Tag Archives: free

Five Things to Avoid When Producing Web Video

There are a million guides out there that will tell you what frame rate, bit rate, codec, and editing software to use. These tips are excellent and should be followed to create as professional a broadcast or podcast as possible. Unfortunately, there are some common traits among amateur web video that find their way in to otherwise perfect productions. Here are five things to avoid when producing web video:

Clutter
If you’ve got a camera on you, it’s also on everything behind you. As a rule of thumb, everything the camera is or might be pointed at should be treated like a movie or television set. If you film out of your bedroom, take five minutes prior to hitting the record button to make the bed and arrange things around the room to look as open and uncluttered as possible. What may be a typical room to you will look like a terrible mess on camera. Viewers have a tendency to imagine the whole room based on the little section they see. If that little piece isn’t right, the whole space may as well be a cluttered mess.

Constant Movement
Video made for the web is compressed and compression does funny things to video. If you have a habit of holding the video camera with your hand and pointing it at yourself or your subject, break it. Invest in a tripod or mount that keeps the background as still as possible. This will not only improve the way your video looks after compression, but it will also improve your subject’s appearance. Each frame is given a certain allotment in terms of bits to generate the image. If little has changed from the frame before it, those bits can be used to make what is moving in the shot look smoother.

Bad Lighting
Lighting is essential to good web video. If you use a low-watt table lamp that looks alright in person, you can bet the video will prove otherwise. It’s better to have lighting that is a bit too bright than a bit too dark. Artifacts, which appear as colored specks or scattered snow, show up much more in a dark shooting environment. Give your subject some light, and if you want to make things look dark and dreary, you can do it in post using a video editing program.

Low or Inconsistent Audio
Most decent video editing programs out there will include audio controls. If you can’t actually affix a virtual audio processor and/or compressor to the audio track, take the time to normalize the audio to a reasonable volume. Audio normalization is one of the fastest and most effective ways to turn mediocre video in to something more professional. If you have the means, work out a system to mic your subject to get the best audio possible. Built-in microphones on smartphones and camcorders can work, but you are far more likely to get good results with an external mic. Because many viewers actually listen more than watch web programs, poor audio may be one of the most important things to avoid when producing web video.

Bad Camera Placement
The subject you are filming should be front and center on screen. If your web video has someone’s head at the bottom of the frame with a large space between the top of their head and the ceiling of the video, you should consider repositioning either the subject or the camera. As a rule of thumb, allow no more than 10% of the total height of the video to show space over the head of your host. If you film at a wide angle from across the room, make sure that it’s clear the person doing the majority of the speaking is the focus of the shot. No mater how cool your set is, your production will suffer if it doesn’t revolve around the subject.

How to Enter Community Contests, Giveaways, and Sweepstakes


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If you like contests, giveaways and free stuff… I have the site for you! Everyone loves these things – you know you do! You’re going to want to keep an eye on our new contest site every week!

I’ve been wanting to do more giveaways, and get people more involved. This was the perfect answer! We can do Twitter contests through here. We can even do video contests through here! We launched the first contest here at the beginning of the weekend, so it’s about over now. However, by the time you check the site out there may be a lot more things going on!

My plan is to try and do something at least once a week. I get hardware and software to review a lot – so why not give it away!? Just keep an eye out – keep it bookmarked! You can enter each contest you’re eligible for. Who knows what you might win?!

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What Other Free Software do I Need?


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I find great software pretty much every day. I tend to let all of you know as soon as I can. I want to start doing a video each week that has a roundup of cool software that I find. So let’s get to it with our first roundup!

  • HTML Tidy When editing HTML it’s easy to make mistakes. HTML TIDY is a free utility for cleaning up your code. Tidy is able to fix up a wide range of problems and to bring to your attention things that you need to work on yourself.
  • PSPad This is the universal freeware text editor for developers for Microsoft Windows systems.
  • Balthisar Tidy Balthisar Tidy is the beautiful Macintosh OS X implementation of HTML Tidy.
  • Precipitate Precipitate lets you search for and launch your cloud data from within Spotlight or Google Desktop for Mac. It supports Google Bookmarks and Google Docs both at this time.
  • Garage Buy Now you can use a slick, full-featured client application for all of your search and purchasing on eBay. Search eBay and even place bids or buy right from Garage Buy.

So there you go, just a few freeware picks this week. If you have any good freeware that people may not have heard of, I’d love to hear about it.

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/software]

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Are Those "Free iPod" Websites Legit or a Scam?

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You know the sites. You see them everywhere. “Sign up and get five of your friends to sign up… and you’ll win!” It’s not as easy as they make it sound. With so many sites who do the same thing, you’ll have a hard time trying to find even five who want to sign up under you.

I received an email earlier in the week from Tom, asking me if these “freebie” sites are legitimate or not. I personally tiptoe very cautiously around things like these. The odds are not in your favor that you’ll really get something for free. It’s quite difficult to get enough people to buy in to whatever it is the site in question is selling or advertising. Most people will fail in getting the ‘free’ product. Yes… there are legitimate sites giving away real products. Just read the fine print. Make sure you fully understand the requirements that are laid out prior to getting involved. Heck… why not ask your friends BEFORE you sign up if they’re even willing to follow your lead and try to get something for nothing?

Don’t throw away your money. Be smart. Stay away from all those scams out there.

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/scam]

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$50.00 ThinkGeek Gift Certificate

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Our friends over at ThinkGeek gave me a $50.00 gift certificate to use in a giveaway! I’ve done many videos in the past, demonstrating different products they offer. They have a lot of fun gadgets and gizmos, and I can never get enough! The requirements for this giveaway was the same as for all the others:

The requirements to be eligible for our weekly giveaways are simple. Here is what you need to do:

  • You must be present in the chat room at the time of the giveaway. We don’t announce it much ahead of time, so you pretty much need to be a regular visitor!
  • You need to be subscribed to my YouTube channel.
  • You had to have left a recent comment on any post in my blog.

That’s it! That’s the sum total of the requirements to be eligible. When a giveaway starts, all chatters in the channel lose chat ability. This is to help us be able to see only the winner talking, so we don’t miss out on their pertinent links. Then, our new automatic bot picker will choose a random name. That person has to give us their YouTube link, as well as the name they used to comment on the blog. We then verify the information… and have a winner!

Congratulations to the winner of the $50.00 ThinkGeek Gift Certificate Dr_HOBO (aka emc2serv) .

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/toys]

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Remember: the PC Giveaway is Coming Soon

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As we do every week, we gave away another web cam on Friday night. Don’t forget… if we hit 20,000 Podcast subscribers by March 15th, we’ll be giving away another computer!

The requirements to be eligible for our weekly giveaways are simple. Here is what you need to do:

  • You must be present in the chat room at the time of the giveaway. We don’t announce it much ahead of time, so you pretty much need to be a regular visitor!
  • You need to be subscribed to my YouTube channel.
  • You had to have left a recent comment on any post in my blog.

That’s it! That’s the sum total of the requirements to be eligible. When a giveaway starts, all chatters in the channel lose chat ability. This is to help us be able to see only the winner talking, so we don’t miss out on their pertinent links. Then, our new automatic bot picker will choose a random name. That person has to give us their YouTube link, as well as the name they used to comment on the blog. We then verify the information… and have a winner!

Congratulations to this week’s winner, Mitchell.

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/podcast]

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Subscribe and Possibly get a Web Cam

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Every week we give away a web cam, courtesy of our friends at Ustream. The requirements to be eligible for our weekly giveaways are simple. Here is what you need to do:

  • You must be present in the chat room at the time of the giveaway. We don’t announce it much ahead of time, so you pretty much need to be a regular visitor!
  • You need to be subscribed to my YouTube channel.
  • You had to have left a recent comment on any post in my blog.

That’s it! That’s the sum total of the requirements to be eligible. When a giveaway starts, all chatters in the channel lose chat ability. This is to help us be able to see only the winner talking, so we don’t miss out on their pertinent links. Then, our new automatic bot picker will choose a random name. That person has to give us their YouTube link, as well as the name they used to comment on the blog. We then verify the information… and have a winner!

After a couple of names were chosen of people who weren’t active, we finally found our winner for this week! Congratulations to warefly!!

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/podcast]

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Eventually, Someone Wins the Web cam

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Just like every week, we gave away a web cam on Friday. This one started out a bit rocky, since all the people who were being chosen were away from their computers. But, of course… we found our winner in the end.

The requirements to be eligible for our weekly giveaways are simple. Here is what you need to do:

  • You must be present in the chat room at the time of the giveaway. We don’t announce it much ahead of time, so you pretty much need to be a regular visitor!
  • You need to be subscribed to my YouTube channel.
  • You had to have left a recent comment on any post in my blog.

That’s it! That’s the sum total of the requirements to be eligible. When a giveaway starts, all chatters in the channel lose chat ability. This is to help us be able to see only the winner talking, so we don’t miss out on their pertinent links. Then, our new automatic bot picker will choose a random name. That person has to give us their YouTube link, as well as the name they used to comment on the blog. We then verify the information… and have a winner!

Congratulations to this week’s winner MyNameIsMatt2!!

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/podcast]

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Free Live Tech Support Calls on Friday Night

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I had several interesting tech calls tonight. We start off with Rick calling to ask about his Panasonic cordless phone like mine. He’s having trouble recording with his, and wanted to know how I was able to do this with mine. All I did was plug in a cheap headset. I then went into the phone itself, and told it to set a custom ring tone. After that, I simply recorded myself singing the fun “Put the lime in the coconut” song and set it as the ring tone!

The next caller had a question about his new Mac Mini. He’s looking at the display settings, and wonders what the difference is with the Htz. That is his refresh rate. He’s having problems with it being on 60 Htz and having it blurry. But when he puts it on 75 Htz… it’s clear and crisp. However, it has a line going through it. He has a Gateway 20″ LCD monitor, with a line running through it. The native resolution of the LCD is probably 60 Htz, and doesn’t really have a refresh rate. He needs to stick with 60 Htz, and find out the native resolution of the monitor, and use it. It sounds to me like the monitor is having issues. Ahhhh wait. When using Windows on this monitor, it works fine. But on Leopard, the text is kind of blurry or faded out. So, he needs to go into System Preferences on OS X. Then go to the Appearance panel, and choose a “font smoothing style” of medium or strong. This basically changes the way the fonts are rendered on OS X. This should clear things up and make them crisper.

Our next caller had an Xbox 360 question. They wanted to set up the wireless controller to a computer. It’s simple. Just use a little gadget made by Microsoft that has a USB plug. It’s a gaming receiver.

Wow the calls are just rolling in! The next call came in from Pyroza. He won a webcam awhile back, and he still hasn’t received it. I told him he needs to get ahold of Tim from Ustream. Unfortunately, I have no control over the sending of the webcams. All I do is pick a winner. The rest is up to Ustream themselves.

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/xbox]

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Gimme Gimme Gimme

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We like doing weekly giveaways. I’ve been trying to do them randomly. However, everyone asked so nicely, I decided to do a giveaway tonight!

There are only a few requirements to win the giveaway. They’re really simple, as well!

  • You must be subscribed to my YouTube Channel.
  • You have to have left a good comment somewhere on my blog.
  • You must be present in my chat room at the time of the giveaway.
  • Since the giveaway is sponsored by Ustream.tv, we have to follow their rules. They want the winner to live either in the US or Canada, as shipping and legalities could be an issue elsewhere in the world.

That’s all there is to it! So tonight we are using a GoToMeeting to choose a winner. The new PickerBot has chosen ChrisH first. He has to be here! He’s like always here! Seriously… he’s not around?! I can’t believe that.

Well, back we go to my fake music and the PickerBot. This time, RichardC was chosen, but he’s idle for nine hours. Now we move on, and see that SugarSpicehas been chosen! Yes, SugarSpice is subscribed to the YouTube blog. And great! There’s a comment on the blog, as well! That’s a win!

Congratulations, SugarSpice for being this week’s Web Cam winner!

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/video+stream]

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