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For the 2010 trip
In my one-man social media empire bag this year I had:
My trusty, but aging, Nokia N95 and Asus eeepc 1000H
Loaned Canon 500D, Nokia N900, Nokia 3G Booklet
While away, I bought a US sim card with “unlimited” data from T-mobile for one month. Mike Oh in Boston loaned me a lens for the Canon because it hadn’t come with one (!) and an SD card
I took about 1000 pictures over the three weeks. Most of them with the Canon but did get some with the N900 although picture quality wasn’t as good as on the N95. I didn’t have my N95 charged and ready to go all the time, because it wouldn’t play as nicely with the US sim card as the N900.
I didn’t find much use for the 3G booklet – it was lighter than my Asus but the 3G would only have been useful on the move and there was very poor signal on all of the trains we used. In any case, I prefer to write when I’m sitting still and take in what’s going on when I’m moving.
I would have made better use of the N900 if I had had an intro to it before I left. It wasn’t until New York that I found out how to zoom in and out on the screen
Likewise I would have shot much more video if I’d been more familiar with the Canon before leaving. I didn’t get the hang of it until I was in Austin… I simply didn’t have time to read the manual on the road.
With hindsight, I think I should have made a case to get Canon and Nokia to let me have those devices for the year of my residency at C4CC rather than just for the three weeks of the trip. If I have another residency this year I’ll give it a go – there’s so much more value I can bring with kit that I know well and can rely on having for a while. The other issue raised by having a short-term loan was that I worried more (perhaps irrationally) about damage or loss.
The thing I really felt the lack of was a computer that could handle the HD video that the Canon pumps out – both in terms of working on stuff while away, but also editing things together afterwards. I also worried a lot about only having one copy of pics and vids that I’d shot.
When looking to cost this, the kit I was loaned retails today at:
Canon 500D £515
Nokia N900 £350
T-mobile sim $50 = £33
3G Booklet £520
4GB SD Card – £5
Total I would have had to lay out on kit: £1423
For the next trip
Now the things I don’t have for this year’s trip yet are:
A DSLR & decent lens that shoots HD & some large data storage cards
Some large USB sticks for data backup.
A light-ish laptop that can comfortably handle HD video
A smartphone with US sim and a friendly data plan
Open to suggestions on how to acquire the above. A longer term deal that might include support for my continuing Social Art would be preferable to me and doubtless of more value to the sponsor than a loan just for the duration of the trip.
Thayer asked for some tips on getting video from the HG10 in suitable form for uploading to YouTube or Blip.tv
Please do not take this as a definitive way of doing things – I AM FREQUENTLY WRONG! – However, it seems to have worked for me so far, though I had to bodge around for a bit, so there may well be better, easier ways to do it, so please let me know if you find them. Oh and I’m doing it on a PC running XP – iMovie doubtlessly cleans your shoes for you while it’s speedily encoding and compressing.
First off, I installed all of the software that came with the camera – I can’t remember what all of it was, but basically I chucked everything at it.
Then this is what I do. You get files off the camera in .mts format. I start up the Corel Ulead DVD Movie Factory and create a new project. Since we’re just going to export to another type of file I don’t think it matters whether you go for a DVD project or a AVCHD project so just choose whichever one you think goes best with your eyes.
Click on the Add Video Files icon (film strip) at the top left hand corner. Choose a file and then click on the Export Selected Clips icon about half way down. (You can process more than one clip at a time by the way – if you’ve got a bunch to do)
I choose Customize…
In the file save as dialog that comes up I give it a name and change the type to .avi.
Then click on Options. I scale the frame size down to 720 x 540 on the General Tab and on the AVI tab I choose the DivX Codec with standard settings.
Then click Save. Close down Movie Factory. Fire up Windows Movie Maker or your favourite video editing program and import the .avi file for editing. With these settings the .avi is about one-third the size of the .mts file.
You may find that different codecs with different settings give you better results but having stumbled over something that works well enough, I’m not going to start messing around.