SkydiveThis week I thought I would try something a bit different. I thought it might be nice to add a video…

So I picked something I have already done from my bucket list. Skydiving. Yes that’s me in the picture, I’m the one in the fetching green jumpsuit.

Uploading the video proved to bit a bit more complicated than I was expecting as well as giving me a few things I want to write about here.

Anyway I did this tandem skydive in Cairns while I was travelling around Australia back in 1999, about November I think. Hopefully you should be able to see the video below somewhere.

The Video

I wanted to put the video up on YouTube. I did have quick look around but YouTube has to be the most well known site anyway so I thought I would give it a try.

My first upload had some issues so I had to re-edit and upload again. I’ll explain what happened in a bit but first, here is the video in it’s finished state.

The Process

I copied this off of my original VHS video to DVD. Then I imported the video file from DVD to my computer. Finally I trimmed away all the stock footage from the start and just left the bit about me. This gave me a clip about the right length for YouTube.

Next up I wanted to trim the edges of the video as the copy from VHS left some black borders and the edges of the image were fuzzy. This was the first hurdle I came across.

This was only supposed to be a simple edit and upload so I don’t want to pay for a full featured video editing package. Zooming or cropping doesn’t appear to be in the Windows Movie Maker. I tried downloading the new Live version of the same program and again it wasn’t there.

After a bit of googling I came across Avidemux. This is a free Open Source application. It is quite simple to use and it allowed me to crop the video as I required. There are lots of options for output formats which left me fiddling for a while but this choice is a good thing once you know a little bit about the myriad of video formats.

Without thinking I just uploaded it as it was. The process was nice and straightforward, and it even had a way of sending notifications to Facebook and Twitter.

The Problem

When I went to look at the video for the first time YouTube had removed all the audio and put a notice saying there was copyrighted material in the video.

Now I suppose this is true but I can’t get my head around why this is an issue. It is not like I am trying to make any money out of this. The original video has some great music on it. It really added something to it. But they were not even complete songs and they are interspersed with short interviews so it is unlikely anyone will be watching the video just for the music.

I thought about applying to the record labels asking for permission to play the clips in my short video but just wasted ages surfing the net trying to find out how to go about this. Supposedly you have to write a letter asking for written consent, but even then trying to work out who to send it to was a nightmare so I decided I couldn’t afford to waste any more time on it.

I would have been happy to pay a small fee to just leave the songs in place. If YouTube can recognise a song within a video then surely they could automate the process of getting permission. This could even be extended to taking a payment, as long as the person uploading the video agrees of course, and passing on this nominal payment to the music company for the use of their copyrighted material.

So what exactly is the problem with the big record companies. This could be a new source of income and it would even act like a kind of advertising.

When I first got the video I liked one of the songs included so much that I went out and bought it on CD. In fact the way I see it any music that you hear is self advertising. So why don’t the music companies want their songs to be played more?

Another example of this music advertising premise is their use in TV programmes. I enjoy watching sci-fi programs and Stargate Universe has had a few songs recently which stick in your head. I have subsequently bought the mp3 versions of those songs.

I know it is probably possible to go out there and find it for free somewhere online but when you can get the song legitimately from somewhere like Amazon from as little as 29p I don’t see the point.

Oh well, rant over, I just wish someone could find a better way of dealing with this.


I wanted at least to hear my comments so I decided I had to re-edit the video and remove the offending music.

After a bit of fumbling around I did find a simple way to do this with the standard tools available on Windows. Windows Movie Maker allows you to simply split the video into sections and then there is a simple volume slider to turn off the sound on the required sections. This might not be the best possible solution but this was only meant to be a quick little job and it had already taken me a lot longer than expected.

While splitting up the video I noticed that without the music there were bits I could cut out without affecting the flow of the clip so I trimmed it down a bit and uploaded the edited version.

Thankfully this time the upload went smoothly and the audio was left intact.

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