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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 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
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.
If you are having trouble finding a camera, you may be able to borrow one from 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 a certification class 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 do have a camcorder at home.
Recording to a computer
There are two possibilities here for recording video. One is to plug the camera into the computer and record directly to the hard drive. The other is to record the video to a camera, and then copy it to the hard drive. One thing to keep in mind about this process is that it will vary considerably depending on the camera and software you use. 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, or iMovie on a Mac.
This 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 firewire port for its digital video output, and my laptop had a firewire port, so I have a firewire to firewire cable. Unfortunately, I broke my laptop, so now if I want to plug my camera into the more common USB type of port I need a firewire to USB cable. Remember that the cable you need depends on your computer and your camera, and that many webcams and digital still cameras come with the required cord.
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 under start > All Programs, start > All Programs > Accessories, and 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 (in XP). Something else to keep in mind is that the Windows Vista version of Windows Movie Maker may not record video, and it may not be available with all versions of Vista. I suggested earlier that you try doing this with the software that came with your camera; that recommendation goes double if you are not running Windows XP.
Capturing Video to Windows Movie Maker
On a PC, 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.
Hands-On Part 1: Filming
Allow participants to film several short segments.
- Break into groups. If different technologies are available, such as Windows and Apple laptops, participants should group themselves by technological preference. These groups will stand for the remainder of the evening.
- Have groups select members to fill the roles listed below. Participants may share or exchange roles, and a participant may have multiple roles as necessary.
- Have the interviewer interview the interviewee while the cinematographer films.
- Suggested questions:
- What interests you about online video?
- What do you hope to do with it?
Once you have some raw footage, the next step is editing it into a finished product.
Using Windows Movie Maker, you can accomplish this with the options 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) “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.
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
Finally, we are going to show you what to do once you have a finished video. Perhaps the easiest way to make your video available to a wide audience is to publish it online; luckily, this has recently become a painless process, with several sites clamoring to host your video files and make them publicly available at no cost to you or the viewer. So, 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). In addition, with many of these sites make it easy for a viewer to embed the video on their website as well. (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; they're also talking about giving away cameras, so you may want to look into that.
Of course, YouTube is not the only site out there; other popular options include Google Video and Blip.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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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