Today it is easier than ever to use video to make yourself heard. This workshop will provide you with hands-on experience producing and publishing your own video using free software and websites.
My newest find: http://www.ustream.tv/
Also, Win $100 Dollars: Minnesota Minute, from the Bell Museum
Video can be a powerful medium, and today it is easier than ever to produce and publish your own video clips. Today's workshop will give you examples of what people have done with online video, will introduce you to the basics of recording and editing short videos, and will walk you through the process of uploading those videos to the internet.
- Document an issue:
- Stores already have Christmas items out
-- While this piece is silly, it's easy to imagine doing this with other issues.
- Stores already have Christmas items out
- Document events:
- Citizen Journalism
- Record a speaker:
- Promote events:
- Political advocacy:
- <example video>
- Tell a story
- Deaf story of Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis
-- Thanks to shrinking cameras, easy distribution of the finished product and the more personal nature of video, many amateur "oral" historians are switching from audio to video, an innovation essential to the success of this clip.
- 92nd Street Y
-- While we have tried to stick to Twin Cities examples, this is a good example of an org making use of YouTube's special memberships for nonprofits.
- Deaf story of Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis
- Minnesota Minute
There are numerous ways to record and publish video. One thing to keep in mind about all of these is that they will vary considerably (both in specific steps and in overall practicality) depending on the equipment you use.
Detached Camera Method
- Record to a video camera.
- With the camera plugged into the computer, record video from the camera to the computer using Windows Movie Maker (or a similar program). Note that some cameras record directly to compressed file formats, meaning that you may be able to simply transfer the video files off the camera rather than re-record the video in special software.
- Edit the video.
- Export the video for the web.
- Upload the video to a website such as YouTube.
Attached Camera Method
- With the camera plugged directly into the computer, begin recording to the computer’s hard drive. Note that this requires special software, and that only certain versions of Windows Movie Maker can do this. However, appropriate software typically comes with cameras, computers and operating systems, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Follow steps 3-5 above.
- With the camera plugged directly into the computer, use a website such as Ustream.tv or YouTube’s Quick Capture to record directly from the camera to the website. This the fastest and easiest method, but it also gives you the least opportunity to edit the video and puts the most reliance on a fast, stable connection.
- Many cell phones now come with video-recording capabilities, and it is often possible to upload these videos to a computer or website. How this works depends on your phone and phone service, although it often involves using MMS or Internet connectivity.
Professional Equipment from SPNN
If you are in need of professional equipment or facilities, you may be able to make use of the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (For more info, watch this video). SPNN requires that you become a member (fees range from $20 for limited income individuals to $110 for an organization or a non-Minnesota resident) and that you take certification classes before checking out equipment (fees range from $10 - $40). They also have some restrictions on what you can film. SPNN does have a lot of nice equipment, however, and they offer a lot of classes and support, so membership may be something to look into even if you already have a camcorder at home.
The biggest challenge may be getting access to a camera. One thing to keep in mind about this is that viewers tend to have low expectations for the quality of online video, meaning you can get acceptable quality with a cheap webcam. In addition, some cell phones and digital cameras can record short video clips; depending on your goals, this may be all you need.
Connecting your camera to your computer may require a special cord, which may mean looking closely at both your computer and your camera and determining the best output and input formats. For instance, my camcorder has a 4-pin firewire (dv) port for its digital video output, and my laptop had an identical port, so I have a dv cable, which happens to work best with this sort of camera. Many cameras use the more common USB cable, which should work with any modern computer, and it is possible to get cords that connect one sort of port to another. Remember that the cable you need depends on your computer and your camera, and that many cameras come with the required cord.
You will be much happier using a broadband connection to upload video, although with enough patience it is possible over a dial-up connection. Recording directly to a website,however, is not possible without a fast, stable connection.
Many cameras come with their own software, as well as instructions on recording video to a computer, and it will often be easiest to follow these instructions. Today, however, we are going to show you how to record and edit video using the free Windows Movie Maker software on a PC.
Where is Windows Movie Maker?
In the past, many people have asked me where they can find Windows Movie Maker on their home PC. The short answer is “I have no idea!” A longer answer is that on Windows XP machines, I have seen it listed in numerous places, including under Start>All Programs, Start>All Programs>Accessories, or sometimes in a subfolder of the Accessories folder. If you cannot find it, try searching for Windows Movie Maker using the Windows Search utility in the start menu. Also, keep in mind that different versions of Windows Movie Maker may perform differently.
Capturing Video to Windows Movie Maker
In Windows XP, plug the camera into the computer first. Then open Windows Movie Maker. On the left side of the screen, you should see a menu called “Capture Video.” Under this menu, select “Capture from a video device.” If you do not see this, select “Capture Video” under the File menu, or hit Ctrl+R on the keyboard. From here, the computer should lead you though the process. Note that if you have a camcorder, setting it to Camera should cause Windows Movie Maker to record live video, while setting the camera to Play should cause Windows Movie Maker to copy pre-recorded video off your tape, although this may not work for you, depending on your setup.
The forum is a brighter place thanks to your posts. Tahkns!
Once you have some raw footage, the next step is editing it into a finished product.
Most editing in Windows Movie Maker involves the options listed under the “Edit Movie” menu in the “Movie Tasks” pane on the left side of the screen. (The “Tasks” button at the top of the screen will toggle this pane; the Vista version has a similar interface with slightly different headings) “Collections” are the various clips you are currently working with. You can import clips using the options in the “Capture Video” menu. Most of the other options in the “Edit Movie” menu are self-explanatory. You can switch between Timeline and Storyboard views by clicking the “Show Storyboard” button or the “Show Timeline” button at the bottom of the screen. Drag and drop clips, effects and transitions to the timeline or storyboard to add them to your draft movie.
Using the timeline, it is also possible to do some basic editing of the clips themselves. Clicking on a clip in the timeline and then clicking and dragging on either end of the clip enables you to change the length of the clip. It is also possible to move the progress indicator line to a particular point in the clip by clicking on the time meter at the top of the timeline. You can then use the drop-down "Clip" menu at the top of the screen to trim the clip up to that point, trim the rest of the clip after that point, or split the clip at that point. Split clips can then be rearranged or recombined into the original clip.
Hands-On Part 2: Editing
- If a group has not yet captured their video to the computer, have them do this now.
- Groups may have combine at this point if there are more cameras than computers.
- At this point, a video project should be open on the screen.
- Import a second video or a still image using “Import video” or “Import pictures” under the “Capture” menu. If two groups have combined, import the second group’s video.
- Edit the video, using each tool (effects, transitions and titles/credits) at least once.
- Save the project, then export it as a video file using either “Save Movie File” (Ctrl+P) or possibly the “Export” command.
Putting the Video Online
Publishing your video online is probably the easiest way to make it available to a large audience. Luckily this is now a painless process, with numerous sites clamoring to host your video files and make them publicly available at no cost to you or the viewer (some will supposedly even pay you a portion of ad revenue). Essentially, instead of hosting the video yourself, it's usually much easier (and much cheaper) to upload it to YouTube and let them worry about the technical issues (storage, bandwidth, making sure the video is viewable, etc). You can then embed the video in your web site or blog, and as an added bonus others can easily do the same, enabling your video to go viral. (Remember: only post things online that you want other people to see and show to others.)
In my opinion, perhaps the easiest website to use (for both the publisher and the viewer), as well as the most popular, is YouTube. YouTube does require that you join before posting, but all that requires is an email account. Also, if you're part of a 501(c)(3) organization, you can apparently sign up for a special "nonprofit" membership.
Of course, YouTube is not the only site out there; other popular options include Google Video, Blip.tv and Ustream.tv . It may be worthwhile to investigate these and other websites, since they have different terms of service, file limits, and other features. For instance, I think that Blip.tv may be offering anyone who posts a video there the option of sharing revenue from ads running with the video. Ustream, meanwhile, specializes in streaming live video. Wikipedia has a list of video sharing websites. Please be aware that some of these sites are geared towards niche audiences, and some are “Adults Only.” Luckily, the links on Wikipedia’s list go to other Wikipedia pages with descriptions of the websites, so this is a good place to start doing a little research. Additionally, anything newsworthy can be submitted to the Twin Cities Daily Planet for a little extra visibility.
Terms of service
You may want to check the terms of service before you post your video to a website.
From Wikipedia, on YouTube's terms of service:
According YouTube's terms of service, users may upload videos only with permission of the copyright holder and of the depicted persons. Pornography, defamation, harassment, commercial advertisements and material that encourages criminal conduct is prohibited. The uploader grants YouTube a license to distribute and modify the uploaded material for any purpose; this license terminates when the uploader deletes the material from the site. Users may view videos on the site as long as they agree to the terms of service; downloading or copying of the videos is not permitted.
Hands-On Part 3: Uploading to YouTube
- Go to www.youtube.com
- Click on “Upload,” located in the upper right corner of the screen.
- Log in or register, and follow the on-screen prompts, selecting "Upload a video" at the bottom of the first page if you already have a video, or "Use Quick Capture" if using the direct-to-video method.
Tags are keywords that make it easier for people to find your video in the website’s catalog. If you want people to find your video, use tags.
Public vs. Private
YouTube allows you to make videos private, however you can only share private videos with up to 25 registered YouTube users.
Be sure to go through the sharing options, which include options for such things as comments and embedding.
On E-Democracy’s St Paul Election 2007 page, there is a video clip from YouTube describing how we filmed candidate statements for the local election this past November. So, how did this get here? YouTube provides you with two cool things: one is a permanent link to this video, and the other is a string of code that will create a little video box like the one on our Elections page. (These two things are generally available on the right side of the YouTube video page, in the More Info box.) However, we did not use the code to embed this video. Many blog and wiki systems, including our own, have special procedures for embedding video; typically, all you need is the information contained in the permanent link.