I quite like photographic slideshows done as videos and I've dabbled with them from time to time. However, I've never published any because, ideally, they work best with some music to back them up and as far as I'm concerned that can create all sorts of copyright issues.
This morning I read this RedBubble journal entry by Grant Bissett and decided to create an Animoto account and have a quick play. The thing that most attracted me was the fact that they appear to have a library of licensed music, thus solving the copyright issue I tend to worry about.
It's pretty clever too. You start a video project, you either upload a bunch of images, or download them from a small selection of supported image-hosting sites (in my case from Flickr), you make the final selection, you select the backing music, and then wait a (very) short while. And then you've got a video.
There are options for sharing and embedding the video, and there's also the option to upload to YouTube:
There are two levels to the service. You can create videos for free but they can't be any longer than 30 seconds. If 30 seconds isn't enough you can make a longer video on a pay-per-video basis. There's also the option (which you also have to pay for) to create DVD quality videos. All seems fair and sensible to me.
Besides, these days, who's got an attention span longer than 30 seconds? ;-)
I often find myself shooting lone objects against the sky. Sometimes with a perfectly clear sky, often with quite a busy sky. I love to look out for examples of this style of shot from others. Here's one I like:
Mozzies Beware! by Martin Pot
I try and carry a camera with me everywhere I go. Even when I'm doing something as mundane as popping into the local town (Grantham). Most times the camera never gets used, but at least I've got it there in case something catches my eye.
One such "eye catching" moment happened this morning. It's raining, I'm sat in the car waiting for my wife while she was in a shop, and I notice how cool a sign in a shop window looks as seen through the rain on the windscreen. So out comes the Canon PowerShot G9 and I have a little photography session, the result of which is this:
Click for bigger version
I like this one for (at least) three reasons. First it's the whole "black and white in colour" thing. Second, it's the use of lines and symmetry. Third, it's the fact that the "dark side" of the image is the one where the bulb is missing. Accidental or deliberate the last one is a really neat detail.
Streetlight Opposition by Bobbie
Yesterday was Father's Day and, as a little treat for me, I got taken out to somewhere while I could be let loose with my cameras: the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby, Lincolnshire.
As luck would have it there was also a model aircraft flying display on too so there was more to photograph than just the centre itself (which, if you're in travelling distance, is worth a visit alone — especially if it's a weekend when Just Jane is doing one of her taxi runs.
The weather was a bit mixed, with plenty of stormy-looking clouds hanging around, but that's often a good thing as it means the sky looks far more interesting than if it had been clear blue.
It was a great day out and you can see the final album of photographs over here.
And, to top it all off, I also got a copy of Martin Parr's Think of England as well as a book about Martin Parr (which includes a wide selection of his work). I also got a copy of A Pig With Six Legs from The Cloud Appreciation Society. :D
I've got quite a soft spot for Through the Viewfinder shots, either the real thing or the post-processing effect. It's one of those things I keep meaning to have a play with myself (I could probably do something using a combination of the Lubitel 166B and the EOS 400D or PowerShot G9).
I think this is a nice example of that style:
Oxygen by Jules Campbell
There's a lot of quality digital photography and film photography on RedBubble and, more than once, I've had the urge to mumble about the works I really like. Thing is, it can be bad manners to display copies of other people's works if they don't explicitly allow it so I've generally stayed away from the idea (I could, of course, have gone seeking permission but, well, I guess I'm sort of lazy).
Recently a new group has been created where membership indicates that you're willing to let people display copies of your work elsewhere (with proper attribution, obviously). Because of this I've decided to start a series of "RedBubble Find" posts where I highlight a work I really like. I'm not sure how often I'll do this but I'm aiming for at least a couple of times a week.
Here's my first:
Escape by Jo O'Brien
Just up the road from where I live is the village of Donington. The village's main claim to fame, and one they're pretty proud of, is that it's the birthplace of Matthew Flinders.
Recently there's been a lot of work to turn a small field into a park that all the village can enjoy and, yesterday, an event was held there to mark the fact that it's almost finished.
Given that it's just up the road, and that we've got relatives who live there, we decided to pop along and join in the fun. Of course, I took a camera with me.
No website is perfect, that's probably even more true for the more "social" type sites where you tend to spend a lot of time working with them, and I've found that RedBubble is no exception.
A while back I took a look at Greasemonkey (something I'd been meaning to do for ages) as a method of fixing one little RedBubble niggle and, since then, I've "fixed" a few things that have bothered me.
Given that I've got a few RedBubble hacks kicking about now I thought it might be an idea to list them here:
- RedBubble "Edit This" hack
- This adds a much-needed "Edit this" link to a public view of a work. I often find that I'll notice a small problem with a work when I'm seeing it how everyone else sees it. Such a view doesn't have a way of taking you directly to the edit page for the work so this hack fixes that.
- Better text formatting hints
- RedBubble uses Textile as the markup language of the site and most people don't know it (I'd never seen it before I started using RedBubble). This little hack replaces the rather sparse help that is given on various edit pages with a more comprehensive cheat sheet.
- Public view tab for mybubble
- This little hack simply adds an extra tab to the mybubble pages that takes you to your public view. While such a link does exist in the mybubble pages this makes it more obvious.
- Watch a forum thread in Google Reader
- RedBubble's forums provide RSS feeds so you can keep track of what's going on. This hack adds a "Add to Google Reader" button to each thread so you can quickly and easily add them to Google Reader.
- Watch comments for a work in Google Reader
- Similar to the above but for the comments made on any work on RedBubble.
- Move user actions further up a user's profile
- Each user profile page on RedBubble has a couple of user actions: one to add/remove them from your watchlist and one to send them a BubbleMail. The problem is that, at the moment, these actions come below the written profile for the user. Lots of users have very long profiles, often with large image previews in them. Because of this you've got to scroll down quite a way to find those actions. This hack fixes that by moving the actions to before the user-written profile.
- Simple BubbleMail preview
- Another Textile thing. RedBubble's BubbleMail system (the internal messaging system for the site) has no preview facility. It's also pretty easy to mess up when working with Textile formatting. This hack provides a simple preview system that helps catch any silly errors before you hit the send button.
- Extra paging for mybubble work lists
- The lists of works in mybubble (your private view of your works) only have the page navigation links at the bottom of the lists. This means that you've generally got to scroll down the page to get to the next page. This hack fixes that problem by placing a clone of those links at the top of the list.
- Average views per public work
- Possibly the least useful of all the hacks. This one adds an extra bit of information to the view count stats you get in the work lists in mybubble: the average number of views per work.