peter_h FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold The Gif Guy

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    • How I Do What I Do 2; The Sequel

      3 months ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      Many months ago, I wrote a post similar to what this one is about my set up an workflow for image and screen capture turnaround. It's pretty much what I'll say in this post, but with many revisions and out of date info, but you can read it here should the feeling take you.



      So, what do I actually do. I record live broadcasts, and create on-the-fly gifs of moments during those broadcasts. That could be a podcast, Formula 1 race, TV show, anything. If I'm watching it, I'm giffing it.


      So, how do I do it. 


      To start, 2 monitors. Right screen is whatever I'm watching, left screen is for everything else. And I mean everything else. The way I make sure I miss nothing is by never having my right screen interrupted. So I make sure that all my programs are either open on my left screen, or will open on my left screen before I start recording. 


      Second, software. For capture, I use Mirillis Action!. It's a robust screen and game capture, record and streaming program, which can record in either MP4, for small file sizes, or in AVI for uncompressed capture. Both formats support up to 1080/60p, or can be set to match the resolution of your screen or game. I use AVI because I have the storage capacity to handle the large files; 15 minutes of 720/30p comes to around 4GB, which for broadcasts that can run up to 3 hours can become quite the issue if you don't have the storage. 


      What Action! also offers is single button hit screen shots. Getting the perfect frame to post can be tricky, especially if you have to try and preempt a moment for print screen. But, by mashing an assigned key(F10 in my case), Action! takes a screenshot with each press. That makes it quite easy to quickly react to whatever's happening, or just guess what's going to happen, and have a swathe of screenshots to choose from. And if I miss it, I can always export an image sequence from the recording to get the perfect frame.


      Third piece of the puzzle, editing. For all my videographer work, I use Adobe Premier. Fantastic software, but the file load in process is too clunky and time consuming for the short turnaround time I need for livestreams. So for that I use Vegas Pro 14, by Magix(older versions were built by Sony before they sold it to Magix). I can drag and drop the capture files onto a timeline and instantly get to editing the moment I want. No sequence to set, no bins to fill, just video on a timeline. 


      And that typically looks like this: wQo8FWU.png


      In Vegas Pro, I'll find the moment I want, cut around it, do whatever other editing I need to do to it; pan and zoom, adding text or time remapping, and export it out. 



      So how does that video become a gif. There are multiple ways of doing it, but I'll explain the 2 I use.


      1. Adobe Media Encoder: This is a file conversion program that comes bundled with Adobe Premier, and will convert almost any video file type to almost any other video or motion image file type. It has some very low quality Animated gif presets, but I made my own which balances image quality with file size. 


      2. A freeware video to gif converter: this is a very lightweight program that converts any video file to an animated gif. Rather than using presets, you can select the resolution of the gif, and the frame rate up to a max of 20fps. It converts that into an image sequence, which you can then click through and delete frames as necessary. There are 2 output options, based on matching the colour of the gif to the input video. Normal will give a lot of compression artifacts in the gif output and a small file size, and Excellent will give an accurate colour match but a larger file size. Luckily, Twitter supports gifs of up to 15mb, so there's a lot of scope for high quality gif output. 


      Because of its ease of use, and fast output, I use Option 2 the most. Once you're used to how the program UI works, going though the settings becomes almost like muscle memory.  You can download that piece of software from cnet here



      That's basically all of the how covered. So here's how to make the how work fast and efficiently.


      - Know where everything is coming from and where everything is going. 

      I know my capture is set to desktop one, I know what folder on what hard drive I'm recording to, and have a file explorer window to it open. I know what screen my editor open on, I know what output preset I'm using,  what semi descriptive file name I've given the clip, and I know what folder it's exporting to. I know the gif converter will open within that output folder, and I know what resolution I want the gif to output at(550x309 is the best balance of image quality and file size, primarily down to there being no large gif viewing support on Twitter, and the sites which specialise in large gifs take the files in as the video file, which is 1280x720). I use the same file name for the gif as I do the video, and it goes to the same output folder. 



      - Know your presets


      This is specifically for reducing the time it takes to make the clip or gif. I've made an output preset in Vegas which is the same resolution and frame rate as my capture, so that there are no compression or resampling issues that will need me to reexport a clip. I know what gif size output I want, as explained above. This adds to the streamlining of the production pipeline between recording and tweeting a gif. 


      - Always be listening to the broadcast, even if you're not watching it


      If you're focussed on editing a clip, always be paying attention to the audio of the broadcast, because you might miss seeing a moment, but you'll hear it happen, and hear the aftermath of it, so you know you need to break capture and find that moment. 



      I've omitted some of the more boring tech parts, primarily because they're different for pretty much everyone, and they're covered in the old post too. But that, in a nutshell, is how I do what I do. It's all about paying attention, spotting the moment, and having an optimised and streamlined way of getting that moment from a broadcast to a postable piece of media. 


      Ask any and all question either below in the comments, or directly to me on twitter @peterhayesf1.



      Additional Information:


      Fastest way to make a gif from YouTube is imgur. Copy the YouTube url, go to imgur and use their conversion page. Lets you cut the section you want to gif and add captions. 

    • The Teddy.

      6 months ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      C-1Y8QdWAAMQZfa.jpg


      An 80's Flashback MDB with iconic shots from The Shining? How could I resist.

    • How I do what I do.

      8 months ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      I tweet. A lot. Some would say too much. I might agree. But what do I tweet? Generally, I live tweet along with sporting events, shows, or livestreams that I'm watching. Regular followers will know how easily I can slip from an Off-Topic stream to FP1 in the US GP.


      That live tweeting is quite often screen captures, gifs or video of what I'm watching. That's the what whose how is to follow.


      So lets get started.


      I have 2 monitors. One for watching, one for everything else. Generally my right monitor is what I watch the content on, and the left is where I huddle my browser, video editor, photo editor and file browser.


      I capture using Fraps. Anyone who's ever dabbled in capturing video or gameplay without wanting to buy capture hardware will have come across fraps at least a dozen times. In recent times, it's had a resurgence in usage as a primary capture software for VR gameplay, with it's basic screen record supporting higher frame rates than many hardware recorders. There is a problem with fraps, though. Fraps captures in an uncompressed AVI format. That means big file sizes. If you don't have a lot of available hard drive space, you're going to run into problems real fast. Luckily I have 2 hard drives; 1 250GB for all my OS and standard usage needs, and a 1TB drive for storage. Once I've cleared past captures, I have about 600GB of free space to capture to on that drive.


      Fraps almost killed a hard drive, so I moved to using Mirillis Action. Captures in AVI, but with a compressed codec, and does the same single button press image capture as fraps. It's a much more robust software, and much more customisable. 


      There are things you can do to make the most efficient use of your space though. My primary monitor has a 1366x768 resolution. But, to cheat on space, I force my OS to push a 1920x1080 resolution, and capture at half resolution in fraps. So this gives me a 960x540 capture of a 1080p stream, which thanks to fraps capturing in uncompressed AVi has very little quality loss for being half of the original resolution. For ease of use, and for more efficient turnaround while the streams are live, I separate capture files either manually by stopping and restarting capture, or every 4GB if I don't need to make anything from it. For live content I edit in Sony Vegas Pro 13; it's my most familiar editor, and has the most efficient interface and render processing for fast turn around. All of the other video projects that I do I edit in Adobe Premiere.


      Having a compressed AVI codec means I don't need to worry as much about storage. Capturing at 720p retains the quality of the video, and matches the output resolution I use. 


      What Action also does is single image capturing( (screenshots, screen caps, etc). By mashing a keyboard shortcut (F10 in my case), Action takes a still of whatever its active capture frame is. Hence how I "get" those perfect screenshots; it's mostly luck. But if I know I've missed it, I'll grab whatever video chunk has whatever sequence the screenshot was supposed to be from, find the best frame, and render that frame, +-3 frames either side, usually to a jpeg sequence.


      One of the most important aspects of all this is correctly storing everything. To make sure I don't over bus my hard drives, I separate image capture and screen capture. Images go to the 250GB drive, recordings to the 1TB. They both go into a big system of subfolders of shows, months and days, so I can be accurate in what I'm posting. Rendered video and gifs also go into the 250 drive.


      Yeah, that plan didn't really work, and I'm close to burning every bus channel to what used to be my primary capture drive. Various chunk and sector fixes later, and it still hangs and dismounts itself. I've 2 USB3.0 external drives which work fine, especially with the reduced storage needs.


      Now that I've mentioned gifs, I should probably explain how those get made. It's quite a simple process actually. I watch the stream, when something funny, unexpected or just interesting happens, I grab whatever capture chunk it's in, cut it down to whatever the punch line is, render out that video, and use a quick and dirty program that converts a video into a gif sequence, adjusting resolution, input frame rate, colour matching and output frame rate. Though Twitter has an upload limit of 15mb, making gifs smaller than that keeps the turnaround time low.


      Video clips are done the same as above, just without the making it a gif part. The usual video editing tricks apply too; cropping in to get a face reaction, tracking an object of interest, all the fun stuff.


      And that's basically it. That's how I do what I do. It's my give-back to Rooster Teeth; both the staff and community. Every time I hear "I can't wait to see the screenshots of that", or "Well that's gonna be a gif", I take it as a personal challenge to get that online as fast as humanly possible. Having spent long enough refining the tools and set up, I'm pretty quick at it.


      If you've any questions about anything I've rambled about up there, leave a comment down below, ask me a question on here, or tweet me at @peterhayesf1.

    • 19 Cheese Pizza

      9 months ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      Join @Schwartzanicker, @RTcastMichael, @DustlessPath and a whole host of other friends, as they take on their own 19 Cheese Pizza Challenge!




    • Coming Soon...

      9 months ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      19 Cheeses, 1 Pizza. Watch how it went down. 


      ZUhGhBi.png

    • Camp Camp Song Song Sing-Along

      1 year ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      So the full theme song for Camp Camp featured in today's episode, and boy is it fast.


      So I decided to transcribe it, and make a sing- along version, which you can find here.

    • The "Gavin or Google" Theme Song

      1 year ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      Now with 100% more piano...


    • 2016: The Year of Achievement Hunter

      1 year ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      Everyone thinks that online companies should do more for their fans. They should listen to them more, take on more of their ideas, follow their every demand.


      That's stupid. Stop asking that.



      But, and it is a big but(t), Achievement Hunter, in a sort of roundabout way, are doing just that.


      Think of all the compliments people have about the AH crew. They're the type of group you'd love to have a beer with. The type of group you'd love to just kick back and, oh I don't know, watch a movie with. They're a group and a production team that you'd love to see at work. 2016 has all of that.



      Off Topic, Theater Mode, and Multi Strams. THAT is how you give your audience what they want. Not by asking for a suggestions, not by telling them what they want, but by looking at the bigger picture, the over reaching arc of being a fan of AH. Content that not everyone would think of, but what everyone knows they wanted.


      2016 is turning out to be an absolutely top year for Rooster Teeth, and long may it continue.

    • Connected - Why it matters, why it works.

      1 year ago

      peter_h The Gif Guy

      You're reading this on the web. That web is conveyed to you by an internet. That internet is sending this very byte of data to a device in your hand, or a machine in front of you. Thus sets the premise for Connected.



      Or rather, it doesn't.


      It's often thought that documentaries; or any video for that matter, should live up to its name. Now, living in our world of Clickbait headlines and marketing misdirection, that's generally something that's not attained any more. But we don't expect it to be, from that type of content. But Documentaries are different. Documentaries are expected to inform us, to educate us, and in some sense, entertain us. And they do. Then we expect that information, that education, and that entertainment to be categorised in some way. The BBC are very good at this. Grandiose names for grandiose films; Animal Planet, First Life, Earth. And you can immediately understand what those Documentary Series' are about; it says it in the title.


      But Connected is different. On a very basic level, it's the opposite of what the documentary is. They were connected, and now they're not. The film lived up to its name. Yay.


      But as with all documentaries (or as they should be), Connected almost coerces you into looking deeper. It's presented in such a way that almost makes you live Blaine and Barbara's 5 days. You see their trepidation, their anxiety, their relief, almost as if we feel it too. And in some way, we do. Like I said at the beginning; you're reading this on a device or machine that is just firing data at you. Though it may not be a prominent thought in everyone's mind, we are still acutely aware of the times when we don't use our technology.


      And this is where I think the real point of Connected makes itself known.


      It's not about being connected to so many people, all day every day. It's the simple lack of connection people have with themselves. Now, this isn't some deep, philosophical rambling about the necessities of the "inner person" we all have. It's much more simple than that. When was the last time you sat, alone, and just thought. No phone, no laptop, no PC, nothing. Just you, alone, in your own head. Not as recent as you think, I suspect. We tend to fill this "in-between" time with our technology. We busy our minds in-between the bigger events of our day. And that's not a bad thing. Neural Stimulus is great. Social Stimuli are great. Creative Stimuli are great. We get all of this from content we watch on-line, to the social media that we endlessly scroll through.


      It's at this part of the documentary that I think Connected comes into it's own.


      It would be very simple to blame social media for the worlds anti-social issues. So simple that people have been doing it for years. Excited new film-makers have jumped at the opportunity to present the Dystopian, almost Orwellian world of Telescreens and data control; our own portable Minitrue's. And, as is the way, the videos base themselves on knowing more about you than you do. They know why you're watching it, they know how you're watching it, and they know how to make you feel bad for doing so. And they get the response they want; some say they've known it all along, others get angry that the world could end up like this, and the rest feel an overwhelming sense of indifference about it all.


      Connected is different.


      Connected doesn't blame technology. it doesn't blame society. It doesn't blame anyone. That's not the point of it. They didn't just take Blaine and Barbara's technology away and say; "Well, go figure out how to live now kthnxbye". Rather, they gave Blaine and Barbara old tech; from when they were born. As innocuous and unassuming as that seems, it's one of the most important parts of the documentary.


      The world hasn't become this tech heavy, media crazy world in the last 10 years. It's been that way for decades. The only difference is the how and the when. Instead of rushing out a print of an evening edition of the paper, we update a web article. Instead of knowing when someone has looked at your message right away, you wait for them to call you back. At no point in the documentary were Barbara and Blaine physically unable to do what they were tasked to do, and what they needed to do. Why? Because people did all of it before. People did their jobs, people went on dates, people learned about the worlds events, just in a different format. That lack of connection to the world isn't actually there. It's a perception from where we are now.


      That's all it is. Our perception. Your perception. Because it is, and must be, different for everyone. That is why something like Connected matters. It doesn't try tell you what to think, it doesn't try tell you what's good or bad, it simply gives you a mirror of your own perception. It doesn't challenge you to change your ways, or to rethink your life, but it also doesn't stop you from doing that. Connected is open. Open to your reception, open to your interpretation, open to you.


      Connected is a triumph, and I use that word for a reason. It truly succeeds in what it set out to do. From such a small, kicked around idea came something so full of depth, and so full of reason.


      To everyone at Rooster Teeth, and everyone at Alpheus Media; be truly proud of what you have made and what you have achieved. Its effects will be further reaching that you think. Connected is truly a triumph.


      You can watch "Connected" here, and if you're not an RT Sponsor, remember you can sign up for a 30-day Free Trial. You get access to exclusive content, live-streams, and early access to regular content.

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