A few weeks ago, the digifest team headed over to Youtube Space London for some exciting events revolving around the various facets of Youtube production, from audience development, budget and content production.
In the spirit of both digifest and YouTube, we’re here to share what we’ve learnt!
The first in the Youtube workshop series is: 10 fundamentals of a creative strategy, presented by Jessica Elvidge. Since we’ve been dabbing our hands in video-making, this workshop is very useful in helping us build solid content and strategy for a successful YouTube video. A creative strategy is important to build a trajectory of audience views and ratings.
So what are the 10 fundamentals in creative strategy?
Will viewers share your video? What will they say about it? what 10 words will your friends use to sum up the video? What do they think of themselves when they share the video? Make it compelling; be relatable, topical, valuable. These qualities can contribute to the shareability of a video, and in turn reach new audiences.
Is there an element of speaking to the audience? YouTube is a social platform that is meant to engage viewers. Take a look at this video:
The conversational element in this video builds a direct connection between the people in the video and the viewers. It doesn’t have to be directly speaking to/looking at the audience, it can be a short greeting and introduction in the beginning of the video, or a thank-you at the end.
A great way to rope in viewership is to involve the audience and give them a chance to participate in the production. A few simple ways of doing this is to discuss comments from the previous video in the next one, or ask viewers to contribute their ideas and what they want to see.
A great way to retain viewership is to include recurring elements in your videos; it could be the same format, theme, schedule, tone, etc. This helps subscriber to understand the channel and keep them returning to it. Sticking to a consistent schedule of video uploads can tap into people’s routines and make them know what and when to expect the videos.
This channel’s theme is re-making movie endings as how they think it should be, and viewers are roped in as videos on other movies are made.
Do you have a clearly defined audience? More specialised topics or issues garner a specific audience set, so if you were planning on making videos like these, make sure you tailor it to the right audience.
If the audience loved you videos, you can continue to make it long-term. But several things to consider is the time, budget and resources to make those videos.
How easy is it for the videos to be found through search? How can it be reached by larger audiences? This could be done by addressing trending topics, or producing videos on evergreen topics, i.e. things that people routinely search for, like this:
One of the great things about a how-to video is that sometimes people need to actually see the demonstration instead of reading them. And this is how you can attract audiences!
How easy is it for new users to understand what’s going on? How much context is required? Roping in viewers early on in the series can increase understanding in follow-up videos.
Is there a way to feature guest stars from other channels into your videos? Collaboration-based videos is a very helpful way to grow your audience or subscribers, since there will be double promotion – one on your side, and one on the collaborator’s side. However, it is important not to collaborate for the sake of collaborating; make sure it starts from the right idea.
Is it coming from a genuine place of passion? Be inspired and passionate because if this is a long-term project, it adds more zing to your videos if you continue to love what you’re doing as you go along through it.
Welcome to part 1 of 2 of our UCL Museums series, where we share how UCL museums use tech and digital things to revolutionise artefact documentation and enhance user experience. The Grant Museum is one of the two museums in the world that runs the QRator project – which is pretty awesome!
So we had the manager of the Grant himself, Jack Ashby, to chat about this cool project. Check out the video:
Basically the QRator project uses iPads for visitors to put their thoughts and interpretations of the museum objects, which then become part of the display. It’s also a good way to capture feedback – and the comments aren’t moderated so some people tend to go crazy on it and it will still be published.
Next up in the UCL Museums series: 3D scanning and printing at the Petrie Museum – stay tuned!
Have you googled yourself? Is there any tidbits on your social networks that you don’t want your future employer to see? What kind of identity do you want to portray to them?
Recent studies found that 92% of companies use social media for recruitment. Check out these infographic stats by Staff.com:
With the increasing number of social media users and job seekers, it’s inevitable that companies turn to online profiles as another method to screen potential employees. You might have a perfect CV on LinkedIn with all your stud society and volunteering involvement records, but employers nowadays are digging deeper than the polished façade you put forth.
This means that photo of you doing the old tequila shot dare, a Twitter outburst on the pile of work your boss dumped on you, and whatever it is that’s lying around the internet waiting to be discovered.
ClubPay put it best: “Reviewing a candidates social media footprint can be very effective at forming a 360 degree view of a candidate. Offering much more than a traditional resume and references, you can obtain a more holistic view of “who” and individual really is.”
Your social media endeavours might just be the deal-breaker in the getting hired for your dream job
So before you bad-mouth your boss or post an R-rated photo, think of the image you’re portraying to potential employers. It’s basically just taking reigns of your privacy, controlling what you share and who you share them with.
Useful tips on maintaining a clean digital footprint
Family dinner on Friday night. Party at the hip new club in town. A promotion at work.
The average online user in this day and age would have these events posted on Instagram, checked in on Foursquare, or tweeted on Twitter. These tidbits of information might seem harmless, but is that all there is to it? Check out this video:
It’s amazing how much personal information we put out there in plain view of the whole world, without even realising it. The idea of “privacy” is changing with the way we are using the internet, and many may not be aware of the security issues that come from being lax with your privacy.
Stats by Credit Sesame show that 80% of burglars use social media like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare in search for the next target. Posting status updates or tweets announcing a long vacation or uploading pictures of valuable things you own has been proven to compromise your “social security”.
Cory Doctorow, author of the novel Little Brother, said it well: “Privacy” doesn’t mean that no one in the world knows about your business. It means that you get to choose who knows about your business” (read more from his article on online privacy here).
This means controlling what you share online, who you share it with and how you protect what you share from unwanted third parties. Facebook allows selective sharing of status updates, photos and other posts while Twitter lets you put a lock on the door to your tweets. But there’s also your browsing and search history, eBaying, online shopping and sign-ups that require your personal information and allows your data to be accessed; so it is important to clear your data and be extra careful when revealing certain information online.
You know what they say, once you put something on the internet, it’s there forever…which means there will always be a trace of you somewhere even you think it’s not accessible to the rest of the world. This could lead to unwanted conversations in awkward situations…
Your digital footprint could well affect your employability. These issues are what we at digifest want to address; so don’t forget to visit our site and drop by our event to check out what we’re doing!
Useful tips on online privacy and security:
Is it reliable? Can I cite it? Why not? What even makes a good academic source? Is Google a good source? Whether staff or student most of us have asked ourselves these questions at some point. In many cases we’re told an answer in no uncertain terms, but how much thought has gone into those assertions that Wikipedia is unreliable?
In her book It’s Complicated danah boyd examines they way we look at information online and challenges these assumptions. She also talks about many different aspects of online life, it’s a great book and available free online on her site, you should definitely go and read it.
boyd argues that Wikipedia could be seen as a fantastic source as not only is the information referenced (in most cases) but the decision making process behind how what’s included and what isn’t is openly available too.
So as we here at digifest love a debate and to make things we thought an edit-a-thon would be the perfect way to explore all of the issues surround Wikipedia and produce some nice content. Given that Wikipedia itself is controversial we thought that we could focus our edit-a-thon on controversial pages (eg. hoaxes, alternative medicine, the paranormal, feminism, racism, climate change, contested territories, and religious beliefs). This will force us to examine our own biases and the veracity of the information we contribute, in short, be good academics.
Last week, two of us digifest devotees went guerilla around UCL in search for some cool people to hear their thoughts on techy things. In true spirit of digifest, we were armed with only one tool – a smartphone. Being amateur videographers, basically what we did was point and shoot, but there is so much more to mobile video making than we thought.
Orientation: You might scoff at this but a large amount of self-proclaimed videographers suffers from Vertical Video Syndrome. Shooting videos in portrait mode might be the most natural way to go, but landscape mode is actually more viewer-friendly. The logic behind this is:
Two things to pay attention to are lighting and sound – always let the subject face the light and try to film in a relatively quiet place with little background noise that could interfere. We steered clear of head-pounding drilling going on around the campus, although we still had the occasional rustle of people walking around, but that’s nothing a video editing software can’t fix!
Once we’ve got the footage we wanted, it was time to cut and edit them to suit our theme. Video editing softwares like iMovie for Mac or Windows Movie Maker are enough to do simple editing jobs. A recent update in Youtube has even allowed in-site video editing that you can just publish afterwards.
iMovie editing layout
We then added some text, transitions and music (beware of copyright!) to spice it up into a multimedia video before uploading the final product on YouTube:
It doesn’t take a lot of technical skills to do this, just a little tinkering with some tools that are readily available. The difficult part in making this video is actually in approaching people to film them. In this case it’s about finding the right people – people who are waiting around or sitting in one place, who doesn’t look to be in a hurry… – and approaching them with a big smile and friendly attitude. Fortunately, the people in UCL are a cool bunch, and our gratitude goes to them for making this project a success.
Earlier this year I attended GEUG14, the Google Apps for Education European User Group meet up in York. The conference was great for all sorts of reasons, but it had one particularly neat feature: instead of providing a heap of wordy session abstracts to choose from, the GEUG team had instead recorded a series of short video introductions via Google Hangouts and published them on their Google Site beforehand (click the links in the programme to see the Hangout videos!). I liked the idea so much, I sneakily borrowed it for our digifest purposes.
Video is nice, but what if you don’t like to appear on camera?
I’m quite camera shy myself and will avoid having my mug all over the web at any cost. I still wanted an attention grabbing teaser trailer though, so here’s what I did instead:
I storyboarded using plain old pen and paper to clarify my idea for myself.
Next, I tracked down some suitable images. My preferred search portal is http://search.creativecommons.org.
Once I had pinned down the images I needed, I started building the animation. For this I used the free version of Hippo Studio’s Animator suite. It’s a powerful, yet easy to learn animation tool that exports to GIF, HTML5 or AVI formats.
With the animation assembled, I needed some music to jazz things up. I could have turned to CC Search again, but as I already had FMA (Free Music Archive) open in one of my zillion browser tabs, I ran a search on there instead. It didn’t take long before I struck lucky and found something that seemed suitable for the opening sequence:
[sadly WordPress isn’t playing nicely with the FMA mp3 player]
For my next step I turned to another old favourite of mine: Serif MoviePlus. Why do I like it? It’s way more versatile than Windows Movie Maker, but is still simple enough to use for quick video editing. I have the full fat version on my home PC, but for this project the free download did everything I needed.
I drafted a short script, recorded the voice over, adjusted the timings a little and exported it all to WMV.
Here is the final result on YouTube:
Yes, this was definitely a lot more laborious and time consuming (about 4 hours all in) than if I had just done a quick face to camera piece, but I enjoy twiddling with all these different tools so much more than I enjoy seeing my face on YouTube! 😉
On a warm July afternoon a bunch of digifest enthusiasts got together for our latest community planning meeting. It was really fantastic to see so many faces, some veterans of digifest and some who’ve just joined us.
There was massive range of topics discussed and some great ideas, too many to list but I’ll try to give you a flavour of them. Some of the ideas for sessions we had included:
- A maker session with 3D printing, possibly joining up with other hackspaces and makerspaces
- The tech industry and employability, maybe running a session with UCLU Business Society and UCL Careers
- virtual experiments in medicine, engineering and beyond
- Language learning through social media as well as tools like Memrise, Duolingo, and Live Mocha
Another area we were focusing on was evaluation and feedback. How do we know if people are enjoying digifest and what they’re getting from it without sending out hundreds of surveys no one likes to complete? As well as discussing how to gather feedback we also talked about what it is we want to actually want evaluate: the festival overall? How well we’re building a community? How people change the way they do things after digifest? Individual sessions? Once again we had some really interesting and innovative ideas, often based around the theme ”Fisher Price for adults’:
- We’ve already got the VoxBox team on-board, isn’t it pretty! (powered by Engduinos which we also want to run a session on)
- A crowd sourced Spotify playlist – we’ll ask people to describe sessions with a song
- Monitoring social media channels
- A feedback photo booth
- Could we turn our big red bus into a whiteboard?
- Fridge magnets feedback
- 3D printing tweets or other responses
- Heard Words, machines dictated feedback on to reams of paper
- Digital guest book
You can find much more detail and all of the other things we discussed in the minutes available on the Google+ planning group.
On Thursday afternoon seven of us who work behind the scenes on digifest took a jaunt to the Barbican to see their incredible exhibition, Digital Revolution, and we weren’t disappointed. The first part of the exhibition is a trip down memory lane, with a chance to look at and use all the tech of yesteryear from the first Macintosh and midi synths to the original version of The Sims and Pong. We were then brought right up to date and shown far the digital industries have progress with behind the scenes looks at recent films with jaw dropping visuals, including Inception whose creator is a UCL alumnus and even filmed part of it here.
From the lesson in ‘digital archaeology’ and blockbuster films we moved on to sections about the maker movement and the ways in which the digital revolution has affected the art and music worlds. This is where some of the more well publicised installations lived such as Chris Milk’s The Treachery of Sanctuary, which you can see digifest’s very own Moira participating in below. Using Microsoft’s Kinect your silhouette becomes part of the triptych. In the first panel your body disintegrates into a flock of birds, in the second the birds attack you, in the third you have sprouted your own huge wings and can fly away.
One of my favourite pieces was Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Carnet’s Wishing Wall. You whisper a wish into one of the microphones, your wish appears on the screen and is transformed into a butterfly and flies off to join the other wishes. You can see one of the team’s wish taking wing below:
On the music side of the things there was a slightly terrifying work by will.i.am, Pyramidi, which he calls ‘Mona Lisa times a thousand’. A giant CGI Pharaoh head sings a song Mr am composed specially for the exhibition with three robot instruments playing themselves. The Mona Lisa reference becomes clear when the Pharoaoh’s gaze follows you as you move around the room in a rather unsettling fashion. It seemed to be able to follow multiple participants simultaneously, which was a little mind boggling.
I think the highlight for Janina and Steve was definitely what we dubbed ‘the laser room’ but is actually called Assemblance and put together by the Umbrellium team. In a pitch black room you were able to manipulate dozens of lasers by moving your hands and body. There are some great photos of that here, and we spent ages having fun in there.
All in all it was fantastic afternoon and really engaging exhibition that examined many of the same themes and ideas as digifest, how we use tech to connect, create, and collaborate.
The sunshine on the terrace afterwards was quite nice too…