Archive for November, 2015

Understanding Fair Use in Journalism

Saturday, November 28th, 2015


American University Center of Social Media has released (June 2013) a new set of tools that seek to help demystify fair use for journalists — and to help publishers see how this doctrine actually can help online reporting instead of hampering it.

The following is an excerpt from a CBC article posted on the CBC Editor’s Blog on September 19, 2013:

There’s the matter of what constitutes “publishing” these days. Ten or fifteen years ago, that would have been restricted to books, magazines, newspapers, broadcast outlets and their primitive websites. Now, with social media, all of us are capable of sharing our photos, videos and words, and many of us do. Technically speaking, whoever takes a photo and posts it on a social media site holds the copyright to it. While we can’t expect that our Facebook postings, YouTube videos and Twitpics will remain within our circle of friends, does it mean news organizations have unfettered rights to use them, as they frequently do if we suddenly become newsworthy?

Our colleagues at the BBC, who have developed some guidelines on the use of photos from social media sites, which include these cautionary words:

The publication of a picture on a personal website of social networking site does not necessarily mean the owner of that picture intended it to be available for all purposes and circumstances – or understood that it could be.

We have the responsibility to consider the impact our re-use of a picture to a much wider audience may have on those in the picture, their family or friends – particularly when they are grieving or distressed.

While CBC News may not have explicit written guidelines like these at the moment, our journalists do wrestle with those issues on a daily basis. We’ve even been asked, on occasion, for payment when we’ve used these materials, which we’re not inclined to do, as they were produced and shared freely.

All of this demonstrates how the practice of journalism is ever changing, and has come a long way since the days since it consisted largely of telling people ‘Lord Jones is dead’ to people who didn’t know Lord Jones was alive, in the immortal words of G.K Chesterton. I would have asked his permission to use that line, if he hadn’t died more than 75 years ago!

Podcasting Basics – Capturing Computer Sounds

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Source: Podcasting Basics, Part 2: Software

There are many applications that can make simple recordings of computer processes, but there are two that stand out in their versatility and popularity. Total Recorder is a Windows-only program that can capture almost any audio event that happens on your Windows-based computer.

Audio Hijack is a Mac-only program that can capture the system audio of your Macintosh computer, or be set to “hijack” the audio from specific applications, ignoring other system sounds. The program also allows the addition of effects and other audio processing, as well as flexible signal routing, handled by a handy graphical flowchart-like interface.

photo of Audio Hijack

Recording phone conversations in Canada

Thursday, November 26th, 2015


It is illegal to intercept a private communications unless authorized by the Code (e.g. with a warrant or as part of maintaining the communications system) or unless the consent of one of the parties is obtained.

A lawful party to a call that starts and ends in Canada can record that call if they are doing so for a personal or journalistic reason and not a commercial purpose. If recording is to be carried out in connection with a commercial activity, check out “Focus on Privacy – Call Monitoring“.

Tapped Phone

Inside the Minds of Internet Comedy Video Executives

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Source: Splitsider

Sam Reich said he saw the internet as “a kind of show runner boot camp,” that they’re looking for people who have taken the time and initiative to make something good on their own, and through that have proven not just that they have funny ideas, but that they have the passion and capacity to competently create videos around those ideas. And this specifically referred to production competence, the phrase “know how to light a scene” was repeatedly used (and while you’re at it, make absolutely sure you have a good sound recordist).

Asked what is the best way to get a meeting with a digital platform development exec – and specifically if it required an agents or manager — Poole responded “Recommendations are really powerful. If someone I know and trust says I should meet someone, then I’m always excited to. That could be an agent or manager or just a friend.”

The entire panel encouragingly expressed interest in seeing more unique and personal ideas rather than chasing after already existing formats and proven successes.

The overall sentiment was that the market for digital video comedy is actually vast (almost every television network now has a digital arm actively looking for content, not to mention Vimeo, AOL, Yahoo!…), and there’s no accepted consensus as to what works and what doesn’t. What is important is actually Going Out And Making Things. And following ideas that are as specific and unique as possible, while proving you can execute them with the highest degree of production competence and confidence available to you.

camera greenscreen

Another Online Streaming Platform Launches: Vessel

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Officially launched on March 24, 2015.

According to founder, Jason Kilar, “the video-content service won’t ever add TV shows or movies, a la Netflix or Hulu.”

Jason Kilar is an American businessperson and a member of the board of directors for DreamWorks Animation. He was previously an Amazon executive and the CEO of Hulu, a joint venture of ABC, NBC Universal, and NewsCorp.

Here is an excerpt from a Fast Company article from July 29, 2015:

Kilar’s company, Vessel, is a subscription online video platform. For $2.99 a month, viewers can watch videos from Internet celebrities such as Ingrid Nilsen, Epic Meal Time, and Shane Dawson before they appear on YouTube. In exchange for their videos, which air 72 hours before they appear on other platforms like Vimeo or YouTube, Vessel is offering creators better revenue share than YouTube and a cut of the subscription fees. Fans, meanwhile, get a more streamlined and intimate interaction experience with creators than they do in the anarchic world of YouTube comments.

Kaltura’s Open Source Video Platform

Friday, November 20th, 2015

H265 HEVC Video Converters – 2015 Review

Friday, November 20th, 2015


Features of H.265:

  • H.265 is also known as ISO/IEC 23008-2 MPEG-H Part 2 and ITU-T H.265
  • Superior Video Quality and up to twice the data compression as H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
  • HEVC can support 8K Ultra High Definition video, with a picture size up to 8192×4320 pixels

For the Top 5 Best H.265/HEVC video converters check out:


Lossless H264 for Archiving – 4:4:4 conversion to x264 in FFMPEG

Friday, November 20th, 2015


I am going to add a late answer to this one after spending all day trying to figure out how to get YUV 4:4:4 pixels into x264. While x264 does accept raw 4:2:0 pixels in a file, it is really quite difficult getting 4:4:4 pixels passed in. With recent versions of ffmpeg, the following works for completely lossless encoding and extraction to verify the encoding.

First, write your raw yuv 4:4:4 pixels to a file in a planar format. The planes are a set of Y bytes, then the U and V bytes where U and V use 128 as the zero value. Now, invoke ffmpeg and pass in the size of the raw YUV frames as use the “yuv444p” pixel format twice, like so:

ffmpeg -y -s 480x480 -pix_fmt yuv444p -i Tree480.yuv \
-c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv444p -profile:v high444 -crf 0 \
-preset:v slow \

Once the encoding to h264 and wrapping as a Quicktime file is done, one can extract the exact same bytes like so:

ffmpeg -y -i Tree480_lossless.m4v -vcodec rawvideo -pix_fmt yuv444p \

Finally, verify the two binary files with diff:

$ diff -s Tree480.yuv Tree480_m4v_decoded.yuv
Files Tree480.yuv and Tree480_m4v_decoded.yuv are identical

Just keep in mind that you need to write the YUV bytes to a file yourself, do not let ffmpeg do any conversion of the YUV values!

Amazon Storywriter, free, cloud-based screenwriting software

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Source: Indiewire

Amazon Studios

Amazon today announced Amazon Storywriter, a free, cloud-based screenwriting software for writers of all levels to create movie and TV screenplays in standard format, offering an alternative to pricey industry options. Also, in an effort to further enable talented writers to present their work for consideration and to expand its search for the next great movie or TV series, Amazon will now accept drama submissions and will no longer take a free option on scripts submitted directly to the site.

Starting today, creators can simply log in with their Amazon account to access Amazon Storywriter. The free software promises to take the pain out of formatting, with features including auto-format as you type and import/export of PDF, FDX and Fountain formats. Screenwriters can write online while their scripts are saved as they work, knowing all their material is being stored securely in the cloud. Additionally, they can write offline with a free installable Chrome app for Mac and PC.

“Amazon is thrilled to support the evolution of our creative community by offering advanced tools like Amazon Storywriter to assist both established and aspiring writers in telling their stories,” said Roy Price, Vice President, Amazon Studios. “Amazon is dedicated to producing high-quality, original films and television series that customers love, and enabling more writers to obtain access to creative resources will ultimately help us discover great new talent. Just recently we were thrilled to debut the second season of “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” a kids show that came to us as a script submission. The show has been a huge hit with customers and a testament to the open door process–we can’t wait to see what comes in next.”

Amazon says that the company is always on the lookout for compelling new voices and interesting characters in series and movies that have the potential to become hits. Amazon continues to accept original scripts for feature films, primetime comedy series for adults, series for children between the ages of 2-14, and now for the first time also welcomes drama series submissions. In addition, Amazon will no longer take a free option on script submissions, thus allowing Writers Guild of America and the Animation Guild members to submit their original material through the online submission process.

For more information, please visit

Amazon Studios Logo

Canadian Cord-Cutting Accelerates through 2015

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Source: Ooyala Video Mind Blog

Ottawa-based research and consulting firm Boon Dog said the top providers were down 153,000 TV subscribers in their respective three fiscal 2015 quarters – record losses – compared to 22,000 subs lost in the same quarters in 2014.

In Q3 alone, pay-TV providers in Canada lost 39,000 subscribers compared to 4,800 a year ago, an increase of more than 712%.

“The ongoing trend of the cable companies losing customers to the IPTV companies continued with the latest subscriber results,” notes Boon Dog Partner Mario Mota. “Perhaps more importantly, however, are the significant structural milestones occurring in the TV service market.”

Mota pointed out that IPTV provider Bell now is the largest TV service provider in Canada, surpassing cableco Shaw Communications, significant because Shaw has been providing TV services for almost 50 years, while Bell began offering TV services 18 years ago.

Boon Dog also estimates that the number of IPTV subscribers will surpass DTH satellite TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Although the nine-month losses represent just 1% of the traditional TV service – Canada has some 11.5 million pay-TV households – the Q3 losses are indicative of a struggle that’s likely to continue.
– See more at:

Cord Cutting

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