Saturday, October 18, 2014

Creating A Digital Story - Stabilization Tools for Mobile Recording

There are smartphones, iOS devices, tablets. I don't know about the video recording via smartwatches but the ability to record video on mobile devices is remarkably easy to do and to muck up.

There are a lot of options; the trick is to find what works for you and to be able to purchase locally or on-line. You might have an Apple store near you but they may not have the exact third party product that you need.

Same with Android folk;  a tablet purchased at an office supply store does not mean they will have a smartphone or tablet accessories selection. This is my long winded way of saying you might need an online vendor. Stay safe; stick to the actual vendor or known online retailers.

Stability Accessories

Your greatest challenge and responsibility is to keep your device stable during recording. It isn't easy; the devices aren't necessary designed for ease of horizontal hand holding. Even when the content is compelling viewers shouldn't have to struggle to pay attention to what you have to say.

Tables owners; we share a special pain. Because as tough as it is to find a good smartphone stabilization product to record video it is a bit harder for the tablet crowd. But not impossible.

Square Jellyfish Tablet Tripod Mount might be what you are looking for; it is adaptable to tablets; doesn't block the camera lens and you can even rotate from landscape to portrait. I'm not sure that the tripod comes with the mount so double check before purchase.

Please do not record unintentional vertical videos; especially on smartphones.

Joby makes an interesting line of products; for smartphone users you might be interested in the Joby GripTight Mount. You can use it as a stand alone device or attach it to other tripods.

Another option is Studioneat's Glif - this can also be used to attach to a tripod to help you keep it steady.

I hear some of you saying, "I don't want to carry a tripod." How about a monopod? The iStabilizer Monopod can be used to take Selfies or turn it the other way and record the rest of the world.

These are not so much recommendations as idea generators. There is a device that will help you take great video. You just have to find that affordable option that works for you.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Creating A Digital Story - Your Place on the Wheel

You have your idea. You have put it in a fixed form on paper or in a cloud. How are you going to show it? How will you tell your story? With what tools? How much time have you got? How will your audience technologically receive your story? Will it eat up their data plan?

What method would best serve your story? You have a lot of choices; the ideas below are just touch points/idea generators.

I have a expansive view of how to create a video. If you work it right a series of screen captures with narration could be a big hit. Who is to say that a well planned GIF can't be a digital story or a means of delivering a tutorial?

Ken Burns made bank on using history, old photos and narration with his documentary on the U.S. Civil War.  The New York Times Video unit is telling strong stories by using music, narration, photos and video.

And X=Unknown?

Yes. Because Microsoft is coming out with a new presentation format called Microsoft Sway. Other vendors are searching for ways to help users and creatives to tell stories more effectively without building from scratch. A new app could show up a week from now that will blow your socks off in simplicity.

There is another reason why you should think of this now.

Lets say you decide using photos and audio is the way to go. Your energy is now directed to getting the photos, recording your audio and finding the software that will help you assemble your story quickly.

That might be AnimotoSmilebox, Slidely, Roxio PhotoShow. It might mean using a presentation software like PowerPoint, Keynote or OpenOffice Impress.  It could mean laying out cash money for something like Photodex Producer; if you want a professional level of control.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pitcherific - All This And Storytelling Too?

No, I'm not backsliding - Pitcherific is an interesting web app that could help folks do a lot of things, give a proper elevator pitch, make a short presentation, or maybe help you to crystallize an idea for a video or podcast.

Let me be clear that my understanding of the intended purpose of the web app is to help people structure a verbal presentation. That is kinda nifty and the price is right (Free, at the moment).

But it is also the structure of basic storytelling. And for those of you doing really short videos this could be a keeper.

I don't know how long this web app will last but give it a try. Especially if you are giving a presentation on a dry subject.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Creating A Digital Story - The Script

You have thought about your idea. You've done the research and the dream catching. You know why you want to do this and your audience. Time to put it in a fixed form. Notice I didn't say write because it isn't the only way.

You can speak it out in an audio recording. You can draw freehand or in an storyboard format

For many of us we write it out. You can just make a simple text storyboard concept.

You can stroll through the collection at Printable Paper to see if one strikes your fancy.

If you have one of the comic book creation software you could even conjure a template out of that visual format. Find whatever works for you and make it so.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Creating A Digital Story - Reverse Engineering

A group of teen-age girls cuts denim pants int shorts and then a designer sees it and sells Daisy Dukes. Akira Kurosawa created the movie The Seven Samurai and Hollywood re-interprets it as The Magnificent Seven.

The process of making a knock-off is called reverse engineering.

The New York Times has an Ops Docs channel on YouTube where independent filmmakers can create work for the paper. This is the promotional video for the series.

If you are up to it you should break it down into parts

How long is the title?
What is the layout or sequence of shots?
How do they use text, audio and images?
Do they successfully get the message out about what they do?
Do they employ the five shot shooting technique?
Who is their audience?
What is the call to action (if any)?

If you don't like this video then find one you do like or would like to emulate. Break it down on paper or your recording medium of choice. It is really helpful to see what works.

Remember, inspiration good. Flat out stealing, bad.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Brief Clip by Kevin Spacey on Storytelling

The universe will support you when you state and act on your intentions. Actor/Producer Kevin Spacey gave a keynote speech at the Content Marketing World 2014. Yep, he is talking about storytelling and trying to convince the crowd it is first about the story.

KPT Marketing has 27 minutes of the keynote, there are jokes, impressions and truths about storytelling. There are some gems to be gathered.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Creating A Digtial Story Tutorial - Planning Brief

In the advertising world there is the brief. Long before they sell Skittles or a GoPro camera advertising firms create the advertising brief. It is a binder of what the goal of the campaign is; the message they want to communicate; who is the audience for the product and looking hard at the need or want the product potentially can fill in a user.

This is why advertisers are going loco-crazy about data collection. What do 25-year old women with disposable income and a love of pizza want in a shoe collection?

Yes, it gets that specific.  What has this got to do with you?

If you can calm yourself and listen to the inner creative muse you can use some of the same concepts of an advertising brief to get the idea of your video out of your head:

  • What your video is about?
  • Why are you doing a video?
  • Who is your potential audience? (Hint: it is not everybody. You'll need to think about who would want and appreciate seeing the video.)
  • What is in it for them? What goodies, needs or wants are going to be in your video.
  • How long will the video be; unless you are really good you are thinking about two to four minutes tops for web video?
  • Where will your audience see your video? Mobile? Desktop, TV hooked up to Roku?
  • Bandwidth considerations; 4K video is coming but many people are on data plan lock down? You might have to balance access versus quality, or you might choose not to compromise but this kicks back to who is your audience?
  • What you you have to work with? Camera, audio, equipment, no equipment, software, DIY gear?
  • Time? How much do you have and how little. In your allotted 24 hours a day where does creating a video fit in? 
So these are your starter questions. You'll have others that I don't know about but begin the process of writing down the bones.

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