Blog Archives

Vimeo Launches Vimeo Video School

Video site Vimeo announced last week the launch of Vimeo Video School, which has both instructions on how to make better videos and a directory of video tutorials. It’s available at http://vimeo.com/videoschool.

The front page is set up like a blog, with lessons at this writing including making a good holiday video and setting up a do-it-yourself camera dolly for less than $50. As you might expect the blog posts have videos included as well. If you’re really getting started at the very beginning you might want to start at the Video 101 site, which walks you through the basics of choosing a camera, shooting, and editing (or at least editing if you’re using a Mac or PC.)

But there are lots and lots and lots of other tutorials. Check out the nav on the right side of the page. You’ll see a variety of categories including sound, shooting, and gear. Pick a category and you’ll get to browse through dozens of videos covering very specific parts of video creation. The Lighting category, for example, had over twenty videos, while the DIY category had over five dozen videos covering things like cheap shoulder rigs, shooting underwater, and homemade camera jibs.

Thanks to phone setups pretty much everyone has a video camera with them these days. This site does a good job of bringing a lot of information on good videos into one place, whether you want just some simple ideas on how to make better videos or whether you want to go as complex as making your own equipment. Nicely done!

Remix Your Politix With Museum of the Moving Image

Here’s the ResearchBuzz part of why I’m doing this writeup: Museum of the Moving Image has a Web site called The Living Room Candidate, available at http://livingroomcandidate.org. This site contains over 500 commercials covering every presidential election from 1952 on up. That’s quite an archive. The site also has free downloadable lesson plans and the ability to view the commercials by type (biographical, fear, backfire, etc.) or by issue (civil rights, taxes, war, etc.)

The site has been up for a couple of years. I am covering it now because of the newly-launched AdMaker, an editing tool that will allow you to remix campaign ads or make new ones. The new tool is available at http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/admaker.

This page only has a couple of full commercials for remixing (one with John McCain and another with Nixon/Humphrey) but there’s also a feature that allows you to mix your own commercial.

You’re given snippets of media and tools in several different categories, including images, audio, video, transitions, effects, etc. Editing is via a simple click and drag layout; clicking on the end of a snippet and pulling it allows you to edit it down where you want it. (Video is added with audio, but an audio control on the right allows you to control the volume.) You can only add one layer of video at a time but multiple layers of audio are supported.

Don’t see what you like in the available media? AdMaker allows you to easily upload your own and integrate it into your commercial. And that’s how I ended up with video of a bear wandering around the woods with a voiceover of Bill Clinton saying he’d inhale if he had to do over again, all to the background soundtrack of Laurie Anderson’s Sharkey’s Day. And if you registered with The Living Room Candidate, you can save your masterpiece for later perusal.

I had a tremendous amount of fun with this. I hope Museum of the Moving Image expands the number of clips available in AdMaker. I can imagine some talented people making great ads.

Johnny Carson, Now In Digital Archive Form

Did you ever fall asleep watching Carson? Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show is now available online in digital format. Unfortunately you won’t get to browse the entire archive of content unless you’re interested in purchasing usage licenses, but there is some content available here. According to Hollywood Reporter, the show’s archives were stored in a salt mine until 1999 and weren’t transferred to digital format until last year (!)

The archive is available at http://www.johnnycarson.com/. Unfortunately the site really is about selling some upcoming DVDs, but it’s still worth visiting. The current featured clip shows Johnny Carson and Burt Reynolds getting increasingly risqué with a can of whipped cream (which is very funny. Johnny Carson’s outfit is a bit of a riot too.) Other clips include Jay Leno from 1977 (his hair, it is bouncin’ and behavin’), Betty White (from 1983) and Siskel and Ebert (from 1986). Clips show in a popup window and all the ones I looked at had captions available — a nice touch.

But as I said, this site is more to sell the DVDs than to provide a comprehensive overview of Carson content. If you’re interested in the licensing side of things, visit https://licensing.johnnycarson.com/. You have to register (and registering is extensive) but once you’ve done that you’ll be able to search by keyword, transcript, etc.

I only wish that was available for the general public! This is the kind of archive where I would pay a few bucks for a day pass and just enjoy the nostalgia…

YouTube Gets a News Feed

YouTube posted something intriguing on its blog yesterday: the announcement of the YouTube News Feed. On a Web site noted for cute kittens, laughing babies, and people explaining historical events while inebriated, the idea of honest-to-goodness news being distributed sounds more radical than it probably should.

The News Feed will be distributed via CitizenTube; if you go there you’ll see a blog style front page with embedded YouTube videos. At this writing the top news story is an explosion of a gas storage tank that took place in North Carolina over the weekend. Each post includes a bit of context and view counts (though the view counts seem really, really low.)

Other stories covered on the page today include “Explosion Injures 15 German Police Officers,” “Knoxville Police Altercation Caught on Video”, and “Congressman Scuffles with Student.” How is YouTube finding this news? Its blog post notes that it is working with the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, but it also encourages video uploaders to tweet pointers to their own news videos @citizentube.

There weren’t a huge number of videos on the site — just 12 for the month of June — and it’ll be interesting to see if YouTube goes for depth or breadth. I think if the site goes far afield and pulls in a wide number of videos covering a number of topics, it’ll be interesting to surf. But if it’s just a few videos a day highlighting stories that are already covered elsewhere in depth — why would I watch this instead of video highlights on a news network site?

Footage.net Starts Footage Industry Directory

Footage.net, which is a metasearch search engine for stock, archival, and news footage, announced yesterday a new release of its search form and a new industry directory.

The search engine, available at http://footage.net/, lets you do a keyword search for footage and specify whether you want online screeners and text results or just online screeners. You can also narrow your search results by category. I did a phrase search for roller coaster and got over 2000 results from about 20 suppliers, though when I narrowed that down to search results that had online screeners the number of results dropped to just over 250.

Search results include a brief description, supplier, and links to play (if there’s a screener) and e-mail for more information about the clip. One time I could not get a screener to load.

I actually decided to mention this site because of the related directories. There’s an archive directory at http://footage.net/ArchiveDirectory.aspx which lists archive video companies from ABCNEWS VideoSource to WPA Film Library. There’s a supplier archive which seems to echo the archive directory with a few more additions. The directory I really want to see, though, is the researchers directory, which is supposed to be at http://footage.net/ResearcherDirectory.aspx. I say “supposed to” because at the moment it is only
“coming soon…”

You might not think so but metasearch engines for stock footage are serious time sinks, especially if you restrict your results to online screeners and use weird keywords. The time lapse video of the melting chocolate Easter bunny is still freaking me out…

YouTube, Now With Automatic Captioning

Good news for folks with hearing impairments and folks who don’t have hearing impairments but sometimes just can’t figure out what other people are saying (that would be me.) YouTube announced last week that YouTube videos (at least those in English which have voices clearly speaking and aren’t drowned out or muffled by background noises, music, etc.)

Apparently there are twenty hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute (which personally I find mindbending) so as you might imagine it’ll take a while for everything to be autocaptioned. I did some random searches (for things like lecture, speech, items that seemed like they would be better suited for autocaption) and didn’t come across much. I did find a lecture on the Theory of Relativity that had been captioned, so you can see what it looks like. Captions are at the bottom and a CC icon shows up in the tool bar at the bottom of the video.

You can click that icon to turn the captions on and off, but you can also change settings as well — you can change the size of the captions and also use an auto-translate feature to have the captions appear in another language. It’s machine translation, of course, so it won’t be perfect.

Speaking of that, the transcriptions are machine transcriptions as well — so you know they won’t be perfect either. Owners of posted
videos can download auto-generated captions, correct them, and upload new versions. If your videos have not been captioned yet, you can also request that they get the captioning treatment — a “Request Processing (English Only)” button lets you put your video in the queue, while YouTube assures you “We will try our best to get some results in a few days.”

This announcement is great but I suspect we’re not going to really see the full impact of this until months down the road, when the mighty YouTube transcribing golems have had time to do their work and captions become a lot more common. I’m looking forward to the transcriptions becoming available in other languages, so I can use the translate feature.

Find Quotes in Movies with SubZin

This has apparently been around for a while, but I just recently learned about it. SubZin, at http://www.subzin.com/, lets you search for quotes in movies and TV series. Keen!

You can do a simple phrase search or you can use the advanced search that lets you specify title, genre, etc. I stuck with the regular search and looked for “size of a buick”.

I got four results — three movies and one TV episode –, starting with 1977’s Annie Hall (“There’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick”), and continuing with movies from 2002 and 2006 and a TV show from 2006. Each search result has a thumbnail of the movie cover when available (with a link to the movie/episodes on the Internet Movie DataBase) as well as the exact time of the quote and the full quote. Icons allow you to e-mail the quote to a friend, show it on social networks, or see the quote in context with other dialogue.

I’m sure you could use this site for reference but I had some fun chasing down cultural references. Did you ever see Jaws? “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” I found that same phrase in eight other movies, starting in 1994 with Clerks. According to Subzin’s blog, there are over fifteen million phrases here from over 15,000 movies, so if you get started with one phrase you’ll find plenty to explore.

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