What would you do if your computer decided not to restart? Few days ago my main HD decided not to restart, just when I was working on my new showreel. I normally have a pretty good System recovery strategy but since last time I reinstalled my system was 2 or 3 years ago, I wasn’t too sure if I had a backup. Luckily I had, so it was really easy to get back to a working desktop.
In the light of that, I have decided to share with you what is my “System recovery strategy”, maybe you will find something useful here.
Right now I don’t have time to go into too much detail so I am posting a version v1.0 which I will update if anyone is interested.
As usual I am using OneNote so here is the PDF:
After spending a bit of time around the net I finally replaced the default HTC Touchflow interface with the classic Windows Mobile 6.1 UI enhanced by a really cool add-on called SBP Diary. It is obviously not for everyone but personally I prefer to have my calendar/todo list on my home screen rather than shortcuts to softwares. The application is $20 and there is even a demo version on the website.
here is a list of freeware I find really useful:
Cathy: To organize your collection of CDs or DVD
Virtual Dub The swiss army knife of video compression, editing and capture
KMPlayer: probably the best media player for Windows, great for animators as you can scrub the timeline with the audio feedback
Timelapse photobooth: best timelapse webcam capture software
IrfanView: with Paint.net one of the lightest photoediting and screen capture software
WinSCP: FTP, SFTP freeware, that one has recently been recommended to me, I was using Leechftp until now
Syncback freeware: to synchronize files between computers/FTP
Windirstat: I spoke about that one some time ago. Visual disk usage statistic viewer
as some of you noticed, my blog was down for the past few days.
Like Keith Lango mentionned on his blog last month, WordPress is a great application but the hacking problem is a big issue which I am fed up fighting with. I was talking to Andrew Gordon few month ago and he was complaining about Splinedoctors issues as well.
I have successfully upgraded my WordPress application to 2.7 but WordPress is taking so much of my precious time that I might end up like Keith and go back to Blogger.
Copying large files across a wireless network or automatically to a FTP can be a bit painfull unless you use a Synchronization software.
There are many for Windows, and plenty of free ones. SyncToy is the default Microsoft one but “SyncBack Freeware” is my favourite SyncBack. You can find it here
If like me your Explorer crashes when opening a folder with video files, it s probably because you installed some dodgey software which is taking over the default explorer thumbnail generator.
To restore it, open the registry editor (type regedit in the command line)
find the following key
and delete whatever value you have for the “Default” key. Press Ok restart and off you go!
Thanks google and Annoyances.org website.
At least I can comfort myself and say that just like 900.000 other Registerfly customers, I am victim of a huge criminal affair, the Registerfly story would make a great plot for a hollywood movie.
Just the short story, it is 2.45am and I am still trying to rescue my customers domain names and my own ones.
I will just quote this extract from counter official Registerflies.com website:
“Site Hacked and Data Corrupted
Attention everyone. I just received confirmation that the Registerfly site has currently been hacked into and taken over by Kevin Medina in the Florida officeI was asked to put this up here due to the amount of customers that are sending money. At this moment, they are trying to get police in Florida to arrest Kevin immediately..”
Yep the site has supposedly been hacked by their former CEO who took refuge in Florida where he would be still operating, putting in jeopardy a shy 2.000.000 domain names.
I am soooo tired about those 2 companies and hopefully complaining about it on my own website will not attract any censorship.
Registerfly for a start. Just DON’T BUY ANY DOMAIN NAME FROM THEM!!!! if you are lucky and only have one or two domains then you are gonna be fine but if you deals with several website and run into problems…. don’t expect them to help you out.
I used to use the ticket service to get technical support but after 1 week of being ignored I started to use their phone number (they used to have a chat application but it was too ridiculous) DONT CALL THEM! If you are lucky you will get an answer within few minutes, up to 45 minutes but just don’t bother, they will always tell you that they “are really sorry but their system is currently down and they can’t check anything right now but in 24h everything should be resolved”… I waited one week , I still get the same answer and the support ticket still hasn’t be processed.
You don’t know what to do? Well try GoDaddy.com for a start. I usually try to to resist advertising featuring women in skimpy outfit but the switch seem unavoidable.
Now, Mediatemple.net….. I have always found Dot net and Dot org domain names so ironical. In few situation I found website owner trying to buy some sort of respectability or friendliness by putting a .net or .org at the end of their domain name. Was Apple.net already taken when Steve Jobs embraced internet?
Mediatemple…..ok I can’t be bothered. Just for the sake of it, a short version. Where do you hear about Mediatemple? Surfstation.lu, Designiskinky, K10k.net. I was at recent graphic design convention and they were giving away free stickers expecting people to place them on their MacBookIntelOSXProDuoCore. Too bad I am on PC mate!
If you are involved with Graphic Design then yeah, you just can’t avoid them.
Two years ago, fed up with Rip off and unstable Webfusion/Pipex, I tried many hosting company and finally stuck my Mediatemple sticker on my PC… yeah under heavy brain wash how can you still resit guerilla marketing?
Ok yeah the short story. I have been with MT (sounds cool MT right? MT.net ;-) ) for about 2 years. First year was fine, second year was atrocious. I am a lucky bastard who happen to be on a server that still runs MySQL pretty smoothly but it wasn’t the case for other people. My problem then is not MySQL but email server related. They go down so often that I lost count. The funniest part is that they keep telling you that since they moved to “The GRID technology” (they haven’t done marketing school for nothing ya know! and look at the CG rendering of their so called Grid Servers? The two G5 they used for hosting probably wouldn’t have appeared serious enough) there shouldn’t be any downtime anymore….Downtime however do happen so they put new clusters and tell you “we added 40 new processor cluster bla bla bla so the situation should be resolved”. One week later they announce that they need to put 40 more clusters!!!! What a joke.
Oh yeah you can always take a dedicated server and try to trouble shoot their technical problems by yourself !
And for the fun of it read their System Status panel to see the biggest bunch of Mediatemple fans appraising the good work at their holly hosting company despite their website being down for more than 48h. Don’t expect to see my comments, they get edited out most of the time.
If you can afford to have your website down for more than 48h then you can surely add a .net or .org at the end of you domain name!
Hello everyone, after thinking about doing my own blog software I finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t have the time or the interest to do it. I have therefore decided to tranfer my blog from Blogger to WordPress. The main reason for the move is the fact that Blogger doesnt’ allow you to use categories and this is a bit of a pain when you want to organise the information.
The transfer process is very easy, just make sure you transfer your blog from your server to the blogger server first and everything is gonna be fine. If you know what you are doing it only takes about 10 minutes. I still managed to screw up the transfer and lost a big part of the videos hosted on my server.
Anyway, welcome to my new blog. I will update the design as soon as I get the hang of it.
Definitely the last post before I start working on my assignment :-|
There is a concept I never completly grasped about video shooting, it is called Video Interlacing but don’t be scared, video interlacing? It is actually very simple.
If you look carefully on frame 163 of my last Video ref, you will see this:
When shooting video with any consumer camcorder this is what actually get printed on your tape so why is that?
To simplify, a PAL TV doesn’t display 25 fps but actually 50 fps. Have you ever heard of 50Hz TV? Now those 50 fps are not full frames, they are interlaced frames. The reason is because of the technology used. The tube of a TV in the past wasn’t able to display full frames so this was the trick used: displaying the odd lines on the first pass and the even lines on the second pass. (beware the order depends on the hardware).
On a fast movement like above, since one line out of two is captured 1/50th of a second later, then that second field will appear delayed.
If your footage is gonna be displayed straight onto your TV then you should just leave it as it is, the movement will appear very fluid.
Now the problem is when you want to do some compositing. Since each full frame is interlaced, an effect like a blur or adding adding a layer of CG will corrupt your interlacing.
In a video compositing/editing software what people do to avoid working on interlaced frames is to tell the software which field to use first. Here is the result you would get in Combustion:
At first I thought that telling combustion to mix the fields, adding a bit of colour grading and some grain from a selected film stock would give my videos the film look, unfortunately this is not that easy.
How do you think Combustion is gonna give you your 25fps shot? I told you that the video was shot in 50 interlaced fields per seconds so the software will actually blend those 2 fields in a pretty disgusting manner. Look closely at the resulting effect:
Yes the sad reality is that if you want to get a film look there is nothing better than shooting on film.
Have you got any idea how much it costs to shoot on film? I don’t either but I have been told it was very very very expensive. Any alternative?
Actually yes, shooting full frame! At the moment, only prosumer camcorder like the old Canon XL1 are able to do that. The full frame mode is also called Progressive.
Have you ever heard that term before? It is the new format for 1080 HD but don’t be fooled, the latest Sony HD consumer camcorder doesn’t shoot full frame. If you are interested in the amazing HD quality you will have to wait for the next generation of HD cameras so for the time being you will be stuck to Pal and NTSC. Too bad isn’t it? Yes that really pisses me off too!
Oh I almost forgot, if you only have a cheap camera, some people are suggesting to import your footage twice with an opacity of 75% on each footage but to give a different field order for each. My DV cam is so crap that it doesn’t actually make too much of a difference.
For video reference I don’t mix the fields. Keeping my footage intelaced allows me to have a better view of the motion arcs. Hehe you didn’t know that did you?
I hope this was usefull to you. Happy filming!
 some AE plugins like Twixor throw away one of the fields and with a bit of magic create the missing field. That looks great but sadly create some blur since half of the information is missing.
I will elaborate a bit more on this soon but as a summary, I bought the Pinnacle basic DV card last week and after trying to get it to work for more than 6 hours I gave up and decided to try to return it to Dixons on Oxford Street. Guess what, the shop changed name and is now called Curry. The DV card was bought 18 days ago which would normally exclude it from the Refund/return scheme. Surprisingly it was very easy to have it swapped for a Pyro DV card, I just said the product was faulty when it was probably a problem with shitty drivers. Since 95% of PC World/Dixons/Currys staff has no clue about the stuff they sell (except expensive Insurance covers), they just accepted the return. No clue about what they sell? Ask them if their DV camera can shoot full frame or if there Tape player do NTSC playback.
Don’t be fooled and buy a Pinnacle product thinking that with the forum they have if you run into a problem it will be quickly sorted out. I plugged the Pyro card and XP recognised it righaway, no drivers needed. Altogether that was 8 hours wasted instead of 8 hours of animation.
I have been very busy lately and couldn’t finish my last 2 assignement on time this week. Got a D mark which is not good but my bosses were opening a new internet café and I had to do all the networking, server, workstation setup.
The internet café is now ready but I was also involved in the design of www.stagknight.com which had been taking all my energy for the past 2 weeks. I eventually managed to pass the website to my friend Sergio from Vulcanstudios.com all for the best. Stagknight is a comic/horror movie (“Shawn of the Dead” kind of stuff) that should be coming out around July. Virals online soon.
Today we had our weekly London Animation Mentor lunch at the Newman Arms where we ate delicious Pies and Matt Morris joined us after a 2 month break from Animation Mentor.
It is now time for me to catch up with my previous assignement and try to get some good marks. ;-) Would be a shame to fail on the first assignement that belongs to a showreel….
Oh oh oh… I was about to forget last week sketches and Stu pose: Concerned
Last week strong pose and sketches
Revision, much better isn’t it?
for those of you wondering what kind of equipment you need for Animation Mentor, here is a picture of my current computer. Yes it is fancy but not really in a cosmetic kind of way ;-)
What you need is basically a motherboard and CPU for less than £100. £50 worth of Ram, a £50 Gforce graphic card, a £40 HD, a £15 power supply and let’s go a bit crazy with a £25 DVD burner dual layer ;-)
You might want to get a trolley to be able to move the pc around without disturbing the layout! For the people with very sharp eyes, yes it is resting on an old VCR and a piece of cardboard for insulation and yes the MOBO is a bit big so the DVD burner is laid over the PCI port…..