SAW Video Group


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There is something for be said for communal activity in terms of motivation and creativity.

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OC Transpo and STO! About pictures and video…


If your employers (City of Ottawa and so forth) can take pictures of us and the send us traffic tickets (at traffic cameras), then we can take pictures of you too.

And you can have review of your behavior too.

The streets of Ottawa are not your own private venue. They are for the citizens of this city too.

Quadcopter project

Jim and I didn’t get out to film a Squirrel from his RC plane yesterday (due to my schedule). We’re going to try it this week or next weekend.

Anyways, one thing I’d like to do is make a quadcopter that is programmed to follow a Squirrel and return to home base.

Jim gave me these links to an affordable project that may be a good starting point (link1, link2, link3).

Few more drawbot pictures from modlab

Here are a few more pictures from last night.

I took some closeups of the pictures we made with the drawbot.

It was a lot of fun. It’s time to make some more serious programs to control the drawbot.

Ideas are welcome! I have lots of ideas too!

Drawbot stress test


I did the wiring, glued the spools onto the motors using a glue gun (loctite didn’t work) and made a pen holder.

Even before running it with the pen I let it run for about 4 hours to see if everything was okay. I noticed right away that the motors were getting pretty warm at 13.5V. So I ripped the 9V off my cordless phone. Seems to run nice and quiet with that. After 4 hours, no overheating.

I added the pen holder and a ball point so it wouldn’t mark everything up.

It turns out the ballpoint works great. Obviously that’s an anomaly.

I’ve had it going with the pen for about an hour now. No missed steps.

Making a video of your computer screen

I’m curious if anybody’s doing this lately. I’m curious what people are using for doing this is for both Windows and Linux. I don’t really use Windows much anymore but I’ve got one machine running it because I am doing a lot of work with CAD and it seems there isn’t much out there for Linux.


It’ seems Windows Media Encoder might work. If its part of Windows it should work with Windows. I downloaded the Windows Media Encoder which is actually called Microsoft Expression Encoder 4.


It seems to record. I guess there is a special codec it is using and when I installed MEE4, it didn’t make the codec accessible to my Microsoft Movie Maker since I can’t open them there. It does let me play them in Microsoft Media player however. So more fiddling, and research will be required. This is why I actually stopped using Windows (except my recent CAD stuff). You wind up spending lots of time researching and fiddling (then you have to do it again for the next release of Windows or whatever product you are using). My logic is that you you’re going to fiddle away your time then I may as well support the open source projects such as Linux. In the end, it’s about the same amount of fiddle time to get the same work done. So you’re ahead because you didn’t pay for the software. 1h Later: Okay, I think I have a lead. You open the Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 Screen Capture (which is what I was doing). You press record to make your recording. After the recording is made and the file is saved in the selected location, you can now play it back. This isn’t enough. You have to open the options screen of MEEE4SC, highlight the file (if you can figure out which one it is since it makes up it’s own file names), then click “Send to Encoder”. This sends it to Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. From there you have to pick File/Encode. The file will be changed to a WMV file which looks promising. The catch is that it stores it in a predefined directory. I did a search for .WMV and found it. You can drag the file out of the Windows finder to your desktop. If you want to know where the files are going, right click the file and check it’s properties. You will see the path to the file. In my case it was “C:\Users\darcy\Documents\Expression\Expression Encoder\Output\SQUIRRELIFY 2-19-2011 11.27.28 AM”. 1h 15m Later: Once I did the extra steps the file now uploads to youtube (as you can see above). It also loads into Microsoft Movie Maker. I’m still looking for how to capture my mic. There is also a 10m limit (which in theory shouldn’t be too much of a problem so I’ll just see how far I get before I hit that issue).


This works in Linux, yippie.

Wink This was suggested in the ORE listserv. Looks promising since it works in Linux and Windows. Plus it makes a flash player output so you don’t have to upload to youtube.

I tried it and it was fairly easy to create a flash swf file of my screen. It saves with the swf file, a javascript and an html container. I guess if I’m going to use WordPress I’ll need to get some sort of plug-in for playing those conveniently. Here’s a test (winkflash).


by Techsmith:

Jason from ORE list:

$300 Techsmith Camtasia is pretty good, but after doing 30-some tutorial videos with it, I started finding some glitches in the way they implemented their flash export. Newer versions may have addressed this. (Nothing serious, just text bubbles periodically wouldn’t appear despite being set to do so – re-creating them worked)

Adobe’s Captivate


$799 Adobe Captivate is the be-all-and-end-all of doing screen presentations, but what a price tag! Every feature under the sun.


by techsmith is a pretty handy tool, letting you record video and do some moderate annotations (Which I think includes “football pen” and popups now)


is an amazing tool for high-framerate video capture off your screen, for instance, if you’re recording video gameplay (sometimes generated at enormous frames-per-second values). It’s very simple, and all of your editing will have to be done afterwards. I believe it doesn’t export flash – only avi.

Open Source CamStudio

seem to be coming along, but at the time of testing I encountered a lot of bugs. This was ages ago, though.

Video Camera Stabilization or Deshake

I’ve got a lot of video that was taken with my small digital camera. It takes great HD video but because it is small and it’s shape most of the video has quite a bit of shake. I’m want to try and smooth things out when I’m filming but I’d also like to fix a lot of the video that I have.

Challenge: How to fix video that has a lot of shake?

I made this camera stabilization system out of aluminum angle. It needs a ballast so I used a small container with batteries in it. That way, it’s free to carry the batteries. This is all fine and dandy but it will make the camera even harder to carry, harder to recruit people to take video and it wont fix my existing video.

Dreaming about a Hat Cam

I’ve been working on a model airplane project and I want to make nice videos of the planes flying. The challenge is that I can’t seem to fly it and take video at the same time easily. The obvious is to get your friends to take the shots right?

In this video I’m explaining “Press the button… Now we’re filming…. Now press it again… now we’re not filming…”. I think I went over it about 10 times.

It’s really hard to get people to take video. In the video above, the first guy I tried could not understand how to operate the video camera despite explaining it over and over to him. Mind you were each had a plastic cup full of rum.

So anyways, now I’m wondering what sort of video quality I’d get in terms of shakiness and staying on subject.

I’ve also looked at making a camera stabilizer but that seems to need a camera operator so I’m still left with the guerrilla recruitment of people to take video.

Here’s another fine example. In this example, I asked the lady to try and get the whole bike and myself into the picture. Not only did she fail to do that, she managed to give me mouse ears.

Some Camera Footage
Update (Dec 14)

Here’s a cool video with one idea. It’s interesting to see if a head mounted camera is steady enough.