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Tarion VT770 video tripod

I bought Tarion VT770 from Tarion directly rather than from Amazon. It’s not Amazon itself who sells it but a Chinese seller so you wouldn’t get all that Amazon protection buying from it. And getting from Tarion directly it was cheaper than from Amazon.

I am not a professional video maker and this is my first video tripod. Previously I was using a photo tripod with video head which was shaky when I did panning. So Tarion VT770 is much more stable. It’s a little shaky on full height but that makes it very high and would rarely be needed. When I extend only the middle section it remains very stable.
Tarion has many plastic pieces so the time will show how durable is it. Initially all plastic parts look solid so I hope they will serve for a long time.

To make horizontal panning really smooth I had to loose the triangle knob to the maximum (see photo) – and don’t forget to loose the lock clamp too. Then there was some noise during panning which was caused by the metal blocker used to block the panning (which is tightened by the lock clamp). I applied some silicon grease and the noise almost disappeared – see the photos below.

I’ve seen a comment somewhere about the issue with the camera getting on the way of quick-release plate locking-knob. Note that you can pull the knob and turn it down so it always remains away from the camera (see the photo).

Note that the tripod is heavy and bulky and is therefore not suitable for pedestrian travel. Also the bag isn’t very durable and arrived with a little hole made by tripod during transportation.

So in conclusion it’s a decent tripod overall with some minor issues that are easy to address.

Audio sync issue with MTS video files

Recently I faced a problem with MTS files (AVCHD from Panasonic and Sony cameras) with audio getting out of sync after file edit.
MTS file plays fine with sound in sync (e.g. with Daum Potplayer). However after editing, sound is not in sync anymore. Searching internet I found my problem isn’t uncommon, but I didn’t see a definitive solution.

Note that I haven’t touched MTS files for several months; and in the past I haven’t had any sync issues. During the break I had Windows reinstalled, so the problem must be somewhere on my PC.

The issue shows up with some video editing software but not all (e.g. VirtualDub, Corel Video Editor have the issue). It seems to me it’s related to AC3 encoding of audio stream in MTS files. I haven’t found precise root cause, I guess some codec version or settings on my PC might be the reason; however I found several workarounds that suit my needs.

  • BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have an issue with MTS files. So I can do color correction in Resolve and then save file with an in intermediate codec (e.g. CINEFORM) for editing with other video editing software. Once MTS file is converted to another format, the issue is gone…
  • I can convert audio to another format using AVANTI/ffmpeg. Copy video stream as is; and convert audio to PCM for example – then the sync issue is gone, file can be edited.
  • VSDC Free Video Editor doesn’t have an issue with MTS files. The basic version is free. Unfortunately the latest update of Video Editor made the use of waveforms a paid option, but it isn’t expensive; or you can use an older version which has waveforms enabled for free.

Looking back

I had a conversation with my friend a few days ago. We talked about how much our life changed in the last 10-15 years.

I believe there were 2 main things that had revolutionary impact on many millions of people: I mean internet and mobile telephony. People became accessible – any time, anywhere; and the world became accessible; and the news became accessible.

Just a few consequences that come to my mind:

  • The Wall Street business model is challenged in the last years because the news about companies now affect shares instantly; and the news about shares are now known instantly. And shareholders now can make transactions instantly.
  • Newspapers changed their role because it’s too late nowadays to bring the news next morning.
  • I just saw a picture of  a plane ticket facebook – I mean a traditional paper ticket. And I realized that it’s a very rare thing these days – I haven’t touched a real paper plane ticket for about 10 years. I was doing electronic booking via internet since ~2002 if not earlier.

Do you remember what were the first steps that brought Apple where they are today? In the 90s they were one of the niche computer companies slowly loosing it’s share. Then in 1998 they made the first step: they turned their face to consumer and changed dramatically the design of their computers¹. Instead of boring grey/beige office-style boxes they made semi-transparent colorful nice looking iMac G3. But that wasn’t a revolution yet. The huge boom started with their iPod. And it wasn’t the device itself which was revolutionary. It was iTunes – and again it wasn’t iTunes itself which was revolutionary. It was that Apple persuaded media companies to sell songs via iTunes one by one instead of albums. That was the revolutionary step that allowed Apple to make a huge success. And that step wouldn’t have been possible without internet.

Digital photography is part of the world change in the last years – but it wouldn’t have been without internet. It is most obvious for documentary photos which can now be delivered to news agencies in a seconds after being taken; but if affects other areas too. Stock photography is now entirely internet-based. Even in commercial photography internet plays a big role when client can get samples of work via internet; and when complex postprocessing is done by several agencies sharing files via internet.

We don’t realize how much our lives changed in the past years – and more changes yet to come. We will see…

1) Yes I know it was thanks to Steve Jobs getting back to Apple but that’s not my point.

My blog has moved

My blog is moved successfully to my website. I will not update it on Blogger anymore, the version you see on is completely separate instance. It is running on WordPress, it is integral part of my website, and I have full control over it.

It didn’t take long to customize WordPress layout to fit with my website. I still need to do a few minor adjustments, but most of the work is completed.

I have also made a few minor adjustments to website content and design.

Moving my blog…

Just installed WordPress on my site. I still need to fine-tune it, and I’ll need to transfer the posts from my old standalone blog…

Blogger blog backup

I found today that one of the blogs I read regularly was completely screwed up. Hacked or failed – anyway all records and comments were lost. So it made me thinking about backing up my own blog while it isn’t too late.

Quick search via google resulted few options, with a free little tool from Codeplex looking like a most complete and easy backup and restore solution.

So far I only used it once for one backup and it worked well. It was very easy to configure; it was fast to make a complete backup of all my posts and comments. I hope I’ll never need a restore option but it seems to be equally easy with that tool.

One remark: I still need to make a backup of my blog template myself (manually).

Blog template change

Today I decided to change my blog template. I like simple things, but the previous template didn’t hold the visual elements together. I checked default Blogger templates but didn’t like any of them too much. I spent some time looking for templates in the Internet, and I found one that I liked. It appeared to be designed the way that didn’t assume customization. Unfortunately I wasted a few hours of my time trying to modify it before I gave up.

Finally I picked one of Blogger native templates – although I didn’t like the default look it’s not so difficult to adjust it.

There are still some adjustments to be made, I will finish them soon.

another interesting blog

I’ve been busy all week with various personal/family things and my mind stayed too far from my blog. So I will keep it very short for this time – I just want share one more interesting photography blog that I recently discovered: John Paul Caponigro blog.

Apart from that, are you familiar with Strobist? I found that video quite interesting: