Sunday, 28 June 2009

Photos, videos of Kenya

During my recent visit to Kisii, I took a lot of photos, the Twiga kids used my camera to take even more (some of them are rather good), and we also shot some candid video, using my old, creaky 8mm camcorder.

Back at home, I now have the endless task of weeding out the photos and editing the video.

Which posed a problem - how do I transfer analog video on tape to a digital format on a hard disk?

And the answer came from an unexpected corner. I was glancing through the adverts in last week's Sunday paper when i spotted a "USB video grabber". It was expensive, but i had a look on eBay and there was the same gadget, but a lot cheaper.

The gadget arrived and I set about installing it on my most powerful computer, which runs under Windows XP X64 (I inherited it so I didn't get a say in the operating system). And guess what, it is not compatible - most hardware isn't compatible with X64.

So to the second most powerful computer, which I build myself from stuff lying around.

For the technically minded, it has an early Pentium-D 2.8GHz and 2GB RAM, 3 x 250GB SATA hard disks, but a very poor internal video card (16MB) and no video card slot.

It installed perfectly on this second machine, so I connected everything together and wow! I could see my video on-screen. I can capture a video or bits of it, edit it with the software provided, and generally mess about with them - brilliant.

Now all I have to do is to figure out what all the buttons and commands do - the manual is, as usual, not terribly good, so this could take some time.

There is also the question of resolution. Obviously, I want the biggest possible screen-size, but there seems to be a problem and I have chosen a smaller format for the time being. I can always recapture the videos, and probably do a better job next time.

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