How time flies – was the Bicentenario really nearly nine months ago? I’d decided a long time before that there was no way I’d return to England before the Bicentenario celebrations. I was sure they’d be big and spectacular. They were, so it was a good call. Below these two short paragraphs, I’ve posted perhaps the most professional video of the big day I’ve found yet.
I still browse through videos of Mexico to help ease the homesickness, and add the good one that I find on Vimeo to my Mexico Channel. Feel free to subscribe if you also need an occasional dose of DF to ease the pain…
I have a general gripe with media hosts. The image below demonstrates exactly what I mean with Flickr, although Flickr photos are the easiest to rectify. The issue is a simple one. I want to embed photos or videos from the likes of Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo into my blog. I want the images or videos to fill the width of the article window.
I can do that with Flickr. It gives me a variety of size options. Including a 640 pixel width, which is just right for my blog. Fine. Except it isn’t. What if I later want to change my blog theme? What if the window size of the new theme is larger or smaller than 640 pixels? Well, then the image will either be cut off or spill out of the window. Or not fill the window. Tsk. Not good enough.
What I do is change the bit of code that says width=”640“ to width=”100%“, and delete the piece of code for the height entirely. That’s got that image future proofed. It would be more convenient if the 100% option were there though. At least another method is available though. With YouTube and Vimeo, I’ve not yet found a way to make this work. If anyone has any tips, I’d be grateful.
I’ve changed, ever so slightly, the design of my blog by the by. Just in case you hadn’t noticed. A new header. Less on the menu bar. A set of social media icons. And four widgets at the foot of the blog to share other bits and bobs, including my Google Reader Shared Items and a widget showing which posts and comments people have rated. So if you like rating stuff, there is now reason to do so.
No service is ever quite as perfect as you’d want it to be. Perfection is unachievable. Test me, if you think I’m wrong. So while I’m perfectly happy (ahem) with Flickr, there are always improvements I’d like to see. As I mentioned in the comments of this post. At least Flickr has seen some development over the last year though, as it had seemed previously to have slowed down/ground to a halt.
So I’d obviously like to see a little more customisation in Flickr, and a little bit of tidying up regards the links. But having thought about it, I’d love to see Flickr integrate with WordPress better. By that, I mean the ability to add a Flickr tab on my WordPress.com blog, and have my Flickr account appear in a WordPress page. That would be neat. That’s high on my Flickr wishlist. As well as the wish for a certain person to upload their Bicentenario photos! You know who you are…!
I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath though. I’ll get on with doing my stuff on the web. I’m still collecting Faces from my life in Mexico. I’d like to top at least a hundred before the year is out, so I’d best get a move on. I have recently captured the most loved face in my neighbourhood though – it’d have been a crime to have left without her mug in the collection. I also started a channel, called Mexico appropriately enough, on Vimeo. It doesn’t contain my videos, but cool ones produced by others on Vimeo that are worthy of sharing.
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A couple of months ago I decided to fork out $60 for a Vimeo Plus account. The free account just didn’t provide the features I needed, and I liked the player and community sufficiently to go the premium route. I was also impressed by all the good things I heard about the quality of video hosted on Vimeo. And my initial impressions were good.
But my latest video has me questioning my earlier judgment. I uploaded the same file to both Vimeo and YouTube and when comparing them both, am convinced that YouTube is reproducing the video a significant degree smoother. The quality looks to be just that little bit superior to Vimeo. Which, having spent that $60, would be mighty disappointing.
So my questions are these. Is it just me, or does the video on YouTube look better to you as well? If it does, have you any idea why this should be. I produce the raw files in the .m2ts format – could it be possible that YouTube handles these files better than Vimeo, and that if I produce files in a different format, I’d get a better result on Vimeo?
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I’ve written a few posts recently about my efforts at creating video content. firstly, I’m taking delivery of a new camera in a few days which will drastically improve the quality of video and audio out of the camera. I also tried out Corel VideoStudio Pro X3, to see if I could improve the quality and presentation of videos on my PC. I liked it, but I’ve since tried out Cyberlink PowerDirector 8. To be fair, they are both very similar, both in features, functions and even their user interfaces. They both worked pretty fast on my old laptop, but I slightly prefer PowerDirector. This is partly due to the fact I have been using PowerDirector 7 for the last year or so, and am just that little bit more familiar with the software. I also prefer the transitions they offer, and their production options – the bit where you turn your video into a file.
So last, but not least, having taken the footage with my camera, turned it into a movie on my PC, I need a host to keep and share the file online. I wrote a post about that not long ago too, weighing up the pros and cons of YouTube, Vimeo and Blip.tv. I made the point there that although Vimeo’s site and player are nice, the $60 they charge for annual membership is too much. And I was going to stick with YouTube. Except….I’ve changed my mind.
The simple fact is, Vimeo puts the highest quality video out onto the net. And as I’ve spent so much money on cameras and software, it seems a shame to skimp on the hosting. So I forked out. Now I am a Vimeo Plus member (click here to see my Vimeo page) with 5gb of weekly upload (plenty more than enough for my needs) and unlimited HD uploading and embedding. I do think they are very tight in limiting HD embed plays to 25,000 a year though. An embed play is when you embed one of your HD videos in a blog and someone presses the play button. That’s one play. If others embed your HD video in their blogs, you could get through your plays. But even if you use up all 25,000 plays (unlikely for me) then the video remains, just playing in SD quality. I have set my HD videos to be embeddable only on my blog – anyone else embedding one of my videos will have the SD option only.
That brings my total annual internet spending on subscriptions to a couple of coins under 1,500 pesos. About $115 in US money. Which is a fair amount for me. That’s $60 on Vimeo, $25 on Flickr, $20 on upgrades to let my WordPress blogs use their own domains, and about $10 for the two domain names. However, it’s only about 4 pesos a day. So I’ve had a cunning plan. I have a tin. I have a couple of print outs I created (below image) and I will be saving 4 pesos a day, every day. So at the end of the year, when it comes time to pay up, I have it ready.
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