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And Now… Embedded Video November 7, 2009

Posted by flutebrarian in Web Design.
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The fun doesn’t stop with embedding audio players. There is also video to consider. I’ve often wondered about how this could be done – show the first frame of the video rather than just a link to the file – so that the video is more apparent to the user than making them figure out what’s going to happen.

As I was searching for a solution, I came upon the Embedded Media HTML Generator from UCSF (http://cit.ucsf.edu/embedmedia/step1.php)

Enter the type of file you have (Flash, Real, Quicktime, or Windows Media), enter the URL of the file, and voila – the code you need is automatically generated. Copy and paste it into your web page and the user has all the player controls and a one frame preview of what’s to come.

Of course, you can also upload your 10 minute flash video file to YouTube or Facebook. Both these sites will generate the code you need as well for your web page. The advantage here is that their servers take the burden of storage and playback, both things to consider when you are paying for bandwidth and storage.

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Things They Never Taught Me in Library School May 7, 2008

Posted by flutebrarian in Librarianship.
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When I attended library school back in the dark ages of the early 1980s, my instructors always told us that there would be lots of things that we would need to do that they would never teach us. Well, I think I’m in the middle of all that these days!

What I did learn was that part of the mission of the public library was to develop collections and preserve local history for future generations. What I didn’t learn was how to scan photographs, documents, and conduct video interviews of prominent local people. Oh yeah, and then there is post production editing and creation of archival tapes and DVDs. Of course, none of these procedures existed then.

We have started identifying persons to be interviewed and over the past several weeks have conducted three interviews with another one scheduled for next week.  That, as it turns out, is the EASY part!

After taping, we load the tape into Pinnacle software for editing – Since these are oral histories, there’s not much to do to the bulk of the interview. What we do need to do is add chapters, titles, transitions in and transitions out. We check for audio levels so that all the speaking is clear and a consistent volume level.

The next part is to feed the data back to mini DV, creating a master archival copy and to create DVD copies for end users. We label the DVD using a Casio disc writer, capture a shot of the person being interviewed from the video, and then place that in a template I’ve created in Photoshop and Publisher for the cover.

But wait! We’re not done yet!

The file now needs to be converted to streaming media so that we can place it on the web. We have a Helio server so Real Media will be created, but Windows Media will probably also be created. Fortunately, Pinnacle can handle all these formats with ease!

Final steps include creating a timeline, indexing, and *gulp* transcribing. Well, two out of three learned in library school will be useful. Transcription skills, anyone?