Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Still More Info on Vine Videos

Not sure if Vine videos will be more like an invasive form of Kudzu or Bougainvillea; there have been some interesting uses of the iOS app. I'd like to focus on the videos that are safe for work.

To recap, Vine is an iOS app that allows users to record and upload six second videos. There is audio and video but you don't have time to mess around. Well, let me rephrase that cuz apparently there are NSFW Vine videos, of which I will not provide links to the newly formed galleries.

This is another reminder that there are NO privacy settings on these videos. If you don't want to the world to see it then do not upload using Vine.

Vine videos are recorded in the traditional Quicktime .mov format. You can currently save them to your hard drive, copy the URL of the video or hunt for the embed code.

I used the Inspect Element to find it but if you know how to construct an iframe tag you can do it as well. I'll save that for another post.

I'd would have thought that advertisers and brands would have held back a bit but no, not a bit.

Yes, didn't see how quickly it could be used for Tourism.

This is a two-fer, the Six Wives of Henry the 8th and a cute promo for the Historical Palaces of the UK.

This is video, and six seconds or not. it might take time to load on your page. The more videos you have the longer it will take to load.

Vine is here but it is not the only video app.  I am amused and baffled on how people plan to make a quality six second video. I remain in observation mode.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Making the Case for Intentional Vertical Videos

If you want to get people's hackles up just point to a vertical video. I don't hate it or the people accidentally creating the video. I understand it is a design flaw. The smartphone is shaped vertical. We do not hold a phone horizontal. We don't use phones horizontally so I really, really get why people record videos vertically.

If you haven't seen it then you need to watch the video by Glove and Boot on Vertical Video Syndrome.  It is funny but dang people, lighten up.

Compassion before condemnation.

There is no reason for this commotion. Part of the problem is education. We need to get the word out to rotate the phone if you are recording video.

But a voice in my head says, why?

Vertical Video Doesn't Have to Be Bad

Web video doesn't have to be bound by historical technological conventions.  Video doesn't have to be horizontal. You can record and upload an intentional vertical video. This is an example by a web site called Vertical Video.

The music video was created by Christoph A. Geiseler and a company called Mima Media. When it is intentional and planned there isn't a problem viewing the video. I would submit that for certain types of video like poetry, spoken word, or certain types of music videos the vertical format could work.

I think the problem is that there haven't been many well made intentional vertical videos. Which means that there is an opportunity to pave new ground.

If you would like to get in on the ground floor of intentional vertical videos then read the how to post for ideas at the site. Also, Vimeo School has a lesson page on how to shoot vertical videos.

Over at Clover Food Labs talks about the process of working on the verticals for training videos. There are folks working on it.

Vertical Posting Tip

I can tell you one thing that will help. When you upload to your video host the server is going to assume that it is a normal horizontal video.  The embed code will be in the horizontal format. When you post the video it will have black bars.

Not what you are going for in terms of a clean vertical experience.

Flip the numbers in the embed code to see the vertical video; otherwise you are gonna see black bars around the video and quite probably invoke the pitchforks to thrown your way.

Don't hate, innovate.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Then Came Vine - Twitter Video for iOS

Once upon a time there was a service that recorded 12 second of videos for sharing. It is long gone: however there is a new kid on the block called Vine. It is owned by Twitter and the fruit of the Vine is starting to pop up all over the joint.

This is one of the first creative videos from Vine by Daniel Liss. Click on the video to start it. The sound is turned off; click the sound icon to hear the environment of the video.

Vine gives iOs folks the ability to record six seconds of video and then upload to Twitter. You can share with your Twitter folks. Facebook seems to be questionable; first you can, then you can't but then you can/can't/?

Vine videos are public, meaning if you are doing something that you shouldn't doing then think twice about uploading.  Currently there is no way to limit views to specific people. There isn't much of it but you can read the Vine Video Help page.

What is Vine Video Good For? 

I have an example. Perhaps you observe a not exactly legal action of a few members of your local law enforcement department. You hit record. The video could be posted before they try to snatch your iPhone.

Yes. Doesn't mean that you aren't gonna get hassled. Let's say it is a form of truth insurance.

It can be used for truly spot news, a brief moment in time or, like Daniel, a way to take your creativity out for a walk.

Or you could construct a minute video six seconds at a time. Hmm. I see a thousand possibilities.

It can be used for good or for not so good. Sadly, the not so good is coming too but this is a day to look at the new app and say, wow.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Demo of Windows Movie Maker Pan and Zoom Effects

If you cleave to the free and accessible Windows Movie Maker or Windows Live Movie Maker then you are not locked out of performing Pan and Zoom videos or using what is now called the Ken Burns effect.

This is a short demo video that I conjured up on just how easy it is to apply the Pan and Zoom on your photos.

You will not have the level of control that folks using Sony Vegas have but within the limitations there is gold. If you plan your video carefully, no one will know what you used to create a great video.

By level of control I mean that you cannot change the speed of the animation. It is what it is.

For those of you on Windows 7 or 8 can use the Windows Photo Gallery Slide Show feature to animate your photos.

Those of you that are on Windows XP cannot install the current version of Windows Movie Maker. One of the options you do have is to download Windows Photo Story; which is a discontinued but still viable application for converting photos to video.

Windows Photo Story will run on XP  and  Vista. I haven't tried it on Windows 7.

I doubt it will work on 64Bit Windows 8.

Be safe and not sorry, only download from the Microsoft web site.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Look At Using Pan and Zoom Effect

You can use a Rostrum camera or software that invokes the Ken Burns effect, the results are the same; brings motion to a still photo. Conceptually that is done using a Pan and Zoom Effect.

It isn't just for family photography, it can be used for a variety of purposes. Below is an example from the Biography channel. They have a series of mini-biographies on historical and contemporary people.

This is a mini documentary on Alfred Hitchcock.

If you take a step back, you can see that they use talking heads, historical photos and a wee bit of title animation.

Which is what Ken Burns did in 1990 with his documentary series on PBS. Hmm, come to think of it,  it has been a while since I've seen the series; not sure if there was animation in it. I could be wrong.

Anyway, his use of historical photos, professional voice actors and a great story, The (U.S.) Civil War, entranced a nation with what seemed to be at the time a new kind of storytelling.

It wasn't. Before computer editing software there was a device called a Rostrum camera where you would put a photo on a rail system and move the image on a table as the film is moving through the camera. Talk about labor intensive.

Today, there is software options for all skill levels:
  • Photo editing software that has an animating photos effect and saving them as a video
  • Video editing software that has Pan and Zoom effects
  • On-line services like Animoto, Masher or One True Media
  • Smartphone and Tablet applications for iOS, Andriod and Windows
 It can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Demo of Pan and Zoom - Serif Movie Plus X6

This is putting the cart before the horse. This is a quick video demonstration of the Pan and Zoom effect that I created.

I'm using Serif MovePlus X6 however many of the basic video editing programs have this feature.

I'm late, gotta go.

More later.  

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Education or Video Advocacy

A few days ago I listed sources where you could find info on creating advocacy videos. Education is the highest form of advocacy. You help another person understand their world and their place in it or you help another being make their life better.

It is a grand time for education bloggers. They are doing wonderful work and I bow at their collective greatness. This is a video from C.G.P Grey about a topic that can get folks worked up a bit; the United States budget and the Debt Limit aka fiscal cliff.

Advocacy takes all forms and one of those forms it to help to create a educated baseline of discussion.That is what a good teacher does; here are the facts (as we know them at the time) and this is a cause and effect kind of deal.

C.G.P Grey does this with animation, a wee bit of humor and facts. It is a fact that Congress is hip deep involved in the budget and the porking there of. (that was my opinion.)

Your viewers, and a good chunk of C/G/P Grey viewers (based on the comments I kinda wished I didn't read) may not believe you or accuse you of having directional leanings.

Here is the thing. If the information can be verified and replicated outside of your believe system there is a good chance it is the truth. Which isn't always the same as a fact.

It is tricky. I think he does a very good job of communicating a dry process.

If you are thinking about any form of education, resource or info-blogging you are gonna be roasted at some point.

You will have no control over what people think of your video. You do have control over the quality and the responsibility of getting it right (factually)

When in doubt, be true to your school and get it out there.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Video Block and the Voice Within

Resource blogs tend to want to help people do things or learn a topic. It is more appliance of skills than thought and reflection. I certainly tend to focus that way; there is so much to do and learn. But what are we doing it for?

I mean, there is a whole squadron of folks who want to monetize their videos. They will tell you that in no uncertain terms. There are others that want to do good work and understand that the profit from their labor will come.

There are people that make family videos; this is important to do because some of our family members are on their way to their transitions. They know stuff.

Last week I read a post at a middle age blog site that wanted to know if the readers wanted to start posting videos on their experience going through the passage.

Yes! Excellent. 

I also know that there aren't going to be a lot of responses. If asked, and I have done this on my own, the responses come down to "I don't know how" and/or "I'm no one that has anything important to say."

The first I can help with but the second, takes a lot of convincing.

We all have a voice that is unique. There are current events that need our point of view. We have the power to give our perspective.

Yet I have to be honest. It isn't easy. Not if it is important to you to get it right. 

Yesterday I wanted to respond to a current debate about an issue. Doesn't matter when you read this because I'll almost always have a response to a current issue.

Six flipping hours later I had nothing.

Writers block my foot. I had Video block. Or Creativity block. 

I was blocked up, okay?

I was so focused on getting it perfect that I couldn't do it at all. Not even write and I don't generally get Writer's block.

 I can tell you that there are hundreds of ways to deal with the block. But only one way will work for you.

For me, after six hours I walked away. Made Ginger Tea. Slept on it. Woke up with the following words "if you have Writer's (Creativity) block then work your way around the block."

This can mean: 
  • look for inspiration in other types of videos that are unrelated to what you want to do
  • developing the concept more, 
  • make an outline or mind map
  • gathering more images or audio, 
  • make the shell of the video first; i.e. make the titles and end credits
 Most of all, it is okay to fail. Or, it is okay to spend time learning what not to do.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Trail That Lead Me to Boss Jock Studio App

Here is my tiny example of how social media among trusted people work. I was on Twitter. One of my friends mentions this video by Ray Ortega of the Podcasters Studio blog.

Boss Jock Studio is a Apple iOS podcasting application that allows you to do real time narration and music mixing.

I know I supposed to talk about video. You can't talk about video without good audio.

For some folks, laying down the narration and music is a more effective way to work. You have what you want to say and then they match the video to the audio.

I swing either way. 

Do I even have to say I want a video version?  On Android? It isn't free but at $9.99 it sure is pretty.

Anyway,  I'm curious as to who is Ray Ortega so I follow the breadcrumbs to his blog and there is much of interest over yonder.

And that is how this social media thing works.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Video Advocacy Resources You Can Use Now

People have created books, magazines and slideshows to help explain a cause, project or situation. Using video to bring awareness to a problem is nothing new; non-profit agencies, advertising companies and people with money have made these kinds of films and videos for years.

You don't have to be a Hollywood actor to fund a project. You only need a recording device and an idea that your local media will not pay attention. If you heart is a pumping to do good then there are resources for advocacy and participatory video.

The Digital Naturalist Blog explains the five types of advocacy videos. This blog is focused on not only the how of telling the story but the realities of competing with viral cat videos and popular media.

WITNESS Advocacy Training Guide blog is a detailed guide on planning an advocacy video to distribution. It covers recording, editing, sharing concepts and even if you don't want to create a campaign you should still go over their to learn how to produce an effective video.

This is an example of one of their videos showing who they are and what they do. It is not the typical non-profit video.

On the main WITNESS site there is additional info on creating video for advocacy.

The North Carolina Justice Center has a 20 page PDF manual on some of the same topics. I don't believe, as stated in the guide, that you need $800 and a Macintosh to get started but different strokes for different folks.

One of the sections of the manual gives good information about how to conduct interviews and get what you need to make a quality video.

There you have it; three solid resources to dive into and help make a change. There are people who say why bother. We need to bother those people to make a positive difference.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

You Should Read the Contract, Seriously

Reading is fundamental, especially if you have intentions of creating web video for profit. Please read the L.A. Weekly story by Tessa Stuart called in print Rage Against the Machinima and on-line as YouTube Stars Strike Back.

It is a tale of gamer video creators signing odious contracts that can claim the rights to their work for life and beyond, no matter the delivery method no or here after devised.

Hell, no.

See, this is why you need history. This is the same stuff that was done to American rural music performers, street kids singing on the corner and film actors under contract with the major movie studios from the 1900s to the early 1960s.

With the amount of money that is starting to flow into web video you'd kind of have to expect this sooner or later. The venturn capitalists are trying to hold hands to the future and those acting as middle people are damn determined to make bank by whatever means necessary.

The sharks are in the water looking for blood. Don't let it be yours.

Other Posts of Interest:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Short of the Week and We Will Forget

Passion has gotten many a person into trouble. Doesn't matter what the passion is; could be chocolate, it could be the need to obtain the complete history of the Green Lantern comic book. It could even be following what you know to be true and betting your life (savings) on it.

But first, The Short of the Week is a currated site that focuses on the best of short form documentary videos. The kind they use to show on public television after their theatrical run. How many times have you seen a documentary short in the theater?

For me, all most never. Which is why I love being able to see them on the Internet. The short that got my attention was created by Garret Harkawik  about a gentleman from the New York area who spent $100,000 of his own money to alert folks to the May 21, 2011 End of the World.

I need to say I have been yucking it up with each and every announcement on the end of the world. All three times. Personally, I have had enough. Live and let live.

But there is a difference between snark and taking a moment to try to understand where someone is coming from; we don't have to agree but we should strive a bit more toward respect.

This documentary is done with compassion.  There is a real person on the other side of the story.
Take that moment and enjoy non-salicious filmmaking.

Other Posts Of Interest:

Kevin Jones and Diving Into Social Media

I was on the Running Librarian blog when I saw this video from Kevin Jones. I don't know who Kevin Jones is because for all of his talk in this video on social networking there is no current at this time information about him on his web site.

There are a heck of a lot of Kevin Jones out in the world so I haven't found this one as yet. Interesting.

Anyway, the reason I'm sharing the video is that it is well done. It is not just a talking head but it has humor, small videos on the side to give a bit of distraction and a charming ending.

Like I said, I don't know this guy. He only had a limited time to make his case. Kevin got me from the start of the video to the end. It was a good presentation that worked on video.

The other thing I want to point out is that you never know how people will find your videos. Many folks just stumble into them because of other interests and connections.

How did I find Kevin? I subscribe to an international librarian/information technology newsletter called Free Pint. They have a section of the newsletter called Tipples. James Mullen was giving his favorites information web sites and I went to check his blog out.

That is where I viewed Kevin's video.

Yes, there maybe something to this social media/networking thing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

iTalk Recorder and A Bit of Blog Tinkering

Much is happening in my super secret lab of stuff. There will be some blog tinkering to make posts a little easier to find for mobile users and a reduction of categories.

It is true that I can be a little information compulsive but I do try to yield for better usability.  I’m an Android person so if it looks good on the phone and cheap tablet I have it should work for everybody.

I think.

I’ll still be posting but things will be re-ordered, moved or jiggered with for a bit.
Before I take the knife to the blog I want to take a moment and mention a free audio app for iOS users called iTalk Recorder. If you have a version 5 of the iOS you are good to good.

iTalk Recorder for iOS devices version 5 and up.

This little ditty is from Griffin Technology that allows users to select a recording quality level, press a button and you have an audio recording. Once you have your recording you could e-mail to yourself or post it to your blog or save it for later and sync it up to your video.

If you have a device that records video ok but sucks at audio then this is an affordable back-up.

There is a premium version that seems to allow you to drop the audio file in Dropbox but other than that I don’t have a clear understanding of the difference between the free version and the paid version.

I could see sticking this in a shirt pocket to use if you are doing single recording. I don’t have shirt pockets on my blouses so yeah, that ain’t gonna work for me. What will work is getting a small external clip on microphone.

Possibilities. I’m all about the possibilities.

Other Posts of Interest:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In Search of A Look for A Title Card

I'm deep in the lab working on creating tutorials on feature found in video editing software. Not that the world needs another software tutorial but there is a lot of room for improvement. God bless teenagers who make tutorials without fear. I just can't listen to a another tutorial where they say "whateves" as a placeholder; it wears you down after a while.

Anyway, this is more of an idea generator for those that want to step a little bit away from the canned look.

Keep It Simple

You can make your own titles. Your editing software might have title templates that you can use or adapt. This what one of those templates look like after I've tweeked it a bit.

The red band around the screen is the outline of the Safe Title Area where no title or anything else should extend past that point. For web video it might not be a big deal but then again a lot of viewers are porting video on their televisions and other devices.

Now I could keep it black, nothing wrong with it, but I have options.

An old school blackboard, well I guess slateboard conveys an academic or educational tone. That is one of the things you will have to consider, does the title convey the subject or feeling of your video.

I'm making a software tutorial so it can work. Then again it might turn off those that may think that the video is going to be boring. You have to think about the potential associations with an image.

The Background Should Not Conflict With Your Text

I purchased a presentation program that had a number of background images. This is one of those images, a silk type background.

Yest, the text in the block is fine but viewers can't read the white text on a blue creme background. Can't tell you how many videos I've seen that don't pay attention to readability.

This image is better suited to weddings or formal occasions. Again you have to think about your intended and unintended message that can be transmitted to your viewer.

Size Appropriately

The background image is 640x480. I'm recording in 1280x720. As you can see, there are black bars on the side of the screen. I don't want black bars.

Inside many video editing programs is a Pan and Zoom feature that will allow you to match the photo to your video's dimensions.

As you can see, the background is cropped to match the video. That can be a good thing or a bad thing.

If your software does not have a Pan and Zoom type feature you can get the same effect using a photo editing software to crop your background into the right size of your video. The beloved Irfanview or some of the on-line photo editing applications will work fine.

In this case, I've solved the bars problem but this background isn't appropriate for the kind of video I'm doing so this is the next possibility.

This is more like it, I have color compatibility, your can read the text and nothing looks wonky, i.e. I don't see pixels or banding.

I have more experimenting to do so dig you later.

Other Posts of Interest 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Shani Higgings Keynote at New Media Expo 2013

Technorati has evolved from the blog listing and ranking service from days gone by. They have been paying attention to treads in social media.

 For those of you that want to consider how to get more people to your content you should pay attention to this video because this documentation of how people gain viewers and blog readers is extremely valuable.
This is a 22 minute keynote speech from Shani Higgings of Technorati; speaking at the NMX Expo 2013 in Las Vegas. I've linked to the Blogworld site because there is a transition between the old name and the new name of New Media Expo.

(Sorry folks, the link to the video has been removed. Over at Social Media Today there are some of the slides and facts presented in the keynote.)

Taking a quick look at the Technorati site, things have changed. They have Twittorati where they list what the top bloggers are sharing and linking to online.

Another site they have is BlogCritic where their own in-house bloggers are generating content accross different topic areas.

One of my takeaways is that old traditional media tracking companies like Neilson and ComScore still does not understand the way people interact with blogs and bloggers.

Yet they are the ones that are telling businesses and advertisers that you should do business with the 10% of folks but ignore the rest.

Silly lemmings.

Another point she makes is the spending of businesses and advertisers on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to reach consumers. They are not spending money on blogs.

Do not weep because there are a lot of people who are making legitimate money using video, their blogs and ancillary products or services.

Let me see, ah yes pay attention to your mobile users needs and yes, that means video. I'm struggling to find verifiable information on how to balance the different viewing experiences but that will come in time.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

YouTube Enforces Viewer Count Takedowns

Over the 2012 holidays hundreds of YouTube users found that their videos have been deleted, their accounts terminated or their viewership hacked to bits or removed.

The most notable is Universal Music Group with a loss of 2 billion viewers and Sony Music/BMG with 850 million views vaporized.


I keep telling people, read and understand the Terms of Service. In this case, you want to work your way to Section 4H:

You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, "robots," "spiders," or "offline readers," that accesses the Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.

There is more. Also read Section 4J: the service can be terminated at any time.

The Social Blade Bottom 500 as it appeared on January 2, 2013

Dig some of those names on the right side of the list. What is in question is the viewership numbers.  Allegedly, the numbers were inflated using software bots to artificially increase the number of viewers.

I would also factor in paid for clicks from human instigators as well.

The Daily Dot has the full story.  It has been confirmed by YouTube that this is happened and not just to the big boys but rank and file YouTube users as well.

It is the buying and selling of imaginary viewers. It is the dark side of pumping up viewers to ensure that there is the appearance of success and cash money.

You would think that major corporations would know better. The attorneys for those corporations would know better.

Then there is that right and wrong thing. Many people have conceptual problems with the concept. At some of the forums I have read a constant refrain of " is not against the law so what is the problem?"

Let me add another element that this is now a multinational problem. If one script teen in another country can gin up the viewers and make far more money than his family makes in 20 years it is going to be hard to stop that kid.

Or the hundreds of others like him or her that will follow. Or the adults that enable that behavior buy purchasing the viewers or providing the forum to allow them to sell their services.

What If You Are Innocent?

I have no doubt that many folks snagged by YouTube have performed behaviors that warranted attention. I've been P.O.when I click a video for a specific breaking topic video and find out it is some tired C-cup dame trying to respond to a news story to increase her viewer numbers.

I say yank her chain and show here the door.

But there are other people who really did the work and earned legit viewers. Like the tribulation of working your way through a DCMA notice; you almost don't have a way to petition a re-evaluation.

And while you are trying to resolve the situation you may not have a YouTube account. Or your most popular video is trashed. What do you do?

It is not at all clear what is the process of clearing your name and reputation. Or perhaps that you have been a victim of a targeted assault by friends of said script teen.

In the meantime, make sure that your house is in order:
  • Have copies of your videos; which you shouldn't have to tell people but yeah you do.
  • Make a Resource Binder with proof of the content and assets used in your production.
  • Have a blog or web site independent of your web host.
  • Monitor your statistics for unusual activity or growth.
  • Have a back-up video hosting service, although don't assume that you will be automatically welcomed at Vimeo or

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