Creating Animated Silhouettes for Videos

Most of the animated infographic videos that include characters of people tend to use simple pictograms and icons or cartoons to represent the people. But there may be cases where you might want to use a more realistic representation of people, like silhouettes for example. So, how do you go about creating animated silhouettes of characters doing something for your videos? The easiest way for common movements would be to search for and purchase stock footage of animated characters. But you may not find exactly what you’re looking for. Another option might be to shoot live-action video footage and then edit that footage to create an animated silhouette. A third option that I’ve be experimenting with is to create everything digitally with software. You can see an example of this to the right and I’ll outline the basic process at a high level that I’ve been using (I may do a more comprehensive tutorial when I have more time). The first step is to create your character and animate them in Poser from Smith Micro. Poser is “3D software with free 3D models and character creation tools to easily render 3D graphics and animations.” I’ve been using Poser more and more to get realistic poses for characters in videos. It takes some getting used to but it’s a very handy tool to have in your digital tool box. I typically export images from Poser and then import them into Adobe Illustrator to create vector images of them and alter the characters to match the style of character I’m using in the video. But if you just need silhouettes, for...

Using Online Video for Your Business Workshop

Time to shift gears for me, at least as far as workshops go. Instead of a WordPress workshop, my next High Tech Maui workshop will focus on using online video for business. Details and registration below. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViOq9viRQb4[/youtube] Online video is booming. If you’re doing business online and you’re not using video, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity! Explaining or demonstrating your product or services with video on the web is more engaging than text or pictures alone. Online video has the power to boost customer interaction, drive sales, encourage viral sharing and build brand awareness. Join multimedia and web developer Jeff Bennett,  for an informative and engaging look at why you should be using online video for your business, and identify ways to effectively incorporate online video into your online strategy. In this three-hour workshop you’ll learn some compelling reasons why your business should be using online video. We’ll look at how small businesses around the world are using online video to inform and educate their customers, explain and describe their products, and connect and engage with their market. We’ll view and discuss examples of different styles and types of online video, examine tools and venues, and explore the process of producing and publishing online videos. We’ll generate ideas for videos for workshop attendees, and even develop a few script and story ideas for willing participants. Laptops are not required or needed. Register Online! Date: Thursday, April 21, 2011 Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm Location: Malcolm Center, 1305 Holopono St., Suite 1, Kihei Cost: $35 Seating limited to 20 Jeff Bennett Biography Jeff Bennett is a web/multimedia developer with over fifteen...

YouTube Video Tips

Online video is huge right now and if you look around this site you can tell that I’m a big fan of using online video for business. And since YouTube currently has an 82% market share of embedded and linked videos, and is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google, I’m a proponent of sharing your videos on YouTube. But, if you want to get the most out of your YouTube channel, you need to do more than just upload your video and walk away. Here are some tips for getting more mileage out of your YouTube campaign. Encoding and Sharing Video needs to be compressed in order for the files to be small enough to share. There’s a wide range of video codecs and file formats that you can publish your video to and YouTube supports a wide variety of them. The YouTube Help Center has a list of some file formats supported by YouTube. The trend in video is High Definition (HD) video, either 1280 x 720 or 1080p. If you’re shooting in HD, be sure to check out their tips on uploading HD videos. My recommendations are: High Definition 1080p or 720p (16:9 aspect ratio) .h264 video compression QuickTime or Mp4 file format AAC or MP3 audio compression Frames per second: 30 Maximum length: 15min (recommend 2-3 minutes) Maximum file size: 2 GB Help Your Videos Get Found When you upload a video to YouTube, in addition to selecting the video file to upload, you need to give your video a name, description, some tags and pick a category. All this meta data...

Online Video Workshop Slides

Thanks to everyone who attended today’s workshop, Using Online Video for Your Business. We had a great group that got involved in the discussion, asked great questions, contributed their knowledge and experience and helped each other brainstorm ideas for videos. Here are the slides to the presentation. There’s a lot of references to links in the slides so if you want to dive down further into a specific topic, check out the links. Using Online Video for Your Business View more presentations from Jeff...

Types of Online Video for Business

I think a lot of small business owners have a limited idea of the kinds of online videos they could be producing and publishing to support their business. There are several types and styles of online videos as well as several ways that businesses are using online video for business. I like to break online video into four basic type of videos: Live action Screencasts Animation and animated infographics Photo slideshows Live Action Live action is probably the first type of online video that comes to most people’s mind. The video is produced by filming live action with a video camera, editing the footage and uploading. The majority of online videos on the Internet are live action videos, so there’s plenty of examples out there and I’m sure every Internet user is familiar with this type. But, there are other types that may be more appropriate for your business. Screencasts A screencast is a less known type of online video. According to Wikipedia, “A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration.” Personally, screencasts are one of my favorite types of online videos. They’re perfect for demonstrating computer software and applications. Here’s some examples: WordPress.tv Salesforce.com If you have a software product or web service or application, consider using screencasts to point out its features or show users how to use your product. Screencasting software is fairly inexpensive and readily available for both Macs and PCs. Screencasting software: Camtasia Camtasia for Mac Jing Screenflow My preferred application in this set is TechSmith’s Camtasia for Mac. It’s fairly easy...

Online Video Workshop Promotional Trailer

I recently had a week of vacation time where I had enough down time to just work on something of my own just for the fun of it. I decided to make a quick little promotional trailer video for the upcoming Using Online Video for Your Business Workshop. I wanted to keep it quick and easy with some simple animated text and graphics using only Apple’s Keynote (equivalent to Microsoft PowerPoint). Here’s the result: As a small business, what can you learn from this little video? A few things. You don’t even need a video camera to make an online video like this. You probably already have the software on your computer to make something like this, so the monetary investment is minimal. If you have a story or explanation to tell about your business or products, come up with some visuals that help to tell the story and explain the project and build a “presentation” in PowerPoint or Keynote. Then output that presentation as a Quicktime movie and upload to YouTube. The process is pretty simple and we’ll discuss it in the upcoming workshop. Hope to see you there. Transcript Using Online Video for business Who is using it? What kinds and types of videos are they producing? When is the best time to upload your video? Where should you upload your videos? Why should you get into online video? How do you create your own online videos? Join other Hawaii small businesses & entrepreneurs exploring online video for business Using Online Video for Business Workshop Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 9am – 12pm Malcolm Center, Kihei, Maui,...

Chris Anderson: How YouTube is driving innovation

TED talks never fail to inspire and motivate me. And, it’s especially inspiring when I come across a TED talk that deals with one of my passions, like online video. I came across this video today from TED’s own Chris Anderson. Chris says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation — a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. “…what I think is under-reported is the significance of the rise of online video. This is the technology that’s going to allow the rest of the world’s talents to be shared digitally, thereby launching a whole new cycle of crowd-accelerated innovation. ” “It’s not too much to say that what Guttenberg did for writing, online video can now do for face to face communication.” Check out the full talk in this...

Myths about Online Video for Business

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about using online video for business. A lot of the ideas people have about video are rooted in the technology and broadcast venues of the past. So, let’s examine some common objections people may have about incorporating online video for their business. Myth #1: I have to hire a professional videographer or video crew Not long ago, video equipment was expensive and complicated. But these days, high quality, easy-to-use HD (High Definition) video cameras are available at very reasonable prices. There’s no doubt that an experienced videographer will be able to deliver a higher quality video than a beginning, do-it-yourself, self-produced video, but many videos don’t need the level of quality that many might think. If you take the time to learn some basic videography and editing techniques, you may be able to develop the skill set to produce your own videos. Remember, you’re making your video for online distribution, not for HBO. There are a lot of businesses out there who have had very good success self-producing their own videos. iPhone app maker Smule created its early videos with a $600 video camera and iMovie, free editing software for Macs. Smule attributes online video as a key factor in its increased sales. Their Ocarina app has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, due in large part to online video. Check out their videos on their YouTube page. Home security systems firm FrontPoint Security initially outsourced its online videos to a professional, but their employees soon learned enough to be able to produce all their videos internally. Since beginning to post...

Using Online Video for Your Business Workshop

Online video is booming. If you’re doing business online and you’re not using video, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity! Explaining or demonstrating your product or services with video on the web is more engaging than text or pictures alone. Online video has the power to boost customer interaction, drive sales, encourage viral sharing and build brand awareness. Join multimedia and web developer Jeff Bennett, Tuesday, October 19 from 9:00am to 12:00pm for an informative and engaging look at why you should be using online video for your business, and identify ways to effectively incorporate online video into your online strategy. In this three-hour workshop you’ll learn some compelling reasons why your business should be using online video. We’ll look at how small businesses around the world are using online video to inform and educate their customers, explain and describe their products, and connect and engage with their market. We’ll view and discuss examples of different styles and types of online video, examine tools and venues, and explore the process of producing and publishing online videos. We’ll generate ideas for videos for workshop attendees, and even develop a few script and story ideas for willing participants. Laptops are not required or needed. Register Online! Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm Location: Malcolm Center, 1305 Holopono St., Suite 1, Kihei Cost: $30 Seating limited to 30 Jeff Bennett Biography Jeff Bennett is a web and multimedia developer with over fifteen years of web and software development experience, over 8 years of online video experience and owner of Digital Splash Media. Learn more about...

Backing Up Your WordPress Database Video Tutorial

A frequent question I hear from beginning WordPress users is how to back up WordPress. They’ve heard that before they upgrade to a new version of WordPress, they should do a backup. And of course they are right, backing up your WordPress database is very important and is highly recommended by the folks at WordPress prior to performing an upgrade. According to the WordPress codex: Your WordPress database contains every post, every comment and every link you have on your blog. If your database gets erased or corrupted, you stand to lose everything you have written. There are many reasons why this could happen and not all are things you can control. So here’s a short video tutorial screencast outlining how to back up your WordPress database using a simple and easy-to-use plugin, the WP PHP MyAdmin plugin. Expand the video to Full Screen mode to see the details more clearly. There are other options for backing up your WordPress database, including services that will do it for you automatically, but I still think it’s important to know how to do manual backups. Backing up your database is essential, but remember that the WordPress database is only part of what you need to backup. There are two parts to backing up your WordPress site: Database and Files. Learn more about backing up your WordPress files. Learn more about backing up your WordPress database from the WordPress codex. The following is the transcript from the video tutorial. Video Tutorial Transcript Backing up your WordPress database is an essential task you need perform before upgrading or moving your WordPress site. The...