Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Faces of Medieninformatik

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

My former course of study “Medieninformatik” (Media Informatics) at Hochschule Harz just celebrated its 10 years jubilee on the 10th of November 2007. I had been invited to give a talk about Pervasive Gaming and it was a great pleasure to come back to the place where my academic career started and to see so many familiar faces.

Later in the evening they were running the MINFF-Award which is a kind of demo competition with strong audience feedback. Eberhard Hoegerle, our former professor, asked if we had anything to enter the competition and that there would still be more than an hour left until the deadline. So we took the challenge and created a realtime demo, based on an unreleased OpenGL routine of mine. We just made it into the competition in time and it was great fun!

You can view the final video version of this demo called “Faces” in a variety of formats:

  • DVD Image (240 MB, best quality, just burn with Nero)
  • MPEG2 file (232 MB, best quality)
  • MPEG1 file (39 MB, low quality, easy to play everywhere)
  • YouTube (online, lowest quality, easiest to play right now)


PS: Photos of the event can be found at Mapeland and at Christian Schulze’s webpage. There is also a press release for those who can read German.

Transcoding Audio

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Ever ran into the problem of having an audio-file in one format but really needing it in another format? Then check BeSweet GUI, it’s awesome!

Encoding AVI to MPEG files

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Just a little note about TMPEGEnc 2.5x which is a fantastic, no non-sense video encoding program that just works. It can encode your (DV-)AVI files into MPEG. Options include PAL/NTSC, VideoCD/SVCD/DVD with or wihout Variable bitrate and all that stuff. The point here is that you can actually configure it down to the tiny details, but you don’t have to since it just works out of the box. The visual quality of the results is great, too, although a friend on mine argues that Cinemacraft files look better.

The free test-version gives you unlimited time to encode MPEG1 (VideoCD), but to use the MPEG2 (SVCD/DVD) capabilities for longer than a month you have to register the program for about 37$. Fair enough.

Doom9 DVD tutorials

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Similarly to the Digital Fact Book, the Doom9 page is a fantastic, more hands-on page full of tutorials and in-depth knowledge about video-enconding and transcoding. It has been online for years and is still updated frequently. Highly recommended!

Quantel’s Digital Fact Book

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Quantel’s Digital Fact Book is a valueable resource for all who are interested in digital video. I learnt about Quantel’s products while I was an intern in the VCC post-production in Hamburg. Some colleague recommended it to me back then and I was fortunate enough to be able to order a free printed version. I don’t think they provide you with free copies anymore, but you can grab the full thing as PDF from the above page.

Morgen ist Heute Gestern

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

The short-film Morgen ist Heute Gestern (tomorrow is today yesterday) is the result of 7 students teaming up to complete a second semester video-coursework assignment for their Media Informatics studies. Everything in this film is selfmade, including the music. Our script is based on the cassandra complex which denotes the ability to foresee the future but being unable to change it. As such, our film has a similar theme to Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys (1995) or James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). Visually, we were obviously influenced by movies like Run Lola Run (1998) and Pulp Fiction (1994). Another influence (at least for me) was Wes Craven’s Shocker (1989) which features a great sequence of characters travelling through tv-channels.

The main idea in our interpretation of the cassandra complex is to have a tv presenter reading the news of the future. Our main character realizes that his tv broadcasts personalized news of his own future. Throughout the 15 minutes of the film he changes his attitude from non-active over reactive to proactive. This composition produces an accelerating pace of the plot which gears up towards the climax of the story.

The film has no dialogues and the few spoken words are those of the tv presenter reading the news to the main character. We decided to do this for two reasons:

  1. it mimics the traditional mass media producer-consumer pattern
  2. not having to deal with spoken words helped us to concentrate on the production processes that we wanted to learn about

Morgen ist Heute Gestern won the “Harzer Medienpreis 1999” which was proclaimed by Hochschule Harz, Harzer Volksstimme, Freizeit & Tourismus Center Halberstadt and the mayors of the cities of Wernigerode and Halberstadt. They never proclaimed the prize again, which makes it a kind of small one-off thing. But on the evening of the 16.7.1999 the 2 hours competition was shown to about 400 paying customers in the local cinema and it felt absolutely thrilling! Thanks to Prof. Wolfgang Kissel and Karl-Heinz Burbank for initiating that event. The film has been broadcasted on the open channels of Saxony-Anhalt in the weeks after the event.

You can find production notes on the project website (hosted by my friend Frank Rößler). Unfortunately the film doesn’t seem to be availble on his site anymore, but a third party amateur movie website called Kanal Global (not YouTube as this was 1999/2000 ;)) claims to host the film in its member section.

High Nun – Der beste Film der Welt

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

During my Media Informatics studies, I took part in the production of a western parody short movie called High Nun (the pun is intended). It was quite an ambitious project with 13 participating students from the audio and video courses. Needless to say that we didn’t have much money, about 200 Euros. Most of which has been spent on costumes and requisites.

It took us about 3000 manhours to complete the film from start to finish. That included a month of pre-production, a week on the set and a lot of post-production.

The film won the special prize for comedy at the youth videoprize 2001 from the open channels of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. You can find more information incl. production notes, a trailer and the film itself on the project website. The DVD quality version has also been mirrored accross the network. Thanks!