Monday, April 30, 2012

OM-D still sucks for video

I bought my first m43 camera, Olympus EPL1, because I always dreamed about a camera that does both photos and video well. Olympus was bragging about PEN's HD video capability and posted a youtube claiming it was shot with a PEN. However, I could never make video out of my PEN to look like that, not even close. After struggled for months, I gave up and bought a GF2. Panasonic never bragged about its video, but it is years ahead of Olympus.

One big reason for m43 is they have much better potential than DSLR for video. If Olympus really wants success on m43, it must make video function practically usable for consumers. The biggest problem is auto focus hunting, and the latest OM-D still sucks on this regard, as bad as the EPL1.

OM-D does have one problem fixed: now the in-body image stabilization works for video and works extremely well. Before it worked for photos only and software stabilization (garbage) was used for video.

Buy Panasonic, not Olympus, even if your focus is more on photos than video. Olympus seems to have one-stop better high ISO, but that's fake, because what Olympus says 6400 or 3200 is actually 3200 or 1600. Olympus does produce better JPEGs, but GF3 and later have improved on that and you can always do RAW to get the best photos (see my GF2 article).

And if you want good video, many Panasonic cameras including GF2 and GF3 are hackable and the result is simply incredible, check my patch and samples.

Olympus is hopeless. When you search on your ideal camera, don't go to the depreview m43 forum which is dominated by Olympus fans.

Check the following video from my hacked GF2. Although I used C-AF and zoomed in and out, you won't notice any hunting. The image quality is not so great though because I used 30 mbps instead of 45 and I re-compressed it to 8 mbps before uploading to youtube.

After watching this video, you can get a good idea about what you can expect if you use a GF2 to shoot sports video for your kids. If you use an Olympus camera including the latest OM-D, you can only dream to catch something like this. Note the girl passing by; if it was an Olympus, she would have triggered immediately a horrible AF hunting.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Save watched youtube and vimeo etc.

This is the best way to save an online video: after watching, you don't need to open/download the same online video/link again - the whole video file is already in your computer, you just need to know where and how to find it. You don't need to download/install any those risky applications, it is guaranteed to always work and it's simple, easy and no any risk.

In a nutshell: you find and unlock the cached video file, then you can copy and save it.
  • Install Unlocker: During the installation, select only the "explore extension", don't select anything else. This little tool is very handy, not just for this use, very good to have it on your computer.
  • Now watch a youtube or vimeo in a web browser as you normally do. Nothing special, just don't close anything after watching, leave everything as it is. Actually, you don't have to watch the entire video, once the buffering bar reached the rightest end, you can go to the next step.
  • Now, the original video file is in your computer. Where? For Windows XP, go to C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Local Settings\Temp.  For example, if you logged in as John, then go to C:\Documents and Settings\John\Local Settings\Temp. For Windows 7, go to C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Local\Temp. If you cannot see this folder, go to Control Panel, Folder options, View, enable "Show hidden files and folders". BTW, your computer should always show all hidden files and folders, fully, including suffix. Hiding them is the most stupid thing of Windows, and many virus know how to take advantage of this stupid default setting.
  • Once you opened this folder, click View, Details. Then click the "Date Modified" tab to sort the file list so you can see the newest files on the top. Among the top files, you should see a file that is quite large, from 1 MB to 100 MB, depending on how long the video you just watched, with a time stamp that matches the time you watched the video, something like "fla1B7.tmp". This is the file you are looking for.
  • Now right click on the file, select "Unlocker". At the left bottom corner, you see a drop down menu "No action", select "Copy". Change the name suffix from "tmp" to "flv", i.e., the file name now looks like "fla1B7.flv" instead of "fla1B7.tmp".

That's it. Now you can use VLC Player or other media players to play this file, anytime. You may also save its music to a MP3 or AAC file with a neat little free tool "FLV Extract":

Flash uses either MP3 or mostly, AAC for music. If you want to convert from one format to any other formats, you can use the best free audio tool - Audacity. Alternatively, you may use VLC Player to do that in a single step: Media, Convert / Save. Of course, whenever you do conversion, you lose some audio quality due to re-compressing. FLV Extract does not re-compress; so it is best to use only it and keep whatever the output - all players can play both MP3 and AAC. You know, AAC is the native music format for iPod (and iPhone, iPad).

If you need to convert the flv video to other formats, this is the right way to do it without losing any quality and avoid lengthy re-compressing:
  • Drop the flv file into the great FLV Extract and you get two separated video (fla1B7.264) and audio (fla1B7.aac) files.
  • Drop these two files into tsMuxer GUI, download it here:

Oh, one last thing: you might want to make a shortcut to the TEMP folder, so the next time you don't have to go through all the deep path again. In case you don't know how to make a shortcut to a folder: right click on the folder and select copy, then right click on somewhere on your desktop and select "Paste Shortcut".

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things are all made in the same factory, but

their quality are still very different even though they look the same and cost the same. These two card readers, for example, look identical except color, are priced the same for $3.99 and sold in the same store, Frys Electronics, under different brand names. The ZEIKOS works very well, but the SUNPAK is junk.

The LED on the ZEIKOS is thoughtfully put. It won't light up if no card inserted. It flashes when the card is accessed (read/write activities). After you right click on the disk and select "Eject", the light turns off so you know now it's safe to physically remove the card. The SUNPAK never worked reliably enough to be usable, but its LED is "solid" - it's always on as long as plugged in, it never flash, never turns off.

I have returned the SUNPAK and bought two more ZEIKOS. I have used them on all my computers - laptop, tablet, desktop, Windows 7 and XP, never a single problem.

Watch this Youtube to see how the $4 ZEIKOS work beautifully:

Friday, April 13, 2012





  • HTC Incredible(不包括2),电视连线从USB口接出。
  • Motorola DroidX 2 ,用标准的micro HDMI口。注意第一版的DroidX的HDMI口只能输出视频和照片文件,不能复制屏幕,所以不能用来看电视。有软件可以解除这个限制,但是非常的不稳定。
  • Samsung Galaxy S,电视线从耳机口接出,ebay上很便宜不到$5,和一些Nokia的手机( Nokia N82 N95 N93等的电视连线通用,线号CA-75U。但是不是所有的firmware都能让你做耳机和AV之间的切换,比如Verizon版的Fascinate就不行,AT&T版的Captivate则行。
平板是Samsung Galaxy Tab最好,连线在ebay上非常便宜,$5,注意要那种有USB充电插口的,这样可以边看电视边充电。不要用HDMI线,而是AV线(左、右声道和视频共三根线,另加USB充电口)。最大的好处是:几乎是全屏,只是在左右有很窄的黑边。用其他手机或电脑看标清电视时都很不理想,要么左右有很宽的边框,要么底下的字幕出去了,要么人都变得很扁很胖。你看用SGT就很完美,美女的下巴颏还是像狐狸那样尖尖的撩人: