Public Lab Research note

State of the Science: The Oil Testing Kit

by mathew , warren | August 03, 2014 21:12 03 Aug 21:12 | #11010 | #11010

What we want to do

I sat down with @warren to record a video presentation on the state of the oil testing kit development. I would like to make videos like this about all the tools in development with Public Lab, contact me if you'd like to work on one.

how we did it

I grabbed a video mixer recently to let me do live editing of presentations like this. We plugged in a bunch of equipment we already had , and audio recorder for the sound, a point and shoot for the video, and a linux laptop as an image source (running a google presentation. These went into the mixer and then into my Mac for firewire video capture. Then took multiple takes live. Maybe its trivial, but I really like the newscaster-style video in the corner, I think it makes a powerpoint-style presentation more compelling.


Questions and next steps

The point and shoot was a crumby video source. I also tried HDMI out from my phone, but the aspect ratio change from 16:9-4:3 looked bad. I'm working on sourcing better HDMI to component YUV video to up the video quality.

Why I'm interested

Public lab folks do lots of presentations. I want to capture them in a compelling way!


Good presentation. I saw a couple of quick flips between Jeff and the slide that could have been on my end or not.

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This is so awesome that you're making videos with a real video mixer using digital recordings. Excellent modern mashup.

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Nice work! Thanks for developing these tools. I've spent thousands of hours and many thousands of dollars detecting, collecting, and analyzing oil from the BP disaster. A spectrometer like yours would have been very useful for field testing and deciding which samples warranted shipping off for GCMS testing. If you have not already seen it, you may be interested in some research I helped with. We used high power UV lights(365NM, we actually helped develop the light) to aid in discovery of oil on our beach. The weathered crude had a very distinctive orange glow. GCMS testing repeatedly confirmed a MC252 fingerprint to our samples.

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