Chris gets airtime on NBC

I stumbled upon this old clip of me appearing at a TV station I used to work at NBC6 Miami. Too bad the audience was mainly stay at home moms and people who don’t really have a need for Takeoff. But it was still cool to pull some strings and get some airtime. Thanks to my old friends at WTVJ for this one haha.

Hate uploading HD video and waiting? Save time with Handbrake

You finished your cut and can’t wait to upload it and get up on Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, and beyond. You exported it as a full quality h264 to keep the quality stunning, but the file size is still a bit large and upload takes forever. You try another web-ready format and it looks like $h(%. So you accept the fact that you just have to wait and let Youtube do its thing. Sometimes it takes hours. There is a better way.

In my experience, compressing from NLE’s directly to an acceptable web format sucks. I won’t get into nerdy codec details, but if you wanna geek out I’m down. You’d be surprised the variety of quality you get with the same exact settings out of quicktime, compressor, adobe media encoder, etc.

Instead use them for what they are good at: High Def h.264 quicktime, animation, etc. They all do those well. Then use Handbrake ( to transcode the file into a beautiful, web ready format. The result is a much smaller file size with great HD quality. Best of all, its open source and all the big boys use it in their fancy transcoding systems. Chances are your video get pushed through it anyway after upload. So why not do it yourself beforehand?

Here’s an example of how handbrake can get you VERY similar web friendly HD quality for much smaller file sizes.

Here’s a look at a full quality quicktime h.264 out of After Effects. File size 216 mb for a 1 minute clip.

This was using adobe media encoder, full quality h.264. Great quality but 216 mb.

Now check out the quality Handbrake spits out. VERY similar quality at only 15 mb.

Quality set at High Profile, web-ready, 2 pass. Quality is pretty much the same but the file size is significantly smaller. Only 15 mb.

Quality set at High Profile, web-ready, 2 pass. Quality is pretty much the same but the file size is significantly smaller. Only 15 mb.

Yes I know…. It sucks to have to transcode twice. But believe me it is worth it. You get much better quality for a smaller file, saving you major upload and transcode time when it reaches any platform.

If you wanna know more about settings feel free to reach out. Like most of you out there I probably find codecs, formats, and settings as annoying as it gets.

Video Producers Must get Nerdier

Video producers are geeks. Since the birth of the medium enthusiasts and professionals have spat gear and tech related jargon at each other like robots. Put a group of producers in a room together and it’s only a matter of time before they geek out about the latest gear or software they’re using. Things haven’t changed. They’re actually getting more complex.  Why? Two words: online video.

Traditional video producers are generally specialists at camera acquisition, lighting, audio, NLE editing, etc. In the “old days” (not even a decade ago) video pros would geek out about tape based-workflows and burning DVDs. Now they’re on to digital workflows and producing content for the web. Alas, a new video geek is born. Continue reading

Why Have We Been Quiet

You might be wondering why we’ve been keeping to ourselves a bit. It’s because we’re hard at work on the next version of Takeoff. Takeoff will be dropping its beta status and will be a premium, full-fledged web app.

There’s a lot involved in that. We are redesigning the web site, figuring out how much to charge, beefing up our infrastructure, building a complete billing system, and adding a few small features.

Continue reading

Is AWS Startup Challenge Unfair to Bootstrappers?

I’m a big fan of Amazon Web Services.  For those of you that don’t know, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a system that Amazon created a few years back that provides various utilities used to create apps like Takeoff.  When you hear about “cloud computing”, AWS should come to mind.

For example, they have one service called S3 that is essentially an unlimited hard drive.  It’s fast, secure, reliable, no hardware to manage, and you only pay for what you use.  Every single video on Takeoff is stored in S3.

Every year they put on a contest for start-ups that use their services.  The winner gets $50k cash, $50k in AWS credits, and some other goodies.  Continue reading

What’s Coming to Takeoff in 2011

Takeoff launched officially in August of 2010.  Since then, we’ve mostly spent our time solidifying the system, earning an audience, and learning how people use it.  We are grateful to get this far and we want 2011 to be the year that Takeoff becomes a real hit.

We want to be open with everyone, so we’re going to share our plan for 2011.  Below are the big things you should expect from Takeoff in the next year.  Continue reading

Will Takeoff Always Be Free?

Takeoff is currently free and available to all.  But we’re not some fantasy company with infinite pockets.  We are, in fact, a self-funded startup.  We barely have salaries and it’s all based on a dream of making Takeoff a viable business.  In order for that to happen, we need revenue.  So eventually we will start charging for Takeoff. Continue reading

How Takeoff’s Encoding got 10x Faster in 12 Hours

We first used Takeoff in late 2008.  Back then it was an internal tool that we made out of dissatisfaction with existing video collaboration techniques.  As with any web video portal, videos need to be web ready.  And as any video nerd knows, encoding for the web is no joke.

Since we were the only people using it, we started by encoding and uploading by hand.  We wanted an upload process as easy as YouTube, where videos can be in any format.  So we started looking for a fast, reliable, scalable, affordable way to encode video.
Continue reading

Add your logo to Takeoff

Lots of folks have asked for a way to insert a custom logo in Takeoff.  We loved the idea and are happy to announce it’s now possible.  It’s easy to add your and/or your clent’s logo to your productions.  It shows up right next to the production’s title, like so (“M” is our production company’s logo):

It’s easy to add.  Just click “Settings” and hit the “Browse” button.  You can upload just about any image file.  If it fits within a 70x300px box and is either png, jpeg, or gif, we won’t touch it.  Otherwise we just shrink it for you. 

Notice the “For:” option underneath the file box.  Instead of uploading a new logo for every production, you can make one that is standard for all productions (unless of course they have their own ‘specific’ one).  This makes the whole thing much easier to manage.

When you add a new production, you get the same file box there.