Thanks again for the feedback!
It's great to brighten up a few people's day and share the journey.
Dylan, I've had another question about making the videos, so here's a brief "how to" from my point of view. Please bear in mind that I'm no expert at this and it all happened by accident!
Equipment is a Canon Powershot A40
in a Canon WP-DC200s Waterproof case
which I originally chose for stills photography based on well informed recommendation from Brian Elliott. It's a 2 megapixel unit which is great for stills, but I believe that in video mode the resolution is lowered. I have a 256MB and a 1GB CF card as well as the rather stingy 8MB card supplied with the camera.
Canon's new range
have a much better specification than my two or three year old model, but I don't know if they all have movie mode - check first if you're a prospective purchaser.
I decided to try out the video mode on the camera in May this year and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The main problem is that inside the housing, it's almost impossible to use the viewfinder, and I have to rely on the LCD screen which uses batteries at quite a rate. So when it's good weather I leave it out of the case. With the Powershot A40 it's not possible to zoom during shooting, you have to set the zoom first. As a consequence of this, most of the filming is done in default wide-angle mode (the more you zoom, the more vibration will blur things) and if I shoot whilst driving, the filming is done "blind" like paparazzi style!
Downloading the video to PC is done in the same way as the stills photos, just giving you a collection of AVI files along with the JPGs. You can view these AVI files directly in Windows Media Player, but joining them up requires additional software. I've used Windows Movie Maker which comes with XP Home, so it's free! It's also very easy to use. If you can't find it in your menus, click on start
, then click on Run...
and type moviemk.exe
into the box. If you need to download it, you can battle your way through the maze of Microsoft's or get it somewhere like here
With Movie Maker, or other software, you can join the clips together (note that some cameras like mine have a limited length of movie clip that they can do, about 20 seconds IIRC). You can cut out the mistakes and shots of the sky, sea and your passenger's backside that you didn't mean to video (honest!) You can mute the recorded sound track (wind noise and passengers screaming). Finally you can add music. Remember to save the project as you go along as Movie Maker can crash, usually when adding special effects or transitions.
Once you've finished the movie use the "Save to my computer" wizard in the default (best quality) resolution which will give you a .WMV file.
The last step is to upload to a server and publish a link. You may have free web space with your ISP depending on the deal, but you'll find that space gets used up pretty quick. I have this with my ISP and a subdomain on BenC's server. You could contact him (I haven't heard from him for a while), but if you can't get hold of Ben I am intending to get some hosting arranged at a very competetive rate. Methods for upload can vary for each service provider, so I won't cover this in detail here. Let me know if you need more info, or look at the details I posted in an earlier thread and Roy Cruse added some helpful stuff.
Finally you can add an index page
to your web space, and/or publish a link here on RIBnet. But this will be a few hours along the way for your first video, so that's enough for now. If you need help, let me or one of the other IT types (Roy Cruse, Alex Brown, codprawn and others) know and I'm sure the info will be supplied more plentifully than you ever expected.
Good luck with it, and I hope to see some great productions soon.
Footnote: I am at the point of replacing my Canon A40 with a "proper" video camera, and in fact I got as far as buying a Sony DCR-DVD202E
. Unfortunately it was a disaster, although I did find out how good Dixons' customer care is (I bought it in the duty free shop at Heathrow, so I don't know for sure that all stores do this) and they have refunded it as it's not fit for my purpose. I'm now looking at the right DV video camera for me (not DVD this time!) and I'm finding that the ideal one doesn't exist.