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ray_g
01-01-2007, 12:10
Let me run this idea by you. I PM'ed RayPA about it earlier and am waiting to hear back.

This idea came to me as a result of a recent thread on podcasts. I have been enjoying the magnum video podcasts and essays lately. Someone in that thread asked about creating RFF podcasts.

I played around with Windows Movie Maker (I believe this is a part of Win XP) this morning (trying to figure out how to create a video to upload to my ipod) and came out with a short trial video.

It took about 30-45 mins to do: copy existing jpg files into a storyline, add music (or voiceover, if you prefer), and save. The file is large, and I uploaded it to YouTube for filesharing. It was compressed during the upload.

I think it may be a great project for members to make short essays or projects where they can talk about the projects or about themselves while the photos are streaming. It would allow you to present your photos as a cohesive body of work. It would also be more personal - hearing the member talk about his project or himself. It would be like the pdf project, but taking it one step farther. I also think it is easier to do.

I uploaded the video to YouTube. I just signed up, so you may know more about it, but it seems to be like flickr. We can even create an RFF group. The YouTube compression degrades the image quality a bit, but still ok.

The video is also embedded on my blog, but here's the link to the YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybYW8h5_JYU).

Think it is a worthwhile idea?

RayPA
01-01-2007, 12:32
Ray

I think it's a great idea, kind of an extension or variation of the PDF project from last year. Count me in! I'll give it a try. File size issues might be troublesome. We could also go to DVD, but podcasting sounds like more fun.

The YouTube idea sounds interesting too.

:)

ray_g
01-01-2007, 12:46
Yes, I think podcasting is fun, and would take care of the filesize issue. The only drawback is connection speed - it may be difficult for people who do not have broadband to upload their videos from their pc's to YouTube.

Well, if any of you do upload to YouTube, I have taken the liberty of creating a group "Rangefinder Forum." Pls send your videos to the group as you would in Flickr.

back alley
01-01-2007, 12:53
very cool.

not sure i could get that organized.

do you need to worry about the music, copyright, royalties etc?

joe

ray_g
01-01-2007, 13:13
very cool.

not sure i could get that organized.

do you need to worry about the music, copyright, royalties etc?

joe

Not sure, Joe. I just used some sample music that came with my computer.

luisliwanag
01-01-2007, 13:30
Let me run this idea by you. I PM'ed RayPA about it earlier and am waiting to hear back.

This idea came to me as a result of a recent thread on podcasts. I have been enjoying the magnum video podcasts and essays lately. Someone in that thread asked about creating RFF podcasts.

I played around with Windows Movie Maker (I believe this is a part of Win XP) this morning (trying to figure out how to create a video to upload to my ipod) and came out with a short trial video.

It took about 30-45 mins to do: copy existing jpg files into a storyline, add music (or voiceover, if you prefer), and save. The file is large, and I uploaded it to YouTube for filesharing. It was compressed during the upload.

I think it may be a great project for members to make short essays or projects where they can talk about the projects or about themselves while the photos are streaming. It would allow you to present your photos as a cohesive body of work. It would also be more personal - hearing the member talk about his project or himself. It would be like the pdf project, but taking it one step farther. I also think it is easier to do.

I uploaded the video to YouTube. I just signed up, so you may know more about it, but it seems to be like flickr. We can even create an RFF group. The YouTube compression degrades the image quality a bit, but still ok.

The video is also embedded on my blog, but here's the link to the YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybYW8h5_JYU).

Think it is a worthwhile idea?

I liked your Panama Essay...it's very serene and meditative...You know ,the software they use for the Magnum in motion is the "Soundslides" it gives a better output in terms of resolutiom because unlike the compression in a windows video which blurs the details of each image, the soundslides give it a crispness much like in a flash movie. That's what I have been doing lately. It's a lot of fun.....in fact, my wife and kids are having a blast doing their own photography experiments anf post them in in YouTube.

I liked your music too.Who played it?

ray_g
01-01-2007, 14:18
The artist is Gandalf.

Thanks for the tip. I assumed that the loss of quality / blurring occured when the file was compressed in YouTube. Do you have any examples of videos made with Soundslides posted on YouTube?

Marc-A.
01-01-2007, 15:50
I really like your idea Ray, and your video too. It would be great to have your comments on it.
I'm not sure I know how to do that, not sure I can't talk while the images are streaming either, but it's worth a shot.

do you need to worry about the music, copyright, royalties etc?
Hey Joe, you're pointing out a serious problem. There's two answers:
- from a legal point of view, no doubt there are copyrights.
- as it would be for non-commercial purposes, I doubt we would be sued for that. But we have to be aware of the problem. (if you intend to make a DVD, then you shall have to pay royalties).
Best,
Marc-A.

jlw
01-01-2007, 18:54
Ray, I think it's worth trying -- in fact, after reading your first post, I wasted most of the afternoon putting together a video and am uploading it now.

One potential glitch I see right away: You seem to have created TWO groups: "Rangefinder Forum" and "RFF Video." Seems to me as if that raises a risk that we'll wind up splitting our content between the two, and possibly confusing people who are looking for it.

Currently both groups don't have anything in them except your Panama Canal video, so I would suggest you delete one or the other before you start getting more members and content.

I'm going to go with the "Rangefinder Forum" group unless you indicate that you'd rather concentrate on the other. Let us know how this shapes up. Thanks...

ray_g
01-01-2007, 19:27
Yeah, that was a glitch. I will go do that. Let's stick to "Rangefinder Forum."

I downloaded a trial copy of Soundslides. It is very easy to use. However, I can't seem to figure out how to upload the finished movie correctly to YouTube.

Marc - yes, I created another video, with narration this time, rather than music. It is on YouTube, but here it is embedded in my blog (http://theitinerantphotographer.blogspot.com/2007/01/monochrome-travel-photos.html).

ray_g
01-01-2007, 19:32
I can't seem to delete the "RFF Video" group, so I just disabled it.

jlw
01-01-2007, 19:40
YouTube in general seems a bit cranky, at least this evening.

-- I joined the "Rangefinder Forum" group, but when I check my profile page, it doesn't show up in the list of groups of which I'm a member.

-- If I try to upload a video to the group, I get a message saying you must be a member to upload.

-- If I click the "Join" button, I get a message saying I'm already a member of the group.

Meanwhile, the first video I tried to upload went up OK, but didn't have any sound. I'm now trying again with the sound saved in a different format.

Expect something of a learning curve on this one, folks...

jlw
01-01-2007, 19:44
Would somebody else please try joining the group and see if you're successful?

I'm stuck in a loop whereby I'm told I'm not a member, but when I try to join, I'm told I can't because I'm already a member.

To see the group, visit: http://www.youtube.com/group/rangefinder

If you've got a YouTube account, try joining. If not, try setting up a YouTube account and then try joining.

Thanks...

ray_g
01-01-2007, 19:51
There was another video I watched, "Performance Night." Was that your video? It is not added to the group, but you are a member. Yes, the interface is not quite as quick and easy as Flickr. :(

jlw
01-01-2007, 19:55
There was another video I watched, "Performance Night." Was that your video? It is not added to the group, but you are a member. Yes, the interface is not quite as quick and easy as Flickr. :(

Yes, that was my video. It's not very good, just something I put up there to test my export settings.

Interesting that I'm showing up as a group member for you, but not for me! As the group owner, do you have the capability to remove members? If so, we might try having you remove me and then I'll try joining again. Or maybe if we wait a while, YouTube will catch up with itself.

The interface doesn't bother me so much -- it's the works underneath that sometimes get wonky. Maybe if I wait a while, YouTube will sort itself out and my group memberships will heal themselves. Maybe my video will even get its sound back, although I doubt that -- I'm exporting it again with the soundtrack saved in a different format, and then we shall see.

jlw
01-01-2007, 19:56
You know what else I just thought of? If we're going to have a YouTube group, we should have some kind of spiffy "Rangefinder Forum" ID that everyone could download and place at the beginning and end of their videos. That way random YouTube browsers will get little plug for the "rangefinder aesthetic"...

jlw
01-01-2007, 20:17
Okay, this time my video got uploaded with sound. Here's its URL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdPzYKNb6N8

I wasn't able to add it to the Rangefinder Forum group because my YouTube account still has group schizophrenia: Rangefinder Forum doesn't show up in my account's list of groups, and if I try to upload videos to it I get a message saying I need to join the group. But if I try to join, I get a message saying I'm already a member. Maybe it just needs time to sort itself out.

Next post: What I learned by spending a whole afternoon and evening making my 2-minute-and-17-second "video photoessay"...

PS-- If you click the link, don't be surprised if you get an error page saying the video is not yet available. If you copy the URL and paste it into a browser window, you probably WILL get it. As noted previously, YouTube can be very wonky...

ray_g
01-01-2007, 20:28
Wow, that was a great video. Even though it was your video, I was able to add "Arcanum" to the group. You were listed as a member as well. I think it just needs a little time to catch up, as you thought.

jlw
01-01-2007, 20:31
It could be a browser issue, as well. When I bailed out of Safari and logged in with Firefox, I showed up as a group member and was able to assign videos to groups. Weird.

Word to the wise for fellow RFF YouTubers: Sometimes the YouTube magic doesn't work. If at first you don't succeed, try with a different browser.

back alley
01-01-2007, 20:32
wow!
very cool you guys!!

makes me wish i had some real talent...

jlw
01-01-2007, 21:24
Thoughts from making my first YouTube "video photo-essay":

I've done photo/video/animation/thingies before to put onto DVDs, but this was my first try at making one for YouTube, which has very specific limitations as well as a fairly specific audience persona. Basically, it's "Short Attention Span Theater" -- if you check the "Most Watched Videos" pages, you'll be surprised how lame most of them are.

(The YouTube concept seems to argue against the old idea that the "power of the Internet" would cause fantastically new creative art to emerge. Even if somebody did create something fantastically creative and put it on YouTube, it probably would just sink into the swamp of videos that get viewed four times over their entire lifespan. Meanwhile, an incredibly dull video of some doofus singing "Auld Lang Syne" while sitting on the couch with his dog gets 127,000 viewings in one day... no kidding! Moral of this story: If you want your YouTube videos to be seen by anyone, be prepared to email the links to everyone you know!)

So, if you want to use YouTube as a vehicle for still-photo essays, I suspect the key thoughts are:

-- Keep it short. My first try ran 2 minutes 25 seconds, and that's probably too long to hold the interest of most YouTubers. The popular videos seem to run 90 seconds or less.

-- Put some music behind it. I was surprised how many people would watch 90 seconds of somebody's crummy party snapshots, and I suspect the soundtracks might have something to do with it. Of course, 99% of the soundtracks on YouTube videos are crud, and 98% of them probably are copyright infringements, but you don't have to do that. (I used a royalty-free "production loop" behind mine.)

-- Accept that image quality will be a compromise at best. YouTube's Flash-based video system yields rough, dull-colored, grainy-looking video. If you stick with stationary images and simple transitions, the way Ray did with his Panama slideshow, you can get decent-looking results. If you try to liven up your video with a lot of motion and effects, the way I did in mine, YouTube's crummy encoding will obliterate most fine detail. I felt I needed the motion effects to make the video more interesting to the YouTube population, but I paid the price with a big image-quality hit. It's a tradeoff.

-- I'm still not sure what to do about text/commentary/titles. Ray's Panama photos were pretty much free-standing, but I felt that my "photo-essay"needed some kind of contextual information to make the images meaningful. I wound up using text titles, but am not totally happy with this solution -- it gave the thing a kind of silent-movie feeling. Recording the commentary as a voice-over might have been better, but see the next comment...

-- Don't be surprised if your ancillaries are harder and more time-consuming to make than the basics of your images! It took me upwards of an hour of Photoshop work to make my simple title and caption screens and integrate them into the video. The simple looped soundtrack also took almost an hour of tinkering to find, edit and match. The next time I do one of these, I think I'll try eliminating most of the text titles and instead use voiceovers in the soundtrack -- but I know from my past life as a radio-commercial producer that mixing the music, voiceovers and effects needed to make a good soundtrack probably will take longer than choosing and sequencing the photos!

So, while making the video was kind of fun, I'm not sure that the inherent quality level of YouTube is high enough to get people interested in photo-essays, still photography in general, or the "rangefinder way" in particular.

Maybe that wasn't Ray's objective in creating the group, but it would be worthy goal if there were a way to do it! There's got to be some way to use YouTube for something more constructive than low-budget music videos, amateur soft-core porn, and videos of sleepy kittens (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GWPOPSXGYI) (that kitten has been viewed three and a quarter milliion times!)

jlw
01-01-2007, 21:33
I see Ray has just posted another one. He's quicker than I am!

Ray, I think you meant to put "January 1, 2007" on the trailer, but it says "2006." Oh, well, we'll all be doing that on letters, checks, etc., for at least a month...

For anyone who wants to see what we're talking about, the URL for the RFF YouTube group is:

http://www.youtube.com/group/rangefinder

RayPA
01-01-2007, 23:00
Nice job on both the "canal" and "Arcanum." Arcanum moves a little fast for me. I couldn't read the titles completely. Still, very nice work on both!

:)

lZr
01-01-2007, 23:59
Interesting idea and awesome presentation, Ray.
There are similar ways to do the job, using Power Point
look here. Old stuff
http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00AWUv

Marc-A.
01-02-2007, 04:24
Yes, that was my video. It's not very good, just something I put up there to test my export settings.

Not very good? Well, I'm eager to see more of your videos! It's excellent. Wonderful pictures too; the one of the choregrapher are really expressive. I'll show your video to my sister who's a dancer at the Opéra de Paris.
The only shortcoming is that it's too short, too fast. I'm looking forward to new videos :)

Ray, I sent you a comment on your Blog; it's nice to hear your voice, and your work is truly beautiful.

Marc-A.

luisliwanag
01-02-2007, 04:41
The artist is Gandalf.

Thanks for the tip. I assumed that the loss of quality / blurring occured when the file was compressed in YouTube. Do you have any examples of videos made with Soundslides posted on YouTube?

No Ray, You Tube only takes movies in avi., wmv, mpg and related files and" soundslides" if I am not mistaken is only for web slideshows, Although the displayed movies on youtube are already flash movies. My beta version of soundslides at home expired kaya I use the movie format

Luis

retrocam
01-02-2007, 09:41
The photo essays on video are really awesome. Great works guys!

May I also suggest using iMovie HD for Mac users. Aside from dragging and dropping photos, video and audio clips, you can apply the Burns effect on the photos (zooming in and out, etc.) . And you can also apply text and transitions easily.

ampguy
01-02-2007, 09:46
very nice! I'd recommend pausing a second or two more during the parts with text.


Okay, this time my video got uploaded with sound. Here's its URL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdPzYKNb6N8

I wasn't able to add it to the Rangefinder Forum group because my YouTube account still has group schizophrenia: Rangefinder Forum doesn't show up in my account's list of groups, and if I try to upload videos to it I get a message saying I need to join the group. But if I try to join, I get a message saying I'm already a member. Maybe it just needs time to sort itself out.

Next post: What I learned by spending a whole afternoon and evening making my 2-minute-and-17-second "video photoessay"...

PS-- If you click the link, don't be surprised if you get an error page saying the video is not yet available. If you copy the URL and paste it into a browser window, you probably WILL get it. As noted previously, YouTube can be very wonky...

jlw
01-02-2007, 10:32
very nice! I'd recommend pausing a second or two more during the parts with text.

I would too, next time. (I got fed up with the amount of time I was spending on it -- hey, I missed the Fiesta Bowl! -- but may go back and re-edit my original assembly.) There's an old home-movie rule of thumb that says to leave a title onscreen for twice the amount of time it takes to read it, so that gives me a starting point.

However, I wasn't sure how much patience the average YouTubian has for reading plain old non-moving text. (I figured that if they really wanted to know, they could use the "Pause" button.) Some pundit pointed out that part of the popularity of YouTube probably has to do with its accessibility to non-English-speakers, so that would be another reason not to make essays too text-heavy.

Oh, well, it's an emerging field. Or, maybe not "emerging" -- "dormant"? -- but it's a good excuse to experiment with cool software and maybe bring some new-tech respectability to old-fashioned still images.

Gabriel M.A.
01-02-2007, 10:38
Great, excellent idea. I'll subscribe to this thread so I can re-read it later.

ray_g
01-02-2007, 15:55
Well, there seems to be a few choices in software to do this. And the group in YouTube appears to have "stabilized," with the videos and members listed appropriately. I can't wait to see more work from you guys!

Gabriel M.A.
01-02-2007, 21:26
Alright. This is the very first time I've ever done this sort of thing. I've uploaded the video to YouTube, and after a while, figured out how to add it to the group. But here's the direct link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSfJJKmnnuI

Be gentle; it's my first time :o

(edit: I uploaded something with slightly better resolution)

Marc-A.
01-03-2007, 02:45
Eric Satie? One of my very favourites! My wife used to play Satie, and I always wanted to use Gnossiennes as soundtrack for short films. That's brilliant Gabriel! You made my day :)
Merci l'ami pour ce clip, une superbe musique pour de superbes photos.
A bientôt,
Marc-A. :)

Gabriel M.A.
01-03-2007, 06:23
Thank you, Mark. :)

Satie provided the "appropiate mood"

ray_g
01-03-2007, 18:42
Alright. This is the very first time I've ever done this sort of thing. I've uploaded the video to YouTube, and after a while, figured out how to add it to the group. But here's the direct link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSfJJKmnnuI

Be gentle; it's my first time :o

(edit: I uploaded something with slightly better resolution)

Just saw it. Excellent video, Gabriel - the photos were lovely. Beautiful music, too.

aad
01-03-2007, 18:46
That's beautiful, Gabriel.

Gabriel M.A.
01-04-2007, 11:20
Thank you, Ray and aad :)

Marc-A.
01-15-2007, 01:43
Hi y'all.
I've finally made a short video. I uploaded it to the RFF group (link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3kGjl2WJ7c)), Ray. The title is Wanderings. The video quality is rather low because of the compression rate ... c'est comme ça.
Take care,
Marc-A.

ray_g
01-15-2007, 17:38
Hi y'all.
I've finally made a short video. I uploaded it to the RFF group (link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3kGjl2WJ7c)), Ray. The title is Wanderings. The video quality is rather low because of the compression rate ... c'est comme ça.
Take care,
Marc-A.

Very beautiful work. I love your photos, Marc.

Marc-A.
01-18-2007, 10:01
Thanks a lot Ray, that means a lot to me.
I hope the group grows so we can see more videos.
Thanks again,
Marc

ray_g
02-03-2007, 20:17
Came across this video (http://www1.webng.com/0007/project/) by Rich Silfverberg (via Lynn's blog). Amazing talent.

Pherdinand
02-04-2007, 09:56
it's a cool idea, Ray.
On a Mac, quicktime and some other software are quite strong in creating such "videos". I tried it out once, made a stupid little movie using the digicam built into the MacBook laptops'lid and some music of Depeche Mode. But indeed there's something to worry about copyright of music when you produce such things.
In the meantime, there are nice unknown groups/musicians who share their music online for free, and would no tmind letting you use it with proper affiliation.

Pherdinand
02-23-2007, 10:36
OK, i don't know how much it would fit with the other videos posted to the rff group (they are quite nicely made, smooth, relaxing music...and with great photographs!) but i made one myself and added to the group.
You can see and hear it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8H8nKMY7Ok). I figured a little more dynamic one would be okay...and a bit "dark"er as well...
Be cruel and honest though, if you have an oppinion about it!

ampguy
02-23-2007, 11:18
lots of great photos, a bit long, maybe 3 minutes max would be perfect for me, did you do the music yourself?

OK, i don't know how much it would fit with the other videos posted to the rff group (they are quite nicely made, smooth, relaxing music...and with great photographs!) but i made one myself and added to the group.
You can see and hear it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8H8nKMY7Ok). I figured a little more dynamic one would be okay...and a bit "dark"er as well...
Be cruel and honest though, if you have an oppinion about it!

ray_g
02-23-2007, 11:19
I like it, especially what you did with the "grotesque" woman. ;) Very cool.

jlw
02-23-2007, 12:02
But indeed there's something to worry about copyright of music when you produce such things.

Not if you produce your own music too. I assembled mine in GarageBand, using royalty-free loops. This also gives you a lot of control in matching the tempo of your music to the pace of your video.

Pherdinand
02-23-2007, 17:45
thanks guys:) Nope, of course not, the music is from "front line assembly". It's too good to be made by me. In fact, any music is too good to be made by me :)) It was also a 4+minutes "song"so i did not want to cut it, although i find the result too long myself.

It is in fact not very clear to me, if one is infringing any kind of rights when using some musicfor such a thing. After all, it's not for commercial use. And, if you e.g. photograph a statue, or a painting, a building, you don't *normally* have to worry about copyright stuff when publishing the photo.
I don't know what's the situation with music. Anybody?

Pherdinand
02-23-2007, 17:49
jlw: what about the matching of the tempo you mention, from the point of view of compression? When I uploaded a quicktime .mov file, the youtube compressed version was lagging behind with the image (the original was fine). But a divx version got through fine. Any tips on how to make this consistent?