Why I Hate Video
Last night I was commiserating with my brother about how much I hate video production. I’m extremely frustrated with the inability of companies to create an easy to use HD video camera solution for consumers.
A while back I was going to do a video podcast. I was going to interview photographers and do 20-30 minute interviews with them for a show I was going to call phototalking. I started out doing a couple of interviews but the process quickly broke down as I stumbled first hand into the throws of the hell that is editing video.
I started my foray into video by buying a video camera that Steve Gillmor recommended to me. It was a JVC camera that had a hard drive. I wanted the camera to also be able to do HD video of my kids who are rapidly growing up before my very eyes without enough good video of them.
My problem is/was that the JVC recorded it’s video program in some proprietary format called “TOD.” I suppose that they used this format to save some sort of buck here or there or maybe it was just some sort of April Fools joke on consumers by providing them a format that is impossible to play back on any device that I’ve ever known. One thing that was for sure, the mysterious TOD format wouldn’t work on my Mac or on my PC and about the only place I’ve ever been able to view the video is on the actual tiny little screen on the video camera itself. I felt like a chump for paying so much for that crappy JVC video camera.
Recently my wife and I decided that we’d take all of the old mini DV tapes from our last video camera (a Sony) and have those transferred to video files so that we could watch them on our Media Center system at home. We paid some guy from craigslist money to transfer the old tapes to DVD. The problem? The DVDs came back in .VOB files. More files that do me no good as I can’t seem to get them to play as files on my Media Center PC.
What I really want is the ability to easily transfer my home movies to my computer hard drive and then simply drag and drop the files into a folder that my Media Center PC and XBox 360 extender units can play for our family enjoyment on the big screen where I watch my TV, Netflix DVDs, JPG photographs, and play mp3 files.
It seems like JPG and MP3 are great formats that can be read on anything. But video, that’s another story. I tried about 10 different video conversion programs that I found on the web and couldn’t find anything that seemed to be able to convert my videos into something usable. I did find one that seemed to eventually turn at least my .VOB files into WMP type files that I could play. The only problem was that the sound on the video went at normal speed, while the video image went at super slow speeds.
While I don’t claim to be the world’s most technically astute video expert, I do consider myself above average in my technical capabilities. Certainly I’m far more advanced in my own skills than people like my parents. Which is where the problem is. If I’m having as much trouble as I am. I’m sure lots of other people are as well. I’m not exactly sure who to blame for this whole mess — Microsoft, Apple, JVC, the hardware makers, software makers, Hollywood, DRM, who knows. My guess is that more than anything it’s probably a consortium of interests looking to screw over the consumer.
Someday I’m probably going to buy the new Canon Mark II 5D camera that will now shoot video as well as still photography. I’m already dreading what working with these video files is going to be like.