My GoPro video creation workflow

Ever since I purchased my GoPro Hero2 I’ve loved taking it with me everywhere, especially on my fishing excursions.  As you can down the left-hand side of this site, I’ve compiled a decent collection of fishing footage and made some short highlight videos to share with everyone.  Now I’d like to share how I create them.

Filesystem SetupMy current home computer consists of a Mac Mini.  It’s nothing special and no powerhouse, but does the trick pretty well.  For storing my video footage, I’m utilizing a 2TB Firewire 800 drive from Western Digital.  I use this drive for storing the original footage copied from the SD card as well as the clips I end up using to compile the final footage.  I keep folders for each event within parent folders called “GoPro Originals” and “GoPro Converted”.

Naturally, the first step for these videos is to get out and shoot some footage!  The first step once I’m home is to simply create the event folder in “GoPro Originals” and copy each video file from the SD Card to this new folder.

NotesVLCOne thing about using a GoPro (or any camera, really) for fishing is that you’ll generally have the camera rolling for long periods of time since you’ll never know when that next hero shot will occur.  Unless you’re having the fishing trip of a lifetime, this means you’ll have a lot of footage to sort through with very little of that will actually be used for a highlight video.  For the purpose of scanning this footage, I simply open each GoPro original file in VLC Media Player and make my way through it relatively quickly.  You can do this by clicking through the time bar or adjusting the playback speed.  Once I find a section of footage I want to utilize, I write down both the start and end times on a piece of paper (I know, real geeky, right?).  After just a short period, I can make my way through 4-5 hours worth of footage.  Converting all footage instead of just the clips I need would take a few hours and clutter up the board in iMovie when actually editing.

CineformReadyToConvertNow that I’ve identified the clips I wish to use, it’s time to open the files in GoPro Cineform Studio which is free conversion and editing software provided by GoPro.  With this software, my goal is to convert the footage from the format used by the camera to a format that works better with my editing software.  The software is relatively simple.  First, I choose the video files in “GoPro Originals” that I need clips from.  For each file, I then use the time slider to find the beginning time for clip according to my paper notes.  I set this is my “In” location by clicking “In” on the screen or simply using the “i” on the keyboard.  I then click Play (or spacebar on the keyboard) to start the playback.  Once I reach the location that I noted to end the clip,  I set the “Out” location by clicking “Out” on screen or “o” on the keyboard.  I could use the slider to get to my noted out location for the clip, but sometimes I like to verify what I’ve written down and may adjust it a bit on the fly.  I then set the filename for this particular clip and the location I want to save it to, which will be an event-specific folder in “GoPro Converted”.  Additionally, I’ll click the “Advanced Settings” button and choose high quality from the settings menu.  Once that is complete, click “Add clip to conversion list”. Repeat these steps for each clip needed.  Once that is done, I simply click the “Convert” button and let my computer do its thing.

So far, everything I’ve done is essentially platform-independent, working in a similar fashion for both Macs and Windows-based PCs.  From there, I use a basic, consumer-grade video editing program, iMovie, which is only available for the Mac.  Many Windows users seem to have good luck with both Windows Live Movie Maker, a free application provided by Microsoft for consumer video editing.  Once I add the converted clips to the iMovie event, I create a new project and edit the video.  I won’t get into much detail on that, as there are plenty of tutorials for it.  I just wanted to detail the steps I take to get my GoPro footage ready for iMovie.

Notes plus

Notes plus is now my go-to app for note-taking on my iPad. The only time I use anything else (currently upad) is to read and annotate PDFs. A fantastic announcement was made today y the developer regarding version 3 of the app, which will, among many restructuring improvements, add the two features i have most been looking for to make this the perfect note app for work and school: Dropbox integration and PDF annotation.

Read more here: http://notesplusapp.com/versions/version-3
Pick it up in the app store. It is on sale right now for $1.99!

My iPad in school

I recently completed a small contract job to help a small business startup acquire and setup all of their computer and networking needs. For compensation, they gave me a 32GB wifi-only iPad, a nice Targus Truss case, and a Targus stylus.

Then came the fun part of learning to utilize this iPad to its fullest potential for life, school, and work. This post is to walk you through the steps of how, after a few days of research and testing, have decided I’m going to use the iPad for school.

As has been mentioned, I still feel I learn best via the note and paper method. Odd for a geek, but my notes have always sucked and I have retained less of them when trying to simply type the notes on a laptop. Also, I had no good solution for those times when I really just needed to draw a diagram or map an idea. This is hard to do with a keyboard. So my goal when researching note-taking applications was something that would allow me to write by hand. Evernote’s “cloud” storage is great for sharing notes amongst my many devices, but does not have a “drawing” input. Penultimate has nice notebook management and is decent for pen input. Finally, I’ve discovered UPAD. UPAD lets me input with the keyboard AND the stylus/finger on the same note, and has some very nice page templates for different types of paper, such as music staff, graph paper, and even Cornell-style notes. UPAD is the only note-taking app I’ve used so far that actually gives the user a special “zoomed-in” box for touch input. This is important, as using the capacative screen with a stylus or finger doesn’t provided the greatest accuracy when attempting to write small enough to fit between the lines of a paper’s rule.

Another great feature of UPAD that this post will discuss is the ability to annotate PDFs.

At Ball State, all of my grad school professors (and I would assume all professors) post Powerpoint presentations prior to class of the material to be covered in lecture. I download the Powerpoint slides, then open them in Powerpoint. From there, I choose print, and select the option to print notes pages to my PDF printer:

Once the PDF has been created and saved to a suitable location, I open iTunes.

Under devices, select the iPad, then choose Apps to view the applications installed on the iPad. Scrolling down, you will see a section called File Sharing. Select UPAD from the list of applications on the left, then Add. Browse to and select the PDF created from Powerpoint. Once this file has been added, Sync the device.

Once sync is complete, open UPAD on the iPad. Locate the PDF you’ve added and open it. From there, you can draw onto the PDF, making notes on each slide of information relevant to that particular slide.

Once complete, you can simple study from the notes in UPAD or generate and email a PDF of the notes to yourself and others. The latter option is done seamlessly through the intuitive interface of the app.

The digital classroom

It’s already established that I love paper and that I still take notes on paper, both in class and work.

This semester, I’ve decided to try my luck with the Kindle edition of one of my textbooks.  So far I’m very happy with this.  I have access to it on up to 3 devices, which are currently my desktop pc, my laptop, and my wife’s Kindle 2.  The only thing I do not like (READ: Attention Kindle developers) is that there is no page number correlation between the Kindle edition and the print edition, so I’m required to manually search the Kindle edition for assignments that are assigned by page number.

Let’s consider the iPad.  I think the potential for this to be the ultimate college student appliance is there.  Note-taking, access to classroom tools (Ball State uses Blackboard, which has an app), and now digital books through either the free Kindle app or the Apple Bookstore could make this the go-to for the geeky college student.  The two biggest barriers for me at this point have been lack of selection of electronic versions of textbooks and the note-taking input.  Yesterday, I discovered the Pogo Sketch.  This pen-like stylus is designed to work with capacitive touchscreen devices that are designed to respond only to “skin” contact.  If this works up to its potential, in combination with any of the many note-taking applications available, it could make the iPad the PERFECT device for the paper geek like me to jump into the digital pool.

Digital whiteboard?

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When working from home, I track projects on my whiteboard. Today I had to go into the office, so I took my whiteboard with me. Sort of. I emailed myself a picture of it, then set it as the desktop background on my work computer.

Going paper in a paperless world

Picture this:  a geek, who owns more than one laptop, loves technology, works in the field, sitting in an enterprise information systems graduate course.  Which laptop is in front of him?  The answer is none.  It was still in the backpack on the floor.

I don’t know why, but I have a really hard time taking notes in Word or Evernote or OneNote while I’m sitting in a lecture, meeting, and even when working on a development project.  Maybe it’s my way of avoiding Facebook, Twitter, and the news while I should be doing something more important.  Maybe it is directly related to my strange obsession with notebooks, pens, and pencils.  Maybe it’s because I love the flexibility that a paper and pen give me that no technology can provide.

I use spiral-bound notebooks, legal pads, and a Moleskine.  Each have their own purpose.  I just can’t get myself to move this concept of notebooks and notes to “modern” systems, like OneNote and Evernote.  They’re great apps with everything I could imagine I’d ever need and more, but there is something stopping me from adopting them.  Call me old school, call it routine.  I was surprised (and relieved) when, during this past weekend’s St. Louis Day of dot NET, I was not alone in the ol’ paper and pen note method among attendees and was geeked when presenters Michael Eaton and Dru Sellers proudly displayed their Moleskines when discussing time and project management.

Task lists in Outlook or Gmail?  Nah, post-it notes.  Now if I could just find a way to sync them to my phone.