Extended Trailer for Cloud Atlas Has Gotten Me Hooked!

I came across this beautiful and dynamic trailer today, for a movie called Cloud Atlas based on the novel of the same name.

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Lin Yu Chun is NO Chinese Susan Boyle, But Maybe Susan Boy

So, we have our first Internet singing sensation of 2010. He’s a Taiwanese Boy named Lin Yu Chun.

That was the reality show video that got him noticed, singing Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You… and sounding incredibly like her! I’ll even give him points for being better cause he’s not screeching like Whitney did. He’s a bit more breathy at the start and in some parts, but he can learn to hold that microphone just a tad farther away at the right moments. That’s the easy part.

However, I have a problem with the moniker the Westerners are giving him, the Chinese Susan Boyle.

Chinese???

Please. Taiwanese.

Things made in China just ain’t that good, K?

As for the Susan Boyle comparison, it was because he was on a reality TV show and didn’t look that great, but sang magnificently. Someone pinned Susan Boyle’s comparison to him cause he’s an ugly duckling that preyed on our judgment of people for their looks, only to sing with the beauty of a swan.

Most Viewed YouTube Clips Ever, as of Apr 17 2009, and still rising by millions per day then (click to enlarge)

But Susan Boyle was, and is still, the biggest Internet YouTube sensation. I don’t see anywhere near 50 million views in a few days, do you? I don’t mean on the video above, but do a search and add up the views on all the duplicates. It doesn’t even come close!

Lin Yu Chun’s video would probably be doing better if it had the electric atmosphere seen in Susan Boyle’s video. Man, that was something!

So sadly, in terms of Internet YouTube singing sensation, sorry Lin. Yu aren’t even close.

However, the way he sings like a woman, and I mean that in a complimentary way, may I recommend we dub him the Taiwanese Susan Boy.

The video below of Lin Yu Chun singing Amazing Grace is a better sample of his singing, in my opinion. I Will Always Love You was never to my liking the way Whitney sounded like a cat in heat for parts of it. Amazing Grace? That’s one of those tunes like a Bob Dylan song where you can mediocritize it and it still sounds great! And Lin, Yu sang it like you believed!

BRAVO!!!

Yu not Susan Boyle yet, Lin. But keep this up and you’re on your way! Hope to hear more great stuff in the future.

And don’t let the Chinese keep you down!

No worries. This blog has probably been banned in China for a long time now.

But when does Britain’s Got Talent 2010 start??? I want to know if they’ve got a British Lin Yu Chun! 🙂

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Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 4.9

How to Record Videos Off YouTube with Replay Media Catcher and Some Reposting Strategies

Have you ever seen a video on YouTube you wanted to use that had embedding disabled so you can share on Facebook or other social media platforms? What about wanting to have just a part of a video for your use? How’s about a version to use on your blog that won’t be taken down in the early stages of the battle by certain people to have certain videos removed? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, or are curious about them, this post is for you.

Attempts by some to disembed videos happens all the time with the public posting stuff that are probably copyright violations, but so what? If the video is hot, there’s a whole bunch of people out there posting or reposting to thwart the efforts of those trying to remove the video, and to get views for their accounts. Those who try to prevent video posting or embedding usually fail in the end cause they can’t keep up with the reposters, but they don’t seem to learn. Your ethics here are only good for yourself.

Some examples of videos I’ve used that have been at the centre of such removal battles include these three within two months of this posting:

The first or subsequent versions I had were disembedded or removed. However, a quick 2 minute or less search yielded another one to replace the codes with and that was that. I actually just replaced the Taylor Swift interview on The View video in that post. They’re still trying! It’s just the way the world is these days and these people trying to take down the videos should just “get with it”.

In another situation, often, the best part or the part you want to share with someone is not the entire video. Or maybe someone’s corrupted the video with their add-on advertising and so on. Or maybe you only want the portion of Susan Boyle singing during her Britain’s Got Talent 2009 debut, rather than the entire segment. It’s annoying to have to use the whole video in those instances. They’re all good reasons to get your own version of a video.

Getting a video you like for your own use so you don’t have to let it load every time, or for when you don’t have Internet access, is another good reason, too. Convenience!

If you’ve encountered any of these situations, you can get around them a variety of ways using video capture software. It’s like how you can take a screen shot of what you view, then paste into a photo editing program to capture pictures or video stills you aren’t able to download or get otherwise. Only here, you’re doing it with entire videos, using a method similar to how you record music off the radio.

A good list of video capture software can be found at All Streaming Media. However, I want to share my experience with one called Replay Media Catcher by Applian Technologies. The demo is free at the previous link. They don’t even request an email! It’s very easy to use and works completely for YouTube, which is really where pretty much all the good videos worth sharing is anyway. Videos on other site only have 75% capture, but which may include the good part you want anyway. It seems to be the best of the bunch listed at All Streaming Media, with an Editor’s Choice approval. I don’t doubt it!
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To download the software:

  • Download the 13 MB software (version 3.11 is that size) at Replay Media Catcher (download right on page of link).
  • Double click on the downloaded file to install.
  • Click a few things like Agreeing with their terms of use that you probably wouldn’t read and you’re done.
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To open the software

  • Find it in your Start menu in Windows XP, or however your operating system starts programs, and open it like you open any other program.
  • You get a little screen asking for a code, for which you click the “Continue in Demo Mode” button.
  • Then comes a screen asking if you want to start recording now. Click NO.
  • You should then get the operating screen that looks something like the one below. The rest is below, but is really just opening your video, letting it load, clicking record in Replay Media Catcher, playing the video, clicking stop here when done and then closing out the video. It’s just like recording music off the radio in a lot of ways. Don’t let all the little steps below deter you.

Replay Media Centre

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To record a video:

  • Open your browser and go to the video you want to record. The video should start playing if it’s in YouTube.
  • Click on Pause and move the time slider all the way to the left at the start if you want the full video. If not, move it to the play time when you want to start recording. Then let the video load fully. This full preloading is not the exact instructions given by the Replay Media Catcher page, but I find it works best to let the entire video load before recording so uploading disruptions don’t ruin your recording.
  • In your menu bar at bottom (or wherever you have it), click back on the Replay Media Catcher button to get back to the software and screen seen above.
  • Click the Start Recording button.
  • Click back to your browser via the button for that software in your menu bar.
  • Click play on the video.
  • Click the button for Replay Media Catcher in your menu bar to bring that screen back up on top.
  • Move it out of the way of your video.
  • Put your mouse over the Stop Recording button, where the Start Recording button is in the graphic above, ready to click on it when you want to stop recording.
  • Switch back to your browser and close out the page with the video, or close out the browser. This is important if you want to do extract your video in Replay Media Catcher. Otherwise, it seems to maintain a link to the page and you can extract your video.

That gets you the video on your hard drive, but it is in some temporary storage space you can’t access. It is a permanent storage space, though, meaning you can exit out of Replay Media Catcher and shut down your computer and come back to find it again. However, until you get it out of that space, you can’t use the video.

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To extract your video
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  • Click on Tools at the top and choose Video History from the drop down menu.

Video History

  • Click on the video you want in the list. WARNING: This software records any video you watch on the Internet, whether the software is opened or not. The record button only seems to allow for some more control, so be careful what you watch knowing this!!! The only good thing about this is it separates the videos you watch so it’s not all one big video, but it only records what you watch so if you don’t watch the whole thing, not the whole thing is recorded. I was testing my Roger Federer video on my blog and had watched just part of the video at the end of this post shared on Facebook to test for this post. The software recorded them both even though it was closed!
  • Click on the Diskette button second from the top at right and it saves your file to your My Recording folder (in Windows XP), within the My Documents folder. It should tell you otherwise where it saves the file. Now it’s ready for use and is as good as the source! See sample of recorded video.
  • Click the Trash Can button third down from top to rid of the video in the temporary storage so you can free up disk space. Trash anything else you don’t want.

With your file, in Adobe Flash Video format or FLV extension, you can upload it to YouTube as is. That’s another lesson but I’m sure you can figure it out as YouTube does a pretty good job to make it easy. You just need to create an account on YouTube and follow their instructions there. The FLV extension doesn’t seem to be the most natural for YouTube. It took something like 10 minutes to process my upload. Maybe that’s normal. I’ve never uploaded a video on YouTube till now.

Getting the sound off the video as an MP3
With Replay Media Catcher, you can also extract just the sound track for those videos for which you can’t buy the soundtrack, whether that’s the Liverpool FC fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone, or Susan Boyle singing her Britain’s Got Talent debut in that electric atmosphere of people in shock and egging her on.

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Smart Reposting
Finally, a few points about smart reposting to give some longevity to your repost in the war between posters and those trying to take down your video. Well, they’d be trying to disembed it to prevent easy social media sharing (what you probably want to do most in reposting), because taking it down is another war altogether that they have with YouTube.

  • Repost on some other site if you can. YouTube is still the king of video sources, by far, for sure. That is the reason it sometimes is the only focus of those trying to take down the video. However, other video sites like Vodpod have a decent audience, and your video still shows up on searches outside that community. Using the Kanye West VMA 2009 incident video on VodPod, I’ve never had to replace it.
  • Repost using as few appropriate key words as you can, like maybe VMA incident without using the words Kanye West Taylor Swift. This won’t get you all the search results, but it’ll likely keep the video up longer from those searching to take it down. Meanwhile, you can use it for your blog or share it with all your friends, and they can further share it, without worrying about it being taken down. Basically, it’s for you and your friends to hustle rather than search engines and such, but this is a different motive than trying to get views. If you are just using it somewhere you can set it up with text, like on a blog, then really, who cares what it’s called? Call it Software Test, like I did, or something even obscure nobody will ever search while looking for the topic of your video.

Hope all this helps! Go be a rebel!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.3

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Diversity Dance Troupe Wins Britain’s Got Talent 2009, But Hollie Steel Still Dazzled

Was it unexpected? The odd makers say it was! Susan Boyle was the favourite going in. Aidan Davis was second. The others were too far behind, it seemed, to give realistic consideration to the crown. But the Diversity Dance Troupe (already with their own Wikipedia entry I see) won Britain’s Got Talent 2009! They got the people’s vote, as well as judges Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden‘s votes, by the sounds of what they said at the end of the video. Piers Morgan did not agree, and I’m with Piers there, but not on Flawless being better than them. Just that there were better acts than Diversity.

Diversity’s winning performance breezed through a range of movie and dance songs for music and choreography. They included Transformers, Superman, and some dance songs of the 90s. I especially liked the touch where they created the table with the judges and threw in three buzzes. Very clever and fun, talented and creative. They also did not use their semi-final routine so they brought something new. That was more than Aidan Davis could claim, I’m afraid. Aidan used his audition routine in the finals, on a grander and glitzier stage that added the technical background effects of his semi-final routine. Unfortunately, special effects don’t count for votes, and it was also a routine which I actually thought was inferior to his semi-final performance. However, I think I’ve seen too many good dance routines to be nearly as impressed as the people of Britain and judges. They might not have seen moves like those in Britain, but in America, I’ve seen better in just about everything from break dancing to tap dancing. Even Irish dancing! However, the good thing about Diversity winning is in their name. It left Britain’s Got Talent a show about diversity, not predictability. They had an adult singer, a child dancer, and we were heading there again with either Susan Boyle or Aidan Davis. Even Hollie Steel wasn’t a big stretch in a child singer, of which they’ve had a strong past contender in six year old Connie Talbot (2007, absolutely adorable audition video).

Susan Boyle came in second despite regurgitating her audition number of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. There was no drama, no crowd energy, no surprise or anything like the audition. I would even say it wasn’t say it wasn’t as good as her audition. For that reason, I’m only including a link for anyone who wants to watch. Not worth the blog real estate for an embedded video. I’d highly recommend her audition video if you haven’t seen either. THAT, was a magical moment!

Hollie Steel BGT FinalsUnlike Susan Boyle, though, Hollie Steel came out with an angelic, heart wrenching and professional rendition of Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, from Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Phantom of the Opera. It was just beautiful! She sang it like she meant every word of it, and justifiably so given how appropriate the lyrics were! I bet Hollie wished the crowd would be there again for more performances. The whole experience definitely taught her how to live, and what it means to forgive (reference melt down and comeback in the semis). Even the line about “then my world was shattered” became prominent given what unexpectedly happened in the semis. Then, of course, to end with “no more memories” and “help me say goodbye”, was absolutely appropriate for the occasion. Whoever thought of it couldn’t have chosen a better song.

It was also a new piece for Hollie. You’d think if a child could come up with three songs to sing that someone like Susan Boyle could have as well. As I had speculated in my previous post, Susan is a one trick pony who can sing the grand songs, but that there weren’t many and many of the grand songs aren’t grand all the way through. I thought Hollie would have to do something a little faster and more mature if she were to win, but will put that thought aside to complement her in surprising with a soft, dramatic and loving piece that was difficult to sing. On top of that, she added a few touches of her own and also acted out some of its emotions! And no nerves, either, despite the semi-final breakdown that would still be on her and everyone else’s mind! Fourth time she’s made me cry in BGT! Just lovely!

I don’t know if that second chance she got last night affected Hollie not getting second place over Susan Boyle, given the British were going for dance and not singers. However, she should have gotten second in my mind, and just confirms my belief that Britain is not a land or a people of second chances. They probably gave Hollie a second chance because Simon led the charge to give her a second chance.

Saxophonist Julian Smith got third place with yet another regurgitation of an audition, playing Somewhere. That’s completely lame! Since he didn’t put an effort towards it, I won’t to put even a link to it, either. You can go find it if you want it to see it that badly. And I’ll also say that Britain, you should be ashamed of yourself for voting him in third!!!

For a 29 year old music teacher, you should expect him to have more songs in his repertoire. There are also many other challenging songs, and it’s not like he didn’t have the time to practice, either! Singers, like instrumentalist, have a much wider source of material than dancers have to draw upon, and likely something to showcase every strength they have as well as hide any weaknesses. To regurgitate, especially if you’re a music teacher, is deplorable!

Is this Britain’s Got Talent, or Britain’s Got Redundance?

Hollie Steel BGT Finals2So while the audience vote was:

  1. Diversity (24.9%)
  2. Susan Boyle (20.2%)
  3. Julian Smith (16.4%)
    Full finals and semi-finals vote info here.
    (courtesy of Commenter Steve, thank you!!!)

My vote would have been:

  1. Hollie Steel
  2. Diversity
  3. Aidan Davis

I think the Queen would have preferred to have seen Hollie as well, royalty being what it is in “properness”. But she’ll get to see Hollie soon enough, I’m sure, which is more than I feel I can say for Diversity’s long-term future. What do dance troupes do for shows? Could they dance for an hour? If they could, why didn’t they dance for like 3 minutes instead of 2, show more moves and more likely guarantee their win? And they are going to be in for a major reality check when they go international and see what the Americans, Irish, French, Koreans and so on can do with respect to real dancing!

My consolation with Hollie’s outcome, though, is that Hollie will be getting some very good recording contracts, as well as television appearances. In the long run, I think the public will be easily more enamoured with her than with Susan Boyle. There’s no more anticipation and no fairy tale ending to look forward to any more for Susan. She’s had a few blow-ups with the press already! Hollie, meanwhile, is just adorable and sings like an angel in every sense of the word. With the redemption she showed in the finals, people won’t be nervous about having her not be able to perform live again in talk shows and such, any more. So I say, Oprah and Ellen, Larry, Jay, David and Conan, bring on Hollie! Let’s once again prove America is the land of second chances, as Malcolm Gladwell documented in Outliers, so give the kid a second chance. But wait till summer when she’s done school, eh? 🙂

Hollie will be a full-fledged bonafide star by this time in 2010 that she won’t need to come back to BGT 2010 to try it again, either! “Failure” will do something for one’s resiliency for those who know how to handle it, and Hollie showed that admirably in the semi-finals. Remember, failure is not about falling down, it’s about not getting back up!

So I guess that’s it for now with Britain’s Got Talent 2009. I’m going to really miss it, but really look forward to the 2010 season. Meanwhile, America, as I said before, you’ve got to up the talent to match what they’ve got over there. And for the British, watch more American dance. You’ll really be wowwed by what they’ve got. As well, expect more, especially of singers and instrumentalists who have so much material to draw upon they shouldn’t have to regurgitate materials for the finals! That’s really sad! Maybe they should make that part of the show rules, about no repeats in the finals for musicians and singers cause it’s a boring show otherwise.

As for me being Canadian, I don’t even watch Canadian Idol, the closest thing we’ve got to these talent shows… and for good reason. However, I am comforted by how many professional singers, bands and such, of all genres, we have on the charts consistently these days. For a low population country, we sure produce our fair share of professional talent!

Two question to end.

  1. How would you have voted in the finals among the acts?
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  2. How much do you think Christmas concert tickets at Hollie’s school will go for this year? 🙂

Nov 8 add-on. See George’s extensive comments below for a huge bunch of other insights and information that is a nice supplement to this post. Many others who have also comment also add to the value of this post, and I want to genuinely thank everybody for their insights and time.
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    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5

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    I Called It! Susan Boyle Sang Memory to Get Through Semi-Final 1 of Britain’s Got Talent 2009

    Susan Boyle Semis

    On May 15, I posted an entry about What Should Hollie Steel and Susan Boyle Sing Next?

    There, I speculated on some songs the two finest singers in the Britain’s Got Talent 2009 should sing to up the ante for their next performance, now that the world knew what to expect of them that was unlike the first round. I concluded that Susan’s strength was grandeur. She can hit those big fanfare notes like she did in I Dreamed a Dream that was from her first performance. However, she was weak on the playful, soft and less dramatic materials. In the end, I thought she should stick to her strength and pay an hommage to her idol, Elaine Page, with a powerhouse classic on which Elaine has a signature. That would be Memory from the musical Cats.

    Sure enough, Susan came out with Memory for the semi-finals tonight, weak on the softer, less dramatic start than the the full flare part 2:22 into the video below. In fact, she was so weak on the softer parts, especially the first few notes, I’d call it awful. Let me tell you, in her audition, with what people expected of her, had she sung those first few notes like she did in this song, Simon would have buzzed her out!!!

    True to my predictions, though, Susan got stronger as the song got more dramatic, and recovered enough in time, flourishing at the end to get her through because it is how you finish that matters most. If you’re not well-versed in music, I’ve included a video of Elaine Page singing Memory from Cats for you to compare to Susan’s rendition, especially in that really shaky beginning Susan had. Now, I didn’t expect Susan to be Elaine’s equivalent (yet), and I know she’d be nervous, but I did expect her to hit the right notes and not be that shaky for that long.

    I was also disappointed Susan did not show up in costume. She’d have made quite the cat! A “little tiger” as Simon Cowell called her in her original audition.

    You can watch Elaine’s even better stage concert version of Memory here, included with my past post.

    Regardless, well done, Susan. Congratulations! I’m now waiting for my girl Hollie to stun the world! 🙂

    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.0

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