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Hard drive failure sucks. Yay for RAID.

A little while back the external drive enclosure that I've been using to store my photos (two drives in RAID 1) smoked itself. Literally: a puff of magic smoke came out and it no longer powered on.

I finally got another external drive enclosure and put one of the drives in it (an advantage of RAID 1 is if it breaks each disk can still be used as a single drive). I turned it on and... it didn't power on, and I smelled burning electronics. Turns out it wasn't the enclosure that smoked itself after all.

Fortunately, the other drive (and the data) appears to be fine, but it was kinda scary for a bit since it has a 400 GB folder with nearly all my pictures from the last two years.
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Chibi-Ushi

So I'm back from Chibi-Ushi. It was the most fun I've had at a con in ages, and quite possibly ever. Small conventions > big conventions.

Photos and videos to be posted starting later tonight as I can go through them, but here's one because I know everyone that was there would be bugging me until I put it up: Lauren's Car Decides She Can't Leave Early
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Ikkicon pictures will keep me busy for a while

Ikkicon pictures taken so far (still a day left): 2109. Breaking some of it down:
  • Hallway cosplay pictures: 174 (including 13 steampunk)
  • Science Show: 132
  • Fashion Show: 198
  • Steampunk Prop panel: 97
  • Pose-off: 143
  • Cosplay for Photography panel: 8 (was mostly talking, but I have a video coming as well)
  • Mock Combat: 314
  • Cosplay Contest: 528 (unlike my fail at San-Japan, these pictures actually turned out OK)
  • Cosplay Chess: 202
Plus there's several panel videos to split and upload. I have posted one video already: Caramelldansen in the hall (including Pyramid Head, among many others)
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A fix for distorted pictures in Windows Photo Viewer

I'm still working on the San-Japan videos (ran into some unexpected trouble on the cosplay video), but I also found a solution to something that's annoyed me since I switched from XP to Win7: some pictures, when viewed with Windows Photo Viewer (the default picture viewer app) appear stretched out vertically so much you can't tell what they are.

Example and solution behind the cut.Collapse )
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It's amazing what I can get done once I have tools to make it easy.

First panel video from San Japan 2.x is up: How To Fan

I started with that one because it has useful information, it was easy to find places to split it into segments, and it was the first panel of the con.

As I type this, the first part (of five) of that panel is in HD, and the others should become HD gradually as YouTube finishes processing them.

Things I've learned so far while doing this:
  • White balance is important. I can ignore it on my still camera because I shoot in RAW and apply white balance later, but since I don't do any processing on the videos before they get uploaded I really need to pay more attention when shooting.
  • It's OK to use higher bitrates. Some of the videos really could have done better if captured at a higher quality, but I was worried about storage space, so I used the lowest setting that was still 1920x1080. At the end of the con, my camcorder's drive was still mostly empty and I was easily able to burn all the video onto two BDRs.
  • Time Warner Cable has multiple levels of cable modem service. Upgrading made my upload speed go from 40kB/sec to 250kB/sec, making posting the videos only "rather annoying" instead of "horribly agonizing".
  • YouTube takes a long time to process HD videos. And related to that, the "My Videos" page says "Uploaded (processing, please wait)" from the moment you start the upload, meaning you can't tell from that page if it means "upload completed, will show up soon" or "still working on uploading, might still fail".

More videos coming as I get to them. Fair warning about the cosplay video, though: the shooting environment was horrid, with a black background and harsh lighting. I wasn't able to babysit the exposure settings, as I was trying to deal with my still camera at the time, for all the good it did me — my still shots didn't turn out well either.
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My excuses for a lack of San Japan videos just got reduced.

Just did some testing on YouTube, and while I'll wait for my test videos to go HD to be certain, it looks like they fixed the problem with unconverted AVCHD streams — like what my camcorder makes — playing at half speed. I'm guessing that went in with the recent addition of 1080p (though technically my camcorder outputs 1080i).

Combined with finding a simple, free, lossless stream cutter to trim the longer videos to 10-minute segments without converting to AVI, I no longer have to wait countless hours for videos to be recompressed (and be reduced in quality) before uploading.

Now I just have to wait countless hours for them to upload.

In unrelated news, I haz a Facebook.