Here it is in 8 steps
Step 1... setup an account and log in
You can use the site without registering, but you can't upload videos.
Click this image and then the link to register... it takes only an email
address, password and screen name (not your real one), location, country,
and zip/postal code. You're instantly on... no confirmatory email or other
Once logged in, the link is replaced by 'My Trip
Advisor'... your personal corner.
Step 2... go to your Contributions
Assuming you're ready to submit a video... saved to a WMV file (the
Video for LAN - 768 Kbps setting works fine). This and higher quality ones
will get downsized as it's converted to a flash file. Just keep the total
length to a max of 10 minutes.
I'll illustrate the process with our account. It remembers your email
and password... if you want it to.
Select 'My Contributions'.
Step 3... opt for Videos
Select one of the 6 tabs to review your past contributions or add a
new one... so far we have the two reviews shown, 6 photos of our hotel in
Florence, and 8 videos.
Step 4... Select 'Upload More Videos'
Note there isn't a chance to rename the items, so do it right the first
time. I double-checked the spelling of 'Ungherese'.
Press the Upload More Videos button when your wmv
file is ready... It can be a movie from Movie Maker or a story from PS3.
The criteria is the same as You Tube.... 100 MB maximum file size, and 10 minute
maximum duration. It'll take your file in wmv format and convert it to
a Flash file for viewing.
Step 5... provide some info about the video
Here's one I hadn't uploaded yet, the Grand Canyon flick I
used to illustrate the Picture-in-Picture effects of Movie Maker for one of
my first newsletters. How will it look small size on TripAdvisor? We'll
Is the 'Grand Canyon' a destination or attraction? Search for it and the
tabs will tally the number of hits in each category.
Pick one that best aligns.
I picked the first of the 27 choices in the list of attractions.
All 3 steps are on the page and you can scroll back up to change
or review anything before pressing the 'UPLOAD MY VIDEO' button. It's not
too late to fix a typo or change your mind.
Step 6... Upload it
Heed the caution about not closing or refreshing the page. That's common
practice for any online hosting service.
The row of 10 lights under the owl is the progress meter... blinking in
turn, but not indicating a percentage.
It works fine... just give it the time it needs, which is always a bit more
than you think it needs.
When it's done, you'll get a 'Thank you'
It's 1:30 am on Thursday, Feb 1... let's see if there's anyone interested
in a flick about the Grand Canyon... and view it before this newsletter hits the
street tomorrow night.
Step 7... Select the 2nd choice, back to My Profile to see
if it's been added.
OOPS... a first for my uploads, as luck has it, only when I'm taking
screenshots and writing the newsletter. Actually a good thing, as I wouldn't
have this opportunity if it didn't happen.
Maybe taking screenshots and writing the newsletter in parallel with the
uploading did me in. The screenshots made it easier to start over..
but I got the same error message the second time.
Even when being rejected or running into such
issues, the website is being run by some very helpful people, who seem to have
lots of fun doing what they do... and their process is good.
Two automated emails came within seconds after
getting the error. Having tried it twice, I opted to respond to the email
and tell them it's a 5 minute wmv file of 19 MB... and that my first 8 uploads
had worked fine.
----- follow-up note ----
about 8 hours later
email from tripadvisor
It reached generic thumbnail status on Thursday, but not
real thumbnail status until Friday morning
Step 8... After a Successful upload
Your profile list of your videos includes links to play them.
After a successful upload/conversion to flash... it kind of happens
together, so it appears in your list pretty quickly.
There's an interim period, which can be hours or a day or more when
the newly uploaded video gets a generic play button and is playable
for your, but not yet available to those doing trip planning. For them
it needs a custom thumbnail.
During that period it's being screened by real people at tripadvisor to be
sure it aligns with their rules... is tagged right... maybe chuckled about
over lunch... things like that. Without the traffic of a YouTube, they
currently have the luxury of personally checking each submittal.
While I waited for the Grand Canyon, I switched to my
previously uploaded 'Overview of Florence', the high quality Photo Story
from last week. It's been on the site for a few days and has more info,
including the number of views and an average viewer rating.
It's a widescreen story and the player shows it well, but butted to the top
of the monitor... I sent them a note about splitting the black band in the
middle as usual for letterboxing.... but on the other hand I sent them a
follow-up note about their current way of showing it being best when using the
zoom feature of IE7 to see it larger.
Here's a full-size snapshot of the story playing. You can hit the little
magnifying glass at the lower right of the browser window (I'm using IE7) and
watch it at 400% if you want... it'll be bigger but extremely pixilated, and
it's the whole window that gets enlarged, not the video itself. The 150% size is
a good choice for me.
5 days after submittal, it's been viewed 203 times. It shows the kind
of traffic you can get from 10 million visitors a week, without having
sent out 'it's online' notices to anyone... of course, when you have
the first of only two videos of Florence there so far, they'll get noticed
a bit easier.
4.0 is as high a score as I have... a low score doesn't mean it's a poor
video, just that it doesn't satisfy the needs of those trying to plan a trip
rather than sitting there and watching entertaining footage. You can compare
your YouTube entertaining value to your TripAdvisor usefulness value... but we
really don't know why viewers pick one rating over another.
The bottom link to the top-rated and newest videos will
show yours in the list of new ones, if you hurry to see if move down the
list as others flow in, and maybe none of yours in the top-rated list... unless
you go through the pages looking for them.
From the perspective of someone planning a trip.... and
seeing your videos.
On the main page of tripadvisor, there's a search
feature. If I was thinking of Florence, I'd enter it and say GO!
On the next screen I'd see a list of the 155 places in
the world with that name. They know the most popular one in Italy is the
one I'm thinking of, so it's first on the list.
The overview tab for Florence, Italy includes this 'See
Florence' inset... with links to my two videos and someone else's set of
pictures. That would be the main entry point for those planning a