Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We have an idea to promote greater participation in our club activities ...

Q We have an idea to promote greater participation in our club activities. We’ll videotape events (such as contest operations, public service events and so on), use a computer “capture card” and software to digitize and edit short video clips, then post the video clips on our club Web site (as Video for Windows AVI files) to show everyone else what they missed. What do you think?

A I think it is a fine idea. In fact, a number of clubs are already doing what you describe. My only suggestion would be to consider another format rather than AVI. As you’ve probably discovered already, AVI files can be huge. Depending on the frame capture rate and other factors, you could be looking at a megabyte per second of video, or even more. A 60-second video clip would be about 60 Mbytes, a big download to say the least!

I’d recommend that you post the clips to your site as MPEG files. MPEG (pronounced EM-pehg), the Moving Picture Experts Group, is actually a committee that evolves standards for digital video and digital audio compression. MPEG-compressed video files are smaller than AVI files, and most of your club members should be able to view them using the Media Player bundled with Windows 95/98, or by using commonly available shareware viewers. (You could even provide a link on your page for members to download a viewer if they don’t already have one.) You don’t mention what video editing software you are considering, but make sure it can generate MPEG files. Some of the less expensive video editing packages do not include this feature.

From QST January 1999