Topic: The Empire Strikes Back

Tada!

Matt has been doing some crazy science shit with the show notes, and before making this the norm for the show, I wanna see how you guys feel.

So download this m4a of the Empire episode, load it into iTunes, and watch the album art. (Also, Chapters, on the top bar.) Do you like?

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

For those of you interested, this is what we call an Enhanced Podcast, and they're easy enough to do if you're on a Mac and have Garageband (I think you need iLife '09, Garageband 5.1).

The idea is you can be listening in iTunes (or iPhone, or iPod Touch) and as topics come up, the link appears in the Art window.  You can click the link and read about the topic without having to search the forum for it.  You can even skip right to a particular topic by going up to the Chapter menu while the episode is playing.  In this episode I've even added the frame to look for for the pause point, as well as a chapter for the sync point if you'd like to jump right in.

Not all the chapters have artwork, so most of the time you'll see the weekly poster art.  Also not all of the art appears as a chapter, so keep your eye out for these Easter Eggs.  Heck, maybe if this takes off we can get some kind of contest going.

My intention is to do this instead of (or perhaps in combination with) the traditional show notes.  Since school and now work occupy much of my time now, and these both take less time, and are more interactive, I think this will work out nicely.

Sorry for making you download this episode twice, blame Teague, (I gave him the link days ago).

Hope you all enjoy, and please let us know what you think.

Thanks!

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

That's very, very cool. It's very handy having the show notes embedded in the file. And actually seeing pictures of some outside thing you're talking about it very helpful. If it's not much additional work, I'm certainly in favor of it.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

It works fine on my classic ipod and I liked it a lot. More pics please, they were a little sparse towards the end. And maybe leave them on screen a little longer. Looking forward to next week.

A friendly suggestion: Maybe you could ask for donations like Filmspotting. I get the impression they're swimming in cash. Yes i know they have more listeners.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Not sure what we'd do with the cash. Pay us in word of mouth. smile

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

downinfront wrote:

Not sure what we'd do with the cash.

You keep encouraging people to buy stuff from our Amazon link because "We get a dollar." Let's not pooh-pooh dollars.

Things we could do with the cash:

-Pay for our weekly snacks.
-Pay for the rental/purchase of the films we view.
-Pay for upgrades/repairs/replacements for the recording equipment.
-Pay for any bandwidth/website costs.
-Pay our website admin a little something for his trouble.
-Pay Vayda a little something for his trouble.
-If we wanted to do some kind of contest at some point down the road, we could buy some nice prizes.
-If we have money in the coffers and can't think of ways to spend it, the people who have to commute in some way to the Labs could get a few bucks for gas money.

I am so completely not in on this gig to make money. The way we're doing it now is fine and fun. But if we could find ways that participating in the show cost a little less money in one way or another, I don't see a downside.

But failing that, word of mouth is good too.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Fair enough, that.

Note: our web guy is paid.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

It's awfully hard to get sexual favors from 3000 miles away.

Just sayin'.

"Most people don't even know what sysadmins do, but trust me, if they all took a lunch break at the same time they wouldn't make it to the deli before you ran out of bullets protecting your canned goods from roving bands of mutants."

-- http://stilldrinking.org/programming-sucks

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

downinfront wrote:

Note: our web guy is paid.

No I'm not. tongue

"ShadowDuelist is a god."
        -Teague Chrystie

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

beldar wrote:

It works fine on my classic ipod and I liked it a lot. More pics please, they were a little sparse towards the end. And maybe leave them on screen a little longer. Looking forward to next week.

A friendly suggestion: Maybe you could ask for donations like Filmspotting. I get the impression they're swimming in cash. Yes i know they have more listeners.

Glad to hear they work on other equipment.  I have a 5G iPod lying around here somewhere, I keep meaning to load the thing on to it.  For the pictures I arbitrarily chose 30 seconds, unless something else came up, or the conversation stayed on that topic for a while, but I can certainly make them stay on screen longer.  As for more pictures, each one needs to be resized so that it will fit in the 300 x 300 art window.   For this episode I did them all one by one in Photoshop, but I'd like to figure out a way to automate it, or at least make it a drag and drop operation if anyone has any ideas in that area.  Right now that's the aspect that's the most laborious.

And thanks for the suggestion.  I agree with Dorkman on all points.  We have the Amazon store, but there are a few other ideas I've been trying to implement, but I'll start a new tread in Off Topic for that.

Keep the feedback coming!

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

You can do batch operations in Photoshop, or for a slightly more intuitive and fuck-withable setup, a new Action would do wonders.

Load the Actions window, then click the "new" button at the bottom. It'll start "recording." Then image -> resize to 300 pixels wide, constrain proportions. Then change canvas size to 300 pixels tall, do not constrain proportions. Now click the stop button on the actions window. This will leave you with an image that's perfectly 300 pixels square, but you'll have the ability to slide the image up or down in that square to "crop" it the way you want.

Then save as usual.

Next time you open an image, just click that action and press the play button. The process will repeat.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Nobody has commented on the actual episode, so I'll be the first to say it was your usual quality job. Not your best, but I may just think that because I was listening to it having been up for 22 hours smile I was also bummed to find out the first part of my old letterboxed Empire tape was a bit wonky.

As for the enhanced episode, I'm downloading it now and will probably love it. Hopefully you'll get them into the regular podcast feed, or maybe set up a second one if there's still a need for mp3's by some people. Heck, if someone has nothing better to do older episodes could be "remastered" with this...

I write stories! With words!
http://www.asstr.org/~Invid_Fan/

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Can anyone think of a reason someone would *need* MP3s as opposed to M4Vs?

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Don't a lot of audio players not play M4A (or M4V or whatever)? Regardless, not providing the standard format would significantly limit your audience's options, and that will inevitably reduce your audience's size. For example, I prefer listening to commentaries with WMP, where I can change the playback speed, for example, but it can't play M4A, at least not without some third party codec.

Also, I sometimes import a commentary into Audacity and process it to get rid of noise or to balance the volume or whatever. I don't need to do that with DIF commentaries but when others use M4A and don't produce perfect audio (and DIF audio really is top notch—congratulations, man) it's frustrating.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Teague: The only reason to hang on to the MP3s that I can think of would have to do with the streaming aspect of the flash player.  That's a question for our webmaster.  Other than that you should be able to link the RSS feed and Download links to an MP4 with a code tweak.  Again, possibly a question for the webmaster, but those two should be easy.

From what I understand ACC encoding is a bit more stable, compatible, and results in slightly smaller files at any given bit rate.  A quick Google search for MP3 vs. ACC should yield a few answers.

All I know is that for the Enhanced part of the file to work it has to be ACC.

Invid: If feedback for the format is positive, and we can work everything out properly, I would indeed be willing to remaster old episodes, time permitting; I've got rather a lot on my plate right now.  Perhaps a community effort could be organized.  I'd love to go back and Enhance all our episodes, but that would be a huge undertaking for me alone.  I don't want to derail this thread, so keep your eyes out for a thread along those lines.  Glad you enjoyed the episode, and I hope you like the Enhancement!

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

ACC is in general smaller, and to be honest even without the enhancement I wouldn't mind a conversion of older stuff to save room given I tend to keep all the episodes. I'd been thinking of combining and compressing some of them as audiobooks as it is. Some of the episodes are unusually large, with 300 at 121 MB while Titanic is only 69 MB. Naturally the enhancements will eat up most of those savings though smile

I write stories! With words!
http://www.asstr.org/~Invid_Fan/

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

I love Enhanced Podcasts, people have been doing this for a while. But usually, they give up after a few months because it's so much work. I hope you keep it up!

Posted from my iPad
http://trek.fm

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Yeah, I've seen other podcasts doing this too, that's why I was so keen to try it.  I've also heard that it's more work, but nothing specific as to why it's more work.  Sure I had a bit of trouble figuring out why the links didn't work at first, but I think I've got that one ironed out.  Thanks to Teague I've got a plan for handling the images now too.  Personally I prefer doing it this way than typing out links in bbcode; with Garageband it's pretty much copy paste.  So yeah, I hope they're here to stay too.

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

For those who are making with the google, "AAC" will give you better results than "ACC."

I think there's probably virtue to keeping an obsolete, least-common-denominator format around for people who don't have computers or audio devices made in the past decade or so. But at some point, I imagine the question is gonna be one of whether it's still worth it to do a whole separate encode and delivery just for those three guys (or whatever).

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

I either listen to DiF on a portable mp3 player (which is not an ipod) and doesn't play M4a or I listen to it whilst watching the film (and wouldn't be looking at these pictures) so I'd not be keen on the idea.

I loved what you had to say about ESB, lots of interesting stuff in there about the earlier drafts. Always good to hear Treys comments about seeing these films when they didn't have the backstory they had today.

I don't know if you guys have seen this clip of Ford and Hamill promoting the film including a very early mention of doing prequels. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8czqAf5qek

Extended Edition - 145 Gaming Grab Bag
VFX Reel | Twitter | IMDB | Blog

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

downinfront wrote:

Can anyone think of a reason someone would *need* MP3s as opposed to M4Vs?

Well, personally, I can give you a few-

1. I don't have a M4V compatible MP3 player
2. I sometimes listen to podcasts when I'm on the move (walking, jogging, doing housework) so I wouldn't look at the screen even if I could.
3. If I can watch the film at the same time as listening to the comm (if I have the film), then I'd be paying more attention to the tv screen than anything else.


Just realised that the first point is good enough on it's own and I don't really need the other two big_smile. If you are giving people the choice between the two, then that's fine and my post is irrelevant smile

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Shifty Bench wrote:
downinfront wrote:

Can anyone think of a reason someone would *need* MP3s as opposed to M4Vs?

Well, personally, I can give you a few-

1. I don't have a M4V compatible MP3 player
2. I sometimes listen to podcasts when I'm on the move (walking, jogging, doing housework) so I wouldn't look at the screen even if I could.
3. If I can watch the film at the same time as listening to the comm (if I have the film), then I'd be paying more attention to the tv screen than anything else.


Just realised that the first point is good enough on it's own and I don't really need the other two big_smile. If you are giving people the choice between the two, then that's fine and my post is irrelevant smile

QFT

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: The Empire Strikes Back

I enjoyed this commentary a lot. Can't wait for ROTJ.

It actually convinced me to go back and watch the original 1980 ESB. I haven't seen it since probably 96 (THX VHS FTW), and, well…I kinda missed the changes made in the SE, and especially the DVD. Cloud City is SO opened up. I don't think the extra wampa stuff was necessary, but I like the rest of it. Can't wait to see what Lucas does with the Blurrys.

Blurries?

Posted from my iPad
http://trek.fm

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

Let me ask you non-iPod guys this: how do you get the show every week? Website download or iTunes?

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: The Empire Strikes Back

From the website.

Last edited by Hansen (2010-09-08 17:10:35)

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