Archive for July, 2006

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.

added ClustrMap

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Added a Clustrmap to the sidebar.

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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!

Pre-Mapping a GSM Network

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

I held a talk about Pre-Mapping a GSM Network Environment for a Pervasive Game using Python for Series 60 Phones at the Europython 2006 conference at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.


Monday, July 17th, 2006

Dig-ID, the computer program, is a scriptable tool that facilitates the creation of interactive 2D presentations with non-interactive 3D backgrounds. It offers high performance 3D graphics through the use of OpenGL, plays 3DS animations with textures, cameras and lighting, AVI videos on arbitrary textures and MP3 and WAV sounds through the use of BASS.

Dig-ID, the team, was a group of 5 “Medieninformatik” students who teamed up for this 1 year project at the Hochschule Harz in Germany.

The dig-ID software and user manual are available on the project’s webpage. Please excuse that the texts are in German language only, but this was a course work requirement. Feel free to ask if you have any questions. There was also a related paper at the SCS Simulation and Visualization 2003 conference in Magdeburg, Germany.


Friday, July 14th, 2006

ARGUI, the Augmented Reality Graphical User Interface, is a layer on top of ARToolKit for Windows which allows to use the familiar desktop 2D point and click metaphor on arbitrarily positioned and deformed surfaces in 3D Augmented Reality applications.

ARGUI was the technical part of my “Diplomarbeit” which is the equivalent to a final year project in a 4 years full-time course. It has been presented as on the second IEEE International Augmented Reality Toolkit Workshop 2003 in Tokyo, Japan.

For more info, downloads and papers check the ARGUI web-page.

Hello world!

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Welcome to my corner on the web. I’m curious to see how this one works out.

– Leif