Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 is indeed available here in Media Services. It can be found on four of our Macs in the Digital Media Studio: DMS workstations 5 - 8. It can also be found for PC next door to Media Services in the Library's E-Classroom at the standing scan scanner station in corner. Feel free to stop by the Media Services desk to inquire about any of these stations and we'll be happy to assist you.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Watch this and tell me it's not an awesome intro.
Any interest in learning how to do this? Or maybe you'd like to learn how to add amazing special effects to your PREEXISTING film. Or maybe you need to spice up your motion graphics portfolio?
Either way, you MUST see Video Copilot (the video above was done after using a Video Copilot tutorial). It's a website that offers a huge number of truly stunning After Effects tutorial. If you wanna stand out, this is site to learn how. Click this to make sublime motion graphics. Just hold your mouse over any of the images and you'll see just how sophisticated (and professional) some of these effects can look
Photoshop CS5 (academic price): $250
Stock photo of a blonde holding back her hair: $5
Taking the time to check out the tutorial below on how to spice up the photo of the blonde: $0 + 60 minutes
Putting this image up on the board during project presentations in your class (and consequently showing up all your classmates): Priceless
There are some things money can buy, but for everything else there's Photoshop.
And the best part is, the effects you see in this image are not hard to reproduce. Nor are the rst of the effects in this amazing list of awesome Photoshop effects tutorials: CLICK ON THIS RIGHT NOW!
Often times students come to us in the Digital Media Studio with an assignment to create a video about a particular subject. More often than not this "video" assignment doesn't actually involve shooting a video and then editing it together to tell a story. Typically students are told to create a montage of images and videos from the web to explore their topic. And, from time to time, these students ask us if it's possible to overlay images on other images or video; they want to create more "poignant juxtapositions" [someone really said that to me once] of ideas.
While this notion is unheard of for iMoveHD, it is possible in iMovie '09. And we have that program.
Check out this video on how to do it. Also, turn up the volume a bit, the kid is talking kinda softly.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Actually you should really just leap ahead and marry it. It's amazing.
One of the most frustrating things about video work is conversion between one format and another. This typically comes up when you've finished your project. You export it, make a DVD and then someone says, "You should put it on the web/your website/YouTube." And this is when things get hairy.
What do you do when you have a huge Quicktime (.mov) file and you need it to be a small Quicktime file or maybe even an .mp4 or something else for the web? What you do is go to Visual Hub. Check it:
A quick look shows you two things. It's a simple interface and it has a lot of workable formats. You can convert to formats for all types and generations of iPods and other Apple devices. You can convert to .dv, .avi, .mp4, .wmv and even Flash video. And, as you might imagine, you can convert back from all these file formats as well. As such, it's also one of the best converters for moving video out of un-wieldy Windows formats like .wmv and .avi.
Unfortunately VisualHub is no longer available to the general public; the company that built and sold the product has discontinued it. However, the Digital Media Studio has it on all its macs.
So, if you have some video to convert, stop by and let us show you how. Or you can watch this video. And if you can get around the fact that the guy sounds like John Leguizamo, you can actually learn a lot about this awesome program:
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Yes, you read that right, "fix shaky video."
One of the hardest things about doing video assignments for class can be shooting your video. Interviews are easy because you're likely sitting and (maybe) resting the camera on something steady. But when you need other footage there's a good chance that you're shooting handheld. This is hard to do and keep your image steady.
But, if you're using iMovie '09 to edit, it's no problem. The video below shows you exactly how to stabilize your footage. One thing to remember though when you do this: it takes a LONG time to do even short clips. So keep your stabilization to a minimum. Or use a tripod.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have a bunch of photos on which you need only to make basic alterations? Has it ever frustrated you that you have to sit there and do each one individually?
Yeah. Me too.
But now you don't have to. Use Photoshop's Automate command to have the application do the work for you. Check out this tutorial on how to do it:
Dreamweaver is one of the most useful of Adobe's applications. It can allow you to visualize all sorts of code and layouts before you publish your site. It comes with a number of templates for common website layouts. It will even write code for you.
One thing that Dreamweaver is no so good at is helping users with CSS. Often times we get users in the Digital Media Studio who want to create rollover links, or other neat CSS effects and they pound their heads on the wall because it just won't work. Often times it's something simple, one bit of syntax out of place and the whole thing is wrecked.
Well, for all those folks with headaches, I have a solution for you.
Check out this website: Entheos.
Its a massive repository of recipes for cool Dreamweaver and CSS effects for your website assignments. And by recipies I mean step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish things. And, in many of the recipes, they give you take-away code. You can't loose.
One of the easiest ways to put the movie you've made onto a playable DVD (as opposed to a file saved on a disc) is to use iDVD. Which is admittedly a fine way to make a dvd for class.
But, suppose you want to make a DVD that has your project and your contact info. Suppose it's something you want to submit as part of an internship or job application? What do you do then?
Well, you probably don't want to use iDVD since all you can get there are pre-made themes with music and all other kinds of stuff you can't get rid of...
There is an alternative: DVD Studio Pro. Here are some tutorials to get you started...
It's true that iMovie HD is one of the simplest video editing programs to use, but some folks still have problems with it. That isn't to say that there are just some among us who are simply media illiterate...
Ok, maybe some folks do have problems, but I think that's less because they aren't "wired" to get software and more a result of bad teaching.
Enough philosophy though. My point is that one of the trickiest parts of iMovie HD is titling. And even more than that, moving and editing titles once they are in place.
But don't fret. Here's a great video that explains how to do just that:
It seems increasingly popular for professors at AU to assign video projects to their classes. One professor even explained to me that after the final they have a mini-film festival of all the videos the students had done as projects. Another professor explained an assignment he gives where he asks his students to put their work on YouTube. The class then has to look at everyone else's videos and make comments on the content. To be sure it's a neat way to use to the Internet for educational advantage. And YouTube is simple enough to use. But what about getting your movie out of iMovie and ready for a YouTube uplaod. How do you do that?
Please note that this tutorial only applies to iMovies 08 and 09.
Oh yeah, there are lots.
Check this video out from an intrepid editor:
A lot of the stuff you see here are actually not special effects from the iMovie HD program and are just simple editing tricks you can do in iMovie. For example, when the character vanishes completely @ 0:37, it's simply a matter of filming himself in the background and then the background by itself and then inter-cutting the two.
But what about that lightening effect?
That's actually a special effect from the application. Check it:
Try to be patient with this kid... You will actually learn how to do the effect...
Saturday, January 08, 2011
HandBrake is free software available for Mac and PC that can assist in the circumvention of professional copyright protection measures on published media. Before proceeding with this tutorial or any other act which proposes to circumvent any copyright protection measures it is a good idea to take a look at the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and the "anti-circumvention exemptions" it provides. If the purpose of your actions is not found in the DMCA it may be that what you are attempting is illegal; tread carefully here.
This tutorial can assist you in using HandBrake to rip legally-defined clips from various media for educational or critical purposes:
Please note that Media Services staff CANNOT assist you in any act which attempts to break copyright measures.
Friday, November 19, 2010
One of the hardest things about web design is trying to decide on what you want your site to look like. It's true that some of the coding and development can be hairy, but the design can be just as difficult.
So here's some inspiration for you.
This first list is a group of rather amazing websites. Many of them employ Flash and other bells and whistles. While some of these may seem to be well beyond your skill level, they nonetheless employ excellent design aesthetics. You can learn from these.
This list is a litany of much simpler sites. Many of these can be done with simple Dreamweaver templates. See our previous blog entries for more on Dreamweaver templates.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Kind of a sad state of affairs, no? I think one thing we can take away from this image is the idea that there are so many WYSIWYG applications out there that actually writing HTML code has become a sort of lost art.
But it shouldn't be.
HMTL (Hypertext Markup Language) and its companion CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) are essential for creating high-quality websites. While the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) applications like Dreamweaver and Front Page can take you a long way, when you really need to alter the page in a minute way to fit your awesome idea, you're gonna need HTML and CSS.
Let me explain...
A web browser, like the one you're using now to read this, is built to read HMTL. At least, that was the original idea. HTML allows you to upload text (Hypertext) to the net. In the beginning one could only do the bare minimum of formatting with barebones HTML. But, after a while, CSS came along. CSS is a scripting language that acts on HMTL elements in a page. It can add a number of attributes such as color, size and most importantly positioning. Moreover, it can also be used to position Java Script objects, Flash files and other, more interactive elements. So as of right now the basic developmental elements of a web page are its HMTL base and a linked CSS file that tells all those HTML elements where to go.
So, in order for you to create the best web pages you can, you need to learn these things. And here's where you can start:
More Basic HTML Tutorials - This website might look crappy, but that's because it uses no CSS. Despite this, you'll find that the tutorials are very good at explaining the basics of HTML.
Also, there are a large number of tutorials on HTML and CSS as well as other web-scripting languages such as Action Script, Java Script, PHP, Ajax and Cold Fusion on Lynda.com.
This time of year a lot of faculty offer their students the option to create a website instead of writing a final paper. But creating a website from scratch can be a very daunting task for the uninitiated. All that code. All those pages.
One way to get around this it to use Google Sites to make a code-less webpage. The problem with Google Sites is it's gonna look like you used Google Sites. There are templates, but some are hard to manipulate...
Another, much simpler option, is to use a Dreamweaver template and then simply plug in your own content. Dreamweaver does have a few templates built in, but they are not very exciting. However, these sites have a large number of really nice and FREE Dreamweaver templates that you can download right to your computer:
Also, don't forget that we have Dreamweaver CS5 down in the Digital Media Studio on the first floor of the library.
It can be hard to keep up with all of Adobe's product updates and new version features. But now you can.
Adobe TV has a myriad of videos that will keep you up-to-date on your Adobe products. But that's not all. There are also a number of tutorials on how to use all of the different Adobe products. Most of them are in the "getting-started" range, but there are some higher-level tutorials as well.
What's also cool about Adobe TV is the fact that you can create your own "homepage" of sorts. You create an account, tell the site what products you use and it creates a custom page for you with videos and tutorials that are specific to your needs.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
One of the most difficult things about using Flash can be adding interactivity. Animation is easy, more so in Flash than After Effects. But when it comes in interactivity in Flash users often find themselves quickly mired in Action Script.
Adobe's latest iteration of Action Script, 3.0, is nearly a misnomer. Gone are the days of a simple scripting language. Action Script 3.0 is a fully-functional object-oriented programming language with a robustness akin to Java. While this does offer tremendous power to Flash developers, it also adds a much steeper learning curve.
But here's a solution. If you need Action Script 3.0 advice and solving a particular programming or interactivity problem, check out this website: Flash and Math. The site houses dozens of tutorials explaining not only how to accomplish specific effects such as developing a particle system but also how to learn to program in Action Script 3.0.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Have you ever felt like this when you finish a video? Felt like you're carrying the corpse of your dead idea?
Editing can obviously be a big part of making a good video, but before you ever even get to the editing suite, there's a lot
you can do to make your video amazing. You can shoot it well.
Now, for non-film students this might seem like a daunting challenge; without access to high-end video cameras or fancy lighting equipment high-quality shooting seems like a pipe dream. But it doesn't have to be. Here are a few simple tips for shooting good quality video for your class projects with an emphasis on shooting interviews.
These tips are perfect for the Flip UltraHD and Kodak Zi-8 camcorders we have available in Media Services.
1) Use a Tripod. For serious. Nothing detracts from video like shakiness that shouldn't be there. Don't have one? No problem. You can always prop the camcorder on something. The goal here is steadiness.
2) Pay attention to your framing. Framing is the process of moving the camera (or subject) such that the subject is positioned in a dynamic, appealing way. What does that mean? It means using the "rule of thirds."
Basically the rule of thirds splits the frame into three sets of horizontal spaces and three sets of vertical spaces. Where these thirds meet might be considered sweet spots. Like this:
Also notice here that this fellow is facing toward the part of the frame in which there is MORE space. This is called "nose-room." Imagine if he were facing to the right instead? He would look seriously jammed against the side.
Finally, see how the top of his head is cut off a bit by the top of the frame. That's called "head-room." It's generally ok to cut off the top bit or let a subject's head have a touch of space between it and top of the frame. Go lower than that and it'll look like the poor fellow is about to fall out of the bottom of the frame.
So when you set up your shot, take your time and make sure it looks appealing.
3) Light Your Subject. Even if you just tilt the shade of a lamp a bit to brighten up your subject's face, do so.
Or you could use a reflector to reflect some local ambient light onto your subject. And this is as simple as stretching some aluminum foil over some cardboard. Like the one to the left.
Believe me, it makes a huge difference. But lighting is a huge subject in itself. So checkout Videomaker magazine's website. They have a massive repository of educational articles and videos. Here are the ones on lighting.
4) Finally, and perhaps most important, test your gear before you get to your shoot. Make sure it works and you know how to work it.
Here's the link to the main teaching section of Videomaker's website. There are sections on pre-production, production and post-production. All are worth spending a bit of time on, even if you are only doing a short piece for your Anthropology class.
As we add iMovie 'o9 to our repertoire of software in the Digital Media Studio it becomes clear that we have a serious lack of tutorials available for iMovie '09.
So here are some, direct from the source. Check out these video tutorials from Apple on using iMovie '09.