Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 19 2009

The Osaka Video

I got a new computer last month, just before Chinese New Year: an iMac. I figured that, as I do a lot of media-related things such as photography, video and music, I’d give the whole Mac thing another shot (I had a Powerbook at one point a few years ago, but things didn’t really work out between us). I’m keeping my old PC around and have been using both, but since I got back from the last trip I’ve been gradually migrating to the Apple machine. The above video was done on iMovie, and I have to say the experience was much, much nicer than it ever was in Windows. First of all, the iMac recognized the .avi format of my little Canon SD800IS immediately. I had painstakingly imported the clips to the PC via Windows Moviemaker, the only Windows program that recognizes the format. I used to go through that and then export to one media file which I would then open in Premiere, but this time the PC steadfastly refused to export, coming up with error after error and taunting me, egging me on each time to “Please try again!” It might as well have been wearing a blue dress and holding a football.

iMovie was much easier and smoother, and I learned my way around it while slapping this thing together. I felt I didn’t need to use Final Cut Pro as my travel videos are just thrown haphazardly together for the most part and don’t require very detailed production tools. The more I use this system, however, the more I appreciate the lack of BS I have to put up with to get things done. It’s so much closer to the experience I want when working with media that I find myself missing the Mac when the PC grinds to life, Windows taking roughly five minutes to fully load and looking so primitive. Which it is, I suppose: it’s an old, loud machine with XP, and old, loud OS. Both are stable enough I suppose; I guess I must have drunk the Kook-Aid. It’s true that the iPhone is a gateway drug. I’m afraid I’m becoming addicted.

But enough crazy fanboi talk; I’m sure I’ll find plenty to bitch about with the Mac in good time. I am pretty happy with the video, however, which, in a first for me, is available in relatively high quality on Youtube and Vimeo. I did the same thing as I always do when I’m traveling alone, i.e. periodically take the camera out in public and talk to it unabashedly with no regard to the strange looks I get. I’m loathe to do this kind of thing when I’m traveling with people, but you’ll be happy (or sigh in annoyance) to know that I managed to take quite a bit of such self-absorbed and pointless video on the trip to Spain and France as well, despite the presence of actual friends. I’m curious to know how that turned out as I also got a new compact camera for such things: a Panasonic LX3, to replace the Canon, which I sold. The LX3 has a wider, faster 24mm f2 lens (and admittedly looks cooler) than the Canon and in a pinch could be used for street photography provided the light is sufficient. The IS seems to work differently from the Canon, but once I got used to it it seemed fairly smooth.

We had a week of wonderful weather after I got back from Europe, and I’ve been feeling very glad to be back in familiar territory. Two weeks abroad is long enough to get far enough away from one’s usual surroundings to get some perspective on things, just long enough to start missing home, making both the voyage there and the trip back happy occasions. Typical Taiwanese Spring weather has returned this morning, however, with a cold front bringing a barrage of rain that is far more suited to the current economic predictions than the sunnily hopeful blue skies of last week, forcing men with jackhammers to stop their outdoor frolicking and return to drilling nearby walls in my building.

posted by Poagao at 5:34 pm  


  1. Good work – brings back memories of when I was there!

    BTW, the Golden Pavilion at Kinkakuji in Kyoto wasn’t actually built as a temple. It was a villa constructed by a shogun for his retirement. It also has a lot more gold leaf on it these days than the original structure ever had.

    Comment by Kaminoge — February 20, 2009 @ 8:55 am

  2. Yeah, I actually found that out afterwards. I really should do a little research on things before I talk about them on camera.

    Comment by Poagao — February 20, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip and welcome back. My kids loved the vid…they’re really in to trains 😉

    See you Sunday?

    Comment by Brian Q. Webb — February 20, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  4. Glad you liked it. I like trains too.

    Not sure about Sunday as I’m not really into studio stuff, but maybe.

    Comment by Poagao — February 20, 2009 @ 11:42 am

  5. Thanks for the video. I’ve been trying to find a place to go for all my spa needs.

    Comment by Michael — March 2, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  6. I enjoyed your portrait of Osaka, thanks for sharing. Which city did you enjoy more, Tokyo or Osaka?

    I’m glad to hear that iMovie wasn’t that difficult. I have to get around to figuring it out one of these days.

    Comment by Bryan — April 6, 2009 @ 10:09 am

  7. Michael: Haha!

    Bryan: iMovie was a piece of cake compared with Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Premiere. Plus it lets me export at a higher resolution, the original resolution of the camera, in fact.

    I think I enjoyed Tokyo more, as it is more different from Taipei, and thus more interesting to me. That is, after all, why I go places, to be someplace else. I should like to visit Japan in a more appropriate season, though. It seems like it’s always winter when I go anywhere.

    Comment by Poagao — April 6, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  8. Since you’re accustomed to Taiwan weather I reckon Japanese summers would be no problem.

    Hokkaido might be really interesting in the summer. Sapporo isn’t really much to get excited about, but the rest of Hokkaido is beautiful if you like the wide open spaces and scenery. Sapporo and Hakkodate also have great sea food, “genkis khan”, and warm, but not humid, summer weather. Maybe I should be going there this summer…

    Comment by Bryan — April 7, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  9. I don’t know, I think I’m more of a city person, but a trip to a smaller city might be fun if it’s an interesting place.

    Comment by Poagao — April 7, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

  10. If it wasn’t for Imovie ’06, i don’t think any of my clips would have made on the web!


    Comment by Hek — April 15, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

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