Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quick and Easy Slideshow Videos

Running a small nonprofit takes a lot of time. So being creative often has to take a back seat to getting things done. Picovico is a tool you can use for putting together short videos without a lot of investment in time.

Here's how it works:
  1. Sign up for an account or use Facebook to log in.
  2. Choose a theme.
  3. Add pictures and text.
  4. Add music
  5. Create the video.

Log In

This is the screen you see before you log in. In the upper right you can choose to view instructions in English, Chinese, or Spanish. You can also sign up for an account or log in using your FB credentials.

You'll notice they list the steps as choosing the music before the theme, but I always choose the music to fit themes, rather than the other way round.

Once you click on the Create Video button, a dialog box appears, asking you to type in the title.

Choose a Theme (or Style)

Right now you only have four to choose from. Clicking on the pictures will give you a preview of what each style looks like. Clicking on the name of the style will select it. I chose Cool Vibes. Click 'Next' in the upper right to continue.

Add Pictures And Text

You can add pictures from your computer, from Facebook, or from Flickr. Once a picture has been uploaded, you can always choose it.

The Pictures will be displayed in your video in the same order they are shown, but you can shuffle them, reverse them, or otherwise change the order you want them to be shown in.
At the left of the screen, Picovico shows you a summary of how many pictures have been added and how long the video will currently run.

You click on 'Add Text' to add a text slide, which will overlay the slide that follows it. Note a couple of things - you don't have any control over the typeface or where on the slide the text will appear. The picture's file name will also display, so you may want to rename some pics before uploading them. Finally, the text screen's title will also display, so try to come up with a header better than my 'Begin' and 'End.' Click Next, once you're finished.

Add Music

Adding music is as easy as everything else. I'm guessing the developer appreciates music more than the video templates, since music is Number Two in the instructions and because the selection is a lot more varied.

There are several categories and most categories have several choices, written by either Frank Nora or Kevin MacLeod. Or you can upload your own.

I chose Jazz as my category and the song 'Off to Osaka'. Note that each song has its length listed. The length of the video should influence your music choice. Otherwise, short music pieces may loop several times before a video is finished. You can preview each piece of music so you'll know what you're getting.

Once you press Next, you're on to the last step.

Creating the Video

For some reason, the creation timeline at the top calls this step 'Personalizing' but you're not doing that. You're entering a title and some descriptive text and you're choosing privacy settings.

If you need or want to, you can add credits to the video. Note that the composer of the music you chose will be credited unless you uploaded your own music.

The quality is pre-set to 360p. You can export the video to Facebook or YouTube. You can also choose whether the video will be available to the public, viewable only by someone who has the url, or private and viewable only by you. I chose to export to FB, but make it only viewable by me. When I checked my timeline, the video was there, but marked 'private'.

Once you click 'Make Video', Picovico will begin processing, which takes a few minutes or longer, depending on the length of the video. You are invited to hang around and look at videos made by other people, or you can leave the site and wait for an email that tells you the video is finished.

Viewing the Video

People viewing the video have the option of getting a url for it or the embed code, and setting the video to private doesn't stop the viewer from copying the code.

Also, the viewer can post a comment to FB. I made a comment on my own video and it, as well as the video, displayed on my FB timeline without the lock icon that shows it should be viewable only to me. So there are some glitches, but not a problem if you intend to make only public videos.

To see my finished sample (such as it is), click the link below:

Robyn's Sample Video

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