Making the available videos work with your system

This is a continuation of an attempt to give newcomers to fulldome some useful information so that they can swim rather than sink. For some reason, there isn't all that much out there for people who are just starting out -- there's more for people who are already immersed in making videos themselves. So with planetarium folks who have not done their own video processing much in mind, here are the tools I've found in the last 18 months that have been useful: 

  • FFMPEG is very powerful.
  • VSDC Free Video Editor is graphically friendly and powerful.
  • Prism Video File converter is also pretty user-friendly although it's basically doing stuff you could do in FFMPEG -- nonetheless, it works decently as a GUI for some FFMPEG functions.
  • MPEG Streamclip is another free program that uses FFMPEG's demuxing ability in a clear-GUI way.

At this point if I had to, I could make do with just VSDC and FFMPEG, but because the others are free I use them for some specific things: more force of habit than necessity now.

  • Audacity is AWESOME free s/w for audio stuff.

Have a good show with narration where the narrator unfortunately calls that gas giant "urAnus" rather than "Uranus?" If you have an example of the narrator using the favored pronunciation, you can fix your soundtrack with Audacity. For my system, the shows are demuxed and java takes care of playing the video file and sound file simultaneously, so I don't even have to go through remuxing after the audio fix. 

I'm feeling very happy with everyone in this industry right now, I just want to encourage people to expand their subject matter -- let's reach the ocean depths, study marine biology up close while still able to address your entire class as they encounter specific organisms (as is not possible with SCUBA trips), explore restricted-access caves with too-sensitive-to-breathe-on formations (Lechuguilla and the like) with your entire geology class, travel inside the human body with your biology students... fulldome is not only great entertainment, it is a phenomenal teaching tool: like VR, but with less cost and more ability to know you are sharing this experience with others. Hey, a VR learning experience with oculus rift gear for each audience member would be great, too, but you're not going to get that in a place that can barely support a small planetarium/dome theater. And bacteriologically speaking, it has its challenges.

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