Category Archives: iMac 27

Removing SD Card from CD/DVD Slot

Yesterday I had a bit of a panic moment. We went out and took some video. Later in the night wanted to watch it on my 27″ iMac. So, I took the SD card and put it into the slot which is on the side. Usually I pay attention, but not this time. But I did find it something different. Before I realized what happened, I inserted the card almost. I actually inserted it into the CD/DVD slot by mistake. Problem is, both the slots are very close (so after this incident it reminded me of an old joke I heard about what professional God is, something along the lines that he is a Civil Engineer else who would put two completely unrelated holes together).

So, as soon as I realized my mistake, the card was still out a little bit and I tried to pull it out. But things got worse, it went inside. That’s the first time I also realized that the iMac’s DVD slot has some kind of a sponge lining. Not sure why that’s required, may be a good thing for inserting and removing DVDs but in this case, that made it more complex.

Suffice it to say I did a few more stupid mistakes and finally the SD card went deep inside and I had no clue where it was within the entire DVD slot area. Slowly my panic mind regained a bit of sanity and then I searched the web and found some Youtube videos on how to remove it. One of them gave an apt name “Fishing SD Card out of a DVD slot” or something like that. Yeah, it was almost like Fishing (I think since I never did fishing :)).

It’s really simple actually. Of course, I can say it’s easy now because I have been through that and after a bit of desperation I finally did manage to remove the card. What you need to do is, take a think cardboard. Usually the junk mails that you receive with all kinds of offers come in think cards and one of those is good. Fold it so that it’s about an inch thick (you are using about 2 inch think wide paper and folding it, otherwise you will end up making it too think with too many folds to make it 1 inch). Then at one end, push the fold inside so that it creates a perpendicular fold and you now have an L shape on the inner side and an L shape with a slant near the corner on the outer side. Something like

   000000
  0000000
 000
 000
 000
 000

Now, slowly insert this and try to feel for an obstacle and try to keep scoping out. You may not exactly feel like an obstacle. But keep trying to insert this card from one side of the slot, put it all the way in and try to keep moving around and pulling out. Don’t worry about it going into CPU or harddisk or something. While I don’t know the internals, I think the DVD slot is a close enclosure that prevents your L card going to other components. I advice you also to go to Youtube and see how people are doing to get comfortable with this whole idea of fishing :).

This worked for me and I was so glad about it. Otherwise, I would have lost the memory card with good videos and my ability to watch DVD movies from my iMac.

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Would you edit your video on the cloud?

Man, these days everyone want to offer everything on the cloud. Is it these type of cloud companies or the economy which is making people live in rainy days? I just came across a company that’s offering media solution on the cloud. These days everyone uses Youtube for their videos. Even large corporations are happy to use it. So, why would anyone go and host their content with some small and unknown company. Well, that’s actually not my point, everyone starts small. But the big put-off for me was about the ability to edit video online, on the cloud!

Why would I want to do that? After a lot of frustration with my 4GB laptop that couldn’t even support editing simple videos, I finally had to buy a 27″ iMac with 16 GB RAM and Core i7 CPU. With that I get a smooth HD video editing experience using iMovie. Of course, iMovie doesn’t make use of multiple cores, but I believe the latest Final Cut Pro has that ability. Even as
an amateur HD video editor I can say that the CPU and I/O are the biggest bottlenecks to edit video. Now imagine doing it on the cloud over the internet. Yes, the internet speeds are spectacular these days but still I don’t think are sufficient for editing video. In fact, some video editors can’t even provide live feedback of the editing and require special rendering step.

My suggestion would be to buy a mac and use the iMovie that comes for free with iLife and get going. If the passion or the need increases, then move to Final Cut Pro. It’s a very easy and inexpensive solution (yes, SAAS seems cost effective paying monthly, but in the long run, a year or two, you will break even).

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Filed under iMac 27, iMovie, SAAS

Copying AVCHD To Harddisk

More than a year back, I bought my first HD camcorder. At the time I bought it, I didn’t have enough knowledge about the various HD file formats, bitrates, what kind of software is there to edit the software and so on. I started taking the video and every now and then when the sd card is half full, I get a warning by the camcorder to save the files and I used to take a backup, erase the sd card and start fresh. The SD card used to have one folder for photos and another for video. The Video folder looks like

AVCHD/
AVCHD/BDMV/
AVCHD/BDMV/BACKUP/
AVCHD/BDMV/CLIPINF/
AVCHD/BDMV/INDEX.BDM
AVCHD/BDMV/MOVIEOBJ.BDM
AVCHD/BDMV/PLAYLIST/
AVCHD/BDMV/STREAM/
AVCHD/CANON/

The actual video files used to be in AVCHD/BDMV/STREAM/ as 00000.MTS, 00001.MTS and so on. I could play these .MTS files using VLC and so thought why do I need all the rest of the folders, unnecessary navigation steps. So, a couple of times when I took the backups, each time I used to create a new directory and copy only the .MTS files into it.

This year, I got my iMac. One of the reason I bought it is to do video editing of the HD video (my Windows Vista based HP laptop with 4GB RAM used to heat up and so wanted to try out more powerful hardware). Along with iMac comes iLife which contains iMovie, Apple’s video editing software. I like the various apps that come within iLife.

Once I got used to iMovie, a couple of times when I directly inserted the SD card, it used to recognize and I could edit the .MTS files (raw HD video I believe) without any problem. Then, one day I wanted to get back to my earlier videos which are sitting in my external harddisk. So, I opened iMovie and tries to open an .MTS file and it doesn’t open it! After a bit of research I found out that iMovie can’t open the .MTS files directly but can open what is called a camera archive which is all the contents starting from AVCHD directory.

Hence forth, every time I needed to backup the videos, I copy the entire AVCHD directory. I create a brand new directory each time, like Video1, Video2 and so on and dump the entire AVCHD directory.

The main information that one would lose not having the other files in AVCHD is the time the video was taken, though the timestamp on the files should give this info, unless your file timestamp gets modified. This information gets stored in the CLIPINF directory. I don’t think PLAYLIST directory is really useful, it’s just the playlist you create on your camera (I don’t bother to do that). I have not seen any files in BACKUP, I don’t know when that get’s used by the camcorder. Also, don’t know about INDEX.BDM and MOVIEOBJ.BDM. Finally, the CANON directory contains a .MPL file and an INDEX.BDM file. Again, not sure what these are for.

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Filed under Apple, AVCHD, HD Video, iMac 27, iMovie

iMac 27 iSight Resolution

I recently got an iMac 27 and it’s a beauty. I have used the Photo Booth and captured both photos and video. Given I shoot most of my video in Full HD format, I am used to a very high quality video. So, looking at the video captured by iSight, it felt not as good. That’s when I wanted to find out the technical details of iSight and I couldn’t find much on Apple’s website. So, I looked at the photo and video files to gather the information and here is what I found.

Photo:

It’s a jpeg image and the file size is 106 KB (Of course, size varies based on the details in the image).

Dimensions: 640×480
Color space: RGB
Color profile: iMac
Alpha channel: No

Video:

It’s a mov file and the file size is 3.1 MB for a 1 minute 2 seconds video.

Dimensions: 640×480
Codecs: AAC, H.264
Color profile: HD (1-1-1)
Audio channels: 2
Total bit rate: 334

I wanted a further break up on the bit rate and more details. So, using ffmpeg, I found

Audio: aac, 44100 Hz, bitrate: 400 kb/s
Video: h264, yuv420p, 640×480, PAR 1:1 DAR 4:3, 20 tbr, 600 tbn, 1200 tbc

Obviously, this is no where close to my camcorder’s full HD video which has

Audio: ac3, 48000 Hz, stereo, s16, 256 kb/s
Video: h264, yuv420p, 1920×1080 [PAR 1:1 DAR 16:9], 59.94 tbr, 90k tbn, 59.94 tbc

So, that’s a huge difference in video quality. Of course, I am not expecting iSight to provide me Full HD support, just wanted to know what it’s capabilities are. It definitely seems to be good enough for video chatting. I liked the fact that it can show even far off objects very clearly, though there is no way to zoom. There are some softwares that provide zooming capability, but that’s only digital zoom.

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Filed under iMac 27, iSight