Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Montreal's Apple Store opening friday

Montreal's Apple Store, located at 1321 Ste-Catherine Ouest (just beside the Ogilvy), will open Friday at 5PM. After that the opening hours will be Mon.-Fri.: 9am - 9pm, Sat.: 9am - 5pm and Sun.: noon - 5pm.

Unfortunately, I'll be busy friday so I won't be able to be there for the opening. However, today I was going downtown to check the PO box and run a few errands, so I couldn't resist to go have a look:

Employees were busy putting the final touch to the store for friday's opening:

I was also surprised to discover that Montreal's policemen are not riding segways, but a kind of 3-wheel scooter. Cool:

Please excuse the bad pictures quality. I wasn't carrying my camera so I had to use my cellphone to take those pictures.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More Video Tests

I first tried to embed a Quicktime video on my web page, but for some reason it didn't work. In a way it give more control, better resolution (640x480), but it has the disavantage of taking lots of space on my hosting server. If it works. I'll try to see if I can get it to work in the future, but a video hosting service would probably be better as it doesn't use my server space.

Google Video seemed a good candidate since it has no file size or time limit (contrary to YouTube which has a 1 Gb and 10 min. limit). But the resolution is not better than YouTube (see this blog entry) and the Flash encoding took a long time.

Blip.TV offers an impressive video quality and it can be viewed in a larger window on their web site. There's a 1 Gb limit, but apparently no limit in the length of the video. Unfortunately, the full screen button doesn't seem to work and they won't host “private” video unless you pay for their Pro service... The Flash encoding is average, but you have a progress bar that let you know what's happening.

Another option (that I mentioned before) is to upload it to my .Mac / MobileMe gallery. It's the best quality possible, offer opportunities of editing through iMovie, but it does take some space from my iDisk (a 2 min. clip at 960x540 takes about 55 Mb!)...

I'll keep looking for more options.

(Update 2008/07/12 & 16)

I've found another off-site free option with HD Share. It offers unlimited upload (well, for now the site is still pretty new and the details are sketchy; it seems there's a limit of 4 Gb) and it can take HD quality (1280x720). However, the private video are really private (you need to be a member and a “friend” to see them), people can only stream and not download (although that's fine with me), the source file cannot be .M4V (but it takes .MP4) and their embeding code seems to be screwed up (it doesn't work, even for public video). And so far there's no help support on their site...

So far the best options still seems to be the MobileMe Gallery and Blip.TV.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Video Experimentation

Earlier in May, I got myself a Canon Powershot S5IS as birthday present. It's quite an improvement on my FujiFilm S 3100: I've doubled the zoom (12x) and the megapixels (8), it has face detection and image stabilisation, a bigger & adjustable LCD monitor, lots of shooting mode (including manual) and the flash is a little more powerful -- but the camera also has a hot-shoe to add an external flash when necessary. I'll do a full review when I have a little more time. All I can say for now is that it takes pretty nice pictures. So far, I tried it at one convention, a couple of family events, a walk at the Botanical Garden and I am very satisfied.

The zoom is quite impressive:

It also takes good video (with stereo sound!) which I couldn't do with the Fuji (poor quality video and no sound). I have just started experimenting with video. I still have to try doing some editing and I am looking for the best way to showcase my footage to family and friends. On YouTube? On my .Mac web gallery (with .Mac/MobileMe increasing to 20 Gb of storage that could be a solution)? I'll do some more tests and I'll see.

First, the test on YouTube. The first thing I notice is that the encoding dramatically reduce the resolution. It's rather disappointing. Anyway, judge for yourselves. Here's a family of ducks spotted last friday at the Montreal Botanical Garden (just beside the Japanese Pavillion):

[Updated 2008/08/25 with the zoom pic]