Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
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Sunday, September 5, 2004

What Knoxvile calls "Boomsday" exploded across the Tennessee River Saturday night, turning the sky Tennessee orange and a patriotic red, white and blue, above a waterfront crowd estimated at 300,000. The weekend Big Orange football schedule moved the non-gridiron fireworks back a day, but no one seemed to be complaining.

The hilltop church parking lot next to the Maplehurst Inn was the wrong angle for a shot of the impressive waterfall of sparks cascading from one of the city's bridges, a trademark of the annual event. But I was in a great location to capture the height, color and sound of the finale with my shirt-pocket-size Canon 230 digital camera. While I've always thought of it as a "still" camera, even this older model can take short videos, with sound.

Here's an example (plug in your earphones and click to launch a 720KB clip in a new window):

A horizontal video of fireworks

Given that "altitude" was a big factor, I turned the camera to "portrait" format to take a few stills -- and shot some video that way too. As far as I knew (see below), there was no way to rotate a Quicktime video 90 degrees, so you may want to set your laptop on edge -- or press your left ear to the desk -- while you watch this longer burst near the finale (1.4MB):

A vertical video of fireworks

UPDATED: The original version of this note said, "Maybe some of the technical wizards reading this weblog (you know who you are) already know of a hack that allows vertical-format digital video on the Web. If not, maybe this will be the inspiration for a whole new technology. (I'm not sure I'd watch Spiderman sideways, but the sinking of the Titanic could be interesting.)" Hurrah! Video blogger Steve Garfield came through with a pointer to some very simple instructions for rotating video in Quicktime Pro (see comments). Here's the result: Same fireworks, now going up!

(updated 09/10)

1:16:57 PM    

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