Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What HAVE I been doing, anyway?

Yeah, it's probably time for an update. While it doesn't seem like there's been much going on, there has. Believe me.

  • First and foremost is the documentary I'm researching on the incompatibilities of Catholicism and Socialism. Lots of heavy reading has been going in on that one, but three encyclicals from Pope Leo XIII and one from Pope Pius XI, as well as one from Pope John Paul II I'm not through with yet, I'd say that things are coming along well. Questions for interviews are being formulated and ideas for who and what I want to videotape are beginning to come to mind. It's beginning to come together, although slowly, but it will be well worth it and very timely when all is said and done.
  • The idea for putting together some scola programs are beginning to also be formulated, along with more general devotionals like rosaries and whatnot. The equipment is being purchased or obtained via Freecycle, Craigslist, or thrift shops and a program of this nature with a very basic stereo audio setup can be produced very soon. Ideally, a new audio board would be purchased so more channels of audio and more mics can be used to produce these kind of programs, especially those which are more musical in nature.
  • A projector has been purchased secondhanded and some replacement belts and tires have been ordered, but this one is a little more of a risk since it's not a true telecine projector. In order to get a flicker free transfer, it will need to be plugged into a variac so the voltage can be varied and thus the speed of the projector tweaked so that the camera won't pick up the flicker from the projector while the film is being transferred. While this can work for silent films, whether or not it will work with sound films still remains to be seen. Fortunately, speed can be varied with software if necessary and what we need to have done may be able to be accomplished. Either way, the investment is minimal, so if it doesn't work we're not out that much.
So, that's where we stand for the time being. While it might not look like it we have been busy. I'll keep you posted on further updates as they happen.

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Playing with 480i

This shouldn't be that big of a deal for me to start playing with 480i at this point, since standard definition television is about as basic as it gets when you're talking about digital television. On the surface, it doesn't seem like it's much different than the old NTSC format we just converted from but in reality, since 480i exists in the ATSC digital standards, even NTSC would have to be converted to 480i digital. In any case, at some point I'd rather be doing Mater Dei Television as a VoD (video on demand) channel through a server as opposed to what we have now. That way, you can watch through a set top box from your easy chair instead of in front of your computer.

Can you already watch MDTV on your regular TV? Yes, but...

The problem is that we've only got X amount of bandwidth available, and while the programs are already encoded for optimal performance at minimal bandwidth and are viewable on a TV if you're hooked up to a media center computer, they'd still look much better at higher resolution and bandwidth. Thus, we start playing with 480i. It's by no means perfect, but perhaps as things progress, we'll get up to high definition 1080i yet!

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

TLM Clip Posted August 23, 2009

Well, first off Praise Be to God that it's up. I was hoping at some point to start having TLMs viewable on the MDTV website. Here are some notes and tips to keep in mind while viewing it...

1) This is a big file. I mean BIG. I'd start and pause the video for a few minutes first just to make sure that more of it loads and it looks smoother and not quite so choppy. I would love to have this hooked up to a dedicated server I control complete with a fiber connection to the internet. Seeing that's not going to happen anytime soon, this will have to suffice.

2) Yes, I do understand that it's not the 3rd Sunday After Pentecost. This was shot in June of 2008, and was the first TLM celebrated by Fr. Christopher Roberts of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. The St. John Bosco Latin Mass Community asked me to tape this, and seeing that at the time I was on the board, it made sense to do so.

3) This was shot with one camera and no audio support. I basically flew in at the last minute, set up the camera and tripod, and that was it. No professional audio support (which has since changed) and no second camera (which has also changed). Also, Fr. Roberts wasn't followed proceeding into Mass very well because my daughter ran up the side isle when she saw me up there when Mass was starting, which leads me to...

4) Yes, those noisy children were mine. A reminder to all those who browbeat, criticize, and in one lady's case, tell people with noisy children to "JUST LEAVE!" Mass: Children screamed, cried and were noisy BEFORE Vatican II also, and there weren't crying rooms to send them to, and many didn't have nurseries, either, to send them to "go play" when they should be learning about Mass instead. Not accepting ALL children during Mass is neither traditional nor Catholic, and if you get set off this much by noisy children, perhaps a generic protestant "church" would be a better fit for you.

And to the woman (I will NOT refer to her as a "lady") who told my kids to "JUST LEAVE!" during this Mass, I hope you are plagued with screaming children in your ears during every single Mass, regardless of which liturgy you attend, for the rest of your life. Remember: One of those screamers may someday be the very priest who absolves your sins, brings you the Eucharist at the hospital, and annoints you when you're ill.

Special thanks goes to Richard Pettys for giving me the idea of "just doing it" when it comes to putting the TLM up on the website, and Mr. Pettys may also be the source for a few more TLMs on MDTV in the future, so a hats off to Richard is certainly in order!

Streaming locally from a local (Ft. Collins, Colorado?) parish is on the programming agenda for MDTV, and in the long term, perhaps touring for several weeks in the summer to various parishes to produce TLMs and other programs for air, but in the meantime, this is what we have to work with, and we'll go with it (the rallying cry for everyone in TV who has to make executive programming decisions, either planned or on the fly).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Two new programs up...

The first is an episode of The Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, in particular the episode called "The Resurrection". Fr. Patrick Peyton, a Holy Cross Father and same man behind The Family Theater, brought this series to the United States from Europe. While there are a few technical issues with this particular program that will need to be addressed, it's able to be viewed as it is.

The other is the 20 minute long featurette entitled Journey of Faith. This chronicles the pilgrimage of Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York and members of his flock who accompanied him to the Vatican to see Pope Pius XII during the Holy Year of 1950. It's a nice look at a man who signed off as the Imprimatur on our old missals as he visits the man who was pontiff during a critical time in the history of the world.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009



I'm going through some changes in family life right now that's caused MDTV to take a back burner for the time being. Don't worry, though; details are getting worked out and MDTV will have some new programs up before too long.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Chuck, MI

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Well...Obviously it's now up...

We're online.

Of course, that's probably abundantly clear by now, unless you read the blog first, in which case, you probably didn't know (because I'm not very good at updating this blog admittedly), but we went online on March 30, 2009. Our first two programs are from the show from the 1950s called "The Catholic Hour", this particular episode called "Exploring New Horizons" from 1956, and a short from 1941 called "The Trail of Fr. Kino".

So, thanks for all the prayers and support, and now we just keep moving forward. We have some great ideas for projects in the works as we speak, but as per usual, these generally take money to actually do them. I mean, I could get a second job or something, but then it'd be harder for me to get out and produce these programs. In the short term, we'd like to do some rosary clips, some devotionals, and the basic stuff that one would expect from a Catholic TV network. We're also thinking perhaps some children's programming, perhaps a series on various scholas around the country, and some special programming as well. We'll also be in touch with the Wyoming Carmelites and the Clear Creek Benedictines before too long so that we can develop some programming with them as well.

If you feel called to donate, please do so. We can accept PayPal with this address:

If nothing else, please pray that we receive the resources to keep this online and chugging along. That's actually first and foremost, to be quite honest with you, but all the synapses aren't quite firing yet as I've not had my morning coffee as of yet (and it's 11:07am. Yikes!).

Stay Tuned!

Chuck, MI

Friday, March 27, 2009

Final Testing Stages

We've successfully migrated over to Bluehost from CHS Webmaster and so far, things are looking good. I've asked some friends to do a final quality test that goes over things like bandwidth, quality, and the like, and the great majority of the friends I asked to help on the final test are those who've been with me through the talking ("I'm gonna do this..."), the planning, the testing, and just being there, so I thank all of them profusely for being there for me while I got this thing off the ground.

I'd like to add special thanks to Michelle Grunkemeyer from CHS Webmaster and Catholic Homeschool website, who was instrumental in getting the MDTV webpage off the ground from a technical standpoint and even found Bluehost when it was realized we were going to need a ton more bandwidth. Colleen Hammond, a wonderful traditional Catholic and TV person herself who I've been able to bounce ideas off of and get another perspective from a professional standpoint. Paul Nichols from Catholic Cartoon Blog who's been extremely supportive of this concept throughout the years that I know him, and the fact that he's a hockey fan is cool too (Alexander Ovechkin rocks, man!), and there are many, many others who've been praying for this to finally come up, and to all those who I know I've talked to but are too numerous to list, thank you for everything. It's really meant a lot to me.

Stay tuned! Almost there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bringing you up to speed...

The beta tests for quality and bandwidth have concluded and went well. The only thing I have yet to do is check and see how well they work on an actual TV, as these videos are set up more for a Media Center computer in the first place. They might look a little muddy on fullscreen TV, but they still look pretty good for this being web video.

We will be transferring service from CHS Webmaster to Bluehost at the end of this week, so we will be up and flying shortly. CHS Webmaster is a great, inexpensive service with a LOT of bandwidth for those needing average websites. MDTV, unfortunately, is not average in terms of bandwidth consumption and thus we'll be moving to a hosting service that has no bandwidth limitations.

We can make this grow, though, with your support (prayer, financial, old equipment, whatever), and perhaps move to our own T1 where we host it all ourselves. Keep praying for this to grow, and who knows; perhaps we'll even be on satellite.

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Potential Disaster Averted, But...

...the problem is simply this: The bandwidth charges would financially devestate us.

What we're in the process of doing now is finding ways to host these videos much cheaper than we could otherwise do so at the present. Ultimately, a T1 line with our own server would be the best, but in the short term, we need something else to insure that we have the best possible product delivered in the least expensive possible way.

We're almost there! Keep praying!

Stand By...

Barring disaster, Mater Dei Television will begin programming on Feb 17, 2009.

Donations can be accepted through PayPal at this address:

Keep checking back to this blog for programming updates and other pertinent information regarding Mater Dei Television.

I sincerely hope that MDTV will inspire, inform and educate all who view it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


OK, I've taken a template that was downloaded from the Open Source Web Design website and am molding it (finally) into something that will be Mater Dei Television's first website.

Well, first usable one anyway.

I have also embedded the JW FLV Player into the website, complete with sample video that came bundled with it, and it a point. The player I embedded was actually in the place I wanted it to be (seeing that I've had about 3 weeks of coding experience up to this point - remember? I'm using a TEMPLATE), but I need to find out how to get more than one window embedded. When we can figure that much out, we are SO in business!

So, while my Adventures in Coding are put on hold, I wait and I blog.

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

JW FLV Player

The JW FLV Player has been uploaded to the website today and Quanta Plus was installed on the Ubuntu box on Tuesday, so now it's just a matter of playing with the latter and learning how to use it well enough to get the former to work with it.

The JW FLV Player seems to work the best, from what I can see anyway, with playing back embedded MP4 files fullscreen. There is a newer version of the software but I'll go ahead and use this first while I'm playing with it.

We shall see what comes up soon. In the meantime, we're sitting on a test pattern...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

KVM Installed

By and large, this generally isn't that big of a deal to report, but today it is and here's why...

By now, if you follow this blog at all, you no doubt have seen the website for Mater Dei Television. Our test pattern page is a very basic page done on KompoZer that was put up there to let people know that we're going to start broadcasting soon.

I was not, nor I'm still not, impressed with it.

I wanted something with DreamWeaver type quality to it, but I don't have that kind of cash right now (and since we don't have any programming up quite yet, we're not exactly getting donations yet). I decided to look open source and came up with Quanta Plus. It looks nice from the screenshots, but it's only for Mac and Linux.

Enter the KVM.

The KVM will allow me to hook one of my Ubuntu boxes up that I've not had online since we left Indiana. It's downloading right now. I'm trying to set one goal per day at this point, regardless of how big or small, that I can get done that will advance Mater Dei Television and get us on air quicker. My goal was to get the KVM up yesterday, so I briefly fell behind. Now that I'm installing Quanta Plus, I'm back on track.

Goal for tomorrow: Commence work on permanent webpage. ETA to completion: One week.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Test Pattern

It's up.

Over three months since my last post (I'm horrible in that department), a move from Indiana to Wyoming, and an old DVCAM camcorder later, and we have our website up, complete with the test pattern like you would have seen in the "Golden Age of Television" from the 1950s.

I'm going to start this out by saying this is NOT the way that I wanted to do this. I would still very much like to go IPTV or even consider satellite delivery, whichever turns out to be the best way to do it based on cost and the ability to reach the audience. That said, even if we had all the money we needed to and could feasibly do both, we have a different problem...

We don't have enough programming.

So, while I'm in the process of aquiring more old films on eBay and various other sources, and producing our own new programs, we'll have to deliver our content this way. This solution will get us up and rolling, but it's only temporary. I know my computer stuff, but I'm not a computer guy. I'm a TV man and that's how I think. My opinion is that the great majority of the viewing public, while with the ability to watch TV on their computers, would prefer to sit in their family room and watch it on a TV as opposed to sitting in their office or den and watching it on their PC.

Producing these programs will be an ongoing task, but ultimately a labor of love. The next step is to incorporate in the State of Wyoming with the intention of filing as a non-profit. We will also be doing everything we can to get to the ultimate goal of satellite or IPTV delivery as quickly as possible, while providing the best quality viewing experience that we are able to in the meantime.

Things are rolling! Thanks for the prayers, but by all means, keep them up!

Chuck, MI