Using my Canon FS20 with Linux

Before I start – let me say that this is not a post about editing the video of the Canon FS20 in Linux.  I haven’s set up my machine to do that yet (I shuttle the video over to a Mac for editing right now).  This is just a simple explanation about how to get the video off the camcorder, on your computer, and uploaded to Youtube.  I’m doing this on Ubuntu 8.04 – I can’t vouch for other systems.

Canon FS20 Video Camera

1) Plug in the camcorder power supply (the camcorder will not just connect on just battery power.)

2) Plug in a USB cable connected to the computer and to the camcorder.

3) Turn the camcorder on.

4) Press the button on the bottom right of the screen (has a ‘movie camera’ and a ‘play symbol’)

5) Use the little toggle switch to select “PC/PRINTER

6) Press the toggle switch down to select it.

7) You should now have a folder named “CANON” on your screen.  Open it.  Select SD_Video folder, and then the PRG001 folder.

8.) In the folder you will find “.MOD“, “.MOI“, and “.PGI” files.  The “.MOD” files are our mpeg movies.  Copy these files to the Desktop so you can work with them.   Select one of those files and rename it (in my example) from “MOV001.MOD” to “newcuriousthoughts_example.mpg” (or whatever you want to name it – the important part is the ‘mpg’ extension)

9) Once you have the file off the camcorder, you can unmount the camcorder by right-clicking the “CANON” folder and choosing “un-mount“.  You can now disconnect the USB.

10)  Now you can play the file or upload it to Youtube…  almost.  Unfortunately – this is what it looks like when I upload it to youtube:

11)  To fix this “squished” look I figured out a ffmpeg string to convert it to an mp4 and maintain the aspect ratio.  For my video it would be:

ffmpeg -i newcuriousthoughts_example.mpg -aspect 16:9 -b 9600kb -r 29.97 -ab 256k newcuriousthoughts_corrected.mp4

Note:  I like this Reference for ffmpeg.  I think I chose these parameters to keep the size as close as possible.  For my example – the video size is 5.1 Meg – after conversion it is 5.4 Meg.  I’m sure you could tweak this if you like.  Sometimes I will add the “-deinterlace” option – which works pretty well.

Here is now the video looks after the conversion:

The video will look better than this on youtube.  WordPress just limits the size of my youtube object – that is why it looks shrunk.  Hopefully this will help some of you in the future!  Someday I’ll start editing these files – but I haven’t tried it yet.

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