After going to one of our campuses (Newnham) on cross-country skis I decided to give showshoeing a try for my everyday campus (Seneca@York). I enjoyed it so much I did it all winter long.

Video was edited with Cinelerra, though not much editing was needed. I’ll make some notes about the process here because I already forgot what I did the last time a mere two weeks ago:

My camera (a Sony HDR-PJ200) creates MTS files (which apparently are AVCHD – a piece of information that’s useful to know when looking through endless lists of format capabilities). These are 1080i, which is not quite as good as 1080p and this is important to know not only because of the resolution and aspect ratio but also because “i” is for interlaced, and not all programs deinterlace automatically (e.g. VLC).

I cannot use MTS files in Cinelerra. In fact very little software supports them in any fashion. So the first step was to find a format that Cinelerra could use as a source and wouldn’t lose too much of my high quality. Originally I used DV, but I was later annoyed to discover that DV is 3:4 which squeezes my image way too much. I tried a high quality MP4 wiht h264 compression but Cinelerra can’t handle playing that back. Finally I settled on MPEG2 with AC3 audio in an MPG container.

I converted my MTS files to MPG using a very handy graphical tool called WinFF. That is little more than a GUI that will create an ffmpeg command, but if you’ve ever tried to write an ffmpeg command you’ll know how valuable it is. The preset I used in WinFF is called “DVD/NTSC DVD HQ Widescreen”. The resulting files were about 25-30% the size of the originals but the quality was quite good enough.

In Cinelerra I imported the MPG files and edited the video. Then I remembered to set my project settings for 16:9 video (I chose 720×480), thankfully that part didn’t require me to reedit anything.

Finally I rendered the video into:

  • One OGV file straight from Cinelerra
  • One Quicktime for Linux file with two’s complement audio compression and DV video compression, to be used as an intermediary to create:
    • One MP4 file (h264 with AAC)

The final ogv/mp4 files are still rather large (~10MB/min) but I figure that’s ok since only about 3 people a month read my blog :)