Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Graduate Students as Media Producers: Using Smartphones to Produce Educational Video Content

December 9, 2015

S A M P L E  T E X T

At first when phones became “smart” and suddenly we had so many capabilities in the palms of our hands, I was still skeptical about the quality of both the photos and the videos produced by these small gadgets.  As time went by and the technology improved, I began to notice just how far we’ve come and began to experiment with mobile devices.

S A M P L E  T E X T

As a professional videographer, I’m use to having certain controls and features on a video camera.  Mobile devices didn’t have these functions built into the hardware like mainstream camera equipment, but rather through filters that could be downloaded and installed… many for free while others had a price tag.  Again, technology took a major leap forward offering quality lenses, better chips and sensors.  Granted they had limitations, but the quality of the images had greatly improved.  Video, too, had shown how it’s grown as well.  We can now have full Hi-Definition (HD) video at full frame rate.  My experiments continued.  This time around I wanted to produce a small series of content completely shot by mobile devices and see if anyone would really notice the significance in quality.  Mind you, this series of experiments lead to some interesting findings about the technology.

S A M P L E  T E X T

– – – to be continued – – –

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Tablets as a Production Tool: Virtual Storage

July 27, 2012

OK, so I’ve been working with tablets lately and if you use tablets for work/play this may interest you.

One of the hottest trends right now is “virtual storage” where items can be stored and accessed from any computer or digital device. Thus, minimizing the use of USB drives.

I use a multitude of online storage sites which include: DropBox (2GB); Google Drive (5GB); Box (5GB); SkyDrive (7GB) and 4Shared (15GB). Logging into each site can be cumbersome. I’ve discovered ZeroPC – it has an interface that allows me to communicate, control and swap files from on [online storage] site to another. The interface, itself, is actually a virtual desktop that operates via your browser.

If you have a tablet, mine is an Android, ZeroPC – https://www.zeropc.com/ – can increase your storage capabilities by adding the ZeroPC app. For example, my tablet has an internal memory of 8GB, and has a 32GB memory card, plus I added an additional 66GB of online storage for a grand total of 106GB for my mobile device. According to the ZeroPC site, there is an app for the Apple devices as well.

ZeroPC has a free version that works great and I used it for a month. However, they also offer a 3-month subscription for about $9 that allows you to have multiple accounts to a variety of virtual storage sites. This means, you can open 2 or more 4Shared accounts, or a couple of DropBox accounts and manage them all through this interface without having to log into every account every time you need a file or two.

I hope this helps anyone looking to increase the storage capabilities of their tablets.

Links:
DropBox – https://www.dropbox.com/
Google Drive – https://drive.google.com/
Box – https://www.box.com/
Sky Drive – https://skydrive.live.com/
4Shared – www.4shared.com/
ZeroPC – https://www.zeropc.com/

Tapeless Video Workshop

February 19, 2012

I’m currently designing a Video Workshop for Educators. And although I have done many video workshops in the past, this one is a bit different. Why?

It will be tapeless – 100% tapeless.
Yes, we have done tapeless before using Memory Cards, but this one also brings both new and old technology into the spotlight.

My background has been in the field of TV/Video & Film for more than two decades and along the way, newer technological advances have steered me toward exploring new venues for producing and distributing content. With that said, I know there are entire processes for how to complete the mulitple phases of video production – Planning, Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production, and Distribution. We can add, Audio Engineering and Sweetening, Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising and now Social Media Networks to the mix – but, I’m going to simplify things for this workshop and just give the broad strokes.

First, The Set-Up –

To give old video cameras a second life. We have already brought back Mini-DV cameras by connecting them via Firewire to laptops running Ubuntu 11.04. Yes, Linux, is the key to bringing existing technology back to life. Using a Video Editor known as KDEnlive, we can set up the camera without any videotape. Since raw video footage will take up much of the laptops’ hard drive, a USB to an external hard drive with as much storage capacity as possible is required. A portable terabyte drive is relatively inexpensive and is recommended. With one laptop per camera, we can now have isolated (or “iso”) multi-camera set-ups available – at least within a classroom environment.

Next, The Shoot –

Now connecting secondary monitors to these laptops via VGA ports, will provide the instructor (or the class) the exact same view as seen through the cameras viewfinder. This in turn allows the instructor to direct a cameraperson to zoom-in or out of a shot for the purposes of editing the footage at a later time.

Finally, The Editing –

Without going too far back into the history of videotape – when videotape was the norm, there was analog editing. This form of editing video involved swapping tapes back-and-forth and recording a clip-at-a-time from the “source” tapes to a “master” tape. The end result was a product that was already one-generation down from the original raw footage. The “master” served to create copies or duplicates (a.k.a. “dubs”), which were a second-generation down from the original.

With the age of digital video editing technology, however, there is no generation loss. But, when working with videotape, there was a new issue that needed to be dealt with prior to actually editing the footage. This was the converting phase – the digitizing of the raw video footage (a.k.a. “source video” or “source footage”) in order to edit with this new technology.

What this workshop emphasises is that while the cameras were recording, the footage was already being digitized to the portable hard drives, therefore, saving you the additional step to convert the footage. Hence, we have tapeless.

Although we began with Linux, now that the footage is on the portable hard drive(s), we can use any platform to edit the footage. Whether you are running Windows or Mac, editing in Avid, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or Vegas Pro, the footage is ready to go. On a side note: Editing in Linux can be done and is slowly making milestones in many industries.

I hope that everyone can see how we can take existing technology, in this case, salvaging old Mini-DV cameras and bring them into the tapeless environment. My next objective is to so see if I can replicate all this with VHS-C cameras. I am curious as to what the quality of the picture and sound are once it digitizes the content as it records it.

Til next time….You’ve been Teknolized!

-VegaDMS

Getting Started in Website Design

September 18, 2011

Hello Everyone,

If you have ever thought about creating your own website, but didn’t know where to begin, I have created some online video tutorials to help you build your first website.

I have “unofficially” identified six levels to Web Design & Development. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

6 – Content Management Systems (Joomla, Drupal, Plone, etc.)
5 – Interactive Design & Integration (Adobe Flash & Microsoft Expression)
4 – Template Design & Modification
3 – Visual Design (Extensive knowledge of Photoshop and Code is extremely essential.)
2 – Code (HTML/HTML5, CSS3, XML/RSS, JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, etc.)
1 – WYSIWYG Editors (a.k.a. “Web Editors”, “Text Editors”, etc.)

Now, I have creating professional websites for more than a decade and I am a coder (HTML, CSS, XML, RSS, JavaScript, etc.) but I am also trained to use web editors such as Dreamweaver. I’ve used it [Dreamweaver] way back when it was just version 3, no, not CS3, but simply 3 and Macromedia was the company that created the software. And although Dreamweaver is the king of the web design world, its price tag maybe out of the financial reach of many people. Even for students who have academic discounts – it can still be costly.

But, there are alternatives! KompoZer and Amaya are both Free Open Source Software for PC, Mac and Linux.

I’m currently conducting Graduate-level courses which require students to design, create and upload their own creations to the campus servers. Some students are familiar with Dreamweaver and have been encouraged to continue to utilize the multitude of features and flexibility this software has. However, many more students have never experienced the art of designing and creating their own sites.

Mind you, these students are not Comp Sci Majors. So, this experience should be as stress-free as possible. I’m having the majority of them begin at level-one and work with WYSIWYG Editors. For those who gravitate towards more challenging projects, I’ll introduce them to some level-two coding. As well as for those who possess some Graphic Design chops, we’ll touch on a bit of both level-two and level-three.

To begin, students can download either (or both) Amaya and KompoZer. As I stated earlier, I have created some online video tutorials to take them (or you) step-by-step in creating a basic website using a “cookie-cutter method”. Why, you ask? Simply put, Graduate-level students have a lot on their plate. Projects and assignments will usually have deadlines around the same timeframe as everything else – so, this method ensures that the website is done as quickly and is fully functional in a short period of time. This method is not just for students, but for anyone who is looking to design and create their own site for whatever reason.

So onward to designing a website.

1.0 – Make a list of items you want to have on your website. Its good practice to group like items into categories which will later on become the main links of your site.

2.0 – Once the list is completed, create a “storyboard”. This “storyboard” will serve as a “blue print” to create your site. It may look like a flowchart, a wireframe, a schematic, etc. The purpose is to visualize how your site is going to connect one web page to another.

This website can help you create you “blue print”: Love Charts – http://www.lovelycharts.com/

2.1 – Following the “storyboard”, you’ll want to sketch out at least two of your web pages. You don’t need to have drafting skills to design these two pages, but this is another way to help solidify your vision on how your finalized website will look once its completed.

3.0 – Now, you’ll need to download a web editor. Both amaya and KompoZer are free (and legal) to download. Adobe Dreamweaver is available for a 30-day free trail. Believe it or not, Microsoft Frontpage is still kicking around in various circles, even though Microsoft killed it in Novemeber of 2006. Why is it still around? Well, it used to be free.

Downloads:
Amaya – http://www.w3.org/Amaya/
KompoZer – http://kompozer.net/
Adobe Dreamweaver –  http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html

3.1 – Some have asked about creating a website using online tools such as Wix.com, Weebly.com and Webs.com – and although they do serve a purpose, they are still very limited in their features, functions and flexibility.

To learn how-to work with any of the software mentioned here, I have included the links to my YouTube Videos along with descriptions for each.

[A] Installing Software onto a Jump Drive –

Description:

Educational Technology –
I’m demonstrating a video on “how-to” download and install software onto your jump drive. The reasoning behind this is a simple one – You may go into a computer lab/Internet Cafe, to do some work, only to find that the software you need is not installed.

With this method, you can sit on virtually any computer; plug in your jump drive; launch the software; do your work; and then save it!

In this demonstration, I’m focusing on properly installing KompoZer – a Free Open Source Web Design Editor – onto my jump drive. However, the software can be whatever you need it to be, The final stages of the video is a bonus, since the video shows you how to SAVE back to the jump drive.

[B] Create a web page in Amaya and save to jump drive –

Description:

Web Design: Beginner Level – Amaya is a Free Open Source application for creating websites. A variety of tools that most people will find intuitive. This module will demonstrate how-to create a basic web page and then save it to a jump drive.

[C] Create an entire website in Amaya –

Description:

Web Design: Beginner Level – Amaya is a Free Open Source application for creating websites. A variety of tools that most people will find intuitive.

In this module, we’ll create a basic website. First up, design one “perfect” page. This page will have a HEADER, NAVIGATION BARS, space for the BODY of text (which comes in later), and FOOTER information.

You can, at this time select a background color. If you decide to go with a dark background, select light-colored text. (i.e.: Black background works with text that are white, yellow or even orange.

We then use “SAVE AS” to save the page as the different web pages for the site. Important to remember to give each individual page its own TITLE. The TITLE is what appears in the upper left-hand corner of all browsers.

In the next module, we’ll go over linking the NAVIGATION BARS.

[D] Create External Links –

Description:

Web Design: Beginner Level –
This module will demonstrate how to create external links to other websites from your own site. This demo uses the following software: Dreamweaver CS3, KompoZer, FrontPage.

Chapters:
FrontPage = 0m14s || KompoZer = 2m01s || Dreamweaver = 3m24s

[E] Creating Internal Links in Dreamweaver –

Description:

Web Design: Beginner Level –
In the module, we will cover the following:
1.0 – Create additional web pages
2.0 – Create internal links with the Navigation Bar
3.0 – Copy & Paste the Navigation Bar
4.0 – Save the web page you are working in

This demonstration uses the following software: Dreamweaver CS3, KompoZer, FrontPage

Chapters:
1.0-Create a New Page = 0m33s || 2.0-Save The Page = 0m59s || 3.0-Linking Your Navigation Bar = 4m04s || 4.0-Copy The Navigation Bar = 5m43s

[F] Adding TITLES to Web Pages –

Description:

Web Design: Beginner Level –
This module will demonstrate how and where to create the TITLE for your web page(s). This demo uses the following software: Dreamweaver CS3, KompoZer, FrontPage.

Chapters:
FrontPage = 0m16s || KompoZer = 1m46s || Dreamweaver = 2m32s

I am currently working on additional video tutorials to supplement the course content. If the information found here is helpful to you or if you have questions, comments and/or suggestions, please feel free to post your thoughts here in the comments or on YouTube.

To quickly find all these videos on YouTube, in the search box, type in the following: VegaDMS (It is cap-sensative.)

Thank you very much. Til next time…

You have been Teknolized!
-VegaDMS

SMART Board Training

September 7, 2011

Currently Designing and Developing a series of hands-on workshops around the SMART Board. SMART Boards are a HOT topic in K-12 schools, so it’s only right to have some resources on how-to utilize this technology in the classroom.

First workshop will be in a few weeks. We hope to address issues and concerns from those who have little or no experience with the boards. We also want to know what more experienced individuals are doing to bring this highly innovative technology into their classrooms.

We are going to provide an overview, a brief demonstration, then escort the participants to their classrooms with our own student/teachers to assist (and learn) in this workshop. I will be bringing in some newer technology to showcase within the SMART Boards interface.

I will also set-up an on-line environment similar to Facebook, but only accessible by the participants of the workshop.

Additional details as the dates get closer.

Til then…

-VegaDMS