Making (mobile) movies
Since my old Nokia fell to pieces Bluesmobile-style two weeks ago, I had to find a replacement phone. Bad news for me, as I'm not that much into this stuff, and I'm not a gadget-dependant kind of person. Phones, PDAs, smartphones, not my stuff. I've never been able to actually use the damn things for serious work, even when in 2002 exea decided that everyone had to use the Zaurus, a full-Linux PDA which at the time was like total sci-fi. Of course it never catched on, and I mostly used it to SSH into the different clusters and servers I was maintaining at the time. Kind of a waste, if you ask me.
Anyway, since buying out something quick and cheap was out of the question, as we already had our share of failures on those and in the end it's money and time that goes down the drain, I devoted some time to looking around. I'll spare you the description of a thousand web searches on a zillion web sites, half of which mere link-pools or scam traps, and talking to clueless shop assistants: let me just say I ended up buying an LG Arena.
As I said to friends a couple of days ago, the jury is still out, mostly because I'm not sure that the s-class touch-only UI works as it should all of the time, but for sure the thing can take phone calls, make them, and deliver good multimedia. So it has practical value to me, as I can listen to podcasts (and browse related PDFs) or watch videos while on the move.
And this led me to the main impasse: the Arena sports an impressive 800x480 screen, but it's a DivX mobile compliant-device. There's a trick there, as you cannot simply get your camera, shoot, and then watch. I found out that I had to actually go and read the specs. Then, I found out the only thing I needed was some trial-and-error conversion with mencoder. As the specs call for audio at 128kbps, a max frame size of 320x240 at a rate between 25 and 30 fps, and finally a bitrate of 300bps, I took a dive into man mencoder. This is the final results:
mencoder -srate 44100 [input] -vf scale=320:-3 -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=128 -xvidencopts bitrate=300 -ofps 24 -o [output]
Instead of -vf scale you could use -vop or various flavors of scale and -xy, but this seems the simplest way to go.