Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Bread Narrative CVNB Weekend Project 3

The weekend is almost over you say. Tosh! You got a whole day. This won’t take long. Everybody has a story or two in them. Now I could say pick a story from your life and tell it.

Yes,  I could do that. But that isn’t the project.

The project this week is that you need to tell a short story about bread. Not bread as in money. Bread as in the stuff you eat.

Hear me out. Bread means different things to various cultures. In the culture that I was raised  I was told on an hourly basis that Wonder Bread is the only bread to be consumed. Sunbeam bread as a runner up. In-between my daily dose of Hulk smash and Spidey sensing was a Wonder Bread commercial.

We didn’t know about homemade breads or “real bread.” Cornbread, ok yes but you typically didn’t make a ham and cornbread sandwich. Not really the same thing.

So yeah, I could do a piece on consumer culture, indoctrination, or discovering the joy of Black Russian Rye bread.

It can be a first person narrative. It could be an exploration of the bread you have eaten or your first encounter with a pita, naan or fry bread. It could be a slide show of your favorite bread experiences.

Elements in Your Video
Title, doesn't have to be at the beginning.
Video no more than three minutes, less it you can tell the tale. 
Closing credits. If you use music please use public domain, Creative Commons or the music that came with your video editing software. Corel VideoStudio users know what I am talking about.
Inspiration Videos

What kind of story can you tell about bread? Check out the videos below.

  • Sourdough Bread Making in Lyon, Paris
  • Cooked Bread via Cooking with Clara. You get a two-fer with this video. She talks about her work experience in the depression and she shows you what to with hard stale bread.
  • David Mitchell’s Soapbox on Bread and Butter.
  • Bread, Not Bombs video of a tank covered in Bread at the G-20 Summit from NKT Kenya

Each one of these videos has bread as the subject but they are handled in very different ways.  How you choose to proceed is up to you.

Related Posts
Digital Storytelling Example of Personal Narrative Video
Quick and Easy Storytelling or Planning Is Good
Vimeo Has A Music Store for Your Videos

Friday, June 29, 2012

CuePrompter When You Need to See What You Say

Let's say you need to remember a patch of dialog or instructions as you record. You might want to take a look at CuePrompter. It is a teleprompter that works in your browser.

You type or copy in the text, decide on the background color and wango, a new tab will open with your text. .By the way, if you need sample text for anything I like the English translation of Loris Ipsum by Cicero. It is actually kind of interesting to read.

I can imagine this kinda thing being useful when you are making a separate audio recording to add to a video later. Or as a practice script reading device where you can better gage the pace of what you are trying to say.

It is free. There is a 2,00 character text limit but that shouldn’t be an issue. That is about it. It really is that simple. 

I like simple.

Other Posts of Interest

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Digging In the Basket of Goodies Part 2

Oy, What gives? Too much stuff going on. VidCon revs up this week in Anaheim. Conferences, conventions and meet-ups all over the place. Things might be a bit sporadic until I can find a quiet place.

In the meantime, I need inspiration. I need pathfinders and points of light. So do you.

Blogger Busters

If you post your blog on Blogger you might not like the in-house templates selection. It is hard to find a video appropriate template. One of the places you can visit is Blogger Busters. Amanda has a lot of good advice about customizing Blogger blogs. She also has free templates and custom business templates.


Ryan at 5 Things I Learn Today is inspirational. I do see things everyday that inspire or marvel at. I make a point to do so to counter balance the yuck. In addition, Ryan has a YouTube channel that when I get time I want to check out.

Time, what is time? I got time for one more. This one is gonna take some explaining.

Drinking with Bob is one of the oldest talking head videoblogs out there. Old school that paved the way for others to rant in his footsteps. Before YouTube there was Drinking with Bob. Now, truthfully  I probably disagree with whatever Bob is talking about.

If he has 100 videos I might have agreed with five of them. In fact, I had to go all the way back to November 2011 to find a point of agreement video. This is his take on Bank Transfer Day.

Bob has a point of view. I do not have to sit and contemplate what Bob is trying to say.

Actually, the dude has kinda mellowed. Really, he was major intense.

I respect his endurance. His longevity. I might not agree with him all of the time but I will defend his right to say what he has to say.

If you are open to it, check him out one time. More if you can stand it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Text PSA – CVNB Weekend Project 2

The project this week is to make a public service announcement (PSA) using just text and sound effects. Seriously. You have two elements, text and sound. That is it.

Your topic: Distracted drivers, i.e. those people that text and do other things as they are driving down the road. Not just texting but talking, eating and eye brow plucking.  It is bad, really bad and if you are a pedestrian I am preaching to the choir.

What You Will Need
For information and statistics visit the Distraction Drivers website Facts and Statistics page.  Because the information was created by the U.S. government for the benefit of the people you can use the material on the site. Keeping with spirit of the project, you can’t use the images.

A video editing program that has a title generator. Most editing programs do but if there is a way to animate text so much the better.

For sound effects, I like to use verifiable public domain material. One place to get traffic and car horns is Media College Sound Effects page.

Another place to check out is; you do have to register to download the audio files. Most of the sound effects creators at this site ask for Creative Common Attribution. You must cite the source of your sound in the video.

You could narration as well. Or not.

You can use symbol fonts but refrain from using the more pictorial ones. Really, it is about the text.

You could create text slides in a presentation program, export the slides and then import into your video editing program.  This way you could use more of the editing features and not be locked into the title generator's limitations.

It is a lot more work but I’ll give that wee bit of wiggle room. But not Photoshop, After Effects or any other type of imaging or motion graphics software. Work within the constrictions.

Related Posts

Placing A Copyright Notice In Your Video Part 3

Okay, you tried inserting the copyright symbol using the keystroke method and it it didn’t do it for you.  You have imaging options.  You can locate a public domain image of the copyright symbol.  Public domain does not mean snatching the first copyright symbol image you find in a search engine.

The symbol is not copyrighted but a specific design expression of it might be. So if you find one with hearts shooting out of it don’t use it.

I highly suggest a visit to WikiMedia Commons page of Copyright symbols. You can find Copyleft and other usage symbols. Once you have selected the version of the symbol that you want you will go to the download page.

WikiMedia Commons Page of Copyright Symbols

Make sure you download the PNG version, not the SVG image. You can generally import PNG images but not many video editing programs accept the SVG image format. If you can’t import the PNG you will have to convert it into a jpg/jpeg image.

I hear folks grumbling. Hey, I can’t add my name to that! Wait, it is white and my closing titles background is purple! Yo, it is too big!

I didn't say it was the best option, just an option.

I have one more work around that would allow you to customize. It does not involve Photoshop, Corel Draw or The GIMP.

Presentation Graphics to Generate A Title Slide

If you haven’t used presentation software before now is not the time to start. If you have experience, and you don’t need much, word processing experience will do, then you can do this in about ten minutes.

The basic concept is:
  1. Create a title or text slide
  2. Use Alt Key + 0169 to generate the copyright symbol
  3. Customized by changing the font, size, background or color
  4. Add any other text that you want on your copyright screen in your video
  5. Save as a JPG or PNG image file
  6. Import the copyright title slide into your video editing program

Google Docs/Drive

In the presentation mode I was not able to find a way to insert a symbol from the menu. I could use the keystroke method.

Create copyright symbol using Google Docs/Drive

PowerPoint 2003 and Higher

You can go to the Insert Menu and select Symbol. This will open the Character Map and bada bing, you now have a the symbol that you can customize and add additional text.

PowerPoint Insert Symbol Screen

It works the same way in Open Office 3.2 Presentation, I have a Netbook running Ubuntu. Keynote folks, I'm thinking you have something similar but I can't verify it because I don't have a Mac.

Placing a copyright notice tells folks, this is mine, I created it and you need to ask permission for usage.

Related Posts

Friday, June 22, 2012

Placing A Copyright Notice in Your Video Part 2

To me, the keyboard is faster but I know some of you want more visual options. Another way to add a symbol is to use the Character Map (Windows) or Character Viewer (MacOS). I’m on a PC so that what I’m going to show you how to find and open the program.

To open the Character Map in Windows XP
  1. Start Menu
  2. Programs
  3. Accessories
  4. Character Map
  5. Click on the character you wish to copy, then hit "Copy".
  6. Paste into the title generator.

In Windows Vista
  1. Start Menu
  2. In the Search Box at the bottom type Character Map and press Enter
  3. The Character Map will appear on the screen.
  4. Click on the character you wish to copy, then hit "Copy".
  5. Paste into the title generator.
 Again, some of the title generators in video editing programs might not let you copy and paste, it depends on the program. For finicky video editing programs it has to be an absolute text file.

Here Is Where A Text Editor Can Help

The next thing you can do is to use a text editor to strip out any code and then paste it into the title generator. On Windows that would be Notepad. On the Mac OS that would be TextEdit included in the OS or the free version of TextWrangler.

Not a word processor. Nope. No can do, there are hidden codes that can gunk up the copy and paste process. 

Here is what you do:

  1. Type the code for your symbol in the text editor to get the symbol
  2. Copy that symbol
  3. Swing over to your video editing title generator
  4. Paste the text. Your symbol should appear.
This should work. Not promising but there is a good chance you will have your symbol in your title. Plus, you will be able to apply any formatting or customization that you want.

Alternatives and Resources 

If this doesn’t work then you might want to think about using a copyright image as a substitute. You can roll your own by using a image program like Irfanview or in your preferred image editing software. That is coming up in part three.

If you need a different symbols I would take a look at the Alt Codes and Special Characters page at the Teaching and Technology site of Penn State. There is also a section for those typing with International keyboards or needing International symbols.

Related Posts

Placing A Copyright Notice in Your Video Part 1

In this age of voluntary and involuntary sharing of videos it might be a good idea to add a notification indicating what the status of the video is and who own the video.

It isn't hard, just a few numbers to have on a scrap of paper nearby. For the record, I am using a U.S. keyboard. Those of you on the other side of the creek have different keyboards, methods or codes. The concept is the same but you might have to adapt them to your local needs.

 Format of the Copyright Notice

In the U.S. you don't have to apply the copyright notice. Your work is protected at the point it is fixed in its final form.  But some folks are hard headed and need a reminder that the video belongs to the creator of the video and not to them.

The correct format is the symbol + the year of first publication + the name of the copyright holder.

That works out to be: © 2012 Jayne Doe

There is not one way to do this. You can add the notice at the beginning of a video, in the credits or slap it at the end. If you want it to be a lower third that runs thought the video you can do that too.

Old School Method

This is old school as in how the ancestors did it in the age of manual and electric typewriters. There was no dedicated copyright key. It was typed as bracing parentheses and the letter "c" as in (c).

There is a better way.

The Keyboard Entry Method

I’m a little concerned about the Mac version because I have conflicting info about the keystrokes. 

  • Copyright - press and hold the Option key then letter "g" to generated ©
  • Registered Trademark - press and hold the Option key then letter "r" to generate ®
  • Trademark -  press and hold the Option key then press the letter "t" to generate ™
It seems that some of you Mac folks can use the Alt key as well. If you can make heads or tails on this Apple OS X instructions on how to add symbols more power to you.

  • Copyright - press the Alt key and 0169 then release to generate ©
  • Registered - press the Alt key and 0174 then release to generate ®
  • Trademark - press the Alt key and 0153 then release to generate ™ 

You can copy the code and then insert it into you title generator. Or can you? Sometimes you can't and that is why there is a part two.

Related Posts

Thursday, June 21, 2012

No, I Don't Make Viral Videos

I was recording performers at Make Music Pasadena and a person came up to me and asked if I was recording a viral video. That surprised me. I responded, "No, I like to record videos for my blog."

"So you are not going to make money off of this?"

"Nope, I don't think so."

Actually, I'm real sure I'm not gonna make a penny. In fact, I had a memory card go bad on me and had to buy a new one so I definitely lost money last weekend.

Still, that question bothers me.

What Is A Viral Video?

It doesn't exist. Yes, I know people use the term viral video but that is a lazy short hand for a concept.

You could say that it is a video that gets popular. It is shared quickly via various communication paths such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and friend to friend communication. It can be a news event, a performance, an ad or an inspirational video.

There is something inside of the video that causes people to be motivated to shared quickly. Very quickly.

Can You Make A Viral Video?

Intentionally, it is possible but dang hard to do. There is not a PR company or advertiser that isn't working on creating the next Old Spice Guy campaign.

Case in point, the unofficial, not sanctioned or approved by Wrigley or Skittles, the "Honeymoon" commercial. Not safe for work or thinking people. It is a proof of concept advertisement I guess.  I'm not displaying that video. You can check it out yourself.

People were talking about this ad, which is really a promotional reel by folks who want to be hired to create more commercials. Nine million plus people have seen the ad. 

What can I tell you? Sex and Skittles sells. The surprise element. The sadness I feel about the continuing coarseness of our culture? Wait, that doesn't belong here. Oops, my bad.

There have been other ads using sex and Skittles, just not at the same time. This one video lit a fuse.

My point is that you can't make a video viral. There are videos I think should be mandatory viewing because they are important in message or clever. I share them on Twitter or G+ and I can say that not a one of them has ever gone viral.

I would love it if the Richard Dreyfuss speaking at the Library of Congress video would have nine million viewers. Because I think reclaiming civic discourse is important. At this time it is up to 442 viewers so, yeah this is going to take some time to get to nine million.

What About The Money Thing?

Um, no.

Look, viral videos become popular because of the speed of transfer from one person to another. They do not have any pay per view options. You are not going to get rich in an instant. What may happen is that people that are curious about what you have to offer will check out your stuff.

Or not. I don't use Old Spice but I did view that commercial. I'm not into Skittles but a lot of people love them.

If your video does become extremely popular you need to be ready. But it may never happen.

Now if you have a per-existing relationship with an audience like Louie CK then yeah, you might cash in. Don't forget that he is a professional comedian in the business of knowing his audience. Louie CK understands about new methods of distribution and making a product that sells.

His video didn't necessarily go viral. It was the concept of him creating a movie of his performances and selling direct to the audience by allowing them to download the movie before buying it.

That is what went viral. By passing cable networks, DVD distribution and network censors and being successful at it will make people talk.

That fake Skittles ad generated word of mouth and maybe down the road someone has or will hire the company. It is just as possible that folks would exclude them as well.

In Conclusion

No I don't make viral videos. I want to get better at making a quality video. Yep. That is where I'm at.

That is where I want to be.

Other Posts of Interest

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MakeUseOf YouTube Guide Review

There is a lot of goodies at but let me call your attention to their YouTube Guide - from Consumption to Production.

It is a simple 24 page guide that takes give you a little history, some stats and how to get the most out of the video web host. The guide can be downloaded free as a pdf or for those of you not on a Kindle you can get it as an .epub file. Kindle folks need to fork up 99 cents.

 I'd say this guide is a good general overview of the features of YouTube for newbies to uploading and editing on the site. However, I just learned that there was an alternative way to edit inside of YouTube.

Those of you that live and die by the numbers or want a better understanding of the stats and analytics but don't know what that means should scarf up that sections.

If you just want it short and sweet there is a Tips sheet on YouTube Shortcuts. That was very helpful, I did not know about Tab key.

It is a short read and helps to fill in some of the gaps. What have you got to loose? If you know it all don't bother to read it. If you are curious swing on over to the site.

Other Posts of Interest

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quck Look At Panasonic HC-V10

I'm reading, looking and lifting under the hood but I still have questions about this camcorder. What got my attention about Panasonic HC-V10 was the 70x optical zoom. Yeah, I'm zoom happy. Have tripod and will use it to get the shot I want.

The thing, is that 70x optical zooms are generally found on standard definition camcorders. You might see 10x or 35x optical zoom on consumer high definition camcorders but not 70x optical zoom. It is getting better but this doesn't feel right.

At the MSRP price of $250 and selling around the $170 in retail something doesn't ring true.  I'm going to strap on my metaphorical deerstalker cap and see what's up.

More info at Specs Page

A Look At The  Relevant Specs

Image Sensor Size 1/5.8
Total Available Pixels 1.5 megapixels

Per the specs on the web site:

Motion Image     0.56 - 0.44 megapixels [16:9]

Whoop, there it is. My older Canon FS200 standard definition camcorder has 680k.  The image sensor is about the same size too.

Optical Zoom - The actual is 63x and, as suspected, the 70x optical zoom is probably a digital zoom overlay of some kind.

HD Video Format     MP4 and it can also save video in the iFrame format which would be good for Mac users wanting to see video on the iPad.

Frame Rate(s)     60p, 30p
Manual Aperture     Yes
Manual Shutter Speed     Yes
Manual White Balance     Yes
Auto / Easy Mode     Yes

So this is a high definition camcorder that records video equal to or less than a standard definition camcorder?  That makes no sense. Yet, I give you the ocular proof. Check out this video from YouTube user torker24

Not sharp. Not clear. Some pixlation. 

I suspect...(sniff sniff) software interpolation is being used. .What is worse is that it is upconverting from standard definition to a psudeo HD video.

Interpolation is when you take an image or a video and though a software algorithm cause it to go up (theoretically) to the next resolution. I say theoretically because what works on paper does not work with the human eye. 

You can't mathematically add more pixels that what was originally recorded. Not today anyway. What you do get is mushy, pixelated and not worth the price of a 1280 x 720p camcorder.

With this camcorder you would have to downshift to widescreen standard definition to get a good recording. That isn't what you paid for. In effect, people who purchase this camcorder are not getting HD video. 

Panasonic isn't the first manufacturer to do this. I have my beloved JVC GZ-HM30US that upscales to 1080p. I don't record in 1080p on that camcorder because it would look bad. 720p is fine for web video but it is actually high def 720p, not a software interpretation of HD.

I didn't mind because I got it for $125 and I knew what I was buying.There are people buying this camcorder who don't know how bad the video will display on a HD television or even being seen on web video.

Tsk, tsk and for shame.

Oh Panny...

I have Panasonic camcorders. One of them is used for a backup to the backup camcorder. But affection cannot hide the truth. 

This is a compact camcorder and yes, it is simple to use.

I like that this camcorder has manual aperture, shutter speed and white balance. Optical image stabilization is good but when you engage zoom past 10x optical and beyond you need a tripod. With video quality this doggy you really would need to record in standard definition on a tripod to get the best quality.

All is not lost. Some of you are going to get this as a present.  If you can exchange it for something better please do so. Cuz this is not worth $160. You can get better camcorders.

If you can't exchange it then I would do a breath of acceptance then check out software like vReveal. It might help but I don't think so.

Other Posts of Interest

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In Camera Editing CVNB Weekend Project 1

There is an old school film method called In-Camera Editing. You decide on the story that you want to tell and then record shot for shot, in order until your film is completed.

Well, we don't use film we have memory cards, hard drives and, god bless 'em some folks are still on tape. We have recording devices. Yes, this is doable no matter what you are using.

Why Would I Want To Do This?

One, it is a freaking good idea. Two, by the nature of the project you are going to have to plan out or at least visualize what you want to record. Three, there will be a lot of serendipity that is going to come your way. You will have to decide do I want to record this? Will it fit the sequence of the video I want to make?

There will be choices and opportunities that will come and go. What will end up in your final video?

What You Need 

You can do this on any mobile device, camera or camcorder. Even if you can only take photos with your phone you still can tell a sequential story.

I'm going to give folks a little bit of wiggle room. You still have to record your shots as you find them and the movie should be completed in-camera.

But you can do minor snipping in an editing program to tighten up the shots, if you chose. And I do mean minor. No flipping the order of the shots, no correcting color, no speeding up or slowing down via an editing program.

Yes, you can add a title and end credits if you plan to upload your project to a video web host.

For Real, How Do I Do This?

How about Michael Rosenbaum's 5-Shot method as a planning model? Hell, it might be a good way to re-enforce the skill about making sure you have a story or narrative.
  1. A close-up shot of the hands (or object)
  2. A close-up shot of the face (or maybe an extreme close up of the object)
  3. A wide shot 
  4. An over the shoulder shot 
  5. A unusual or alternative view of the subject.
There are no failures. If you see a something happening that you have to record go for it. Then start over and make you In-Camera video.

Challenge yourself and please, have some fun with it.

Other Posts of Interests

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flash Kit Loops for Sound Accents in Your Video

Music heals all wound and if your video needs a music patch or an accent transition you might want to look at some of the musical loops over at Flash Kit. The site seems like it has been around forever. It looks it.

Visually it hasn’t been updated in years. In my browser there is a bunch of white space at the top with ads that boarder it. I had to move down the page to find the loops. Not sure who the current owners or caretaker is but a little touch-up never hurt anybody.

Once you get use to the fug ugly layout of the site it is simple to use. Select the genre that matches the sound that you want. Test out the loop in the Flashtrak Consosle player to sample the sound. If you like it then click on the link to go to the download page.

On the download page you can see all of the details of the music loop. The length, the type of music it is and the file format that you want to save it in. For better quality save it in .wav audio format. If you can’t import .wav files then save it as .mp3. Or vice versa.

There are all kinds of contributors to the site. Folks doodling on their home equipment, there are experimenters, the pro-am circuit and those that want to sell their loops under a royalty free deal. You will need to make sure you understand the rights assigned to each music look.

Before you download the file, check the license.  Freeware means you can use it anyway you want to but attribution is a good thing. Linkware, as it meant in the olden days, means that you can use the music but you must place attribution and provide a link to the creator’s web site.

Royalty Free means you need to purchase the right to use the loop.

Some of these loops are really old. The creators may have moved on to other websites or the link is broken. Still, abide by the terms of usage and you can’t go wrong.

Related Posts

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Audio Tips for Smartphone and Personal Media Players

The best time to check your audio recording capabilities is before you need to press record. This gets back to knowing your equipment. As in reading the specs before you buy to save yourself some grief.

I know, life is to be lived, not decoding the spec sheet.

Media players like the iTouch and Samsung Player can record video.
Since there is a wide variety of devices this is going to be an overview of what to be aware if you are recording with a smartphone or a personal media player.

Audio Tips for Video Recording

On the low end of the smartphones market the audio in video recordings is probably going to be monaural, as in one channel going into a built-in microphone. So a smartphone like the LG Optimus Slider VM701 isn't going to pick up sounds from a distance unless it is really loud.

Which probably means that it will be distorted as well. Not good.

Up on the price chain, the iPhone 4S records in stereo, has a dedicated microphone jack and has a variety of video and audio formats that can be recorded.

I'm not saying stereo is better. Good monaural sound trumps a bad stereo recording. I'm saying you have to be attentive to what your device can and can't do with sound. There are limitations but you can work around them if you prepare.

If you are going to use a smartphone or personal media player to record audio and video you can:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Is there an air conditioner near by? An electrical hum? A lot of people talking? Take a moment to really listen to the environment before you hit record. If this is an interview you want to move to a quiet location.
  • Get an external microphone if you device has a microphone jack . That is going to up the sound quality quite a bit. 
  • Watch your fingers. The microphones on these devices are tiny. Sometimes they are next to the lens of the camera, sometimes they are on the bottom.  Know where the microphone is on your device and  make sure that you don't cover them over with your pinky finger.
  • Use your feet. The microphones on these devices were not designed to record 50 feet away. If you can move closer you are going to get better audio. Note that in some situations you shouldn't try to get closer, like if there is tear gas flowing. Safety first, good audio second.
  • Before you leave your location record about of minute of room sound. You can use the audio clip to patch a sharp noise. Think of it like audio spackle. 

Another option is to carry an independent audio recording device that you can use to record the primary audio. I'm thinking something like the Zoom H-1 in a shirt pocket or riding side saddle in a cup.  Clip it to something and let it record..

Ok, gotta go. Go forth and record.

Related Posts

Hey BlogHers - if you have a question just plunk it in the comments.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Levalator for Balancing Audio for Interview Videos

Lots of folks are traveling to conferences and meet-ups. Many bloggers and vloggers with good intentions are interviewing a lot of interesting people. You got the video but when play back your video find out that one person is talking louder than the other person.

The pain. You can’t crank up the audio without distorting the other voice. What can you do? Well you can’t call The Punisher, The Shadow or The Spirit. You want The Levalator.

The software balances out the difference between the two speaking voices. The Levalator is free software for Linux, PC and Mac Users.

What You Will Need

  • You should be comfortable with finding files on your computer.
  • You will need to extract the audio from your video. I wrote about how to do that using MPEG Streamclip or Microplant Adapter.
  • The Levalator accepts .wav and .aff audio files. If you have an .mp3 file you will have to convert it to a .wav audio file. This might cause issues because .mp3 by its nature is a compressed audio format.

It is bone simple to use. You open the program and drag the audio file onto the program area. It does the whatzits and then creates a new version with a “.output” notation in the file name.

When you have your updated audio you can import it into your video editing program, mute the existing audio and then add the updated track.

This can be a big help if a moderate adjustment needs to be made. I gotta stress that is can’t balance between a whisper and a shout.

Related Posts

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

To Make A Video Balance Need vs Want

There is such an encouragement to spend money, especially in tech and video production. When I first got started in web video all I could afford was a $99 dollar camcorder. It was shaped like a bulky powder case, recorded in 640x480 .avi video and the only thing you could do was press and record.

It was enough. It was what I needed.

Currently people are recording video on:
  • Smartphones
  • Personal Media Players
  • Tablets
  • Still Cameras
  • Point and Share Camcorders
  • Dedicated Camcorders
  • Software Recording – Screencasting
So what do you really need to make a video? It depends on your and your audience.  It depends on the story you want to tell and the best tools for the job.

I think it is easy to loose sight of that when the new shiny comes slinking down the street. So let’s shift a little from consumption to production. Starting at the beginning of the process is generally a good idea. You don't necessarily need more money but there might be other things you want to stock up on.

What Do You Need?

A Plan

A plan or a good idea of what you want to create. This does not mean that you have to tell a linear story. There are really cool abstraction videos.  I remember a videoblogger who use to take old nooky movies and colorized, visual distort and slow the clip down so that it became a sensory clip of art. Dude had a plan but the results were randomly wonderful.


You need time. Yes, I know some of you can flick a button and upload directly to your video web host. The time I’m talking about is taking a moment to see what you want and making sure you record that to your video.

It might mean taking the time to stand still (if you can, for police actions you might have to be on the move). It might mean remembering to incorporate the 5-Shot method so that you have clips to work with should you chose to edit or trim later.


For those that want to edit videos you want to set up a workflow that helps you find the video and audio you want to incorporate in your video quickly. You don’t want clips scattered all over your computer. You need a file system. It really does save you time and frustration.

Editing Software

Windows Movie Maker or iMovie? Sony Vegas or Adobe Premier Elements? Final Cut 7 or Avid? Doesn’t really matter. It does matter that you can take the time to learn more than the visual cues of push this, pull that, click to make movie.  Know your software.

Understand Some of the Lingo

Bandwidth. Codec. Embed code. There are some concepts you should know but you don’t have to go deep unless you really want to. My point is that you are gonna have to learn news things. This is not bad. It is good for brain health.  You might not think so as you are cussing about why isn’t the blankety-blank not working.

It will.

You want to make a video. What do you need and what do you already have?

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Metamath Sampler Music Files for Video

I like to keep my eyes open for alternative music that can be used in videos. You have to be very careful with music labeled public domain.  Just because it is old does not necessarily mean you can plop it in a video.

What if the music is from another source? The Metamath music sampler files are a representation of math formulas in music form.  For example, you take the formula below for Axiom of Choice equivalent which is:

Metamath Axiom of Choice

and that text formula can be interpreted into a Midi music file which you can hear - if your browser supports the QuickTime plug-in. (Most do so you shouldn't have a problem.)

These tunes are not your everyday bump and grind. Some are random tones. Some have interesting patterns. Most do not have a beat and you can't dance to them. 

So What Is the Catch?

None really. These are short music bits so they might work best as transitions or quick entry/exits to a video. The author/authors have placed the tunes in the public domain so no worries about flagging a warning from the RIAA.

You can use the files as you see fit but attribution is a wonderful thing. As a precaution, you should keep a copy of the permission page in case there is a question about usage from some robot. You should do that anyway for any music you obtain and use in a video.

There is a minor technical catch to be aware of, these files are in the .mid format. You will have to convert the the file to an .mp3 or .wav music format unless your video editing program can accept Midi sound files.

Most do not.  If you have QuickTime, QuickTime Pro or Audacity you can make the conversion from Midi to .mp3 or .wav

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Friday, June 8, 2012

VidCon 2012 At Anaheim Convention Center

Dag nab it! I didn't know about this until it popped up in my e-mail. The third VidCon is gonna be kicking it behind the Orange curtain at the Anaheim Convention Center June 28th - June 30th 2012.

This doesn't leave much time to make arraignments but if you happen to be in the area you might want to check it out.

First Gotta Look At the Purse:

If you just want to stroll the Expo only and pick up on some swag you can get an Expo pass for $45.

If you want full access on Friday and Saturday that it roll you back $100.

If you want to orbit the rollers in the industry on Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday that is gonna be a $350 out of the piggy bank.

Not counting food, hotel, transportation or anything else you might want to bring home.

Looks like the Green Brothers are gonna be there as well as other web video notables.  From the looks of it there are a pound of solid corporate sponsors and panels to get your head throbbing with possibilities.

Panels, Did Somebody Say Panels?

A bunch of them. Good ones. I was about to try to list them but truly there is something for all from party all the time, stuff for video geeks & nerds and yes, panels for people that only want to talk  metrics."

It is an all ages affair and the emphasis still seems to be on community. It should be quite an experience but get a move on if you think you want to go.

The three main hotels next to the Convention Center are sold out. There are other hotels in the area but you know it might cost you a little bit more than you planned.

Good luck and I hope to find a way to at least make a day of it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Searching for Ideas In The Reels

Like the song says, "everything old is new again". If you are telling a story and that story has a history you might want to take your camcorder to the library. If you are doing a citizen journalism or activist piece this is a great place to check out.

For those of your born after 1990 this is a video of what a microfilm machine looks like and how to load it.

A few weeks ago I hit the stacks in the basement of a library. That is where the microfilm and microfiche machines are stored. I wanted to research how women were presented in newspapers and magazines back in the day. I got a lot of great story ideas that I would like to make into projects.
  • Ads that targeted a woman's looks
  • How goods and services were sold to women
  • Service articles i.e. "what you should know or how to do it"
  • How they were missing from major news articles unless they were in a crime story.
There are some challenges. You library may not have a functional microfilm/fiche reader any more. Sadly a number of libraries are getting rid of the machines.

Lighting is going to be dicey too. You might be in a dark cavern or in florescent city. You will be very dependent of the quality of the bulb in the machine. There could be crud on the screen or on the film.

Loading the reels is an act of patience.  Newbies might want to stick with microfiche to get the hang of it. Other than that it is rock and roll.

What Else? 

There are some copyright issues. The copy of the microfilm/fiche is copyrighted by the original recording company, if they still exist. Then you have to look at the copyright of the publication.

Depending on the age of the news and magazines materials these could be in the public domain.  You can write down the details and then give it a try with Public Domain Sherpa's Calculator for U.S. works and for those in the E.U. try out the one at Europeania

So if you are up to it go physically into your local library and see what stories you can find.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dipping Into the Feed Basket of Goodies

Yeah, I slept late and feel really bad about it. Or a more positive spin I almost posted this at my other blog which would have confused the heck out of folks.

Phil Campbell is from the UK and was one of the participants in the 2011 International Videoblogging Posting Month. He has a thoughtful post up on Fibrecamp on the use of value of videoblogging.

Over at Lifehacker there is an answer to the ever asked question What Video Formats Should I Use? See, there is a point to my long winded posts on specifications and aspect ratios and other stuff. 

Last and certainly not least, is a two hour Introduction tutorial on studio lighting. It comes from B and H Photo in New York. If you pick up a camera or camcorder it behooves you to have some understanding about lighting. Learn by any means necessary.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quick Look at Canon PowerShot S100 for Video

It is all I can do to stay away from the local full service camera store. Every time I walk in that joint I tend to walk out with something. A friend of mine is helping my addition by slipping me photo store advertising he gets in the mail.
Canon PowerShot S100 - More Info At Canon Web Site
I was researching another camera and everybody in the comments was talking about the Canon PowerShot S100. I went to take a look and I have to say the specs got my interests.

Normally I don't care for the size or format of these small point and shoot cameras.  A lot of stuff gets crammed into multiple electronic menus. By the time you find what you want the shot is gone. I also have average size hands. If the buttons are too small you hit the thing that you don't want to hit.

I'd have to actually lay hands on the camera to know if the ergonomics work out. That being said on the video side there are a lot of yummy things to consider.

Specs of Interest
  • 24-120mm (equivalent) lens with 5 Optical zoom
  • F-stop range 2.0-5.9 so it should do well in low light situations
  • ISO 80-6400 used in conjunction with the f-stop range should increase your chances of getting a good shot in challenging lighting conditions
  • H.264 MOV recording with a dedicated move record button
  • Video recording time on a 16GB card at 720p seems to be about 55 minutes or so.
The S100 can record at 1080p at 24 frames per second (fps) so if you needs a video that has filmic quality at this size you score. It also does 720p at 30 fps, 640 x 480 at 30 fps, and this is a kicker 640 x 480 at 120 frames per second.

The more I research about the S100 the more I like it. It has a video slow motion mode? This is a video of the slow motion mode created by DP Reviews

It's a love thing. Yeah.

I mean no. I can't go buy it. I could, but you shouldn't go buy a device that makes you drool with possibilities on playing with a specific feature. Actually, there is a lot to love about this camera.

It really is a camera for people that have a good understanding of photography concepts. You can keep it on automatic if you want to but working with the feature set gets you a whole lot more.

It's A Heartbreak

Currently the Canon PowerShot S100 is selling just under the $400 level but if it can do all it claims to it might be worth it. This is a consumer camera with more than a dash of DSLR-ish kind of features in a small form factor.

I can drool but if I can't comfortably use the device then it would be a heart breaker. I have a few more months on being on a buying lock down. I'll put it on my very long imaginary list of items to check out.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Using Irfanview to Work with Images

I have this idea. I want to use a chalkboard in my video. I found a chalkboard that I like but there is a problem.. The aspect ratio is wrong. It is the standard definition 4:3 square shape.

 My video will be in the 16:9 aspect ratio. There are a lot of ways to solve this problem. Irfanview is one of them. For quick tweeks and alterations it is the go to program.

It is freeware for non-commercial use, multilingual and dang near can open just about any image file format ever created. It is very simple to use.

Step 1 From the Image menu select Resize/Resample and you get a new dialog window.

Step 2 You will want to match the image with the recording dimensions of your video. For example,  if you are recording in 1280 x720 that is what you want to type in the new size dialog box.

Before you can do that you will need to move 4 lines down and UN-CHECK Preserve aspect ratio (proportional). Otherwise, the software will only allow you to change just the width or the height.

Step 3 Now go back and change the new size to a width of 1280 and Height of 720 or what ever you happen to need for your video. Click OK, save the image and this is what you will have.

I now have a rectangle chalkboard that is in the 16:9 aspect ratio. This was originally a .png image but jpeg image will work the same.

This works best for non-photo images like backgrounds, wallpapers or solids. There is a distortion but it isn't that obvious.

Overlay a text title or what ever you want and, voila, you can have a different kind of title screen. It takes all of maybe five minutes. Now I gotta finish the story to go with that chalkboard.

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