Posts Tagged ‘Video’

Now streaming: The world

They have been common occurrences in our Facebook feeds over the last few weeks — a news organization, journalist or publisher on the social network sends a notification to its fans that its live doing an event or doing a Q&A on a subject.

Whether its The New York Times discussing the future of Apple amid the conclusion of the company’s 13 year growth streak or the BBC World Service interviewing a German historian about the country’s past, live-streaming has become a new way for news organizations to engage audiences in conversations, as well as inform them about particular events.

The adapting of live streaming in social strategies comes as video becomes an integral part of social engagement, either through videos curated through Snapchat’s Discover channels, segments posted on Twitter or even short clips on Facebook and Instagram. Video has become a core part of engaging audiences on social, no matter the event, and live streaming would become an essential component of it.

Indeed, for video, its not just limited to coverage of news events and Q&As. Recently, Twitter announced that it would live stream 10 NFL games over the course of the next season, a move that is likely going to indicate more Twitter based content and video from news organizations and reporters who cover sports, not just for the NFL, but for all sports, including the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

More people are seeing journalism through live streaming, especially on Facebook. (Photo: Pixabay)

More people are seeing journalism through live streaming, especially on Facebook. (Photo: Pixabay)

Additionally, more live streams are likely to come from news organizations, whether its leading up to the final primaries, conventions, and indeed, the general election in November in the US, or towards the forthcoming referendum in the UK on its membership in the European Union, and its geopolitical implications. Live streaming is at the core for the strategy of social platforms, long marketed as hubs for the events that shape the world in real time.

Video continues to be key in engagement on social platforms. As a result, live streaming will be at its core, and those notifications you see on Facebook, and those posts about live coverage on Twitter, won’t be going away anytime soon.

While this remains mutually beneficial for both news organizations and indeed social networks, there is still a significant responsibility for news organizations when it comes to this content. If the content you produce is fair, accurate, impartial, and transparent, it will resonate with your audiences.

As I wrote in the lead up to SPJ’s Ethics Week (held last week), the influence of social media is still felt in today’s journalism, and the rules of ethics still apply, even if its on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or a different social platform.

After all, the content you produce for these platforms is not just to help engagement and the social strategy, but to do what all journalism does irrespective of platform — inform, educate and enlighten

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Facebook: Now streaming

Facebook has decided to expand its live streaming feature, which could have implications for a news organizations' social strategy. (Vicipaedianus x / Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Facebook has decided to expand its live streaming feature, which could have implications for a news organizations’ social strategy. (Vicipaedianus x / Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Last week, Facebook announced its plans to expand its live streaming feature. The social network, in a blog post, said they were testing the feature, known as Live, with a small portion of its users by iPhone.

While it is unclear when this will be made widely available to everyone, including news organizations, Facebook said it hopes to make it available to everyone soon. Originally, as the BBC reports, the feature was only available to celebrities and other high profile users.

Facebook’s decision to expand the feature comes as streaming video expands on social media platforms, most notably through Periscope and Meerkat. With these features, this will allow reporters to tell stories from specific locations they are reporting from, or allow users to submit user generated content on breaking stories to help aid reporting, after they have been vetted.

In addition, streaming video may also allow other ways for news organizations to interact with audiences, either through segments about stories or creating ways to engage audiences through discussion features. The streaming video can also be an excellent way to engage users not only through traditional platforms like television and the web, but also through their Facebook page, expanding their social outreach.

The possibilities for streaming video are endless for news organizations, and Facebook is getting on board with the roll out of Live. The question is how (and if) news organizations will end up adapting it as part of their social strategy.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to the SPJ blog network on British media issues and social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

How Meerkat and Periscope can transform social journalism

You may have seen some tweets appear in your stream over the past couple of weeks utilizing two tools recently made available to the public – Meerkat and Periscope. Immediately, news organizations began testing them, seeing what works and what couldn’t work when it came to developing new relationships with audiences.

Indeed, as testing of these platforms took place in organizations around the world, there had been an increasing consensus that more work should be done, including the British publication The Economist, who did a live stream on Meerkat discussing the British economy. The Economist, according to a report from the Guardian newspaper in Britain, was one of the first UK news outlets to use it.

“Live streaming is fun and has the informality of Twitter rather than the seriousness of TV, so we should do more of it,” said Tom Standage, the paper’s deputy editor, in an interview with The Guardian, adding that it could bring wider benefits to the paper’s coverage of the UK’s general election, due to be held in May.

These tools, albeit new, have the power to transform news organizations’ overall engagement with audiences on social media, as social video continues to become increasingly popular not just on these apps, but on apps including Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

Yet, Meerkat and Periscope are able to stand out in the vast world of social media, because of the guaranteed immediacy of the interaction of audiences, helping them get the full story, especially on breaking events. There are no restrictions on time, and the experience of streaming becomes a live conversation, something Twitter had been keen to emphasize with its acquisition of Periscope.

With a number of directions that can be taken from a content standpoint, newsrooms should not be hesitant with these apps or incorporating them into a social strategy. Indeed, inclusion of them will be a step forward for the organization, and can allow more out of the box thinking when it comes to social strategies.

If you’ve not used it, take time to think now about it, and what Meerkat and Periscope can do for your newsroom. I’m sure you’ll find that the benefits outweigh the cons.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, blogs on social media’s role in journalism for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Is live streaming in Twitter’s future?

Twitter acquired the live video startup Periscope this week, according to reports. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Twitter has acquired the live video start up Periscope, which could affect Twitter’s video presence and usage by journalists. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

News has emerged this week that Twitter has bought a start up that could expand how journalists use video on social media.

Periscope, a live streaming start up, was bought by the social network for $100 million. The deal closed last month, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, but news of the deal emerged this week. Periscope is currently in beta mode and has not been released to the public.

The news of the deal comes over a week after Twitter unveiled a feature where video embedded on the platform can be embedded on a web site.

While the details are unclear as to the timing of Periscope’s release, this could be a potential new tool that could affect how journalists and news organizations use video, whether covering an event from the field or engaging audiences directly from the newsroom. This could also see an ability for Twitter to further engage potential users and could lead to an increase in user growth, a concern that investors have expressed to CEO Dick Costolo and management.

More developments are likely forthcoming, so keep your eyes peeled as Twitter’s latest acquisition may be one to watch as newsrooms look to make the best available resources of their social media strategy.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member, is chairman and blogger at large of SPJ Digital, and community coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also serves as Deputy Editor, Media Editor and contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

How can Twitter video help journalism?

Twitter unveiled its new video feature allowing 30 second videos to be uploaded. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Twitter unveiled its new video feature allowing 30 second videos to be uploaded. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Twitter unveiled January 27 two new features – the ability to send direct messages privately to groups, and the ability to upload 30 second video clips directly through the social networking site.

The features were unveiled amid uncertainty with the social network’s investors that user growth would be possible. In an interview quoted from Bloomberg, Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said user growth remained a priority, as the social network reported its fourth quarter earnings last Friday.

Twitter had also announced that real time tweets would be appearing in Google searches, in a deal with the search engine. It is unclear when that feature would be made available to the public.

Yet, with the introduction of Twitter’s 30 second video feature, potential is introduced for journalists and newsrooms. Twitter’s video feature goes up against Vine’s 6 second videos and Facebook owned Instagram’s 15 second videos. The video feature is reported to be made available to users within the coming days.

In a telephone interview, Katie Hawkins-Gaar, Digital Innovation Faculty at the Poynter Institute, says this gives Twitter an advantage.

“Video is huge right now, both in social and digital news,” Hawkins-Gaar said. “Twitter recognizes that. The 30 second limit sets them apart.”

Hawkins-Gaar sees benefits for reporters working from the field for video to be uploaded to Twitter, but also sees benefits for the overall audience-newsroom relationship.

“Lots of journalists and newsrooms that use Twitter to look for breaking news and user generated content,” Hawkins-Gaar said. “It’s great for that. Those newsrooms are particularly excited about that content. Also those who use it use it for two way conversations with audience. I would like to see more people do that. I hope video enhances that.”

Hawkins-Gaar says that from a social standpoint, this could bring benefit to Twitter and alleviate concerns as it tries to grow.

“There is potential for it to save Twitter,” Hawkins-Gaar said. “It’s good for breaking news and things in the moment. The video feature seems to support that, especially in breaking news. People are looking for information.”

However, this feature also provides a risk, particularly for newsrooms, something that needs to be considered when looking at overall social strategy.

“If you’re a newsroom and want to focus on Twitter video, it’s time to talk about everything on social and look at where you should put your focus,” Hawkins-Gaar said.

Overall, Hawkins-Gaar appreciated the simplicity of the feature.

“One of the things that sets Twitter apart is how simple it is,” Hawkins-Gaar said. “I was happy to see how simple the video feature was. I hope they keep it that way. Focuses on short bursts of info and what’s happening in the moment. I hope it doesn’t change Twitter’s focus too much.”

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member, is chairman of SPJ Digital and the community coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman serves as Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

This post was amended at 5:51 pm Central Time to reflect a correction in the last paragraph.

Making videos on the go just got much easier

Software developer Adobe has simplified video production and editing for any journalist on the go who’s armed with an Apple iPad. The company officially unveiled today its new Adobe Voice app, a kind of PowerPoint on steroids now available for free at Apple’s iTunes Store.

Quite simply, Voice makes video possible without actually filming any video.

Through a simple step-by-step process, users simply insert their own photos or animation clips or download images from rights-free sources into a kind of storyboard template, then add text from a selection of more than two dozen preinstalled themes and 25,000 icons.

The app gets its name from the feature that allows users to then record narration by tapping the microphone icon at the bottom of each page as they assemble a scene. Voice also includes a music list to lay down an audio foundation.

Once complete, each video can be shared on social media, blogs, and websites, or uploaded for display on Adobe’s own servers, by tapping another icon.

Adobe predicts Voice could make the most noise at schools, where students and teachers can make quick videos without the hassle of complicated equipment or software. Net Worked however predicts a faster adoption by the public — and certainly by street journalists looking for yet an even quicker way to make a good first impression.


David Sheets is a freelance writer and editor, Region 7 director, and past-president of SPJ’s St. Louis Pro chapter. Reach him by e-mail at, on Twitter at @DKSheets, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Video grammar for journalists, “I shot video, now what?”

film_clapper-NetworkedBack with more video grammar for journalists!

Today’s topic: “I shot video, now what?” We’re talking video editing on the computer.

Armed with all of the correctly framed, exposed and in-focus shots you’ve acquired using your BYOC – and using the single camera shooting technique we talked about previously – you should now have 20-30 video shots recorded on your device… Now what?

Time to feed the beast – the computer beast. Next stop: visual storytelling!


**BUT WAIT!** To quote my man, Meatloaf, “STOP RIGHT THERE!” Before I go any further a technical warning is in order about the type of computer needed to accomplish what editing video requires – especially in today’s world of file-based, high bandwidth, high definition video.

Before we sink our teeth into the process, find the right software and export the correct output files required for video, here’s a question to ask: do I have the right computer for the job?

What are the right computer specs for editing video? Depends on whom you ask: Videomaker, the Video Guys or DIY and the type of videos you want to produce. To produce glorified Powerpoints disguised as videos for Grandma you can probably get by with “minimum specs.” To import and edit full 1080i or 720p HD video files from a DSLR, a video camera, even an iPhone you need to feed the beast I tell ya!

There’s nothing more taxing on the processor, RAM and graphics card than manipulating very large files. Just how big are the video files you’ll be manipulating? A wise old photo editor told me once that to efficiently edit and manipulate a still image in Photoshop, the computer needs ten times the size of the image in RAM. According to Adobe, by default Photoshop uses 70% of your available RAM. And that’s just for still images!


To give you an idea of the file sizes in video:

  • One minute of standard definition digital video (DV) = 187.5 megabytes, one hour = 10.99 gigabytes.
  • One minute of H.264 1080p HD (from a Canon 5D Mark II) = 355.89 megabytes, one hour = 20.85 gigabytes.

*Source: Digital Rebellion

DON’T SKIMP THE SPECS! (Don’t take my word for it…)

  • For Avid’s Media Composer, specs are here for Mac/PC.
  • Apple’s Final Cut Pro, here.
  • Apple’s Final Cut X, here.
  • Apple’s iMovie, here.
  • Adobe’s Premiere,  here.
  • Sony’s Vegas,  here.

Edit Software LogosWhile these six pieces of software are by no means the only video editing software out there, they all have one thing in common, they feed the beast. In our digital media department all of the 27″ iMac video editors sport i7 processors, 16GB of RAM, an HD capable graphics card with 2GB memory on the card and separate networked drives for media files. And yet, despite all that power, there’s many an evening I set up a machine to render a large video file and leave it to cook overnight!

Bottom line? Video editing is red meat for your computer, don’t send wimpy minimum specs to feed a hungry beast!

NEXT TIME: A look under the hood at video editing software!

Tim McCarty is a consultant, educator and Emmy award-winning Video Pro. A Professional Instructor and TV Advisor in the Journalism & Digital Media department at Ashland University, his department blogs at:

Video Grammar: Single Camera Technique

Back with more Video Grammar basics for digital journalists!

Reviewing our VG checklist so far:

Next up: developing good shooting technique to facilitate the editing of your visual “statements and sentences,” (a.k.a. the montage).

NOTE: Professional shooting technique assumes the editing of your material later. Plan the shoot, shoot the plan.

So, how does a journalist shoot enough to enhance their story and have enough to edit later? One shot at a time, baby!

It’s called Single Camera Shooting Technique and pro shooters use it to “acquire” all of the shots they will need to edit an appropriate visual statement together later. In VG, framing and composition are visual verbs and nouns, single camera technique is the sentence structure. Single camera technique was developed back in the early days of film and was designed to give directors (and digital journalists!) maximum control, allow for footage to be shot “out of sequence” and facilitated editing. It’s genius in its simplicity which is why it remains a standard shooting convention in film, news, documentaries or any other genre shot using only one camera.

Briefly, here’s how it works: each shot is planned and executed before you start recording. The shooter makes all of the critical aesthetic decisions (exposure, focus, framing/composition and the type of shot – wide shot, close up, medium shot ) ahead of time and then records one shot at a time.

Once each shot is recorded, the shooter repositions the camera for another shot and/or angle. Before each recording, new aesthetic decisions have to be made on the above criteria BEFORE recording each new shot. It’s easy – move, setup the shot, look at the frame, make aesthetic decisions, record, stop, move…repeat.

When done successfully the shooter ends up with a variety of shots, properly framed, in focus and correctly exposed that can be arranged and rearranged in the editing process to tell a great visual story, or as I believe video was intended, to enhance good writing or a killer piece of music!

When it works, it’s a beautiful thing. Like this simple visual story shot by Jamie Stuart of a snow storm.

NEXT TIME: The seven sins of bad shooting technique!

Video Grammar 101: The Basics

Previously, I submitted the notion today’s digital journalist must be as fluent in video grammar as they are in traditional English grammar.

Whether it’s a point and shoot camera, an iPhone, a DSLR or a straight-up video camera, fluency in video grammar in today’s ever-converging journalism industry is a must-have tool in your storytelling toolkit.

Our digital media journalism program starts everyone off with equal parts writing and video aesthetics. We assume every journalist will not only write copy but will also provide editors with appropriate digital still images and video for future stories.

I tell my freshman, don’t envy or fear “the camera.” It’s just another tool to help you tell stories.

So, what are the “nouns and verbs” of basic video grammar? Every journalist armed with a video capable camera should start with a practical understanding of framing and composition. To teach the basics, I turn to a short instructional video for help on basic video aesthetics brought to you by the friendly folks at Digital Juice.

Who? DJ is the leader in royalty free graphics, animations, stock footage, and music for video editing, print & graphic design, presentations and multimedia design, that’s who.

Video and print pros from the largest broadcast networks, magazines and blogs, down to the smallest college media programs use their royalty free “juice!” Our program swears by their stuff because they make us look like a million bucks on a very low budget!

Remember, basic video grammar and creating aesthetically pleasing video like the pros (regardless of the camera you’re using) requires an understanding of:

  • The Rule of Thirds.
  • Don’t Chop the Chin.
  • Compose the nose.
  • Lead them on.
  • Beware of bad backgrounds.

Props to DJ and their great graphics and for even better instructional videos found here!

NEXT TIME: Video Grammar 101 – Single camera technique!

Tim McCarty is an educator and Emmy award-winning videographer. Yet despite all that experience, sometimes his bad video grammar has a pole growing out of his son’s helmet. Reach him by email at


To digital journalists: learning video grammar as important as English grammar

Reporter notebook/pen? Check.

iPhone/iPad/Laptop? (Which double as a digital audio recorder and HD video recorder.) Check.

Pocket dictionary/thesaurus? Check.

A thorough understanding of video grammar to “acquire” the video shots needed to enhance a news event, conduct an on-camera interview or document breaking news for print story enhancement, broadcast and web video?  As they say in television, “Stand by please…”

Being a converged journalist means different things to different people. For some it means,  “I can tweet that.” Or “post” that on Facebook. For others, it means one story shared or linked across multiple traditional and new media platforms.

For me, it means today’s digital journalist must go back to school to learn a whole new language of video grammar to enhance their storytelling skills. In today’s world of new media-based content delivery that includes (some say demands) video, journalist must now become fluent in video grammar.

Some journalists have embraced shooting video like a second language, for others it’s like struggling to learn a foreign language.

According to Wikipedia, Grammar is a set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases and words in any given natural language.”  Given that definition, my definition of video grammar is a set of structural rules that govern the acquisition and composition of shots, types of shots and sequences of shots to visually enhance language. Indeed, video in it’s most effective form – and if acquired using correct technique – is the ultimate storytelling enhancement.

With digital technologies now allowing video cameras of all shapes and sizes to be used, from big (and heavy!) traditional broadcast cameras, to iPhones that shoot full HD video, there’s no excuse for today’s converged journalist not to shoot grammatically perfect video on every story.

NEXT TIME: Video Grammar 101 – The Basics

Tim McCarty is an Emmy award-winning videographer with over 25-years experience. Currently, he is co-chair of the Journalism & Digital Media department at Ashland University. Reach him by email at


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