Monday, April 12, 2021

What is Mixkit?

Mixkit It is a freemium royalty free service that is connected to their parent company Envato Elements. On this section the website you download and use assets like music, sound effects, video and more.


Mixkit License Screen


As usual in the freemium space, there are usage terms and conditions. And there are different license rules depending on what you download. Pay attention before use can save you some grief. I'm focusing on the music and stock video but they have other free assets that might be of interest to the social media creators of the world.

For music, you can use the assets in podcast and YouTube videos.  However, they don't want you to do anything "naughty" or hate based with their stuff. That is a standard requests from most of the music and video services. 

How that get defined is up to them. Doing a historical review of women's underclothing is one thing. Doing a historical review of stripper panties with the stripper in them is another. They may or may not want their music associated with that particular audio or video essay.

It's all subjective. And in this case, geographic. 

The company is located in Australia. For (some thick headed) Americans (yeah, I said it.) that means if there is a problem or issue you would be dealing with that country legal system.

Music


There are 24 songs per category. One of the things I like is that there is a direct download. No signing in or registering.

The download format for music is mp3. You will get a pop-up notice about buying unlimited via Envato Essentials. I'm not bothered by that; I'm not going to download every piece of music that they have. 

Most of the tunes are under three minutes and would be best suited for intros and bumpers.

Video


The video clips are available for both personal and commercial re-use per the license statement. 

However when I clicked on the spinning hamburger there was the 4K paid version and a 720p version that states it is for personal only use.

I did find a fish video with the fixing for ceviche. That one was unrestricted with a 1080p downloadable version.




Which leads me to the bug-a-boo. There is a section that does have free video downloads. And there is a restricted video license for other videos. 

I'm real sure I clicked the free one. I landed on a restricted burger video.

Check and double check the asset you select.

Another concern is YouTube. The bots are running hot and heavy over the service. If you have a problem or get a strike you've got an issue. 

Mixkit does provide their email address. They will do what they can. But you didn't pay them. They don't have to help you clear the strike. And the more folks use their free version of the service the greater the potential for a strike.

Summary


The service does provide free assets. I think to be fair about it you should probably give them attribution when it comes to using their music. It might help to acknowledge that is where you got it from. 

It would also be a good idea to make a copy of the license page with the date that you printed or made a PDF of it. Because terms can change and you want to prove you were operating in good faith at the time of the download.

The video side is a bit tricky. You have to be aware of what you are clicking on to be on the safe side. 

Check it out and see if it is a match for you.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Checking Out Upbeat.io for Royalty Free Music

I think every other week someone asks a question about using commercial or pop music in a podcast of video. There are folk that declare that they have never been caught and don't worry about it. 

There are many more people that are educated and have good sense that talk about not to do this. Not for eight seconds. Not for three. Flat out don't do it.

Me, myself I tend to attach a source to convince those of the cement dome why they should not do use commercial or pop music. I lean toward the academic so I have no problem plunking people toward the Stanford Library Copywrite Principles Primer

I like the stuff at web host Blubrry that explains why not to do it.

Or I could point folks to a Nolo.com post about the topic. The answer is from a legal point of view but, nope, don't do it.

Which leads folks into either commissioning someone to their music or making use of the various Royalty Free Music websites. 

This is going to get confusing very quickly.  Hang in there.

Royalty Free music services have a collection of music or sound effects for sale. That music can be used multiple times (per the condition of the license) after purchase. Meaning you don't have to pay each and every time a music track is used in a podcast or video.

Generally there is a fee associated with Royalty Free Music. But not always money.

For example, Purple Planet Music does provide music for attribution. Meaning you can use their songs provided you make sure that their name and/or website is visible in the finished product. 

The payment is by attribution. If you don't want or can't do that they do have a fee for track purchase option.

Which brings us to Upbeat.io.



Main Page of Upbeat.io website.

This is a relatively new service that is offering free music for creators. And right on the screen it says no copyright claims.

I am a person of doubt. Before I download anything, I keep reading. 

My first stop is the Help Center:

YouTubers, streamers, podcasters, vloggers, and social media maestros, that means you! If you're a solo creator or part of an organisation with up to 10 employees, you can use our music on any open-distribution platform, so long as your content isn't paid advertising

Ok, so far, so long as you are not using the music to create an advertisement it seems like you are go to go. 

When you create an Upbeat account, you agree to the music usage policy, which explains what you can and can't do with our music. When you download a track, instead of a complicated license, you simply receive a unique Uppbeat Credit that's linked to your account. For YouTubers, the Uppbeat Credit can be included in your video’s description to proactively clear copyright claims.

Hold on, there is a music usage policy. And if the video is being uploaded to YouTube you have to place a credit in the description to knock out the YouTube music chasing bots. 

Understandable, but I have a feeling there is more. I found the more. The actual service is a company called Music Vine Limited dba Upbeat.io. 

I am not, nor have I ever been a lawyer. This is my understanding of what is being presented.

  1. If you decide to use the service, you have to abide by the rules of the service.
  2. They can stop, change or remove the use of the service at any time.
  3. You can make limited alterations of a track, suck as using just a section of it, limited sound editing and minor enhancements.
  4. You can't "sample" the track or make a derivative work.
Yadda, yadda more legalese until you get to section 9.5

9.5   If you are a consumer user, please note that we only provide the Platform and the Tracks for domestic and private use.  You agree not to use the Platform and the Tracks for any commercial or business purposes, and we have no liability to you for any loss of profit, loss of business, business interruption, or loss of business opportunity.

There it is - the gotcha.

Because what constitutes domestic use? This company is located in the UK. I'm not. 

And posting on YouTube or other social media sites is a very public and now days, internationally public activity. Are they saying that yes, if you lock down the video and only show it to friends and relations, that is ok?

But if I use it in a tutorial that may or may not be popular then does that becomes a violation if it does?

And if it does, will Music Vine come back to me and say "hey, you violated the terms of service, either take the video down or pay the commercial rate?"

I'm not feeling comfortable about this. 

You will have to evaluate if this is a safe royalty free site to use. You might like their stuff. 

Maybe just go ahead and pay the Upbeat Premium monthly rate of $6.99 a month to get whitelisted on the 'Tube.

In my opinion, I don't think this "free" offer is free enough of potential trouble. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Biteable - Creating Podcast Audiograms

This is a look at the 2021 version of Biteable. It is an online video editor/presentation service with a number of templates that can be used for social media creation and can help you create podcast audiograms. 

Way back in 2017, I had a subscription to the service. I wanted to make explainer videos. It wasn't as easy as I hoped. 

I remember it was more finicky that I wanted to deal with at that time. I bailed out of renewing my subscription. 

Honestly, I forgot about it.. 

Time marched on. I was looking at another audiogram service and the name popped up. So I come with a raised eyebrow but willing to give it a second chance.

Just a head's up...

Biteable free version can be used for non-commercial use. You may be restricted from using some of the assets available to you. You can download to 720p with two Bitable watermarks on the video.

Biteable Premium and above allows for full access to assets, no Bitable watermarks and export at 1080p video.

What You Will Need


Familiar with navigating to folders on your computer. Drag and Drop or knowing how to find a file or folder will help.

Being patient as you learn how to use the interface, especially on the pre-created templates. 

Devices

Chromebook/Mac/Linux/Windows via a browser.

Assets

Podcast album art

Audio recording - mp3 or wav format

Getting Started

You can start with a blank template or use a template with a pre-designed format.

This is one of the rare occasions where I would suggest starting with a the video tutorial on the site. Then use the blank template to get a feel for the work area.


Dashboard of Biteable Screen


This is an introduction video from the company on how it works.




Advantages

Once you get the hang of it you can quickly create a podcast audiogram. You can create audiogram videos for the various Instagram, Facebook and YouTube formats

You also have access to animations, audio, and video assets.

You can upload your audio narration.

My 30-second test video mp4 video download was quick. Your experience could be different.

The free version contains two watermarks on the video and downloads as a 720p video. For a podcast audiogram, that should be enough. If you have video, it may or may not be an issue.

Disadvantages

No Captions/Subtitles

There is no native captioning/subtitles. For Education creators that could be a concern. 

You could manually add text on an image. Some of the image or video layouts may not be accommodating to displaying text on the screen.

Audio Narration Fade Out

You can select music to go with your podcast audiogram. You can also uploading your narration.

Which I did; had my album cover and my audio.

I discovered that the audio faded out before the narration was completed. 

It took a bit to figure out that you can add a duplicate screen of the album cover. 

This will allow more time. I added two additional duplicates. That solved one problem. But that created another problem.

Accessing Support

I needed to trim the silent time from the end of the video. When I went to look for the help pages or FAQ, I couldn't find it. There is a menu option for support. 

I typed in the word "trim" because now I had too much image and not enough audio. 

I was given suggestions on an un-related topic. I could have done a chat session. I chose not to do that. 

I went back to their YouTube page and watched another demo video. I eventually got an answer.

Editing and Deleting Assets

If you work with a template you might find that you need to remove certain assets. 

Removing the text blocks is very easy. But if you wanted to change a video or remove a scene you have to find three dots on the audio or video track. Left click on the track and they will appear. Click the dots and select delete scene.

To a new user who hasn't seen the training video, it isn't obvious.  I think the idea is to for users to make a few text or image changes to the template and let it rip. 

Summary

Bitable has a lot of pre-made templates to help creators get started. If you want to get a look at the templates, you can check out their YouTube channel

Has it improved? Yes, absolutely. 

For novice video creators, this could work as a simple podcast audiogram generator.

If you are a creator that has to churn out social media ads, podcast audiograms or other content this might work for you. 

If you need power and control over every element then go hug on Adobe Premier or Vegas Pro.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Create Podcast Audiograms with Veed.io

There are dozen's of podcast audiogram services that have easy interfaces and one that are not easy but give you a lot of flexibility. The trick is to find the service for you, your budget and skillset. 

This is a quick look at a service called Veed.io

What You Will Need

The website would like you to register/sign in. However, you can actually give it a test run without a  account if you land on a template information page. I appreciate sites that let's folks try before you subscribe.

Devices:

iPad/Mac/Linux/Windows via a browser.

Assets:

Podcast album art

Audio recording - mp3 or wav format

Getting Started

Looking at the Create section of the Veed.io website is like finding a needle in a haystack. 

There are a lot of templates that do similar things. The template make it easy to get the task done but you have to figure out which one gets you closer to what you want. 

At the time I was checking out the site, there was no podcast audiogram template. There is a Voice over Video template. There is also a music visualization template, if you want a sound wave image.

Both of those will get you in the neighborhood of a podcast audiogram. This is a tutorial video from the company.


Advantages

Once you land on the right template page, it is an easy process. 

The free version has a watermark in the upper left corner and you are limited to under 10 minute podcast audiograms. 

The videos will be rendered in 720p. If you are uploading an album cover and voice that might not make a difference to you. 

In addition to the tutorial videos on their YouTube channel, you have instructions about the various styles and their other apps, services and social media tips. 

Other than that, there is no other support for free users. Paid basic users get chat based tech support, 1080p videos and 20GB of storage.  

Disadvantages

It was a little fiddly to get started. But once you get use to the interface, it was bing, bang, boom and you are done. I had to find the right how-to information page for audiograms. 

Sometimes I'd click something on the main website and was bounced to the YouTube channel. Where there a a lot of videos. And yes, there is a filter at the top of the YouTube channel page so that you can search for a specific term. 

I don't always remember to do that. 

Once you land on the right template, don't assume that there isn't addition options on the screen. You might have to scroll down to see them. You necessarily have to accept the default items. For example, I found out by accident that there were more sound wave options.

Summary

If you are a hit it and quit person who wants to make videos, you will like Veed.io. All you have to do is add your assets, make a few tweaks and get an audiogram. 

If you have to crank out podcast audiograms this makes it bone simple. I'm thinking about people that want to change the album cover every week but everything else remains the same. 

I'm also thinking of those folks that do not like timelines. or traditional video editing programs.

I liked the easy way I could correct the transcription but in my test video it was very short. If I had to clean up more than a minute or so, that could be a concern. 

I also liked the ability to make gifs from a video - I can see an education use for them and this is the easies way I've seen without having to subscribe to a gif service.

For non-tech folks it is certainly an option.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Demo of Podcast Audiogram with Adobe Spark Video

This is the full demonstration of how to create a simple audiogram using Adobe Spark Video.

I intentionally limited to creating a very simple podcast audiogram, however Spark Video allows you to add text, captions, music and other design elements. 


 


The free version gives you access to everything you need but the video will be watermarked.  If you keep it simple and uncomplicated you will do fine. Start loading it up with everything and the kitchen sink, and there will be issues. 

I have to say I've tried using Adobe Spark Video for a number of years. I've had crashes. We've cussed each other out. I think we are now at a point of understanding.

Respect it for what it is. 
It is an opportunity to simplify.
To be creatives within the limitations.
To embrace that will give you peace of mind. 

One issue I should have gone into more detail in the video. If you upload a clip from your podcast using the music upload feature you might have to chop the audio into clips. And there is a chance that Spark Video might believe that you uploaded music and start to repeat your audio at the end of the video.

Nothing a little tweaking in a video editing program can't take care of, but you should be aware of it. 


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Adobe Spark Video for Podcast Audiograms

The software/app provides an interesting way to create a simple podcast audiogram. It is a wee bit quirky but it does work. If you respect the limitations.  

Adobe Spark Video is a grand lesson in managing expectations. This isn't Adobe Rush. It dang sure isn't Premier Elements or Premier Pro. It is a niche product that can do limited things very well. 

What You Will Need:

An Adobe Account via:

  • an email log-in
  • an existing subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud
  • a social media account from either Google or Facebook
Devices:

  • Chrome via browser
  • Mac or Windows on-line via browser or desktop application
  • iPhone or iPad

There is no Spark Video Android app at this time, but you might be able to use the browser version. There is Spark Post for Android that can design and animate graphics.

Assets:

  • Podcast album art
  • Microphone (Optional)
  • Audio recording - mp3 format

Test of Voice Only Video



Test of Music Version





Advantages:

You can record directly into the app. You can also upload your own music or a mp3 voice audio clip.

Let's talk about that. You can do that and attach it to your slide. It needs to be short, like under 30 seconds. 

The software thinks that you are uploading "music." You might find that the audio clip might repeat again at the end of the recording.

You can do customizations, add stock music, access some free stock photos and image icons.

The free version does almost everything you need to produce a simple podcast audiogram. You will have an Adobe Spark watermark on the video.  To remove the watermark you can purchase a monthly or yearly subscription to have it removed.

Disadvantages:

Based on my prior experience with the software, I would say that there is a safety limit of about ten seconds of recording per slide. Yes, it does indicate that it can go to 30 seconds. 

I would not trust it. I have had crash and burns when I tried to overload what it could handle.

You could duplicate the slide to gain more talking time. That would work. 

You can upload video. If it is 30 seconds or shorter. Load fifteen minutes if you want to. You will only see or select about 30 seconds of the video. 

Free version contains watermarks on image, a credits page and a non-removal page banner from Adobe. Ethically speaking, these items should remain on the video. For the non-ethically impaired, pay for the App or don't grip about it.

You really should read or be aware of the Community Guidelines and the Adobe Terms of Service

The short version is they own their stuff.  You own your stuff. Don't steal other peoples stuff . If you do stuff that is illegal, hateful or violates the terms of service you are gonna get bounced. Know that your podcast audiogram might not be the kind of content that Adobe would want to associate with their brand or community. 

Summary

With a bit of tweaking and elbow grease you could make something interesting. There are easier and slicker apps that can make an audiogram for you. If you can work around the limitation, there is gold in them there hills.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

David Lee King's Primer on Web Video

Update 2021 This is a very old post that leaped forward in time. I found the slide dead and was fixing things. This happened. I'm actually working on a project for podcasting audiograms. But from the early days some things stay the same.

David Lee King is a librarian and a videoblogger. This is a slide presentation on what web video is, what you need to get started and for those on the book beat how can it used to support the library's mission.