Unlike the first one, this app will be beneficial for most Android users. Like with iPhone, Android lacks Flash capabilities, and thus handles YouTube by using a stand-alone player app. When a user clicks a YouTube link, the YouTube application fires up and immediately begins playing the video, full-screen. (If you can really call a phone's display "full-screen.") This means you don't have the luxury of seeing any information about the video before you play it.
My app solves this problem rather handily. Instead of sending YouTube links immediately to the YouTube app, they go through my app first, causing a popup with title, description and thumbnail image. And then a button at the bottom which will send the video to the YouTube app if you really want to watch it. If not, just hit back or the 'ignore' button. No more Rickrolls.
Like with my first app, this one is available both as a paid app and as a free app for the cheapskates. My logic is that the more people actually get benefit from an app, the more likely they'll EVENTUALLY be to throw me some cash. If they have to pay upfront, very few people will even try it.
(For the interested, this logic has proven to be very, very flawed; after 48 hours in the Marketplace, the free version of youtube Sleuth has well over 1,000 users. The $0.99 version has 9, and one of those was D. (Unlike on iPhone, you can "refund" apps you don't like within 24 hours of purchase -- but the catch is you can only do it once. If you install it again you are stuck with it. I was testing it and accidentally "bought" it from myself using D's phone one too many times.)
I've been getting helpful suggestions regarding future "making a fool of myself by singing for YouTube" ventures, but just had to share this. Within hours of posting my video, I got a YouTube friend request from timmf2007, which I learned is some sort of American Idol-esque competition. I clicked through a few of the videos in there and immediately decided two things:
1) these people are really good
2) I need to add some suck to the competition.
Here's where you come in: I need suggestions for the worst-karaoke-songs-ever to submit. I pretty much showed my entire vocal range in my Hungerstrike video, so I'd suggest things that are either well within that range or horribly outside it. (For instance, I think I could "nail" Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," if you used "nail" in an altogether untruthful sense. Any suggestions? Bonus points if an instrumental track can be located.
Whenever Temple of the Dog's song 'Hungerstrike' [link to YouTube video for the unfamiliar] comes on the radio whilst I'm driving in my car, I get an unstoppable urge to sing along. Because the song is essentially a duet, it involves Chris Cornell screaming really high and loud practically overtop of Eddie Vedder's really low and grungy vocal. This makes for a nice challenge -- and a nice bit of me making a fool of myself -- so I've been meaning to document it somehow.
Today I decided to share the experience with you. Head on over to YouTube to see my incredibly dorky video. Be sure to stick through it long enough to see my switching from grunge to screamy falsetto.
Having decided that I wanted to make a split-screen video showing a bit from Flight of the Conchords alongside the corresponding Footloose clips that inspired it, I then spent over an hour downloading the clips off YouTube, correcting their aspect ratios, trying to get the new videos to load in Cinelerra, trying to figure out how to do a split screen in Cinelerra, and ultimately learning that Cinelerra is -- dare I say -- a useless pile of crap (at least on this Ubuntu install), I decided to just let you use your imagination instead. No capable video editor means I won't be fancily editing any videos.
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.