Greetings to all of you who continue to visit this page and see how our progress is going!  This past month (May to June) has been a month that has provided us with many learning experiences.  We have not only learned that we need to purchase yet another camcorder, but discovered that there were mistakes made with the camcorder that resulted in evidence being lost.  Film was not deleted in this instance, but more so just not shot correctly. For that reason there is no video evidence of things like fluctuations in the EMF Field and all things had to be considered personal experience.

While issues with the camcorder had proven to be a setback for us, the DVR stepped right up to present the greatest challenge ever.  What is this challenge you may ask?  Getting the footage into video editing software!  Most of us with a newer piece of equipment are recording in h.264 format for the higher compression in comparison to Mpeg-4.  However, what we soon came to discover is that not one program could play this type of file!  This included both Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker, Quicktime, Sony Vegas, Pinnacle, and a few other programs.  In total, 8 different programs were downloaded in an effort to convert this file and when one did finally work (OJO Soft), the resulting conversion file left us with video loss and some quirky fluctuations with the time stamp on the DVR footage.  However, after a few weeks of messing with this and god knows how many drinks, a solution was finally born.  While I hope to further refine this process, the important thing is that I was able to get it to work and thus was able to finally put footage on the website.

Now that we (you) have finished the investigation and the review of all materials, the time has come to share the evidence with the world (confidentiality permitting).  If you are using a Swann DVR that records in h.264, you will need to go to their website and download their .avi converter.  This will take the file and make it viewable in most applications.  For this task I went with VLC's software based upon a conversation I had with Larry Flaxman.  Turns out his recommendation was the key component to at least viewing the file.  However, the battle was not over!  Next, the only solution that I could find (after a week) was to use TuneBite 7.0 to record screen to screen.  This resulted in no video loss or time-stamp issues at all. 

The next step is loading the recorded file from Tunebite into Sony Vegas and making a movie out of that in whatever format you desire.  If you so choose, editing can be done in Pinnacle but the initial file will not load in Pinnacle (go figure).  There is still a bug in the Swann file that converts in PAL (25 fps) as opposed to NTSC (30fps).  This is not a big deal, but it does mean that the file must be saved in NTSC prior to using Pinnacle.  Upon doing all of this, you will end up with video for the web!

We admit that we never thought there would be this many issues with our equipment, but a team must always have growing pains and this happened to be our most major one.  As always, we continue to have training sessions and seek to continuously improve in all that we do.  Until the next time...

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