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

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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

Bark! Insert Dog Pun (And Video) Here

Amy the Dog in “Dog Years,” a movie made with Google Assistant. A few years ago I wrote * about how cool this app was and how easy it made it to share pictures and video snippets in video form. It’s better and worse, but still neat and still only on Android and iOS.


Click To See the video from the new Google+ post here!

Thanks to face recognition in the Google Photos ecosystem, you can make a quick movie featuring a specific individual, or even your dog if you have enough pictures. I literally picked a sideways shot with Amy in it and Photos Assistant found the rest of the pictures based off of that, always including her in the ones it chose. It seems to be in chronological order too, which I like as a default, although you can and I did rearrange some of the order and timing of the images, which is really easy to do with the very basic graphical editor.

Amy The Dog Photos Movies On Creative Uploads

The music? I let Google pick the music and it’s perfectly cheesy and appropriate for such an experiment as this.

This movie was made on my iPad, and now I am going to have to explore the Android version again, because at least in iOS it has been simplified and lost some of the things I thought made it unique, in favor of other cheesier looking templates. But let me check the more native version and get back to you. It looks like it doesn’t support titles over the video anymore (although if you post to YouTube you can overlay text on existing video so you can mimic that kind of presentation.)

Some other Assistant Tricks shown on the Google Photos Assistant page - Creative Uploads

In the meantime, here’s a cute timeline of one of my dogs.

—–David

P.S. This was originally posted on our “Creative Upload” Google+ page to experiment with how the links all worked out, but as I write this it occurs to me that this updated post will probably cross post back…. Sorry about that but at least there’s more stuff.

* Another still useful post on Google Assistant is here though it mentions some now absent features.

Bark! Insert Dog Pun (And Video) Here was originally published on Creative Uploads

So Many Apps: Microsoft Hyperlapse

Part one of who knows how many:

I thought I would test one of the many camera apps on my phone that I have most forgotten about, waiting for another soccer game to start (which I was filming for a Florida company with a pretty cool setup I may discuss later.)

This was done on my Android-based Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in Microsoft’s Hyperlapse app, which I rather like because it lets you film something and then choose the speed of playback afterward, 1x to 32x. It defaults to 4x. You can choose front or rear selfie camera, turn on your flashlight, and there is an option to import a video.

Microsoft Hyperlapse initial screen controls

It opened in a forced wide format (turn your phone sideways!), unlike Instagram’s app with the same name, which appeared to be in square format with vertical controls. (Strangely Instagram’s then saved a tall video on my device, which led me to try turning it sideways, which lets you film wide. The interface occasionally showed a black area under the record control regardless of which direction I had turned it leading me to frame it incorrectly. In the end it correctly saved a wide or tall video based on the orientation of the device, either wide or tall. )

What I don’t like on both is you apparently have to complete one video at a time, because I did not see a selection for the three videos I was shooting to test and the phone crashed – probably not the app’s fault – and then I found these in my Google Photos later so they weren’t deleted but they were not easily available in the app for further editing.

When you process your video you see icons to share it (on my Note you can pretty much pick any app), create another version at a new speed, or start a new video. You can also press the (grayed out) play button which shows the processed video on your default video app, leaving Hyperlapse open. This means you can preview your work before deciding that you want to share or edit the speed by returning to the app.

But the caution is to save the video in the app through the share button otherwise you may lose it. Preview your work, but don’t forget to share and save it before exiting the app or choosing a new playback speed. I can see reasons that they did that: they don’t have to develop an integrated media player, and they don’t force you to save a file for every test version at different speeds. Now saying that, I couldn’t easily find my first experiments on my phone, but Google Photos found and uploaded something to the Internet so it may not be totally gone…. (UPDATE: on my Android device they were stored in a “Movies” folder on the device, not the “Hyperlapse” album I created and saved others to.)

Instagram’s app lets you choose 1x to 80x and lets you save to the camera roll or direct to Facebook or Instagram.

Hyperlapse strips the audio but of course you can bring it into another editor and add in what you want, though that does fight the immediacy of creating something and posting it quickly.

—–David

P.S. I have so many apps on my devices (yes, hundreds) because I think they are going to help me be creative or productive or entertained, and it’s probably a bad habit. But at least most of them were free. If only I had more free time.

p

So Many Apps: Microsoft Hyperlapse 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

I Will Read (Watch) This Again: Michael Caine on Acting For Film, plus Beating Creative Blocks

Came across a blog post today from Stage 32 featuring a couple of videos that might be of interest to creative types that might want to download them into their brain (see what I did there? A truly terrible attempt at a joke. That’s what you call a first draft, and would cut in editing.)

The first video is a unicorn for me, something I knew existed but has been hard to find. I’ve only ever seen ten minutes of it and was amazed by it: Michael Caine on Acting For Film. THE Michael Caine, teaching actors film techniques, filmed for a British production quite a few years ago. Caught part of it on PBS when I was younger, and even though I am not focused on the acting field, the techniques he displays and his passion for the work are inspiring.

PLUS: It’s easily adapted to directing tips, to screenwriting and storytelling. It would even help you if you are just taking a meeting. Caine advises you to “pick an eye”, and shows why.

CAINE
But if I’m talking to you, and I don’t blink,
and I just keep on going, and I don’t blink….

He goes into methods for holding focus, grabbing attention, and simple tricks to hit your mark, demonstrating everything. Filmmakers: send this link to your actors. He’s not teaching for stage, but he makes comparisons and you can see those differences yourself and find things that would help whatever your venue, like being smaller or bigger with your performance without upstaging.

I’m not going to delve too far into it, because there’s so much here you will find different things than I do.

The second video is from Actualized.org, covering techniques on How To Overcome Creative Blocks and Writer’s Block. Even if you have writer’s block and you watch it and it doesn’t help you, you can tell yourself you were trying to be productive for thirty minutes and feel better about yourself, right? (I guarantee that’s not in the video, nor is it the best tip ever. But we all do it!)

This clip is a little more valuable than that, though. (Spoiler alert: it starts with commitment.)

Click here for the Stage 32 blog post with the videos

Just do it. No apologies to Nike. Why would you steal such a powerful statement and apply it only to shoes?

—–David

P.S. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Michael Caine:


https://youtu.be/bZPLVDwEr7Y

Overcoming Creative Blocks is here:
https://youtu.be/OwgD1vmAawo

P.P.S.  I successfully broke my writing addiction when I was younger (don’t do it!) but I still write (just a little less obsessively). Which was probably a mistake. I’ll talk about that another time.

But I always said I never got writer’s block. This is true in one common perception of the term: I don’t run out of ideas. But I do block myself from writing when I should, and that’s an even more insidious issue that I will be addressing with help from sources like this one.

I Will Read (Watch) This Again: Michael Caine on Acting For Film, plus Beating Creative Blocks was originally published on Creative Uploads

Nine Minutes of a Sleeping Puppy (dreaming of organizing gigabytes of video)

An adorable sleeping puppy accompanied with soft piano music. I was testing camera equipment in early 2016 and pointed it at the new dog (Waffles). Pulled out a few fluffy adorable bits and changed out the soundtrack with some piano improvisations I’ve recorded over the years.

This recorded off my old Canon HV20 which was a great HD digital tape camera, but has a full-size HMDI cable out the back which outputs uncompressed HD unlike what it puts on tape, which is compressed and has a shallow color space.

So I bought an Atomos Ninja 2 last year and this was my first test. The Apple ProRes MOV file ended up being huge of course, just 9 minutes of footage added up to over 14 gigabytes. It’s was edited to half its original length and then compressed using two passes at full resolution, ending as a high quality HD mpeg2 file. It is just under a gigabyte in size (that’s about a 7 to 1 compression ratio if you skip the editing part). Quality costs money, time AND space, not counting the rendereing time.

TIP: Prep and even cue these projects to take advantage of what would otherwise be system down time.

At least these were organized in their own folder groups, if not in a structure by year or vendor, or even on the same drive (when you keep running out of room and have to add drives, you don’t have the time to reorganize right then.)

Now I am organizing Project Archives, with subgroups by client or category, and a second folder of disc images (or whatever the final delivery format was) as another copy of the final version, but as the shallow drawer I will need to dig in if I need another copy or maybe a quick conversion of the completed production to some new format.

Once those are organized in one location, I will immediately copy them to at least one other disc, if not two. This should happen almost immediately after the first copy is done.

In turn, one of those should be a removable or external drive that I can keep in another location if I am serious about the things on it.

—–David

P.S. I have another test video shot in an auditorium during setup, a long presentation collection and teardown that I filmed for use as a timelapse, and it’s 193 gigabytes in the original form. I compressed that to 34 gigabytes with no noticeable quality difference and freed up quite a bit of space by deleting the original, which I don’t need (I probably don’t need the back up either, but baby steps!)

Goodnight.

Nine Minutes of a Sleeping Puppy (dreaming of organizing gigabytes of video) was originally published on Creative Uploads

GarageBand IOS iCloud Bug trashes the local original file

Just a little public safety note that I discovered, and I am not particularly angry yet, because for some reason I had made a back up before I tried to upload my file to keep a back up safe.

Creative uploads iOS GarageBand iCloud bug music

There seems to be a bug when using iCloud to backup a project file in GarageBand iOS that destroys your original local copy while also failing to create the backup.

So I use Windows PCs primarily, so I know that I cannot back up my GarageBand files directly to it. There is some evilness going on where Windows sees the song’s  .band back up file as a folder, and I have never seen a way to get around it. That means if you make a back up by having GarageBand create one for iTunes, then you have to sync with iTunes on a Mac in order to see it correctly and get it off of the iPad.

So generally I create a back up on iCloud. And this recent instance I had first copied the file that I wanted to back up inside GarageBand iOS, because I thought I might do some additional editing on it but I wanted to keep the original version safe.  So I trigger the iCloud backup and it spun for a little bit and then gave me this error message: it couldn’t back it up because it was damaged or in an incompatible format. In fact what had happened is an 8-kilobyte file was created in iCloud and it also overwrote the original project file ON THE IPAD.

If I had not made a copy, my work would have been destroyed. After some experimentation and troubleshooting — with many copies, thank you very much — I discovered that it was happening when I was uploading to the subfolder I created in iCloud for my music; it’s called garagebandmusic. No fancy spaces or anything. 

When I copied the GarageBand project file to the main folder file it uploaded successfully. At this point I am not moving it inside iCloud to the folder that I want to use, because I don’t know what the bug is. But I will be hooking my iPad up to a Mac as soon as possible and copying everything off again to have a safe back up.

If you don’t have space on your device I would suggest at the very least making a high-quality copy of your song and mailing it to yourself, or making “stems” which is exporting each track separately from the mix, by muting each track in turn and creating a full length audio file for each track individually. So tedious, and that’s how I used to have to make a backup of all my songs before the iCloud feature was added, because it let me use the tracks in something else, remix later and have some flexibility, although I did lose the ability to edit MIDI data that way, since it was converted to the final audio file.

It’s better than losing everything though.

—–David

P.S. If you are writing music for video or film, stems are terrifically useful alongside the final mix, because you can steal a chord from one section, repeat a bridge with cleaner edits, even create new interludes right in your editing software when an edit changes just a little. Imagine the flexibility you have with time in film applied to the musical layers. This is great if your composer can’t help in a time crunch, or even if  you are the composer.

I used these tricks when I made a short film for Phoenix Comicon a few years ago.  I actually wrote and recorded most of the music I used while still writing the script, before I had even shot anything. It came to me in moments of inspiration during the screenwriting and script editing,  so I composed and recorded a mini soundtrack as a suite, basically. 

In video editing, I found some lengths didn’t fit perfectly. Rather than re-record everything to fit my new desired timing, or worse, leaving timing in place on the film but forcing it to match the music despite the visual rhythms’ own desires, I could pull out pieces, or use shorter bars, vamps and stingers exactly how I wanted. And all on GarageBand iOS, with no iCloud or project backup available at the time.

P.P.S. It’s called Take Me 2 UR Leader and it was a final selection for the Film Challenge that year, not top prize or anything but a rare group. Plus I made a movie in 30 days where I got to handle everything but the acting roles (well, I did do one). I will tell you that’s great fun but collaboration is really great too.

GarageBand IOS iCloud Bug trashes the local original file was originally published on Creative Uploads

As Seen on TV! Close Captioning For YouTube

So I suppose you were aware you could add closed captions to YouTube videos? What’s that mean? It means you can add text to your video that viewers can turn off or on, and it’s generally used to allow the hard of hearing to read along with what is actually being said in the video. I can imagine some other ways to use it, as subtext and commentary but let’s start with the intended choice, which most of us are familiar with from television.

 

Anyway beginning with this song, a parody of David Bowie’s Space Oddity I called “Space Oddity 1998 aka Major Glenn” in honor of the old spaceman when I wrote it in 1998, and the then late John Glenn when I recorded it recently, I decided to explore the caption options available in YouTube. You don’t have to do them before you create the video, and in fact you can revisit any of your videos and add captions.

I picked this one because frankly I had the lyrics all typed up already and that was most of the content.  There was more to it than that though.

In the YouTube video manager on the left I chose a video and click the Edit button for it, then in the tabs along the top row clicked Subtitles and CC (closed captions) which opened up the utility page. You have the option to pay someone to do them, even, and you can have them done in another language. That means you can buy a translation if your target audience is only not your native language, but I will leave the idea of subtitles to you to consider. You’ll have to set a primary language for the video first. Then you can click a blue button upper right to add them, which gives you these choices: Upload a file, Transcribe and auto-sync, Create new subtitles of CC, Buy subtitles.

I uploaded my lyric file. You might want to transcribe. Your instructions are to “Type everything that’s spoken in the video here, then click “Set timings” to automatically line up your text with the speech in the video.” with a convenient box to cut and paste if you prefer. An automatically checked box pauses the video as you type so you can enter a few words, it will play a few more seconds and you can type more. Really a fantastic setup. I had an intro so I added that part in front of the lyrics and then clicked Set timings.

It chugged along for a while and then took me to the page you see above. This is probably the page you get if you straight up decide to transcribe and I found it pretty intuitive. Thanks, Google!

Here is where you can play your video as a preview and then use the boxes shown below the video to adjust the caption display. In my case it didn’t do a great job of aligning the words with when they were sung and I imagine it’s better for just speech soundtracks. Also I wanted the captions to lag a little behind the singing so as not to spoil the joke for people who could hear and read fast. So I scooted the boxes on the lower right over (you can drag either end to adjust the display length, start and end times).

I also copied and pasted lines out of some boxes to the next ones (as seen on the left ), and sometimes clicked the little plus box to get a new child box to add a break to the display and make the captions fit better. You know when you read something it’s kind of annoying to have it break in the middle and start a new thought at the same time? I tried to arrange the caption boxes so they held one thought, or maybe a rhyming couplet, instead of ending a verse with one line and shaving the line beneath it starting the next sentence but not finishing it until the next caption.

Then I previewed it and fine-tuned my edit. You may not want your timing as precise as I did, but it’s nice to have the option of perfection.

Now because I am a smart alec I do see the amusement in captioning a musical song for the deaf, but hard of hearing people can enjoy musical and performance content on levels you may not even consider. Aside from the visual of the performance and lyrical content, sound is a vibration and that relies on a different sense: touch. If you have a well-functioning ear that vibration touches your eardrum and manages to get converted into electric nerve impulses that your brain feeds you as sound. If you have a sense of touch you can feel the rhythms and vibrations by touch, through your feet, hands or even chest if the bass is pounding enough (flashback to a very uncomfortable set at a Justin Timberlake concert I attended with my wife.) But I have seen deaf people put speakers facedown on the floor and shoes off, trip the light fantastic. Plus good lyrics are poetry however you receive them.

Not these lyrics of course, they are literally a joke. 🙂

—-David

P.S. You can click the link above to see this video, then turn on captions to see how it turned out. If you like it, click like and I will feel special.

P.P.S. Off topic: Wow, the iOS WordPress app really doesn’t care if you are trying to make a draft and just throws it up online. I probably clicked the wrong button but I accidentally posted this days ago while I was just making a note to write it. So pay attention to the screens and notifications flashing by, right? I ended up immediately setting it to private so I could decide whether to keep, edit, delete or set the post to draft like I meant to do in the first place.

 

 

As Seen on TV! Close Captioning For YouTube was originally published on Creative Uploads