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August 2010
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Retubing: Naughty Man At The Back

I couldn't really have done this one in 4:3, could I? In terms of the rebuilding of my video library following The Great YouTubeocalypse of August 31st, I think we're more or less done now. Apart from the odd one-off like The BBG's Roundhouse concert, the last major collection of videos I added to the old account happened about a year ago, with the various bits and pieces we filmed during our China 2009 expedition.

So, as this series appears to have been partly about the evolution of my editing style, it might be fun to finish off this collection of highlights with a nine minute video that only has three shots in it. (If I'd had my way, though, it would only have been two...)

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Retubing: Vltava Cruise, Prague 2008

Penguins! (Some sort of installation courtesy of the Museum Kampa, apparently.) Let me show you what I'm dealing with here.

I'm still re-uploading my videos after The Great YouTubeocalypse (previously), and I've reached the one that The Belated Birthday Girl and I made in Prague during our Christmas 2008 holiday. I do realise that I'm in this mess because of my habit of uploading material that's at least partially owned by others. But this one should be okay, surely? Its soundtrack features a song by the utterly obscure Czech funk band Monkey Business: who's going to pick up on that?

Within seconds of the upload completing, I receive an email from YouTube informing me that "your video may have content that is owned or licensed by Sony Music Entertainment." Shit! Those guys! I go back to my video, and I find that YouTube have already embedded a set of adverts and an iTunes purchase link for the track A Song For All Nations, which their robots appear to have identified almost instantly without any clues from me. How in the holy name of Václav Havel do they do that? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way, and this is the answer.)

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Retubing: Return Of The Great Leap Forwards (opening titles)

The New York Cinema, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. I'd imagine the enormous Golden Harvest logo on the front was what drew me to it initially. It closed in 2006, and now it's the New Jade Garden Restaurant. Sigh. Compare and contrast.

1993: my first visit to the Far East, a weekend in Hong Kong followed by a fortnight in mainland China. I take along a camcorder, and end up making a holiday video - Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards - that lasts one hour and forty minutes. (You can see a bit of it in the previous post.) It takes about six weeks to edit, each cut done by hand using the old-fashioned method of recording from tape to tape and using the pause button to avoid the stuff I don't want.

1997: my second visit to the Far East, five days in Hong Kong. I take along a camcorder, but this time the holiday video only lasts forty minutes. And as I've just bought a computer, I can use the emerging technology of digital video editing to speed up the process.

Which doesn't explain why Return Of The Great Leap Forwards took nine months to edit. Or does it?

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Retubing: Grand Canal, Wuxi, 1993

Curiously, I think this bit works really well in the video, but when it's a still it's much less obvious there are two people in the shot.So far in this collection of Retubing posts (see the first one for an introduction), all the videos you've seen have been assembled digitally. Camcorder footage was converted by one means or another into video files, and then edited on a PC using Corel VideoStudio or some equivalent bit of software.

But decades before I was playing around with video, I was doing similar things with audio. And generally, that involved lots of tape-to-tape copying with judicious use of the pause button.

Well, before I picked up my first computer in 1997, my initial experiments in video editing worked in exactly the same way. So it amused me last year to post up some videos I'd made back in 1993 on my China trip, using two VHS decks, a basic audio mixer and (if the end credits of the final feature are to be believed) a preposterous 40 days of editing time.

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Retubing: Ninja!

Flip out! As I slowly continue re-uploading the videos that used to be in my old YouTube account before The Great YouTubeocalypse, I'm now up to the films we made on our Japan 2008 holiday.

That year probably counts as the peak of our YouTube activity in terms of holiday movies, I think. By the time we'd finished, we had a collection of 15 short films - some of them were shorts we'd made, some of them were other people's, and a couple were things I'd filmed off the telly just to show you the sort of stuff we were watching in our spare time. I put them all into one big playlist, and even rounded it off with a compilation of clips hacked into an end credit roll with an Anna Tsuchiya soundtrack.

Unfortunately, those two things I filmed off the telly ended up being 66.66667% of the reason why my YouTube account was shut down. So you won't be seeing those again, or the playlist end credits which quote them. But there are a few films that I think it's safe to repost, and this is one of them.

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Retubing: Europe By Train

These bits were an utter cow to render, I can tell you.I think The Belated Birthday Girl and I would both agree that of all the videos that we've put up on YouTube over the last four years, Europe By Train is our favourite. It's an insanely ambitious piece of work, but it managed to achieve everything we hoped it would when we first started editing it.

And yet, in the three years it was online before my account got trashed, it racked up no more than about 2000 views. 

So, could more of you watch it this time? Please?

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Retubing: Earth Celebration, 2006

don doko don doko don doko don dokoSeptember tends to be a quiet month on this site. Edinburgh's just finished, the London Film Festival won't kick off till mid-October: time for a few weeks of comparatively restrained internet activity. Those batteries need to be recharged sometimes.

This September, however, I've got plans for a series of posts that won't require too much strain on the brain, yours or mine. And they're all a result of this email from YouTube, dated August 31st.

Hi SpankTM,

We received multiple notifications from various content owners regarding unauthorised content that has been uploaded by your account(s). When we're notified that a particular video uploaded to our site infringes another's copyright, we remove the material, as the law requires. US Federal law requires that we terminate accounts when they are found to repeatedly infringe copyright. Because you have had other videos rejected in the past, we are unable to reinstate your account. Users with suspended or terminated accounts are prohibited from creating new accounts or accessing YouTube's community. You will need to resolve at least one of these penalties before your account can be reinstated. You may be able to resolve at least one of the following video removals by filing a counter-notification.

The following videos have been removed from your account:

Penalty 1: "Casino Royale - 2006 trailer, 1967 music" Removed due to a copyright claim by Sony Pictures Entertainment on 11/21/2006

Penalty 2: "Hitomi" Removed due to a copyright claim by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) on 08/29/2008

Penalty 3: "Rules of Quiz Hexagon II very simple..." Removed due to a copyright claim by Association of Copyright for Computer Software on 08/23/2010

Loving that 'hi'.

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Simian Substitute Site for September 2010: Where The Monkey Sleeps


Internet: This August, as noted in comments, was the month when one of my YouTube videos finally hit a quarter of a million views. I'm not going to link to it here, because this August was also the month when my YouTube account was terminated with no warning, and all the videos in it were taken away. It's a three-strikes-and-you're-out deal, and over a period of four years I'd managed to accumulate three copyright violations, all related to Japanese-owned material. Operations are slowly being migrated over to new user account TheSpankTM, but The Felix Project will probably need to be put on ice for now. Which is a pity. 

Music: Bloody hell, Propaganda. You only made one album worth a damn - 1985's A Secret Wish - and now I own three separate copies of it. I bought it on cassette when it first came out, and loved how the bombast of the ZTT sound was made even more fabulous by the simple idea of adding foxy German ladies to it. When the time came a few years later to replace it on CD, imagine my frustration when I discovered that they'd decided to remix most of the songs for the digital medium, and not always for the better. And now we have the 25th anniversary reissue, featuring both versions of the album plus a selection of outtakes and bonus tracks. I'd be moderately cross if it wasn't for the fact that it still sounds magnificent.

Telly: I appear to be one of the last people in the world watching Mad Men from the beginning, thanks to the current set of repeats on BBC2. I'm nearly halfway through season one, and liking it quite a bit. I started off thinking that it's incredibly strong on character and period atmosphere, but a little light on plot. However, I'm just getting to the point where hints are being dropped that there's more plot than first meets the eye. So all the rest of you who've watched this already are not allowed to talk to me for the next few months. It's probably safest.

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