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There is something wrong with the education system in the world today, or at least with the one where my kids go to school.
Nix that; the problem is in a particular grade, with a particular teacher. Any teacher who could give one of my kids a bad report on one of their civil service forms has no business teaching and obviously has no idea what he is doing!
Well, what other explanation could there be? Unless this person needs stronger glasses (I've seen the ones s/he wears, and they're pretty thick already!). How could they not realize how charming - how sweet - how intelligent my darling child is?
In fact, my kid is so adorable, he is now a movie star! I kid you not; this child now has a "public," and he gets fan mail from people all around the world who have seen his picture. I gave that teacher a real talking to, and showed him some of my kid's fan mail - but to no avail.
He wasn't impressed - but who cares? When you're a movie star, you get to call the shots.
How did I get my kid into the movies? Well, obviously he's extremely talented - but I cannot tell a lie. All I did was shoot a movie with my digital camera - which I then uploaded to Google Video, for the benefit of all man - and woman - kind.
You may have come across http://video.google.com in your Web travels. The service was introduced but a scant few months ago, but it already hosts tens of thousands of videos, mostly short, but with some running as long as half an hour. The site has a Google-ized search engine, so you can watch a drama, comedy, or "dramedy" as the mood strikes. Google is not the only site hosting videos these days, although it is certainly the largest.
There are, in fact, dozens of sites that will let you host your videos for free and even e-mail your friends to tell them where to watch your precious babies performing for the camera.
Now, I don't want to mislead anyone; we're not talking Hollywood classics here. Almost all of the videos on the Google site are amateur videos, with a small smattering of funny TV commercials, as well as several presentations and pitches by people trying to sell stuff. The production values on most of them are pretty basic, but I suppose anyone skilled enough to make a professional looking production would have been drafted by the movie studios long ago.
BUT THERE are still some things about production anyone who wants to spread their own brand of video magic needs to know - such as what format to upload your video in. The making of a DVD from footage shot with an analog or digital video camera is a rather messy and complicated affair, so unless you're willing to make a significant commitment of time and money, using a digital video camera which you attach to your PC to download the film is not for you.
Besides, such videos are not what Google is looking for - they're likely to be too long, for one thing, and a digital video camera's DV format is not compatible with the site's requirements (see https://upload.video.google.com and http://googlevideo.blogspot.com).
If you've got a digital camera, though, uploading video to Google should be a piece of cake. Most digital cameras let you take short videos, which you can easily transfer to your computer as you do with your digital pictures, using a USB cable. Most cameras save these video files in the AVI format, which is one of Windows' native video playback formats, and you can play them with Windows Media Player (Mac users will need to install a special utility program called a codec in order to play their files with Quicktime Player).
Now you're ready to upload your video - almost. According to Google's upload FAQ, "The fastest way to get your videos into Google Video is to submit each file in MPEG4 format with MP3 audio or MPEG2 with MP3" - a format different from that of the AVI file you now have on your computer.
What to do? Well, you have to convert the file from AVI to the formats requested by Google.
How do you do that? Up until a few days ago I would have said something like "pray" - because it can be a complicated procedure, to say the least! But now that I am using SUPER, the Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer (http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html), a free program for Windows 2000/XP systems that lets you easily convert between different file formats, moving files from AVI to MPEG2/4 (or other formats, including Flash or Quicktime) is no work at all!
The program is self-explanatory - just match the program's settings to Google's requirements - and click on the Encode Now button. SUPER is based on some well-known UNIX freeware video utilities, does its work quickly and efficiently - and is absolutely free! Pretty soon, your kids will be joining mine in the Theater of the Net. Next stop - Hollywood Boulevard, where we'll embed our footprints in concrete!
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