Music Video Or Ad? (Always Both, Right?)

Last week I posted directly on the Facebook page for this blog after I created a promotional video for an upcoming concert and the client had issues publicizing it with their own Facebook post.

https://www.facebook.com/478531892336962/posts/875709779285836/

SERVICE WITH A SMILE

I may get into how I captured and created the visuals later, but let’s get into the technical part of serving your client. Whether they be a paying customer or a friend, if you are helping someone out, I tend to consider that as doing somebody a favor.

That’s not from arrogance; I am trading my time for someone else to benefit from and that’s a favor. It doesn’t matter if I am also getting paid for it or not. There are literally 1 million other things I could, do including nothing, including things I choose or do not choose. In turn they are doing me a favor by participating in the partnership, whether they do that well or not!

With that attitude, if someone has a problem I may be irritated but I don’t get angry about it. If someone misinterprets something or doesn’t like what I have done, I may be disappointed but I also want to solve the problem, because I try to see us as a team.

Sometimes that’s difficult or nearly impossible, but I strive at least not to let that be my fault.

This case was none of those, although he asked for changes and additions I was hoping not to make. But by doing them I made it better.

LET’S GET TECHNICAL

And now we will get into the technical part and point of this post: Facebook is really annoying. If you don’t give them the video to host, unless it’s YouTube they like to show you a link. If you want to embed your Facebook post somewhere else, like I want to do now, you will generally get a link and not the visual you like, or if you do, not in a way that you can make look prettier.

Wait, what am I saying? That the big technology players don’t see each other as a collaborative team and try to solve the problem and make it easy for the end user that works with both of them? I was just talking about. customer service….

So funny.

Anyway, I’d shared the video via OneDrive this time, and I am assuming since he was on mobile, he grabbed the link and posted it to Facebook, and because I shared it with relaxed enough permissions it did technically work.

But it didn’t auto play, had a crap thumbnail, and it branded for the Microsoft product. Plus, he need to change the name of the file which was displayed instead of something more on brand, and without the extension. But it was already on his page and he was driving and couldn’t call me back, and people were going start liking it and then when we fixed it it was going to get zapped and all those likes would go away and they weren’t going to click like and share again.*

So my solution was to immediately copy the text of his post with links intact (and a couple of improvements like a direct link that you use to get tickets for the show.) And then I uploaded the video to Facebook and created a public post on my own page and made him share that as well. Then people could share his copy of the post of my copy of the post and it would all go through the same the locus point, so as it got more views and likes it would show up better in the Facebook feed and reach other people, and he would still get likes and shares for his page. And patrons for his concert.

I think that’s a win-win. The funny thing is that solution was actually my second attempt in five minutes. My first brilliant attempt was to share a post directly on his wall, the same way you go and wish somebody happy birthday so that the video or picture shows up in their feed.

The problem we had, however, was that my post was only visible to “friends” of his page, even though I would’ve posted it publicly, because that’s what his default page settings were. So then he shares it and it’s public on his page, but fans and performers can’t share it again because the details and video won’t show up, just his header (since he didn’t have to write anything that was already right there below it in my post!

I asked him to try to change the settings on my post to public, because I know that I cannot. I never heard back if he was able to do that, which would solve the problem later, but again, he was driving, so I provided the other solution, and he shared that one. It stayed public all the way down the line.

So next time I have Facebook-targeted content, I will include a list of the steps up front that “our team” will take to share to our best effect, and a plan ahead of time. I will probably create that plan on my own, using my own account and my page, and a relative to test things on their account. Maybe a dog picture.

—–David

P.S. Funny enough, if I had known that the last edit I sent was actually going to be approved and final, I could have put it on YouTube which would have posted friendly to his page, shared easily, and put all direct video likes in the same place, slightly benefitting me in the end, and giving me a little promotion for being a producer in the first place. But once the clock was ticking, uploading again to YouTube and creating all of that data set would’ve taken more time than the two different versions that I did to solve it the way I did.

* Oh and yeah I’m trying to lay down with an ice pack because I was in a car accident recently and my back hurts if I spent too much time at the computer!

Music Video Or Ad? (Always Both, Right?) was originally published on Creative Uploads

Advertisements

Automatic Star Trek Post Made By A Robot!

Well, AI, but not enough people liked the Steven Spielberg – Stanley Kubrik movie

And not an android, because it doesn’t look like a human, though that would be a better title.

This video was created without editing from a pasted URL using Lumen5 AI-driven software, as reviewed the other day on this very blog. I also put up a carefully edited and fine-tuned video that began as AI and I talk about that here.

Since I talked about the rough edges of social media AI and the need for editing, I thought Star Trek might provide a perfect example of what comes straight from the mouth of machines.

Now take it away, Captain Kirk! If I may quote from “The Return of the Archons” when Kirk and Spock confront a computer projection named LANDRU that has been guiding yet stifling a civilization for 6,000 years:

KIRK: What have you done to do justice to the full potential of every individual of the Body?
LANDRU: Insufficient data.
KIRK: Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life. The body dies. The fault is yours.
SPOCK: Are you aiding the body, or are you destroying it?
LANDRU: I am not programmed to answer that question.

And then Landru, the computer, shorts out. (Kirk used logic to destroy at least five computers over the course of the series. Imagine talking to Siri but your phone explodes when she doesn’t understand what you are talking about.)

So, everything in moderation? I really appreciate the software, but it hasn’t taken over yet so I reserve any future opinions.  Lumen5 does suggest that it’s a starting point, but they offer an RSS feed feature that will pop up videos for every blog you feed it, a feature they call Instant Video. Somebody is going to shortcut that, and it’s going to be a waste of their viewer’s time.

As for Star Trek predicting the future and changing the world, the original article on cheatsheet.com is here, and it’s worth a visit for even cooler pictures. Why the AI left some of them out, I do not know.

Man, I should have said I do not have that Data.

Mr. Data!

—–David

P.S. The Star Trek episode quoted above is of course copyright Paramount, or CBS, or Viacom, well maybe all of them in some way, and they reserve all rights. We have the right… they have the right. (I digress.) Anyway, it illustrates my scholarly point and probably falls into fair use.

I hope the same applies to the cheatsheet.com post, though that may fall into parody and satire, since I’m really tweaking the nose of artificial intelligence here by going back to a touchstone series that provided discourse on society’s future fears before computers were much more than adding machines.

Automatic Star Trek Post Made By A Robot! was originally published on Creative Uploads

Everyone Needs A Repurpose In Life

Playing with a new video tool called Lumen5 today, that I think may just be out of beta.

They use AI to help you quickly create social videos out of existing articles, or from scratch if you so desire. At least that’s the promise. Premise?

In real life, of course, a proper polished product takes a little more time, but Lumen5 certainly automates the beginning of a a video and gives you a structure to edit against, and for many of us wanna be procrastinators, it’s exactly the kick in the pants we need to get started on SOMETHING that we SAY we WANT!

I’m not being cruel, statistically machine learning will kick out some fantastic stuff in moments. But if you have a little more skill, technically, literarily, photographic- and video-ily (I knew the grammar was going to fall apart), you want to demonstrate it, so you’ll want to add back in the human touch.

My straight-up first experience: I created an account and logged in, then fed it a URL for an old post with cameraphone tips that urged editing to make things better. (Wow, the metaphor here runs deep!)

Original Post Here: A Little Photo Editing Goes A Long Way

It pulled in the text of the post and all the photos for easy use in their editor. Unfortunately I’d only used two photos (who writes a tip post with only two examples?) so it kindly filled in the gaps with free stock photos from their library, using keywords from the post (lots of camera stuff; actually that was pretty handy.)

It also grabs portions of text from the post (rather than trying to print the whole thing on a hour long slide show.) Great move. It preferred headers and tops of paragraphs and was okay. I edited the text on the separate slides and could move slides and the text boxes around to tell the story better.

 

Music? Yes, there’s a free library or you can add your own. There’s also a Style section to change colors font and the like.

It’s easier to use on a desktop computer, but I did begin on my iPad and got a basic edit out of that.

I decided I wanted to use my own photos, so I moved to the desktop and dug up my folders of older cameraphone pictures, which you can choose one at a time with the Uploader or drag and drop. Worked very well.

It occurs to me only now that I should have tried to use video footage as well since it’s in the stock library (some items are a “premium”). Wonder how to trim that in the simplified interface, or if it needs to be cut before uploading. 50mb limit on uploads, in jpg, png, gif, mov or mp4.

 

 

 

  • It is amazing? Yes, with limitations
  • Can you set it and forget it, just giving it an RSS feed to automatically make videos from your blog while you sleep? Yes. They call that Instant Videos.
  • Should you? Well, if you want your site to be robotic and surface, then okay. If you are going to consider them as first drafts and spend time editing the details to make it personal, then absolutely.

I imagine if you spend some time with this tool, you’ll learn to format posts for even better initial results. But remember that your final audience is human and give it a human touch.

I do love technology. But the web was built by humans on technology, and if we completely surrender our management of it to robots, it’s just going to be AI creators feeding AI readers that post AI replies to very artificial intelligence accounts. What human wants to sift through that for the good stuff? Make it good stuff first, but certainly put your hands on a cool tool.*

On that note, you can post directly to Facebook from inside the program, also Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or download your video to share with your own methods.

It’s available at lumen5.com and yes, they offer a free version with some limitations.

—–David

P.S. The video blog post I made the other day is in this post here. And on Facebook here. It’s about using your cameraphone better and editing the images for best results.

I’ll post another test shortly and update this link when I do.

* THAT does NOT sound right.

Everyone Needs A Repurpose In Life was originally published on Creative Uploads

Wait, Video With Words On It? Cameraphone Tips Revisited

Here is a video version of an early post on cameraphone tips and editing, updated with a fresh look and more pictures than ever! Welcome to the video era, again! (Been happening since movies were invented, then TV, then TV again, then 3D and VCRs and DVDs and HD and Streaming and — it’s not a new thing. It just gets polished up and shiny again.)

20140702_164831

The video includes photos by me, not a stock library. Keeping with the cameraphone theme of the piece, they were taken in 2014 or so with my old Galaxy S3 (except the last tag slide) to show how chasing the latest greatest camera isn’t even that important for quality. Technique, patience, composition, and EDITING are, though.

But this is supposed to be a video post. So here it is on Facebook *  www.facebook.com/CreativeUploads/videos/763280090528806/

And if you don’t like that, here’s a YouTube version:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IykcktjPq_U?rel=0

—–David

P.S. We’ll talk another time about how more pixels aren’t the magic bean. Boy, I do love a new camera though.

* Wanted to test the possibility of using Facebook as a video host, in case I wanted to post in Facebook first. I have my doubts before the experiment even begins. We shall see.

Wait, Video With Words On It? Cameraphone Tips Revisited was originally published on Creative Uploads

Mighty Words Don’t Rhyme With Swords?

I have always been a pretty good speller, and I have a love for words. No surprise for someone with a blog.

I am also fascinated with how we each come to understand our chosen language and recreate it in our own image. That’s the source for Spanglish, for example, a mix of English and Spanish, which is delightful and practical. It stems from a desire to communicate, and that’s a pure motive, so I appreciate it. (I mean it’s one thing to learn to speak two languages but, hey, to speak two languages at once with no training? ¡Wow!)

We also sometimes get stuck in a repeating grammar error (either for fun or from stubborn ignorance), or digging in as a form of pride and self-protection. Some examples:

  • Ax (not ask)
  • Pasghetti (spaghetti)
  • Literally not using figuratively when it’s literally the right word

I have both stepped into mispronunciations and been the correcting grammar nerd (I really dislike “ax.”) But in the end, that’s just me having fun with language. And like language, my understanding is flexible and can grow.

I learned the word “infrared” reading a book at a young age, knew it described a wavelength of light invisible to the naked eye without a filter, but thought, for years, it would rhyme with “repaired,” until a James Bond book spelled it “infra-red” and my eyes were opened to a deeper understanding of the red wavelength.

Not so lucky with the pronunciation distinction between “virile” and “viral,” which I discovered while reading out loud in high school to the delight of some classmates. Vee-rel is strong, for the record, not infectious. Still think the other pronunciation sounds like it’s stronger.

And “Entrance,” the noun which for everybody else on the planet means “come in here” (me too) is inspirational to me, because every time I see it, in my head I also hear the verb “Entrance!”

That’s a verbal joke, not a written one, let’s try again.

I hear the word with this definition: captivate, hypnotize

It’s a literal call to action, and it’s everywhere! Fantastic!

This may explain why I talk to complete strangers in lines and restaurants….

—–David

P.S. Synonyms: bewitch, fascinate, enthrall, mesmerize, enrapture, enchant, rejoice, ravish, please, delight, charm, gladden, spellbind, attract, transport, anesthetize, put in a trance

Get out there and Entrance! I mean, get in there!

Mighty Words Don’t Rhyme With Swords? was originally published on Creative Uploads

It’s Creepy Coffee Time!

I don’t drink coffee, but the women in my family do. This is what it feels like as an outsider.

Keep an eye on your coffee or she will

I made this on my phone a while ago, possibly using the built-in Android camera, but I don’t recall, and I just wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how to make the file smaller in WordPress, and in Adobe Premiere and Photoshop. Nothing quite wanted to behave, so I tried posting full size. (Also nope*)

—–David

P.S. Does this mean animated GIFs could pop up at any time now that I’ve experimented? Of course. Or it could mean I drop the entire thing and follow something else shiny and easier to resize. Who knows?

* So the full size (just 5.82MB, width: 792px, height: 446px, frames: 148) seemed to be tanking my post editing pages. Ridiculous. Found this free tool online at https://ezgif.com/resize (this one scales it down, there are crop and other options as well) to make it behave.

It’s Creepy Coffee Time! was originally published on Creative Uploads

What Does Prisma Have In Store For Us?

The iOS Prisma app (and presumably Android soon) now has a Store, represented by a tiny little storefront icon. Click on it to open the Store page and you will be greeted by a bunch of little icons.

Creative uploads Prisma app style filter store

There are a bunch of new “styles” though to be fair they include a lot of color swap type filters rather than the more artistically textured ones I like. But there are texture tricks here as well, like “Bubbles”, “Stones” and “Crystal”, which offers sharp edges and a blue cast. All these “New Releases” are still free, although I don’t know if they will figure out a way to start charging for them — I can’t imagine in this day and age that they won’t, at least for certain premium ones.

Below that is a “Popular In Your Country” section, which is self-explanatory and jibes with the international feel but localized content Prisma is pushing, especially in their social site, which forces you to turn on geolocation features to populate your feed with people near you.

Under there are “All The Old Styles” in case you missed something.

But my favorite feature is actually under the ribbon at the top of the page.

It takes you to a “My Styles”section where you can manage the styles you see in the app when processing photos.


Even better, you can tap any of the icons to see a collection of photos processed with that style, which lets you learn how it looks in different situations. This means that you can, as I like to urge you, pick the best style for your photo, and in fact shoot photos with the style in mind.

But it doesn’t stop there. With this update you can remove styles that you don’t care to use. What if you remove one that you want back? At the top of this ribbon page you can manage your style collection, adding and removing styles from the complete list of those available.

As a very early adopter I can tell you that it doesn’t have the “Palmolive” style that it launched with, for example, so the advertising styles seem temporary and I don’t know if they get renamed and come back — so far it doesn’t look like it.

All in all a pretty cool update, although I will say that I do not see the styles I added to the list on my iPad showing up in my Android app yet. I would imagine that is because you cannot yet “manage” the list in Android (which has not been updated as I write this; it always lags behind), not because the styles are incompatible.

As always I will note there are many fake copies of this app out there. The one I use is available through Prisma-ai.com and is a universal free app. Don’t pay some scammer $10 for an iPad version.

.—– David

P.S. Can I say: I don’t feel insecure about giving Prisma my location info for the feed. My personal problem is that I do not like to take photos that I post publicly with location information embedded in them, and I do not know if allowing the app to see the info will in fact embed very specific coordinates in the image, or if it simply uses it to group my feed with the city I live in, and not, let’s say, center the map on my house.

I turn on location info when I’m on a trip because I don’t care about people knowing where I’ve been, but I don’t publicly advertise addresses where I sleep and work.

What Does Prisma Have In Store For Us? was originally published on Creative Uploads

Surf’s Up, Plan Ahead

New Prisma style out, called “Surf”. 

Why does it make me look so old here? Most be too much sun. 🙂

Actually, it has to do with how the Prisma styles work, emphasizing shadows more in some cases, and needing certain colors for better results. Most dramatically to me, fine details versus more coarse shapes makes some pictures great and others awful, which is why the photo you use is critical to a good result.

Here is a set with my dogs using “Surf” with the setting put at 67% to leave a little of the red in one dog’s fur.

And a version with Mondrian, one of my favorite styles, but only when matched with the right picture. This pairing doesn’t work for me.

Too many curved edges and fine color differences leave us with two disparate sections.

But the Mondrian style also netted this result with the other dog earlier this year, so it only demonstrates my point.

Play, experiment and learn where something fails so you can plan your photo for the filter style sometimes, instead of only hoping for good luck.

—–David

P.S. You bet this applies to anything you shoot, filter or not, angle, lighting, subject, timing… Planning can get you closer to stunning (as can a bit of judicious editing like bringing the style down, but also brightening, contrast adjustments and more.)

P.P.S. Of course some of my best photos were taken almost by accident or on the fly, so you never know. When you need consistent results plan ahead and enjoy the experiments when you can.

Surf’s Up, Plan Ahead was originally published on Creative Uploads

Adobe Encore Chapter Menu Creation Quick Guide

menu layout timeline and settings

I always had a hard time creating chapter selection menus in Adobe Encore until I started writing down what I was trying and where it failed.

Since there was often a gap between disc projects that needed it, I had to look up tutorials and try to find the one that helped me the last time. Nobody writes things down, ; they were always videos, and the Adobe help site was no help. They start in the middle, assuming you already know what’s being talked about or you’ve already done certain steps to arrive at the current section, but there is no flow or timeline to their material. It’s really strange to me. So are the themes but that’s another story.

So I use an great app called Stickies from zhornsoftware.co.uk that lets me put post-it style notes on my computer screens, save, store, delete and search them and send them across network or email, that’s another post, but here’s my sticky on how to do Encore chapter menus, annotated for clarity.

menu layout timeline and settings

Menu layout timeline and settings. Yellow highlights show key areas for scene selection menu creation

encore chapter menus (aka scene selection menus)

under menu>  create chapter index (that’s where you start it, AFTER YOU ARE READY)

First create menu with links, buttons, all the things you want on your scene selection menu. You do this in the layout window, so it’s visual and WYSIWYG.

I tend to uncheck Automatically route buttons as it frequently picks weird orders for me on certain button placements. This may be because I open a thumbnail menu and copy stuff to wedge more previews in to one page. We have big TVs nowadays, I think they can handle 6 or 8 thumbnails instead of three. (When you do that you may not want to animate them, lots of flashing and also disc size considerations.)

Make sure everything is placed correctly and doesn’t overlap, of course.

This is a good time to check your timeline and fine-tune the preview thumbnail, which is usually a second or so beyond the chapter point but can be dragged anywhere on the timeline. You should do that earlier but who does that? — so check it now. Open the timeline you are creating the chapter menu for, place the position line over the desired frame and right-click the chapter to Set Poster Frame. You can do this even after you create the menus; sometimes that is easier because the automatic choice can work; it’s a bear when you do dark fade ins though.)

I also add a Chapter point in the last few seconds of the show, usually right at the copyright-contact me title. This let’s you zip to the end and watch the video roll over to the menu. Great for testing when you don’t want to wait through the whole end credits. I usually DELETE that index thumbnail from the scene selection after creating the menus. It’s nice to skip to the end while watching, but you don’t use scene selection to watch the last five seconds unless it’s a Marvel movie.

Select the first thumbnail in the layout window (or text button entry) and under Button properties (Basic tab) click Set button text and name and “set name from link” to let the menus show the titles of your scenes (presuming you have done that prep work and named your scenes in Premiere when creating the Encore chapters. You did create Encore chapters right? Because regular chapters are ignored if they don’t say “Encore” Grrrr.).

Originally I would copy a menu and in properties deleted existing links; sometimes I start with a clean menu, but often I recycle previous projects and modify the style and links around a layout I liked.

Now with the first thumbnail or text button selected, under link, choose first chapter of  your desired timeline

Save your project now….

Menu>Create chapter index (Once I had left out a “previous” button and it automatically created it but not in the right style. So if you got no style, it will help, but not beautifully.)

Don’t choose MULTIPAGE, that’s for bluray popup menus.

Boom, Bunch of menus!

If they look good, congratulations. Test them.

If they don’t look right, well, disaster recovery:

Before I “create chapter index”, I save the project, so I have a backup in case it’s terrible and I want to delete and start again. For the same reason I also like to choose my final draft template scene selection menu, then in the Encore menu choose Edit>Duplicate so I have a backup of it as just a menu and can try again quicker than restoring my last save.

To reset and try again, you clear all the numbered menus in the list – EXCEPT “menuwhatever1” if you didn’t make a copy – rename it without the number and edit as needed. Then duplicate your “final draft” menu and try again. If you didn’t make a copy you will want to delete all the extra menus except the first, then in that you delete the thumbnail and text links for all the buttons after the first chapter, not the buttons themselves but the links in them.

Hope this saves you as much time as it does me. And yes I expect it will take you a couple of tries. That’s called “getting familiar with the process.”

— David

P.S. Discovered with joy I could reuse my chapter indexes when I converted my Blu-Ray project to DVD size (there are several methods but I just save a copy with a DVD in the filename and trade out the project medi by importing the DVD renders and replacing them in the timelines. (you can actually save the audio track if you are brave and it is EXACTLY THE SAME LENGTH).

Sadly thumbnails for half of one timeline were one quarter sized like the media (HD versus SD) for some reason*, but not the other. Fixed by reselecting the Poster Frames.Not too bad.

*This may have been an out of memory situation, where the thumbnails weren’t rerendered on import because my C drive was filled up even though the scratch disks are on different drives. Oh Adobe, you do like to make cache files everywhere and never clean up after yourself. It was cute when you were a teenager but give me a break.

P.P.S. Google “clear adobe cache files” and you will find useful pages like this: Managing the Media Cache Database. That one is for the Media encoder but there are similar management buttons under preferences in all their programs.

Adobe Encore Chapter Menu Creation Quick Guide was originally published on Creative Uploads

I Thought I Could Do Posts While Doing A Major Edit

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ….

Doing color correction on a multi-night four-camera shoot at the moment, and this guy is fantastic. http://larryjordan.com Have visited his site many times over the years for photography and video editing insights.

This YouTube video of his finally made my understanding of the scopes in the reference monitor* gel, even though I have “used” them many times before.

Take the twenty minutes to watch this

But actually focus and you won’t have to keep revisiting the idea of using this to speed and improve the quality of your color correction.

—-David

P.S. Also this guy’s Premiere Pro – Adjusting Chroma – color or hue  (Jeff Sengstack, this is the intro to a lesson on Lynda.com which I should take the time and money to watch but in the meantime: +knowledge & back to work!

P.P.S. * In Creative cloud they moved the scopes to Windows> Lumetri Scopes.

Scopes on the premiere editing color correction layout

Scopes on the premiere editing color correction layout

 

I Thought I Could Do Posts While Doing A Major Edit was originally published on Creative Uploads