Promotion Video: (K-5 1080p HD)

Today I’ll be talking about promotion and using my camera gear as a tool to create such videos. A friend and I just finished our first Application targeted for the Android marketplace. The application basically allows the user to monitor the level of rivers in the United States thanks to publicly available data that is updated frequently. This is useful to anyone who does boating among other various activities that have some relation to rivers, gage height, and stream flow.

I’ve since made a second promo style video, but with the K-7 camera instead (link here).

The great thing about current DSLRs is that they are amazing multi-function tools. This time I used my Pentax K-5 and shot in 1080p HD 25fps as well as with an external microphone. Why use an external mic? No mechanical sounds from the camera, no sounds from me touching the camera, and overall better sound quality even with a cheap microphone.

Here is the setup for my video:

– Pentax K-5 in video mode with a DA 40mm f2.8 recording at 1080p HD 25 fps.
– A cheap Labtec AM-222 microphone connected to the external input on the K-5.
– The microphone was being held by a light stand and the K-5 with a sturdy Slik tripod.
– A phone I use to test my Android programming code in. This is actually a HTC HD2 running Android off of the SD card connected to WIFI (I no longer use the carrier I did with that phone).

I use Linux, so the programs I have available to me are not usually the most common or featured. Right now I use a pretty solid NLE (non linear editor) for editing my videos called Kdenlive. I’ve had an issue with videos from Pentax cameras on Linux where I get a methodical popping sound in the audio. This popping sound happens in every program excluding VideoLan player. To get around this issue, I’ve figured out that I can re-encode the video using Avidemux (GTK+) with the settings:
MPEG4 – ASP (defaults) for video
PCM – Mono (sometimes increasing the sound level if it is too quiet, this time +1)

For whatever reason, doing a re-encoding allows the video and audio to function properly in Kdenlive, so I am able to successfully use and edit the video. Beside the source, you can see I added an overlay of our logo as well as the name of the application.

Here is Kdenlive with the overlay setup:

To create the transparency, I used full red (255, 0, 0) because the logo and text contained no red in them.

Inside Kdenlive, you need to drag the single frame onto a video line (layer) above your source material. Expand the overlay layer so it spans the same amount of time as the source video. Right-click on the source video and select Add Transition >> Composite, this will add a composite item between the two video layers, expand that so it also spans the same time as the source materials and overlay. This time you need to right-click on the red overlay frame and select Add Effect >> Alpha Manipulation >> Blue Screen. On the Transition tab with the Blue Screen effect selected. In my case I needed to change the default blue color to full red (255, 0, 0) and scroll the Variance to 51. Clicking around the time-line will allow you to see if your overlay is transparent and to make sure none of your non-transparent elements are invisible. If something doesn’t look right, readjust the Variance slider.

That’s about it! I rendered the video as H.264 in I believe 10000 bit rate and uploaded it to Youtube. The final video ended up around 280 mega-bytes.

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