Vietnamese language lessons

The Voice of Vietnam radio service provides 38 lessons for English speakers to learn Vietnamese. These used to be available for download in RealAudio format, but the website has recently been updated to a format that cannot be accessed on any of my systems ... I had some of the files, but I could no longer find the downloadable versions online. I eventually discovered the files I was missing through some detective work in Google's cache and the Wayback Machine. Also, RealAudio files won't play on my iPod. So, here are the lessons in their original RealAudio files, here are the lessons as MP3 files (there is also an archive of all the lessons). Please don't link to these files without informing me. This site can't handle the bandwidth. Also, I don't own the copyright in these files, that clearly belongs to VOV.

Drawing on video with Isadora

Alfred said:

i want to draw LIVE with a wacom pad thin white lines onto the video. the lines should dissapear slowly. any ideas how to do that?

And then Zola said ...

You could do it with the shapes actor going through a luminance keys actor (foreground input) that feeds back to its Background input. You'll have to put another video actor (in bypass mode if you prefer) between the output and the input of the Luminance Key actor for the virtual cable to accept to go there.

So here it is:

Controlling Keynote from within Isadora

I do some corporate presentation work. Recently I've run a couple of shows directly out of Keynote. I sometimes do this when I don't have a lot of pre-production time, or when I know that a lot of text details (like award winners, subtitles and/or names) will be changed before or during the show (for bigger shows with more time I usually make these as stills and handle them in Isadora). Sometimes I'd like to use both ...

I've always been a bit annoyed by Keynote's management and playback of media files (no autostart, inability to use a single sound file under multiple slides, etc etc). On the other hand, generating stills for text slides in the heat of battle gets very tired very quickly. But video files are important to me, so I wanted Isadora to be in control.

I was hoping for a nice solution to control Keynote from within Isadora ... I knew Applescript would be involved, but I was puzzling how to get that out of Isadora. And then along comes Midipipe (thanks again, Nick Weldin).

So ... I've created a Midipipe config and a User Actor which make some basic Keynote functionality available from within Isadora. They are pretty bare-bones, with little error checking, but they could be useful to others. It is a pretty raw setup, and I haven't used it in battle yet (there's bound to be some changes after that ...)

Also, I'm not a big MIDI user, so experts may find some MIDI stupidities in there also. I haven't put any real configurability into the MIDI side of things, since I don't use any other MIDI devices/interconnects at the moment.

One more warning: I use two broadcast/listener channels in Isadora to receive information back from Keynote. At the moment these are 900 and 901. Change them if you want.

You'll need Isadora, Midipipe and Keynote to make this work.

I've put the Midipipe config, the Isadora patch (containing the user actor and example usage) and a sample Keynote show together in a zip file (for Mac only) HERE.

It's yours if you want it. All I ask is that you let me know if you see any problems, or if you have any improvements. Also, there's remaining Keynote functionality that I haven't connected. I don't think I've missed anything important, but you might disagree ...

In terms of usage, the big gotcha for novice MIDI users is getting MIDI communication between Isadora and Midipipe running properly. I use the 'Isadora Virtual Out' in my setup.

The Midipipe side of things might also come in handy as a standalone solution (ie without Isadora) for MIDI-type people who are looking for a way to control Keynote.

Thanks must go, as always, to Mark Coniglio for Isadora -- an elegant solution to a lot of different problems.

What do I do?

Here are some of my recent projects:

  • editing a short community-service testimonial video
  • managing large video installation for a car launch
  • producing a business awards ceremony
  • stage-managing a charity ball
  • installing broadcast tv graphics systems
  • advising on website architecture
  • specifying cable tv playout systems

(Jan 2007)