How to rip audio/video from a SWF file

Posted on: December 24th, 2009

So I found myself wanting to rip the audio of a SWF file and of course there’s twenty billion SWF-to-MP3 converters out there. I installed a bunch. 99% of them can’t do what they claim. Most can’t rip from a protected SWF file. Few are completely free.

Thank me. I found SWFrip and it’s completely free and completely able to rip an image or audio from your SWF file whether it’s protected or not.  Thanks to this program, I was able to turn a SWF file into a YouTube video.

Here’s the link and good luck: http://sourceforge.net/projects/swfrip/

Where to find free Stock Images

Posted on: December 9th, 2009

So from time to time, I need myself some stock images and since I’m so cheap I sound like a bird, I’m always looking for free sources of royalty-free, stock images and photographs. Here’s a list I compiled today from my latest google search.

http://www.photogen.com/free-photos
http://www.freerangestock.com
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
http://www.openphoto.net
http://www.stockvault.net
http://www.123rf.com/browsefreeimages.php
http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos
http://www.sxc.hu
http://www.fotolia.com/FreeContents

Dig in!

Best Sony Vegas settings for YouTube videos

Posted on: November 16th, 2009

When it comes to making YouTube videos, render settings is a guessing game. Lots of opinions are floating out there about how to render a video that will look good on YouTube. There are few things as nasty as spending hours editing your video, hours rendering it and then lo and behold when you upload it to YouTube, it looks like scum. Horrors.

So these are the settings for Sony Vegas that I use. I discovered them by trial and error and I hope they work for you.

First, if I’m working with widescreen footage, these are the Sony Vegas properties (File>Properties) that I use:

Then for rendering my widescreen footage choose the WMV type and click the “custom” button:

Under custom settings, you have a couple of tabs. Under Project set Video Rendering Quality to “Best,” under Audio set as  ”CBR” & 128 kbps and under Bit Rate set only Internet/Lan as checked and type in “5 M” as the target bit rate. One tab we skipped was the Video tab, so go to it now and fill in these settings:
 

Be sure to save your custom WMV template so that you can reuse it later. Upload your video to YouTube and after a bit of processing time YouTube will give your video the “HQ” option.  Whether you watch in “HQ mode” or not is up to you: either way the video should look great.  (Sample videos I’ve made using these settings.)

I use these render settings for my fullscreen video footage too, so it’s not restricted to only widescreen footage.  Let me know if this works for you.

Magic Bullet video effects demo

Posted on: September 3rd, 2009

 I don’t have fancy lights or an HD camera but I do have Magic Bullet effects and Sony Vegas. For a vlogger like me, white balance and skin tone isn’t my biggest concern; I just want my videos to be watchable. Here’s a small sample of the difference some nice effects make. This is the original shot:

Original shot

 And here is the Magic Bullet “Basic” effect, with some increased brightness:

after magic bullet effect

 The finished video looks alot better thanks to nifty effects. (And yes, rendering the video takes 3x as long due to the Magic Bullet effect.)

Download the high quality SuperDude videos

Posted on: July 2nd, 2009

You can watch the SuperDude episodes anytime you like, but if you’d like to download the  high quality files (wmv format), here are the links:

Download Episode One
Download Episode Two
Download Episode Three

Footsteps, a free Sweetcron theme

Posted on: June 16th, 2009

If you’re reading this, then you probably already know what Sweetcron is. In a nutshell, it’s a framework that automatically collects all your updates from around the web and displays them in one single webpage.

If you’ve tried setting one up, more then likely you’ve come to realize that … ooops, there aren’t that many themes out there to choose from.

Well, here’s another free Sweetcron theme for you guys. This is a modified version of Chris Coyier’s free theme so be sure to check out his work if you haven’t already.

I call my theme “Footsteps” and it looks like this (click to enlarge):

footprints_screen.JPG

For a live demo, visit danielisanidiot.com.

The download includes a small help txt file and original art work. Download:  footsteps.zip

If you use it, share a link with me - I’d love to see your work. Good luck lifestreaming!

How to easily build a desktop widget

Posted on: June 5th, 2009

Okay, so you’ve heard some of the hype about widgets and now you want to try your hand at it. Point is, most widget services either create web-only widgets (SproutBuilder) or involve deep coding (Yahoo widgets). Major blegh. I feel your pain. Here’s a quick and simple solution to building your first desktop widget:

1. Create the Widget using a free account at SproutBuilder

2. Publish your SproutBuilder widget and you’ll notice at the bottom of the “Your widget has been published” screen, there’s a link to the SWF file. Copy that link.

3. Head over to ClearSpring.com and create a free account there.

4. Click “Add a Widget,” then “In Widget,” and choose the AC3 format and paste your SWF link into the Flash url link.

5. Complete and Presto! ClearSpring enables any widget to also work on the desktop, depending on if you have the right framework installed. For Vista users, it is even more simple…you add it directly to Vista without installing a third-party framework.

Done. Wish granted. Game over.

Failblog comments: did he die?

Posted on: May 30th, 2009

Something funny has been happening over at the the popular YouTube Failblog channel, which posts video clips of people failing at various activities. Recently, there have been an mudslide of similiar comments on the Failblog videos, with hundreds of different viewers asking: “Did he die?” Other variations include, “Did she death?” “Did the cat die?” “Did the glass table dead?”

No one knows who started the trend, but hundreds of users have caught on to the idea and youtube videos are becoming bespeckled with “Did he die?” comments.

Personally, I think it’s funny. Not only does the trend mock those simpleton viewers who actually thinks someone dies but it builds a hilarious reaction from those who aren’t aware of the trend. Such as, “What do you mean DID HE DIE? Of course not duh!! All he did was fall off his skateboard, you brainfade!!” And of course the joke is him, cause he’s the brainfade who hasn’t caught on to the newest youtube trend.

And speaking of youtube trends….seriously…I MUCH prefer trends of the Did He Die flavor instead of the sickingly copy/paste trend of “How to know if you’re a good kisser” or “repost this or else you will be killed in a vacant lot by vacant killers” or “repost this and fall in love” or “help Bob rule the world”.

The “did he die?” trend has brought a much needed sense of sarcasm, wit, and light humor to an otherwise MySpace-generation based YouTube community.

All you need is a sense of humor. (Did yours die?)

Epilogue

Posted on: March 27th, 2009

 It’s amazing how many hours it takes to create a 3 minute recording, what with splicing, vocals, and bunches of “gah - that doesn’t sound right at all”. 

As usual, the mp3 is hosted at Drop.io and is available for free download. 

http://drop.io/danielgardner/asset/epilogue-softly-mp3

 If you download it, you owe me one comment. :)   

I have 500 facebook friends. But I interact closely with less then 15 of them. 

 Which means that Facebook’s new “stream of updates”  can get rather confusing. Imagine Facebook trying to keep me up todate about 500 status messages. Yeah. Here’s how to quickly make a friend filter that will show you updates from your closets friends:

1. Follow this link to view all your friends. http://www.facebook.com/friends/?everyone&ref=tn

2. On the left column, there is a big button that says, “Make a New List”. Click it. (duh)

3. Give a name to your list, like “Relatives” or “Close friends” or “People I would rather see dead”. Press enter.

4. Now, start adding specific friends by typing in their names.

5. See it in action: Go to your facebook home page where it lists all the status messages (link), and you’ll notice there is a small, left column. This column contains the name of your friend list. Click it and instantly view the updates posted by the friends you preselected. 

6. BONUS: notice at the bottom of each List is a link that says “Message this list” - this allows you to quickly message your list of close friends, or message that list of people you’d rather see dead. (”Hi. My name is Daniel Gardner. You’re on my black list. Prepare to die.”)

See how easy that was? You owe me one comment.