Category Archives: Multimedia Content Authoring
When writing a script, be advised: Operating systems are multitasking.
Read the rest of this entry →
First and foremost, I must emphasize that MP4 files and sound encoded in Advanced Audio Codding (AAC) format are not suitable for donation of contents with free license to Wikimedia Commons or other free content hosts in countries with patent laws.
Assuming that you have already extracted your AAC audio track to a .aac file with ADTS format, download and prepare GPAC MP4Box and issue the following command at Command Prompt:
mp4box.exe -add "source file.aac" "destination file.m4a"
Replace “source file.aac” with the path (relative or absolute) of your .aac file and “destination file.m4a” with the path of the .m4a file to be created. Be advised, .aac files containing a raw or ADIF streams are not supported.
I strongly advise using .m4a extension with MP4Box to make sure it stores additional audio related data. If the file must have a .mp4 extension, rename it after conversion. Note that AudioMonkey v4.0 refused to play .mp4 files but has no problem with .m4a files created this way.
An alternative to MP4Box is the majestic FFmpeg but I won’t be covering it here.
Update (2012-03-17):Tested the issue on Expression Encoder 4 SP
I was just trying out Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 SP1 on a copy of Windows 7 when I realized that it does not import .MP4 files. That was very strange, since Windows 7 can natively open .MP4 files, play H.264 video (also known as MPEG-4 Part 10 or MPEG-4 AVC) and understand AAC audio. A quick peak in the Encoder help files had an unpleasant surprise: Although Microsoft Expression Encoder does support .MP4 files, it does not use Microsoft Media Foundation to open them; rather it requires QuickTime.
Frankly, I hate QuickTime. I categorically hate its useless H.264 codec. But this is very strange! A Microsoft product never ditches high-quality Microsoft technology in favor of a low quality competing one.
Further study of supported file formats shows that Microsoft Expression Encoder supports AviSynth, which is good. It also supports SRT, SUB, SAMI, DFXP and LRC subtitle files, which is again, good. Good, but not like Microsoft. Microsoft Expression Encoder does not look like a Microsoft product.
You can find a vandalized version of the user guide online. See:
Greetings, my dear, dear, non-existent readers! A belated happy new year! Please accept my overdue wishes of having a fruitful new year.
I re-read my WordPress 2011 Blog report today, which attempted to be as heartwarming as possible. I appreciate it, but it basically tells me that I am just a mediocre blogger. Let’s see what else is new in the computing world of 2012:
- Microsoft Security Essentials v4.0 is coming! I do not know why Microsoft jumped from v2.0 to v4.0 and skipped v3.0 but skipping versions is nothing new with Microsoft. For instance, Microsoft never released Microsoft Excel v1.0. Also, the first version of Microsoft Excel was v2.0. You also do not find a Microsoft Office v13.0 or Windows Movie Maker v3.0. But as for the changes in Microsoft Security Essentials v4.0, I can see nothing immediately new but the disappearance of its glamorous gray net-like background image and the removal of some Options in the Options dialog box. It is all that meets the eye at the first glance. You can download it from Microsoft Security Essentials beta home on Microsoft Connect website. According to OPSWAT, in September 2011, Microsoft Security Essentials was the most popular antivirus software product in North America and the second most popular in the world..
- Windows codename 8 and Windows Server codename 8 are coming. I downloaded Windows 8 Developers Preview (Old-school conservatives, please read: Windows 8 Alpha) and gave it whirl. This successor to Windows 7 proves that Microsoft is still a software giant that produces superb Enterprise products but is a giant failure when it comes to consumer products. To put it figuratively, in the field of software, Microsoft is a giant, but not a friendly giant. It still does not understand the needs of the home users as it should. You can download a copy of Windows 8 Developers Preview and see for yourself. I really love to know what will be the final name of this version of Windows.
- Angry Birds has become trendy. Almost everywhere, you hear about this video game. It is a destroy-the-castle type of video game where the player uses slingshot to fire wingless angry birds at his enemies (i.e. pigs). These angry fur balls prove worse than cannonballs.
- Single-click online file sharing services faced their doom! On 19 January 2012, MegaUpload.com was taken down by U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) on the charges of Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Conspiracy to Commit Copyright Infringement and Criminal Copyright Infringement. Following this outcome, FileSonic.com stopped all its file sharing services and now only allows users to download their own files. (It has become an online private storage service.) I will not be surprised to see other file sharing services showing similar reactions, although SkyDrive.com seems to have continued to operate undeterred. The takedown took place no longer than one day after the widespread protests against the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
- Internet Explorer 10 is on its way, though by the end of 2012, it will still be on its way. When it comes to releasing a new web browser, Microsoft is very slow. That is one of reasons that Internet Explorer’s market share, which was once almost 100%, has dropped so low and is still dropping. Another reason is that Microsoft is completely blind to why the other web browsers succeed: Extensibility and the passion of the fan base. Plug-ins in Internet Explorer are usually big, low quality, inflexible, hard to manage and usually potentially unwanted if not outright malicious. From where I am standing, it seems Internet Explorer 10 is not likely to address this problem. A passionate fan base also does not exist. Those who would like to join in to make up this void will inevitably run into the Internet Explorer’s Microsoft Connect website whose obtuse employees will see to it that they escape in fear, disgust or the mixture of both.
- Microsoft Office v15 is coming. A technical preview of this product is already out and a public beta version is expected to be available in 2012 summer. I will not be surprised to see the final name of this product is something other than Office 15. Office 2012 perhaps?
Let’s see what the destiny has in store for us.
It has a been long time I didn’t post here, since I simply didn’t have a case worthy of sharing. How weird. By now, you all must have heard all the important news. Internet Explorer 8 and DivX 7 are released and Firefox 3 is also looming in the horizon.
A few days ago, I visited DivX Support site to get help about a problem with DivX 7 updater. Apparently, there is a bug in this updater: It incorrectly reports an update being available and then "updates" your DivX 7 to the same version! As of today, this problem is not solved. Anyways, it was not my first visit to the DivX Support website, but I wasn’t there for a long time and I found the site totally redecorated.
A few hours later, I received an e-mail notification and logged on to the support site to check the response… but not using my personal user account! As you know, a security-savvy person working in an alien environment or on a shared computer always logs out when he is done with his websites. However, I was dumbfounded when I realized that there was no logout button! Seriously, there was no way to log out of DivX Support! I closed Internet Explorer, hoping that the site had merely logged me on using a temporary session cookie. I was disappointed: When I reopened the web browser and summoned DivX Support web site again, I was still logged on!
I immediately reported this issue in the same ticket and fortunately received an answer: Although no Logout button was provided, users could log out by opening the followning URL: http://support.divx.com/mydivx/logout. Later, I investigated DivX Support cookie a little bit more. The cookie is persistent, but expires within two hours. However, two hours is still too long a period of time on a shared computers to leave your support account vulnerable; thus allowing any other user to expliot this opportunity and steal your private identity information.
Posted in Multimedia Content Authoring
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended is a major upgrade over its predecessor. This version of Photoshop is able to do everything Photoshop CS2 and ImageReady CS2 could do combined… even importing animated GIF files, which Adobe officially says “is impossible”.
In Photoshop CS3, if you try to open an animated GIF file using File menu, Open… command, you will only get the first frame. Similarly, you cannot use File menu, Save… command to save your animation as an animated GIF file: You will only be saving the first frame. Officially, you can save your animations using File menu Save For Web and Devices… command. However, there is no official way of opening an animated GIF file in Photoshop CS3. Adobe’s official recommendation is to use the Fireworks which ships with Photoshop CS3.
When I was working with Photoshop CS3 Extended, I realized that it uses QuickTime API to access video. It is not the best solution on Windows, but it is a cross-platform solution. Fortunately, QuickTime recognizes animated GIF as a valid video format. So, all you have to do to import an animated GIF file into Photoshop is:
- Open Photoshop CS3 Extended
- From File menu, choose Import, Video Frames to Layers…
The Load dialog box will appear, asking you to select a file.
- Navigate to the folder that contains your animated GIF file.
The Load dialog box will not show any of your animated GIF files… yet.
- Type *.gif in File Name field and press Enter key on your keyboard.
The Load dialog box will show your GIF files, including animated GIF files.
- Select and open the animated GIF file you wish to import.
Import Video to Layers dialog box will appear.
- Make sure Make Frame Animation box is checked.
- Set the Range To Import settings according to your needs. You might like to select From The Beginning To End and do all your trimmings in Photoshop.
- Click OK button whenever you are ready to import.
Photoshop will now process you animated GIF file and will import it as a frame animation.
Now, you can edit the imported animation via Animation palette. If you wish to suspend editing temporarily and resume later, save your work as a Photoshop PSD file. Once you have completed editing your animation, you can export it to an animated GIF file using Save For Web and Devices… command in File menu.
For some times now, I have been searching for a solution to enable exporting Adobe Premiere Pro projects directly into DivX movies. I have searched a lot over the web – even though now I feel I still haven’t searched enough. Apparently, for some reason, Adobe Premiere Pro intentionally does not support MP3 audio in AVI files. I read this over the web in a forum and it seems true.
I tried adding both Fraunhofer and LAME MP3 codecs for Windows ACM to my system, but Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 ignored them. However, when I added a Dolby Digital AC3 ACM codec to my system, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 immediately recognized it. In time, I tried adding a DivX movie to my Premiere Pro project but Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 ignored the audio stream and only recognized video. Adobe Premiere Pro 2 Tryout and Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 also exhibit same behavior.
I do not know why Adobe Premiere Pro ignores MP3 stream and I do not know whether this behavior extends to other forms of modern audio as well. (I have to see if I can find an ACC codec for Windows ACM and try it.) But as it stands, exporting DivX movies for DivX-Certified devices with Adobe Premiere Pro is not an option. An alternative will be to export video and audio separately, then combining them into an AVI file using a Multiplexer (muxer) utility. Such utility is now available from labs.divx.com. Another alternative would be to encode DivX movies with AC3 audio, but such movies will not be playable on some DivX-certified devices.
I have already started searching for a better MPEG-4-based (or equally potent) solution for delivering download-based web contents…
Posted in Multimedia Content Authoring