Instant video blogging

Today’s first year Farnham blogging workshop almost collapsed under the weight of UCA’s unspeakably terrible IT infrastructure. Note to the college – SORT IT OUT. None of the students’ Macs could actually launch software, and took about ten minutes to log in. If they could at all. That’s how bad it was.

But, after dealing with major IT suckage, we managed to put together a few video interview clips on that perennial favourite topic, Michael Jackson’s extended O2 residency. After cobbling together a group iMovie cut on the one machine we could get working my laptop, after that one fell over too, we uploaded it to YouTube and the code should be embedded on the various student blogs before too long. 

The whole exercise took no more than three hours – most of which was spent waiting for the beach ball of death to stop spinning. I will never get those hours of my life back. Thanks UCA.

The poll question was (roughly): “What do you think of the news that Michael Jackson is extending his O2 residency to 45 nights, and would you buy a ticket?”

Here is the cut – just to show that we managed to achieve something against all odds. The film-making quality is a bit grim, especially the sound – but that’s not the point. The point is to show the technical ease of video publishing. Also, watch out for the edit in the middle that cuts out a crucial question, and leaves the interviewee making a bit of a weird non-sequiter.

Things we learned in the workshop

Good subjects for quick online video are:

  • Video diary of students doing something interesting (quirky, amusing, dangerous, unusual)
  • Vox pop about a hot topic (Jade Goody, Michael Jackson or, you know, something serious)
  • Reviews – instead of writing a review of a restaurant or bar, video it, like this one in Washington DC.
  • Interview someone – this video interviews the head of a tech company at an IT conference. You could do it at a gaming event, a fashion show, a gig – whatever.

Use iMovie or Movie Maker for a very quick cut of a simple video clip – easy to do and easy to export to web-compressed Quicktime movie. You can then upload this to YouTube and paste the embed code into your site/blog.

Technology: any digital camera with a movie setting that can shoot AVI clips [most do these days]. Any phone with a video camera that lets you transfer the clip to computer. A small camcorder such as the Flip video camera.

You can also broadcast live via your web site. Use Qik to broadcast via video phone (there’s a limited number of compatible phones as yet), or Ustream to broadcast from your PC or laptop. Then embed the saved video files in a post or page later.

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