Tag Archive: Arts


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How do you set your YouTube thumbnail…again?

According to this seemingly complicated formula, this is how YouTube sets frames in its videos:

X = Video length in sec.Y = X divided by 4 or X/4 in sec.

via How to Set Up The Right Poster Frame in YouTube.

Okay—admittedly, there’s more to it than that—I just cut it down to that for simplicity’s sake…maybe I should say, for “complexity’s sake” because I thought the Squidoo lense where I found this information had perhaps a bit too involved a way of explaining all this.

So, how do I figure out what video frames YouTube uses as its poster frame?

A simpler (or at least different) way to express that would be to put your poster frames at the quarter marks (1/4, 1/2, 3/4).  But then they make it even more complicated by adding statements about “you’ll have to experiment a little bit.”  Well, which is it?

How do you figure out how to set your YouTube keyframe?  Is it this super-exact formula, or is it “just fool around until you figure it out?”

[If the latter is true] In which case, why did you bother making an article (in this actually a Squidoo lense) about all this?

Video Compression Likely Affects Thumbnails

….but then I surfed a bit more and found these comments in response to a related YouTube video that they had posted:

well i tested this out on my video, “winter longboarding edit” – verdict: doesn’t work. my video is 4:07 long, meaning a thumbnail every 61.75 seconds; while each is Roughly at the minute mark, my first thumbnail is at 0:54, 2nd at 2:00, 3rd at 3:00 – by your calculation they Should have been 1:01, 2:03, 3:05. have they randomized it a bit now?

via YouTube – YouTube Thumbnail Timer Video.

I think the answer is that there is a segmentation used in video compression, where the only actual real “frames” somehow are located at the boundaries of those segments.  This means that for things like DVD chapter (start points) and, I’m guessing, these YouTube thumbnails too, the salient single frame of video must occur at that boundary-mark.   Probably YouTube aims for the 1/4, 2/4, 3/4 (quartermarks) but only can come in as close as possible.

Where (and what) are thumbnails?

These thumbnails are, practically speaking, small JPGs stored on the YouTube server.  So now that you know how to set thumbnails for your YouTube video—where do you find those video thumbnails, once they’re set?

According to the Squidoo lense, you can find them here:

YouTube thumbnails are built like this:
http://img.youtube.com/vi/[video-id]/1.jpg

In this instance, “1.jpg” is only the format…the other thumbnails will be “2.jpg” and “3.jpg” in the same root directory.

Building these Thumbnails into Your Scripts

I have the distinct feeling that, like everything online, this quarter-mark policy will eventually change.  So, you can count on it (roughly) for now, but I’d recommend not making a huge deal about writing your scripts around these special numbers.

Just be aware, things change.

Conclusion regarding this Video Lense

Probably, with a hope to monetize, this lense also included a reference to an eBook you can buy about YouTube marketing.  This book posits that you can do your YouTube marketing taking only “an hour a day.”  A few notes about that statement:

  1. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot from one perspective .
  2. This is actually probably an accurate statement (from that same perspective)
  3. It is not a whole lot from that same perspective.
  4. From another perspective, that is a lot of total time to be invested (think about how many hours that is across five years!)
  5. And, well, see below…

Though I can’t comment on the value of this product, I will go on to say that I did find a great free many, many page report about YouTube marketing at RapidVideoBlogging.com, which seemed extensive (if not exhaustive) and also pretty accurate from what I could tell.

(No, I’m not an affiliate for either of these sites, but I thought I’d just share them anyhow—I just thought there were valuable and thought I’d share them anyways.)

Burning Words: Write them Now!For almost the past month, I’ve been writing, short stories. One per day. My goal: do this for one year, and have not only practiced extensively my craft, but opened new brain maps for success—for thinking of myself as not just a someday writer, but as a definite here-and-now author.  However, something large and exciting is looming:

So, in one hour it begins: NaNoWriMo — The Infamous National Novel Writing Month where pure output beckons, and thousands of would-be writers test their mettle to see if they can make it work and win. The prize? Having accomplished a full first-draft of a 50,000 word novel (novella?).  If you sign up online, you will be one of the official contestants, responsible for writing an average 1,667 words per day, or about 2,000 if you take one day in seven out.  At the end of the process, the honor system prevails with an automated online word-count checker.

Not to take away from the initial goal I had of writing a short story every day, I found this shortest form of short story I could find—the drabble.  It’s technicall one-hunded (100!) words only, which gives you room to pack a punch, but not to mess around. Here’s one piece of machinery that I found very useful, app-wise, when it comes to writing: especially drabbles, but I imagine it will be just as great for 2,000 words a day during NaNoWriMo as well: Write or Die by Dr Wicked.

What is this application?  It’s a very simple online text-enter zone, where you can set some parameters (basic goals for words, time to spend, etc.) and then start typing.  If you fall behind your parameters (your # of words, etc.) then an annoying alarm sounds, and the screen will flash pink, then red.  This warns the dawdling mind that time is up.  Various levels of forgiveness are available, including the military-strength kamikaze mode, which begins to delete your writing after you pass a certain point of slothful not-putting-words-on-paper.

Just do it.  Carpe diem.  Recently, the “classic” movie Back to the Future celebrated a significant anniversary since it’s release date.  The actor who portrayed the time-machine inventor / mad-scientist “Doc” described his character thuswise: as a man engaged in a race against time, someone who had so many ideas, so many thoughts, so much to do, that he simply couldn’t stop.  An apt theme for a main character in a movie about travel through time, no doubt, but it is more than that — it’s a window on how we all should live our lives.  We all have genius to pour out onto this life, good things to do—and so much distraction to waste away the beauty that we could sow upon the world.

Teach me to number my days that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.

-Psalm 90:12

Life is short.  Write fast.  As another sci-fi flick mad-scientist character (Soren, from Star Trek: Generations) said, “Time is the fire in which we burn.”

Write or die.

Just a note: the Write or Die application by one mysterious “Dr. Wicked” came into my personal noosphere (cognitive space, knowledge, awareness) when I was listening to a brand new (to me) podcast:  You can find it on the iTune store under “Tech for Writers” — its content is extremely helpful, and I actually find this podcast to be made of  probably more practicably applicable information than many of the other more “fun” how-to-write shows that I often listen to—the real nuts and bolts of things to use, and the day-to-day physical side of life as a writer is quite bracing herein, and like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else.  Quite the example of the niche.

Sci-Fi and Beyond

Predictive Power in the Mind of Imagination

One thing that I’ve always found to be a thing of beauty is truly innovative or deep science-fiction.  There’s something about seeing beyond the everyday and the possibilities outside of “what is” that is quite inspiring.

So, I remember having a discussion with my former neighbor (who I ironically discovered after a couple decades actually shared my birthday—what, it’s your birthday today?  No!  You’re lying…it’s mine too!) just being able to express really why I enjoy sci-fi—because it allows us to look beyond exactly how it is now, to see how things could be.  Beautiful.

We assume that we have to do things just one way—the way they are—and that everything that we see is the only way it can be…in fact, we get stuck in a parochial mindset, believing that details as mundane as cross-walks and roads, and clothes, and offices, are really the only reality that can ever be experience.  Science fiction is here to tell us otherwise.

The example I remember giving, in response to my neighbor’s challenge that roads are firm and not gelatinous (based on some imagined sci-fi scenario, I guess) was that perhaps in some world, they could be—maybe we would travel, not in wheeled vehicles, but in armored exo-skeletons and jump our way to locations we wished to visit—or simply jump without exoskeletons—or perhaps travel in some sort of gyroscopically balanced spherical vehicles…

Behold the iPad in All Its Glory

Image via Wikipedia

11 Astounding Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True is a powerfully exciting article that shows that some of these “could-be’s” actually came true—most surprisingly Arthur C. Clarke‘s prediction of a news-reader that basically became the iPad, down to the details of clicking on expanding/blow-up icons!

So, I think if I were to spend my life making things of beauty (NBSONE*) I’d like it to be science fiction…or science-fantasy.

*Never before seen on the earth (NBSONE)

Reaching out to the True Self

Today a took a moment, and perhaps unwarrantedly took a listen to Sarah McLachlan‘s “Building a Mystery” song.  I can’t admit that I’ve heard this song since I was in high school—the thought took me back to a more innocent time, before I forgot myself.  Here’s what I want to remember…

…at my grandmother’s birthday party—92 years young—(though I was off a year at first)—I was fortunate enough to see, for the second time, a harpist who played for her and her guests as she had a previous year.  She was found (again) on the internet, with help of recognizing her face—that’s a subject for another post.

 

 

Cross harp. Picture taken by Erika Malinoski a...

Image via Wikipedia

 

However, this was astounding—I asked my brother, who had set it up for her to come and play for my (our) grandmother, something profound about life (as I am apt to do with him) and he told me about a conversation that he had partaken of with her after the party, while we were all juggling the clean up—myself with (now) 3 boys, and making sure someone was with grandma…

…so, what I asked, I don’t remember, but here’s what he said:

I saw this woman (the harpist) and I thought she must have been in her 30s.  She’s actually over 50.   I attribute this to her playing the harp and making things of beauty for the last 40 years.

When I asked him what he would do if society would collapse, or rather, if he was concerned (and/or worried) he told me, that know.  Why “worry?”  It only takes away energy that can be spent on making things of beauty that have never before been on the earth.

It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.

~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez ~

 

I’m glad for her to have spent that time.  Oh, how I wish everyone did that, or could.

It’s been a particularly heavy day, and as I write this I’m letting myself return to my 70-90+ words-per-minute typing speed that I have on a conventional keybaord, my DVORAK learning temporarily put aside.  It feels good to fly again for a moment.

So what does this all mean?  Just that I’m re-examining my life, what I’m doing, and how I’m doing.  I want to make things of beauty.  Someone close to me told me that my blog should include more personal insights or unique content and ideas—as I have so much to share.  And there’s more to do than that.  You might’ve noticed little illustrations on the sides—that’s just a taste of what I’d like to do.  Thankfully…

I’m remembering myself now.

So I’ve been using Garage Band to edit an audiobook together for a client-project. Here’s a couple of thoughts on using Apple‘s iLife Suite Garage Band.

The GarageBand application icon.

Image via Wikipedia

 

Back-up your files: Thankfully, it seems that Garage Band’s system for combining media, includes the project-file and the media itself together.  It’s an easy drag and drop backup, but you just have to find where the files are located.  I’d suggest starting your search in [HouseIcon]UserName > Music > GarageBand>FolderName.

Beware losing source-audio: I’m glad I did this back-up. Garage-Band decided that when I was going to copy and paste some clips between one file and the next, that it was going to lose a chunk of the nested audio-source file inside of it.  To-date, I don’t know how to get it back, but thankfully, it was backed up on an external hard-drive.

It’s also been good to work in smaller chunks, so that:

(A) File size is manageable (for backing up, as well, as opening, playback and editing).

(B) Editing is less cumbersome, since the amount of sound-data to scroll through on the timeline is a little less involved and extensive.

I’m trying out my nifty little file name categorization sans numbers system in this project, to make audio track names that don’t require numberical bumpers up front when their titles are displayed.  Maybe I’ll talk about that later.

For those of you who are interested, here are the specs of the platform and software:

Mac OS X 10.5.7 – (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo)

GarageBand ’08 – Version 4.1.2 (248.7)

Hope that helps. I know this is kind of a basic reminder—but one can’t be told enough to back things up

For point of reference, I’m using a MacBook laptop, not a desktop.

Fashion 360 Cameras

Some gala event: Nikon cameras capture a “bullet-time” style series of photos of various celebrities wearing various high-end clothes. A number of cameras all placed in a ring, taking photos simultaneously, create a “time-slice” with which to view subject from any angle (within one plane). The fashion show gave me some insights into how the aesthetics of this type of visual techniques—which, if you’ve seen the Matrix, you’ll be familiar with. This is that type of thing—but I realized that, though it was interesting, because of my previous exposure to the Matrix (and bullet-time sorts of effects) that it seemed like a step down from movie/video time-slice, rather than a step-up from still-photos.

Specifically, there were two insights I had with regard to 3D effects—well, what makes it seem less effective for me:

1. Because of the aforementioned reasons, I find that this is less effective when it starts from a still image (as this one does)…rather than drawing attention in on a single moment of already active motion—it introduces motion which somehow doesn’t work as well.

2. The extremely busy background scenery, with all its color, life and goings-on, was really distracting from the foreground—and detracted from the overall effect. In other words, run-down parks and abandoned rooftops work well for the high-contrast scenery in movies like The Matrix, but a happy party with detail-leafy trees, and colors, and advertisement and all the rest…just detracts from the central object that is being examined—why? Perhaps just that it makes you examine the background as it turns, rather than just the foreground.

So, I’ve made my point. Here’s the link:

http://www.mtv.com/photos/2009-mtv-movie-awards-fashion-360/1611667/3947342/photo.jhtml

Note that the costumes and stuff will be the standard stuff you’d expect out of MTV.

Poets, according to a recent radio article I heard (Probably on John Tesh Radio) are rejecting the Kindle as a viable medium for displaying their poetry. Everything in writing poetry is so detail oriented, that even a misplaced comma, or another punctuation mark being moved from one line to another can change meaning entirely. That’s probably worth considering when you think about writing your next eBook or what-have-you!

Image representing Amazon Kindle as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

Also, be concerned that if you’re doing a lot of writing or other types of non-dynamic (i.e. writing, pictures and the like) work online (via computer or electronic format) it may be wise to not exclusively utilize an electronic delivery medium…based on some of the failures that are possible on a global scale… Just to be safe. Hard copies are good no matter what (massive power failure or not) though—they’re just handy to have.

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