post

Recording Remote Video Podcast Interviews on Mac

I’m in the process of relaunching the Nonprofit Coffee Break and really want to be able to hold interviews and conversations with people. The technical question arose about how to go about doing this. For the audio portion of the podcast having separate tracks of the guest and myself would be nice, but not a deal breaker. However for the video production side of things I really wanted to have a high-resolution file of myself, and as high-resolution of each guest as possible. There is not an obvious way to achieve this.

First attempt: Camtasia for Mac.

So we already have this software to use for creating screen cast videos for other parts of Fresh Vine. It works really well to record yourself, and the screen as you walk through something. This software is used to create nearly every instructional video we’ve produced for Fresh Vine. Whenever you start a new recording it allows you to record the webcam, and all/portion of the screen. This seemed like the obvious solution except for one major issue. It records everything into their own proprietary file format. This means that after ever interview I would need to export out each video/audio track pair from Camtasia into something I could use in my video & audio editing software (Adobe Premier and Audition). Furthermore it wasn’t clear that I was actually getting separate audio tracks.

Second Attempt: Quicktime with some magic

You might not know this, but quick time allows you to record your screen, webcam, and audio. Even more it allows you to choose input devices for audio and video. This means that I can choose to record my webcam with my dedicated microphone and get nothing else. I could then record the screen and only capture the…. audio? Except there was no option to capture the audio from my mac with the screen capture (None, Internal Microphone, or my Yeti Stereo Microphone). These options would leave me with a video without any audio from my guest.

Enter the magic of Soundflower. This is a super basic free kernel extension that allows you to create a virtualized audio device. The most recent release is a beta release from 2014 that still works. After installing the extension (which you will likely need to give explicit permission to install in your System Preferences -> Security & Privacy settings) I followed the instructions on their page to create a new multi-output device. This allowed the audio to still pass through my speakers/headphones AND it would output to the newly available Soundflower (2ch) ‘microphone’.

Now for this to work for recording you need to set the volume you want your speakers at, and then switch your computers ‘sound output’ to use the new Multi-output device. Once you make this change you cannot adjust the volume of your internal speakers/headphones. Tip: In your sound preferences you can enable the ability to switch output devices from the menubar making this easier to manage.

Now when I go to prep the recording of the screen I choose to use the Soundflower (2ch) input. This will give me stereo input along with any screen captured video I record. In testing this out we found that none of my audio from my microphone appeared on the screen captured video. The ‘Movie Recording’ only included my audio and video.

When I’m done with my session I just need to switch my audio Output Device back to the standard ‘Internal Speakers’.

Hope this was helpful to someone else as well.

video

Took a different approach with the topic for a MinneBar talk this past spring from talking business.  Instead we talked about Depression and Burnout using a lot of personal examples and gifs. It’s an issue that is very present in the tech industry. I watched it again now that it’s online and reminded myself of a few things. Hope its helpful for some of you out there as well.

So stay awesome, learn to take better care of yourself, and make the world a better place. We need you in it.

post

jQuery Cache Images plug-in

I’m in the middle of migrating the Check-In application for Fresh Vine from Adobe Air into HTML5 wrapped in QT. One of the things that I love about Fresh Vine is how graphical it is, and that so many people add in their profile photos to their accounts.

One of the challenges in making the HTML5 version of the Check-In is to have it work perfectly offline – including these images. They all have unique URLs that come with the profiles when we sync, so that laid out the challenge: How do we store these locally and reference them.

Turns out making a simple jQuery plugin took care of both of those issues. We are able to reference the images by their URL (no second key) and it allows us to re-use them (since we have default images that we don’t want to download/store hundreds of times).

So maybe you’re playing around with HTML5 and want to be able to use remote images in your app, but store them offline into localStorage – then this is for you. Check it out!

http://freshvine.github.io/jQuery-cache-images/

It is pretty much where I want it at. All that is left is to add in an automated quota increaser, and to allow for binding on elements/parents. That last part would make the plugin stupid simple to use since you just attached it to your container [ $(‘#container’).cacheImages(); ] and it would take care of the rest, even with dynamically inserted stuff. But that’s for another night.

image

silence-in-the-city-minneapolis-north-loop

With the first sizable snowfall of the year we everything becomes muffled and silenced. The noise that normally ricochets off building and streets is brought to a stand still creating an eerie/foreign environment.

Theses serene moments remind me that life must be more about creating places and moments of solitude and rest. As I walked the streets in the midst of over a foot of snow falling from the sky I felt at peace. The regular distractions seemed distant in the quite of the falling snow. It made me wonder how we could use technology to quite our lives, instead of intruding into them.

Shouldn’t the best technologies dampen noise and fade into the background. With all the advancements in the last several decades I feel the opposite, and it worries my ascetic heart.

What does fresh snow fall make you think of?