Tag: videos

Review: Angry Video Game Nerd

Posted by – May 19, 2009

ANgry Video Game Nerd Logo

Angry Video Game Nerd Logo

That’s right I’ve decided to tackle some web series videos just for fun, and also to give credit to the good ones.  Truth be told though, I find it hard to write a review for a bad series, so expect only good ones.  I also have plans for reviewing some oldschool movies, as I have renewed interest in them in part because of the fellow I’m going to talk about here.

Alright, so if you aren’t aware of the Angry Video Game Nerd (now referred to as  AVGN) it’s a character created by a James Rolfe who reviews old nostalgic games (good and bad) and tends to get angry and make up curse words.  It might not be for everyone though as not only does the nostalgia have to be there to enjoy the videos, but the excessive swearing by the character can be a bit much.

James Rolfe fighting alongside "Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C 4.0 Beta" in The Wizard & Super Mario Bros 3

James Rolfe fighting alongside "Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C 4.0 Beta" in The Wizard & Super Mario Bros 3.

If you were like me, you were one of the lucky ones who grew up with Atari, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Sega Genesis, and all those other great consoles of yesteryear.  I also remember renting many of the titles that I see the AVGN review, and not only does he call it like how I remember, but it also shocks me how not-well these games hold up to today’s standards.

The special effects, and cameos of many characters such as Spider-Man, Jason Voorhees, or even Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C 4.0 Beta make the episodes quite varied, even if it is just to expand the video length as some games are just too horrible and bland to keep it interesting.  One thing I’d like to see is a side-by-side video of the pre-production and post-production to see how the effects are done.  I assume it’s pretty basic effects in place, but a few other webseries I follow have done this for the fans, and I loved it.

James also does a lot of reviews of old (and recently some newer films, but only when they are sequels to an epic series such as the new Star Trek movie or the newer Star Wars movies).  However these are done under his film production company “Cinemassacre” and are NOT the AVGN character.  Which are definitely worth a look perhaps more-so than the AVGN.

So really, if you’re a fan of gaming or remember playing the old SNES and NES or almost any of the older systems (he has pretty much EVERYTHING) I think you’d really enjoy his videos.   My only real fault I find in James Rolfe’s website a bit hard to navigate for videos, as some have images you click on, others have links to different versions, and some are interweaved in a comment about something else.  It’s a minor nitpick which can easily be resolved by using the rss feed.

You can find James’ Work at:

http://www.cinemassacre.com/

Cinemasssacre’s RSS Feed:

http://www.cinemassacre.com/new/?feed=rss2

Here’s a few random videos for a taste of the AVGN and Cinemassacre reviews:

My Quest For Good Quality YouTube Video Uploads

Posted by – April 3, 2009

The Internet's most popular video sharing site.

The Internet's most popular video sharing site.

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of my day trying to find the best settings, format and codec for the best quality Youtube videos.  The good news is I think I found the right recipe, the bad news is Youtube’s quality still sucks.

Over my experiment I probably uploaded the same video  twenty-five times or more, in a range of sizes, the largest being 400MB for a 13 second clip!  Just to see if there was a point of overkill.  So in order to let you know how the testing worked, let me explain the clip.

For testing I used a 13 second clip of my wife feeding a pigeon by hand.  I did this because it’s very small compared to the 10 minute limit set by YouTube so it should be easy to upload multiple times to test quality.  It also shows a range of motion from tilting to the flapping wings in decent outside lighting.  The original format was a DV AVI file for the most quality out of my Sony DCR-HC52.

The first thing I did was upload the clip in it’s original uncompressed format (DV AVI) with a total size of a little less than 400MB.  This being completely insane considering the max filesize for YouTube is 1GB and to upload at this size, the max length would be less than a minute.  Either way I tried it, and the quality wasn’t so great to be honest.  I think mostly because of the tools Google uses isn’t optimized to convert from DV to their MP4 and FLV.

I think did twenty or so conversions to FLV, Divx, Xvid, MPEG 2 & 4, WMV H.264 and many more on the advise of many forums and guides.  I don’t want to bore you all with the details (I’m sure I’ve lost some people already) but the important thing to note is that Google states H264, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 are preferred.  Unfortunately they drop the ball by not giving the best settings (bitrate, resolution) to get the best quality videos.

So, what is the best way to encode your videos for youtube?

Use the H264 codec with a bitrate of 2000 (although you can play with this, but 2000 seems to be the sweet spot from what I can tell, more is better, but you probably wont notice).  You can probably get away with less bitrate too, but I want the best bang per MB.   Also set the resolution to the highest native resolution of the source.  For example DV from MiniDV tapes has a max Resolution of 720×480, so I use this.

This was a lot of work for such a simple idea.  The higher quality you give YouTube the better it’ll look.  However the goal I was looking for was where the diminishing returns sets in, and I feel I’ve have found it.  However I’m still unhappy with the quality of the video, and it seems comparing my videos with others that it’s now the fault of YouTube not the source video quality.  This is now setting me on another quest to find a better place to host my web videos.  Which of course is something I’ll touch on after I have an answer.

P.S.  I really wish I had more information to give you guys, especially considering how many hours I spent on this topic.  I hope it’s useful to someone, and it’s definitely a good reminder for me, so I don’t attempt such a thing again.

3 Interesting Videos

Posted by – August 9, 2008

I’ve been slacking off on this blog, so in an effort to liven it up, I thought it’d be nice to post a few of the videos I’ve been watching in my spare time.  I’m not sure whether the original uploader has permission to post these, or what license these were put out under.I’ll keep this short though, and get to the videos :

Discovery Channel’s “The History Of Hacking” Documentary

Interesting and if nothing else, entertaining look at the History of Hacking.  Title sort of tells it all.

Documentary on Google

Although I had a good understanding of the first days of Google and the current goings-on, I found this video quite entertaining and informative.  Definitely a must-see for anyone like me who uses Google Services for almost everything.

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

If you haven’t seen this, you must live in a cave as this video has been making the rounds on the Internet for quite awhile.  Probably due to the sadness of the fact that the world lost such a great professor but hopefully more-so the fact that this lecture has a lot of inspiration and is a great motivator for people to really channel their skills and accomplish their dreams.