PapaJohn Productions

Newsletter #193


This newsletter has lots of pictures and links to explore vimeo, one of many free online hosts, but stands out for a quality of service that deserves a newsletter. It's a work in progress and looking great at this point.
I signed up at vimeo in October, but it was only a month or so ago that I got into it deeply enough to really appreciate how well it's been developing and start using it.
Sample Channelvimeo 'channels'
John Lauwers started the Photo Story Magic 'channel' at vimeo as a place to display high quality Photo Stories and pass along tips about making them...
We do a lot of chatting about story and movie projects in forums and newsgroups, but none of them support a gallery to show the work. This channel at vimeo fills that need.
I joined John and the handful of others who have subscribed to the channel so far. You and all are welcome.
There's a lot I like about vimeo, one of the features being their 'widgets', players or active lists of contents embedded in a website page. This one is for the contents of the Photo Story Magic channel. It's embedded in my website's Photo Story 3 > Do Amazing Things page. Click on it here to open a demo web page made for the newsletter.

Sample Hubnutvimeo 'albums'
An album is a widget similar to a channel.
The 'widget' here shows the videos for our Europe 301 trip.
How does an album differ from a channel?
Looking at these two widgets, they're the same except the channel says 'Newer' and 'Older' as you go through the videos, while the album says 'Previous' and 'Next'.
A channel is similar to a TV station that broadcasts videos as they are received.
An album, like your home picture albums and scrapbooks, can be organized to show things however you want. That's perfect for my vacation videos.
To the viewer, the widget with the channel or album will look the same.
 note from vimeo                     
vimeo note

At vimeo you can place any of your uploaded videos in a channel or album, or both. Some of our vacation videos are stories, and included in the Photo Story Magic channel in addition to the Europe 301 album. 
Before looking closer at vimeo, here's...
a couple notes...

Online video sites with high quality are sprouting up all over. in addition to vimeo, there's...
Hulu - which opened its doors to the public this week
and brightcove which has been around for a while. It's been over a year since I joined.
Places like Hulu and brightcove are for those publishing or distributing professional videos.
Back to the main subject

Making Movies and Stories for Uploading
StandardHere's the vimeo guidance for making standard videos (standard 4:3 or widescreen 16:9 aspect ratios), and my comments about the settings I use in custom profiles when heading to the service.
HiDefGuidelinesSimilar comments on vimeo's suggestions for High Definition movies. All the same with these differences.

Uploading and vimeo Converting to Flash
Choose File
vimeo doesn't set limits for file sizes or durations. The limit is a weekly one of 500 MB of uploads.
I've done all my Europe 301 videos this week and still have half of my budget left. 500 MB is a lot of WMV files, especially stories which are only a fraction the size of movies.
vimeo has lots of nice service-oriented touches.
vimeo is always providing feedback about the status of what's happening. Here it's showing the progress of the upload. Let it finish there, and then go to the video and it'll show the progress of the conversion from WMV to flash format.
Conversion of most of my uploads started within minutes... with about a 100% conversion success rate from stories or movies. Others who upload high quality stories are sometimes not as successful, something being studied by those who frequent the channel, with support from vimeo. 

After conversion, vimeo needs another few minutes to make a set of thumbnail images for Select Thumbnailyou to pick from. On busy days, I've seen it make just 3 for a video, but go back when not busy to add more, so you have a bunch to pick from.
Here in the video settings is where you can change the title, description, or add it to a channel or album.
Another great feature of vimeo is the choice to 'Replace Video'...
When you see a spelling error in the movie title or credits, or something else you want to change, and you've already sent out notices with a URL to your friends and family, vimeo lets you swap out the online video with a new version... and it doesn't effect the URL. If you hurry you can fix the issue before too many viewers see it.

You can forward it as it suggests, or go down other paths such as adding it to a channel or album, and embedding a vimeo widget into a website page. 
You saw samples of embedded widgets above.

Love vimeovimeo sends an email when the newly uploaded video is ready to view.... complete with the default thumbnail selected by vimeo, and the URL.
Channels, Albums and Other Kinds of Distribution
There are lots of privacy choices... Check the Private option to limit the viewing to 'Nobody else', just yourself. Add a password and give it to only selected people. I tend to open the viewing to anyone who wants to see it.
To download a copy of the original, when allowed, viewers can scroll all the way down to this link in the lower right corner of the page. This is on the vimeo page for the video, not included in viewing from a Hubnut widget.  
Download Original
Here's the link to the 22+ MB wmv file I just uploaded.

Privacy SettingAnother great feature of vimeo is letting others download a copy of the original... which is usually better quality than the flash file.
Add to Channel or AlbumWhen on the page for the selected video, you have options to add it to an existing or new channel or album.
vimeo shows the channels and albums you already have, so you can simply check the one(s) you want the video to appear in. 
Uncheck it to remove it from an album or channel.

Arranging an Album
Album SequenceArranging the sequence of videos in an album is done by using the vimeo main menu > Videos > My Albums > Select the album > Manage the album > Arrange
Manage Album
Drag and drop any of the videos in the album to where you want it.
Arranging can only be done for albums, not channels. I mentioned it above but it's worth emphasizing.

Tools-Widgetsvimeo Widgets
You get the html code for a widget by starting with the vimeo menu > Tools > Widgets. There are 3 types, Hubnut, Badge, and OSX Dashboard. I'll skip the OS X Dashboard choice and show you the two that work in Windows...
Sample web page with both widget styles
Hubnut of Badge
I like the Hubnut with the slideshow option checked, so it moves every few seconds to give viewers a clue that the player is dynamic, with controls they can use.
A Hubnut can be customized to show all your uploaded videos, subscriptions to others, a selected channel or album, and other settings.

vimeo hosts fairly active forums with their support people responding to questions and comments. I submitted a draft of this newsletter this morning and received the note back within an hour. It's a pretty upbeat place with lots of positive comments from users. Yes, there are issues as with anything, which are taken well and responded to.

Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?
There are 8 subscribers to the Photo Story Magic channel. I'm the one at the lower left. You can tell by clicking on me. 
ProfilesPhoto Story and vimeo are not aligned when it comes to profiles. Photo Story by design makes only standard 4:3 aspect ratio videos, and vimeo likes to show off HD sized videos in full glory... at widescreen 16:9.
We work around it by using custom profiles and planned distortions of pictures to make stories that are HD sized and widescreen, and look great. The steps are easy but take some learning. The results are well worth the extra steps.
The channel has places for posting messages, private notes, forum chats, and downloads such as these 4 custom PS3 profiles from John Lauwers. There are so many features that the channel becomes a self-contained community for those who like making, showing and viewing high quality stories.
Have a great week...