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Audio and Video on Linux

Marghanita da Cruz

Canon MVx250i

In August 2005, I purchased a Canon MVx250i. This model records video to mini-tape and takes photos and avi to a card. It also has an Advanced Accessory Shoe, audio out, a microphone socket, USB and power sockets (grouped together to the right of the lens) s-video and firewire (below the lens). The USB cable was included with the camera and is required to download data (jpg and avi files) from the card. You need a firewire cable to download the video from the tape. The camera came with editing software (but not for linux), which I did install and use, and it worked fine - including providing a range of video compression options.


I did not have much success, getting audio to work with the version of Knoppix 3.2 running on the laptop, so I tried out Ubuntu (Version 5.04 for Intelx86) Install Disk. I installed the default - Gnome windows manager which incorporates Advanced Linux Sound Architecture - ALSA and worked beautifully with TOTEM which is in the basic Ubuntu distribution. However, I ended up switching to KDE, ie downloading the KDE packages from the Ubuntu 5.04 Install CD and the www. I also downloaded Kaffeine. KDE/Kaffeine does not appear to support ALSA very well and the sound is not working as well as under Gnome.

Kino - Firewire (IEEE1394) - Video Capture and Editing

Ubuntu did not include a video editor, so I downloaded Kino. Kino works fine in a root terminal window to capture video - appears to be a security issue with the firewire port under Gnome. It let me download the raw video from the tape using firewire. Kino managed to control the camera to rewind, play, stop. However, the Laptop appears not to have enough grunt to process the audio while capturing or editing.

I have been able to use Kino to export the video in "avi" and raw video format but have not been able to get the video/audio compression utilities to work. The stills capture from video facility has been quite useful and this saves jpg file.

Photographs - PTP - USB file Transfer

After considerable research and testing, I discovered the still camera component of the Canon MVX250i supports the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) (recently adopted as ISO 15740) over USB (rather than the card appearing as a disk on the computer). I downloaded and installed "ptpcam" (libptp2-1.1.0 ) which required libusb-0.1.8. ptpcam works a dream, though in getting to know the commands, I managed to delete one of my best photos. I use ptpcam in a root terminal window. The ptpcam -L, ptpcam -G, and ptpcam -D commands are a slick interface to the camera.

The Gimp works well for editing photographs.

Email comments and questions to © Ramin Communications 2007. Last modified 17 September 2008.

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