Friday, July 21, 2006

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 85

In today's podcast I review eyespot, a web based video editor.

Sometimes I plan a podcast topic for days before I record it, other times I throw out that hard work in favor of an idea that strikes me at the last minute. Take yesterday, for example...

A member of last year's Art Club has been planning on starting his own podcast, and over the past couple of weeks we've been trading emails and IMs on the subject. Yesterday he was very interested in video editing, but unfortunately he doesn't own a Mac so my favorite program (iMovie) won't run on his system. I suppose he could use MovieMaker, but I've never been a big fan of the Windows Media format.

Fortunately there are a few editing programs out there that are totally free. One of them is jahshaka, an open source cross platform program that claims to be "Powering the New Holywood." Oddly enough I've never tried it out, but if anyone out there has then please let me know how well it works.

There are also a couple web based solutions. That's right, you can edit video with a web site. Thank you, Flash and Ajax.

Eyespot and Jumpcut are both sites that cater to the video editing community, and I've heard good things about both, although yesterday I only had time to play around with eyespot.

Eyespot has in my opinion only three drawbacks. The first is that they display the most recent videos on their frontpage. For most of us that doesn't matter, but if I want to show it off to my students I'll have to do some explaining if a certain genre of video appears for all to see. This is in fact the only issue that will keep me from using it with my students.

The other two problems are more technical in nature. While there doesn't seem to be a limit to the number of clips you can upload, you can't upload anything larger than 50 MB. That's a huge file if you're talking about .mp3s or .JPGs (both of which can also be uploaded), but I have a 10 minute .AVI I made with my camera that ended up over 140 MB. I actually had to use a free program called MoviesForMyPod to compress it into a more uploadable file format.

The last problem I encountered was a lack of features. There are few transitions to choose from, and while you can create a title screen the default text is small and uninspiring.

Still, one has to remember this is a free service. In spite of all of these issues I had fun using eyespot. It edited my video faster than I could have done on my own computer, I was able to download the finished product to my hard drive, and it was even iPod compatible.

If you want to hear an interview with one of the big wigs at eyespot you can check out this podcast by Amber MacArthur.


Chris Craft said...

Jahshaka is a good program if you are running linux. It fails to edit some of the more popular file formats such as wmv (darn licensing issues). It works well but has a steep learning curve. They say that the newer versions are more user-friendly, but I am skeptical. My two cents!

Art Guy said...

Thanks, Chris!

I never really cared for the wmv format anyway - the quality was always far too low compaired to the size of the file.

On the other hand, the sharp learning curve seems to be a bit more troublesome.