Category Archives: Movies

Pitivi timeline end is in the wrong place. How to move the end of the timeline?

Once again the Internet has failed me. I was using the Pitivi non-linear video editor, and discovered my three minute video had the end of the timeline (where the video ends) at over ten minutes. This would triple the render time: unacceptable, time is money.

You can reach the start/end of the timeline by pressing the Go To Start and Go To End buttons on the video player thing. I spent quite some time trying to find how to alter the timeline end.

Turns out there’s no way to move or adjust the end of the timeline. However if you close the project and reopen it, Pitivi correctly detects where the last clip ends and makes that the end of the video. Render time reduced.

Streaming TV and Chromecast – Stan won’t support iPad HDMI

I was in contact with Stan (streaming TV) support over the weekend. The iPad wouldn’t play, whether connected via an HDMI cable or the Chromecast. It would play zero to a few frames, then freeze up.

They suggested doing a factory reset on the Chromecast and removing and re-installing the Stan app.

It sounded unlikely (it’s the real-life version of the IT Crowd’s “Have you tried turning it off then on again”), but to my surprise, it actually worked.

HDMI was still a problem though. They said it wasn’t supported.

So why doesn’t Stan support HDMI? An interesting answer came back:

“We are unlikely to support this method of streaming in the future due to DRM (Digital Rights Management) contractual agreements we have with the studios we licence our content off of. If anything changes, we will be sure to let you know.”

This is puzzling, given their main competitors Netflix and Presto seem to support it.

It’s worth noting that Stan (and I believe the others) don’t support my 2011-model Samsung smart TV either. Thank goodness for the Chromecast. It’s not as easy as being able to play directly just on the TV (with no other devices required), but at least it works — and navigating menus is far easier on a tablet than a TV remote control.

As one observer (I forget who) noted — there’s little point paying extra for a smart TV (over a dumb one) when an A$49 device like a Chromecast is less likely to become obsolete — or if it does, it can be cheaply and easily replaced.

WarGames sequel trailer

No way will this be as good as the original.

WarGames: The Dead Code

From the looks of it, they’ve taken the original plot and just substituted different teenagers, a different city, a new computer and… well, not much else. It’s more of a remake than a sequel.

No wonder it’s going straight to DVD. Release is expected in July.

And if that’s not to your taste, how about this rumour: Leonardo Dicaprio to play Nolan Bushell in a movie about the creator of Pong.

Technology lets down playback

I can think of two examples where digital media has limitations which affect the fidelity of playback in a major way: with music it’s gapless playback, often noticeable on MP3 players and with CDs on some players. With DVDs it’s layer changes, again, worse on some players than others.

This shouldn’t be the case, of course. Digital media of course is meant to be better than analogue, in every respect. I don’t know if there are standards mandated in the relevant formats, but perhaps there should be… or at least some documented workarounds, such as recommending where DVD authors place layer-changes.

After all, these kinds of things can ruin the enjoyment of a movie or piece of music if handled badly.

Multimedia alternatives

Video hosting

Buzzmachine has a quick look at various online video hosters, and while he doesn’t come to any definite conclusion, does say is one of the best for picture quality.

What I notice is that Motionbox won’t work without Adobe Flash Player 9, which effectively rules it out if you want corporate types to look at your stuff.

And Brightcove was not only complicated for Jeff to use, but gives me dire warnings about lack of bandwidth.

Personally I’ve used Google Video and YouTube. Both seem okay, but I’m looking for ease of use, not necessarily best quality.


Jeff Atwood tells us why he’s not buying an iPod.

It should be obvious why iPod doesn’t support WMA… because then you wouldn’t have to buy your online music from the iTunes Music Store.

DVD layer changes

What is it with DVD authoring that the production houses can’t put the layer changes somewhere sensible, like preferably between scenes where there’s no sound? Looking through’s reviews, they note a variety of stupidly placed layer changes:

  • The Princess Bride — The layer change is at 49:58 – it is not a good layer change, because it interrupts the score, but it only lasts a moment. The R1 Special Edition has a far better layer change – it’s inside a silent black frame after Westley is knocked unconscious.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? — The pause is a little jarring and noticeable
  • Virus — This is during a natural fade to black, but it is still quite noticeable due to the interruption to the music.

With TV series on DVD, most authors do the sensible thing and put the layer change between the episodes. But sometimes, evidently from pure laziness, they just let it fall elsewhere.

  • The Office — For some reason, the layer change does not occur between Episodes 3 and 4 (as I would have expected) but about 3:57 into Episode 4 (Title 4, Chapter 1).
  • Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em volume 2 — This is an RSDL disc, and once again the DVD authors have inexplicably put the layer change within one of the episodes instead of between them.
  • Empires-Peter & Paul and the Christian Revolution — This disc is RSDL-formatted, with the layer change occurring at 2:30 in Episode II – a crazy and infuriating place to put it when it could have more easily and logically been placed in between the two episodes.

Given it’s a well-known drawback of dual layer DVDs, surely it’s not that hard to put the change somewhere where it won’t be noticed. Crap layer changes really destroy the atmosphere of a movie or TV show, and show up a big flaw in what otherwise is a very satisfying and popular domestic playback medium.

What I Want

After watching Sin City the other day I decided I didn’t want to wait.

What I want is a directors commentary that I can take to the cinema with me. I’d download it, throw it on the pod and listen to it in the cinema. I’m sure it would be great for repeat business; go once to watch the film, then again to listen to the commentary. It would be spoken word, you could play it soft and no one would hear it.

Maybe Cameron‘s The Podcast Network could try and flex their muscles?