Monday, April 30, 2012

Learning the Buying Computer Blues Ramble

I started out yesterday writing a script for my digital story and editing video. I ended the day in total frustration because I could not find an affordable desktop computer from an on-line or retail store. In-between those sentences is a story but not the one I intended.

I have been having computer slow downs and lock-ups for about a year. My old 2007 Pookie is a dual core work horse that has served me well. No complaints, it is not a bad computer for web viewing, email and light social media.

It handled standard definition video data files just fine. Once I started using high definition camcorders  and installing modern software Pookie was uncomfortable. By 2011 she really started to slow down.

We worked through it. Got a terabyte drive for video storage, cleaned out the gunk and tried not to have more than one other program open at a time.

Still, Pookie has hung on. It is a struggle. Yesterday while typing and trying to look at what I recorded Pookie could stand no more. She told me to choose between word processing or video editing.

That was the last draw for me. So this week I'm dedicating to learning and then buying a new computer for video editing and beyond.

Know What You Want

I know what I want; not a laptop, not an all in one device and I don't want to spend more than $1,000. I'm not being cheap. I have what is known as savings. I have saved a certain amount for a new computer. This has to include taxes, shipping, unpredictables and possible new software.

Here is the short version of what I need in a desktop:
  • I5 or I7 CPU
  • 8 to 10MB RAM
  • 1 Terrabyte hard drive but 2 Terabytes would be better. 
  • Separate graphics card, or upper level integrated graphics card. I hate integrated graphics cards but at this price point I have to consider them.
Now that is a very basic list. You've seen systems like that in your local paper or on-line and you are saying to yourself "She's nuts, I've seen ...."

And you would be right except that there is a whole bunch of flim flam going on in the desktop buying marketplace.

AMD CPUs being sold in retail chains. I have nothing against AMD CPUs. If I could find a quality equivalent AMD product I'd go for it. Some of the desktop computers in retail are the AMD Phenom II x3 and X2 CPUs. This is the equivalent of an Intel i3.CPU.

There is another AMD line called Fusion. Again, you as the consumer would have to be aware that the Fusion line has four different model types. You don't want the bottom two. I could not find models with the more powerful AMD Fusion CPUs. Believe me, I looked.

Next on the flim flam list is the use of 5400 RPM hard drives. These are slower hard drives that are not suitable for those of us that edit video.

For basic consumer users 5400 RPM isn't going to make a difference.

For gamers, photography, podcasters and video folks it makes a huge difference.  You cannot buy computers with 5400 RPM hard drives. You will be at risk of lock ups and all kinds of bad things.

I'll go into detail in my next post but I have to tell you I spent six hours yesterday going through retail and online sites.

The horror. I could not find an acceptable consumer level desktop computer that didn't cheap out on the hard drive, the CPU or the quality of the build.

One more thing. I can't buy Apple. Word is they are about to ditch their MacPro line. All of my stuff is in PC land. It is not an option.

Next time, what consumer level video gal really needs in a desktop computer.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Digital Storytelling Examples - Educate the Educators

You can't throw a stone without hitting a spot where the buzz word digital storytelling isn't being invoked. Individuals, advertisers and yes, even educators all have a stake in how the story moves and informs.

Educators have always used a form of storytelling. Some teachers might be a little slow trying out new forms but there are pathfinders who create safe places for them to learn basic skills.

This is a video created the for Stanford's Teacher Education Program conference in 2009 to help educators understand the fundamentals of using digital storytelling in education. It is also an homage to that wonderful educational series of videos by CommonCraft.

Another approach is to not only tell teach but make it entertaining. Sean Bulava is a professional storyteller, analog and digital. If there is one thing this guy knows how to do is how to engage the audience. 

This is Sean's video on Quick Learn Story Techniques. Be sure to take a look at the story tips in the description section of the video.

Digital storytelling should not be boring. It does not have to be yawn inducing, and as Sean demonstrates, humor and a bit or whimsy go a long way.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Digital Storytelling Examples - Promotional Narrative

The story starts with a person or event. An extension of the personal narrative is the promotional narrative. Businesses, corporations, and institutions often use a promotional narrative to showcase and individuals story in connection to their story or to a larger community.

Author Chitra Divakaruni is a member of the University of Houston's community. Take a look at how her story is intertwined with the story of the university. The video is only 2:39 second long but a lot of information is being transmitted.

It is simple video. The video begins with her story and then demonstrates how the University expanded her talents and gifts and has done so for other students. The promotional goal is for the viewer to connect that if you go to the University of Texas you will be welcomed and you will be supported in your writing career.

You can recreate the structure of the video. You have the technology and it won't cost six million dollars.

Black Title Card - Any photography or illustration program can generate a black photo, you can use the dimensions of your video as a size guide. If you don't have a photography or illustration program (and I kinda think you do) you also can generate title cards from programs like Apple Keynote, Microsoft PowerPoint, or LibreOffice Impress
If you don't have a slide show program that can export jpeg images not to worry. You can download that graphical Swiss army knife known as IrfanView to generate and manipulate images.
Not to mention that your video editing program probably has a fade from black or title card function.

Photos - Whatever you have you can use. Scan them, transfer them from the smartphone or camera or hold them up before the camera.

Camcorder  or Recording Device - Optional if you don't want to record a in-person narrative.

Music - understated but helps move the story along. There are places you can go for music that will fit the mood of the story.
Dan-O at has a lot of good stuff in his archive. You can't go wrong at Kevin McLeod's Incompetech site, one of the oldest web music joints.
Which is why you should watch the video again to get clues on how do you handle showing a small photo? Transitions? Environmental visual accents as the speaker talks.

The tools are simple. It is what you do with them that makes a story yours.

Related Posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Digital Storytelling Example - Personal Narrative

It has been a while since I've written about digital storytelling. It is one of those terms that can have multiple meanings and so the real meaning and intent get lost.

I love some of the New York Times photo and video narratives but I also like homespun as well.

I have no way to clear up the confusion but I can show examples of the many forms that digital storytelling can take. What I can do is look around and see how folks are finding ways to tell what they observed, felt and know.

This is a video from Lauren Zeleke that she created for her English class. It is clear, simple and effective about describing her experiences learning Japanese in Japan.

How did she do that? Not technically, but constructing a story that uses voice and photos to tell a story?

Well there is a really good information page from the University of Virginia SHANTI's  wiki on Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling.

You might also want to take a look at the sidebar on the page and visit the instructional LearnDST page on how to construct a digital story.  It isn't the only way to do it but it is a very good start.

Related Posts

Monday, April 23, 2012

Martha Stewart On How To Share Information

I have been taking classes on how to present instructional information. These classes have been from informational entrepreneurs, corporate trainers and academics. I'm getting a lot of good stuff out of it and will write up my experiences in a future post.

There is one other person that I would add to the mix. Martha Stewart has built a media empire on giving her opinions and teaching her readers and viewers how to perform a specific task.

This is an interview that Martha Stewart gave to Bloomberg Weekly on how she prepares to give a tutorial. Now it does help that there are a bunch of cameras, a skilled host and the chance to re-do in a moment. That being said, her advice is sound and right on the money. Of which she has a lot of it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Point and Share Camcorders Status Report

People, it is a bad/good/bad time out in the wild for those that want to purchase a point and share camcorder. Let me put it this way, if you are going to do it buy now, there may be no tomorrow.

I'm a ground level grunt. A canary with a irritated nose. I see clearance stickers and understand the back story. Over the past few weeks I've been observing a lot of good sales.

How good?  I picked up a Kodak Zi10 for $45 yesterday. Broke my heart to do it but I wasn't going to leave it on the shelf. If I lay eyes on that Zi12 camcorder I'll get it too. The odds are in my favor.

Brick and mortar retailers have a problem. People know that Kodak is getting rid of their cameras and camcorders. The Zi10 sold for $179 retail. If you (the average consumer) are aware of Kodak's bankruptcy troubles then you are not going to buy that camcorder at that price knowing that your support and upgrade options are limited.

On the other hand, if they are blowing them out of the store at 1/3 the price and you are camcorder or tech savvy then hell yeah,  I'll pick it up.

Stores like Target, Wal-Mart and the membership stores have a choice. Either sell to the uninformed at a standard price (and have people talk trash about them) or flush the stock out and make up the difference in men's underwear.

Wait, let me show you a bit of an ad from Fry's.

It isn't just Kodak. Check out that Sony action. Ignore that pink Bloggie and dig the two on the right. Those are Sony Bloggie Touch camcorders . Those are dang nice recorders. Let me tell, you those are not the retail prices for those little darlings.

Now yes, at Fry's they very well might be open boxes or demo units. But at some point you are going to see those prices in standard retail chains and they will be brand new, never been touch waiting for a good home.

After the sales, then what? If Sony, Panasonic, Samsung (oh please not Samsung) and others decide the market is extinct then there will not be any compatible replacement products for those that do not want to use their phone to take videos.

Not everybody has or wants an iPhone. Some of the Android phones are just not good enough to replace a dedicated camcorder. Especially on the lower end of the phone market.

I have said this before. Yes, phones can record video but that doesn't make it a camcorder. To abandon that segment of the market is foolish but I'm not in advertising and marketing and haven't dated a bean counter in years.

Not that being a bean counter is a bad thing. All persuasions are welcomed here.

There are folks that are not tech savvy enough to move up to a basic level camcorder. Some of them should but they won't. The void is making a comeback.

I have been leery about posting camcorder recommendations because when Kodak bailed it was a sign that others might follow. Maybe this is a hiccup but I don't think so. 

So, things are changing but the facts remain:
Don't let the frugal get in the way of common sense.  If you don't need it do not buy it. If you know you will be recording at events, sport meet-ups or dance recitals you need a camcorder with optical zoom. Save your money and buy what you need, not what you can afford right now.
You will have to do your homework before you even think about making a purchase. If you are not computer savvy or you don't like figuring things out then this type of shopping isn't for you.
If you buy a closeout camcorder and it doesn't work out it is your problem.  You might find legacy help on the product web site. Or not. Check the warranties, terms of service and anything else you need before you plunk down a single dime for a closeout camcorder.
When you are in a store, look up, look down and look for the clearance label. If you know what you are getting into it is a sad but great time to buy.

Related Posts

Friday, April 20, 2012

SlingShot by Woxom - Kicked Up to Greatness

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Or as my ancient self use to say; "Yes, yes, good gosh yes!" For those of us packing smartphones and mobile recording devices there is now a handheld stabilizing grip called the SlingShot for Android, iPhone and Phablet users.

I kid you not. Charles Waugh designed the gizmo and it has exceeded his requested Kickstarter goal.  I've been searching for something similar and there was nothing affordable or practical to carry.

I'm in for one because I have a smartphone and a Samsung media player that needs support. Especially the for Samsung, I can take photos with it but video I get the major shakes. I don't have a secure enough grip for long term recording.

This bad boy solves that problem.

And hey, we all need support and this is a chance to buy home grown before the knockoffs make a bum rush to appropriate the design. For now the only place to get it is from the Kickstarter campaign page but as soon as Woxom sets up a product page I'll list it here.

Related Posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Checking Out Everything Is A Remix

So yes, creators do need to be compensated. No question. Not even worth a good debate about it. But think for a moment about the concepts of community, socialization and heritage. Our collective histories are build on the remembering and sharing of what came before.

Happy Birthday isn't just a song, it was adopted as a cultural meme to focus attention on the one person in the room that has reached another year or milestone. My Girl isn't just a song by The Temptations to me, it is a cultural marker of the music, the attitudes and my world circa the 1960s.

It is on of my favorite songs. Possessive noun. Dr. Who, fishnet pantyhose,bleaching cremes, She-Hulk all have a life beyond their intended purpose. And if I wanted to create a video commenting on politics today using the aforementioned content I have the right to do so.

For now anyway before it gets stripped from my hands.  There is a good non-skeezy reasons for folks using other people's content. One of those reasons is called inspiration.

Kirby Ferguson has a web site called Everything is A Remix. The site supports his web series exploring the how and why we use copyrighted and historical content. I have a smaller version of the first video. You should go to his site where you can see it in full size glory.

There are ways to do this correctly. Most of use are trying to figure that out. The music and entertainment industry is vigorously trying to keep folks on lock down. There is stuff coming down the pike that could potentially criminalize people linking to copyrighted content.

Don't think that one is gonna get too far. There is no prison big enough to hold every single user on the Internet. 

In addition to the web series on Kirby's site there are other public and commercial examples of remix culture and creative channeling. You will be surprised on just how much content is used over and over again in homage, idea modification and bending content to fit a new time and place.

Other Resources

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Look At Copyright Video from YouTube

There are strong feelings about copyright and fair use. I appreciate the problems we face in trying to record our world and share what we want others to know about.

I've been on both sides of the issue. I've had my content appropriated for commercial purposes. This was way back in the day but basically a site in Spain picked up my RSS feed and wrapped my video with ads around it. Even though I had stated on a title card in the video that my work was created for non-commercial use.

I've also wanted to share and have shared clips from television shows, commercials, and cultural artifacts that I have found on YouTube.

If I share a clip of actor James Mason in a commercial selling Thunderbird from the early 1960s am I really harming the brand of said wine maker? Or appropriating the works of the advertising agency? How about Mr. Mason's reputation?

(Damn fine actor by the way. Don't judge him on the commercial; we all need a little side money from time to time.)

There needs to be some latitude that makes re-purposing content easier and fair for both sides.

I say this to let you know that YouTube is stepping up their copyright education efforts. This is a video created by them to educate folks about what you now can and can't do on YouTube.

I have a disagreement about a portion of the video. If a band is performing in public, say at a city event, and you want to record and upload the video I see no problem with recording if there is no clearly stated prohibition. In fact,  many up and coming bands encourage that kind of user generated video creation.

That is much different than paying cash money to go into a performance knowing there are signs on the wall and on your ticket that specifically state you can't record.  Not the same things at all.

The video doesn't make that distinction clear. Also the way they handled Fair Use was not that helpful. It is a tough concept to explain. The video didn't explain it; it was stated as quickly as possible.

Judging from the responses to the video not a lot of folks seem to agree with the video but that is okay. Take a look at it, do your own research and do the best you can.

Related Posts

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Few Thoughts About YouTube's Content ID

In the every volatile war between content owners and user distribution there is another weapon at YouTube.  Content ID is an automated tagging system that will compare video or audio sources uploaded.

If there is appropriated content on a channel the copyright owner will have choices such as slapping an ad on it, collect the stats of people watching or demand that it be taken down.  You should read the post for the full details.

Not sure how this is gonna play out in real time. You do have to do specific things to use Content ID but I don't seen a method for preventing others from still preemptively stealing your work .

Also, what about public events there will be multiple people recording the same thing. All of those people have their own view of the event but there will be overlap. If a person registers their copy will all the other ones get tagged as a rip off version?

Now here is where it will get interesting. Say your see a news story on commercial tv that you want to comment on or share with a friend outside of the broadcast market. You screencast a copy, use 5% of the video then add your commentary. That is allowed under Fair Use.

Under Content ID what would happen?

There are also public domain issues. There are television problems that by accident or intent have fallen into the public domain. If someone uploads one of those shows and fills out the info does that prevent another person from doing so?

The more I think of this the more questions I have. I guess I'm worried about how it will be exploited by the profiteers and what recourse will legit folks will have to share content.

Related Posts

Friday, April 13, 2012

Example of CicLaVia Videos 2010-2011

CicLaVia is happening this weekend in Los Angeles. Many of our local streets will be car free and bikes, skateboards and all manner of non-engine locomotion will be engaged in on Sunday, April 15th.

Folks will be recording up a storm. Mainly at the cars and the drivers who will have X-amounts of cuss words to say as they cannot freely ram into a bike.

On the CicLaVia website and searching YouTube those folks that have gone before have videos posted on their experience at the event.

It isn't just about riding a bike. Is is also about being in the world and participating in different kinds of experiences.

Talking dodge ball baby....

So if you can come on out to CicLaVia or look for a similar event in your community. Be on the look out for the unexpected and the interlocking meeting of various communities.

Other Posts of Interest

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Tutorials About Vegas Movie Studio 11

I'm always on the look out for a good tutorial. There are a lot of tutorials but finding a good one is tough. This is one by Mark Zahn from Social Show and Tell. This is his 26 minute video on getting to know the program.

Yes, 26:06 minutes but there is good stuff here.

Just took a look at his web site. I've read a few of his posts and anybody that goes after slime bucket so-called Internet Marketing Gurus is A-Ok by me. Those of you that have that business itch should mosey on over.

Another site to check out is Movie Studio Zen. This is a place where you can get tips on the software that is specifically about Movie Studio. Derek Moran has put a lot of work into the site and you have to come away with a goodie or two.

Derek also has a YouTube channel where you can check out his tutorial videos.

Other Posts Of Interest

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Media Rights Video Interview

New Media Rights is a non-profit organization that helps bloggers, vloggers, creatives and other folks with the legal aspects of doing their thing.

They have a lot of good resources on their web site. If you need legal assistance for creative issues it is free. This is a video that I recorded at BlogWorld Los Angeles 2012. Here is my brief video with Shaun Spalding.

Camera and Editing Info:

I was using one of my old camcorders as a back-up at the convention. I did not know it at the time but for some reason the camcorder decided to record the video at 13 frames per second.

When I took a look at it the video in one of my other editing programs, the audio was out of sync. I had a lot of video that I tossed into a back up folder and forgot about them.

I was looking for an editing practice video for Vegas Movie Studio HD 11 Diving into the folder of desperation, I selected this file. No syncing or hiccups. No jags on playback.

So the lesson of the day is don't destroy your errors. You might be able to redeem them one day.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My First Steps Using Vegas Movie Studio HD 11

I think I found my new computer but I have three more candidates to check out. In the meantime, my e-mail is being flooded with upgrade notices and special deals.

Not really in the mood to spend more than I have to. I have 3.5 different video editing software. I mainly use Serif MoviePlus but I dip into Corel  VideosStudio. I have just about given up on Magix Movie Edit Pro 16.

My old pookie is getting more finicky by the day. Still, it never hurts to look at options. I was walking around Target and saw Vegas Movie Studio HD 11 on sale for $30. I walked past it but something caught my eye.

AVCHD? Native? No converter required? I back up and read the box:
  • Can run on XP, Vista and Windows 7
  • 2GH processor
  • 400MB free space
  • Imports AVI, RM, WMV, MOV, and more
  • Exports MP4, MOV, WMV and more.
I'm thinking for $30 I could take a chance. Normally it sells for about $45 dollars and up. I could have downloaded a trial version. Maybe I should have. My hands would not let the box go. 

So I take it home, install it, wait for it to upgrade to the current version and and get to clicking..

I get to the Welcome screen. I can have a preset project, I can let it show me how to do stuff or go into the software with nothing but a hope and a prayer.

I needed the lay of the land so I went with Show Me:

 I have to say I was intimidated by the work area. I thought I'd made a mistake and got stuck with an old school version of the program.

After I worked with the animated tutorial I felt better. You can customize the work area, use keyboard shortcuts or the menu. There is a learning curve, even if you have used other computer software programs.

For those that come from Windows Movie Maker 2 you should be able to get around. Those folks that are newbies from Windows Live Movie Maker are going to have an adjustment period.

Other software program users from Corel, Adobe or Pinnacle are going to be familiar but be prepared to hunker down with the User Manual on the CD.

Who Should Consider Buying the Program?

That is a good question. If you are a visual but non-technical person who wants to be totally guided in editing this is not the program for you.

Let me be clear, this is an excellent editing program for the price. It is a full featured bit of kit. Vegas Movie Studio HD does have navigation guide to help you get up to speed. But the program itself is not that intuitive. You have to put in a bit (but not a lot) of effort to learn it.

If you are comfortable using editing software, or are willing to learn, this is a good deal. If I have to pick a type of user I am gonna lean toward entry level hobbyist. This is for a person that has more than basic editing needs but isn't ready or can't afford a full professional package just yet.

If you have videos that record in the HDV, MTS, AVC, ACVHD, formats you might not have to futz with conversion software, you can get right to the editing. That is a might good thing.

Sigh, there is a downside. It doesn't even see MOD videos. I tried. Well, you can't have everything.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Support

Now I do believe in reading the fabulous manual but I need visual support as well. Sony does have tutorial videos to help you get the best out of the software. The videos are in the WMV or Real Media format.

The main tutorials are made with an earlier version of the program but the essentials are the same for the current version.

I say essentially because the tutorial layout in the Screen Walk video has the reverse layout than I have on my screen. You really will have to go with the flow until the tutorials are updated. You can download the videos for off-line viewing.

The training videos are good. After viewing them I could start editing with more confidence inside of the program. Now, you don't need to do view the videos to use the program. You can jump in and get going.

But there may be a point where you get stuck. I definitely got stuck a few times.

For example, I was trying to do a fade to black. In my other software programs I drag the fade marker to the timeline or move an arrow on the video to indicate a fade. It doesn't quite work that way in Vegas Movie Studio HD. I could do a cross fade but not fade to black.

After seeing it in the tutorial it is simple but not obvious.

My suggestion is to review the tutorial videos on the Sony support site first. Then have your software manual near by for keyboard shortcuts and other tasks.Also make use of the guided animation Show Me when you hit a problem. Once you start using the program it will click into place.

So I'm going to see what I can do. And that is the main thing.

Related Posts

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Titli Nihaan Also Cooks Up Videos

Titli Nihaan is a lady with a kitchen, a camcorder and a good sense of humor. Here is is how I found her.
I was looking at a video about a person living in a 78 square foot apartment. I followed another link and there was Titli.

This is a humorous video about either cooking an egg or how (not) to be a mega cooking super star.

I have to say that I have been studying Alton Brown videos; not necessarily for the cooking but for how he teaches science and food history. And yes, observing how he constructs the show.

I gotta tell you, Alton can give a person an inferiority complex. The dude and his team are just that good. With Titli, I feel you could have a fruit smoothie with her as you watch the breeze go by. I know Alton is also slurping smoothies too but I hear he is planning a new show when he isn't messing around Iron Chef. He is a busy guy.

But this isn't a cooking blog, it is a creating video blog. And if you check out her Technical Stuff page she does tell you how she puts her shows together.

The lady started out with a basic Sony camcorder and edited on Windows Movie Maker.  She has moved on up to a Sony Handycam with 120GB hard drive and Sony Vegas 10 Platinum for editing.

It doesn't take much to get started. I think the above video is a hoot. She does have more traditional cooking videos but they do have flashes of her sense of humor. If you want to see more of her work check out her YouTube channel.

Other Posts You Might Like

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Documentary - Good Copy Bad Copy 2007

The year, 2007. All kinds of debates about what is legal, what can you use, re-use or mix into a new work of art.

Good Copy Bad Copy is a documentary about copyright, the constrictions that modern copyright has on creativity and the rights of creators to be fairly compensated for their work. Make time to snuggle up and have popcorn ready; this movie goes a while.

It has been five years from the creation of this video. Many folks are starting to move away from using copyrighted content but there is a valid place to use copyright content.

There is the right way and the wrong way. How you go forward is up to you.

Resources to Check Out:

Code of Best Practices - Fair Use for Online Video from the Center for Social Media

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States - From Cornell University, this is a chart you can use to determine if a work has entered the Public Domain. It is a starter guide, it will not have all the answers. Also note that there is much mischief in the sound recording section. Those suckers are locked down to 2047 and beyond.

Related Posts

Monday, April 2, 2012

Know Your Rights Video for Photographers from ACLU

While I was researching my post on video recording and private property I found this video on the ACLU page about photographer's rights. If photographers can do it can videobloggers be far behind?

This is an animated video directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt with music from the Gregory Brothers. You don't have to give up your camera or recording device and you don't have to delete what you recorded.

You want to check out the full post; it contains information about what to do if a police officer tries to detain you or confiscate your property. There are ways of speaking to law enforcement that can possible extend your life span.

I make no promises. Not as crazy as it has been these past few months.  

Related Posts

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Two Guys from Texas and Recording On Private Property

There are only so many times I can say be careful but you know I can’t stop at one. I have written before about being cautious about recording near police officers and police activity. I didn’t think it would have to be extended to being on the alert for mall security guards.

This is a video from Texas. Two young men wanted to shoot some video outside of a Wal-Mart.  In the parking lot. This is what happened:

It is unclear if it was a mall security guard or an off-duty police officer. If you want more details, The Raw Story has a write up. 

Disclaimer Time:

I am not a lawyer. I do not want to be a lawyer. The following information is presented for informational, self-defense and educational purposes., You need to find out the laws in your own community or country. I live in the United States so that is my focus. I’ll list my sources so that you can decide for yourself.

Standing on a Public Street

You have the right to record on a public street. You have the right to record a building on private property that is clearly visible from a public street. 

Standing on Publicly Accessible Private Property (parking lots, malls, stores, walkways)

Gets a little dicey but not impossible. Once you have crossed from a public space into private property you generally need permission to record. If you don’t see any signs that say you can’t record I’d say go for it. My understanding is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you have permission. It just means you haven’t been told you absolutely can’t record.

Andrew Kantor in a PDF on Photographer’s Rights also states that if the private property is open to the public such as a mall or office building then you have the right to record.  He is a reporter/photographer so he might know a thing or two about the subject.

Recording the Exterior of a Building on Private Property

I had this experience a few years ago where I was recoding in an alley of a parking lot. I was stopped by a security guard that said the building was copyrighted and I couldn’t record in the alley of the building.

If a representative, i.e. a security guard, ask you to stop recording you will have to make a decision. They cannot ask for your camera. They cannot ask you to delete what you have recorded.

Well, they can ask but you don’t have to do it. 

They can ask you to leave. So, if the representative states that you are trespassing and you are asked to leave the property then you should probably leave. If you feel that you have a compelling reason that is higher than the owner’s rights then you need to be prepared to be arrested.

A Second Look At the Video

We that now have the basic areas of rights and considerations let’s take another look at the video.

You have two guys in a Wal-Mart parking lot taking video of the sign and the shopping carts. Since I don’t know the status of authorized agent let’s call him Uniform Guy.

00:06 Uniform Guy: Inaudible but something to the effect of don’t record me.
00:07 Guys: Can’t do video?
00:08 Uniform Guy: Not of me
00:10 Guys: …we are recording the sign, not of you, we promise.

Uniform Guy could have said there is no recording or you are are trespassing. He did not. Uniform Guy just said do not record him. That is his right. The young men re-stated that no, we are recording the sign and promised not to record him.

They resume recording and aim the recorder at the parking lot.  They are facing the parking lot, not Uniform Guy. Uniform Guy interrupts them.

00:24 Uniform Guy: Let me see your ID.
00:26 Guys: Nobody has to show you ID Sir.

Again Uniform Guy could have said you no longer have the right to be on Wal-Mart property. He did not do that. He asked for identification.  The young men were respectful but knew they didn’t have to show identification cards for recording a parking lot.

00:32 Uniform Guy: Grabs one of the young men. The young man backs away. Uniform Guy pulls out a Taser.

Uniform Guy puts his hands on the body of one of the young men. Uniform Guy escalated the event way beyond where it needed to go. The young man pulls away (and I would too if I thought I was in the neighborhood of getting an electric shock.)

The second young man briefly touched Uniform Guy. I understand how it happened but to the extent possible don’t touch or get to close to men in uniform who have a gun or a Taser. The guy was already freaking out and this didn’t help.

I just want to deal with the video recording and private property aspect of this on this blog. There is volumes more to say about what is happening but I have other places for those concerns.

What The Guys Did Right
  • They were respectful to Uniform Guy.
  • The Constitution covers freedom of expression. I’m gonna give them that one. Knowing your rights is one thing. Invoking the Constitution when a man has a Taser is another thing.
  • At 1:00 into the video when Uniform Guy tried to grab the the recording device the young men said that they were leaving. Uniform Guy will not let them leave.

Know The Facts and Your Rights

Be aware of your local laws and your rights.

Know the difference between public and private property. Look around to see if there is a sign or sticker that tells you if you can record or not.

Even if there is a sign that says you can’t record there may be a situation where you are recording an accident, a crime or developing situation that needs to be recorded. You will have to judge for yourself if it worth the risk of continuing to record.

If you have a representative of the owner tell you to leave because you are trespassing and it isn’t one of the above situations then you should probably go.There is no greater pain in the ass than a riled up security guard intent on making you know who is boss.

I once saw one a security guard pull gun on people standing in line for a movie because he felt disrespected they were not lining up they way that he felt they should have.

It isn’t worth the risk of getting shot or killed by an authority junkie hopped up on what little power he or she thinks they have. A Taser in the hands of someone really afraid in a uniform is never a good thing.

Be careful.
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