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Let us first watch these 2 amazing videos that I wish has already been made  into reality. It will be 12 most worthwhile minutes ever spent.

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I was a Mass Comm student back in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. As a member of that particular boot camp, there were a lot of things that was being cramped into my head. I learned how to Photoshop like the best of them, design marketing and advertising campaigns like a pro and I learned to film like the best of them.

So the short clip in my previous post was one of the first films my team and I made. As the camera person and the video editor, I personally spent many hours planning shots, capturing them on film and afterward, editing them into a seamless clip. The software I used to edit this particular clip was Final Cut Express.

Final Cut Express to cut away all your troubles

This blog post will cover the most basic functions of Final Cut Express and provide an introduction to it. Once you get your hands on this program and start to use it, you will realise that it is quite simple and effective.

This is an excellent program that is currently being used in the media industry of Singapore. Major films such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons”, “Happy Feet” and “X-Men Origins – Wolverine” were edited with Final Cut Express, here after referred to as FCE.

It is a beautiful piece of technology that allows the user to go down to milli-seconds to edit. Anyone who makes use of this program will enjoy how they can play around with it so much and manipulate videos easily. Here is a screenshot of the interface:

As you can see, there are 4 main windows. Let us discuss the top left window first.

This is called the Browser. It is your organiser. It tells you what files you have imported in to be edited, the files can be pictures, video or audio. As we all know, filming doesn’t occur in one smooth shot. It takes multiple shots in order to get the best effect, best angle, best etc. etc. etc.

So the highlight file above named “Final” is the “Sequence”. Everything you edit will appear in one entire clip on the Sequence. It is total sum of your work. Lose that file, the hours/days/weeks/months/years you spend editing will have been flushed down the drain.

In your browser, you can further organise your clips into major themes. So for example, I have files organised into music, pictures, pictures of cleaners, student interviews and my regular videos. They are all stored into Folders. In FCE, folders are called “Bins”.

You see above that there are two main tabs. One is COM236 Final Vid and the other is Effects.

The Effects tab is basically where you store the cool effects you want to add into your video. FCE has some pre-installed ones.

Okay, it is actually quite a lot.

Now that you have the basic foundation, let us look into the real meat of it. On the top right of the full interface, you see the mini-window called the Canvas:

This is where you watch what you have already edited. This window also shows the entire timing of your video. On the bottom left corner you see this horizontal wheel-like thing. That is the scroll you pull with your mouse when you want to inch forward milli-second by milli-second. The ruler-like bar on the bottom right is the tool you use to fast forward quickly. It can speed you across from the beginning to the end of the video in a matter of a few seconds, depending on the length of your clip of course. In this window, you can also crop and add special effects.

Now let us go to the biggest aspect of FCE.

The TIMELINE

 FCE works on a very user-friendly interface. When you want to edit a particular clip, simply drag it from your Browser down into your Timeline. You will see that file transform to 3 rectangles. One blue and two green rectangles will appear for each file. If you filmed with a monosound track camera, then only one green rectangle will appear.

The Blue rectangle represents your video. The green rectangles(s) represents your audio. Here, you can add text, clip your files shorter and add different audio tracks. Everything that is central and core to video editing takes place in the Timeline and your Canvas.

If you want to learn more about video editing with FCE, first thing you need to do is to get a Mac. Then buy this software. It is simple and easy to learn. But if you need some extra help, YouTube is always there to provide videos to any problem you might face. Many talented video makers have provided step-by-step tutorials to using FCE.

Enjoy!

This was made for another project, but I believe it can still be put up for the blog!

“Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee,” said Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of The Huffington Post.

She couldn’t have put it better.

Just like his predecessor John. F Kennedy, Obama revolutionized the way politics was being played forever. While Kennedy made use of the TV – the most advanced media of his time – to garner support. Obama used the Internet.

By using interactive Web 2.0 tools, Mr. Obama’s campaign changed the way politicians organize supporters, advertise to voters, defend against attacks and communicate with constituents.

At the same time, it was the most cost effective way he could possibly have used to garner the amount of support he had gained.  In the past, without the Internet, he would have required an army of volunteers and paid organizers on the ground to move people the way he did in his 2008 campaign.

Obama’s campaign took advantage of YouTube for free advertising. YouTube videos were more effective than television ads because viewers chose to watch them or received them from a friend instead of having their television shows interrupted. And we all know just how much we hate advertisements cutting in on our favourite night time program.

Instead of forcing people to listen to what you have to say, let them make the conscious choice. Persuade them gently and do not force them. And persuade them he did. Obama’s videos were watched for a total of 14.5 million hours.

And the best part? He got his airtime for free.

To buy 14.5 million hours on broadcast TV is $47 million and you don’t achieve the same effect.

It isn’t easy to win over an entire country. Obama proved that the Internet is an indispensable tool in the political fight for the right to rule a country.

From the movie Citizen Kane:

Carter: We’re a morning newspaper, we’re practically closed for 12 hours a day.

Charles Foster Kane: That’s one of the things that going to have to be changed around here. The news goes on for 24 hours a day.

Carter: Mr. Kane, it’s impossible!

Looking at the conversation above, one would know that we have come a long long way in terms of our media. The impossible has been made possible.

News now is not only available 24 hours a day, but also available at our finger tips. For example, right now, I’m receiving hourly updates bitching about the ineffectiveness of the SMRT train services as well as the down-low on the 48 men who paid for sex for an underage prostitute on my mobile phone.

Regardless of where I go, I will be able to receive news updates on the latest happenings. Where then, does this leave the newspapers of old? They used to be the only source for new happenings around the world. It didn’t matter to the audience that the football match that was being reported happened 1-2 days ago. To them, it is a fresh piece of information. But now, football matches are being reported live. Twitter and Facebook updates keep audiences in the loop every minute.

According to extensive research conducted ever since the advent of online journalism, hardcopy newspapers have found a way to distinguish themselves from their online counterpart. Since newspapers are unable to to compete in terms of timeliness, they can then only compete in terms of depth.

Online news are fast and swift. Online papers fight to get the news out faster than their foes. This hardly leaves room for in-depth analysis. By the time the writer has thought of a meaningful spin, other publishers would have sent out their article already. This is the one loophole hardcopy news takes advantage of.

Writers use all that extra hours of time to conduct interviews, probe deeper and give their two-cents worth on the news article.

This clearly deserves to be written in that way

Journalism has then been splintered into two vastly different sections. The Speeding Arena and the Pools of Wisdom. Which section do you prefer to subscribe to?

Eee! Learning?

E-Learning is an up-and-coming technology that is slowly being implemented into every school. You can see it in various forms; regardless of the level a student is in, he/she will have experienced some form of e-learning. Students can go online to download worksheets, listen and/or watch tutorials online, find useful notes or tips and submit their work all from the comfort of their homes. The benefits of e-learning to the learner are monumental and undeniable. It supports the learner’s development in a different manner from the normal classroom teaching.

1. Flexible Timing

Real-time lessons require commitment. Students have to write in their schedule and block out a specific time that cannot be changed for the lessons. On the other hand, e-learning can happen anytime, anywhere. Whether it is in a park, at home on a couch or even in the toilet where your business there may be taking an inordinately long time. Students need not worry about missing lessons because they are always up there online for them. They can repeat the lessons if they find it difficult to understand and repeat specific sections again and again.

2. Improved retention

Depending on how the lesson is structured, the amount of information a student absorbs can be greatly increased. As mentioned in the previous point, lessons can be replayed until the student understands the material. Furthermore, the combination of multimedia and instructional design can make for an extremely rich learning experience. There can be eye-catching videos, practice activities or even games to better engage the students and thus produce better results. Or perhaps even get an Einstein to live in their heads!

3. Lower costs

There are existing universities that provide courses that are fully taught online. As one can expect, when there isn’t rental to be paid, costs of education drops drastically. This is sure to be a highly motivating factor for students who are on a tight schedule and a tight budget. For example, working parents who are in pursuit of higher education would find this extremely useful. Having to deal with screaming children after hard work, most working parents find it too difficult to pull time and money out to put into dragging themselves to a campus in the evening just to be given material to commit to their minds. With e-learning, students can make use of the time and money saved to better focus their efforts into their daily lives as well as their studies.

Do you have pictures that needs editing? Do you find Photoshop too expensive to use? Do you want to be able to share your pictures after they have been edited? You get all these in Google’s Picasca.

Marketed as a tool for the classroom, Picasca allows users to edit, store and share pictures online. Gone are the days where if you look terrible in a picture, you cannot do anything about it except to showcase them in a photo album.

Here are some of the abilities of Picasca:

One thing that I find disturbing about the abilities of Picasca is that it is strangely similar to the capabilities of Mackintosh’s iPhoto. In fact, iPhoto might just even be more powerful than Picasca!

But then again, not everyone uses a Mac or a Macbook. Windows users will enjoy this pseudo-Mac program and can pretend that they are a Mac user for this short period of time. (Yes, I am a Mac fan)

For users who have Photoshop installed, Picasca might seem like an awful waste of time. However, do remember that Picasca is a swift way of sharing your photos.

After hiking on a holiday trip to New Zealand, you return home with a tons of pictures that your friends don’t have. After you have airbrushed all the faces on Photoshop and highlighted the scenery, you now want to send them to your friends. But email providers only allow up to 15mb worth of attachments. Other file-sharing providers are shutting down one by one. If not, they want you to pay in order to share big files. You are eager to share all the beautiful pictures NOW.

Picasca is DE solution. With the web albums able to share up to 1GB, you can upload all your beautiful pictures and share them by sending the email link to those you want to share it with. Simple as ABC.

Plus it serves as a storage platform. Those who are using a Netbook to work would love the convenience this storage platform provides.