Using My iPhone to Edit and Post a Video to YouTube

Last week I did a story on my Snapchat about my Vlogging camera, an Olympus T860. I liked how it came out so I wanted to put it on my YouTube Channel

The first thing I did was to save my Snapchat story on my iPhone before it expired and disappeared forever. Stories disappear after 24 hours.

Normally, I would copy the video from my iPhone to my computer. Then I would edit it in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and upload it to YouTube. But I wanted to see if I could edit everything on my iPhone and have the final result be close to what I was able to do on my computer.

If everything worked okay – and without a lot of hassle – I would know that I could do YouTube videos “on the fly”. I would like to increase my YouTube output in 2016, and being able to shoot, edit and upload videos when I was away from my computer would help with that.

Since I had been thinking about this for a while, I already had copies of my intro, outtro and additional credits placards .JPGs on my iPhone. These are title cards with my channel and social information on them.

Also, I had already downloaded music tracks from YouTube Audio Library to my computer. I used iTunes to load them on my iPhone. Tip: If you do this, add them to a separate Playlist (I called mine “YouTube”) so you can find and review them quickly.

I used the One Stop Photo Notes app to add titles and text to my intro, outtro and credits placards.

Now I was ready to edit. I used the Videoshop app for this. I imported the Snapchat story video into the app. The app has cut and trim functions, but I found the split video function to be more accurate. That could be just me, though.

Once I had the video split out into different scenes, it was easy to arrange them in the order I wanted by dragged and dropping them on the timeline. The YouTube video has some scenes in a different order than they were in the Snapchat story, but they flow much better. I also cut one scene that was also a total copy of another one.

I added the placards and the music next. It took me a few tries to figure out the volume control for the music. There is a little music note symbol on the timeline. Tapping it brought up the volume control, so I was able to lower the music so it did not overwhelm the voiceover.

I reviewed and adjusted the video many times, then saved it to my camera roll. At this point I used the YouTube app to upload the video to my channel.

The video came out well, but I did learn a few things:

First, the overall volume on the video was a bit low. I will increase it on the next video I do this way.

Second, I need to keep a copy of my show notes template on my iPhone. This is a document that has the info I always want in my video’s discription. This includes the general layout, all of my social media links, production notes (camera used, program edited on, etc.) and so on.

Third, I don’t think the YouTube app has as much functionality as the web version does. I need to dive into this more, but I have not found things like ad setup on it.

I plan to go onto the web version of YouTube and update the things I was unable to do or missed on the YouTube app.

Overall, I consider this expirement to be a total success. It was relatively easy to do everything from my iPhone. Now I know that if I want to do a quick video and post it right away I can, and it will have quality near to what I can do on my computer. I will still do the majority of my editing and uploads from my computer, but it is nice to have this option, especially when I am out and don’t have my computer with me.

Note about the blog post: In keeping with its theme, this blog post was written and posted from my iPhone. I used the Textastic app to write it and the MediaFire app to upload the pictures for it.

iPhone 4S Battery Replacement Using iFixIt.com Repair Kit

I have an iPhone 4S which I love. It is a little over two years old and the battery was starting to go. It would do fine for a while, but then suddenly drop to close to no charge or shut itself off.

I am planning to upgrade to an iPhone 6, but that is still a few months away. Since I use my iPhone 4S for just about everything, I decided to replace the battery myself.

First, I checked iFixIt.com. iFixIt has numerous guides on how to fix/replace things like iPhone and tablet batteries, cracked screens, and even the Xbox 360 “Red Circle of Death”.

iFixIt had a guide and a fix kit for replacing the 4S battery. The fix kit included the battery, two screwdrivers (super small Phillips and Pentalobe), a pry tool, and little Phillips head screws to replace the Pentalobe screws if you want to. Pentalobe screws have a head that is kind of like a star and can be a pain, though I had no issues.

Fix Kit

Pro Tip: iFixIt sells the battery by itself or as part of a fix kit with all the tools you would need to do the job. They are the same price. Get the battery with the fix kit. You may already have tools that can do the job, but getting the fix kit will ensure you definitely have the right tools to do the job.

Next, I went to YouTube and watched four or five videos on how to do the battery replacement.

Do this.

No, seriously, do this. Check YouTube for how to videos for any repair job you are going to do.

One of the videos I watched was by High Tech Dad. This saved me a HUGE potential problem. At the 7:25 mark a tiny clip that goes under the battery connector and held by one of its screws pops out. High Tech Dad didn’t notice for a while:

Little Black Clip
Other videos mentioned this tiny clip as well, but High Tech Dad’s experience really called it out to me. I knew I had to be ready for it when I replaced my battery.

When I received the fix kit I rewatched the videos again so everything was fresh. I then put down a white towel to work on, since some of the parts I would be dealing with were so small I wanted to see them easily.

Prepping

I took my time doing the replacement. Because I was ready for the tiny clip I had no issues with it at all. Removing the old battery took a little prying due to the adhesive used, but I just went slow and it really was not a problem.

Old Battery

It took me around 10 to 15 minutes to do the entire battery replacement. Again, watching the YouTube videos first was not only helpful, but necessary. My iPhone 4S is doing great now with the new battery.

How I Created a Tutorial Video: Optional Step of Setting a 16:9 Aspect Ratio When Capturing Screen Video with SnagIt

In my earlier post How I Created a Tutorial Video Part One I mentioned an optional step of setting the aspect ratio (width and height) of the SnagIt capture frame. YouTube uses an aspect ratio of 16:9 for wide screen (4:3 for square) so I wanted my capture frame – basically the section of the screen I was recording – to be as close to a 16:9 aspect ratio as possible.

YouTube can definitely handle different aspect ratios, and most editing programs can manipulate videos into fitting a certain aspect ratio. The tutorial video I was creating was very simple and I knew if I captured it as close to 16:9 as I could it would look good and save me some steps in adjusting it in editing.

The first step I took was to set the capture frame that would record the area I wanted. I estimated a frame that looked close to 16:9 aspect ratio:

Estimate Aspect

I made note of the first number which is width in pixels. In this example it was 1020, but can be any size.

I then escaped out of the capture and went to 16:9 Aspect Ration Calculator online. I plugged in “1020” (width of my estimated capture frame) and it calculated what the height should be to have a 16:9 aspect ratio would: “574”

Aspect Calc

Now I knew I needed my capture frame to be as close to 1020×574 as possible. I launched the SnagIt capture frame again and set my frame:
Final Aspect

In this example, I was able to set my frame at 1020×574. I have done other captures where I calculated the aspect ratio and the capture frame was not exactly at what the width and height should have been, but it was close enough.

With the aspect ratio set, I recorded my tutorial video.

There are other ways to set aspect ratio for your capture in SnagIt, but this was a very simple way that I wanted to share.

How I Created a Tutorial Video – Part Two: Editing Video in Premiere Pro

In Part One of this post I discussed how I captured screen video and “live” narration audio using SnagIt. In this post I will give a high level view of how I used Premiere Pro to edit the video.

First I created a new project in Premiere Pro. Then I imported the video I had created into Premiere Pro through the media browser. I then dragged the video from the media browser area into the Source Monitor area above:

Media Browser

When I was first learning Premiere Pro, the Source Monitor was a little confusing to me. I had used other editing programs where the video clips are dragged right onto the timeline. You could splice them from there, move them around, change start or end points, and so on. It took some watching of how-to videos on YouTube for Source Monitor to really click for me.

With the original video in Source Monitor I began to playback the video, marking the start point with the “Mark In”. I continued playing the video until I came to a point where I make a mistake or said “Um” too many times. I rolled back to before the point where I had messed up and marked the end point with the “Mark Out”.

Mark In and Out

Between the Mark In and Mark Out point, I had a clean piece of the original video that I wanted in my final video. I dragged that to the timeline.

Drag Timeline

I then started playing back my original video in the Source Monitor again, finding the next start point for the next piece I wanted included in the final video. Basically, I rolled passed where I had made a mistake, added a Mark In and rolled until the next mistake. As before, I rolled back to just before the mistake, added the end point with a Mark Out and dragged that piece to the timeline. I repeated this process over and over until all the clean, mistake free pieces of the videos were in the timeline.

Tip: When you click the Mark In or Mark Out in the Source Monitor, they will be placed at exactly where the playback head is when you click them. For this video I did not need to be very exact, but for other projects you may need to be. Playback the video to about the point you want to add a Mark In or Mark Out and hit stop. Then using the scroll wheel on your mouse, you can move the playback head forward and backward in 100th of a second increments. When it is at the exact point you want, click the Mark In or Mark Out. The points are now exactly where you want them.

With all the mistake-free clips extracted from the original video and placed in the timeline, I then created a start and end credit. These were .JPG files with some text indicating what the video was about. I made sure they were 16:9 aspect ratio to match the aspect ratio of the clip and dragged them to the start and end of the timeline. Though they are .JPG image files, Premiere Pro knows to treat them as part of the video. I also added a very basic fade effect between the credits and the main video.

Card

From the timeline, I played back the final version one last time to make sure everything looked and sounded okay. I then exported it into a final .MP4 video, which I uploaded to YouTube.

As I mentioned, this was a high level view of how I edited the original video. There are many books and many Premiere Pro how-to videos on YouTube that go into a lot of detail. There are also other editing programs, such as Sony Vegas or even Movie Maker, that could have edited this video just fine since it was very straight forward. I used Premiere Pro since I have Adobe Creative Cloud. I really like it, and though I still have much more to learn, I can definitely recommend it.

How I Created a Tutorial Video – Part One: Video Capture With SnagIt

Recently I did a post on resolving a spell check issue that I was having in Dreamweaver. Included in that post was a short video that stepped through the resolution.

I captured the video in SnagIt. It has many functions similar to Photoshop, including being able to layer images over each other and saving in .png file format. It can also do video screen capture. This is the first time I have used the video screen capture functionality, and I think it came out very well. SnagIt retails for around $50.00 and I highly recommend it.

In preparing to do the video I first setup what I wanted to capture. I created a Dreamweaver file with some misspelled words:

Dreamweaver

Next, I wanted to record the audio live, so I setup my Meteorite USB microphone. This way I could talk through the steps as I did them. I could have added narration later, but since I knew this would be a very short video, recording audio on the fly was fine.

I launched SnagIt, confirmed that video capture mode was selected and clicked the capture button.

SnagIt Control

Using my mouse, I set the frame that I wanted to capture in the video. I selected a big enough area so that all the steps could be easily seen, but not so big that there would be a lot of unused or empty space.
Set Capture Frame
There will be a subsequent post on how I set the aspect ratio to be 16:9, the standard aspect ration of YouTube videos. Since it is an optional step I did not include it in this post.

I was now ready to record the video. Since I was recording the audio live, I confirmed that microphone audio was set to On, then clicked REC.

Record Ready

I recorded the video, talking through the steps as I did them. If I made a mistake (and I made many), I let the recording continue. I would pause my commentary for about 20 seconds, then redid the part I had messed up. Since this was a short video I knew any mistakes could be easily edited out.

Once I was done recording, I saved the video as an .mp4 file. I watched the .mp4 file to confirm that it looked okay and the audio had been captured. It was fine and I was ready for the next step: editing.

Editing in Premiere Pro will be covered in Part Two.

Initial Research into DSLRs Including NoFilmSchool.com’s Guide

A major goal I have this year is to do more digital film making. This includes everything from Vines, vlogs/video podcasts, to maybe even short films.

I have begun doing some research into what I should get. Though I have a little Kodak Playtouch (very similar to a Flip) which I love, it does not have the functionality that I need.

Since I know some of the vlogs I want to post include demos, unboxings and how-tos, I checked out how others on YouTube are shooting theirs. The below YouTube video, from a gentleman who does woodworking videos, was very informative:

From this video and some others I have watched I know that the one major piece of functionality I need is an LCD that can pivot forward. If I am demoing something, or if I am on camera, I will be able to see what the camera is seeing and stay in frame.

I still have more research to do, and the NoFilmSchool.com DSLR Guide covers many of my questions. Highly recommended, it is free on their site. NoFilmSchool.com also has other great info on it for the low-budget/no-budget indie filmmaker.

Sites and Services I Use in Support of ThomasMcNamara.com

I use different sites and services in support of my website. This is for video files, sound files, pictures and even documents I may refer to in a post. I do this for three reasons.

The first is that the sites and services I use, such as YouTube and Vine for videos, are simply a better way to go than hosting them myself. These services were specifically designed to handle their file types. All of them have iPhone apps that make sharing very easy not only to my site, but to my Twitter and Facebook accounts as well.

The second reason is my hosting service, BlueHost. Though BlueHost offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, there is a caveat. They define “unlimited” as how much storage and bandwidth a personal or small business website would use in normal operation. As we all know, video files can be huge, and streaming videos can take a large amount of bandwidth.

At this point in my site’s life I am not too worried about exceeding “normal operation” (and I am fine with BlueHost’s policy), but I just do not want it to ever be an issue. The main driver, though, is the functionality, ease of use, and sharing/iPhone app support that these services offer.

The third reason I use these services is my recent experience with moving hosting services. Though many hosting services use a similar folder structure (/public_htm/ for example), not all of them do. My last host – Earthlink – used a different folder structure than BlueHosts so I needed to update links. If I had all of my files hosted on my current hosting service and decided to move again, I may need to update a lot of links. Again. Yes, there are ways to do that, some (semi-)automated, but still many steps to go through. This way, anything stored and linked to on one of these sites or services will maintain their current links if I move.

Here is an overview of the sites and services I use. In the next few months I will do individual posts on each, discuss how I use them, and give any tips or tricks I may have come across.

Website Build: WordPress

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two types of WordPress. One is WordPress.com. This is a free service (similar to Blogger) where the site files are hosted by WordPress on their servers. Totally free sites will have “.wordpress.com” as part of their name, though for a fee you can have a dedicated name assigned to it. There are some limitations to what you can and cannot do on a WordPress.com blog. Please see their website for more information.

The other type of WordPress is WordPress.org. This is the type of WordPress that I use. WordPress.org has themes, plugins and other files that can be downloaded from their site and installed on a hosting service that you pay for. Some hosting services, like BlueHost, have applications that will install the WordPress files on your site for you. Then you customize the site with the theme you want, plugins and widgets to include, and so on.

Using a hosting service is not free, but it gives you more control of your site and your content. The Kindle book WordPress for Beginners by Dr. Andy Williams was very helpful to me when I was setting up my site.

Picture and File Hosting: MediaFire



There are many great sites for storing/hosting pictures (Flickr, Tumblr, Picasa, etc.) and for storing/hosting files (Dropbox [which I use daily and love], Google Drive, etc.), but I decided to go with MediaFire.

MediaFire allows me to upload and store not only picture files, but other types of files like Word documents and PDFs. One post I have coming up is about some Visual Basic for Applications programming I did in Word and I want to be able to easily share an example Word document.

I use the Pro version of MediaFire, which is normally $4.99 a month, but as of this writing (January 2014) is half price. The Pro version includes ad free sharing and downloading, and 100GB of storage. It also includes the ability to link directly to my pictures or files. The MediaFire web interface is very clean, you can create folders, and drag-and-drop files from your desktop for upload. I also like their iPhone app.

There are many other solutions you can use – including free ones – but the biggest draw was having one place to store and organize my pictures and files, having them be available ad free, and overall ease of use. This also keeps my Dropbox account completely separate from my site.

Video Hosting: YouTube

YouTube is of course the premier video sharing service. Once I finish ramping up the website my plan is to focus on my YouTube videos and channel. A great feature of YouTube is the ability to embed a video stored there into a page on your site. Yes, the videos are ad supported, but the trade off for their storage and use of their bandwidth is worth it to me.

Because YouTube is so ubiquitous many apps, programs and even cameras with built-in wi-fi have “upload to YouTube” options.

I also like Vimeo, though I have not used it very much. Cool features include being ad free and you can password protect videos. Some filmmaker friends of mine have used this when sharing reels or clips that they didn’t want completely out in the wild yet.

MicroVideo Blogging Service: Vine

I have been on Twitter since February 2008. When they announced Vine I had to check it out. Vine is a fun app to create 6 second videos. Like YouTube, the videos can be embedded into webpages. Some people are doing amazing animations with Vine. It is also great for quick, simple demos or examples when you don’t need to do a fullblown video. Also on the list to do more with in 2014.