Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Mercalli Easy Video Stabilizer – Simple Stability

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Did you know that you could fix shaky video with simple software? I didn’t, but I hadn’t thought of it much, either. On the occasions that I wound up with video that shook all over the place, I just brushed it off. Looking back, I could have hunted down some video stabilization software and now that I know about Mercalli Easy Video Stabilizer for Windows, I see shaky video in a whole new way.

What is it and how does it work?

Video stabilization software takes a video file as input, analyzes it for motion imperfections, and does its best to output a video with those imperfections corrected as much as possible. In the case of Mercalli Easy Video Stabilizer, this entry-level solution makes stabilizing video as easy as drag-and-drop, wait, save. Mercalli also makes filters, effects, transitions, and software for more professional needs, but this is the solution for quick video correction at a low price.

How well did it perform?

For my tests, I dragged a kitten video into Mercalli Easy, watched it do its thing for a bit, and saved the results to my computer. My 15 second video took about 5 minutes to correct and save and my tests were performed on a 2.2GHz Pentium Dual-Core with 3GB of ram, which is somewhere between the minimum and recommended requirements. In my initial testing, I found some artifacts on the corrected video, but a quick email to support led me to some additional video codecs that eliminated those flaws from the subsequent test videos. The side effect of the video stabilization is the slight motion blur that appears as the video is moved around to off-set your shaky hand. This is, however, minimal and I’m not sure hoe much I would have noticed it if I was casually using the software for home videos. Regardless, it’s still a step up from the video I began with. Below is a short video showing my original video, the processing, and the final result.

The biggest feature here may be the ease of use. I don’t need to know all the technical details about what it’s doing any more than I need to know how my printer gets the ink onto the paper in the right shapes. With Mercalli Easy, the interface is simple and inviting, with a process to match, hiding most of the technical prowess under the hood. The $14.95 price tag and easy interface make it a great fit for occasional projects or general home use.

Conclusions

If you’re just throwing video on Facebook or sharing via email, don’t worry about shaky video. When you move up to more valued output, that’s when you want to look to software like this for stabilization whenever needed. For me, it’s anything I care enough about to take the time to edit. For about 15 bucks, it definitely beats a lot of video editor pricing, and did I mention the simplicity? Definitely a good buy for any frequent video editing, but for professional projects, don’t be afraid to spend a little more.

This is a sponsored review. As always, all opinions are honest.

Which Mobile OS Is Your Poison?

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

There was a time when Microsoft and Windows ruled the roost; it’s not so any longer. With many other players in the fray, the once ubiquitous Windows has now been pushed aside unceremoniously by upstarts like Android and the iPhone OS; and going by the numbers on a recent survey carried out by Zokem’s US
Mobile Life panel, the iPhone is the indisputable king of the mobile OS ring.

    • iPhone owners are the most loyal to their brand, with 73 percent saying they would stick to Apple no matter what, with Android lagging behind with only 40 percent loyalty. Also, many who don’t currently own an iPhone, say that their next phone will be from the Apple stables.

    • Rating loyalty for the Android is a trickier proposition because the OS is available for use on many mobile brands. So its collective sales may be much higher than that of the iPhone OS, especially with the phenomenal success that Froyo (Android version 2.2) is experiencing. Also, according to Zokem, 89 percent of Android users are likely to stick with the same brand of mobile phone, beating the iPhone which has only 85 percent.

    • Another once-mighty player in this business, RIM and their BlackBerry OS, rate a poor 30 percent in terms of loyalty. Perhaps this is because of all the new entrants into the field and the low rate of innovation achieved by RIM.

    • Windows Mobile and the Palm Pre OS rate very lowly with loyalty scores of 10, but maybe this state of affairs will turn around, what with the prediction that Windows 7 is going to be fastest growing platform for smartphones in 2011. Only time will tell of course, if this OS enjoys the same success in the mobile world as it does in the world of computers.

However, the competition in the mobile industry is fierce – BlackBerry has come out with many new models in the last year and are constantly updating and tweaking their software and OS; the iPhone is looking to stay ahead of the curve by offering multi-tasking and many more options on the mobile, and best of all, Android is being used to simulate a virtual desktop computer when combined with a keyboard and mouse – it has
become powerful enough to act as the CPU of a desktop device (check out Motorola’s Atrix if you’re curious).

So what does the mobile OS industry hold in store? From the looks of what has happened so far, we can see that the main players will be Apple, Google, RIM and Microsoft. And since most mobile platforms offer similar features barring a few minor differences, popularity and sales will boil down to brand loyalty and carrier efficiency (in countries like the US where most smartphones are tied in to a two-year contract with a service provider) – if you’re satisfied with your brand and your carrier, you’re not going to want to switch loyalties unless the competition has something really out of the world to offer.

This guest post is contributed by April Davis, she writes on the topic of Accredited Degrees Online. She welcomes your questions and comments at her email id: april.davis83(@)gmail(.)com.

How To Install Animated Windows Backgrounds

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Most people are familiar with screen savers in Windows. When your computer has been idle for a certain period of time, the screen will go blank or animate in some way to keep the screen you left up from burning into your monitor. Over the years, screen savers evolved to entertain. Chances are pretty good that you or someone you know has had a virtual fish tank as a screen saver at some point. The problem is that you’re usually not around to enjoy your screen saver when it’s activated. In this article, I’m going to show you an easy way to animate your desktop while you’re using the computer. The video below has a few examples from my own setup.

In the video, I just demonstrated a few of my favorites, but you can also use it as an example of how to set a video as your background once you have Dreamscene installed. You might have also noticed that I’ve removed any junk icons from my desktop and set my program dock and task bar both to auto-hide. The less you have in the way of your background, the more you’ll enjoy it.

What You Need To Get Started

- Dreamscene: The Windows 7 Dreamscene patch is here (32 bit). 64 bit is here.
- Video loops: The ones I’m using are a bunch from dreamscene.org and the aquarium I found on YouTube.

That’s it. Just grab a video or two and the patch and get started below.

How To Install Dreamscene

Installing Dreamscene is pretty quick and easy to accomplish, but you will need to reboot. Bookmark this page so you can come back to it and wrap up anything else you have open. When you’re ready, just follow these steps:

1. Open the Dreamscene patch you downloaded
2: Copy and Paste DreamScene.dll to %windir%\system32\
3: Copy and Paste DreamScene.dll.mui to %windir%\system32\en-US\
4: Run Dscene.reg
5: Reboot

(%windir% is the path to your windows directory, generally C:\Windows. Instructions may vary with an OS other than Windows 7 64 bit)

After installation and rebooting, you can set any .WMV or .MPG video as your desktop background. To do this, just find a video on your computer, right-click on it and click “Set as Desktop Background.

Find More Dreamscene Videos

Finding a bunch of videos on sites like dreamscene.org is great, but remember, you can use any wmv or mpg video, so there’s a whole lot of possible Dreamscenes all over the web for you. If it loops, that’s best, but a longer video will work, too. Sites like YouTube have an abundance of videos, but you might try just searching Google for free video loops.

Comment below and link to any video loops you find that you really like.