Planet Jeffro

Product Owner for Grockit (a Kaplan company).
Email me at jeffnovich [] gmail

Companies/Products I created:
Patient Communicator | half patient portal half CRM for doctors (was part of the Blueprint Health accelerator)
Poachbase | find talent at floundering startups
Fare/Share | iOS app for sharing taxis
VocabSushi | learn vocab from news
Cnvrge | meet people via SMS
Supermarket Classroom | teach your child while shopping
Poorsquare.us | foursquare for the 99%
IngeniousOwl.com | online SAT prep
Recent Tweets @jeffnovich
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Posts tagged "Video"

The Penn Club just put out a bunch of promo videos showing off their digs and Maddy and I are in them all!  Check out the public one (the rest are for members who are logged in) and see if you can spot us looking classy.

Yes, yes, and sort of no.

I shoot a lot of interviews which required me to buy some gear a few years ago.  A Panasonic DV camera (which shoots on tape, agh!), wireless lav mic, wired lav mic, light kit, backdrop and obviously a tripod.

Recently I made a pretty huge discovery I should have realized a long time ago: The iPhone 4 shoots pretty damn good video!  Even with basically zero control over the image (iris, focus range, zoom), it’s pretty incredible.

So I made 2 purchases. 

First thing is to keep the image steady.  For this, I got the Glif, an awesome little rubber holder that has a thread at the bottom to mount the iPhone onto a tripod.  The Glif has a fascinating back story worth reading.  $20.

Next is to ensure you have good audio. NO ONE should have to suffer through flipcam-like video of someone speaking from 10 feet away where you can barely make out what they’re saying against tons of background noise.  (In a previous life I was a boom mic guy on film sets and learned a lot from a lot of sound guys.  Sound is arguably the most important part of a video.  People will tolerate grainy images.  They generally won’t tolerate crappy audio.)

I ordered this guy - an XLR adapter for the iPhone with a headphone jack so you can plug in a pro mic feed and monitor the audio with a headset.  $33 + shipping.

I’m going to do some test video at the next shoot (when I have my backdrop and lights all set up) and see how the iphone compares to my DV cam.

Side note: Recently I shot video of the president.  The video was about 6 minutes.  Apparently there is a cutoff of maybe 3-5 minutes, above which the iPhone doesn’t let you copy the video to your computer without 3rd party software or a workaround.  WTF? Really?  I’m not the only one upset about this.  What it means is that it’s an obstacle to fully committing to the iPhone to shoot somewhat lengthy videos.  This is really stupid and a major design flaw that should be fixed.

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Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

This took me some tinkering to find the easiest/best/free apps to do this.  If you find something better, let me know.

  1. Use firefox.  Get the add-on called Download Youtube Videos (nicely named).  I have tried a few others, namely the one called “Youtube to MP3” and they all suck or don’t work.  This gives you 1 click downloading of any youtube video you’re watching as a FLV file.  Really easy stuff.
  2. Grab Freez FLV-MP3 converter.  It’s free.  (FYI, I tried SUPER, a great transcoding program I use a lot for video, and it didn’t like the FLV files.  I also tried Mediacoder, another great transcoder I’ve used, and it barfed too.)
  3. Batch convert. Enjoy.

This is a slightly modified version of Lifehacker’s guide.

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VLC Portable
Image via Wikipedia

Wow - the iPhone just became a lot more amazing.  VLC is software that plays any video format.  It is my go to player for videos that I, ahem, acquire.

Whenever I ride the subway or bus I watch video on my iPhone.  Movies, TV shows, and TED talks.  Before the VLC app, in order to get video on to the iPhone I had to convert (transcode) the files to MP4 (an iPhone friendly format) using SUPER, a free but somewhat wonky transcoder.  Then I’d copy them to iTunes.  The process was painful because the conversion takes maybe 1/3 or 1/4 of the full playing time of the video - so a 22 min episode still takes more than 5 min to convert.  Plus I am lazy so I’d do this as a batch overnight process once I accumulated a bunch of stuff.

No more.

Now all I need to do is open iTunes, click on apps and VLC, and then click “ADD” and select all the stuff I want to copy.  Super fast, really easy, and the playback is flawless and looks amazing.

Get the app here.

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… is to put this annoying box that says “Internet connection problem” directly on top and in the way of the video, and convert it into fully unusable call.  There is no way to X it out, and it doesn’t go away.  At all.  So I had to hang up and call Maddy back.

Also, there is not a hint of who exactly has the internet problem.  I find it hard to believe that my wired ethernet (that lets me upload at 60 KB/s and download at about 1.2 MB/s - lame asynchronous speed, I know), is having a hard time with this call.  Maddy is using wifi that is shared throughout her entire apartment in Philly.  Hmm, I think that might be her problem.  Yet Skype makes it impossible to tell.

Meanwhile, the video and audio continued to work just fine… except for the fact that a giant box was in the way!  Are you kidding me, Skype?

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This is a video I just finished editing of Lucy, a lovable yellow lab who lives with my aunt and uncle in Virginia.  Lucy has a bit of an issue with riding around in cars, though.  She thinks the world is moving by and she is being held in place, so she has an insatiable urge to go run after stuff flying by her.  After all, that’s what dogs do.  Unfortunately, she is stuck in the car, so all she can do is bark her head off and go nuts for the duration of the ride.  Watch and see!  Music by Cory Morrow.