Machinima, how about adding some life to your blog!
Yes. I am going to talk about machinima, or: short online videos you can produce when in Second Life. Social Media as a whole is a very visual world. Pictures win from text, videos win from pictures. This does not, by all means, imply you need to stop writing on your blog, not at all! Blogs still need written text, if you want them to be found in search engines and picked up by the Google bots, as fellow contributor Becky has pointed out in this excellent post on this subject.
But have you ever considered making short – lets say 1 minute – videos to show off what you are blogging about as an extra in a post?
Not only will this look awesome on your blog, but also : when published on YouTube and tagged the right, smart way it will help you getting audience and traffic because YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet (after Google).
If you are still in doubt about the power of Social Media, here is a good video on the Social Media Revolution (bonus is the awesome music!)
Now, before you zone out, or run away screaming, thinking : zOMG I cannot make videos! Do not panic. You can. You really can.
I have been playing around all weekend, with free software and I am sure I will make Second Life videos in the future, to enhance the content of my blog-posts. How cool is it, to not only show awesome images, but also a short video?
What do you need? Well here is what I have used, all free!:
* Recording software: FRAPS (free)
* In case you want to record your own voice, for voice overs, I used a free online recorder here
* Editting software, in my case as I am on a Windows machine: Windows Movie Maker (it is free, and comes with the Windows package or download it at the link). For Mac-users I can recommend iMovie, which is almost identical to Windows Movie Maker
* A YouTube account, free and comes with a gMail account.
* Optional music, from the (free!) YouTube Audio library
* Lots of time to play with it and learn. Really. Patience, trial and error and take your time
Oh..OK, one techy tip: in order to record without the UI (you know, the sidebars, your LS balance, location, IM’s and whatnot….), before you start recording press: control + alt+F1 (in some viewers it is control+shift+F1, and to get it back simply use the same keys) and make sure you detach your HUDS, or at least move them out of your screen.
Edit: or better, as Colleen Criss commented: Use Shift+Alt+H to hide your HUDs!
Once you have all this, which is easy….you are good to go!
I am aware this post is short and has lots of links, but I am sure if you take some time, have fun and patience, you will be able to make nice short videos to add to your blog. Not every day, not all the time..and keep in mind: don’t make them longer than 1.30 minutes. Why this limit? Think how YOU watch clips….how often do you watch longer than a minute? Online attention spans are short, a minute is what most people accept to click and watch. A 30 minute documentary on how you walk around in your new shoes….will likely lose viewers after a minute.
The reason why I recommend music from the free library is simple, but perhaps not well known. Of course you can use your favourite song from iTunes or other files, but often those have a copy-right. That in itself is nothing to panic about!
What happens when you use, lets say Justin Bieber in your video: it will most probably be copyrighted and monetized by the legal copyright holder. In those cases, YouTube will allow the use, but they will put advertisements over your video (the ones every one clicks away..ahem), and the money for those ads goes to Justin Bieber and never to you.
This isn’t a big deal, but what I do find a big deal when it comes to videos I want people to see is: a video with these (forced) advertisement – because of those legal copyright holders- , cannot be viewed on mobile devices as smart-phones and tablets. Also, in some countries the video will be completely ‘unavailable’ (Germany and The Netherlands are big blockers of videos with copyrighted music, no matter what YouTube has arranged for compensation with advertisement).
So, no…you will not get into trouble using Justin Bieber, but you will limit your audience.
Almost last, but certainly not least, this is a link to Linden Lab’s policy concerning Photography and Machinima, you may want to read it and be an educated photographer/filmer and avoid drama and so on.
And now a short clip I made this afternoon, using all of the above!
The Kayak I used in this video is by Aarcher Zenovka and here on MP (it is a wearable, so perfect to use allover the place!)