Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Creating Eye-Catching Video

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to be taking a look at a tool that lets you make fun, cool, interested animated videos….really easily. I’m not sure what the practical applications of this tool may be, but I am looking at ways to integrate it into my library- currently I’m update our virtual library tour, and at the end of this post I’ll show you what I have so far. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at Animoto!

I have to admit- I’ve really had a fun time with Animoto. I was introduced to this piece of neatery by my good friend and former (but always current) colleague, Peggy Kaney of Northeastern State University in eastern Oklahoma. Peggy was our keynote speaker at our summer workshop, unCOILed. She spent some time talking about Animoto, but I have only recently been able to dig around on the site. So, let’s dig!

Animoto is easy to sign up for and easy to use, which I will walk you through momentarily. There are different levels to Animoto, and each of the nicer levels required monetary involvement. However, if your needs might only be to create short 5-7 slide videos, then the free version will work for you. I’ve gone ahead and purchased the Full video option, but there is a Pro option (non-branded) as well. So what you’ll see today will be a short video, but I also plan to show you what you can do with a longer, or Full Video option.

When creating a video, you simply click on the create video link and Animoto will walk you through it.

It’s a simple photo uploader, one I’m sure you’ve seen before. You just choose pictures from your computer and they will appear in the Animoto layout. Keep in mind, you can pretty much manipulate any order so don’t worry if they don’t upload in a specific order. Oh, and you can bulk upload, which is nice if you’re doing a large project.

Below is a pictorial representation of the Animoto tool bar.

You can (and should) add text to your Animoto, in order to give it narration. The “T” in the following picture represents a slide on which I’ve inserted text. You’ll see what I’ve typed over to the right side of the picture. Here’s where you might need to get creative- slides keep you to a specific number of characters in each line (22 in the top line, 30 in the bottom).

After you’re set with your pictures and text, you go on the the next step, which is choosing music.

This I did find a little frustrating, but not too bad. The speed and length of your video is dictated by the speed and length of the song. When I was creating my virtual tour, there wasn’t a long enough song on the site to cover all of my video. So it stops short of the desired end of the video. But, there are a lot of genres to choose from or you could upload your own music. Beware of copyright!

The next thing you’ll do is choose how quickly you want your pictures to progress. Essentially you can choose between 1/2 time, normal, and double time.

Once you’ve chosen your music and slide speed you move on to the final stage of creating your Animoto video. This is where you’ll add your title and a brief description of the video.

Then the video has to be converted. You’ll see a screen similar to this:

Once the video has been converted, you’ll be sent an email alerting you that it is finished. The email has a link to the video which you can click on and watch immediately.

If you find a mistake you can change things: but beware, each time you go back to fix something you will create yet another copy of it in your queue. So, I have about 7 redos of my virtual tour. But you can delete whatever you want and only keep the final if you so choose.

The Animoto editor panel is also where you can get the code to embed your video.

Click here to watch the video I created while touring the site for Tuesday Two.Oh!

Click here to watch my (EARLY) virtual library tour.

I’ve really liked using this tool. As I mentioned above, we’re really looking at this as a tool with a lot of potential. My next task is to record a voice file and upload THAT to Animoto and see if we can’t use it as our “music” background. I’m a little nervous about the timing of said voice file, but I’m sure with a lot of tweaking and swearing I can get it to come out correctly. Have you used Animoto? What do you think?

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Found on campus @ OCU

Found.
http://ping.fm/p/ZCWag – Found.

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@KeepitlocalOKC, sustainable business.

@keepitlocalOKC milling around. :)
http://ping.fm/p/yv4nD – @keepitlocalOKC milling around. 🙂

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Global Philanthropy

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

First of all, thanks to Aaron Brown for finding this awesome site! Not only a great musician, a great web hunter. Find him on Twitter: @mrvoxius

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll be taking a look at a site that involves not one but TWO of my passions: wine and reading. Yes, they can be had simultaneously. And for such a good cause! Today we’ll be looking at Fledgling Wine.

From the site: “The Fledgling Initiative aims to make awesome wine for the benefit of Room to Read, a non-profit organization extending literacy and educational opportunities to children worldwide. Every case sold will provide approximately 60 local language children’s books and promote education in the world’s poorest regions.”

Find them on Twitter: @CRUSHPAD

Room to Read “….seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.”

Find them on Twitter: @RoomToRead

Several noteworthy Room To Read programs include first and foremost their flagship program, Reading Room. “Reading Room, has established more than 7,000 libraries since Room to Read was founded in 2000. By engaging children with books in a fun and meaningful way, the Reading Room program helps children develop a lifelong habit of reading. ”

A global Andrew Carnegie.

Another initiative worth checking out would be the Local Language Publishing. The problem that a lot of children face in poorer communities are the lack of books written in their native languages. They not only have to struggle for access to books, but then face a language they may not know. “Books are often field-tested by our staff with local children, to garner comments on plot, character development, language and general suitability for the target age group. All of our local language books are printed within the respective countries, where we publish 5,000 – 10,000 copies per new title and distribute them to our network of schools and libraries, and to other non-governmental organizations.”

A third initiative addresses classroom overcrowding. “Room to Read established our School Room program to provide children in the developing world with better access to appropriate learning spaces. Our School Room program sets high standards and expectations while partnering with local communities to meet specific village needs in building primary and secondary schools, and in some cases, preschools.”

There are several other programs and iniatives that I encourage you to read about on the Room to Read Programs Page.

In order to increase support for Room to Read, Twitter and Chruspad have joined together to sell wine to support the non-profit organization.

You can purchase a lovely Pinot Noir.

Or, you could purchase a Chardonnay.

In closing I generally can be counted on to support any group, cause, or organization that supports libraries. Bringing the literacy of the world up is so crucial to the peace and understanding process that we need to support organizations that fulfill these rolls. And, as an added perk….wine! How could you possibly go wrong? Good luck, Room to Read!

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General computer failure!

Oh No! I really am having a rough time getting my computer to run smoothly today. I have a call in to a tech person, and if he can come and fix it in time I’ll try to have a post up by the end of the day. If not, look for me next week.

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Oklahoma Ghost Town

Abandoned Earlsboro. We even heard gun shots.
http://ping.fm/p/KVfqH – Abandoned Earlsboro. We even heard gun shots.

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools that help me tell you where I am…currently.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to take a little adventure over to a just-for-the-hell-of-it tool that updates your friends to your location- and even introduces you to things that might be happening in your area. Let’s take a look at Bright Kite.

From the site: “Brightkite is the simple way to keep up with friends and places. It lets you see where all your friends are, so you can spend more time with them. You can also discover places in your neighborhood and meet other locals along the way.”

I’ve tried a lot of these tools lately- the most popular of them is Four Square. I like Four Square, but there’s something about Bright Kite that Four Square just doesn’t have: interactive location and friend updates. Bright Kite might be one of the most manipulatable microblogs I’ve ever seen- not that Twitter hasn’t done a decent job of trying to localize their tweeps… it’s just easier when using Bright Kite. However, in a huge nod to both Four Square and Twitter it’s very apparent that Bright Kite borrows heavily from both in order to provide their users with the Bright Kite interface.

Now the trick to it is just remembering to use it!

The first thing I did when I clicked over to Bright Kite was link it up with my Facebook- which has its drawbacks when you try to log in via your mobile. We’ll get to that later. When you’ve logged in (either via Facebook or by setting up an account with a valid email address..recommended!) you’ll see something very familiar… a Twitter-like stream populated with tons of updates from people you don’t know!

This is interesting, if only for the fact that the posts aren’t filtered in a Twitter-like fashion. You just see everyone. The point of Bright Kite isn’t to create “followers” but to cultivate “fans.” These fans like what they read on that world-wide feed and they favorite your post. Then, if they choose, they can become your friend. I think. I’m not 100% clear on that yet, but it seems interesting. There’s definitely an obvious desire to get away from Twitequette and all that jazz, but it borrows so heavily that a frequent Twitter user might be turned off by the inability to control who they read on their stream.

An interesting part of Bright Kite is the ability to narrow that stream by manipulating the geographic area you’re looking at. Unfortunately Oklahoma City doesn’t have many members as yet, so some of the streams are a little, ahem, dry. But, you’ll be able to take a look at who’s near you without necessarily having to follow them or be their friend.

Once you’ve taken a look around you, you can update your own space. This is where Bright Kite starts to feel like Four Square.

Once you’ve updated your location, you can zoom in on others in your area using the geographic locaters.

As with most social media, you have a profile page on Bright Kite. This will display your personal updates and location check-ins.

But my FAVORITE part of my profile is that is came with its very own QR Code! How cool is this!

Remember, a friend introduced me to these over the summer and we talked about them on a previous Tuesday Two.Oh! Very cool technology. Though, i couldn’t get my iphone to read it, so I’m a little lost as to the significance of it’s presence on the page. I may need to update my tag reader, though.

As I mentioned earlier, I had trouble with the mobile site of Bright Kite. I went to log in using the username that signing in with Facebook provided me- and it didn’t work. It didn’t work with their supplied username, nor anything associated with Facebook. So, I deleted that account and just started a new one using my gmail account. Which I recommend if you decide to give this site a whirl. The app is decent and very clean and attractive.

All in all, I liked Bright Kite. I think that the ability to manage your stream geographically is an interesting twist to the traditional Twitter feed. That said, I like to be choosy about who I read sometimes, and it seems awfully hard to keep up with a stream that’s global. Sometimes I find these tools and I’m just really not all that sure just what to do with them. I hope Bright Kite doesn’t end up in my closet of unused by inspired 2.0 tools that I’ve signed up for but really never gone back to (hello, Twine!).

Do you use Bright Kite? What do you think?

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