Direct mp4 download or play: April 16th, 1989
Finally, I decided to try to capture one of my many 8 millimeter videotapes from the 1980s. For years (most of the time living in Seattle) I thought the camcorder the original recordings were made on was not working. I discovered just today only the camera part isn’t working. The video recorder/player is totally okay. This video is one of the last recordings of my mother before being diagnosed with breast cancer. She passed away less than a year later in March of 1990. The video shows what she liked doing best, working in the yard. We had a big back yard (an acre) consisting of a steep hillside with Monterey Pine trees in Martinez, California. Also, it shows my mother’s beloved cats Big Butt, Buddy, Spot, and Tabatha Stinkaton. Guess what names I chose! Back then, the weather in California was much more seasonal with ample rainfall. There was always a lot of fairly lush green grasses and wildflowers in our yard each spring.
On a more technical note, I was trying out a different microphone on the camcorder, probably a Sony ECM939LT. The camcorder is a Sony CCD-V220 “Video 8 Pro.” This camera not only has AFM (audio frequency modulation) audio recording, but it could also record in digital PCM stereo audio onto a separate track on the 8 millimeter cassette. In fact, it has analog VU meters just like on the Sony TC-D5M audio cassette recorder. I figured the digital audio would likely fail, due to tape deterioration. It didn’t! It played and captured properly and so this recording has a similar quality to some of the ambient recordings I’ve made while living in Seattle. The video capture was performed with the 8 millimeter camcorder connected all analog (yellow cable video, white cable left channel audio, red cable right channel audio) into the analog line in on a digital Sony DCR-HC1000 Handycam. The video is converted to digital in the Handycam and sent to the computer via firewire. I found a great free DV video capture program called Scenalyzer. Then the video, which split into four parts went into Corel VideoStudio X9, where the parts joined seamlessly, and rendered into one file, nearly 6 gigabytes in size. I imported the edited file into Adobe Audition where the audio and video are separated in the multi-track view. The DV video file format and PCM audio with an extension of .AVI is totally compatible with Adobe Audition. While working in Adobe Audition, a low cut below 40 hertz was applied to cut wind noise and bumping of the microphone. A little amplification was added to sweeten it up just a bit. The peak audio level on the loudest sounds was brought up to -.35Db. This new file was exported from Adobe Audition which made another almost 6 gigabyte DV file with the improved audio. Then, I used Handbrake to make a high quality mp4 file (high profile, slow render, strict 640 x 480-4 x3 frame size, 256 Kbps AAC audio) for the internet. In addition, the Mp4 file was ran through Video Container Changer to make the Flash video file for the regular WordPress Flash player. Of course, now I include “Direct mp4 download or play” options. Sorry for being long winded about the details, but I won’t do this again for more 8 millimeter videotapes I hope to have up before the end of the year. A final note, I no longer have Richard Lyons to help me with grammar and punctuation. So I’ll be checking and/or correcting this text in the coming days or weeks.