in post

29 December, 2020

Video editing

I recently started to look into the matter of how to place videos on the website of the Israeli Thich Nhat Hanh website as people recently started to record their Zoom talks. I uploaded the last two to, after doing some light editing in OpenShot video editor on Linux. Now we are thinking to adapt one of Thich Nhat Hanh's original videos by adding subtitles. Plum Village (the Buddhistic community of Thich Nhat Hanh in France), has a channel on YouTube and allows people associated with the various sanghas to add translation subtitles to the videos there through the service. While looking into this, I noticed various other features of YouTube about which I was unfamiliar, such as that it is possible to get an automatic transcript of any video and that it is possible also to obtain an instant automatic translation based on speech. And the translation isn't bad. It could serve as a basis for a human translation, in the same way as I use Google Translate when I'm translating from English to Hebrew. (Unfortunately DeepL dcan't handle Hebrew or Arabic.)

It seems that it is also possible to download subtitles through youtube-dl (which I have already been using quite a lot lately for downloading music videos and converting them to mp3 files with ffmpeg).

I see that in Linux there is also a cross-platform FOSS program called Subtitle Composer. But it is no doubt easier to use the YouTube system. Vimeo is recommending instead a paid service for subtitling, Rev, which charges $1 a minute for obtaining captions from the audio. So it may be easier and cheaper to go with YouTube for subtitling and place the Hebrew subtitles on the YouTube channel so they will be available internationally. We can continue using Vimeo for the local channel because there we do not need to create subtitles, though it would be a better service for people with hearing impairment. There again, YouTube has an advantage. It's hard to beat Google. It manages to leverage its various systems to its best advantage. (I even see, when using its translation program, that it is benefiting from Google Search, using the correct spelling of proper names and sometimes incorporating our in-house abbreviations for the institutions in our village.)

I would not use PeerTube for these needs, because there is little advantage of spreading Hebrew language videos through federated social media. In the whole country it's probably just me and a few hundred others who use that. I don't feel that I can depend on the longevity or persistence of persons or services to host our videos over the long-term, and don't have the bandwidth to self-host video. And Peertube does not have nomadic identities like Hubzilla.

One thing that almost everybody recommends is not to weigh down one's WordPress site with videos uploaded to the site's hosting. I was doing so for audio recordings, but wouldn't do that for video.

Embedding video in WordPress

For the sangha website I use the Weaver Xtreme Plus WP theme, which I like because of its flexibility. I can embed videos from Vimeo easily into posts using a shortcode provided by the theme. This is not ideal, because it would be better for video-play to be available directly from the homepage (which gathers links to the most recent posts in a given category). Those links include title, excerpt and featured image. What I probably need is a plugin that can replace the featured image with a video. Weaver Xtreme Plus can do that for the individual posts, but not for the links that appear on the homepage. There is, I see, a specific plugin called Vimeography which can do it; a pro-version can add videos directly from a Vimeo channel. However, this pro-version costs $50 and I am not sure I want to add the videos directly in that way. I may test this and another plugin for our use.

Pine Processionary Caterpiller

I didn't walk out in the woods today, as crop-dusters were dive-bombing the trees with chemicals to eliminate the pine processionary caterpiller, which is a danger to humans and their pets. But I wonder how many other innocent creatures were harmed by this procedure?

Links blog

✭ Agriculture and evolution - Wheat absorbs phosphorus from desert dust | Science & technology | The Economist - 10.pdf

 don't know this fellow, who rents a home in our village, but it looks like an interesting discovery. This country is so dusty and, especially in summer, all the plants and trees get covered with a grey layer of dust. It turns out that some plants are actively using this dust for nutrients.

"The plant (or, rather, plants) in question were in the care of Avner Gross of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel. As Dr Gross told this year’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which took place online during the first half of December, his study was prompted by hikes he had taken near Neve Shalom, his home village in the Judean Hills. On these, he often noticed plant leaves completely covered in dust that had been carried thereby sand storms from the Sahara desert. It occurred to him that this dust might not be the light-blocking nuisance it appeared at first sight. It could, on the contrary, be beneficial because of the growth-enhancing elements such as phosphorus which it contained."

✭ Why I’m No Longer Allowed To Visit Israel - TravelAwaits“Israel passed a law banning entry to foreigners who support boycotting the country.” Since I’ve written about B.D.S., I guess that includes me."

This citizen journalist mentions her visit to our community and other peace groups. There are a few inaccuracies in her writing, but overall this is a good and informative article. I wonder how many people know that Israel is selectively preventing the entry of people that oppose its policies by supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement?

As a community we don't have a position on BDS. It's questionable whether, as a community that is based on pluralism, we should even adopt a uniform, monolithic position on anything. Years ago, I personally put my name to an online petition for Israelis who support BDS, but when the country stiffened its laws, I chickened out and got them to remove my name. I'm a resident, rather than a citizen of this country, and resident status can be more easily revoked. With regard to BDS, my feeling is that this is something that deserves a chance, because it is one of Gene Sharp's 198 nonviolent methods, and every other way, including intifada and (fake) peace processes, seems to have failed. But Israelis cannot be so easily shamed into changing its relationship with Palestinians, and so far they have cleverly managed to contain the "damage" to its reputation created by the movement. Partly by claiming that it is anti-Semitic, which some BDS supporters no doubt are. But anti-Semitism is easily confused with anti-Zionism (itself a rather opaque term), or to Israel and its policies. To be effective, anyone espousing BDS needs to be very clear about what they are supporting and what they are opposing.
#israel #palestine

✭ Subtitle Composer | Subtitle Composer: An open source text-based subtitle editor The open source text-based subtitle editor.

✭ Nihilism Gets a Bad Rap

✭ Moving from YouTube to PeerTube
#video #peertube