Friday, April 27, 2007

The Flying Buttress

Just a couple of points to cover right now...

First off, this is a shout out to Tomas at The Flying Buttress, who we just added to our blogroll. Tomas is down the road from me in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. I'd call ArchNati the "L.A. of the Midwest", but to be perfectly fair, the Diocese of Gary and the Diocese of Evansville might already have that designation. Either way, Tom is bringing up issues that seem to be problematic down there in the 'Nati, and thus is welcome here. I hope to be making my way down there soon to tape a Rosary and/or perhaps an Angelus, or anything else that can be thought of. Old films are cool, but new material is good, too.

In technical news, the upgrade to my editor from a 2.2GHz Celeron to a 2.6GHz Celeron is complete. While messing around in the BIOS, I also found out that I was under utilizing my AGP card, and set that from 128MB to 256MB like it should have been. That's more of a "DOH!" moment. Either way, this will be good. I should have an extra processor laying around now, so likely that's going to be used for either the wife's next computer or another encoder.

Chuck, MI

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Technical Stuff...

As I stated in my previous post, I'm now looking for an MPEG2 decoder card. This could have been part of my problem when I was looking originally; my previous search had me looking for a capture card. In laymen's terms, the decoder card has outputs, while the capture card has inputs. This was big. Believe it or not, I'm actually looking for an MPEG2 decoder card that will allow me to output analog. That way, it'll allow me to use the professional quality video distribution amplifier rack that my old boss at WLFI-TV gave me back in about 1995 before I left to come to Indy.

So that leaves me with another P4 grade motherboard (or two), PII Xeon upgrades for my new (old?) quad-processor server, and an MPEG2 decoder to pick up. And one more capture card. That way, I'll have one computer that outputs MPEG2 video, two that accept it, encode it, and stream it out.

I kind of wish that this either would have been done already or could wait, because there's two films on eBay that would be an asset to the Mater Dei Television collection. One of them is an hour long program from about 1960 on Blessed John XXIII, and the other is a short about Pope Pius XI. I think both would be fantastic to obtain. I'll pray about it and see where the Lord is leading me.

Chuck, MI

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quick Update

As my schooling is wrapping up for the semester, I will have some more time to devote to Mater Dei Television. I just picked up yet another server for MDTV, although it needs a processor upgrade (or four processor upgrades, to be exact), and I'm looking at some MPEG2 encoder cards for the master control computer. I still wish I knew why my newer, faster computer has more trouble encoding MPEG2 files than my older, slower one (which is now the master control computer I was just talking about). It works, it's just leaves the video with a few glitches. As a result, this problem has been confounding me to no end.

And I apologize for that, because I neglected Master Control Operators' Rule #1: Get something on the air, fix what you have to fix when it's not airing. This is what I should have done all along. At this point, it's better to get SOMETHING on the air and render a new file after I figured out what the problem was. That's what a good master control operator would have done. All the same, things are looking up. Also, check it out: I have a sponsor! Well, it's more of an affiliate banner from Lighthouse Catholic Media. I think there are some things in there that most Catholics, Traditionalist or not, will be able to find useful. I'm mostly impressed with the fact that they are making Archbishop Sheen's recordings more available via CD.

Anyway, I'll write more later as I get updates.

Chuck, MI

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Be Afraid...

Be very afraid.

I'm still in the process of rearranging my home office, which is not only serving as the first home for Mater Dei Television, but also where I work with our budding video and photo business, DCA Multimedia. We mainly do film and videotape transfers to DVD, although we also shoot weddings and do actual commercial production and what not. We like to concentrate on obsolete formats, and I may be the only guy who can transfer BetaMax in town. I just got our old TV hooked up down here because of an order we had from our neighbor. I found my video switcher and hooked all the VTRs up to that too. The VHS and BetaMax decks are run through this switcher, into my DVD recorder, and out to my TV. As soon as I find the BNC to RCA converter, I'll be able to go with the old 3/4" U-Matic broadcast format as well.

I'm done with my neighbor's order, and frighteningly enough, I'm actually watching "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" on Betamax.

In any case, it's good to have these old formats at my disposal. If someone found old Catholic TV program films already transferred from film to 3/4", or perhaps had a BetaMax of a Latin Mass from sometime in the 1980s, I'd be all set. And if you do, please contact me. It'd be great for everyone to see these recordings!

Chuck, MI

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Our Lady's Shrine

Amongst the films in the latest batch to get transferred was "Our Lady's Shrine." This film is about fourteen minutes long and is about the making of the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. It's an interesting little film. It goes into the history behind it, and actually has film of artisans installing mosaics in the basilica itself. Nice little film. I'm planning on that being in the first week of programming, along with "The Catholic Hour: Rome Eternal Pt. III" and "Rome: The Sacred City." I hope to have everything ready by the first week in May.

Stay Tuned!

Chuck, MI

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Motivation Folder

Awhile ago, I created a folder for emails that I received through my email lists and whatnot called "TV Apostolate Motivation." Every now and then, someone emails me something that's happening close by them that boarders on heresy and it infuriates me. These days, I have zero tolerance for heresy. Don't call something Catholic when it is patently obvious that it isn't.

Most of these emails come from a friend of mine in western Colorado who's on my KnightsImmaculata discussion group. She normally goes into detail about the liturgical and theological problems that routinely go on out there. It was actually her emails that started this folder. Sometimes, when I get overwhelmed with how much work I have to go through to get Mater Dei Television working, I go back to these emails and remind myself why I need to push on. You see, my friend out there has no Tridentine Indult Mass nor an Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy to attend; she's stuck with what's passing for Mass out there these days. She's an Air Maria viewer, so she's got some sort of oasis, but I've sent her a preview DVD once of Mater Dei Television films and stuff on there, before Air Maria took to the 'Net. It does remind me, though, that she's not the only one who experiences this stuff, and Air Maria, EWTN, Familyland TV, and others can't do it alone.

The latest entry came from a friend of mine out Pennsylvania. Apparently, her daughter's class was being shown the blatantly anti-Catholic A&E special "Christianity: The First Thousand Years." Among other things, it denies the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, the primacy of Peter, and promotes the idea that St. Ignatius of Antioch put the end to women "priests."

In other words, it's all bunk.

It frustrates the hell out of me when ANY secular source presents itself as an authority on religion, and it infuriates me that people eat this crap up like it was Gospel! It's a stark reminder that while there are some good DVDs out there, there's not enough good Catholic material out there. EWTN can't do it all. It's also a call for me to carry on and get this network online and DVDs in places where people can get them easily (and inexpensively). I've got the films ready for my first DVD release; I just now need to author the DVD and put it online. However, the stream has to go on the air first! That way, they can watch the stream, and then buy the DVDs so I can finance buying more films and actually producing new programs.

I'm going to end post now. I have to get another film ready, whether it's for air or DVD release. I'll pick one and go with it.

"Through the fire and the flames, we carry on!" - Dragonforce

Chuck, MI

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bits and Pieces

In the "Bits and Pieces" section for today, I will touch on a few things that are on mind. That way, I can put them all in one entry...

I've been talking with the Mac guy (Eric, who also transferred my last batch of films) about the PowerComputing Mac Clone I got from my Freecycle list. After much deliberation, I've come to the conclusion I'm not going to use the Mac in this stage of Mater Dei Television. After everything I either have to buy and/or upgrade on this thing, it'll probably serve me better as a toy-around-with computer that I can stick on my KVM, put OS 8.5 on it, and see what it can do. What I think needs to be understood is this: We have to use what we already have or can get for either free or inexpensively. I don't have the money to spend upgrading a Mac for the sake of using a Mac.

This decision comes on the heels of yet another Freecycle acquisition: A three year old eMachine with a dead motherboard. Dead eMachines, from what I was told by someone in an eMachine overclockers group, are a good place to scavenge for parts. What happened was a design flaw in the power supply caused the motherboard to burn out prematurely, but has a tendency to leave other parts intact. In fact, the 2.2GHz Celeron that is in my video editor now was pulled out of a dead eMachine. The new one is a 2.6GHz, so the upgrade will be made. I'm going to stick the power supply that I had in the P4 I was trying to build last month (that gave me all the fits that I wrote about) and a new motherboard in there, probably along with a Dazzle USB analog capture setup, so that I can output video to an analog source. It'll take longer to encode, but I don't see a better way of encoding two different types of streams using the exact same source.

In other news, I'm acing my J-100 class. Yeah, I'm back in college (which is probably why I don't update as much as I should right now). J-100 is an entry level journalism course from Indiana University that I'm taking at IUPUI. A guy named Hank Nuwer is my prof. He seems to have liked my work thus far. He said that he's interested in reading my final article for the class, which is actually going to be about the alleged, long-awaited Moto Proprio that's supposed to be issued by Pope Benedict XVI any day now. The rumors have been abounding long now? It's like that part in the movie "Airplane." You know..."Now arriving at Gate 6...Gate 7...Gate 8...", except instead of different gates, it's different days. I don't criticize the Holy Father for either waiting or not issuing the Moto Proprio yet. No. I have to question the sanity of those who are starting the rumors. Yes, I want greater access to the Tridentine Mass also, but for crying out loud: Let Pope Benedict do his work! The more rumors that get started, the more ancy people get.

I was originally going to title the next item as a separate post called "Faster Than Thou, Harder Than Thou, Holier Than Thou." It's about a Traditional Catholic grindcore project out of Houston called
Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste. By and large, "Traditional Catholic" and "grindcore" are two phrases that you generally don't hear in the same sentence, let alone together. For those of you who don't know what grindcore is, it's the heaviest, fastest, most brutal music known to mankind.

I've been listening to it for years.

The main guy in the band, who goes by St. Augustine, is actually a Catholic who attends the Anglican Use parish in Houston. The other guy, St. Nicholas, actually is too busy and had to leave the project for the time being. Nick, however, attends the Indult Mass down there. I actually had to show this to the Inquisitor Generalis from the Sacred Weblog of the Universal Inquistion, himself a fan of punk and metal (and many of the subgenres that go with them). The thing I've noticed about the younger Traditional Catholics is that it seems like the more traditional that they tend to be, the harder the music that they like. It may not necessarily be the case across the board, but it does seem to make sense. It's actually not a bad idea. For one, you won't be hearing this music during Mass anytime soon. I love Seven Sorrows also, but some of their acoustic songs could be thrown into a Lifeteen Mass somewhere and it would go undetected. If you did that with 40 Holy Martyrs, even Cardinal Mahoney would be covering his ears! And good. We really do need more non-liturgical Catholic music to be listening to outside of Mass. I'm just glad that more of it is finally beginning to cater to my heavier tastes. In addition to 40 Holy Martyrs and Seven Sorrows, you might want to give Thirst a shot, too. Granted, not all of it is heavy, but these are quite definitely the better bands.

And for those of you who still think that all rock music is the work of the Devil, please quit being so protestant. Yes, some of it is; no arguments from me whatsoever. And I avoid that stuff these days. But to call all of it evil based on the fact that it's rock music is a purityrannical viewpoint that mostly goes back to WASPs in the southern U.S. who decried rock and roll because of the fact that EARLY rock and roll was, in fact, music of African-Americans. Heresy is diabolical too, and protestantism is, in fact, a heresy. If you don't want your children listening to it, be the parent and pull the plug.

Until next time...

Chuck, MI

Thursday, April 12, 2007


It's been kind of busy this last week, so I apologize for any lack of updates. I played a little with VLC and Windows Media Player this evening. The caveat with VLC is that since my source files are all MPEG2, it automatically wants to do an MPEG-TS file, which, ironically, is something that I want to do in the not-too-distant-future, just not now. Since it seems that trying to encode an entire playlist is something neither program does in a friendly manner, I decided to try to encode an hour of programming with VideoStudio (in WMV format, of course), and take that to stream out. This is just to see what it can do.

What would be nice is to take the MPEG-TS (transport stream) and use that as a basis for other encoding. Ideally, there would be one PC that just encodes an MPEG-TS file that sends it over to a Windows Media Encoder and an MPEG4 encoder (taking care of the Mac folks, too!), and still have enough to eventually send to a DVB encoder and an IPTV system as well.

So it's good to know that VLC will do that; it's just a little earlier than I had anticipated. I don't have the resources to do all that encoding now, so it's best to concentrate on Windows Media for the time being, since it's the lowest common denominator.

More to come...

Chuck, MI

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Testing Begins Soon...

With Lent almost over, testing will begin soon on the MDTV feed. I just need to figure out how to do the actual streaming part. I was told by a co-worker that he was able to get something going out of his machine once, but hasn't done it in awhile. I'll still pick his brain. Nevertheless, I hope to have something up soon. I'm stressing a lot of things right now, and I apologize for not devoting as much time to it as I wanted to.

Chuck, MI

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

OK...First Step

...has been taken care of and was successful; we had a loop gonig for about 12 hours on Sunday on the VLC player. The idea is now to figure out the streaming portion of the VLC software, and we may be in business. I know this much: Windows Media Player wasn't very good. It was playing a video clip of Pope Leo XIII back with some stutter. VLC didn't do that. This is a Positive step forward.

Stay tuned!


Chuk, MI

Sunday, April 1, 2007

More Good News and Bad News

It looks like I finally have a stable streaming video server going, at least from a PC standpoint. I figured out the problem with the OS:

It wasn't the OS. It wasn't ANY OS. It was the motherboard.

It had to be! As soon as I re-cannibalized the "new" PC and put the old dual processor Dell back together, it came up. It hasn't frozen yet, and it's running fairly smoothly. At this point, if I come back down here tomorrow and it hasn't frozen up, then I start playing with the Windows Media Player and Encoder.

I may be Peercasting soon. Stay Tuned!

Chuck, MI