video

Creating an Image Effect to put a play button on Video thumbnails

I had a rather interesting feature to implement on flocknote lately (after doing a pretty vast redesign of the UX/UI on the site over the past month... it was refreshing to dig into PHP again!):

We want to allow insertion of YouTube and Vimeo (and potentially other) videos into 'Notes' on the site, and there are a few moving parts in this equation:

  • I had to create a text format filter similar to the 'Embedded media inline' module in Drupal 6 so people could simply put a 'merge tag' in their Note (like [video=URL]) where they want the video to appear.
  • When a user views the embedded video on the site, the video should show at a uniform width/height, and be able to play the video (basically, a merge tag the user enters should be converted to the proper embed code for the provider (in this case, an <iframe> with the proper formatting).
  • When a user sees the video in the note email, the video can't actually play since very few email clients support any kind of video embedded in an email. So, instead, the video shows as a frame with a play button on top (this is the trickiest part), and links to the video on YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

Creating my own Image Effect for a Video Play Button

What I wanted to end up with was an image that had a custom-made iOS-style play button (play icon in a circle with a translucent grey background) right in the middle (I like the simple look of videos on my iPad...):

Video Play Button Example

So, I decided to work with Drupal's Image Effect API and expose a new image effect, aptly named 'Video Play Button', to Drupal's simple set of 'Resize, Scale, etc.' image effects. This is a pretty simple process:

Archdiocese of St. Louis' Eucharistic Video

One of the final projects I was working on, but did not get to see grow into completion, while I was working with the Archdiocese of St. Louis was the Archdiocese's 2011 Eucharistic Congress. I actually did very little of the work involved in getting the website and video ready for the congress, but was privileged to work with some extraordinarily talented Catholics on both projects.

First, take in this great video (which will likely be passed around a bit in the days ahead!):

Grab a Single Frame from a Video in QuickTime X

Update: More recent versions of QuickTime Player have the ability to copy frames of the video by using 'Command + C'. In recent versions, to grab a frame, do the following:

  1. In QuickTime Player: Pause on the frame you want to capture (use arrow keys to go forward/backward by 1 frame).
  2. Press 'Command-C' (or select Edit > 'Copy').
  3. In Preview: Press 'Command-N' (or select File > 'New from Clipboard')
  4. Save the new file where you'd like.

There are many things to like about QuickTime X, and many improvements were included over QuickTime Pro 7... but there were also a ton of features removed (like being able to set advanced export options, save a movie as images, and do some other more advanced edits/exports.

However, I'm glad I finally figured out how I can grab one frame from a movie in QuickTime Player X. The problem I was having is this: If you pause the video and use the left/right arrow keys to move the playhead exactly to the frame you want, the player controls are still showing over the video (in addition to the video title bar/window chrome.

Review: iPhone 4 Tripod Mount - SnapMount

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: Right in all the right ways, this is one of the two tripod mounts I keep in my bag.

There are finally a plethora of different iPhone 4 tripod mounting solutions on the market, and this is a very, very good thing. You can browse other Reviews on my website to find some examples of other great tripod mounts—some very nice for specific purposes, others that are only marginally better than duct-taping your iPhone to a tripod!

Snapmount for iPhone - on mini Tripod

iPad 2 - Mobile Audio/Video Recording + External Microphones

iPad 2Apple's announcement of the iPad 2 today left me speechless in many ways, but maybe the most promising and awesome announcement was not the iPad itself, but rather iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad.

One thing that I've constantly had to do for video production is lug around my Mac, a camera, cables, etc., just because there was nothing that was as easy as iMovie to quickly hash out a video, with voiceover, etc. The iPhone's iMovie app is just not good enough for me, though it's great for a quick YouTube edit.

Luckily for me, all the work I've done in testing microphones and audio input adapters for the iPhone 4 applies directly to the iPad 2's audio input. You'll still need an adapter to get the audio into the TRRS input jack on the iPad, but being able to record to 8 tracks using GarageBand is completely amazing.

Winter Ice and Snow Storm Hits St. Louis Hard

The video below simply shows some clips I shot in front of my condo during this year's major snow and ice storm that's hitting St. Louis as of the posting of this blog entry. The video was shot handheld, and you can hear the loud and constant patter of the sleet hitting the ground.

So far we have half an inch of sleet, but the sleet should be changing to snow soon. Some areas of Metro St. Louis should have over a foot (approaching two feet!) of snow.

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