Videos / Quicktime / Video CODECS
(Keep coming back to this page, we will add info concerning videos and the internet...)

All the videos (exept for the ones courtesy of Tim Cherna, he uses the North American version "Optura2") from our webpage are created with a Canon MV3MC (with a memory stick for pictures), it is the equivalent of the Optura2 for North Americans. Being in Europe means that we work in the PAL format and not NTSC, what this means for videos over the internet is unclear to me, and i think, nothing. Some people claim PAL to have less quality, but i beleive that is when watching on a TV, as we lose quality anyway when compressing the videos for the internet, so i beleive that in the end, on the webpage there is no difference. The quality is good, but we were a bit disapointed with the pictures taken with the memory stick, i guess 800 000 pixels is not enough.We had to buy a spare battery as the original that came with the camcorder lasted only 15 minutes in winter....not very good. Now we can run about 2 hours with the longest lasting battery, but it is much bigger and more cumbersome. If you are going to film action movies or use the zoom quite a bit, we recommend getting yourself a tripod. we bought a Bilora "mini Biluret 495", and when closed takes about 15-20cm (6-8inches) space, but can expand to over 1m (3 feet), this will help a lot to stabilise the camera when zooming.

Computer: We use a Compaq Presario computer 466Mhz Celeron processor with 256Mb of RAM. This whole setup crashes all the time, i think it is the fact that we are using a Celeron for processing (if you are using windows, do not use Celeron processors if you are going to work on movies), but it crashes also when not working on movies, can't wait to be rich enough to buy a MAC. Anyway, Compaq is totally unreliable and never buy one of their computers, if you want to know some of the problems we have with, just email me, i will be glad to tell you about them......

We use Ulead videos studio 4.0, it came with the firewire port we had to add to the computer, to capture the movies. We do not use it for modifying them, for this we use the simple and straightforward Quicktime pro from Apple (29$). The only things i wish Quicktime could have are the ability to capture, to take a still from a movie and maybe some transition effects. Maybe these are part of Quicktime, but we spend too much time swearing at the crashing computer to have any left for other more useful things.

Using Quicktime is pretty simple, just select the section you want from a movie with the bottom beginning and end cursors, and then copy and paste, nothing could be easier. There are a few filters that come with the program that can be useful.

Motion: We have recently filmed some faster action shots of windsurfing and skiing/snowboarding and these, while looking good in the camera and on playback on a TV, once captured look pretty bad, we get horizontal black line. this, we were told, by our non resident expert Tim, is cause by the fact that the camera takes in 2 fields...etc...The solution to this is, when exporting the movie to .mov format, to use only one field, (ctrl + J and then go on the video track option, select high quality and click on just one field and high quality. This solves the problem of the horizontal lines, but makes the movie a bit blurry. We are still looking for a better fix.

We have chosen to use quicktime because it is usable on both MAC and Windows platforms and the viewer is free. You do not need a special streaming server to put the movies on th internet (unless putting movies bigger than 3mb, then a streamign server is recommended), any host will work, as opposed to Real and Windows Media player, where you need a special streaming server to put up your videos, also, we are morons and its ease of use fits perfectly our needs. To download the free viewer, click here.


Video files in general are really big, a normal sized 1 minute movie can take up to 1 Gb of hard disk space. While this is good for the quality of the video, it is not good for anything else. Imagine waiting for 1 Gig to be downloaded before you can see a 1 minute video....even at the fastest internet speed, you'd be long gone to the bar before you would watch it.

CODECs (COmpression/DECompression) are little plug-ins that help compress and decompress movies, thus allowing us to put them on the internet with a minimum of hard disk space and download time required. Of course we lose a bit on the quality, but that is thel price to pay. We chose the Zygovideo codecs, because they are available for free and gave us the best results, quality/file size compromise and are available for both Mac and Windows. Quicktime version 5.0 should get them automatically before playing the video, but if, for some reason it doesn't, or you have an older version of QT, just download the free Basic Codecs from the Zygovideo website, then install them in your computer. Enjoy the videos.