Sad news indeed…

Very saddened to read the following on the Techspansion website.

…After much soul-searching (it’s not you, it’s me), for personal reasons, Techspansion is closing its virtual doors.

Techspansion are the people behind VisualHub and AudialHub.

VisualHub is probably one of my favourite applications of all time.

Multiple Wireless Networks

When I first got a wireless router at home back in 2003 no one I knew locally had a wireless network. Partly as no one had DSL (our exchange hadn’t been upgraded) and cable wasn’t available either. I had got an Airport Extreme (802.11g) from Apple which came with a built in 56K modem.

Once DSL became available then wireless became more prevalent. My neighbour had a wireless network, but I could only pick up his and mine.

In the last year however the number of wireless networks has grown considerably. There are at least seven now which I can pick up from my house.

If I drive around the local area I can pick up many more. I am currently using an Acer Windows Mobile PDA as a Satnav as it comes with GPS and this picks up countless wireless networks as I drive round the local area; so much so that I have to turn the wireless off.

Most of these are Sky and BT supplied wireless networks (you can tell from the SSID) so they seem to be selling well.

Why is wireless doing well?

The fact that most laptops are wireless, the PS3 is wireless, the Nintendo Wii is wireless, the PSP is wireless means it can make sense to have wireless internet.

As households move from having a single computer to multiple computers, then wireless makes it much easier to connect them to the internet.

Of course the main issue with multiple wireless networks is interference so be aware of which channels your neighbours are on.

Full Resolution Video on your PSP

If you have a PSP with firmware 3.30 or later you can now (much more easily) play full screen h.264 video.

Prior to firmware 3.30 adding video to a PSP was a bit hit and miss.

When I first got a PSP I was very disappointed with the quality of the video I encoded for it using either EyeTV or Toast, more so when I compared it to the demo video I had on the demo UMD disk which came with it.

It wasn’t for some time that I didn’t realise that the PSP did not support full resolution video from a Memory Stick.

You also had to convert the video to a specific MP4 format and importantly change the name to something unfamiliar like M4V01011 and then find the obscure \MP_ROOT\100MNV01\ folder. You were restricted to a 368 x 208 resolution. If you wanted a thumbnail you had to create a jpg file and then rename it as .thm all quite complicated though there were quite a few tools that allowed you to do this quickly and easily (I used Toast quite a bit). One problem was working out what video files were what (easy on the PSP, more complex on a computer).

With the release of firmware 3.30 this changed.

Encoding full resolution h.264 video for the PSP is now possible, this means that you can use the full 480 x 272 resolution and the excellent quality and compression of h.264.

However when I started to encode video for a PSP with firmware 3.30 I did initially have a few problems.

I tried to encode some full resolution video using VisualHub and the in-built settings and then some settings from a forum. However in both instances the video would not play on the PSP.

I initially thought it was maybe because at the time I was using the trial version of VisualHub (which has a two minute limit). However using the default low res settings it encoded and played fine.

I even formatted the Memory Stick wondering if that would solve it, it didn’t.

So I encoded the video in the original pre 3.30 firmware specificiations. As I copied over the video to the \MP_ROOT\100MNV01\ folder when I noticed a Video folder in the root of the Memory Stick.

So I copied the full resolution video over to this video folder, and guess what, yes full resolution h.264 video on my PSP.

PSP

Really impressed with the quality.

Really impressed with VisualHub.

So if you have firmware 3.30 or later ensure that you use the PSP to format the memory stick and then you will have a video folder into which you can copy the video files without having to worry about any naming conventions and be able to have full resolution high quality video.

Visually Appealing

I have mentioned VisualHub before, it is an excellent tool for converting video.

Now that I have an iPod touch, I want to put video onto it, so what do I use to convert my recordings, VisualHub of course.

Simply drag the files over, select iTunes, select iPod touch and that’s it.

VisualHub iTunes iPod

Note how the presets for all of Apple’s video devices are available from the iPod touch to the Apple TV.

Couldn’t be simpler, VisualHub is well worth the £12.32 it costs for a license.

Digital Video Tools

Here are some of the digital video tools I use.

iMovie

Part of the iLife suite which comes pre-installed on every Mac. It is a quick and easy video editing application.

I have not used the latest version (part of iLife ’08) however it should be noted that this new version has a very different workflow compared to previous versions.

iMovie ’08 makes viewing and working with video as intuitive as enjoying your photos. A built-in library automatically organises your video, so all the clips you’ve captured and movies you’ve created are just a click away. With its revolutionary interface, iMovie makes it quick and easy to browse your library and create new movies. And iMovie is built for sharing. In just a few steps, you can add movies to your website, publish them on YouTube, and create versions for iPod and Apple TV.

I also like Keynote which is the Mac presentation software, presentations can be saved as movies or can even be sent direct to YouTube.

I have used Final Cut Express, but for quick videos I prefer the simplicity of iMovie.

Windows Movie Maker

This is part of Windows XP (and Windows Vista) which allows simple video editing.

With Windows Movie Maker, you can use your computer to create and edit home movies with a few simple drag-and-drop moves. Then you can share your movies through the web, e-mail, your computer, or CD.

Generally I use this only if I don’t have access to my Mac, or the files are all in WMV format.

Exporting can be somewhat slow.

VisualHub

An excellent tool for converting video into various different formats, very useful if converting video for mobile devices and Windows PCs, note this is Mac software.

VisualHub bridges the gap between numerous complicated video formatting standards, and people that just want to get the job done.

Roxio Toast

Primarily a DVD burning application, it also have video conversion functionality.

Media-convert

Online video conversion tool that doesn’t require you to install anything. I have also been recommended zamzar.com, however due to the plethora of pop-ups and the fact you have to give an e-mail address means that I for one would not use it.

YouTube

The infamous video website that allows users to upload and share their video.

VisualHub

VisualHub is an excellent tool for converting video into various different formats, very useful if converting video for mobile devices and Windows PCs.

VisualHub

Note this is Mac software and therefore won’t run on Windows.

VisualHub bridges the gap between numerous complicated video formatting standards, and people that just want to get the job done.

The more I use it the more I like this tool more and more.I guess what I like about it, is that it works and importantly works fast.

The other day I created a video using iMovie. Just used the in-built iSight camera in my iMac, added a few photos and screenshots. I exported this as a full resolution Quicktime movie. I knew that the Windows PC it was going to be played on probably wouldn’t have Quicktime, so using VisualHub converted the seven minute video into a WMV file. This took less than two minutes (it may have been less than a minute it was that fast, I didn’t have the time to check how long it was taking). I then checked the WMV file on two separate Windows PCs, and it worked really well, the quality was still there from the original Quicktime movie.

Other videos I have converted for the PSP and my phone have also worked well, as has converting FLV (Flash video) files into a WMV format for putting into PowerPoint presentations (again this was on a Windows PC, I copied over the converted files).

I wonder how I use to work before VisualHub, it’s a great tool.