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Greg Evans, editor of InterfaceNZ magazine has asked me to write a regular column on video – starting with vlogging.

So what is vlogging? Well, I don't want to limit this to text – so how about we start by watching my little video I just made: What is Vlogging.

You can probably tell by the quality of my video that it took me all of 15 minutes to make.. including recording, compressing and uploading. Ironically it will take me about an hour to prepare the supporting text!

And that's the beauty of Internet video these days. Thanks to services like Youtube and many others, you and I and everyone are able to publish video at next to no cost, in hardly any time, and with very little technical ability. That's a media revolution right there! With so many of us taking advantage of this opportunity, there is A LOT of video out there. With so much video, the chances of each of us finding something that is interesting, useful or unique becomes very likely, so we are now a lot more ready to forget about questions of quality because we have rediscovered what it means for a video to be interesting, useful or unique. That's another revolution right there! We've learned to accept that its the content of the video that matters, regardless of the image quality and cost of production. Even TV news is less interested in "broadcast quality" images, and seem quite happy using footage from Youtube at 320×240 compressed and at 15 frames per second. So the barrier of entry is now low on all fronts – access, cost and expectations.

If you want more to think about on this, I'd highly recommend Michael Wesch's presentation to the Library of Congress: An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube

Ok, what about vlogging?

Vlogging combines the words video and blogging. Regular readers of Interface should by now know what a blog is, but in case you're new to it – here's my attempt to explain a big thing: A blog is a website that is regularly updated with new content by the same author/s. Each new addition of content is called a blog-post or post and appears at the top with old content moving down the blog. A blog provides readers with subscription features that alert them when posts are added. Most blogs today include options for readers to add comments as a way of encouraging discussion and feedback with the blog author/s. Many journalists and social commentators use blogs, as do some teachers and politicians.

A video-blog or vlog then, is simply a blog that uses video as its primary media in each post.

I wonder if you can now guess what an audio-blog is? What about a moblog? The first 10 to send their correct answers in to Greg the Interface editor, will win a years subscription of Interface… I just made that last bit up.

Ok, so now you know what a vlog is, and maybe some of you want to set one up. Well, that's easy and wont cost you a cent! (Except for the woefully expensive monthly Internet charges in NZ).

First step is to create an account on Youtube. It doesn't have to be Youtube, there are other video publishing services, but let's keep it simple.

Your next step is to post your first video to your Youtube account. There are 3 ways:

  1. Upload a video you have from your computer
  2. Record a video directly onto Youtube by way of your webcam
  3. Record a video with your mobile phone and send it to your Youtube account via its own email address.

Youtube has great help videos for learning how to do any of these things, and more.

That's it! You have created your first post to your Youtube vlog. Other people can access your vlog by going to http://youtube.com/user/YOURUSERNAME

Some people take vlogging further by setting up a blog on a service like Blogger, and then either linking their Youtube video into their blog, or uploading a video directly into their blog with Blogger's video upload features.

If you want people to be able to download your videos so they can play them off the Internet, or so you can turn your vlog into a podcast, then you'll have to use a different service than Youtube. I use Blip.tv. It offers you all the features of Youtube (less the popularity) plus some significant extras, such as file download, and cross posting your video to other sites like the Internet Archive.

So there you have it. Take the time to watch the help videos. Its a great way to learn. If you want to find out all there is to know about vlogging, then the Wikipedia article is a great place to start.

See you next issue with another how-to on DIY video.

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My love of Blip just got obsessive. The RSS feeds that Blip provide with enclosures, displays beautifully on Wikieducator – helping that particular MediaWiki to come alive. Note: MediaWikis will need to have the RSS extension included – speak to the administrator.

This screenrecording goes through the steps involved in embedding a series of videos from Blip into Wikieducator through RSS. Lovely!

NB. Here’s a link to the Archive.org version of the video where they have already generated an Ogg file version (Blip cross uploads to Archive for you).

I was hanging out in Brian Lambs Blip channel, just generally getting inspired and stuff, and when he got talking about RSS as he always does, I thought I’d have a little play with Blip’s RSS feed into Wikieducator.

I dropped HortyKims (a staff member here) into the Horticulture page and was blown away to see the full swf player displaying the actual video! I have sent away to Blip to ask for ways to control the display size of the videos, but for now it displays the size of the actual video file that was loaded. In HortyKim’s case, they are larger than your average net video. In my own case, they are 320×240 and so a little more acceptable.

Embedding media in a live sense is obviously the way to go, and the ability to create mashups with appropriately copyrighted materials will certainly attract innovators to the Wikieducator project. Blip has category feeds as well, so there is a fare bit of control in there, and they support the creativecommons licenses too. The Kaltura video player/editor that Wikieducator has been using seems to have stalled its developments as they still haven’t integrated with Blip. Youtube import is there, but given Blip’s far better handling of copyright – I think Kaltura and Blip should have gotten together much much sooner. Kaltura is a very promising feature, but it is worrisome that they are not keeping it coming.

I am really stoked to have stumbled across this ability to quickly and easily bring a Wikieducator page to life. All hail the power of RSS.

Web based editing is still bubbling away. Youtube has caught up with smaller video sharing services at last and is offering a web based editor they call the remixer:

Sometimes, instant gratification video is just the thing you need.

If you’ve ever uploaded from your cell phone, wished for an easy way to add titles and transitions, or just wanted to remix your own videos, Remixer is a great place to play. It lets you assemble your new video in an easy drag-and-drop timeline, and then publish it right back to YouTube. Your original videos will stay exactly the same.

I’m looking forward o giving this a whirl. Would be cool if I could use this thing to quickly create a slide show with audio from a Flickr feed…

So, in terms of web based editing we have image editors like FlickrCC and others. GoogleDocs. Youtube Remixer. Slideshare’s Slidecast. But why oh why is audio so absent? We more video sharing services then we can poke a stick at, but very few audio sites that cut the mustard. Where’s the Youtube for audio? Complete with embeddable player and URL hyperlinking?

Slideshare just became the killer app for teachers! Synchronised audio with slides!! Thanks Alan for the heads up.

For example:

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A quick look at the features of Wikimapia

New video service hey!spread helps you upload one video across many of the leading video hosting services! Teachertube not there so too bad for the compulsive teachers out there, but the following services are:

And the Blip.tv users among us might be aware of Blips little distribution features that sends a copy of your video to archive.org so that’s just about all bases covered.

I’ve been after this for some time now, asking every firefox extensions developer I met to make me this tool, but thanks to Brent sending me a lil gTalk message – I have it now, and its oh so web2 user friendly! Actually, its quicker and easier to use than the upload interface of all the main video services!!
I’m not going to waste pixels explaining why I need to upload videos across servers so bad, but I’ll just call it promotion and backup.

One thing Hey!Spread (or upcoming competitors) need to add, is the ability to add my own file server to the upload options. Here in NZ, its pricey and unreliable to call files all the time from over seas servers.. so the ability to add a local server would be helpful for that.

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How to embed youtube and slide share into blogger and wordpress blogs

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A quick demo on how to rename tags in del.icio.us and an idea to organised collaborative tagging projects.

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A screen recording looking at the email list service called Google Groups