Water Buffalo Movie Featured Again…

Thanks to the Huffington Post and Head Butler for writing about the water buffalo movie!

The Huffington PostRead Huffinton Post Article

Head ButlerRead Head Butler

As I sit here in my hotel room in Guangzhou, anticipating our interview at the American Embassy just down the street in about four hours, I’m contemplating whether or not to go back to Du Zhuan and visit the Su family to see how Little Longhorn is doing.

In Kunming Traffic

Kunming [wiki page] has a grievous traffic problem. Don’t get me wrong, we always have a great time here, but the other day I left our house to meet up with some friends for dinner. Downtown is about 2 miles away. It took an hour to get there. Granted, it’s the biggest holiday in China, but this is insane. Prime candidate for a subway system…

Is it just me, or is Alias the most predictable show.. ever? And who else is in favor of renaming the show to Plot Twist? I mean, they f’in killed Sloane with lethal injection and his heart rate flatlined for like 8 minutes, but because he drank the wine elixir he never actually died and was brought back to life.

In about 36 hours we’re off to E Jia. I got my GPS, cameras, video camera, and a bag full of cables and power cords for this trip. Look for a little Flash Video doc when I get back. There is also a chance that we will interview the Su family (from the water buffalo movie) on the way back.

CBC Freestyle Radio Broadcast – Water Buffalo Movie

Update: Listen Robert Thompson’s interview with CBC radio (Sirius) about the water buffalo movie here.

Listen to it live, today!

“People can listen today by going to www.cbc.ca, clicking on RADIO then LIVE RADIO. This pulls up a map of Canada. If they click on Victoria (far left of the map) around 3:00 or 3:30 pm.”

Or just go here and on the right side, click Victoria.

If you missed it, I’ll have a direct link soon of the actual broadcast.

I was interviewed last week by CBC’s Freestyle show and the topic was the water buffalo movie (movie details here) I made with my wife, Chun Mei — graciously donated by Philip Greenspun and Craig MacFarlane.

Celebrating Chinese New Year.. in China

It’s just around he corner, get your red clothes out. We’re going ti E Jia and this time I’ll try not to lose my camera, so I can take some photos of a place that no foreigner has ever been to (according to the locals, I was the first last time I went.)

Also, we’re going to try to swing back to Da Zhuan and see Little Longhorn and the rest of the crew, but this is up in the air, as it is a little out of the way. I’ll try to make it happen.

So we’re traveling Feb 16-21. Happy new year!

Best Way to Upload Video to YouTube on a Mac

First of all, here’s the official You Tube water buffalo movie.


DECEMBER 10, 2008 Now that YouTube expanded the viewing area to 640x360px (HD), here are some new settings I tried that work well:

First of all, if you are in Final Cut and you simply ‘Save’ the movie as a Quicktime file (without compression) — as of this post, YouTube will reject it.

Export Quicktime Compression and use H.264 two-pass at 2400 kbps. Set the audio to ACC Stereo 128kpbs.

Processing video on YouTube is slow! I know. Once you have an exported version, upload to YouTube — HD videos take significantly longer to ‘process’ (you’ll see “uploaded (processing, please wait)” — this is normal. Until they fix this, it might take 1-3 hours to process an HD video. Be patient, it works, and will probably be faster in the future.

Best way to upload in SD to YouTube (Standard Def — just like you used to upload before HD)

UPDATE JUNE 21, 2007: Apple announces h.264 for the iPhone — that probably means it works, or will work soon for regular uploads to YouTube.

UPDATE JUNE 1, 2007: Who knows what the future holds, as Google has just announced that it will encode H.264 movies for the Apple TV (and probably the iPhone, look out for those data rate fees to watch those cat videos). Can Apple convince Google to abandon Youtube.com’s current Flash Video format for H.264? Check back soon for more updates.


On to encoding and uploading. (Personal note: I can’t believe You Tube doesn’t accept the latest Quicktime H.264 or On2 Flash Video 8 codecs.)

Here are optimal export settings for Final Cut, iMovie, Quicktime:

– Export to Flash video, using FLV MX (not the latest FLV 8 On2 codec)*
– Can use 2-pass VBR
– Scale to 320×240**

– Video = 1024 video kbps
– Audio = 128 kbps MPEG-3 audio

The Water Buffalo Movie was exported with those settings, and although You Tube resizes the dimensions to 424×318, it still looks good. It was a 50 meg export and You Tube probably chopped it down to 7-10 megs.
If anyone knows of other formats to export (from Quicktime) and upload to YouTube, please advise. (Ideally, it would be great to export to Quicktime H.264, 2-pass, 1024k video, 128 AAC, at the YouTube dimensons, and export a .MOV file to upload — unfortunately this doesn’t work well with YouTube.)

*I’m using On2 Flix Exporter, and choosing the MX option. If you have Flash Video Exporter installed, I think you need to choose “Sorensen” as the export, not On2.

**It looks like You Tube’s dimensions are 424×318 (4:3), which does not include the play/pause bar, of course. I’ll give that a go next time I export to see if the video quality is better.

This personal wiki page explains a lot about which formats work, don’t work, YouTube error messages (ie, “Rejected – length of video too long”, etc).

CBC Radio Interview – Water Buffalo Movie

UPDATE: Here is the interview, MP3 format.


I have an interview on CBC Radio’s “Freestyle” program next Tuesday, February 6 (air time TBA) — and the subject is water buffalo movie we made last month. Check out their web site for the actual broadcast.

Thanks again to everyone who watched the movie, if you’re interested on learning more about the story, tune in to the interview (or visit their site for more information.)