Terra Sigillata

Kodak Zi8.jpg

Purty, innit? I got the raspberry one pictured above.

Disclaimer: This is not a corporate product review. I purchased my Kodak Zi8 for full retail price two months ago for $179.95. However, you can get it now for $129.95 at Kodak and everywhere else on the web. It was a fantastic deal at the old price – an incredible deal at the new price. It allows one to take fantastic quality, image-stabilized, 1080p HD movies that you can then watch on the TV.

However.

Editing the movies for posting on the blog is pissing me off no end.

I have a 24-minute interview with University of Pennsylvania professor, Marybeth Gasman, on historically-Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other aspects of academia such as dual-academic couples, being a good Mom and scholar, etc. Gasman is a national leader in the study of African-American higher education, philanthropy, the history of the United Negro College Fund, minority and gender issues in STEM fields, and is an active blogger at higher ed sites.

But as engaging and energizing as Marybeth Gasman is, I don’t think that a whole 24-minute video is going to get readers to pay attention to the tremendous gems she has to share with us.

I especially was hoping to get the video segments up over the holiday weekend because the symposium at which I met Dr. Gasman is featured as a cover story on the July 2 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

But, alas, you are reading this post instead.

The Zi8 comes with some crappy free software not made by Kodak that does little more than allow one to put crappy text and overdubs onto the movie. I can’t figure how to use it to trim the interview into bite-sized segments so I won’t name the software because my problems may be user error.

For the record, I hate to fiddle around with software. I like to use it and move on. No, I don’t want to spend days delving into the stuff. So kill me.

When I put out a call on Twitter for friends to suggest video editing programs, I got a lot of great suggestions. @superkash suggested Vegas Movie Studio which one can test for a free 30-day trial period. It works great for the crappy .mvi files I create on my Canon A710 camera.

But the Kodak Zi8 records the incredible HD video in .mov format. This is apparently incompatible with Vegas Movie Studio. One gets the video but the audio channel is flatlined, apparently a common problem. I’ve searched the web for workarounds and program alternatives. However, I’m not going to buy an editing program until I know that it’s going to work for .mov files.

Yes, I’ve tried renaming the file to .mp4

Yes, I’ve tried Windows Movie Maker (and I can’t use Windows Live Movie Maker because I haven’t upgraded to Windows 7).

Yes, I’ve made sure I have the latest version of QuickTime (but some have suggested I need QuickTime Pro).

Yes, I’ve tried putting a new version of the .dll plug-in for QT into my Vegas Movie Studio plug-in files. Now I can’t even import the movie file.

This is enough to piss off the Good Humor man. Seriously, I have a ton of other stuff to do between work and family. Sheesh.

I guess that I’m just pretty amazed that such an incredible product as the Kodak Zi8 1) doesn’t come with software for editing and jazzing up videos and 2) that its format is incompatible with so many commonly-used video editing packages.

Is it time to get a MacBook and use iMovie?

Any other suggestions from Kodak Zi8 owners using Windows XP?

Apologies to Marybeth – I’m trying. I really am.

Comments

  1. #1 cope
    July 5, 2010

    Yes, I believe you would have to upgrade Quicktime to QT Pro. However, you should be able to open the move in QT and then go to “File” then to “Export”. One of your drop-down menu options should be to export/save as “MPEG-4″ or “MP-4″.

    That’s how I have converted QT movies to MP-4 files to play on my iPod Touch.

    Good luck.

  2. #2 NIXTER
    July 5, 2010

    I have a Kodak Zi8, I love it, used it on my Vacation to the Philippines, it worked like dream. I recommend staying away from the 720p 30fps mode, too slow a frame rate made blurring a problem when panning. Recording in 720p at 60fps takes up more space but for scenes with any kind of motion you have to use the high frame rate setting. It’s so small that you can record video in public and everyone thinks you’re holding a cell phone, great for candid shots.

    For editing, both Pinnacle HD and the latest Magix HD video editing programs handle the Zi8 *.MOV files properly. I have used both programs and they both worked. The results are worth the hassle of finding a good program for editing.

  3. #3 Regis
    July 5, 2010

    I convert the files to .dv format using iWisoft video converter, http://www.iwisoft.com/videoconverter/index.php. Takes lots of space but makes them easy to edit in almost any editor.

  4. #4 Marybeth Gasman
    July 5, 2010

    Upload that video == all 24 minutes! I worked hard!! HAHA!

  5. #5 Jim
    July 5, 2010

    Here’s a great free product that will solve your problem: http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/products/dvd/Free-Video-Dub.htm

    This company also has products that will perform various conversion and editing tasks for not only video but audio as well. I particularly like their product that allows you to compress large video files to flash that are 1/10th of the original size.

    Enjoy!

  6. #6 BrianX
    July 5, 2010

    Honestly I’d lusted after the Zi8 until I saw NixiePixel’s distinctly negative review, so your problems are really only beginning.

    That said, you should probably give ffmpeg a try. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need something a lot more expensive (like QTPro, it seems).

  7. #7 Abel Pharmboy
    July 6, 2010

    Yup, BrianX – here was NixiePixel’s statement:

    Unrecognised Sound Format
    This was the biggest hassle I encountered with this handheld camcorder. I ended up wasting hours and hours trying to import the video into an editor that the audio codecs were compatible with. I tried Sony Vegas Pro 8 (a professional product), Kdenlive, Windows Movie Maker and more. This camera is really only designed to work with the (awful) software that it comes with. I ended up transcoding the files to a more desirable format just so I could use the software that I wanted to use.

    Anyway, I have QuickTime Pro and I’m still having trouble exporting to an appropriate version that will be recognized by Vegas Video. This will require more fiddling.

    And Marybeth, I am very close to doing just that but am having trouble getting YouTube to take the whole file!

  8. #8 Kat
    July 10, 2010

    Abel, I wish you the best of luck fixing this- and please, if you figure out a fix let me know.
    I also have a Kodak (an old Easyshare) and I gave up on editing movies because of the .mov problem. It wasn’t important enough for me to pursue, but if you find something that works well and cheaply, please do share- I’d love to know!!

  9. #9 Brent
    July 13, 2010

    Dude, I feel your pain! I’ve probably lost 2 – 3 days total out of my life messing with this camera. Kodak should be embarrassed!

  10. #10 kelly a
    July 20, 2010

    i came across this blog looking for an answer to the same issue. Been messing around with this since January. I have QT pro, sony vegas pro, live movie maker and of course glorious arcsoft. Exporting via AS or QT just doesn’t work. Either the audio degrades or the video does. There seems to be zero real work around for this (regardless of all the youtube videos that say otherwise).

    Bummer – love this Zi8 but because of this issue will not recommend to anybody. Smart move Kodak.

  11. #11 Amani Channel
    July 27, 2010

    I haven’t read your comment stream, but why don’t you buy Final Cut Express? The Zi8 shoots .mov which is a native Mac Format. Or else if you must use a PC download Mpegstreamclip from http://www.squared5.com and convert the .mov files to .avi. Make sure you use the 16:9 setting.

    I’ve edited a fair number of videos on PC and Mac and suggest that if you’re serious about video you invest in a Mac.

    Hope this helps.

    Amani Channel
    http://www.myurbanreport.com
    http://www.visualeyemedia.com

  12. #12 Bill Gx
    July 30, 2010

    I had the same problem with Sony Vegas. Downloaded a 30 day trial of Adobe CS5 Production Suite, mostly to play with After Effects and whaddaya know? Adobe Premiere reads & understands those .mov files, no problem. I’m probably just going to buy the CS5 suite when my trial expires.

  13. #13 video izle
    July 31, 2010

    Anyway, I have QuickTime Pro and I’m still having trouble exporting to an appropriate version that will be recognized by Vegas Video. This will require more fiddling.