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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ericast 115 - "Succinct Summer Summary"

I'm back! And, boy, it wasn't easy!

This Ericast actually has video which, under ordinary circumstances, you'd see over in the YouTube channel (available through

But you're not going to see it there.

UPDATE: You will see it there! Thanks to a bit of late-night editing, here's the official "Lost Episode"...

But you very nearly didn't see it on YouTube.


Because Visual Communicator completely hosed the audio. The intro was clipped at the end, the audio echoed throughout it, the levels were way off in what I recorded, and the video itself wouldn't even render the whole way through and stalled at 98% complete.

Hmmm. Something's not right.

The problem is that Visual Communicator (formerly from a great company named Serious Magic, which was bought out by Adobe) is a "live to hard drive" application with no options for post-production editing. The argument is, "Why do it in post when you can do it in real-time? After all, if you need to edit something, you can always open the output in a different video editing application and tweak it there"... which is true, but I'm not talking about a "tweak". Despite sounding fine in tests and despite there having been no problems indicated during the recording, the output is a total mess.

My only option to "fix the audio" in Visual Communicator is to re-record from the start, and I'm simply not willing to do that; an audio-only podcast this time will have to do.

(UPDATE: I decided that, as a matter of principle, I had to bring the video to you. That's how much I care about you, the dedicated Ericast listener/viewer/subscriber! What I ended up doing was force the Visual Communicator output to pubish as a DV .AVI, then brought that into Windows Movie Maker, then re-edited around the intro and outro, then manually balanced the audio levels across the whole thing, then rendered it out as a .WMV for uploading to YouTube. Surprisingly straightforward... but a smidge time-consuming.)

The reason I sound abnormally and atypically frustrated is because this is coming on the heels of a really good two-day EDUCAUSE web conference on the use of technology in higher education (for online collaboration, in this particular case). If I, an instructional technologist, can't leave a computer alone for three months without coming back to an application with a bunch of settings that somehow got hosed even though nobody has touched them... how can we expect faculty to embrace this stuff?!?

Ick! Let me know what you think. 206-339-ERIC is the ever-popular listener feedback line, and you can always e-mail me (eric) at Thanks for listening!