Saturday, December 03, 2005

First Muvee with Vidster

Well I finally got off my ass and tested out the Vidster by Mattel.

I tried to approach this like any other video dabbler. I got the package and tried to do as much as I could in the car as I waited for my wife to finish the next round of Black Friday shopping. I was smart enough to read the package and buy the extra AA batteries, not included but I didn't count on the battery compartment being screwed shut. So when I got the thing I couldn't even get it up and running because I didn't have a friggin screwdriver in the car. When you're brown it's not a screwdriver, it's a concealed weapon so it's just not worth carrying tools around.

Once I got the thing home I marched off into the abyss that is my garage and tried to find a screwdriver that wouldn't break or strip the damn thing before I got to use it. The screws are pretty wide so I had to dig through my toolbox to get the right kind of bit.

Putting the batteries didn't take that long so I turned it on and started squeezing out video. It was evening and I was indoors with regular overhead lighting. I started filming my wife standing at the doorway but I could hardly see her in the view finder. When I later viewed the video it was very dark and grainy, kind of like one of the Kurtz scenes in Apocalypse Now kind of dark, but not crisp.

That did not bode well. I don't think it's all that healthy for 8-years olds to be doing remakes of Apocalypse Now for their home movies but I figured it was evening and we had bad lighting so I'd have to try it during daylight for a good test.

So off I went on Saturday morning to shoot some exteriors. By the way, for some strange reason I always think that I have to go outdoor and shoot city life or people on the street whenever I think of shooting video. Since I never ask anyone for permission this usually gets me in some trouble so I tried to lay low and just shot a nearby neighborhood in Santa Paula to see what we could get down on video. This was basically me with the Vidster in one hand and the steering wheel in the other hand as a cruised down Santa Barbara Ave.

After that I got busy so didn't get back to Vidstering for a while. Finally, I loaded up the software, and started messing with the Vidster software. I hooked up the camera via its USB port to my laptop, imported it and deleted the video from the camera, then started viewing the little 7-20 second video snippets I took. The software was easy enough to use but all it did was find the files, import them, then play the file. Pretty basic and little learning curve. I tried to email one of the small movies for fun but I didn't have my profile set up on my computer since I always use Web based email on my laptop.

When I installed the software I did a typical install and used most of the default settings and it worked fine. It installs a link to the Vidster software I described above and also installs Muvee AutoProducer software. I then closed the Vidster software after noting the location of my selected movie and made a copy then opened up the Muvee software. This was also very easy to use but has very limited features. It lets you add a caption to the begining and let's you add credits to the end. I did the default settings then saved the Muvee and saved it as a Web movie. CLICK HERE to see the first Vidster movie. I did not add in the sound later, I just had the radio going in the car as I was filming.