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First Installment of Xiph.org's 'Digital Video Primer For Geeks' 86

Posted by timothy
from the so-many-pixels dept.
Ignorant Aardvark writes "Xiph.org just released the first installment in its video series 'A Digital Video Primer For Geeks,' which covers digital audio and video fundamentals. The first video covers basic concepts of how digital audio and video are encoded, and does so in an understandable fashion. The video is hosted by Monty, the founder of Xiph.org (the people who brought you Ogg), and explains a lot of concepts (FourCC codes, YUV color space, gamma, etc.) that many watchers of digital video have long been exposed to, but don't quite understand themselves. The intent of the video series (in addition to general education) is to spur interest in digital encoding and get more free software hackers involved in digital audio/video."
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First Installment of Xiph.org's 'Digital Video Primer For Geeks'

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  • by leetrout (855221) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:55PM (#33683816) Journal
    For what could be very stale subject matter Monty has done an excellent job of giving effective examples that engage and entertain.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Monty was keynote speaker at Ohio Linuxfest earlier this month where he presented a teaser of this video. He is clearly very passionate about his work and his enthusiasm and delivery make audio and video codecs seem pretty exciting.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sure, if you like "talking head" videos.

      Some more graphs, equations, and animations would help... show me, don't tell me!

      • by Raenex (947668)

        You've got to be kidding me. The presentation was full of visual and audio demonstrations. I'm guessing you didn't even watch the video.

  • Why? (Score:4, Funny)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:09AM (#33683884)

    Why does it have to be "for geeks"? Why can't it just be for people who are interested in digital video? I guess people who bite the heads off chickens at carnivals need their own special perspective on the topic, but I can't imagine that those people constitute a very significant market segment when it comes to video.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by matthiasvegh (1800634)
      Also, don't geeks already know these things? I mean seriously, I understand the general public not getting the difference between say, lossy and lossless compression, but a geek?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by dangitman (862676)

        I understand the general public not getting the difference between say, lossy and lossless compression, but a geek?

        Huh? I think that geeks typically know less than the general public. For example, your average member of the general public is intelligent enough to not choose a career that involves biting the heads off chickens. I'm not sure why you think that this particular career choice would involve specific knowledge about video compression.

  • Hrm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:10AM (#33683894)

    I wish they'd just written an ebook, I think sometimes people lose sight of trying to impart useful information, and get wrapped up in making the information "fun and accessible." You could probably get twice the amount of information reading in an hour rather than watching someone mug in a video -- making it "entertaining" will only make the information more accessible to people who are likely never to use it.

    PS. Available as OGG and WebM. Is Xiph working for Google now?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:19AM (#33683940)

      Available as OGG and WebM. Is Xiph working for Google now?

      Xiph.Org has been pushing for unencumbered codecs for over a decade [xiph.org] and contributed to the creation of webm [xiph.org].

      It might be more fair to say "WebM? Is Google working for Xiph now?"

      Yes. Yes they are, and it is so sweet. Don't be evil sill means a little something sometimes.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Don't be evil sill means a little something sometimes.

        I'll remember that next time I'm baking a non-evil pie, and set it out to cool on my evil windowsill.

    • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Informative)

      by mindspillage (806179) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:21AM (#33683952) Homepage Journal
      Better than an ebook--there's a wiki page with a full transcript and helpful screenshots: http://wiki.xiph.org/A_Digital_Media_Primer_For_Geeks_(episode_1) [xiph.org]
      • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Funny)

        by SIR_Taco (467460) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:28AM (#33683986) Homepage

        I'm just a little skeptical....

        If it were really a primer for geeks it would have started at Episode IV

        • by KingFrog (1888802)
          Nah...it would start out as a stand-alone, then get re-titled as Episode IV when the sequel came out.
        • by Ant P. (974313)

          Episode IV? But that would imply there were three episodes before it, which is wrong.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)
        The problem with a transcript is the information density is very low, because it's still built around the typical talking-head conventions. I saw the wiki page, and it's exactly what I didn't want. I wanted what they wanted to say, not what everyone on the internet helpfully wants to add.
      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        Sorry, I'm in a fuddy duddy mood tonight, I commend your patience.

        • Heh. It's a pipe dream anyway that "everyone on the internet" would be even remotely interested enough to read the page, much less add to it--at last glance, the current text is entirely by the authors of the video and/or people at least tangentially associated with xiph.org...
    • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Informative)

      by goodmanj (234846) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:32AM (#33684022)

      I wish they'd just written an ebook

      Did you watch the bits where he demonstrated the difference between 8-bit linear audio vs 8-bit -law by manipulating the audio of his voice Or showed what clipping and Nyquist frequency aliasing sound like? Or showed the content contained in the Y, U, and V video channels by displaying them onscreen?

      Try *that* with a book.

      In general, I agree with you that a page of text is worth an hour of video, but in this case, the video is worth its weight in gold. And Xiph doesn't waste any time either: that video goes *fast*.

      • by NoMaster (142776)

        Did you watch the bits where he demonstrated the difference between 8-bit linear audio vs 8-bit -law by manipulating the audio of his voice Or showed what clipping and Nyquist frequency aliasing sound like? Or showed the content contained in the Y, U, and V video channels by displaying them onscreen?

        Try *that* with a book.

        Actually, I've seen all of those quite well presented in magazine articles & books, using graphs, images, and waveform diagrams which have the advantage of actually showing you what's

        • by bemenaker (852000)
          Representing that with graphs and pictures does work well with the scientific mind, but even then you still have to abstract what you think it produces in the real world. Sometimes, nothing beats hard real examples.
    • Very Informative (Score:5, Interesting)

      by turkeyfish (950384) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:45AM (#33684086)

      For someone only partially familiar with video and audio encoding, this was a particularly clear and informative video. It also serves as an excellent example of the direction more Open Source efforts need to take. Mini lectures that bring some human explanation.

      Your comment about an ebooks and wikis, is well taken and follow-ups to "flesh out" the information would be an extremely helpful next step to break down the various issues under discussion, as well as provide further instruction on how specifically to address various issues needed to bring the user community "up to speed". This is excellent in that it makes clear that although challenging this kind of knowledge need not be inaccessible.

      The organization would do well to provide more mini-lectures to expand on each of the topics in greater detail and follow it up with outlined summaries, tutorials and soft-ware coding and details about hardware choices that are available and supported on open-source systems. This would be helpful to everyone as it would give developers and a more general class of users more power in the marketplace, as new projects develop and bring with them new communities of enthusiasts and students. For example, those interested in higher resolution video or high speed video, or audio-video interfaces could each bring critical mass to more specialized areas that in turn could stimulate interest by hardware vendors in meeting the specific needs of such users.

      Given that the closed source, proprietary society model is rapidly taking over everything else, those who want a modicum of freedom expression and fair markets, open software has the potential to do much to serve under-appreciated, under-served, and under-funded audiences the world over. Thats good for everyone, especially in a world where it grows easier and easier to be discouraged.

      Really a great open source contribution. My congratulations to Monty and the rest of the crew at Xiph.org.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by iluvcapra (782887)

        For someone only partially familiar with video and audio encoding, this was a particularly clear and informative video. It also serves as an excellent example of the direction more Open Source efforts need to take. Mini lectures that bring some human explanation.

        That's fair, and of course they're no doubt trying to emulate the success projects like Ruby on Rails have had with demonstration webcasts, but really what many people are looking for is something they can sit down with a cuppa coffee and a tuna san

    • This.

      I'm not saying that instructional videos are all bad, but things are getting a little out of hand when shit like "fill a range of columns in OpenOffice Calc" gets a goddamn VIDEO instead of the less than 2 paragraphs (or even better, less than 10 steps) needed to impart the damn knowledge.

      Do we have a term for stuff like this? Using tech for completely inappropriate purposes solely because it exists?

      • by chaboud (231590)

        I'm sorry...

        Your message was too long for me to finish.

        Can you make a video?

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        I bought a dirt-cheap MD80 video camera off eBay which arrived yesterday. To change the timestamp it puts on the video, you need to include a text file on the root of the SD card, but the instructions are in Chinglish and don't make sense. I googled the answer and eventually found a 5 minute Youtube video that gave me the answer, which boiled down to "save a file called TAG.TXT on root, that contains the lines:
        [date]
        2010:09:24
        09:00:00

        That was it. Five minutes of watching some fool click around his
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Roman Mamedov (793802)

      > I wish they'd just written an ebook
      You mean something like this one? http://en.flossmanuals.net/theoracookbook [flossmanuals.net]

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Yes, you can waffle on in an ebook but then you'd get significantly less people interested which is counter productive to what the presenter is trying to do.

    • Well, first of all, because watching people is a lot more interesting than reading things. We've been doing it (watching people talk, and understanding a lot more than from paper) for literally millions of years. Reading? Not so much. Maybe a few hundred years.

      Chris Anderson recently had a talk at TED [ted.com] describing why video is so important. There are many things you just cannot describe easily with words or graphs. I'm pretty sure that all the information imparted in those videos is readily available in a bun

    • by pugugly (152978)

      As someone that has tried to figure out even the basics of codecs from various websites, if he can make it simple enough to bring some clarity to it more power to him.

      Ever reference I have seen on the web made me feel like a kindergartner trying to understand the mathematics of quantum physics.

      Pug

  • It would be nice if there was an episode about compression algorithms. Pretty much the whole video is about raw audio and video.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goodmanj (234846)

      As I understand it, this is the first in a series, and explaining the raw data formats is the place to start. I assume compression algorithms will be covered in a followup. Or many followups.

  • Nice video (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As a geek who previously spent all his time keeping *nix and windows systems running happily together, this was enough information to give me a curiousity spike, and enough information to google around.

    Great video, and I hope there is more to come. Although I suspect the next video will be much less informative as I will be much more informed.

    Good job Xiph.

  • by melted (227442) on Friday September 24, 2010 @02:50AM (#33684452) Homepage

    He should seriously consider doing this for a living. One of the best lectures I have ever seen. I knew 99% of this stuff already (and more), but the presentation was _flawless_.

  • by NemosomeN (670035) on Friday September 24, 2010 @08:32AM (#33685660) Journal
    And I'd love to watch them, but you decided to only post them in your own, unpopular and inefficient codecs/containers, and none of my media players support it. If they are trying to get people interested in free/open video encoding, they shouldn't post in a format that assumes the audience already cares about it. Won't be watching. Assholes. (Yes, I know they won't read this).
    • by Bram Stolk (24781)

      Tried watching on iPad but could not do so.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by coryking (104614)

        Ditto. Tried to find it on YouTube... No dice. The least they could do is upload it to YouTube (or the much better vimeo). On YouTube it would play everywhere, including through the media player hooked up to the tv.

        Which sucks because I wanted to watch it. I certainly ain't gonna go use my "real" computer.

        Stupid FOSS politics. Gets in the way of actually doing useful things.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by sumday (888112)
      Jesus christ, that's like me complaining that I can't see the slashdot logo because I'm browsing the web in lynx. Get VLC and stop being a dick.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I can see the slashdot logo in Lynx it looks like this /.

        Perhaps you need to update your version of your browser the latest version of Lynx is a modern browser that can convert images to Ascii Art - can you believe that Ascii Art!! I tell you man, Wow just WoW!
        And the best feature of all is that it looks like the matrix when it is displaying animated images and videos. In fact, Neo is coming over to watch a movie with my VLC pluging for Lynx. Good times man, Good times!

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        Whoosh.....

        It's a satirical take on the sort of comments that appear on other articles that feature video links with files encoded in H.264 and other formats that people always moan about "would love to watch it but needs quicktime, so I won't!" or "it's in H.264, which is patented so I can't watch it legally!" etc etc.

    • by thomasvs (600635)
      There were always be complainers... The title clearly says 'for geeks'. If you are unable to install a newer version of Firefox, Chrome, or Opera, then clearly you are not a geek and hence this presentation is not for you.
  • Excellent presenter!
    Flawless editing!
    Appropriate special effects!
    The last chapter seemed a little out of place and out of character - maybe a teaser?
    As a former TV geek(35 years ago, before I heard the siren call of software), I followed everything except the dot placement choices.

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