The agony and ecstasy of online travel videos

videoAllow me to vent for a minute.

Online video may be the future of travel, but it is most certainly not the present.

I’ve just spent the weekend battling a Samsung video camera, Apple’s Final Cut Pro and YouTube, and I can say that with absolute certainty. Yes, video — specifically high-definition video — will revolutionize the way we travel. And soon.

But not just yet.

My problem involved a video camera that shot crisp, high-resolution images, but when imported into Final Cut, I experienced a playback problem that couldn’t be resolved through normal means. The image jumped around, sputtered and stopped with no warning. And when I tried to export the clip to YouTube, it compressed the image. The result was so embarrassingly bad that I can’t even show you the movie. I had to delete it.

I’m planning to spend the next few days figuring out where I took a wrong turn. But in the meantime, here are a few observations:

• HD video is terrific, but when the most popular online video site chokes on it (dropped frames, slow rendering speeds) then what’s the point? Hate to say it, but Apple was right when it limited its iPhone 3GS to standard-def. Why bother?

• Video editing programs should be able to run on today’s computers without slowing down or stuttering on the playback. If today’s hardware isn’t up to it, then the programs should come with warning labels. Or they shouldn’t be released at all.

• You shouldn’t need the patience of Job when rendering your clips for playback. Also, video sites like YouTube should accept more kinds of video formats and display them correctly.

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Having gotten that off my chest, let’s get the ecstasy part of this story.

I’ve been playing around with two video effects plug-in applications for Final Cut. CGM DVE Complete XXL offers some terrific video transitions that can make your travel videos look as if they were produced by a pro, including a cross dissolve, slide, cube spin, and dip to color dissolve. Whenever I’m discouraged with online video (which is often, these days) I add one of these wonderful video effects and pretend these problems are in my past.

I’ve also been tinkering with a program called CoreMelt Complete V2, a full suite of video effects that add a finishing touch to your videos that you have to see to believe. Check out the transitions in this video:

I took this at our Fourth of July parade in Geneva, Fla.

CoreMelt is so versatile and multi-functioned, I fear I’ve only scratched the surface of the application. I’ll be sharing more clips (and tips) from both of these interesting programs in future posts.

No one said this was going to be easy, but thanks to plug-ins like CoreMelt and CGM, it’s also fun.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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