Tag Archives | DVDs

How To: Record, Publish, and Manage “A Video a Day” of Your Child (Part II of II)

David Spark (@dspark) is a veteran tech journalist and the founder of the media consulting and production company Spark Media Solutions.  Spark blogs regularly at Spark Minute.

This article is Part II of a two-part series about how to record, encode, store, organize, and share via online and DVD a video of each day of your child’s life. The first part, over at Spark Minute, covers the basics of doing the recording and storing the video. This article covers the second part, which is the daunting process of organizing and sharing the videos.

A year ago I decided to take on a seemingly gargantuan task.

I began shooting a video of my son every single day of the first year of his life. As of today I’ve shot (with the help of my wife), produced, shared online, and printed on DVD over 400 one-minute videos (some days I produce more than one video).

When I tell people I’m doing this they can’t believe it, because they immediately think of how much work it must involve. But in actuality, given the tools we have, the cost of disk space, and just some good pre-planning and organizing (the most critical parts), it’s really not that difficult. You just have to commit to it, and do it. The trick is to not make it too difficult on yourself, so you can do it easily without it being a burden. If it’s too hard, you’ll just give up.

No matter how busy you are, there is a way to record  a video every day of your child’s life, and manage all that video. Just think how amazing it would be if your parents had recorded a video a day of you (heck, a video a year). Wouldn’t that be incredible? I’m hoping it’ll be the same for my son.

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RealDepressing: RealDVD Loses a Round in Court

RealDVD logoThe New York Times’ Brad Stone is reporting that U.S. Federal District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel has ruled against RealNetworks in the lawsuit filed by the movie studios against RealDVD, its software for copying DVDs to your hard drive. Judge Patel granted the studios a preliminary injunction against Real selling the software, which seems like kind of a formality given that she stopped Real from selling it almost as soon as it went on sale last September.

RealDVD isn’t a tool for pirates. Actually, it adds an extra layer of copy protection to prevent you from doing anything except copying a movie to one hard drive for viewing on one computer at a time. (You can’t even put the movies on a shared drive to watch them from multiple computers on one network.) The court is apparently inclined to look askance at even a fundamentally hobbled (albeit easy-to-use) DVD copier.

Meanwhile, tools like Handbrake let large numbers of people copy DVDs without any of RealDVD’s measures against sharing the digital copies with friends or tossing them onto BitTorrent for the world to download. I also remain unclear on why Telestream’s Drive-in–which is, basically, a Mac version of RealDVD except that it also comes in a multi-user version–is still around when RealDVD is apparently too dangerous to be let onto the market while Real waits for a final ruling. Maybe it has something to do with RealNetworks being a relatively large company that might actually succeed in getting ordinary folks to use its software?

Meanwhile, the RealDVD site lives on in forlorn limbo, complete with a woman gamely smiling on the home page and a guided tour of the product. The site says the app is “temporarily unavailable” and that Real “will continue to work diligently to provide you with software that allows you to make a legal copy of your DVDs for your own use.” I hope that means that the company will soldier on with both this case and the countersuit it filed against six Hollywood studios on antitrust grounds. Whether or not you ever use RealDVD–or even if its limitations would drive you a little bonkers–any victories it scored in court would be great news for consumers. And if it loses, the message will be that there are absolutely no circumstances under which law-abiding consumers can make a copy of a DVD they’ve paid for in order to enjoy it in a new way.

RealDVD limbo


RealDVD: Still in Limbo

Here’s a ZDNet story which nicely summarizes what’s up with RealNetworks’ RealDVD DVD-copy software, which was released last week only to instantly become the subject of legal warfare between Real and Hollywood. The basic question: Does RealDVD’s copying, which duplicates a DVD’s contents to a PC’s hard drive while maintaining all copy protection and adding an additional layer to prevent piracy, violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

RealDVD has been unavailable since Friday, when the studios won an emergency restraining order which forced Real to stop sales. A Federal judge is hearing arguments on RealDVD’s fate today. I hope the restraining order is lifted; more important, I hope that RealDVD’s legal status is cleared up quickly, and in Real’s favor. The manner of copying it provides is fundamentally limited: You can’t put a movie onto an iPod or a home network, let alone release it to BitTorrent. It’s designed to let consumers get a little more out of the entertainment they’ve already paid for. And if even that runs afoul of current copyright law, it’s pretty darn depressing.

So I’m hoping for the best today. But for the moment, the RealDVD site‘s smiling lady is still the bearer of bad news:

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More on RealDVD

I blogged about Real’s RealDVD ripping software last night, and now the company has done its demo here at DEMO. The basics are as I mentioned last night: It’s legal, runs on Windows, costs $30, retains copy protection and lets you watch DVDs on up to five PCs but not iPods or other devices.

The most important new news in the DEMO was a look at the interface, which looks nice: Like a program such as iTunes does for CDs, RealDVD identifies your movies when you insert a disc and downloads a box image and movie details. You can browse your movie collection via those box images.

Real says you can store movies on an external drive or thumb drive, and the software will notice that you’ve attached the drive and show the movies on it. I’m not sure if you can store movies on a networked drive, but I’m not sure why you couldn’t.

Oh, RealDVD copies preserve menus and bonus materials, and you can record a movie to your hard drive at the same time you’re watching it.

RealDVD looks like it does a nice job of what it sets out to do, which is let folks copy and watch DVDs in a way that’s simple and designed to avoid being sued into oblivion. That doesn’t mean that Hollywood won’t sue Real over RealDVD–I can’t imagine that content owners are thrilled by the idea, since they’d much rather sell you all the movies you already paid for as digital downloads.

I also suspect that folks who use existing DVD rippers will sneer at the idea of paying for an application that retains copy protection and therefore lets you do less with your ripped DVDs. But Real is presumably hoping to sell RealDVD to large numbers of consumers who don’t know about existing tools, find them intimidating, or–hey, here’s a novel thought–stay legal.

I think the software might do quite well with that audience, and I’ll give you more impressions once I’ve had a chance to try it…

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