education, technology, and everything else

Posts Tagged ‘video’


Posted by Miranda on January 27, 2008

A few weeks ago, during one of our meetings with the student administrators of the school media sharing site, one of them mentioned that they had seen a fellow student using a little “thing that took video but was really small, I don’t know what it was but it was pretty cool looking.” What “it” was was a FlipVideo.
I ran across this post, read some reviews, checked the specs and ordered a FlipVideo Ultra, 30 minute version.

I’ve only had it for a week but some initial thoughts about it are:
This is a great camera for casual filming. It fits easily in a pants pocket, fires up and is ready to go in seconds. Where a full size camcorder causes people to “freeze up” (Omigod, are you filming me?) this is much less obtrusive.
The video is in .avi format. When you plug the USB connector into your computer the camera appears as another drive and one simply drags the files onto the hard drive or imports them into the editing software of choice. Super easy.
On a Mac you need to run an installer the first time you plug in the camera. On a PC the drivers install automatically, so quickly you might miss the process entirely if you aren’t watching for it.

As Ken says, the zoom is useless from more than 30 feet, I’d amend that to say that the zoom is useless from more than 15. The quality of the video just plain dies with the zoom.

I don’t use iMovie08, so I don’t know about problems with it, iMovieHD had no problem importing my clips and neither did Sony Vegas.

One problem that I seem to have with the Flip is that when I press the button to start filming with my thumb, I often press the outer navigational ring too. It took a little practice to learn to press with my thumbnail instead of the whole ball of my thumb. This is probably because I am not accustomed to the tiny buttons on most electronic gadgets such as cell phones.

I did not need a USB extender cable for it but I did find myself supporting the body of the camera when I had it connected to the computer. I can see that the USB connector will be the first thing to break on this thing.

We will be getting several of these for the students to use. They will not replace our full size camcorders but will be for, as I said, casual filming, those moments where you say to yourself “Oh, man I wish I had that on video!”. With the FlipVideo, you can.

Posted in reviews, tools | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

making student videos interesting

Posted by Miranda on January 13, 2008

I’ve just been reading a very interesting discussion over at Students 2.0 which begins with a post by Anthony Chivetta: Teaching the Process of Design (or, making student videos interesting).
I think anyone interested in incorporating video into the educational process would find it illuminating.
I did. But it is now time to get off this computer and haul some wood, I’ve got a cord sitting out in the driveway and I need to get it under cover and up on the porch.

Posted in education | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Read the study – Watch the videos

Posted by Miranda on January 4, 2008

Read the entire study Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video, (a PDF download) and watch the videos.

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I want to be legal but I can’t afford it

Posted by Miranda on January 4, 2008

The Center for Social Media has come out with a report that claims that the zeal of copyright holders to protect their content is threatening the concept of user generated content. I was reading about this yesterday, and it came up again this morning here.

The study, which examined thousands of online videos across 75 sites, offers general guidelines for what constitutes “fair use” of copyrighted material: parody, negative and positive commentary, discussion-triggers, illustration, diaries, archiving, and pastiche or collage (remixes and mashups). The study’s authors, American University professors Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, take care to say that merely claiming one of theses categories does not automatically indemnify users. The animating principle behind these practices is whether or not the material taken is somehow “transformative,” the authors say, meaning that the work must add some new value to what they take and use it for a purpose different from the original work.

Larry Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law has a wonderful video presentation on the issue:
How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law

I think what’s important to me about this is that fair use should, I believe, include provisions for using content whether it be music, video or still images and making something new with it. But I do think that simply using it as is, taking a song and using it as a soundtrack for instance falls into a different category.


Because I had a great idea for a video about shoes (the school where I work, as it is somewhat pricey, has a student body with some of the greatest shoes ever, I mean they are to die for) anyway I had a great idea for a video about shoes and I contacted Ricall Music Licensing about getting a sync license for Paolo Nutini’s New Shoes to use as a soundtrack for it, it’d be perfect.
I got a quote of $5000. Five thousand dollars!

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Music, Video and Copyright

Posted by Miranda on December 19, 2007

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about copyright lately, in the context of video production, and it struck me that maybe a lot of other people are doing the same thing.
I break the law all the time. For instance the stretch of road between my house and Norwich, Vt is ten miles of pine trees. The speed limit is 40 MPH. I think 40 miles per hour in that stretch is stupid, really. But if a cop pulls me over for going 50 which the limit really ought to be, I’m not going to tell him I think the law is stupid and I shouldn’t have to obey it.

Similarly, I may think that copyright law is stupid when it comes to me using someone’s recorded music for my video (although actually I see a lot of sense in it) but I am bound to obey it, especially in a school setting where what I do may influence the students there.

A lot of copyright law seems to be sort of ambiguous when it comes to the Web, but there’s one thing that I have found is not ambiguous at all and that is that it is illegal to use someone’s music in your video unless you have a license to do that.

These are the resources I used to come to that conclusion:

Can I Use Someone Else’s Work? Can Someone Else Use Mine?

Videomaker eNewsletter January 1999
Shoot with Caution: Video, the Law and You

What music can I use in my video? Revver. Com (this one is interesting to me because they vet all videos before upload and will refuse to show your video with copyrighted material in it. Yet they are quite popular)

Bound by Law: Tales from the Public Domain

ASCAP Internet Licensing FAQs

BMI Statement on Internet Licensing

DesignFirms – February 2005
How to use music legally in your work: Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright for Video Producers

Urban Myths Category:
“I’ve heard that you can use any piece of music in your film as long as it is under 30 seconds. Is this true?”

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Ego Stroke

Posted by Miranda on December 18, 2007

I got a nice ego stroke this morning when I got a forwarded copy of an email noting that my video, Civilization III and World History, had a mention in Stephen Downes’ blog Half an Hour
under a post titled Not The EduBlog Award Winners

Makes me feel good. Thanks Stephen!

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Video and Copyright

Posted by Miranda on December 16, 2007

We launched a new service at school this fall, a media sharing server. My priorities when we began talking about it last year were

1. To have a video sharing site inside our network that would not tie up our bandwidth to the outside
2. To have the site be student-run

I had noticed that students in our video editing class invariably uploaded their finished works to YouTube (and why not?). I wanted all that stuff to end up inside the network and not have it clogging our pipe to the outside. I also wanted the site to be student run so that students could learn by wrestling with policy. One thing that concerned me in the video editing class was that there was no discussion about copyright as it applied to music being used as soundtracks for the video.

It was set up as an “Activity” somewhat like an afternoon sport.

I will not even go into the agonies that I went through setting up the server although they were considerable. The script I bought: Social Media by EntertainmentScripts runs on Linux. Not only did I know nothing about Linux, the script requires a lot of add-ons to Linux which proved to be not at all easy to configure.
But anyway. The kids who signed up for the activity had a lot of discussions about copyright and drafted a long terms of service which they boiled down to one paragraph which appears right before a user hits the Browse button to find the video file to upload. It goes like this:

It doesn’t matter:
*how long or short the clip/audio/image is
*where you got it from
*whether you are giving credit
*whether other people do it
*if you are not selling it to make money/gain fame
*whether it contains a copyright notice
It is still copyrighted. You need the copywriter’s permission to use it.
Please read our full terms of service.

I then added this:
Be sure to check out our links to copyright-free material.

And we have two pages of links to copyright free audio and video. One student video, made the year before, had been shown in All School Meeting and everyone had loved it. The administration wanted that to be the first video uploaded. The only problem was, it used a song by Johnny Clegg and Savuka as the soundtrack. I posted on Johnny Clegg’s web site on his Scatterlings blog asking permission to upload the video. Lo and behold, a week later Mr. Clegg posted back, giving permission and asking for a copy on DVD, which I sent off to South Africa, along with a fan letter from the student. (And by the way if you’ve never heard Johnny Clegg’s music with either of his two groups, Juluka or Savuka, you are missing some of the best music in the world, I am a rabid fan)

So far, so good. But teachers are now posting video, mostly of sports events, with soundtracks. And those soundtracks are copyrighted material. One teacher admitted to me he had never read our little paragraph.

What are our students learning from this?

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