A 1-1/4 hour video, with live narration, of the drive from near Tikaboo Peak to Nevada Highway 93. The starting point is a parking space inbetween trees off the side of the trail to Tikaboo Peak, widely considered the best remaining legal point from which the public may directly view the very secretive Area 51.

The narration is a mix of recounting the day's solo hike in the snow to the summit of Tikaboo Peak to get a view of Area 51, mixed with hiking advice, descriptions of the route being driven, and storytelling about various other hikes and adventures including some others near Area 51. Add to that occasional humor, the suspense of whether the camera battery will last to the highway and what would happen if a car comes the opposite way, and advice about equipment and techniques. Then throw in various minor tidbits about the author's life, interests, and philosophy, plus only-half-joking speculation about what some odd experiences in the area might point to.

Shot in December 2008, the day after a snowstorm shut down LAS airport and most highways around Vegas.

The vehicle was a Toyota 4Runner SR5 4WD.

The camera was clamped to the driver's side handhold for a steady view out the top left corner of the windshield.

The camera was a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 point and shoot, filming 848x480 video at 10fps in order to conserve file size and allow for better light gathering, as much of the drive is in complete darkness except for the headlights. The SDHC card was 8GB Class 6. I use cheap A-Data, Pqi, and Transcend SDHC Class 6 cards interchangeably in the camera, with never a problem.

To meet the 500MB file size limit of a free Vimeo account, and to recreate the look and feel of an Apollo moon rover film, the 1.06GB .MOV file from the TZ3 was converted, using RAD Video Tools file converter and selecting the Cinepak Codec by Radius. It became a 388MB (real MB, around 407 million bytes) .AVI file resized 0.5x to 424x240 and then cropped to 320x240, with every other frame removed to give 5fps. Other key parameters in the RAD conversion were: contrast=30, gamma=1.7, and 8000Hz mono 8-bit audio to match the camera.

No editing whatsoever was done in the sense that no video or audio was added, removed, or converted differently from any other frame of the video. What you see is exactly what the camera captured, in real time, from the time the shutter button started it until the time the shutter button ended it. Video conversions, enhancements, and degradations were applied equally to each frame in the whole video.

I made a slightly different conversion of this video to DVD HQ (720x480 which maybe shows as 640x480 on 4:3 TV due to the square pixels, maybe the CyberLink software knew to crop it?) at 5 fps, and plan to make a DVD SD at 10fps also. I must like listening to myself and/or re-living this ride, as I've watched the HQ DVD at least 10 times already.

This is my first upload to Vimeo, or any other video site for that matter. We'll see how it goes. I hope the time I spent in search of the right file conversion parameters to make the video look presentable in Windows Media Player, yet fit within the 500MB Vimeo size limit was not in vain.



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