Regal Theaters is about to test out an interesting methodology to combat some common irritations people associate with going to the movies. The device [pictured below] will be available to select patrons, having buttons to easily alert management to several problems.
I think this is a pretty good idea, but I think it's lacking some important buttons. I've taken the liberty of making a few improvements:
Anything I've missed?
(BTW: I just noticed post-photo-doctoring that a higher-resolution image is available. D'oh!)
While "researching" my previous stupid idea, I had an even stupider one. I now present you with the following 80's sitcom that never was, based around the idea that when your mom is a "ho" -- and dead -- it's never quite clear just who your biological uncle is:
Do any of you livejournalers have any examples of feeds with embedded youtube/goovid vidoes that actually work in your friends page? I can't for the life of me get mine to work right. It just cuts off the post at the first instance of embedded content, completely ignoring the rest.
If any of you can point me to a feed that this doesn't happen to, I can look to see how they're doing it, and then do it that way myself.
Tired of nearly every video I watch on YouTube and Google video being displayed at the improper aspect ratio, I decided to do a little testing to determine just what you need to do to get your widescreen video to display correctly on these web video services.
First up, I decided to see whether either of these services respected the aspect ratio flag video encoders can set to alter the aspect ratio at playback time. This is most commonly seen on so-called "anamorphic" DVDs, where the video is encoded at 720x480, but is scaled up to 854x480 to display the picture at the proper 16:9 aspect ratio. This is the most efficient way to encode content, as you get the benefit of both a smaller resolution and proper widescreen playback. The problem, however, is that many lazily-coded applications such as freeware DVD rippers, freeware screenshot grabbers, Windows Media Player, etc ignore them completely, choosing to instead display them at the resolution at which it was encoded rather than the one at which it's supposed to be played back. This results in tall skinny people -- and one very annoyed internet curmudgeon. (That's me.)
With this in mind, I crafted a short video that's encoded at 320x240, but set to display at 426x240. (426 / 240 = ~1.78 = 16 /9)
It looks like this:
I then submitted said video to both YouTube and GooVid, resulting in this:
As you can see, this worked OK, but it's less than ideal. You have to increase the size of your file by encoding black bars, not to mention the extra effort required to add them. There's got to be a better way. Let's just try encoding the video at a resolution that matches the aspect ratio. I chose 426x240, but you can choose any resolution you want; just make sure that when you divide the width by the height you get as close to 1.78 as possible. As an easy reference, just take the desired height of your video, and multiply it by (16/9) in your calculator. (240 * (16/9) = 426) This is the proper width to which you'd scale your video. Let's take a look at the results:
As you can see, this works flawlessly on both GooVid and YouTube, and is the best method to follow when preparing your widescreen video. No black bars. No fuss. No muss. (Hint: you can also use any aspect ratio you want. If your clip's aspect ratio needs to be 1.5:1, then just encode the video such that the width is 1.5 times the height. So: 400x266.)
If you'd like to do the same test on any of the other video sites I don't have accounts on, I've provided the videos below. If you do these tests, please let me know the results so I can update this page with them.
UPDATE: Emalyse submitted the test videos to dailymotion, wherein we learned that they too ignore the aspect ratio bit, and both pre-letterboxing to 4:3 and setting the video resolution to a 16:9 aspect work perfectly. Dailymotion goes one step further, not bothering to add in letterboxing, rather it just displays the video at the proper aspect. On Dailymotion the properly aspected resolution option becomes even more attracctive than the other video services.
If, while preparing sample widescreen videos for the 'YouTube/GooVid aspect ratios Howto' you've been planning to make, you are suddenly mystified at how none of them are actually at the correct aspect ratio, I'd suggest that you make sure that your widescreen monitors are at the aspect ratio you thought they were.
It turns out that when I got my new Viewsonics to replace the off-brand LCD I had for a while before that, I assumed they were the same aspect ratio (1.78:1) as the old one. Turns out that at the resolution I'm currently using they're actually 1.6:1. I've been both literally and figuratively pulling my hair out trying to figure out just why I had to stretch my videos to 2:1 to get them to display correctly, when I handcrafted them to need to be at 1.78:1 for proper display. Turns out it was a really simple misconfiguration problem that, had I not made some assumptions leading up to it, would have been the first thing I would have checked.
This is just another example of how when you "assume," you can often make an "ass" out of "u."
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Penelope (the brown and white one) is very tiny... I have really small hands so the scale is hard to see, but the Wiimote ought to help give an accurate reference. Also: I broked my camcorder, so this was shot with my digital camera. :(
There's been much talk lately of the impending fallout from the melting of Earth's polar ice caps. Lost in the quagmire of blame, denial, and rationalization among most of those doing the talking, the real importance of the issue is becoming as dilute as the oceans surrounding the ever-shrinking cubes at the top and bottom of our planet.
Sure, even if you can escape the -- achem -- polarization of the arguments for and against what is causing it, how to fix it, and whether we should even bother (because, really, Jesus is going to be here soon anyway), some of the consequences may be tugging at your heartstrings. You've surely seen pictures of a tired, water-logged polar bear unable to gather the energy to grab a bite to eat after her agonizing trek to find another hunk of ice large enough to support her weight. Sure, it makes you sad. "But, sad as it makes me, " you ask yourself. "What impact will the loss of polar bears really have on my life?" Well, the sad answer is that it really may not. Polar bears are cute -- but ultimately useless to humans.
The trouble is, the loss of polar ice caps affects something no one else has had the forethought to bring up. Something we all take for granted. Something that, even if we all are forced to become vegetarians due to the food chain's collapse, we will surely be unable to live without. I'm talking, of course, about iceberg lettuce.
Even assuming the cows are able to survive our hostile new climate, what will our primary source of food -- fast food restaurants -- shred and then sprinkle liberally over our freezer-burnt "meat" patties? What will women pick out of their salads during first dates? How will "salad in a bag" manufacturers stay in business? What will people make bad "head" puns about?
So this is my plea to every one of you: please try to put aside the bickering over whether we are causing the change, whether the change is stoppable, or whether we should just wait for Jesus, and just think about the iceberg lettuce. We need to try to do whatever we can to preserve this essential part of our diets, while we're still "a head."
[story from Portland Cacophony Society mailing list member "Lance from France", as none of the online stories have any information anymore]
A man went to attend a Yoga class at Linn Benton Community College this morning, wearing a plain ordinary grey trenchcoat. It was not even black, like the ones in the movie THE MATRIX.
Yet, the sight of him caused a complete panic on the campus this morning. A student imagined that he was carrying something under the coat, perhaps a sawed off shotgun. The Linn County Sheriff's Emergency Response team rushed to the college, as well as city police officers from both Corvallis and Lebanon. The school was put in a complete lockdown.
Well, the police quickly tracked him down, and burst into the Yoga class with drawn pistols and assault rifles. It turns out the man was unarmed,
and had nothing on him. But he was immediately taken away under police escort for further questioning as to why he was wearing a trenchcoat on campus. There was video footage on TV from a news helicopter showing theofficers with him as he was being escorted. His car was also searched, but nothing was found in it either.
Although there is no indication at this time that any real threat everexisted, the college announced that it will stay in lockdown until 4:30pm today, effectively shutting the school down the entire day. Police are continuing to sweep the school as a precaution, and checking for nearby donut stands.
During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on locked door.
After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.
"I was like, 'Oh My God,' " she said. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out."
The first instance was a completely imagined threat blown way out of proportion by panicked school officials. The second was school officials LYING to clueless students about an imagined threat. Which one is getting all the press coverage? Which one is more outrageous?
Sure, the teachers in the second story used bad judgement and probably ought to be reprimanded somehow, but the poor guy in the first story did absolutely nothing wrong, yet was detained and questioned by the cops, and an entire school was shut down for the day. Over NOTHING
I have lots of outrage to share around, but most of it goes out towards the people behind story #1. These "better safe than sorry" reactions have got to stop.
Oh, and stop telling kids there are things to be scared of when you know perfectly well you just made them up.