Tag Archives: web

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:

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.

Safari 5


This update contains new features including:

  • Safari Reader: Click on the new Reader icon to view articles on the web in a single, clutter-free page.
  • Improved Performance: Safari 5 executes JavaScript up to 25% faster than Safari 4. Better page caching and DNS prefetching speed up browsing.
  • Bing Search Option: New Bing search option for Safari’s Search Field, in addition to Google and Yahoo!.
  • Improved HTML5 support: Safari supports over a dozen new HTML5 features, including Geolocation, full screen for HTML5 video, closed captions for HTML5 video, new sectioning elements (article, aside, footer, header, hgroup, nav and section), HTML5 AJAX History, EventSource, WebSocket, HTML5 draggable attribute, HTML5 forms validation, and HTML5 Ruby.
  • Safari Developer Tools: A new Timeline Panel in the Web Inspector shows how Safari interacts with a website and identifies areas for optimization. New keyboard shortcuts make it faster to switch between panels.

Other improvements include:

  • Smarter Address Field: The Smart Address Field can now match text against the titles of webpages in History and Bookmarks, as well as any part of their URL.
  • Tabs Setting: Automatically open new webpages in tabs instead of in separate windows.
  • Hardware Acceleration for Windows: Use the power of the computer’s graphics processor to smoothly display media and effects on PC as well as Mac.
  • Search History with Date: A new date indicator in Full History Search shows when webpages were viewed.
  • Top Sites/History Button: Switch easily between Top Sites and Full History Search with a new button that appears at the top of each view.
  • Private Browsing Icon: A “Private” icon appears in the Smart Address Field when Private Browsing is on. Click on the icon to turn off Private Browsing.
  • DNS Prefetching: Safari looks up the addresses of links on webpages and can load those pages faster.
  • Improved Page Caching: Safari can add additional types of webpages to the cache so they load quickly.
  • XSS Auditor: Safari can filter potentially malicious scripts used in cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
  • Improved JavaScript Support: Safari allows web applications that use JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to run faster and more securely.

For more information about fixes that improve performance, stability and compatibility, please see: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4134

For information on the security content of this update, please visit:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

Internet Society

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What kind of impact has the Internet had on you (personally or professionally)? Do you remember what life was like before the Internet? Could you imagine your life without the Internet? Could you imagine a world without the Internet?

Michael sent an email to me. He’s a high school student, doing some research on the Internet. Specifically, he’s writing about how the Internet has changed the World. He claims that I am pretty knowledgable about this particular topic. I beg to differ, but will do my best to help him out! He has a few questions he wanted me to answer.

  • In your opinion, what is the best benefit the Internet has given us as a society? – To me, it’s all about information access. When I was in high school, the Internet didn’t exist the way we know it now. It was a true eye-opener the day I realized what type of information I would have at my fingertips thanks to the ‘Net. Information is power, and the global community has become a lot more powerful, and a lot more aware. We are easily able to discover a lot more than we were previously able to.
  • In what ways has the Internet negatively affected the way we interact? – Chances are, you could go to the page where you found this video, and see people leaving idiotic and rude comments. They do this simply because they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. Many people feel that they can lose all social graces when they are online, and treat people like utter crap. I, however, always try to treat people online the same way I do in my physical life… with respect.
  • If someone who doesn’t know anything about the Internet asked you what the main purpose is of the Internet, how would you respond? – Connection… either to information, or to people. The Internet is a lot like a screwdriver. It’s a tool, which can be used for good – or bad. If you’re not using the right tool for any particular job, you won’t get very far. The results won’t be what you expected them to be. If you don’t respect and understand that this tool that connects you to information and other people, it could have disastrous results for you. The Internet is empowering.

If you are doing any type of research project that I may be able to help with, feel free to shoot me an email with your questions. Also, I’m interested in hearing what YOUR answers are to the above questions. Feel free to leave me a comment here, and let us know your thoughts.

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Could you Live Without Email or the Web?

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How many people do you believe have used email? If you had to give a percentage off the top of your head of US citizens that you believe have used email, what would you say? According to a survey, about 20% of US heads-of-household have never sent an email. About 18% (20 million) of households don’t have Internet access. Approximately 30% of people have never used a computer to create a document. Wow. I had no idea! I wonder why Internet access isn’t considered almost like a public utility of sorts. Think about it. We have access to the public library, and there are computers there. We have the ability to grab television and radio broadcast signals over the air. We have water and trash services that we pay for as a standard. It just seems like it would be a detriment to any household not to have Internet access today.

If we look at Technology as an enabler, rather than a cost, we may be able to get further ahead as a society. This is what I suggest to people when they ask me about Broadband options. I always recommend that people get online to save money. Imagine saving a portion of your monthly bills. When you start buying things online, you’re no longer confined to the selection on your local store shelves. You can save serious amounts of money on goods this way. You’ll save time, by shopping online or even just to communicate in general. Everything boils down to a cost. What is your time worth?

I look at text messaging in the same way. I could pick up the phone and call someone. What if I just get sent straight to their voice mail? To me, it’s more convenient and time-saving to just send a text message much of the time. I look at paying for that unlimited texting service as a cost of convenience, and of communication. The less communication options I have, the more I feel like I’m just not connected.

If you don’t embrace a new way of communicating because you can’t, that’s one thing. If you don’t embrace it because you won’t: That’s something else entirely. Technology is becoming increasingly pervasive. Email is anywhere and everywhere, literally. It has its downfalls, certainly. That doesn’t keep me from recommending it to literally everyone.

What do you think about all this? Do you think this much of a digital divide should exist, between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’? Is a computer and Internet access so difficult to get? Or, is this more of a fear that people may have? Send me an email to [email protected], or leave me a follow-up comment on this post and let’s hear your thoughts.


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Freedbacking Internet Explorer

Sorry I wasn’t able to get this up until now, but I promised I’d have it here within a day of publishing last night’s report (Internet Explorer Feedback).
The IE team has responded to my feedback on their latest beta. Can’t say I’m happy with their answers, but I’m extremely impressed with their transparency, honesty, and ability. Their responses have been italicized below, with the first five responses already online. I figured I wasn’t the only person with these pecadillos, so I wanted to share their answers with everybody…
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