Monthly Archives: January 2012

Winter video tips

winter video tips

Shooting in snow can be difficult

While we’re only halfway through the coldest season in the Northern Hemisphere (and we envy those of you who are experiencing summer on the other side of the globe), the days are getting longer, which means we’re tempted to go out more (with our cameras), so we’ve compiled a basic list of winter video tips.

What are winter conditions, anyway?
To give some context of what we’re talking about when we say “winter” (and we realize that there are probably many, many readers who have very little experience with the concept of “snow”), first of all, winter is cold, and when we say cold, we mean below freezing – frostbite weather. Winter can also be wet. In some places, such as the skihill, it can turn from rain to sleet, to snow – and back to rain again, very quickly. Cold and wet can be very hard on your camera.

Beautiful winter light
But winter can also be beautiful. Depending on how far north (or south) you are, the sun is typically lower in the sky, providing beautiful light with plenty of contrast and plenty deep, beautiful colors. Snow is also beautiful in its own right, and sunlight reflected off of snow can help add warmth and vibrancy to videos and photos.

Winter shooting tips

Here are a few tips for shooting in winter:

1. Stay dry

Possibly the single biggest challenge when shooting in winter is to keep your equipment dry. While rain is the obvious enemy, so is snow: snow will melt once you move your equipment indoors, with serious consequences for your camera’s electronics.

One solution is to use a ziplock bag (sturdier than a regular plastic bag) to protect your camera – cut one end out of it for your camera’s lens

2. Keep your equipment at a constant temperature

As mentioned, if it’s snowing, snow will end up on your camera, and it will melt. But if you’re shooting in colder weather, sudden changes from warm to cold can wreak havoc on your camera’s innards. For example, changes in humidity can cause condensation within your camera. Try gradually warming up or cooling down your camera in an external jacket pocket.

The moisture, believe it or not, is likely going to be caused by your own breath, and the closer you are to your camera or camcorder (say, if you use a viewfinder rather than the LCD panel to set up a shot) the more moisture will accumulate on or in your camera.

3. Watch your exposure

Shooting in snow can be very difficult. While many cameras have automatic “snow” settings that take the guesswork out of exposure, it’s not going to help you if your shoot with the sun in front of you – the sun and reflection off the snow will provide some truly overpowering backlighting. Of course, if you can, use a polarizing filter or a lens hood.

That’s all for now. If you have any awesome winter shots, send them our way!

Nevin Thompson frequently blogs about video tips on the muvee blog.

Some basic tips about movie making

Movie making is quite easy with Reveal X and other muvee products, but there are some simple tips and tricks to keep in mind which will help improve the quality of your videos. Here are just a few:

1. Think about the tone of movie you want to make
Do you want it to be serious or funny? Being funny is good, but can be very hard to pull off, so sometimes it’s best to take a “straight” approach

2. Decide what kind of movie do you want to make
Say you went on a vacation, and now it’s time to post a polished video to show your friends and family what you were up to? Do you want to tell a story? Or do you want to compile a bunch of videos you took, and let people piece together the story on their own?

3. Write a script
The real key to successful movie making (and to get the most out of Windows movie making software) is to actually plan out your shots. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated – simply pulling up notepad and creating a few notes to remind yourself of what you want to include, such as favourite memories or interesting places you visited, should be enough.

4. Test your movie making software
At muvee, we make powerful software that makes it possible for you to create movies almost as soon as you install our products on your computer. However, the more familiar you are with movie making software, the easier it will be to make great movies, once you have all of the features at your fingertips. Practice makes perfect!

Plus, try to figure out how to get the most out of your video camera. Memorize the manual! Research basic topics such as lighting and sound.

5. Cut out the boring parts
Make quick cuts and hold the viewer’s interest. Editing between various angles can quickly show multiple things going on in the same scene. Create smaller clips from multiple shots, and then mix and match.

6. Use themes! Use music!
Make sure that your music flows with what is going on during the movie at that second. Music gives the movie an emotional stance. It changes the audience’s emotions which give them a more positive view on your film.

7. Share with friends and family!
Pretty self-explanatory, but upload to YouTube and share  with friends and family.

Nevin Thompson often about movie making and Windows movie making software

Video editing for business: making it go viral

If you’re interested in video editing for business, or even if you’re an amateur who wants to be the next big YouTube star, you’ve probably heard of the mythical beast known as the “viral video”. These videos are usually compelling (and entertaining), so much so that everyone wants to share them with their friends. Before you know it, the video has taken off like a virus, and the whole internet is watching it. If you’re a business, this is great, because it is free advertising!

Now, we don’t have any explicit instructions on how to create a video that is interesting enough to “go viral”. That’s up to you, and if you’re unsure about where to start, just check out YouTube to get some ideas. But be forewarned: not every video is destined to become an internet sensation, no matter how adroitly you and your team implement the tips below.

But if your business has created a video you think has the potential to go viral, try out these tips to help things along:

1. Put it everywhere
If you want to improve the odds of admirers actually seeing your video, put it everywhere, on every video sharing site you can find. YouTube and Vimeo are just the start; other sites such as Daily Motion receive a significant amount of traffic. Note: Some sites, such as Vimeo, do not allow explicitly commercial uploads, so be careful!

2. Promote it everywhere
Twitter and Facebook are obvious choices, but how much do you know about G+ as a social sharing site? LinkedIn is also a no-brainer, as well as the company blog. You can try emailing out a link, but be careful not to get labeled as a spammer!

3. Keep it short
30 to 60 seconds max, and something ought to happen in the first 3 seconds. There, that’s all we’re going to write.

4. Keep it funny
A no-brainer tip if there ever was one, but humorous videos (and pictures of cats) power the Internet!

5. No ads
Nothing ruins a truly magical video like product placement. Viewers feel slightly cheated, and cheated folks will never pass on your link to their friends.

6. Keep it simple (Part 1)
Don’t worry about quality or production values – focus on capturing funny moments that occur spontaneously. Your viewers will overlook everything from shakey camerawork to out-of-focus shots if it’s funny.

7. Keep it simple (Part 2)
Don’t use copyrighted music other other images. The last thing you want to do is to create a successful viral vid that gets taken down because of copyright infringement

8. Keep trying!
You never know what’s going to become a big hit. And for the videos that didn’t quite catch on, you can always upload them to your corporate YouTube site, optimize them for video SEO, and dominate the front page of Google search results.

Nevin Thompson frequently blogs about video editing for business

Welcome to 2012 – A Letter From The CEO

Dear muvee friends and followers,

What a year 2011 has been! Each year, I write a message to my entire team…this has evolved from a shout across cubicles in the lab when we were only 8 people, to a mass email to all staff in Tokyo, Seoul, San Francisco, and of course, headquarters in Singapore. This year is the first time I am writing to ALL of you. I thought I should share with you what goes on behind the scenes at muvee, and how we see our products and services evolving in the next phase.

What we went through this year…
2011 was certainly tumultuous for the world and muvee to say the least! Early in the year, Japan was hit with the devastating quake, tsunami and subsequent power rationing nationwide. We have retail partners in Tokyo and our own Sales Director who has a young child. When news broke that the water supply in Tokyo may be contaminated, we summoned Watanabe-san and his family to Singapore to ride it out. We also put up our partners’ staff in our Singapore offices temporarily. Then last month the floods hit the Philippines where a part of our customer care operations are based. Christian was manning the live chat lines that fateful Saturday night when the waters rushed in. He woke his young wife and daughter and ran up to the roof. He lost everything. (We want to assure you that we are doing whatever we can to help him get back on his feet, but chat hours had to be reduced slightly.)

In 2011, in our PC division, we launched muvee Reveal X, our most advanced software ever, and also simultaneously launched muvee Cloud with tight integration between the two to enable users to easily and securely share their muvees, personal videos and photos in group albums. We totally revamped our website, and created several new stylePacks. We also quietly rolled out our Facebook app to enable people to make awesome photo-movies from their FB photo albums in three simple steps. We are still tinkering with this app, but hey, you can go ahead and check it out and let us know what you think!

This year, we have also made it a priority to reach out to you for suggestions and improvements and have heard you loud and clear: you want more Styles, and they are on their way! After many emails, Wall posts and Community messages we also released our very first Mac product, muvee Reveal Express for Mac.

muvee on Smartphones:
In our Device Solutions Group, we created revolutionary technology that does basic editing on HD videos without ever having to decode and re-encode them. We call this CODEN (Compressed Domain Editing Engine…what a geeky name :-) Understandably, this attracted a lot of attention from manufacturers of phones that shoot HD video. Until recently, HD video was deemed too heavy to edit on a phone. Components of our technology have been embedded into phones by LG and HTC and are just starting to be available in the USA and Europe. This year will see the massive rollout of our Smart automatic video editing applications on many of the most popular Android phones globally, starting with South Korea, one of the most advanced nations in smartphone adoption.

Mobile Cloud Computing. Whats that?
You must have heard about “The Mobile Cloud” and indeed we have recently noticed the release of a handful of iPhone apps that claim to help you edit your videos by harnessing the power of the Cloud. Over at muvee, we considered this approach many years ago, when it didn’t yet have a catchy name like Cloud.

So why aren’t other companies doing this on Mobile?
When you snap a photo, or create a Powerpoint, you see the results immediately. Why shouldn’t that be the case with the movie you are making? Also, we all shoot more video than we need so that we have all the ingredients to craft our story. Uploading everything to the cloud for editing takes way too long, even with the fastest 4G network. It may be tolerable if you are making a 20-photo slideshow. But if you want to incorporate video, then it’s going to take a while. A looooong while. Well, I guess you could wait until you get home to a stable WiFi connection. But you deserve “Now”. And that software is coming to a phone near you this Spring. We created that software.

What’s next?
We intend to aggressively lead the charge in pushing the envelope of consumer movie creation; just as we did ten years ago when we asked “why can’t computers automatically help consumers create their video story?”

In 2012 we will get smarter, and work harder. Simple.

This year will be awesome. And you will want to be part of that journey.

Happy New Year everyone!

Terence Swee
Founder & Chief muvoid
www.muvee.com