Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Steve and Adam Weiss did a review of the external sound microphone capabilities of the Kodak Zi8.
The ability to hook an external microphone on such a small high definition camcorder is a very wonderful thing. Opens up a lot of opportunities and options.
Currently Steve is hosting a video support site for the book and those interested in video production at http://getseen.ning.com.
He has a new book coming out called Get Seen, Secrets to Online Video that you can obtain from Amazon.com and other locations. You can find out more by visiting Steve's Get Seen site.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
ScreenToaster is a free web based screen recorder for those of you that want to quickly create a screencast and have the ability to place it on your blog.
You basically visit the website, log in and at that point you can use the ScreenToaster recorder to make a video of what is on your computer screen. I went looking for a short example video.
This is a very quick 54 second silent tutorial about the Blur feature in the free open source program known as GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). This will give you an idea of the video size and quality as posted on ScreenToaster.com
For a free screencasting program they do offer a lot of neat things. For example, you can add a webcam video to the record for a picture in picture effect.
You have the ability to add subtitles/captions - very handy if you don't have a mike or don't like the sound of your voice. You also can save a copy to your computer to edit and refine your production.
When you are finished recording you have options such as:
- Save the recording as an video file, which you can place in a video editing program. I'd recommend this option. You always want a copy of your video.
- Upload the video to a web host like Blip.tv, Vimeo or YouTube, and then get the embed code needed to post the video on your website or blog.
- Save the recording as a Flash video file.
- Post the video on the ScreenToaster website
Monday, September 28, 2009
This is Plotbot.
Plotbot is an online screenwriting program that you can use to compose scripts for television, movies and certain types of online content. You can maintain the tradition of writing alone in your jammies or you can collaborate on a writing project with a partner across the sea.
You can save your writing as a RTF file that can be read by most word processors.
It is currently free. All you need to is sign up, sign in and create the next great webisode.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I have joined the video equivalent of the Snafu Video Platoon. You name it, I've done it.
Let me explain. I bought a media player that has a wonky way of accepting videos. I went to look at the web site and there wasn't anything that could help.
There was the user forum but that was a wild west show with burnt out volunteers getting really testy about answering the same questions over and over. I eventually found some of the answers but I needed more.
I went to YouTube where teens had their applied solutions. I gotta tell you, there is a limit to how many "ums" and "whatevers" you can tolerate in a teenager produced tutorial video.
Also, I don't do warez or cracked software. Not healthy for my system or integrity.
So I see a great opportunity to put into practice what I have been studying. I could also make sense of a really bad corporate decision not to support their customers properly. Customers did complain but demonstrating why there is a problem and a solution is a great tool to have.
I knew I could do a better job. I had everything I need. I wrote a script, made screenshots and screen recordings. Followed the plan and ...
I got nothing. My ego is bruised. My rump is soar. Sigh. I don't have that tool yet.
This is what I have learned.
My Blue USB Snowflake Microphone is the bomb, as in I like it. True, it makes me sound like a 16 year old but, like you know, I have vocabulary. No really, I do like it because wearing headset mikes just did not work for me. The plosives were killing videos.
I need to sleep with the Camtasia manual because the Smart Focus feature is focusing on the wrong things. I don't know what I am doing to cause it to focus right when I want to focus left.
Make a decision on the size of the video and conform all media to that size and not try to force squares into rectangles and vice versa.
Software will booby trap you unless you prepare for more than one way to perform a task.
There is no shame is mixing static shots with video for clarity. That only took eight and a half hours to get in my head.
So yeah. I'm bummed. Back to the drawing board.
Failure is important but I don't have to like it.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
One of the first things to do is check out the eligibility and guidelines for the videos. You do have to be over 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen. Those of you younger than 18 years of age can submit videos via your teacher who can contact The Lab/WGBH for submission guidelines.
The Lab/WGBH will accept videos until December 31, 2009.
Now they are really being open about what they will accept. I viewed the introduction video and folks, if you have a camcorder or still camera that shoots video you are good to go. You can do a talking head video but there are other options to tell life stories such as:
- animated photo slideshows converted to a video format
- mash-ups, if you use your own content or public domain sources
- video poetry or text streams of consciousness wrapped in video
You do want to be very conscious of using copyrighted material. Like, don't. This is one of those no discussion, no debate kind of deals. If you have to use other content make absolutely certain it is in the Public Domain and you can document that fact.
Now all is not lost. WGBH Boston has a section of the website called the Sandbox. There is video that you could use to incorporate in your video presentation or other videos for non-commercial use. Review the FAQ to understand how to use videos in the Sandbox.
Make sure that you have permission in writing to use music. Please print out the website and the license agreement and keep that handy, if asked, to make sure you are good to go.
Anything else? No, that is about it. Except that I hope a wide range of people submit videos and attempt to tell the six billion different stories about their views about life on Earth.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I am so keeping an eye on this guy. I keep telling people it is the story and how you want to tell it. A camera and something to shoot is a good start.
Using an iPhone and iPhone Apps Richard is telling a story. This is how I found him. I went to a website that showed this video. There was something wonky about Flash and it locked up both my browsers. Twenty minutes later I am victorious in restoring my system. I find his main video location and by jingy here is the video:
According to his Vimeo page, he used the iPhone applications CameraBag, Melodica, Brushes and Banner. Mr. Hernandez is not a photographic or journalism rookie.
In fact, this is a master craftsman who picked up the equivalent of a Helga camera and made art. Richard Koci Hernandez has won an Emmy award, worked at the San Jose Mercury News and is now teaching media in the Cal State system.
He Is Also An Author
The book called Multimedia Journalism. You can sample a few pages. From what I’ve been able to explore this is meant as a guide to get you off your posterior and create. He gives you tips and suggestion, a few rules and permission to break the rules.
Mixture of Photos and Video
One more before I go. This is a promotional video of his wife’s work. One of my things is that I do like incorporating still photos into videos. I don’t think it has to be either/or so I’m glad when I see examples of it working well.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Demo Girl are actually two sisters, Molly and Maureen McDonald. In addition to creating screencasts for their blog, they also provide services to companies making videos that demonstrate client product features. They do disclose when there is a commissioned video used on the blog.
Demo Girl serves their blog visitors with information about new products and services and they get the opportunity to market themselves to potential clients.
This is another example of how people are creating information products. In this case, the reviews and video demonstrations are being used to display skills that businesses might want to contract or purchase.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
And if you have not, let me correct that situation right now. This is Podcasting in Plain English.
Common Craft's business is explaining concepts. They sell information products. They create content videos for companies and corporations like Twitter, Google and the Ford Motor Company.
Common Craft also independently creates content on topics like Saving Money (Compound Interest) in Plain English, Phishing Scams in Plain English, and Social Media in Plain English.
These videos can be licensed to various users. So if I was a commercial website and I wanted to run the Podcasting video without the flicker and the evaluation label, I could purchase a commercial license.
Common Craft promotes their videos by word of mouth, the website, YouTube exposure and by producing a blog with an RSS feed. Fans of the videos can communicate with the creators and offer feedback.
They have taken it a step further and engaged with other producers of information products to develop a network independent content creators.
Common Craft creates videos on complex topics. They allow users to evaluate their products and make it easy to purchase. Common Craft uses the tools of social media to promote their business and engage with their customer base.
Monday, September 21, 2009
For today I'd like to to suggest MediaCollege.
Much of the content is focused on professional video production. There there are sections of the website that apply to all types of video creation.
Some of the pages that apply to all web video folks:
- For home video users - how to plan a video both for those that just want to record an event and for those that want to do it long term.
- How to work with a camera
- How to frame a shot and definitions of terms such as POV
- How to interview people and get what you need efficiently
- How to use microphones
The creators of the site are the folks at Waveform Media; it is a multimedia company in New Zealand. That is how the make their money. There are Google ads on the sight but they do not overwhelm your senses.
I think this is a good place for those people that are looking for plain English explanations of video related concepts.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
12Seconds.tv allows users to upload videos from mobile phones and Internet connected video devices.
12Seconds.tv is really short form video. Record 12 seconds of your life, pitch or your on the scene observations and then upload it to site. You then can alert friends, tweeters and other folks that you have a quick video update you want them to see.
So It Is Video Twitter, Right?
Eh, yes, no and maybe. In terms of length yes you could say that this is the video equivalent of Twitter. But no, you can't view video from your Twitter page at this time on the day I'm writing this post. (I have learned never to make absolutes when it comes to technology.)
What 12Seconds.tv does do is provide a link to your videos and send it as tweet to your Twitter account. It is not just all about the Twitter. You can post videos on FriendFeed, Facebook, TweetDeck and other places.
Great, Another Ego Festival...
Whoa, no. Stop the pre-judging. There are a lot of great reasons to encourage people to make 12 second videos. One of which is that they are limited to 12 seconds. But there are others reasons as well.
I can't seem to link to specific videos so I'll link directly to the creator's main page and let you explore.
Other Posts of Interest
Saturday, September 19, 2009
You might want to take a look at The Levelator, from The Conversations Network.
This is a free software program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.
It does what its name implies. It smooths out the high and the low points of your audio source without distortion. For example, The Levelator can take two voices and even out the differences between the two.
The program can't work miracles, bad audio is still bad audio. This is one software program can help you to make sound leveling corrections fast and easy. I would suggest that you download the product directly from the website to make sure that you are getting the most recent version.
For more information about The Levelator:
- From PixelHead Network - How To Use The Levelator to Normalize Audio
- From Joe Dale - a text/screenshot version of how to use The Levelator
Other Posts of Interest
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Oh, my. I'm going to be spending time at this joint. The opening title in movies is a craft unto itself. There are a few that are better than the movies they are attached to but a good title can set the tone of a film or totally mislead you down false roads.
Goodness, where to begin? You can view the opening credits for movies like Casino Royal, Raging Bull where you can hear commentary from the cinematographer, Bonnie and Clyde as well as television shows such as Deadwood and Dexter.
Here is the great thing about this site. You can study how the title was composed. Examine lighting and camera positions. This is a great opportunity to study film and video composition.
You can also explore other films opening credits for even more inspiration or check out the interviews with those that do this for a living such as Kyle Cooper who did the title sequence for the Incredible Hulk.
I'm heading back over for more cinematic goodies to study like the opening credits for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
From the website this is the schedule:
- 10:30 a.m., Darren Durlach, WBFF-TV in Baltimore, NPPA's 2009 Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year, “Six Essential Skills To Maximize Your Storytelling Process”
- 11:45 a.m., Boyd Huppert, KARE in Minneapolis, a three-time winner of the NPPA Special Award for Reporting, “Storytelling in The Moment”
- 1 p.m., Greg T. Johnson, WFAA-TV in Dallas, NPPA's 2009 Video Editor of the Year, “Seven Daily Habits of Highly Effective Editing”
- 2:15 p.m., Pierre Katta, WashingtonPost.com, Emmy Award-winning video producer, “Let’s Dance – Finding The Right Voice and Approach For Your Stories”
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
For those of you doing video in your home with inexpensive webcams and camcorders please watch this video, the kid is telling you the straight scoop on zero budget three point lighting.
Here are additional quick and affordable resources you can check out to help you construct a lighting kit or set up a lighting plan that works.
- Bad Monkey Movies shows you an pictorial example of three point lighting.
- Flim Unleashed Club has a concise $50 lighting guide called with images to demonstrate lighting options.
- An oldie but a goody, Scott Spears has an DVInfo 2004 article that goes into details about lighting on the cheap.
Got three flashlights and a white poster board? That could work. You can experiment, reuse and recycle what you have in you home. (Hint, the 99 Cent Only Store or Dollar Store is your friend.)
Monday, September 14, 2009
Bwana of Bwana.tv usually talks about games, social media and technology. He also recorded a good 15 minute summary of what you need to get started doing audio podcasting.
Bwana has a engaging personality and he knows his stuff. You do have to make a commitment to do this even if it is posting once a month or every day. You get to set the terms of production but you gotta produce.
When you are starting out it doesn't take much but it does take effort. Anyway, this is a good introduction to podcasting and Bwana will give you the straight skivvy.
Other Posts of Interest
Sunday, September 13, 2009
He travels in a vegetable oil fueled school bus and travels the country recording stories for alternative news operations.
Flux was reporting a news event in West Virginia with a press pass. The police took his equipment and video. This is video of the event recorded by another videographer.
Flux was arrested and detained. He did get his equipment back but not the footage he recorded of the event. You can read more about that experience at his site Mobile Broadcast News.
This isn't the first time Flux has had involuntary contact with the police and it won't be the last.
Got one more example of what isn't being shown on local television. Flux recorded a progress report on an alternative school in New Orleans that is growing food and, by extension, learning sustainability skills.
You can catch up with the actions of Mobile Broadcast News, visit Fluxview.com or monitor his tweets at http://twitter.com/FluxRostrum
Friday, September 11, 2009
Now generally multi-function devises don't work that well. I've had my share of clunkers that could record video, play music and take photos. The video was either adequate or sucked, the music was fine and the photos were crap.
This is why I have separate camcorders and music players. I would love to have a single device. Is this the one?
There is video on the website that Apple claims was recorded on the iPod Nano but until folks get their hands on it and upload videos I won't know the quality for certain. Engadget is doing a quick shake down.
One thing I can do is look at the specifications to get an idea if this is the time to buy.
Tech Specifications For Video
H.264 is a codec that compresses the video in the mp4 video format. Apple has a proprietary video format called .m4v so I need to double check if they are joining the rest of the playground or does it record in the .m4v format.
VGA 640 x 480 - this shoots in standard definition in the 4:3 aspect ratio.
30 frames per second. This means that the video will record live action smoothly.
15 real time special effects that I implore you never to use on your video unless you have a very good reason for doing so like you are creating a title or something. Do it in post, not live. Keep your videos naked.
Using your computer able to upload to YouTube. I don't see anything about editing software so if you are on the Mac you are using iMovie.
If you are on the PC you cannot use Windows Movie Maker if the video has been recorded in the .m4v format. You may need to purchase Apple's QuickTime Pro or purchase a video editing software that can accept that format. You can upload directly to YouTube and other web video hosting services, if you know how.
Apple is comparing the iPod Nano as competition to The Flip and other web camcorders.
Well, yes and no. Those other web camcorders can now shoot high definition video and photo recording. The iPod Nano shoots in standard definition and at this time does not shoot photos.
Recording in standard definition is not a bad thing except that we have just switched to Digital TV. For those hooking up the iPod Nano to their televisions they might not get the video that they expected. On the Internet it is fine for the time being.
Am I Tempted?
Well, see I have a problem. I really do like buying cameras and camcorders. So I have a self-imposed rule that a year has to go by before I can consider thinking about buying a new device. Really I'm lusting after the D-SLRs with video. My year will be up in April 2010.
However, technically this is a media player that just happens to have video capture.
I'm thinking about it.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
There are still some technological constraints. That does not mean that the video has to be visually dull. I like to swing over to the Presentation community to learn how they tell stories. Presenter/Visual Designer Garr Reynolds is really good at communicating complex information.
This is an understatement. The guy is a master.
Here is one more to munch on. I've been guilty of loading up on text to communicate. These are reasons to back away from the keyboard.
If you are looking for visual design, inspiration or communication ideas you should spend quality time at Presentation Zen. You definitely should read the post on 10 Tips On How to Think Like A Designer.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This is a great opportunity for video newbies, artists, poets, non-profiteers, greenies or skilled vloggers to meet up and learn and develop web video skills. Oh, yeah, if you want to make money and want to do web video you can come too.
The folks running the event are rock solid in their knowledge and skills. We are talking the high end of the Pro/Am league. Not wanna bees but worker bees. Do not censor yourself out of going. If you have The Flip, register, if you want to know how to use web video for art or advocacy, go.
You have questions? Heck yeah, go!
From the About Page:
VideoCamp SF is a “hyperlocal” event to be held on the 16th and 17th of October. By bringing seasoned web video creators together with people who are seasoned in “something else”, we intend to train and develop various communities and individuals in utilizing the “Best Practices in Online Video” to help them excel in whatever “something else” they are up to.
The registration price, even in these times of fiscal turbulence, are very affordable if you live in the area or can rent a couch. This really is a great opportunity to learn from some incredible people.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
You do have rights and responsibilities. Mr. Krages is an attorney and has published a book on photographic law. In addition, he has a guide to what your rights are as a photographer/videographer.
Let me add that when law enforcement is concerned you should be extra cautious; cameras have been confiscated and recordings destroyed. Protect yourself first, make sure you are not interfering with a crime scene/investigation and protect your recording.
- Andrew Hudson at PhotoSecrets also has a free guide to photography and the law. Andrew does state that is not a lawyer and refers to Bert Krages for citation.
- Rannie at PhotoJunkie.ca has a Canadian view of photographic rights.
- Andrew Kantor has an 8 page Legal Rights of Photographers Guide that you can download.
Monday, September 7, 2009
It was understood that creative materials could be transformed and re-mixed into new media and works of art. It was only recently, and at the behest of major media corporations, that the length of time between copyright and transfer into the public domain were changed.
Wreck and Salvage has been re-mixing and re-purposing all kinds of content into new works of art. This is an example of a multi-level mashup between the past, present and the forces of change.
The name of this piece is Five Minutes to Live, Four Minutes to Save the World and features Johnny Cash, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Timberland. You can find this and many more works of video art on their website or you can visit their Vimeo page by clicking the link under the video.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I was lucky enough to purchase the 2007 Southern DVD issue and watched a video clip about Peg Leg Sam Jackson. This lead me to Folkstreams. Folkstreams is a collection of documentaries about American culture.
Mr. Jackson worked the medicine man circuit and was a street performer. He was something to behold. The film was created by Tom Davenport. On the website there is a transcript available because Mr. Jackson was indeed a son of the South.
Folkstreams is a wonderful place to learn about the variety of American culture, meet folks that don't fit anybody's mold and as a way of being inspired to what you can do with a camera, a subject and a story.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I need to learn to tell visual non-fiction stories using video. Dan Roam and his book The Back of the Napkin is helping me learn that skill.
Dan coaches business leaders to use visuals to explain concepts. His demonstrates that with stick figures and learning how people perceive information you can communicate effectively.
I'm going to buy his book this weekend. What cinch the deal for me was the animation videos on his web site. You can see a visual representation of some of the concepts in the book.
Here is an example made for BNet.com on Visual Thinking.
You don't need an MBA to understand what he is talking about. For those of us trying to communicate using video this is essential. On the website, I viewed the animation video about explaining an apple to a person that never saw on before I was taught a process on how to find ways to process an idea. (Not the same as the BNet.com video.)
It was painless.
Definitely visit this site and check out his blog as well.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Steve writes about how he covers events videos like the Jackson Memorial service in Hollywood, how to pitch story ideas to potential customers and how to multi-purpose your content into various income streams.
If you have an interest in citizen journalism, producing content that has a re-sale value or trying to figure out "how do I do this on my own" then this is the guy to learn from.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Under the disguise of a mild mannered comic this is an introduction for videobloggers, documentary filmmakers, artists and anyone else who wants to be respectful of copyright but also needs to use representations and concepts of existing content.
You can view the comic as a Flash animation, download a .pdf or using old skool HTML to view online. If you have that burning desire to mash up copyrighted material with your video content you have to make sure you understand what rights you do and don't have using other creator's content.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This involves using other people's content. There are ways to do this that respect the rights of copyright holders and permit a necessary free expression of commentary.
American University's Center for Social Media has a free guide to help you understand what you can and can't do when you want to uses copyrightable material in your video. There are many things to think about before you are tempted to plunk that song or clip in your video.