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Author's profile photo Jim Spath

The Lighter Side of … #SapphireNOW #ASUG2010 Conferences

When people get together for a serious event such as an education conference, there are non-serious moments.  While we SAP Mentors made a pact not to use any footage after hours, if you know what I mean, there were definitely silly moments.  Marilyn Pratt’s photo of Sandy Kemsley and me, my photo of Mark Finnern and Simon To, just to name a couple, jump to mind.

Mark Finnern was able to provide each of the Mentors at the Orlando and (many of those) at Frankfurt Sapphire events this year with high definition pocket video cameras.  I know, I know, these things are ubiquitous, hardly newsworthy, with thousands of new uploads every day, or for all I know, every second.  What could Mentors do that would be distinguishable from the mass media?  And what risks was SAP taking allowing us practically unfettered rights to post what we recorded, quite distinct from past practices where SAP-sanctioned videographers shot footage, SAP edited the sound bites, and the message was carefully controlled?

What happened when we were turned loose?  Initial and continuing page views of the sapmentors channel indicate viewers like the “funny stuff.”   Of the top 3 most-watched uploads (out of 81) at the time of this posting, two are on the lighter side:


And, of course, I just contributed to the trend by pushing the links to more potential viewers.  I didn’t upload anything silly to the SAP Mentors channel, not because I have no sense of humor, or because I’m repressed, I only recorded one funny piece, and I posted it on my own channel, since it violated rule one (see above).  The main character (a new SAP Mentor, which should narrow down the search) hasn’t objected, so it’s still online.  No, I’m not going to link to it here; use the search, per forum rules.

In one unusual episode during the conference, Abesh recorded an interview with Blag, but used my camera (I don’t recall why).  It was one of the later uploads, since Aslan had a copy of the file along with many others, and upload time during the conference was challenging.  I tried to keep the time down under 3 minutes for all of my takes, mainly to keep the file transfers manageable.  In any case, I ended up with the original file for this:





I held onto it, in case Aslan’s upload faltered for some reason.  But as I watched it, thoughts popped into my head.  Some kind, some maybe a little less so.  After tweeting about the video camera’s poor embedded/bundled software (you can cut, and maybe splice, but that’s it), I took the footage into my own low end editing tools (CyberLink PowerDirector) and “embellished” it.  One of Blag’s comments about “suits” reminded me of the “geeks and suits” book (“The Geek Gap“) so that was one of the first editorial touches.  Another tweak was to fit my continuing diatribe that I’m not going (or didn’t go) to Sapphire, I went to the ASUG Annual Conference.  Other changes will be visible, or audible, or both, as you peruse the “director’s cut” (which is more like the audiovisual crew cut, anyway).

The good news is my version, unlike typical extended versions by directors who were forced to sacrifice art for story, finishes in not quite half the time of Abesh’s raw take (3:57 vs. 6:38), though to be fair, I neglected to include the SAP Mentor bumps (the opening and closing music and still image trademarks).

After splicing and annotating the video, I tried a couple options to generate an upload for YouTube.  While the software has a built-in “send-right-to-YouTube-or-Facebook” I still wanted to see the finished product before releasing it, not to mention having a local copy for those future conferences where the wireless takes a hike.  The first output was a “fast” QuickTime rendering, taking about 10 minutes and looking like 50’s television quality.  Not right.  Second try was another QT video.  Too big. The third try was “H.264 AVC”, with file extension .m2ts.  The generated file is about 170 MB, compared to the input size of 490 MB (MP4) and the first two takes of 125 MB and 445 MB, respectively.  It took much longer to render, and it’s a wee bit smaller frame than the original; the final product is also in HD as is the original.  A bit of resolution loss is probably noticeable, and hopefully forgiven.

Blag was a little more unhappy on fist viewing than Abesh was.  I consider these gentlemen my friends, and expect them to return the favor, possibly in the 2010 SAP TechEd version of the SCNotties awards.



A clue to the “other guy” in-joke is on Blag’s Facebook page.  Hope you get it.


Abesh, Blag, and some other guy








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