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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Clockworks- A Great Place to Get Your Watch or Clock Repaired

I stopped in the other day to this tiny shop on Patterson Avenue just east of Libbie. The owner is charming and loves to share his knowledge of the wonderful clocks he repairs, from the Pigeon Clock in the video below, to the grandfather clocks. You step back in time when you hear all the chimes and old clocks ticking, unlike today's digital domination.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2eU0654wcY

Monday, October 10, 2011

Picasa is a Great Photo Editing Program

Using Picasa Photo Viewer

By Brooke Saunders

One of the greatest free programs on the Internet is Google's Picasa. Clever name, and I can imagine Picasso himself would have fun with this easy to use program. Besides those great vacation photos, it is vital for ecommerce projects. If you are taking pictures of people and products, you have to get the pictures just right before uploading them or making a slide show.

When you try out other programs to edit photos, you really find out how tough they are to use, and/or just plain annoying. Recently I was trying to find ones that did something that Picasa couldn't, and I could barely figure them out, even the simple functions took a lot of effort. And the gold standard, Photoshop, which has wonderful features far beyond Picasa, is tricky to use for the beginner.

To get Picasa, google "Picasa download," and you'll find it right away. Download the program and save it, and then open it. To start editing a picture, click on the option to import a file under "File," and select your picture you wish to edit.

The functions are extremely clear and easy to use, including crop, retouch, and many others. One icon is "I'm Feeling Lucky," which is a one-stop general photo enhancer that I find useful for some photographs, always worth a try.

One handy feature is the "undo" button, you can always click "undo crop" or "undo straighten," and start again.

If you look next to the "Basic Fixes" tab, you'll see "Tuning," where you can lighten or darken a photograph. If you have a photo that is washed-out looking, darkening it can make a dramatic difference. Lighting can also help a murky or dark photo.

Picasa is great for preparing photographs to use in a Movie Maker slide show, as you need to get them just right before you start a project. I usually create a special folder that has the photos I plan to use, and after finishing them in Picasa, I save them in that folder ready to access when I start.

You can salvage photos that don't look so good for one reason or another with all the various features in Picasa, and also in Windows Movie Maker. Besides obvious improvements such as lightening a photo or darkening it with the "tuning" feature, you can make it sepia tone, black and white, or saturate the colors. This is useful for pictures that look faded, and still need to be brightened. Try darkening a photo to bring out the color first, and then try saturation. Too much saturation is not good, and the nice thing about Picasa is that you can easily tell with the "what you see what you get" aspect of how it works.

One neat trick Picasa has is the ability to blur part of the photograph around a clear part of the image, you can both increase the width and intensity of the blurring to great effect. I once made a color photograph sepia toned, and blurred half the image except for the focal point, and it came out great. You can even make part of the picture in color and part of it in black and white.

Also, since you are in the Google empire, you can easily post a photo to your blog by clicking on the blog option at the bottom and follow the prompts.

One thing to remember when you are scanning a photograph from a print or other image is that you must close in all the sides in the scanning of the image. If you put a small picture in the middle of the scanner and save it with all the white border around it remaining, it makes it very hard to enlarge in Picasa. So use the feature in your scanner to move the frame in until it leaves very little white space before saving.

Though sometimes you can crop white space out around a photo, and it will enlarge when you save it, sometimes it won't, and ends up a tiny image that does not fill the screen.

One good thing about Picasa is that it saves the original photograph, so you don't lose it when playing around with the editing. I'm not exactly sure how all this works, but as with all programs, explore and test every corner of the software on all types of photos, and you'll find out plenty of new things.

You can't beat the price, absolutely free, and combining all other factors, Picasa is one of the top products when you need those photos for family or business edited.

Brooke Saunders
804-277-9184
Another Click In The Wall
http://www.greenlivingintheusa.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Windows Movie Maker Often Requires File Conversion Software

By Brooke Saunders

Many people are put off by the thought of trying to edit videos, much less taking on the more complicated features in the programs. But if you keep it simple and just take it step by step, you can have a lot of fun and turn out something reasonably good.

Internet marketing, affiliate sales, and many other ventures can benefit from video content. It works two ways: one is the fact that Google loves video content, and it owns YouTube, so websites with good visual content of this sort typically rank higher. The other is that people often like to see and hear people convey a message through video, they are accustomed to the format.

Once you have a camera, and start taking footage, you'll be happy to know that Windows Movie Maker is included in all Microsoft operating systems bundles. iMovie is great also, but I don't know much about that program, but it is what you need if you have a Mac.

One way to solve a lot of video problems in advance is to download the freeware DVD Video Soft. This is a fantastic set of about 40 programs that is completely free, no spyware and no obligations, much less the obnoxious efforts to sign up for other stuff before you get to use the program. And there is no period you can use it before you have to buy it, no "watermarks" that are embedded in the images. Just remember when installing it to decline the toolbar it wants you to allow, and then install it.

The reason you need this set of programs is file conversion, a critical capability if you plan to edit different types of footage from different makes of camera. The 30 gig HDD Sony camera I use creates files that Windows Movie Maker can use immediately, but the my Cisco Flip camera footage needs to be converted. In addition, WMM does not work with the DVD format, that also must be converted. AVI is the gold standard format WMM and many other editing programs prefer to work with.

You hook your camera up to the computer, usually through a USB port, though some older Panasonics go through a 1394 firewire connection, which not all computers have, especially newer ones. If your camera does have the firewire requirement, only buy a computer with that type of jack, or be prepared to buy a box that converts firewire into USB, and more complexities.

Once the footage is in the computer, go to "import video" in the upper left panel. If it won't import, it tells you right away. Then you need to convert with DVD Video Soft, though you might not need to do that if you know how to add file formats with one of the options in WMM. But I found it a little cumbersome, and actually capable of crashing the program. I'm not sure what happened, could have been my computer or some other variable.

Once I found DVD Video Soft, I could just convert footage quickly, and not bother with the control panel in WMM. For example, if you have one of the flip cameras that saves footage in MP4, you just open up the FREE 3GP Video Converter. This is a mobile phone image format that is apparently designed for the many types of files that show up in that world, yet it works great in WMM.

Browse for your files you want to convert, and then highlight them all. Tip: If you click on the first file, and then look for the last file in the batch and click that one while holding the "shift" key, it will highlight all of the files between. Then import them to the program.

Go to the bottom and leave the setting on "High Quality," and look over to the left, where a tiny black triangle is in a window under the word "Formats." When you click on that, you get a menu with a number of options, you want AVI as the format to convert to, WMM can use that one best.

Once you have everything set, click on "Convert," and wait a few minutes, it's pretty quick, depending on the number of files you have. When it is done, click on the folder to the right, and you'll be in the 3GP output folder. I always copy those files I've just converted and put them in their own folder on the desktop, or other place you can easily find them. For some reason, WMM does not like to import directly from that folder, it's far easier from the desktop.

If you want to convert a DVD into AVI, use FREE DVD converter option in the control panel. Make sure the output format is AVI, and also, do not use "Perfect" quality; instead use the next option below it, "High" quality. I tried Perfect once, and it ran for hours and hours and still was not finished. In most cases, High quality is just fine, and it converts in a relatively short time.

I've actually error corrected files by running them through the 3GP format option, it can work magic on some files that won't play or import into WMM.

If you are looking for the ideal internet business that has a great reputation, check out my site http://www.greenlivingintheusa.com

Windows Movie Maker Often Requires File Conversion Software

Windows Movie Maker Needs File Conversion Software

By Brooke Saunders

Many people are put off by the thought of trying to edit videos, much less taking on the more complicated features in the programs. But if you keep it simple and just take it step by step, you can have a lot of fun and turn out something reasonably good.

Internet marketing, affiliate sales, and many other ventures can benefit from video content. It works two ways: one is the fact that Google loves video content, and it owns YouTube, so websites with good visual content of this sort typically rank higher. The other is that people often like to see and hear people convey a message through video, they are accustomed to the format.

Once you have a camera, and start taking footage, you'll be happy to know that Windows Movie Maker is included in all Microsoft operating systems bundles. iMovie is great also, but I don't know much about that program, but it is what you need if you have a Mac.

One way to solve a lot of video problems in advance is to download the freeware DVD Video Soft. This is a fantastic set of about 40 programs that is completely free, no spyware and no obligations, much less the obnoxious efforts to sign up for other stuff before you get to use the program. And there is no period you can use it before you have to buy it, no "watermarks" that are embedded in the images. Just remember when installing it to decline the toolbar it wants you to allow, and then install it.

The reason you need this set of programs is file conversion, a critical capability if you plan to edit different types of footage from different makes of camera. The 30 gig HDD Sony camera I use creates files that Windows Movie Maker can use immediately, but the my Cisco Flip camera footage needs to be converted. In addition, WMM does not work with the DVD format, that also must be converted. AVI is the gold standard format WMM and many other editing programs prefer to work with.

You hook your camera up to the computer, usually through a USB port, though some older Panasonics go through a 1394 firewire connection, which not all computers have, especially newer ones. If your camera does have the firewire requirement, only buy a computer with that type of jack, or be prepared to buy a box that converts firewire into USB, and more complexities.

Once the footage is in the computer, go to "import video" in the upper left panel. If it won't import, it tells you right away. Then you need to convert with DVD Video Soft, though you might not need to do that if you know how to add file formats with one of the options in WMM. But I found it a little cumbersome, and actually capable of crashing the program. I'm not sure what happened, could have been my computer or some other variable.

Once I found DVD Video Soft, I could just convert footage quickly, and not bother with the control panel in WMM. For example, if you have one of the flip cameras that saves footage in MP4, you just open up the FREE 3GP Video Converter. This is a mobile phone image format that is apparently designed for the many types of files that show up in that world, yet it works great in WMM.

Browse for your files you want to convert, and then highlight them all. Tip: If you click on the first file, and then look for the last file in the batch and click that one while holding the "shift" key, it will highlight all of the files between. Then import them to the program.

Go to the bottom and leave the setting on "High Quality," and look over to the left, where a tiny black triangle is in a window under the word "Formats." When you click on that, you get a menu with a number of options, you want AVI as the format to convert to, WMM can use that one best.

Once you have everything set, click on "Convert," and wait a few minutes, it's pretty quick, depending on the number of files you have. When it is done, click on the folder to the right, and you'll be in the 3GP output folder. I always copy those files I've just converted and put them in their own folder on the desktop, or other place you can easily find them. For some reason, WMM does not like to import directly from that folder, it's far easier from the desktop.

If you want to convert a DVD into AVI, use FREE DVD converter option in the control panel. Make sure the output format is AVI, and also, do not use "Perfect" quality; instead use the next option below it, "High" quality. I tried Perfect once, and it ran for hours and hours and still was not finished. In most cases, High quality is just fine, and it converts in a relatively short time.

I've actually error corrected files by running them through the 3GP format option, it can work magic on some files that won't play or import into WMM.

If you are looking for the ideal internet business that has a great reputation, check out my site http://www.greenlivingintheusa.com