DVDs, tablets, smartphones, etc.


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Steve Maskery

Established Member
26 Apr 2004
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On another thread there has been some considerable discussion about the legacy nature of DVDs and how they are very inconvenient compared with direct download and streaming.

Just as a bit of background to show why I am where I am with this...

I'd been writing for Good Woodworking magazine for over a decade and had loads and loads of old articles. I've always had poor eyesight and no formal woodworking education (but lots by osmosis - dad was a cabinet maker, granddad was a pattern-maker), so I had, still have, limited hand-tool skills. I learned about jigs from the writings of Bob Wearing and FWW, and they helped me to overcome my shortcomings. So I made jigs. Lots of jigs. And I wrote about them.

So I thought about writing a book, but the medium of the moment was the DVD, and so I bought a camera and started to film. I knew the square root of zero about videography, but I learned. My jig DVD became two. At the time, download speeds were dire and DVDs were still mainstream, so I chose the DVD as my medium. If I were starting again now, of course I would go straight for downloading, but that was 2007 and this is 2016.

Then I invented the World's Greatest Ultimate Tablesaw Tenon Jig :) and I made a DVD about that. Along came the Bandsaw trilogy and finally the Tablesaw set. By now it was 2012, but I was about to lose my home and workshop and not coping very well with that, so doing anything other than desperately trying to finish filming before eviction day was a non-starter. So everything has been DVD for historical reasons.

You may have seen my workshop build thread. I now have a workshop again and I would very much like to start filming new stuff. I have a lot in my head. But I have not fully recovered from being ill, it takes me ages to do anything (I'm currently decoration my downstairs - I started it in July) so nothing has happened yet.

Actually it is not quite nothing. I have bought a nice new camera, a friend has funded the purchase of a good radio mic and another friend has donated a proper set of lights. It's helped enormously and I am very grateful, of course, because the Workshop Essentials project has never made any real money. It took several years for sales to repay what I originally shelled out and current sales are less than a quarter of what they were, say, 5 years ago. I know some people think that this is a gold mine, they do not know what they are talking about! If it were I would not be living where I am and how I am. If I'd had to pay a salary, the business would have gone bust years ago. It is very difficult to compete with Free, no matter how good the content, especially when Free is constantly promoted. It doesn't matter that the two are not the same, if people perceive them as being equivalent, Free wins out every time, doesn't it?

So I do it for the glory, mainly.

Right, enough background. That is why I am where I am.

A few years ago I did look at trying to supply my films as downloads, but a 4.7G ISO file is a big download and not a convenient format for viewing, and at the time I could only find commercial services who would convert for me. I was reluctant to spend yet more money on the project and so walked away.

MusicMan was kind enough to say some nice things about my work and we have been having a conversation by PM. He has successfully ripped my DVDs to MPEG4 format and can now watch me and hear my dulcet tones wherever he wants on his phone or iPad. He has very kindly sent me this info of how to do it and I am passing it on to you. I don't know if it works with all DVDs or just Workshop Essentials ones :). This is how he did it.

1. Download Handbrake. It's available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, and it is free (i.e. someone else pays for it).

2. Learn how to use it :). Apparently it is easy. MusicMan took 10 minutes and there are online tutorials.

3. Each DVD rip takes about half an hour, you can keep your chapters for easy navigation of the DVD and a DVD takes up about a gig of data in MPEG4, compared with 4.7G on a physical disk. You can then add your videos to your video library, such as iTunes, and watch them on your phone or tablet anywhere you like.

I've not yet done it myself, but that looks MUCH easier than it was a few years ago. I shall have a go and then see how I could supply them in this format.

So if you have a a legacy woodworking video library on DVD format, why not have a go at ripping them and enjoy a Martini* woodworking watch?


*Anytime, any place, anywhere
Hi Steve
Thank you for the info,I have workshop essentials 1-6 and currently watching them again from start to finish due to a dislocated foot and pinned and screwed heel . On one of the DVDs or was it the forum you have a tip for cutting pieces with a track saw narrower than the track ,could you be kind enough to put me in the right area for which dvd its on
Thanks David
Ps enjoyed the workshop build and wish you success in your new venture
Hi Dave
The narrow one is not on the DVDs, as it came along later. It works on the same principle as the one on WE1. I think I do have a PDF of it somewhere, so if you would like to PM me your email address, I'll see if I can find it and send it to you.
To be frank, you were under no obligation to explain yourself to anyone. Those of us here who matter to you, knew the score.

I assume none of your paying customers ever complained about what they bought from you; they and only they are the ones you had to answer to.

This general internet thing where stuff is free will end in tears. And intellectual property belongs to someone and the current generation thinking they can just steal,it is just plain wrong.. Talented people have a right to earn a living from their endeavours.
Rogers initial response of defending you is highly commendable, the fact is, viewing free or paid for content has never been easier. Depending on tonight's circumstances, within a few clicks I could buy and view a video/film onto my t.v.
I genuinely think you may be missing out on potential sales, even with the video collection you already have. I really wouldn't need to see the blood pumping through your veins or beads of sweat starting to form on your forehead as the 28.5 surround sound hums as the router starts :)That level of quality is pointless imho. If it's good enough quality for a dvd I'm sure it would be more than adequate for a phone, or a tablet, or streaming back to a t.v. The masses of hardwork you've already put into making the videos is done. Now it's time to get what you deserve for them - I mean reap the rewards of your work by any and all means possible.
Fair play to you for explaining the situation ;) i really didnt wish to cause offence, perhaps just demostrate its not entirely black and white when it comes to viewing stuff.

Hi Steve
Many thanks ,as always well thought out and easy to follow instructions ,will definitely be making both of the gauges when back in the workshop
Regards David
Hi Steve,

I don't know much (anything) about this but I am aware that some people publish paid for video content via Vimeo.

https://vimeo.com/help/faq/vimeo-on-dem ... ing-videos

A few years ago I subscribed to the Paul Sellers site for a bit and although that was all indexed through his own site I'm pretty sure that the video was all hosted on vimeo. Have you got any IT boffin mates who could help?!

That link doesn't seem to be working (certainly via tapatalk). Strange since I pasted the url direct.

Anyway. Google "vimeo paid content" or suchlike to find it.

Mod edit: - link works in various PC Browsers

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