Monday, December 13, 2010

How to 'grab' DRM protected, Microsoft generated rich media from Rogers internet TV and edit it for upload to Youtube.

Today I produced my first video and uploaded it to Youtube.

The grab program

I was trying to grab Toronto City Council meetings from the Rogers internet TV portal. The content there is in huge files containing entire 5 hour meetings in some cases. The file I was learning with was a 200 MB file of the December 7th 2010 City Council Meeting. The inauguration meeting where Don Cherry, the new Mayor Ford's special guest made his "pinko-bicyclist, pinko-media, pinko-bureaucracy, pinko-council" remarks. (A whole different meaning to the term 'rose coloured glasses' eh?)

I wanted to copy that 4 minute speech and upload it to Youtube to use in an article I was writing for BikingToronto.

First I tried my DownloadHelper Application, it grabbed a streaming address file folder, no good for editing. Also on my computer is Replay Media Catcher, by opening up the Web Dump feature on it I was able to record 205 MB file of the meeting. But Replay has this default that throws away the last 1/8 of any download, a nod to right's holders I guess, but the problem here was that it threw away info contained at the end of the file that synced the sound track. The file played fine, but silently. When I tried to run it through several different file converters many of them said the file was protected, other indicated incomplete. I assume this is Digital Rights Management (DRM) software encoded into the video. Which makes me wonder why DRM technology is being applied to documents like the proceedings of Toronto City Council; who owns these records? In my opinion the 'people' should own these files and they should be safely stored on City of Toronto servers, not exclusively on servers owned by Rogers Communications Inc..

After losing track of the empirical spiral of my editing education, several times, and throwing away VideoPad in a fit. I figured I'd better take a break form editing for a while so I sat on the project for a few days. Finally I figured out it was my source that was at fault - not the editor. So I went back into the hell again this morning. The first step was to test the editor on a download from Youtube that I knew didn't have any DRM on it. It worked, I edited a video and played it in my player - sound and everything!

So now I knew my capture of the rich, possibly DRM protected, public files of Toronto City Council at Rogers TV was the problem. I needed a different kind of capture software.

Back to, and the first thing I see is a web cam type capture system that reads data just before it hits your monitor. I tried the one that was: not a 'sponsored' placement (the top 5), with the most 'user recommended' stars, that had a good number of downloads 'total' and 'last week'. That software was "Web Cam Video Capture".

You have to set the defaults to human race settings on this thing as it comes with everything hidden - which is very confusing for the rookie. To reset the default view settings; right click on the quick-launch icon and then click Open, click 'setting' in the top bar and choose all three options available, one after the other, and set them to show everything you can until you learn how it works.

I set it to capture a defined area which when I click the 'record' button in the nice, pause-play-record - cassette tape player/recorder style layout - a cross hair appears on my cursor. I click on the top corner of the Rogers DivX player and create a box around it that I like, let off the mouse and your recording everything that happens in that box. Next I set the video to where Don Cherry starts speaking and press play on the Rogers Player. If you press pause on the player the Web Cam Video Capture keeps on recording the paused image, click play and the software captures that. You can even set it to capture the movements of your mouse's pointer arrow if you like.

The video is posted below and you'll immediately see that the frame rate sucks, that's because the file at Rogers is incredibly rich, I think the frame rate is 4X the richest video Youtube allows - so it's taxing my processor to the hilt. It plays fine alone but as soon as I add another application (like the Web Cam Video Capture Application), it starts to skip frames and stutter.

I like Web Cam Video Capture a lot; it's simple, transparent but it has to deal with A LOT of data which taxes a bodies processor.

Pre-monitor data capture is the future of the genre in my opinion.

The editor has a good video editor up under the search term "video editors" called "VideoPad Video Editor". It's quick to load and a fairly low learning curve. It doesn't leave a watermark on your production, which is essential.

The only problem with it is it doesn't give you enough information when it's executing an order; what the name of the file being parsed, and it's location, would be very helpful for beginners.

So I click "Add Media", (top left, very intuitive) open my City Council capture of Don Cherry's remarks, and the file info appears in a column just below the Add Media button. Click on it and the content opens in the editor, right beside the file column.

The first thing I do once I've got the video up in the editor, is click the magnifying glass button and spread the video out a little (Black circle, image below). I like the scroll tab to be about 1/10 of the length of scroll bar, that makes it easy to pick out a single frame in the video.

Once you'd decided which frame you want to start your clip at, just click on the row of frames below the scroll bar, that fixes a red line that indicates your start point - then click on the start video button (image below, Brown Circle). When you've found the last frame you want in your clip click on it in the row of frames and then click on the stop button, the 'end clip button' (in the Blue Circle). Now click the green arrow button (Teal circle) and that adds your clip to the sequencer. Now at the very top of the page press the sixth button from the left (Black circle), "Save Movie" - and voila - your a video producer!

I uploaded the file to Youtube and here it is, two clips edited together, total run time: 4:42.

"Don Cherry places the Chain of Office around Mayor Rob Ford's shoulders and speaks to Council"
From Youtube Channel michaelholloway111

Now... Don't do anything stupid at council over the next 4 years Rob Ford, I'm watching you. ;)



  1. Hello Dear,

    This is really an informative video post. In this era of blog ,we easily get nice & updated information for research purposes... I'd definitely appreciate the work of the said blog owner... Thanks!

  2. Your welcome DRM Software,

    That's all a part of the development process; hiding away in ones basement learning how to watch Star Trek for free is hedonistic - I teach what I learn.

    So you will build a way to stop such activities?