Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Videobbloging 10 Years Later 5by5 Interview

It is the 10th anniversary of video on the Internet and the videoblogging group. The Yahoo Groups interface was clunky but a group of people from all over the world got together and figured out how to place video on the Internet.

And unlike what passes for social interactions these days we actually listened to each other, supported, disagreed with facts and met up at various functions. Not saying we were angels I felt it was a safe place. Many people did.

So no, you don't have to damn and cuss someone back to the 9 generation because you disagree with a statement. I digress. It is a peeve.

This is an interview by Jen Simmons with Jay Dedmon, Ryan Hodson and Micheal Verdi. If you are having trouble playing the audio or would like to read the transcript you can visit Jen's The Web Ahead page.

Now I don't want to be misunderstood. There was video on the Internet before the videoblogging group. But it wasn't remotely easy to do. We are talking postage stamp sized videos. I remember video from the hoochi-coochie sites and from tech sites like the original Code Monkey and Help.com

Back in the day, people were trying to transfer analog content from VHS and Hi-8 to the web. You needed a converter. Which there wasn't one on the consumer level until the 2000s. Sometimes that was done using software but it was still tricky.

A lot of things had to be figured out.

And just when that had been figured out came the digital camcorders and memory card storage appeared on the scene. Boom, change again. Then Smartphones recording video. Kaboom, disruptions again.

Now Google glass and the knockoffs.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Changes at Danosong and Fighting DCMA Notices

Coming up from vacation mode with a sad notice of change. One of the two places I visit for podsafe music is Danosongs. It appears that folks can't directly download music anymore for their videos. You still can listen to his music or pay a donation fee for a track.  More on that later.

There are a number of mouth breathers, attorneys and low knuckle dragging beasts that are using the DCMA act to make false claims of copyright infringement; even though Dan O'Conner granted Creative Commons use of his music with attribution.

Yes, there are people out in the wild that for kicks that will put in false DCMA requests.  Reasons:
  • Kill or slow down the competition
  • Don't like the content and use the DCMA to act as their own personal censor
  • ContentID Match Software bots that don't understand about multiple users selecting the same Creative Commons song.
  • Slime buckets attorneys and the software that loves them that ain't got nothing better to do than to file false DCMAs.

Dan was getting pelted with people coming back to him because YouTube yanked their videos.  There are only some many hours in the day and no one wants to spend 23 hours trying to convince YouTube that your clients obtained the music legally.

You can check out Dan's FAQ page on what to do if you have downloaded prior versions of his tunes or still want to use some of his new work. 

So, what do you do if you get a false DCMA notice?

Like I have been telling folks; make sure you have a copy of the page of the website where you got your music. You can make a PDF of it or place a paper copy in a binder. You want to be able to prove that you are not in violation.

You will want to go to the EFF page specifically on YouTube take down notices.

This might help but it may not. YouTube has gotten cozy with Universal music so if you song sound remotely like one of their tunes you might have issues. Even if it is clear Fair Use you might have issues.

Also check out FairUse.org article on YouTube Refuses to Honor DCMA Counter Notices

And you'll want to read VideoInk's article from two entertainment attorneys on how to fight a false DCMA notice

In the meantime; those of us that need affordable music can make use of YouTube own audio library of tunes. I'd lay a dollar to a donut that this will not stop false flagging but it will be interesting to test it out.

You can also hippy hop over to Vimeo's music service where you can buy an affordable track with no muss or fuss. Again, document your sources and do the best you can in the turbulent times.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Batch Video to Photo Converter Using Sony Movie Studio

Last time I mentioned how folks can use almost any version of Windows Movie Maker to extract a photo from a video. And if you have under ten photos this is doable. But what if you want to get a bunch of photos from a video clip?

If you have Sony Movie Studio, the consumer level video editing software you can do it in a snap. If you don't have Sony Movie Studio then check out the video editing software that you are using, it might have that feature. Eh, maybe. More about that at the bottom of the tutorial.

Step 1: Place the Video on the Timeline

It is assumed that you know how to put a video clip on the timeline. I would strongly suggest that you edit or trim to just the segments that contain the photos you want. Keeping the video under 1minute in length is good, 30 seconds is better.

Here is why: 30 frames per second x however many seconds of video = a heck of a lot of photos. You really need to trim your video to get just what you want or you could have thousands of photos on your hard drive.

Step 2: Select Your Hard Drive Location

Click the Make Movie Button and select, Save to Hard Drive.

Step 3: Select a Location and the File Type of Your Photos

Make sure that you know which folder your photos will be saved. You also have an opportunity to select the file type. If you know that you are going to make animated gifs then select gif. If you are planning to make a photo montage then jpeg would be a better choice. When you are ready, click the Render button.

When completed you will have a photo with either hundreds or thousands of photos.Yes. It can be a lot of photos.

What Is the Catch?

Yeah, there is one. Sony redesigned their entry level video editing software. There is Movie Studio and Sony Movie Studio Platinum 13.

Sony removed a lot of features and made Sony Movie Studio more user friendly. Kinda. From a quick sweep of the manual, I do not think that the entry level version allows you to batch convert from video to photo.

I believe that Movie Studio Platinum 13 does allow you to do the conversion.  The older versions of the software also perform the batch conversions.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Extracting Photos from Video Using Windows Movie Maker

There are times when you might need to convert a small section of your video to photos. There are a lot of good reasons for this; you might want to make a montage or a gif animation.

You don’t necessarily have to buy an app or software to do this; you might have what you need already installed on your computer. I was just about ready to purchase software to convert photos to video when a wee small voice in the back of my head said, "Hey, don't you have software that can do that?"

Besides some of those video to photo software sites look real dodgy. I don’t want malware, spyware or a whole bunch of yuck installed on my system. 

That small voice also reminded me that I'm on fiscal lock down for the next couple of weeks. When I thought about it, I have a number of software programs that can grab a photo from a video so I'm going to share how to do that.

Cuz I'm a giver.

Windows Movie Maker and all prior incarnations. I'm using the current Windows 7 64-bit version but you can even do this on the XP version of the program.

Step 1: Load Your Video into Windows Movie Maker

Step 2: Move The Cursor to the Location Where You Want to Extract an Image

Click the area in the video you want a copy of the image. You are looking for a black vertical line that will match the image in the Preview screen. The photo is going to be the same size as the video. Meaning, if you recorded at 1280x720 your image is going to be the same size.

Step 3: Click the Snapshot Button-thingy

Yes, it is that simple. Click the button to open the place where the photo will be saved. You can accept the system generated name but I would suggest changing it into something you will remember.

For those of you on an older version of the program there is a camera icon on the Preview screen. It works the same way.

 In my version of Windows Movie Maker the photo will be saved in the PNG format. Not a bad thing unless the program you plan to use the photo doesn't accept PNG images. Now days that is rare. Not to worry; if it doesn't you can always go an image editing site like Autodesk's Pixlr to convert the image.

And that is it. No muss. No fuss. And you can save yourself $20 and potential harm to your system.

Now, this is ok if you have at best five to ten photos to extract. If you want to extract 100 at a time then this isn't the way to go.

Anything Else?

Yes. The modern version of Windows Movie Maker plays a lot nicer with a video files formats. It will accept most but not all variations of MP4 videos. It doesn't like videos that are associated with the Quicktime format.  

The quality of your photos is going to be as good as the quality of your video. If you are thinking about making prints from the images it might be okay or it not quite up to snuff for anything larger that a 4x6 photo. Then again, something could be better than nothing.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Drat I'm Still Testing Adobe Voice

With a paper and a final due it is a challenge to post but I'm trying to use Adobe Voice as part of my project.  There have been some issues but it is coming along. This is a first generation product so I have to remind myself to be chill.

This is the reason I have to remind myself to chill:

Creating a project is easy. Creating a good one still takes time. But once you upload the project to the Adobe servers and you want to share the fruits of your labor you will probably see the above screen.

You will have to try again. Sometimes in five minutes. Sometimes in an hour of so. Remember; the video is not accessible on your device. You have to upload to the Adobe site and then view your video.

There are other options like posting to Twitter or Facebook but it is the same irritation. If your fellow Adobe Voice users are creating and uploading video then there is a problem.

Folks are finding solutions to the issue. Some folks are using web services to download a copy of the video so that they can re-post on Vimeo or YouTube.

Some folks are using screen capture software to make their own copies.

There are some quality issues; if you use certain highly saturated colors they can look streaked or have weird unintended patterns.

So this photo is a frame from a test video. It was created with a solid orange background. But let's say, hypothetically it was recorded using a screen capture program (SnagIt). The rendered version has streaks and blotches in the color area.

It might be better for me to select black, white or a softer palette. Still in the lab.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Quick Look at Ca7ch Lightbox Camera

Somebody please get engineers a date or two. I can't keep up with all of this innovation! Your next recording device might be a 1.5 inch camera called Lightbox from Ca7ch.

This is currently a Kickstarter campaign but it is gonna happen one way or another. Basically your can have Lightbox record a single photo, quick video or audio. That isn't all that new; other devices can do that as well.

What is a bit different is that by using your Smartphone the video can be transmit the recordings directly to the cloud. You can attach the gizmo to your clothing; press a button and record what every you encounter and transmit to another location?

The is good. This is also creepy; in a good way. Not to mention you will need to increase your data plan. Wait; almost forgot the important part -- yes there will be an Android as well as an iOS app to help you do the do.

Let's see, there is an 8MP camera that record 1080p at 30fps.  It is connected to your phone via WiFi or Bluetooth and the video is stored on the Ca7ch servers.

I can't quite get a bead on the retail price; I'm guessing it is $180. That gets you the device and 5GB storage on their cloud.

Anyway, I gotta go but wanted to give a head's up about it. I've already violated my once a year Kickstarter rule but that doesn't mean you can't check it out the Lightbox campaign.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Videolicious Quick Storytelling App

On the other side of the animated video bum rush of apps is an application like Videolicious. You tap, record, tap record again and the app will compose your video for you. This is an iOS app for quickly creating an edited video experience. That sounds mushy but basically you record the video and the narrations and the app does the rest.

Here is a demo from the company:

It is very similar to Adobe Voice in that you need to know the story your want to tell, gather your clips, record your narration and let the device compose the video. Like Adobe Voice, there is a provided music source and video effects that you can add to your video.

I can't seem to confirm it from the web site but it does appear you can save and download the completed video.

So, Who Is It For?

Well, I found it on a journalism site; I'm guessing that with the number of reporters that are now being asked to create video with their written content this is a time saver. In the commercials that I've seen it is also being touted to the business community.

I definitely can see a place for it in education videos and text or non-techy creatives who want to dabble but not dive deep into video production. This could be a great thing for travel bloggers or those that want to do mini-videos of certain environments.

Too Good To Be True?

No. Seems very straight forward if you can live with the limitations. This is a processed video. Process can be good but there is a difference between artisan Swiss cheese and processed Swiss cheese.

This app will help you to produce a smooth video. No question about it but it will be formatted like every other video produced by this app. It will be up to you to inject vitality and enhancements that set your video apart. The app makes it easy to create content but you will have to step up your game if it is a video that people want to watch.

For personal use it is free and the pricing for small business use is very reasonable.

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