Double Gift/Shades of Gray

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A recent issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy newspaper shared several different perspectives about Warren Buffett's donation of $30 billion to the Gates Foundation. After reading those perspectives, I wanted to make this issue accessible to middle school and high school students.

So I created a rosetimes video sharing four different points of view. I used iMovie, AppleWorks and QuickTime Pro to create this. I shot the video with a Canon ZR500 camcorder and an Audio-Technica clip on microphone.

You can view this video on YouTube or on Google Video.

This rosetimes video is also available as a QuickTime file in several locations on the web. The QuickTime version looks clearer than the Flash versions on YouTube and Google Video. People who are kind and considerate (and tech-savvy) can download the torrent of this file which I created easily thanks to the smart people at Move Digital. The size of the QuickTime file is about 37 megabytes.

You can also view and download the QuickTime version of this video from the Internet Archive. Please be gentle with the Internet Archive. I like those folks a lot.

In creating this video, I used the H.264 video compression codec, which means the QuickTime version of this video will not play well on some G3 and older Macs. Sorry about that.

This video will play on Linux systems using the MPlayer plug-in for Mozilla. I tested this successfully on a Userful Linux system. You might notice a lag between the audio and video sometimes in MPlayer.

Linux is the wave of the future, so it's important to me that this video plays well on Linux systems.

One of the reasons I created this rosetime video was to see how well QuickTime Pro can handle four concurrent video streams. I was pleased to see that QuickTime Pro was able to do so on the dual-processor G5 Mac I use at work. Imagine that each of the four people in this video are in different cities in the country, participating in a panel discussion. That would be totally do-able, with free web hosting on Google Video, YouTube, the Internet Archive and any of the countless other web sites that host video for free.

Each of the participants would record themselves using their own camcorder, and then the videos were be merged after the audio conference. (See the web site for further info about this.)

Would you like to create your own videos like this? I've posted on the Internet Archive 3 screencast videos that explain how to do so. You can reach those screencasts from the "Making Rosetimes" link at the top right of the Rosetimes web site. All you need is iMovie, QuickTime Pro and AppleWorks (or any other program that can create your graphics background. OpenOffice Draw works well for this, too.)

I'd like to thank Google for giving me the 20 percent time to work on this project. I don't work for Google, but if Google is going to give its employees 20 percent of their time to work on whatever creative projects they want, I'm going to take that same 20 percent time. Google gave me creative permission to go beyond where I would have otherwise gone.

I'd also like to thank the four personas who appeared in this video. I would have never been able to create this video without their involvement.

I'd like to thank John Benson, Robin Good, and Paul Lamb for being so helpful in the development of the rosetimes concept. Siobhan Champ-Blackwell was there very early on offering encouragement and ideas.

For those of you interested in how peer-to-peer is becoming a lifestyle, check out this excellent interview by Robin Good.