Convereting old DV footage to digital


I've been spending the last few days converting some of my old DV footage to digital format. I've got maybe 30 or 40 tapes and I really have no idea what is on any of them are so my hope is I can import the into a digital format and have them actually available in to enjoy and share.

One of the problems is the DV import process in iMovie brings them in as 'DV' files that are *huge* (several hundred MB easily). My 30 odd tapes will end up chewing through a unreasonable fraction of my TB hard drive so I've spent some time looking for how to compress them to more modern formats.

Initially I thought I could use an automated tool like Handbrake of VisualHub to quickly convert them but the results were less than perfect. I finally sat down and did a direct comparison. For Visual Hub and Handbrake I spent some time playing with settings trying to really optimize them, for Quicktime (using Quicktime X) there are no real settings to speak of.

The results (below) speak for themselves. Even when I upped the bit rate to Handbrake or Visual Hub I couldn't get it even close to what Quicktime can do. In terms of speed they all seemed pretty close (I didn't time them but my perception was the speeds of conversation were all about the same).

On the pictures below note especially the horizontal and vertical lines -- What you can't see from these grabs is some of odd interlace problems while watching the movie in everything but Quicktime.




Raw DV Footage
Raw Footage
57Mb/s
Quicktime
Quicktime to H.264
2.6Mb/s
Handbrake (Custom settings)
Handbrake Custom Settings
H.264
2.65Mb/s
Visual Hub
Visual Hub to H.264
3.6Mb/s


One of my initial concerns with using Quicktime was there was no Batch process. I initially loaded the movie into quicktime and used the 'Export' feature. Fortunately I came across a great solution to that: Create a service to do the conversation.

Automator

Now I can just select a bunch of movies, select services->convert to Quicktime and they show up on my Desktop, Nice!


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To Do Management with Evernote

The title of this post is grand, perhaps too grand.  It's really just a simple change I've made recently as part of my paperless office drive (which really should be called a simplify your life drive).

One of my torments has been todo lists.  While I generally am pretty good at using them it drives me batty that I don't have a consistent way to keep track of them.

At work I've used Outlook to-do's a lot but they are generally unavailable at home.  At home I've tried the built in mail to-dos as well as various services such as remember the milk and the ilk but I never found a solution that worked for me consistently everywhere.

Before I go too much further I should explain that the way I do tasks lists/todos is they tend to be associated with a bunch of other media -- For instance if I get a bill I need to call about during the week I'll scan it in (with my SnapScan of course) so I have a copy to refer to when I call.  Or I might have a screenshot or just a bunch of notes.

I've settled on a solution in the last 3-4 weeks that really seems to be working for me.  Evernote.

I have two notebooks, one is called 'ToDo' and one is could "Closed out ToDos" - I simply put notes in the "ToDo" list and drag them out to "Closed Out" when I'm done.




This is tremendous because notes in Evernote can contain Rich text, images, PDF's and any other sort of file so I can toss any any supporting items to my todo.   As I make progress on it I can also make notes on where I am and when it's closed I can archive it for posterity sake.

Since I have Evernote everywhere (phone, work, home and web) I can always get access to work on them or close them out.

The key to this working is I have Evernote open all the time anyway so it's not a new tool I need to get into -- It's the tool I already use.
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ScanSnap Safety Tips part deux

A video summary of ScanSnap safety issues





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Scansnap Safety Tips

My ScanSnap arrived today (I'll write up about it later) but with it came a 50 page 'safety precautions' book.  It struck me as odd because I couldn't imagine that scanning was a particularly dangerous activity.

Boy was I wrong.  I'm really glad I decided to read the book as there are a number of really good safety tips including:


  • Don't use scansnap while driving a car
  • When handling documents be careful not to cut your fingers
  • When carrying the ScanSnap outside avoid rain and snow
  • Avoid getting a necktie caught in the scansnap
That's just a few of them -- I wish I had known how dangerous this would be before I purchased the ScanSnap



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