Thursday, August 30, 2012

Video Tips from ReelSEO Video Channel

ReelSEO has been doing legitimate reporting on the growing web video industry. Their focus is tracking the use of web video for business, how to improve viewership and looking at skills and tools for video to increase the amount of dollars in wallets and purses.

One place folks should check out is the video production page. It is designed to help their readers get a grip on the industry. And make no mistake, web video is becoming something separate from the broadcast/cable television industry.

Although why major players are trying to mimic parts of old school television is baffling to me.

A rant for another time. Moving on, this is a good video explanation of why some of you need to cut back on the Matrix effects in your videos. This is a video tip from Stephen Schweickart on the Simple Edit:

I like that there is clarity, humor and instructions that the viewer can see demonstrated a couple of times. I also viewed the videos on Color Temperature and the Vidddy Mobile App.

The Color Temperature one was very helpful. I'm gonna have to back track on some recent videos to redeem them. Have to say, it is worth the time to pull up a chair and take notes.

You can view the series on the ReelSEO YouTube channel or you can visit the video production page.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quick Look at Video Toolbox Web App

Another day, another video web application to explore. Video Toolbox seems to be a place where users can upload their videos and have them converted into a different video format. Before you start running for your recording device, make sure this is a good fit for your needs.

Video Toolbox is not just a converter. You also can use it to connect to certain web video hosts to retrieve and download videos, add a watermark, simple splicing of videos and merging video files.

It is a free service but registration is required.  Speaking of registration, all you need is an e-mail address and password.

This might be a good option for mobile and tablet users. Those of us on data restriction plans proceed cautiously.

A Few Concerns

Nothing too major but here they are:

You can  upload up to 600MB video at a time. A lot of people have much more than that when they record video. My assumption is that if you are uploading from a mobile device and know that your record on the lean side this could be workable.

There does seem to be a range of video formats it can handle. On the Codecs and File formats page you can get a gander at what you can bring in and export out.  No love for the .MOD or .MTS folk but there are some obscure formats you might need to flip to more common ones.

For example, there is a tremendous amount of Real Audio/Real Video files in the dark corners of the Internet.  If I come across an oldie .RAM or .RV file I could see using this site to retrieve and convert video.

The Help menu is sparse. There are videos to show you how to do tasks but that is it.  There is an on-line contact form. No terms of service. No privacy policy. No momma or poppa.  I don't know who the wizard is behind the screen.

So, I'd say give it some cautious consideration. Maybe test the service out with a separate e-mail address just for this app.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Glossary - Interstitials Videos

YouTube now has a feature where you can add an interstitial video to your playlist. When viewers come to check out your channel or when they move from one video to another they can see a promotional video that introduces, explains or brings viewers into your world.

You can get more info at the YouTube Creators blog post about it.  Interstitial videos are hard to pin down but there is a larger meaning, and opportunity, than the way it is used on YouTube.

An Interstitial video can be a video that supports a main or primary video. It can be for promotion. it can be to transition your viewers from one place, the real world to another.

Interstitial do not have to be connected to your main video. In cable television, they act as a filler between programs of unequal length. Or to add bonus content that doesn't fit in the main program.  I am being American centric, sorry to the international folks.

Not to worry. University of Nottingham's Words of the World has a good BBC/UK centric definition of Interstitial video.

Let me give you some American examples:

Masterpiece Theater - The host provides the context of what you are about to see in the program. The front part introduces the environment that the program is set and the back interstitial talks about the historical facts about the fictional program you just viewed.

The Making Of videos that appear before a classic/popular movie. These are often promotional pieces created by the original studio that can be plugged into a feature presentation.

Turner Classic Movie bumpers that look at a specific Hollywood star and why that performer is important.

On Transit TV (before they had a serious financial dip) use to air animation shorts and experimental video clips in between programs. They have now switched to airing video podcasts. They love Jace Hall.

So the opportunity here is to think about what you want your viewers to see when they click on a playlist in your channel. Or if you don't do channels that way what about bonus stand alone content that will lead folks to want to check you out.

You do videos on beekeeping and you want to do a short stand alone piece about smokers. That can be a topic for an interstitial.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fixing Audio Sometimes Is Pure Dumb Luck

I have videos that I have stashed in folders for various reasons. No time to work on them, problems with audio or not sure about how to edit. Mix that with a huge dose of "This is crap, I am not worthy." and you can find your internal and external hard drives stuffed with video.

This is not a good thing. So in-between the required household duties I am pull up a video and, to the extent possible, find a way to upload and display it. This does not always work. I found a video that is 30 minuets of the sound of it banging in my handbag.

In March 2012 I attended the Media for the 99% Summit. Robert Scheer started talking. History and journalism perspective came tumbling out. The man has got a lot to say.

As it happens, the HD camcorder battery gave out and there was no electrical socket near me. I needed to switch to one of my SD back-up cameras. I might have to stop doing that.

Seriously, the dude can go a while. I recorded the video and forgot about it until today.

This morning, I try to import it into Sony Vegas Studio HD and it is a no go, it is a .MOD video. Vegas Studio can do a lot of things but not open my .MOD videos.

I swing over to Serif MoviePlus X5. I bring it in, clean it up a bit so that his skin tone is not the same color as the background. I find a short section and snip out a bit as an introduction to this man for my viewers.

And that is when I heard it. Burrr. It would be silent and then another series of Burrr Burrr Burrr. What the heck?  I know what it is. It is the sound of the motor or electronics in the older SD camcorder.

Stumble Into Solutions

I export the audio from the video into iZotope Music and Voice Cleaner. I could make his voice clear and distinct but so was the Burrr, Burrr, Burrr. I export the cleaned audio but this was not a solution.

I thought, what if there was a white noise/audio mask for the Burrr, Burrr, Burrr? I went looking for white noise. Of which there is a lot of mp3s for very interesting reasons. One of which is babies love certain types of white noise. Parents love non-screaming babies. You do the math.

Over at not only do I find white noise, but pink noise and brown noise. The brown stuff sounded muted and defused. Perfect, I thought. I plunk it in with the intention of halving the brown noise volume to mask the dreadful Burrr, Burrr, Burrr.

It didn't work. I had the Burrr, Burrr, Burrr and the brown noise and Mr. Scheer's voice.  Toss out the brown noise and start again.

I  open Audacity and import the cleaned audio file. I'm thinking if I can snag a segment of the Burrr, Burrr, Burrr maybe I can yank it out.

No disrespect to Mr. Scheer but the man does not take a breath. He talks. Fast. There was no way to find a segment of the sound without his voice.  I am not an audio engineer. The answer could have been siting in my face as I scan the Effects menu. I wouldn't know it.

My eyes land on the track meters. I'm looking at the wave form and the track meters.

I could see that the Burrr, Burrr, Burrr happening on the right track. I did a couple of tests and that is where the buggers were. Ok, I need to delete the right track. Yes?

No. You can delete an entire stereo track. Not what I wanted. But in Audacity you can merge a stereo track to a mono track. I merged the stereo track to mono and there was no more Burrr, Burrr, Burrr. Well, it is there but it is sufficiently muted.

It was a lark thing to do. It worked. Using the cleaned copy I guess his voice on the left track was louder than the Burrr, Burrr, Burrrs on the right track. I don't know for sure.

What Worked

  • Start from simplicity. Try the simple cures first before you bring out the hammers and saws. 
  • I had an updated copy of Audacity. There were more tools to choose from and the interface was tweaked.
  • I  worked from a copy of the original file. Never trash your original file.
  • When you have tried everything you know be willing to try what you don't know. 

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Video Workflow From dpBestflow

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday who asked about video in still cameras. This is a person that a few years ago refused to have anything to do with digital cameras. He was an analog man and proud of it.

Time marches on and, if you are smart, you have to adapt and change. Or have a dang good reason for staying put. There are a lot of people recording video these days.

Most folks hit record and upload. I respect that. There are other folks that understand they need to chip away the crud so that the good stuff can be seen.

I've written about the planning process before but I want to point folks over to the Video Planning Overview page at the American Society of Media Photographers dpBestflow web site. It is written by Richard Harrington, who knows a boat load of stuff about digital still and video production.

Rich is a professional and is going to give you the solid on what you need to do to make it happen on a regular basis. Some of what he is writing about is not going to apply to casual users. But if you would like a little dusting (introduction) of the professional process check it out.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Finding Inspiration In Tom Waits Video Hell Broke Luce

I try to keep an eye on this man. His music touches me in spaces I don't always remember that I have. His clips of performances just stun me and his intentional music videos ain't bad either.

I want to call attention to the just released music video, Hell Broke Luce from his album, Bad As Me:

The video was directed by Matt Mahurin. I wanted to know more about how he did it so I went looking for more info. This lead me to discover The Golden Age of Music Video blog's interview with Matt Mahurin. I know I'm gonna lose a few hours at that site.

When possible, go to the source. His website has his illustration, photography and video work. The man could make you feel like a time waster sucking up air. 

Mahurin directed the Red Rain video that I found at Peter Gabriel's web site. I've never seen it so after work I'll be diving in. His Wikipedia page shows just how many things he has done in his career.

My take away from scouting this guy? Learn as much as possible in various areas. That may seem like an overwhelming statement but it is true. Cleaving to rote thinking and doing is killing creativity.

Don't be afraid of making the leap.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Look At PowToon Presentation Software

PowToon is software that helps users create videos, tutorials, sale material or whatever else you can conjure out of your head to communicate with other people. PowToon web site describes it as a presentation tool for non-drawing people.

To me, it is a cross between a simple animation tool and presentation software.

Here is a video from the site:

PowToon is currently in Beta mode and asking for Beta testers. So why am I bring this up?

Well, there are two reasons. The first reason is that the PowToon blog has a post on how to create product demonstration videos. The process is not dissimilar to making other kinds of videos.

The second reason is that PowToon is looking for people to help them make product demonstration videos. They have a side business where people and companies who don't have time to drag and drop can have PowToon make the video for them.

You probably should have some experience beyond dragging and dropping using a computer mouse. Meaning, you have some kind of creative or explainer skills. Learning the software will not take that much time.

Using it to explain a product or service is not that easy which is why people make really bad tutorial videos. Don't be one of those people.

For more info you can visit the PowToon web site or check out the PowToon YouTube channel.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Magix Movie Edit Pro Crossgrade Offer

Well, Pookie is feeling at bit better and is more responsive. Upped the power supply and added a graphics card. I will also flip out the hard drive but I need to log the software, software license keys and more importantly what not to install on the new drive.

In other news, got an e-mail from Magix about their software MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 18 MX Plus . They want your business. If you are a owner of a purchased video editing software they would like to have you consider Movie Edit Pro for $49.

This is a tutorial/demo video from Magix on Movie Edit Pro 17 to give you an idea of the software in action:

If you are total video editing newbie this is going to be an uphill climb. There is a storyboard mode and Magix is tossing in a  training DVD. I have to say if you are the type of person doesn't want to learn a new software program this isn't for you.

If you are a bit more along in experience this could be a good purchase. There is no question about the features offered; this is fully packed program. Having used a prior version of the software, I can tell you that it gives you are lot of options.

I would say it is closer to the Sony Vegas line of video editing software. It can do a lot of things but you need to learn both video editing concepts and how the software implements those concepts.

Consider This Before Buying

The thing is you have to take the time to learn how Movie Edit Pro does things. I wasted a lot of time trying to apply prior knowledge when doing a task. I had to back up and read the manual to learn to do it Magix way. And at the time there was no training DVD.  I would have welcomed it.

The software will need proper system resources. Meaning that you need a modern system. Do not try to install this on an old creaky PC.  You need at least 4GB of memory and as much hard drive space as you can get.

Yeah, yeah the minimum specs say 1GB and plain vanilla dual core. You will be sorry if you install it on a bare bones system.

So here is the deal. If you are a prior owner of Adobe Premier Elements, Corel VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio HD, Sony Vegas Movie Studio or any other purchased software then you can pick up on the newest version for half price.

You buy the software AND you send in a declaration that you own a particular software AND you promise that you will not sell the other software or transfer it to another person.

If you want more information on what you get with the Movie Edit Pro go to the product site.
If you want in on the half price offer then you should visit the promotional page for the deal. 


I've got no dog in this hunt. I purchased a prior version of Magix Movie Edit Pro in the past. I haven't received any compensation for promotional consideration.  I've been offered a review copy but not sure Pookie can handle it.

I prefer to buy my software so that I can give an honest opinion. Doesn't mean I can't do that with a review copy. I have to think about it.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Upgrading My System and It Is Gonna Cost Me

Might be down for another day or so. Pookie is telling me the line in the sand has been crossed. Deal with me or lose me but make a decision. There have been more computer lock ups.

There have been frozen screens as I tried to edit video. Sony Vegas MovieStudio HD is not having a good time. Can't even dare to install Corel VideoStudio X5 Ultimate. My browsers are in revolt and spaz out at any opportunity.

Adding to the pain, I just missed out on buying an i7 computer for $700.

I can stand no more. I'm saving up for a premium computer but it will take a while to afford a custom built system.

Yes, I save before I buy. Better to have and not need than to pay on credit and not have the funds to back it up. Frugalista 101.

In the meantime, I am gonna replace the power supply, hard drive and maybe the graphics card.

Pookie in Better Days
The truth is Pookie needs intensive care. Has a piddling 250w power supply. I didn't know that. Or forgot. It was ok years ago but suffering succotash that can't work with newer drives and devices.

Also Pookie has an internal graphics that shares resources with the system. I have the slot to add a graphics card. The thing is all of the quality ones have precise power supply requirements.  250 watts ain't one of them. And so long as I am mucking about on the inside might as well get a new hard drive.

Baseline costs are about $250 - $500.

Before taxes. Sigh. I need to be strong. I can do this.

It is time. If all goes well I could be back by late afternoon.

If Let's think positive.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mercalli Easy for Shaky Videos

I recently purchased an update to Corel VideoStudio Pro X5 Ultimate. I usually get the downloaded version but this time went for the packaged box. I wanted a paper manual and actual install discs. As is my habit,  I'm reading the back of the box and it mentions that I get proDaD Mercalli SE to perform video stabilization.

Lord knows I have got shaky video. I am most pleased with this option. Those of you that haven't purchased VideoStudio Pro X5 are not out of luck. There is a version of the software called Mercalli Easy.

If you record video via a smartphone, tablet or even a camcorder you might want to know about this software.

Jake Ludington has been involved with web video and videoblogging for a long time. I remember him from the Yahoo Videoblogging group. This is Jake's video demonstration of how the product works.

For those of you that can't see the above video it is very simple to use.

You add the video to the program, it does the analysis of the type of shake you have in your video and then corrects it. You can perform limited trimming of the video. Once the process is completed you can export the video out in a number of video formats.

After you export the video you can either upload it to your web host or bring it into your video editing program. I did locate a manual for it and it seems to export in WMV, MPEG, AVI and possibly MP4.

Those of you who are still on Windows XP are on lock out on this one. You need a computer running Vista or higher to use this software.

That is pretty much the whole deal and the price is very right at $15. If you need a more full featured version or you are a Mac user then you would want to check out the proDad Mercalli V2 stand alone version.

Other Posts of Interest

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Glossary - Understanding Markers for Video Editing

In a video editing program there are times when you need to have a visual flag to help you remember the starting and stopping point of an activity in the video. In some of the entry level video editing programs and in almost all of the professional editing software you have the ability to add a Marker.

A Marker is a visual flag that you can set up to remind you of the names of the participants, the start of a line of dialog, a time point or whatever you want to be reminded of in your video.

Another cool thing about them is that you can re-label the default name and add more descriptive text.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Bit of Inspiration from The Good Line

I just saw a video that inspired me.  It is filled with color and joy and whatever else you want to ascribe to people having a powerfully good time. This is the Holi Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork, Utah.

The video was created by The Good Line. This company makes documentaries for clients, some who are civic or non-profit agencies. Others clients with a need to tell their story.

Holi. Festival of Colors. 2012 from Good Line on Vimeo.

The steps that they took to create this video are a lot more advanced that what you might have imagined for yourself.

In reality, the steps to making a video are very basic:
  • Pre-planning or knowing what you want to do.
  • Gearing up on equipment or using what you have.
  • Recording.
  • Importing video footage into your editing device.
  • Edit. Or Not.
  • Export the footage.
  • Upload to video web host.
  • Share.
There are a million choices on how easy or complicated you want to make your video or film or whatever euphemisms people want to use to talk about the difference between amateur, activist, professional or commercial storytelling on screen.

I use the word video. Doesn’t really matter. There is space for all of us to tell a story or two. More if you got them.On this day may you be splashed with inspiration and desire.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Corel Roxio Easy VHS to DVD3 for Analog Videos

Corel has purchased the Roxio line of video and music editing software so I was doing a look around to see what I could find of interest.

One item that caught my eye was Roxio Easy VHS to DVD3. Not just for VHS videos, you can also transfer Video 8 and Hi-8 tape based videos to a DVD or to Apple iOS devices. 

There is a Windows and Mac version. There is a lot of family histories loaded up in those old tapes so this is an affordable $70 option to help people save memories.

This is a demonstration advertisement for the product by Roxio. It comes with the conversion cable/doohickey to connect the computer with the camcorder or video player.

It software seem simple to use but just a few things I’d like to point out.

Analog Standard Definition Video

The original VHS, Video 8 and non-digital H8 video tapes recorded in 640 x 480 standard definition. Even under the best of recording conditions you are going to have traditional viewing experience. Depending on the age and condition of the tapes, that experience might head southward, as in not so good.

Not to mention that the camcorder or playback device might have a couple of years on it. My point is that you would want to make sure that all of the equipment and tapes are in the best condition possible before the transfer.

The software does have limited editing features as well as the ability to reduce or limit shaky video, add credits and color balancing. You can upload to YouTube or Facebook.  From one of the screenshots, it does appear that you could save the video on the hard drive for editing later.

If the memory captured in the video is important it might not matter the condition of the retrieved video but at least be aware that it might not look as you either remember it or expect it.

System Requirements

This is going to be a resource hog. You will need 2GB for the installation and I would guess at least 10GB in reserve for the temporary storage of the transferred videos. The old pokey computer in the back room isn’t going to like this. If your system is three years or younger you shouldn’t have a problem.

The system requirements on the product page seem kinda light to me. You XP’s might be able to skate pass without a problem. I doubt it. All I can say is that I’ve done limited analog transfers at the time my system was new. It used all of the two CPUs that I had on board.

You don’t want to multitask when performing the transfer.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Look At Flickr for Video Web Hosting

Many of you know that you can upload video to Flickr, the photo file sharing site. If you don't, this is a quick look  to help you understand the limitations and the rules of the Flickr road. This is just an option. What you do with the information is up to you. 

Flickr Free and Paid Accounts

Before jumping into the mix you do need to have a Flickr account which may or may not be the same as your Yahoo account.  You can also sign in with your Facebook and Google+ accounts.

Free accounts are limited to 2 video (150MB per video) a month at 90 seconds each and 300MB of video storage per month. Yeah. It is kinda paltry but it is free.

Pro accounts are about $25 a year with unlimited uploads (50MB per photo) and 90 seconds per video.  (300MB per video)

If you haven’t run away just yet I’d like to point out that sometimes limitations can inspire creativity.  Or at least a potential meditation exercise.

What Can You Do with Flickr Videos?

You can upload videos to the Flickr service. You would need to edit before uploading and to ensure that you are in compliance with the file size and SD/HD requirements. You can share with Facebook and Google Plus+ users as well as other social media services.

If you want to. Many users have turned on the option to restrict who see or share their videos. I know. It took a while to find this one.

You have to keep it clean as in wholesome. No boogie oogie oogie with the spouse. No uploading of copyrighted or disputed content.

Flickr File Formats

From the list I’m thinking generic mp4 would be okay but not too sure about the variations. You’ll have to give it a go if you are interested. Then again, you could just prepare the video in the accepted formats.
  • Generic AVI – those of you that cleave to the Dixv might be disappointed.
  • WMV
  • MOV
  • 3gp
  • M2TS
  • OGG
  • OGV

Why Should I Care?

That is a very good question.  The 3gp video format could work well on mobile version of blogging sites.  The thing is, 3gp was designed for older versions of mobile video. It may not look good on a modern blog or web page.

But for a dedicated mobile version of a blog, it could work.

If you know that your visitors have connection issues then yes, this could be an option. I'm not kidding about this. For our video creating brothers and sisters in central and South America bandwidth is a real issues. Some folks are lucky to have 56k dial-up. Other countries mobile connections can be dicey too depending on that data plan.
Who else? Well, if you have a devote Linux person who has a device that can play OGG/OGV then you can make that person very happy. You'd have to test it out to make sure that your Linux pal can access the Flickr site and see the the video but think of it as an adventure.

It is a very limited alternative to YouTube. You can upload Flickr video to Twitter and some of the social services. But if something goes wrong you are going to be the person to figure it out.  Cuz there are a very limited number of people wanting to edit and confirm their videos to Flickr standards.

There are even fewer that use Flickr to post video to Twitter.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Adding A Beep Tone to Mask A Cuss Word

Into each life a cuss word or two must fall out of a mouth. There are times when you might needs to deal with the full expression of the intent of the speaker. You might have to defuse an f-bomb in your video.

I will respect a request from a speaker to remove or mask it. If I can. There are people that can chain up sixteen word combos. Not sure what I'm gonna do about those. One f-bomb is far easier to deal with if you have what you need.

I'm giving a general overview because video editing software packages differ on how to do this task. I just want to give a basic idea of how I patched the cuss word using basic consumer video editing software.

The Details

For quick and dirty video editing I'm using Serif Movie Plus X5. 
  1. I visually zoomed up the track window to allow me to better see the video and audio track area.
  2. I set up a marker at the beginning of the f-bomb and another one at the approximate end.
  3. I hop over to Media College Sound Effect page. I needed a 1 second beep. Found just what I needed. I download it and save it in my audio and sound effects folder.
  4. Back in Movie Plus X5 I unlink the video and audio tracks. I'm not sure at this point if I need to cut the audio f-bomb out or just mask it. I do not want to cut the video; that is why I unlinked the tracks.
  5. I import the beep tone into the the media bin. I then move it to a second audio track. 
  6. I align the beep tone at the edge of the first marker. In the screen capture above it might seem long but it is only one second in duration. It just covered the cuss word and allow the next word "senior" to be heard clearly. 
  7. I test it out a couple of times to make sure it is a good cover for the cuss word. There is no looping function so I had to manually start and stop the player.
I could have also edited out the word and just had a blank space. I have to tell you adding the beep was easier. I would have loved to have found one of those "a-oogah" horn sounds. Not really fitting with the panel discussion.

Now I have to say that I am not always gonna clean up or patch f-bombs in flight. I want to as much as possible to maintain an authentic record of an event. In this case, I was asked to remove it and I agreed to do so.

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Recording the MidLife Session at BlogHer 2012

Trying to ramp back up to speed. I mentioned a few days ago that sometimes you have to record in less that perfect conditions. This time I did not accept YouTube gracious offer to enhance my video.

The videos were recorded in conference room lighting. I got as close as I could and used a tripod. Is it broadcast quality? No. Is it acceptable for web video. For the time being, yes.

Ann L. Dunnewold, Ph.D is talking about how society tends to label women after a certain age. Ann Dunnewold writes about aging issues on her blog at 

Darryle Pollack talks about invisibility of older women, how brands ignore that population and what can be done about it.

Patricia Patton talks about confronting the expectations of younger business people. She is an etrepreneur yet the pre-existing notions from younger adults could block economic equity. To learn more about what Patricia is working on visit

Processing Details

I recorded with an older Panasonic SD 10x camcorder.  Edited with Serif MoviePlus X5. Boosted audio using iZotrope. Music and Speech Cleaner.

Busy, busy, busy...

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