music video: periapsis

Here’s a little something I put together: a video of a trip to the Mün in Kerbal Space Program, edited in to a music video for the first track from my RPM 2012 album, periapsis:

I had to cut about two-thirds of the video to fit it to the track, but you get to see all the major events in a flight to the Mün:

  • takeoff
  • booster stage separation
  • Kerbin orbit insertion
  • transmünar injection (that’s the burn that sends you to the Mün)
  • Mün orbit insertion
  • orbital adjustment for landing altitude
  • orbital braking burn
  • core stage separation
  • final descent and landing

The rocket design is the smallest and simplest I’ve come up with so far that can get to the Mün and back again; you don’t see it on the video, but I did get those Kerbal astronauts back home safely.

I captured the video using ffmpeg, with KSP running under Wine on my Linux desktop, and then used Kdenlive to edit it. Kdenlive worked well for the edit (no crashes!), though I suspect there was something funny happening with the audio/video sync — I’d place an edit right on a beat, and then find upon repeat listens that it sometimes didn’t quite match up, but it was such a close-run thing that it may have all been in my head.

a demo of live sequencing with seq24

Despite a whole bunch of idiosyncrasies, I love seq24, and even though I tend to think of Qtractor as my MIDI sequencer of choice under Linux, it’s actually seq24 that I’ve used the most in producing my tracks. I’m planning on making some video tutorials for it, since it’s such a strange beast to deal with at first, but before doing that, I want to demonstrate the kind of things you can do with it.

Here, then, is a “performance” of my track tiny droplets — the various MIDI loops used are all pre-sequenced, but I’m triggering them all in realtime using my QWERTY keyboard. In this case, seq24 is driving Hydrogen and my Blofeld, and I’m using Ardour as a live mixer to process and mix the audio from those synths in to a stereo stream.

UPDATE: If you’d prefer to download the video rather than streaming it on YouTube, I’ve uploaded a WebM version of it. WebM is still quite new, but current versions of VLC and MPlayer support it.

On a brief side note, I have to give a shout-out to my good friend AutoStatic for describing his new video capture process using Xephyr and FFmpeg — I used it here, and the results look great. The audio was captured with JACK TimeMachine, and in another first for me, I edited it all together using the brilliant Kdenlive.

i for one welcome our new google video overlords

Google had been notably quiet since acquiring video codec developer On2 Technologies, but today it revealed what it’s been up to: On2’s VP8 codec is now open-source, with a Theora-style irrevocable royalty-free grant for anyone to use the patents that Google now owns that cover it. Google’s calling the initiative WebM, which combines the VP8 video with Vorbis audio in a Matroska container.

The software’s a bit rough right now, but it really does work. Google has already started re-encoding Youtube’s videos, and after grabbing a WebM-enabled Firefox nightly build (the WebM site has to Firefox, Chrome, and Opera builds, and instructions for Youtube) I was able to check out the joys of HTML5 Youtube for the first time. As for encoding, there’s a reference encoder and a set of patches for FFmpeg; using the latter, I was able to build a WebM-enabled FFmpeg, encode a video, and play it back within Firefox.

Maybe Google’s just doing this as a lever against H.264 — MPEG LA might be less likely to go jacking up its prices if there’s a serious competitor in the market — but I get the impression it they really want to see WebM take off. There’s a big emphasis on hardware support, with simultaneous announcements from TI, Broadcom, Qualcomm, ARM, AMD, NVIDIA, and others, and Google will of course be bringing support to Android. With Adobe pledging to support it in Flash, giving support for IE and Safari, WebM is going to work just about everywhere apart from iPhone OS.

What remains to be seen is whether or not there are potential patent challenges here, from MPEG LA or other parties. Google obviously doesn’t think so, and it has a long list of partners that also seem willing to take that bet, so time will tell if MPEG LA makes good on its threats.