[ubuntu-uk] New screencast on installing updates

Alan Pope alan at popey.com
Wed Nov 8 23:30:54 GMT 2006


Thought I'd have another go at a screencast. This one is about installing updates as and when 
required. It's only 7 mins long and doesn't go into massive detail, but shows the basics of 
installing updates on Ubuntu. I added the header and footer at the start and end. I'm not 
entirely happy with them but it will do. If someone else has more artistic skills than me (not 
difficult) then please feel free to put together a simple slide.

I've made this one available in both OGG/Theora/Vorbis and MPEG/MPEG2/MP2 format. Hopefully this 
should mean people can play it with little or no effort on any platform. I'd be interested to 
hear feedback from people about platforms and/or players they play on and don't play on.

http://quickones.org/videos/20061108_installing_updates.ogg (10.7MB)
http://quickones.org/videos/20061108_installing_updates.mpeg (34.4MB)

I am also currently uploading the video to Google, as I believe this can help raise the 
visibility of the team - I clearly mention ubuntu-uk and the URL is shown in the video and the 
text accompanying the Google upload. Having it on Google makes for a very low barrier to entry 
for Windows users to watch these, and whilst flash player is evil and closed, at least it can be 
made to work on Ubuntu. 

If anyone is in any doubt about the popularity of Google video for this kind of thing then bear 
in mind that I uploaded all the Hampshire Linux User Group talk videos and in the 3 months 
they've been online there's been a total of around 12000 views and 2000 downloads.

These are "beginner level" at the moment. So I won't be surprised if nobody here 
actually learns anything from them yet. Right now I'm trying to get a handle on the process to 
make it clear and easy for others to do this. 

It's a little time consuming the first time you do this, but once you have the process nailed 
you can probably knock out a good quality 5-10 min screencast in around an hour. That includes 
watching it a couple of times too.

In case you're interested in the technical side, I used a different application this time. 
xvidcap (available from http://xvidcap.sf.net) version 1.1.4. It records to a large number of 
formats, but I chose MPEG2 to make it easy to edit the video and then convert to other formats 

I then used avidemux to piece together the three videos (the title page, the main 
body of the video and the end page), which was mind numbingly easy to do. 

Next I used audacity to record the audio - which I did on one computer whilst I watched the 
video on another. Of course there's no reason I couldn't have recorded the audio at the time of 
the recording, or recorded it as I watched on one computer - not two. However as I have 
mentioned before, I believe that recording the audio after the video gives a better result. 
Indeed I had to record it 5 times in the end due to various mistakes/mishaps/outtakes.

I then cleaned the audio up as best I could (not brilliantly, but clear enough I think), again 
in audacity, and exported as a WAV. 

Avidemux was used to mix the video and WAV audio and save as MPEG2 video (no change) and encode 
the audio as MP2. That made the final MPEG version above.  

Finally I ran ffmpeg2theora on the command line with just the MPEG video as a command line 
parameter, to convert it to the OGG format above.

Job done.

Clearly the MPEG version is considerably larger than the OGG because it's not compressed as 
heavily. I could have re-encoded it using something like DivX for the Windows viewers, which I 
guess would probably play on many Windows clients - although not out of the box - and media 
player won't download the DivX codec automagically as I understand it. So the compromise is a 
heavy weight MPEG video for them, a nice lightweight OGG for us. :)

Having the original in MPEG2 format should make moving these to DVD easier too.

I'll write up a proper how-to once I am sure this is the best method for this kind of thing. I 
appreciate that others might suggest different packages which may look simpler from the outset, 
right now I think this is the best method so far. It relies only on packages that are 
pre-compiled, and mostly (except for the ffmpeg2theora) uses GUI based applications.


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