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Dad, the AV guy

John Wilson

John Wilson

Posted Mar 29, 2010
5 Comments

I, like a lot of fathers I suspect, am the AV person at home.  It is my responsibility that all still images and video are properly archived, and retrievable for quick historical reference.  This is a heavy responsibility that I doubt my father had while I was growing up.  I remember watching projected slides of our family outings so there was some burden to bear for my father I’m sure (dad, in case you’re reading this) .  The game has changed since I was a kid, accumulating content is a lot easier than it used to be.

Right after our first child was born we invested in our first video camera.   I chose a refurbished mini dv camera that was a consumer reports best buy.  A reasonable choice at the time but not anything I would recommend to new dads.  One of the biggest challenges I have is transferring this video to the computer.  First,  if you have 60 minutes of video it will take you 60 minutes to transfer it.  This is okay, I guess, but every time I start to transfer video the computer loses connection with the camera.  Maybe it’s because I bought a refurbished camera.  Maybe it’s because I bought a cheap cable.  I’m hoping it is the cable.  I am resisting paying someone to transfer the videos but if I had the money it would be well spent transferring the headache to someone else.  This is something I have to sort out soon because I have about 30 tapes at home that have not been properly archived. To mitigate this issue I recently purchased a portable HD video camera for the primary reasons of:

  • Sharing video clips with family scattered around the country
  • Capturing short clips
  • Ease of transfer to my computer
  • Dissect my golf swing  (60 frames per second)

I was pretty happy with the purchase but soon starting questioning my need to record in HD.  This happened right after I saw that a 3 minute video was 500+MB.  I don’t know if I remember exactly what the size was but it was certainly HUGE!  At this rate my 1TB external drive would fill up in no time.  I quickly fell in love with 640×480.  It is a hard sell at home though.   It is hard to convince everyone in the family that even though you can record in 1080, we probably don’t need to.  First,  unless the lighting is spectacular the video quality won’t be that good.  Second,  in our house we have no way of displaying the majesty of HD unless we leave it on the camera.  I currently have no method of delivering archived HD content to our HD TV unless it is piped there from the device that generated it.  This is why when we buy our next laptop it will have HDMI out!

I do think it’s great that we can collect all of these memories in videos and images but is it better than what my parents had when I was a kid?  Will my kids look back as fondly as I do when I think about how we would load up the carousel, gather the family, turnoff the lights, and watch the slide show?

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About John Wilson

John WilsonJohn Wilson joined Mentor Graphics Corporation, Mechanical Analysis Division (formerly Flomerics Ltd) in 1999. John has worked on or managed more than 100 thermal and airflow design projects. His modeling and design knowledge range from Electronics Cooling IC packaging level to Data Centers and Clean Rooms. He has extensive experience in IC package level test and analysis correlation through his work at Mentor Graphics' San Jose based Thermal Test Facility. He is currently the Consulting Engineering Manager, WRO in the Mechanical Analysis Division. Visit John R Wilson's Blog

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Comments 5

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Hi John, I ran across your blog via an seminar announcement. I took one of your Flomerics classes years ago. Just wanted to say hi and that I enjoy reading your blog. I completely relate to the AV and Vision at 40+ blogs (CFD ones, too). Keep up the good work!

Richard Huang
5:15 PM May 12, 2010

It's so great that you share this with us

M4v Converter
11:02 PM May 16, 2010

You have inspired me to find and update the old slides.

Dad
2:02 PM May 28, 2010

Nice blog John. I remember we talking this when I was in Bay area. BTW I recently got a CANON rebel T1i but have not ventured into HD video (apparently it does a good job) 1. because it takes up huge memory as you said 2. I almost never go back to watch old videos as I do for pictures.

Prasad
8:33 PM Aug 2, 2010

Rather amusing opinion

best dvd ripper
1:06 PM Aug 12, 2010

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