Monthly Archives: January 2016


I’ve recently had to fly oversea (yesterday) and this is usually for me the opportunity to try new things: can’t really sleep, in-flight entertainment is usually crappy, so here I go.

I tried a new game called Chromasquad. Reason why I tried this is simple : I recently got it in a humble bundle (monthly one I guess), it’s DRM-free (I could get it from humble bundle website easily), it’s small (in 100 of MB at most) and runs decently on a mac book air, which has close to no power.

I tried and I got surprisingly addicted: pitch is pretty simple, a bunch of stuntsmen go out of their studio and start making their own power rangers clone. The game itself is close to XCom, enemy unknown : you work your team, improve it then play in a turn by turn. Gameplay is quite addictive, not as easy as it sounds initially. Graphics are… well, let’s say they fit with nostalgia with a nice principle of hand drawn, blocky old fashioned sprites. Either you love or you hate, it personally reminds me of my youth 🙂

Seeing how cheap the game is, I strongly recommend to buy it. Seeing that I missed the trophies (playing out of steam), I’ll probably redo it really soon and keep it as a plane friendly, low-power game.

Of course, the other games I did in the plane were less fun. They included tearing of my seat with the help of the steward to fetch my headphones converter, 45 minutes of turbulence in the middle of lunch and using a 10 inches screen to watch an SD movie. I don’t understand how in-flight entertainment can still be that crappy.

Youtube and me, second round

My first try with youtube was such a tremendous success  (ahem) that I had to try again. The main problem of previous video was a really crappy sound. I did lots of tests since and discovered that my headset is producing decent sound quality with audacity. However, if I try to record directly from lightworks or OBS, the sound becomes awfully crappy. I don’t have an explanation yet.

Today’s topic is a response to tripa’s challenge to do a dodecaedron with a straigth edge and a compass. I found it quite interesting as it allowed me to explore other alternatives.

Let’s go to the gory details:

  • Shooting is done using my reflex (Canon EOS 550D) and a 28-55 optic (if I remember correctly).shoot_reflex The setup involved holding the reflex vertically and connecting it to my computer via USB. The challenges were mostly that the optic I used is a zoom and tended to fall and change focal and that the vibrations tended to shake slightly the video. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the video quality
  • Shooting was done with my crazy parrot trying to help. Not sure if she was successful to help but she had a great time.
  • I used lightworks, again, and I’m still not convinced. I was unable to zoom / trim my still pictures in the video editor (hence these nice black band) and export is limited to 720p, which is a pity knowing the initial material is 1080p… Some UI issue killed me as well, I have a feeling  that I’m not in control and it makes me slightly uncomfortable. Especially, I liked the concept of using subclips and reusing them, but I was hoping for references rather than copies : if I make a “introduction” edit and use it in my main edit, it seems like editing the intro one has no effect on the main one….
  • Getting decent light is not trivial either, probably need to work on that one, I played easy as it was dailight and I had natural diffuse light (thanks to the snow falling from the sky)
  • I used some background music that I took from I checked 10 times and it seems to be really fine with what I’m doing, I’m no musician but I found having a soft background sound helped. I definitely should do better with regards to music editing, I feel really crappy (no soft transition, lack of music at some point). I hope it does not cover my voice.
  • I recorded the voice using audacity, then exporting sub-sample and mixing them. Not using face video means not having to care about AV synchro 🙂
  • I inserted a title and some rolling credentials, was surprisingly easy !

My conclusion, it’s not trivial to do but it’s doable if you’re fine with a sub-par result. If you aim at higher quality, then the effort grows exponentially (and so does the headache)


Youtube and me

I’m from a generation who was taught that the ultimate source of knowledge are the books. I managed to evolve on my own and found that internet is a wonderful place where lots of people share lots of interesting stuff. I was pretty happy with that situation : look for a blog post or an instructable, a random tutorial, more or less crappy, follow and tune, troll. I had the manual on how to do it, from newsgroup to phpbb forum. Eh, I even got my own personal blog!

The new generation seems however to have moved out of written knowledge and shit into using video as a solution to any problem. I personnally don’t like too much, I find much easier to skip and follow written instruction than a video whose focus is not always on the interesting part. Anyway, if the moves has moved that way and the cool kids are doing that, I guess I don’t have too many choices : follow and try to be a cool kid (ahem) or start becoming obsolete. I feel too young to be obsolete, so I looked at what is the effort required to create a decent youtube tutorial.

Bear with me: I didn’t want to do a crappy video with my smartphone of me doing something stupid (see : tthat how you plug an sdcard into a raspberry pi while focussing on the cable behind. I wanted to do something nice, not prolfessional but somehow useful.

Conclusion, it’s tough! My personal computer environement is composed of mac (corporate laptop), linux (poor laptop) and windows (gaming rig). It seems obvious that I want cross-platform tools, I got kids and less freetime than the average student, not talking about the random teenager which seems to be the most adept at posting content.

Ok, I tried tonight, spent roughly 3 hours on a simple inkscape tutorial

  • I used Open Broadcaster Software for screencasting and mixing video and sound
  • I used lightworks (free as in free beer, not free speech) for assembling clips together

Lessons learnt:

  • if you want to explain something, better know exactly what you are doing. Especially, first try was a one shot with lots of trials and errors. So shot sequences and mix them later.
  • mounting sequences is hard: it took half the time to just link them together and it seems I managed to export a 30 minutes video while having 10 minutes of content
  • software limitations are bitches: I shoot in 1080p, could only export to 720p, which is a major issue when shooting a screencast.
  • my microphone was saturating, so I reduced gain. And then you can’t hear me (used my heaphones as microphone)
  • had to shoot twice cause I used a bad codec the first time, this pissed me of (we’re in 2015, isn’t the codec mayhem supposed to be fixed?)

Next time:

  • redo the same video, I’m becoming exceedingly efficient at drawing dodecahedrons schematics
  • write a script that you can follow
  • keep empty space before and after each recording, it’s easy to trim
  • read more tutorial on mounting tool, maybe switch to cinelerra?
  • prepare an intro, add titles and copyrights
  • merge some sound as background and control current sound level
  • avoid any kind of copyright infringement

If you want to laugh, here is the result: