Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Makin' mr. sketch-it for $3.58

screen grab of the makin' mr. sketch-it videoI am very proud of this video. You will watch this 11 Meg, 3 and a half minute gem and think to yourself, "Geeze. That was crappy. The image overlays even had jaggy edges." Me, I love my ugly creation.

It is a proof of concept. I have bigger plans for the methods and means behind this video. How cheaply can one make a video blog and post it?

The cameras used in the mr. sketch-it mask are the CVS one-time-use camcorders manufactured by Pure Digital. They retail for $30. I used the "mouth" camera to record the progress of the mr. sketch-it mask construction.

For the actual performance I used a Sony DCV TRV10 MiniDV video camera. All three cheap cameras were being used in the mask. My fourth camera is out on loan for a special, as yet to be announced WikiTainment project. Any other video blog could simply employ the use of the CVS cam.

There's been a lot of talk lately about video blogging and what the average person can produce on only $25 a day. There's also that light-net/dark-net thing. I'm just a thrifty guy who likes open source software, thinks the creative commons is a great idea and is trying to spread the word about WikiTainment, where the audience is the author.

What costs should be considered when tallying up the total?

Average Solution
  1. computer = Dell average Desktop $500
  2. OS = Windows XP $200
  3. camera = Sony miniDV $300
  4. OHCI IEEE 1394 card = $50
  5. capture/editing/compositing software = Adobe Premiere Pro $200
  6. web site/video hosting = Based on $15/mo = $180
TOTAL = $1,430.00

My solution:
  1. computer = Dell auction last year's model $300
  2. OS = $0
  3. hacked camera = CVS one-time-use camcorder $30
  4. hacked USB camera connector = Old USB mouse and Palm III m100 sync cradle = $8
  5. capture/editing/compositing software = Saturn Ops, Virtual Dub, Blender = $0 + QuickTime Pro = $30
  6. web site/video hosting = blogspot = $0 + vimeo = $0
TOTAL = $ 368.00

Figuring that one might be a frequent video blogger, they might post two vlogs a week for a total of 104 entries.

Cost per entry:

$13.75 = Average Solution
$ 3.58 = my solution

This is for the PC side of things. Tell me what you think it is for the Mac side.

The cost could go down even further for my solution if one were to use an open source codec like XviD. People would have to download another media player like mplayer or VLC. That would knock off the $30 Quick Time Pro price. Then you're down to just the price of the hardware of the camera, download solution and computer.

This is important to get the tools of media creation in as many hands as possible.

I had to compress and re-compress the video a couple of times but that was partly due to my first attempt at this method. The CVS cam can be modified to record 640x480. The compression levels can also be set to improve the quality of the video. The native codec of the camera is XviD. The audio codec is some obscure thing that nobody has heard of but once downloaded, works like a charm.

Using the VirtualDub/Blender capture/edit/composite solution with the native codec, one could be a regular video blogger for the rock bottom price of:
$ 3.25 / entry


dskippy said...

woah that was amazing!!!!!!!

Mica said...

great breakdown!
I am going to use it as an example of - lo-fi/hi-tech.
great content too!
psyched about future projects.

Verdi said...

That was cool. I love it when people MAKE stuff out of technology.