Saturday, June 20, 2009

web video mashups

You've seen the infamous Mentos-and-Coke video, the treadmill dance, and the puppy versus robot--and maybe mashups like one of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acting as if he were in an iPod commercial.

Now you can exercise your creative muscles and create a video mashup, something combining original material with existing audio and video. Whether you're looking for fun or fame, all you need is a video camera, an Internet connection, some editing software, and an idea.

Finding material for your mashup requires a little creative borrowing for clips. With a program like Replay AV, for in­stance, you can capture just about any streaming audio or video. Head to sites like AOL Video and to find all manner of news clips, TV shows, and even movies.

You can even borrow from other YouTube videos, provided they're designated "public." You'll need to download the videos and convert them to a format supported by your editing program.

Edit Your Footage

Edit the footage. Add some titles, cut out the extraneous shots, insert some transitions between scenes and choose the all-important background music.

For all these feats of video magic, you'll need editing software. Good news for Windows and Mac users alike: You've got everything you need for simple editing baked right into your OS. Windows XP and Vista users can fire up Windows Movie Maker, while the Mac crowd can use iMovie. Both programs offer basic video editing features, more than enough transitions and special effects, and support for laying down music tracks. Most important, they can output YouTube-compatible files.

If you're in a hurry and need nothing more than a few quick-and-dirty edits, take YouTube's own Remixer for a spin. Powered by Adobe's Premiere Express software, Remixer lets you add titles, transitions, borders, and music. You can also combine multiple videos from your YouTube library into a single video, though you can't actually edit the footage. You may also want to try Microsoft® Popfly™.

Output and Upload

After you've finished editing your video, you'll want to output it as a YouTube-friendly file. That means adhering to as many of the following specs as possible:

  • 640-by-480 resolution
  • MPEG-4 video format
  • MP3 audio
  • 30 frames per second
  • No larger than 100MB

These are guidelines, not rules--YouTube will also accept videos in formats like AVI, MOV, and WMV, with varying bit rates and frame rates, and then convert them to its own proprietary (FLV) format. Just be sure to keep the file size under 100MB; anything larger requires you to install YouTube's Windows-only Uploader utility, which can accommodate files up to 1GB. (The 10-minute length limit still applies.)

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