Short videos showing details of in-process project builds, results and working prototypes are coming to the weekly Off-The-Shelf Hacker column. For example, you might actually want to see Hedley, my steampunk robotic skull talk. I’ve covered all the effort, in text, to get him to the point where he could utter just a few choice pre-programmed phrases. The time has come to add video elements to the stories. A little video demo summarizes everything and focuses on the outcome of all the work.
YouTube is a convenient way to share videos and it is pretty easy to put them in articles. Today we’ll look at integrating videos into the OTSH column workflow. Readers can use the info to do similar things with their own web sites and project pages.
Set up a YouTube Account
We’ll need a YouTube account before you can post videos.
Go to youtube.com. Click the “Sign in” button, at the top right edge of the page. On the “Choose An Account” page, select “Use Another Account” menu item. Click the “Create Account” link. Select “For myself”. Enter the first and last name you’d like to use for your YouTube account. Click “Create a Gmail account instead” if you don’t already have one. Enter the name you’ll use for your Gmail address. Enter a password you’ll use for the account. Confirm the password. It should be at least eight characters and use a special symbol, letters and numbers. You’ll be asked for a recovery phone number, recovery email address and birthday. Fill those in to create your account.
Add and Embed the Video
Log into your YouTube account using your newly created Gmail account name and password.
Click on the circle with the little person in it, at the upper right-hand part of the page. A menu with your name and Gmail address will open. Click “My channel”. Your YouTube channel page will appear.
Next, select the “Video” tab and click on the little camera icon with a “+” sign in it, at the upper right part of the page. On the drop-down menu select “Upload video.” Click on the big up arrow icon in the middle of the page and move to the directory with the video you’d like to upload. We’ll cover creating a new video in a few moments.
Click on the desired video and select “Open” at the bottom of the window. The video should start to upload from your Linux notebook to Google. A gauge at the top shows the status of the upload/processing. When processing is completed you may fill in the page heading, description and tags, as desired. Click on the “Advanced settings” tab and make sure that “Allow embedding” under “Distribution options” is checked.
Finally, click the “Publish” button at the top right of the page to post the video to your channel. A new page will appear with the video URL. Write down the URL or copy/paste it where ever you’d like to embed the video. It will look something like the following.
On a WordPress page simply paste the URL, as is, into the text. I stick with putting it at the end of paragraphs as a general rule. Inserting the video in the middle of a paragraph ruins the context flow for the reader.
If you want to link to the video on a regular old web page, use a standard HTML tag. For example:
<a href="https://youtu.be/Jnproo4tQQs">Link to my channel video</a>
Shoot a Video with Your Smart Phone
For now, I’ll shoot my videos with my Galaxy 8+ smartphone. I already use it for the photos in the column and it gives pretty good results.
For this story, I simply used the default 16:9 ratio Full High Definition (FHD) shooting mode at 1920 x 1080 resolution. I used the front camera, with the phone oriented horizontally. In other words, the long side of the phone is horizontal. We’ll investigate shooting video for how-to’s in more detail in a future article. YouTube automatically adjusts so the video is upright.
The 26-second video of Hedley talking came out to be 54.7 MB in size. The easiest way for me to get files from my phone to my Linux notebook, is by email, of all things. That’s right, plain old email. I address it to myself and add a quick subject line to remind me of the content. The good thing is that when I’m at home, the phone attaches to the WiFi network, so I don’t use data on my cell phone plan. If I absolutely need to send something, when I’m on a 5/4G cell network, it’s there. Once the file has downloaded to the Thunderbird email client on my Linux notebook, I save it to an appropriate directory for further processing or uploading to YouTube.
I’ve used email to transfer my article photos for years. The technique works equally well with videos, although it takes a little longer to transfer and will quickly eat up data, and dollars, when using the cell network. Remember that it costs nearly nothing on WiFi, including while at the off-site office, aka: Panera Bread. Log into the WiFi hot-spot on both your phone and notebook, then you’ll be all set.
One last thing. Make sure your email service can handle video-sized files. Some vendors put a limit on the size of uploads.
That’s a quick rundown on producing a video and making it available for use with an article. There are plenty of refinements and additional features possible and we’ll examine those over time. We’ll also explore using video and audio editors, lighting, demo setups and so on that make off-the-shelf hacker stories and how-to’s more useful for readers.
We’ll mix the video production processes in with all the rest of the in-depth physical computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and tech promo topics that the modern off-the-shelf hacker might use in their day-to-day projects.