How to add closed captions to Facebook video

May 11, 2016 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on How to add closed captions to Facebook video 

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 1.45.13 PM

A post on reelseo gives the basics on how to add closed captions to your Facebook videos with an .srt file.

Go to their instructions, but in a nutshell:  create a text file that follows SubRip closed caption style with numbered text blocks with timing codes in the format 00:00:10,000 –> 00:00:15,000  (which is down to the millisecond), save it with filenaming style (for US english,) then upload it along with the video file under ‘edit video’ menu in Facebook.

Whew that’s a lot of work.

Mobile journalist apps

May 11, 2016 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on Mobile journalist apps 

Glen Mulcahy of MoJoCon fame has put together a great list of apps you might need as a mobile journalist. Video, photo, and editing apps for iOS devices, all on one page.


McKenna Ewan can tell a story

August 8, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on McKenna Ewan can tell a story 

The 38 year engagement by McKenna Ewan


This is an emotional and well-done news piece about the first couple to marry after Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage.

This is story-telling we should all aspire to.

McKenna Ewan at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune did a great job on this.




New budget JVC shoulder-mount wedding and event camera

April 1, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on New budget JVC shoulder-mount wedding and event camera 


JVC has announced a $1995 shoulder-mount video camera, the GY-HM70.  It has a 1/2.3 inch chip and a 16x f/1.2 lens that they claim does well in low light. It’s AVCHD with manual controls, although not like a broadcast camera.  It’s aimed toward wedding and event shooters, but it would also make a cheap news camera.  No xlr’s – just 3.5mm mic inputs.

The price is what makes it notable.  Panasonic has had a camera in this form factor for a long time, targeting the school, event, and law enforcement crowd.  Now JVC’s got it covered as well.  Coming in May, they say.

Here are the features from the press release:

  • Full 1920 x 1080 capture and recording at 60P in the AVCHD Progressive format (28Mbps)
  • 1/2.3-inch 12 megapixel oversampled CMOS imager
  • 29.5mm wide angle autofocus zoom lens with 16x dynamic zoom, 200x digital zoom
    (35mm equivalent: 25.5mm — 476mm)
  • Manual focus, zoom, iris, shutter, white balance control
  • Optical image stabilizer
  • Stable, professional shoulder form factor
  • Records to dual SDHc/SDXC memory cards
    • 1080/60P (28 Mbps)
    • 1080/60i (24/17/12/5 Mbps)
    • 720×480 (6/3 Mbps)
  • FALCONBRID™ High Speed Processor
  • High speed video recording (for slow motion)
    300 fps (720 x 480 resolution)
  • 3-inch Touch Screen LCD display
  • .24-inch LCOS Color Viewfinder
  • Focus assist function
  • Zebra indication (Over 100%/70-80%/OFF)
  • Auto iris/Manual iris adjustment
  • AE adjustment
  • Backlight compensation
  • Touch priority AE/AF
  • Face detection/Smile shot
  • Tele macro
  • Built-in zoom microphone
  • 3.5mm Microphone Input
  • 12MP digital still capture (JPEG format)
  • 2MP still capture during recording
  • Unique dual snap-on battery system (1 provided)
  • 3.5mm Remote Connector (compatible with HZ-M150VZR remote lens control unit)
  • 3.5mm Headphone out connector

Tascam DSLR mixer/recorder

March 30, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · 2 Comments 
Tascam dr-60d DSLR audio recorder and mixer.

Tascam dr-60d DSLR audio recorder and mixer.

Tascam has a new DR-60d recorder and mixer that will do four channels of audio while attached to the bottom of your DSLR.

This thing looks great. High quality recording and a mixer in a nice small $350 unit. Supposed to have high-quality preamps and it has a safety track feature to record a duplicate channel at -6 or -12db down. It will record four channels so you can have a small shotgun in the hot shoe and still have two lav mics for your subjects.

B&H has an overview here:

A list of features from Tascam:

  • Record to SD/SDHC card(Up to 32GB)
  • Simultaneously record up to 4 tracks
  • Recording format:16/24bit、44.1/48/96kHz (WAV/BWF)
  • TASCAM original HDDA microphone preamps
  • Recording levels can be adjusted independently for the 1/L, 2/R and 3-4 inputs
  • Two XLR/TRS inputs support +4dBu line level input and phantom power supply (24/48V)
  • Plug-in power supply and high-output mic input supported on input 3-4
  • CAMERA OUT connector for output from the DR-60D’s mixer
  • CAMERA IN connector for sound monitoring from the Camera
  • Independent LINE OUT connector and HEADPHONE output for high-quality sound output
  • 50mW/ch headphone output
  • Tripod mounting threads (bottom) and DSLR screw attachment (top)
  • Handles protect the screen and can be used to attach a shoulder strap
  • Soft-Touch Rubber Keys for silent operation
  • HOLD switch to prevent accidental operation
  • A QUICK button is available for easy access to various functions
  • 128×64 pixel LCD with backlight
  • USB 2.0 connection for high-speed transferring
  • Mini USB cable included
  • Operates on 4 AA batteries, an AC adapter (sold separately) or USB bus power
  • Can extend battery life with BP-6AA battery pack (sold separately)
  • Dedicated remote control jack for the wired RC-10 remote control or RC-3F footswitch (both sold separately)
  • Internal mixer: PAN and LEVEL controls
  • Low cut filter(40/80/120Hz)
  • Limiter (1/L and 2/R can be selected for link-operation)
  • Delay function for distance of microphones adjustments (+/-150ms)
  • M-S decode function
  • Slate tone generator (AUTO/MANUAL)
  • Selectable duration of slate tone from four positions (0.5/1/2/3 sec, when Auto generate)
  • Selectable slate tone generate position. 3 positions: OFF/HEAD/HEAD+TAIL, when Auto generate
  • File name format can be set to use a user-defined word or date
  • Dual recording function allows two files to be recorded simultaneously at different levels
  • Auto-record function can automatically start and stop recording at set level
  • Pre-recording function allows the unit to record a 2 second sound buffer before recording is activated
  • Self timer function for solo recording
  • New file starts recording automatically without interruption when maximum file size is reached
  • Track incrementing function allows a recording to be split by creating a new file when desired
  • Jump back and play function
  • Equalizers function for playback, and level alignment function to enhance the perceived overall sound pressure
  • Resume function to memorize the playback position before the unit is turned off
  • MARK function up to 99 points per audio track
  • DIVIDE function

Everything is going mobile, including video

April 29, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · 2 Comments 

Mobile Phone

The news ecosystem has suddenly gone mobile.  Including video.

And I’m not sure the news producers realize it.

According to online advertising distributor BrightRoll, mobile video advertising will surpass online video advertising this year.  Their CEO is quoted as saying that requests for mobile video ad exchanges have jumped from les than 5% to 40% of traffic in one year.  And that mobile advertising requests overall have increased 4,000% in the past year.

The stats I’ve seen from my own paper also indicate an extremely rapid and across-the-board leap to mobile platforms for news consumption.

Even at the generally reactionary broadcast crowd at the NAB convention this year, a lot of talk was about ‘second screens’ and the way the audience are using their ipads and smart phones while watching broadcast TV.

“Stop thinking of producing stuff. Those days are over.”  That was a comment from Michael Rosenblum on the NewspaperVideo email list as we talked about the switch to mobile.

But are those days over? YouTube is putting $100 million into producing original content.

Netflix generates by far the largest amount of internet traffic – as much as 30% and growing.

Online video advertising is setting records when connected to professionally-produced content on Hulu. “Delivering another record month, Hulu recorded more than 1.7 billion video ad views in March, while Google Sites — i.e., YouTube, ranked second with more than 1.2 billion video ads. The BrightRoll video network came in third with 953 million, followed by with 892 million, and Specific Media with more than 775 million.”

User-generated-content for media sites has been generally unsuccessful. It certainly has been at my paper and heavens knows we’ve tried. CNN has had some success with iReport, but they have dedicated resources to vetting the content and only review for publication a tiny fraction of ireports, and those are from news that is usually already making headlines. (See a fascinating master’s thesis on ireport and gatekeeping from Amani Channel here: )

For generations, our journalism model has been based on advertising paying the bills by surrounding the content. Even online, where advertising only generates pennies on the dollar compared to print, we’ve had a decent amount of success with all sorts of banners, flyouts, pre-rolls, sponsored pages, search-based ads, and individually targeted advertising. Some print media companies are making up to 50% of their revenue online.

But as things move to mobile, you lose some of the opportunity to surround your content with advertising. When the consumer is paying by the bit for their data, they’re going to object to too much advertising around the content they want to see. Mobile means 140 character stories, headlines, and links. On the video front, I’m guessing long form is out.

But how do we continue with advertiser-supported journalism on mobile devices? Stipends from the carriers? Sponsors on handsets and tablets?

Public-financed journalism? NPR is a shell of its former self; government funding has disappeared. The BBC ain’t doing so hot these days, either.

I don’t have a clue what the answer is. Just that things are changing. The wholesale jump to mobile consumption of news is an amazing and extraordinarily rapid change to our ecosystem. It doesn’t seem like many folks are talking about it but the traffic stats are really clear. Everything has changed on the news front. Our audience is now on smart phones.

How do we serve them? How do we survive?

(And I’m loving the debate on crowd-sourcing vs. gate-keeping. Just remember that Fox is the most popular news channel, Kony2012 is bunk, and your Facebook feed is full of hoaxes. And Hitler rose to power in a democratic republic.)

The PadCaster iPad rig

April 18, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on The PadCaster iPad rig 


This is sick.  A rig for an iPad to let you hook mics and lights on it  – and even a 35mm adapter!

Josh Apter from the training company Manhattan Edit Workshops wanted a way to put stuff on his iPad and started building this contraption.  It has a urethane insert that securely holds your iPad 3, inside an aluminum frame with 1/4-20 holes all around.  You can mount it to a tripod and put mics and lights and stuff around the frame.  And the wicked cool thing is the little mount so you can put your 35mm adapter on it.  He was showing a quite nice movie he had shot with the rig – very impressive for an iPad.

It will sell for $200 and be available from









New video editing choices

April 18, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on New video editing choices 

I saw demos of two new editing programs last night that are pretty exciting.

First off is the new CS6 version of Adobe Premiere. This is an all-new version and it looks so much better than the previous one. It looks elegant and you mostly see your media now, instead of the program interface. It will take most any media and it has some cool features like skimming and live correction during playback, and great new trimming tools. This is where the old Final Cut desktop market will go, I think.

The other editing program is Autodesk Smoke 2013, which is targeted at the pro Final Cut market. It looks and acts like Final Cut when you’re in the editing mode but of course has the Smoke special effects engine behind it so you can make the film of your dreams – or nightmares, if you’re into horror. This makes After Effects look like a toy. Smoke used to be $15,000, but the new editing version will be much less – $3500. If you’re a pro editor it will be a bargain.

Avid, the broadcast standard, is running a special now to cross-grade from FCP to Avid Symphony 6 for $995. This too is a great bargain if you’re working in a collaborative environment. It’s normally $6,000.  Just be prepared for the sticker shock for the next version upgrade.

The pro editing crowd is definitely not embracing Final Cut X and these new alternatives look good.

NAB report 2012

April 15, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on NAB report 2012 

I’m in Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters convention, where a few TV types worry about the state of the industry and the other 85,000 attendees drool over this year’s crop of new video and broadcast toys.
Two years ago the show was dominated by 3D products, with Sony’s giant booth darkened down so the crowd could don dorky glasses to watch 3D footage on a huge screen like the drones from Apple’s famous 1984 Mac ad. But the real action was in the booths where hordes of vendors were hawking accessories for DSLR cameras.
This year the buzz is all about 4k cameras, with new models from Canon and Sony sure to draw the multitudes. But like 3D, those cameras may be before their time. Normal folks have no way to display 4K let alone the horsepower to edit it.
We’ll see Monday morning when the displays open what the back story is for this year’s gear.
I’ll be posting stuff as I find it that is of interest to visual journalists.

Live streaming in the age of tapeless cameras

April 13, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on Live streaming in the age of tapeless cameras 

Livestream encoder

It used to be really easy to live stream an event – plug a firewire cable into your laptop from your dv camera and away your went.

But now with tapeless HD cameras, it’s not so easy.  There’s no firewire port on most new cameras.  And even if you’re using a firewire camera, the newer versions of Mac OS X and Flash have broken the audio part of the equation for those who are Mac-based.

Here are a few ways to get around the problems:

The analog/digital converter route – Using something like the Grass Valley ADVC55 Analog/Digital Converter, you can take the av output from your camera, (assuming you can remove the onscreen displays from within your camera menus,) and convert the video to firewire.  Your camera’s av output is typically on a cable with red, white, and yellow RCA connectors, with the yellow being standard def analog video meant for a monitor.  In theory, you can plug all three cables into your converter box and feed it into your laptop via firewire.  In practice, you won’t get any audio with Livestream or UStream live broadcasting services.  I don’t know if Flash or OS X is to blame, but you can’t get audio this way any longer.  The solution is to use a mini stereo to RCA “Y” adapter and feed your audio straight into your Mac’s microphone jack (at Mic level only, not line.)  Then set your Flash settings to use the DV box for video and ‘built-in input’ for audio.  This is my method.

External encoder – using something like a Teradek Cube, or the newly-announced Livestream Broadcaster pictured above, or at the higher end a Newtek Tricaster, you can encode your signal and broadcast live.  There’s even one called the Teradek Bond which uses multiple cell phone usb data cards to broadcast HD live.  And if you have a large budget, you can get a backpack to do live broadcast quality video.

But in any case, you live and die by your internet connection.  I have never had success over a venue’s wifi at an event – a small crowd of people will take down the connection speed quickly.  Hardwire ethernet connections to a separate internet leg is best, and a 4G cellular data puck will often work, unless it’s on ATT and there are a lot of iPhones in the crowd.  Like I said, live-streaming isn’t as easy as it used to be.

UPDATE:  Here’s another entry in the streaming field:


The MiniCaster is a camera-top box with various models that take in either HDSDI, HDMI, or analog signals and encode them in h.264 for web streaming.  The German manufacturer has put it in a sturdy-feeling plastic case with weather sealing.  It has a battery built-in with a relatively short life but has a power input from 8-24 volts. It has a usb port for a single cellular modem or wifi to connect to a hot spot.  Prices range from $1500-$3,000 from resellers all over the world.  This looks like something built ruggedly for news.





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