Exploring codecs and data streams

ffmpeg -codecs | grep "things I have heard of" Guide to codecs when presented by FFmpeg: Codecs: D..... = Decoding supported .E.... = Encoding supported ..V... = Video codec ..A... = Audio codec ..S... = Subtitle codec ...I.. = Intra frame-only codec ....L. = Lossy compression .....S = Lossless compression ------- Types of uncompressed data supported by FFmpeg (at least): D.VI.S 012v Uncompressed 4:2:2 10-bit DEVI.S avui Avid Meridien Uncompressed DEVI.S ayuv Uncompressed packed MS...
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All the stuff between EBML and Matroska

Update with more information at the bottom of this post and also immediately below this sentence! Moritz Bunkus, the creator of MKVToolNix, also mentioned to me on twitter that “MKVToolNix v22’s info tool now contains a hex view that even highlights different parts (EBML ID, length field…).” This is much more useful than the general-purpose text editor I used for exploration. Sometimes investigating the GUI instead of just the CLI tools is fruitful! I was...
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Making a Matroska Magic Hat

Hello! This blog post is going to scratch an itch I’ve had for a long time and really don’t know what prevented me from doing this when it first occurred to me years ago because it’s very simple. The itch is storing a Matroska file inside a Matroska file. This will go into the steps I took to make the file and what you might be able to do with it later. You will need...
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Wild Wild Country and the Magnetic Media Crisis

Wild Wild Country is a six-part documentary series from Netflix about the Rajneesh Movement and especially their attempt to build a utopian city in rural Oregon in the 1980s. To tell this story, the documentary relies very heavily on archival regional television footage and “home movie” footage. And, as countless people have noted, mostly look terrible. This is largely just the state of the tapes (your home movies also probably look terrible), but I did...
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Ethics and Archiving the Web

A couple of months ago, I got an email asking me if I’d be on a panel at an upcoming conference held at the New Museum, “Ethics and Archiving the Web.” What an honor! And this past weekend, the conference took place. I’ve been feeling a little bit burned out by conferences over the past year or so, primarily because I felt tired of like-minded people telling each other what they should be doing, while...
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Aspect ratios in Errol Morris's Wormwood

Thanks to Peter Oleksik for sending me this “tip” last week: “The aspect ratios in Wormwood are BANANAS” I was curious and have some free time, as I was spared from family events this holiday season and don’t want to leave my apartment because it’s freezing outside, so I took a look. They are, indeed, BANANAS. For context into aspect ratios, you might want to read or re-read the duo blog posts Peter and I...
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Introducing: Audiovisual Preservation Training

Hello! I think a proper introduction is in order. Audiovisual Preservation Training ✨ First, a backstory. I was homeschooled. Well, at least that’s what I tell people, because it’s easier to say things in three words than it is in three sentences. Actually, I spent high school doing correspondence courses via a combination of physical mail and the internet. I don’t know which was the cause and which was the result, but I’m pretty driven...
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2017 Reflection and 2018 Goals

Welcome to the Ashley Blewer annual report. Here is last year’s. 2017 2017 was not good. We all know it was not good. I spent a lot of time getting hurt and staying hurt. I spent a lot of time supporting those hurting near me (even if not physically near me). I’ve experienced a lot of heartbreak from institutions and the people within them and have had to distance myself from a lot of people...
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No Time To Wait! 2

Kieran O’Leary of Irish Film Archive did a perfect job summarizing the conference here, so I really recommend reading that one and only reading mine if you want a sub-par sequel. Or don’t even listen to either of us, just go watch the talks! Here you can find the schedule. Some of the major themes this year: Open source funding models So many of the talks went into the struggles of open source funding, from...
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ffmprovisr gets a redesign

Introduction If you haven’t been to ffmprovisr in a while but check it out right now, you’ll notice it recently got a makeover (go check, we’ll wait)! ffmprovisr has been looking the same since its initial inception over three years ago, as I recently noticed while looking through old images. The most noticeable difference, at first, is going to be some of the visual changes, but ffmprovisr actually got a full, comprehensive redesign in terms...
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CSS Grid and New Order

Hi! 👋 I gave my website a makeover. I gave it many makeovers! Here’s how that went for me last Sunday, bored and unwilling to do actually-productive and meaningful things. This is what I did and a love letter to CSS Grid Layout. Before First, here is what I was starting with, my previous website. Fine, minimal, Josephin Sans and Open Sans courtesy of Google Fonts, with skeleton for a CSS framework, normalize.css on top...
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Accessibility and Archivability

Okay, so this is the follow-up post to this (or, rather, that was the aperitif post to this one). I was at the Joint Meeting of New York City & Mid-Atlantic Archive-It partner groups at METRO a little while ago, and a question came up about how to best guide creators towards good practices in the website development stage, to better support future preservation efforts. There are some guides in place for this (jump to...
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How do web archiving frameworks work?

“If you wish to make apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” If you wish to explain how web archiving works from a technical standpoint, you must first understand the ecosystem. I was anticipating (jk - it’s live now, here!!) writing a blog post about website archivability from a development perspective (“How can I make my website more archivable?”) but realized I needed to provide an overview of web archiving in general...
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The Collection Management System Collection

Crowd-sourcing a list of digital repository options. Here is the spreadsheet! Hey hey. It seems like every couple of months, I get asked for advice on picking a Collection Management System (or maybe referred to as a digital repository, or something else) for use in an archive, special collection library, museum, or another small “GLAMorous” institution. The acronym is CMS, which is not to be confused with Content Management System (which is for your blog)....
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Thanks, team: My time at the New York Public Library

I said I wouldn’t write a cheesy (or grumpy) Medium post about me leaving my current job, so I guess it’s fortunate I have my own blogging platform and I don’t have to be a hypocrite about it! 😘 Today is my last day at the 🦁 New York Public Library 🦁, where I’ve spent the past two years as an applications developer. Like others before me (it is an honor to always be in...
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