Library TV

Exploring video as a training and promotional tool for libraries, on the web and in television.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Vegas Movie Studio

 As I stated in the intro, the goal is to see if practical and informative video can be created on the cheap. In order to do this you only need a computer and software. Believe it or not you don't need a video camera but that is part of the current plan. We have a digital camera for stills and that also comes in handy.

For a computer I work on a Dell Dimension 4500, with 1 Gb of RAM, a Pentium 4 1.8 GHz processor, 80 Gb drive, and running Windows 2000 SP4. Its about 4 years old and while its handled creating a 30 second video spot pretty easily it will be interesting to see how it does when it gets up to 5 minutes.

Two months ago I purchased the Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition, which seems to work pretty well considering how inexpensive it is. It has great interactive tutorials which has made it a lot easier to work with. I have the advantage of already working with Final Cut Pro so I already know video editing basics. The disadvantage being I know what buttons I'm looking for, they're just not in the same places anymore.

Once you have the computer and software all you need is content, and again, it doesn't have to be video. Windows allows you to record voice files and you can create your own slides using PowerPoint or even Bitmap. Plus whatever pics you want to take with a digital camera. So if you have staff that are camera shy (including yourself) you can create video that doesn't involve people. I wouldn't recommend it but its an option.

Just to play with the software when I first got it, and since I don't have a video camera yet, I created this 30 second test clip using some photos I had, the text feature in Vegas, plus a sound effects CD that came with it. Here's the clip on YouTube, and the beautiful thing is that YouTube lets you incorporate clips into your pages, which would look like this. WARNING: The clip is ugly.

Brown University

Here's another university's video take on the library, Brown University. Theirs is much more straightforward than the previous two and, to a degree, closer to what we're working on here. Unfortunately the streaming video at Brown doesn't load very well is you don't have a fast connection. Ours is fast but it gets dragged down by the catalog software we run so I'm barely getting the sound and the picture is jumpy. I'm not entirely sure the difference between Brown's QuickTime files and the ones I create for Library Lowdown but its one of those issue you have to keep an eye out for.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

College of DuPage

 This is not as impressive as Leeds but straightforward and informative. No audio and uses Flash.

Leeds University Library, UK

 I guarantee I won't be doing anything as impressive as this. They've done an incredible job. Notice how the text highlights and follows along while the video plays. Simply amazing.

Monday, July 03, 2006

  Having Library Lowdown in digital form was great but being able to host it was a problem. Our current webhosting doesn't offer streaming video and I considered that to be an important option as opposed to simply dowloading it and watching it on your computer. offers streaming video and its free for anyone to upload whatever they like. You can also upload multiple clips and keep them together as one page though its difficult to discern which clips are which. The latter point is why I setup a seperate webpage with direct links to each segment.

  A bit of a learning curve (one I'm still on) is figuring out the proper file format. Streaming MPEG4  (mp4) is what works with Archive. When saving the file using Quicktime you specifically have to say MPEG4 - streaming (low or medium). Depending on the size of the file this can take a while.  Trying to keep in mind various types of internet connections I upload both low and medium size files. However there are certain parts of Library Lowdown, such as Webtalk, that the smaller screen of low streaming video is unhelpful.