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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Slacker Uprising

So, I'm a fan of Micheal Moore.... and hearing that he was posting his latest film, Slacker Uprising, on the net for free, I had to check that out.

If you go to www.slackeruprising.com they ask for your email, then they send you a link to view the film. The only thing I don't like is that you must be a resident of U.S./Canada... sure I'm in Canada, but I *hate* it when net content is restricted based on the country you're in (or not in, as is the case) I've been on the other side of that situation a bit too often.

This is the link he sends in the email: http://slackeruprising.com/download

Where you can watch the movie streaming in your browser, or download it through a few options, one being iTunes. I wanted a PSP-formatted copy (to watch on my PSP, natch) but don't use iTunes. So I chose to download it in AVI format via this link: http://slackeruprising.com/download/hypernia.php

The resolution is 640 x 360, so it's a medium size film that probably looks good (enough) on a 19" monitor. To me, the AVI is only the first step. The AVI file is big, 1.02 GB.

I often have to transcode video from a different format (such as AVI, or if it's on the web like YouTube, then FLV) to PSP compatible .MP4. I use 2 programs, PSP Video 9 (version 1.74) and Super©. I find that one or the other usually gets it done, though PSP Video 9 is my go-to app for conversion. That's what I used to transcode the Slacker Uprising AVI.

I'm using an older version, so the resolution sizes are basically 320 x 240 or 368 x 208 for 16:9 widescreen. Only after 2 years did Sony allow memory stick video to be played back at the PSP's full resolution of 480 x 272, until then we had to settle for these resolutions.... I've got a few 480 x 272 vids, they do look great. But the old resolutions are fine enough for me. Slacker Uprising is a pretty short "movie", only a bit longer than an hour. PSP Video 9 takes a long time to transcode video, because it does 2 passes so as to maximize quality yet compress the file size as much as possible. It's fairly efficient. Transcoding took about 1.5 hours, and my final file size is 244 MB. Not bad, from 1 GB. [EDIT: For some reason, I didn't get the entire movie... only about 2/3 of it. So I re-downloaded it as an .MP4 file (not compatible with PSP though)]

There are 2 .MP4 formats that the PSP uses, .MP4 simple profile (SP) and .MP4 h.264 AVC. It's confusing, because they both have the same file extension (.MP4) but they have to be put in different folders on the PSP, and given different file names. .MP4 SP files have to be named M4V*****.MP4. (*=5 digit number) and AVC .MP4 files need to be named MAQ*****.MP4. Sony has introduced a VIDEO folder for the PSP in later firmware updates, that allow for regular named videos to be put in there... it doesn't always work, so I stick with the old style.

Ripping DVDs to PSP format, using PSP Video 9, it's a slow process because the DVD file is usually about 5-6 GB. And the final PSP format movie ends up being about 400-500 MB.


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