Several months back, I’d picked up the 8 QuickTime movies that composed the Adobe Lightroom Tutorial by Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe. At $14.95, it seemed like a great deal and a good way to potentially learn a few things. But, after intending to sit down and watch them with my girlfriend so that we could both learn a few things, it somehow never happened. Gathering both of us around a laptop wasn’t appealing. And, every time I started to watch the videos, I always wanted to jump right back out into Lightroom to try something out. So, they sat there, gathering virtual dust in a folder on my hard drive. Waiting for a day to be watched. A day that was apparently not coming anytime soon.
Then, I got an AppleTV. While setting it up, I got a wild thought: What if I watched the tutorials on the TV by piping them through iTunes and onto the AppleTV? After all, the movies were already QuickTime and if they didn’t play as they were, I figured I could use QuickTime Pro and transcode them to a format which would work.
It turns out that it was easy as pie. I dragged the video files into iTunes and, after a few minutes to allow everything to slush across the network and get cached on the AppleTV, they showed right up. There wasn’t any need to transcode them whatsoever. The only thing that was suboptimal about the experience was that the videos showed up as individual movies. However, a bit of metadata hacking in iTunes to group them together as a series of TV shows gave the desired results and grouped them together nicely in both iTunes and on the AppleTV. Here are some of the bits I added to make things a bit smoother:
The importat bits to flip are to change the Video Kind pull down to TV Show, fill out the Show field to something appropriate, and to give an Episode ID and Episode Number. You might also want to set the Track ID in the Info Pane as well. Once you do this, the videos group up nicely. It’d be nice if, in the future, producers of this kind of content set up the metadata to do this kind of thing automatically, but it only takes a few minutes regardless.
After setting everything up, I promptly watched all 9 episodes in a row, picking up lots of tips and tricks along the way. Having made Lightroom an integral part of my workflow for the last 6 months meant that there was a lot of information in the videos I already knew. Spread throughout the videos, however, were lots of tidbits, facts, and tricks that I didn’t know. And, watching how two accomplished photographers using the software was instructive on its own.
Quite suddenly, I’m really excited about this idea of online video tutorials. They allow for a level of interaction and demonstration that’s not possible in a printed format. And being able to pipe them to a TV means that you can have the application up on your laptop while sitting on the sofa and play along. Very cool. Maybe next, I’ll have to give Michael and Jeff’s new From Camera to Print series a try. It’ll certainly beat summer reruns any day.