ago, the Knight Digital Media Center (where I work) had as a guest speaker YouTube’s news manager Olivia Ma, who delivered a fantastic presentation. I took the opportunity to talk to her and try to find out what was behind the takedown, and whether anything could be done. In my view, the video was far more tame than tons of stuff on YouTube, and had historical/documentary relevance as well.

Ma took up the issue with her team and today let me know that the video had been reinstated, noting that it “qualified as EDSA (educational, documentary, scientific or artistic).”

While the version I put up on Vimeo in the interim is of higher quality, I’m happy to again be able to embed the YouTube version:

I’m now trying to learn what I can about any official appeals process for this kind of situation.

Longevity of Solid State Memory Cards?

Late last year, our house was broken into and a bunch of electronics were stolen, including the MiniDV video camera we had had since our wedding (fortunately the thief didn’t take all of our saved tapes). My video workflow over the past decade has consisted of shooting (judiciously), occassionally making a short web video, and putting the tape away in a cabinet for the archives.

When the camera was stolen, I replaced it with an HD camera that stores video data on SD cards. The usual workflow for SD-based cameras is that you extract what you need to disk when the card is full, then erase and re-use it. But I don’t always have time to do the reviewing and capturing every time, and don’t always feel comfortable erasing the card and starting over to shoot more footage. The question becomes, what is the best way to store this data long term?

I could of course buy another external hard drive dedicated to the task. They’re cheap enough, but experience teaches that disks are fallible, so then you get into the problem of having to back up what could quickly become terabytes of data.

Another solution would be to buy archival grade DVDs and copy data to them as cards fill up.

A final option would be to NOT reuse SD cards, but to replace them when full instead, and stack them in the cabinet for archival purposes just as I used to do with MiniDV tapes.

Doing some comparison shopping, it looks like the price ratio between using archival DVDs and buying new SD cards is similar enough to be neglible. The question then becomes, how do the shelf lives of these two media compare? If you search for information on the longevity of SD cards, you find lots of information about how they’re only good for a limited number of read/write operations before they start to fail… but that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m talking about writing to them once, only reading them a few times max, but storing them for years or decades. It’s surprisingly difficult to find information on how long data on an SD card will last if NOT used.

I’m confident they’d be fine for a few years. But what about 20? What about 50? (yes, I want my kid to be able to access this data when he’s grown up, hopefully without going through the hoops I recently did dealing with my dad’s 60-year-old 8- and 16-mm film stock.

Archival DVDs claim to be good for 100 years, and I’d be willing to trust that figure, or something like it, even though none of them have been around long enough for the estimate to be verified. But for convenience, I’d love to be able to skip the transfer step and just store SD cards long-term. Without information on that, I’m skittish about it.

Anyone have info on long-term shelf-life of unsed SD cards?