Behind the scenes : Technical details

Paddy likes to share technical details about his recording gear ‐ last update: 2014-07-09-07


Paddy has been using a GoPro HD Hero2 camera since 2012. The camera is capable of capturing 170° wide angle 1080p videos. Paddy records "only" 720p films in order to extend battery life. PROTIP: Own at least one spare battery. Paddy mounts his GoPro mostly on a car's engine bonnet:

Camera mounted on engine bonnet

Video editing

Paddy used Mac OSX 10.6.8 and iMovie for editing back in the days. But then he switched to Fedora Linux and his search for a new video editing software began. Right now Paddy is using OpenShot Video Editor. OpenShot is decidedly okay but it has its issues. PROTIP: don't forget to enable the autosave option, crashes happen from time to time.

Video converter

Well, if you want to show your films on the internet, you can use YouTube/Vimeo/Whatever. If you decide to take matters into own hands ‐ welcome to the land of pain! There are some biblical plagues like Adobe Flash out there. But Paddy wants to do it the proper way and he uses the beauty of HTML5. In order to support most of today's web browser three different video formats are needed: MP4 (x264), OGG and WebM. And of course a software that can convert an original film into these formats.

Paddy tried various solutions like HandBrake (only MP4 support, but really nice tool), MiroVideoConverter (support for all three types, but poor WebM quality) or VLC (bad quality at all). All in all, Paddy ended up with an old classic: FFmpeg.

The problem with FFmpeg begins right at the start, sure it is in every Linux distro software repository, but not in an actual version or there exist other restrictions. For example Fedora Linux has some license restrictions and they build FFmpeg without libfdk_aac support. So Paddy ended up building his own FFmpeg binary. Yay! Luckily there is a really good compilation guide for all Red Hat based distributions on the FFmeg project wiki. Piece of cake, it worked for Paddy out of the box.

Since 2012 Paddy has occasionally fiddled about the FFmpeg settings. Paddy's bash script called shapeshifter is now on GitHub. Feedback is much appreciated!

Here is a short summary about Paddy's format choices:

  • MP4/x264: video codec libx264 and audio codec libfdk_aac
  • WebM: video codec libvpx (vp8) and audio codec libvorbis
  • OGG/Theora: video codec libtheora and audio codec opus


It's quite simple to embed films into a HTML5 website:

<video width="1280" height="720" controls="controls">
    <source src="video.mp4" type="video/mp4">
    <source src="video.ogg" type="video/ogg">
    <source src="video.webm" type="video/webm">
    Your browser does not support the video tag.

Important: make sure that the web server use the right MIME type!