Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Handling MOD MOI movies

I hate it when camera manufacturers don’t use standard formats for their movie files.

My camera uses the MOD/MOI format which practically no player known to man (or woman) can play. It shouldn’t really be a problem as MOD is really just MPG in disguise and you should be able to rename the MOD file to read MPG and it should play – but you’ll encounter problems if you capture in 16:9 aspect ratio. Go figure!

Before you sling the camcorder into the trash and vow never to buy from that manufacturer again, read on. On second thoughts you should vow never to buy from a manufacturer that cares so little for their customers that they use impossible to read formats – after all you’re shooting movies – chances are you’ll want to do something with them – like watch them or perhaps I’m expecting too much?

So, the solution is to download this little SDCOPY.EXE utility which comes bundled in a zip file that just needs to be extracted and then run.

It is simplicity itself, you tell it where your MOD files are and where you want the converted files to go (I recommend a second/separate folder) and if the widescreen 16:9 flag needs to be set and press Start and in a few minutes you have viewable converted MPG files.

So, thanks but no thanks Canon. I won’t be buying a new camcorder from you and thanks to Sektionschef for creating and continuing to support this handy utility.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Borrowing PowerPoint Image Designs

This stickytape image border comes from the Solstice Theme and here I’ve added it as a new layout in my Oriel Theme.

I saw a recent post on a blog which referred to one of my earlier posts about creating torn edge image effects in PowerPoint 2007. You can see my original post here:

Someone who responded to the post asked if there was a way of using the photo edges from a theme but not the theme itself. Their problem was they loved the edges but because their organization had a custom theme that was always used, the person wasn’t allowed to change it. The question got me thinking about a solution and here it is!

To use an image design from a PowerPoint theme first create a new file by choosing File > New > Blank Presentation and then choose the New Slide > Picture with Caption Layout – this is the layout typically used to apply fancy styles to images.

Click on the image locator and add an image to the slide – it doesn’t matter what image you add – you just need something so you can see how the image design looks.

Now go to the Design tab and arrow over each of the Themes in turn to see what the image layout looks like. For example, Solstice has a sticky tape edge to the image, Pushpin adds the image with a pushpin background and Opulent has a layered frame look. Flow has a bent corner on the image, Couture has an interesting beveled edge and Summer has a series of illustrative dots around the image. You may find other interesting designs in other Themes such as those that you download from Office Online.

Select the Theme that has the look you want to borrow.

Now choose View > Slide Master and locate the Picture with Caption Layout. Drag over the elements that create the look that you want such as the Pushpin and frame, the sticky tape frame or the circles. Make sure to include the image placeholder. Right click the selected elements and choose Copy.

Now open a file that uses your corporate Theme – or the Theme you prefer to use. Choose View > Slide Master and locate the Picture with Caption Layout slide layout. Right click it and choose Duplicate layout.

Click the image placeholder on this duplicate layout and delete it. Right click on the layout and choose Paste to paste the elements that you copied from the other layout. Move the design elements into a new position, if desired.

You can now adjust the text and title boxes on the layout so that they don’t encroach over the elements that you’ve just added to the design.

When you’re done, click Close Master View.

To save the Theme with the new Layout, from the Design tab open the Themes dropdown palette and choose Save Current Theme and save it.

In future you can use this Theme for your slideshows and to use the layout you created select it from the Layout list where it appears with all the other layouts from the original theme.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Visual Basic 2008 Express – select a textbox contents

When you hand control back to a textbox in Visual Basic it’s useful if you also select the textbox contents so a user can just start typing over the current contents. Here’s how to do this – place the code in the Textbox_gotfocus event handler:

TextBox.SelectionStart = 0
TextBox.SelectionLength = Len(TextBox.Text)

How easy is that?

Helen Bradley

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Run out of canvas using Photoshop’s Pen tool?

I’m sure this has happened to you – you’re zooming along drawing a path around an object using the Photoshop pen tool and all of a sudden you’re running out of room – the image is off the screen. The solution is simple, press and hold the Spacebar and the cursor turns into the Hand tool so you can move the canvas around to get the next bit of the image in view. Let go the Spacebar and you’re back to working on your path.

And, while you’re there – wanna rotate the canvas so you can draw your path more easily? Easy! Press and hold R (R for rotate) then drag the canvas to rotate it.

Helen Bradley