CLUG Talk videos

CLUG is one of the more active LUGs around, and has had fortnightly meetings with technical talks consistently since at least 1999 (the extent of our records, and my involvement).

While this heritage is a testament to a strong LUG, there are only about 20 people who regularly attend meetings, and thus get the benefit of these talks. With a LUG membership of around 800 (my best estimate from mailing list figures), this is a tiny fraction of our community. People who can’t make it have been requesting videos of talks for a while, and recently Jonathan Carter brought his camera, and we started playing with videoing them. He has been stuck in Johannesburg for a few weeks and left me his camera, so I’ve been playing around with encoding.

So far, the lessens learned:

  • Video quality: A camera, high up at the back of the room produces reasonable, compressible video without having to have someone pan around following the presenter.
  • But the built-in microphones on a cheap camera just aren’t effective at that range (especially when you’ve got a quiet speaker).
  • Audience questions are hard to record.
  • Audio editing is do-able, and necessary. But so far, we haven’t ventured into video editing (on linux, this isn’t trivial).
  • You can’t normally read all the slides (or demos) with SD video. At full PAL resolution, most slides are legible. Screen-capture is an option, but most presenters make their slides available, which is far more bandwidth efficient.

Our progress so far is these procedures, and these videos: UK, ZA. We are using Ogg/Vorbis/Theora, and 3 different qualities of video. The three qualities are overkill, but I’m still experimenting with settings. I’d like some feedback - especially from a codec expert :-)


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"video editing (on linux, this

"video editing (on linux, this isn't trivial)"...

in certain circle that may raise cries of "use a Mac". I have heard rumours that over there video editing is, in fact, trivial.... :-)

My laptop happens to be a Mac

My laptop happens to be a Mac (running Ubuntu). I've used iMovie, and Final Cut Pro, and if I had to edit the video, I'd look at FCP first, after trying the various Linux options.

Also, I'm busy enough as it is. And while I like playing around, I'd like this to take as little of my time as possible. At the moment, I can do it in about 20 minutes, and that suits me well. If somebody wanted to take on the job of doing decent editing I'd be overjoyed. (Coaxing audible speech out of the first sound-recordings we had is non-trivial :-) )

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