Monday, 2 October 2017

Cartoon Donald Trump and Mr Bean Brought To Life with Adobe Character Animator

Industrial Light & Magic has been at the cutting edge of movie CGI for years and recently they showed off their latest facial capture system to Spencer Kelly, presenter of the BBC's CLICK.

ILM has been using video capture of an actor's facial expressions to help them turn live facial capture into a fully rendered character on screen. The system aids the director, enabling him/her to immediately see the results of the actors work, while the actor can hone his/her performance by getting into the virtual skin of the character.

Naturally, ILM's technology is bigger and better than anything you can do at home. But creative technology has a habit of quickly being democratized and made available to anyone who cares to use it. So what can a small company or individual do with facial recognition on an ordinary PC or Mac?

In June 2015 Adobe revealed it's first preview of Character Animator, a software package that can take Photoshop and Illustrator layered character designs and turn them into puppets and apply behaviors to them. These behaviors can be controlled live via webcam for facial expressions, upper body movement and lip sync. Further behaviors can be triggered by keyboard input.

The body layers of the character can be appear to move through warping.

With the release of Beta 6 in the spring of 2017 Adobe added automatic walk liberated the characters from being fixed to one spot by adding automatic walk cycles, plus a live streaming.

Scenes can be exported from Character Animator in various video formats or as a PNG image sequence and wav file for the sound. However, the scenes can be imported into After Effects and Premiere Pro without the need for rendering by utilizing Adobe's Dynamic Link. 

Because characters are controlled live by the actors facial expressions, body movement and speech, the technology has been picked by broadcasters to interact in real time with TV presenters. An example being Cartoon Donald Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Cartoon Donald Trump was created by the show's Lead Animator Tim Luecke and Senior Digital Producer and Writer Rob Dubbin. In this interview they explain how they have been able to break new ground on the show, as well as showing some great examples of Cartoon Donald Trump.

Another clever use of Character Animator was how the team behind the animated Mr Bean brought the bumbling character to Facebook, where he was able to interact live with his adoring fans.

Read more on the Adobe Create Cloud blog or click below to watch how the team brought Mr Bean to Facebook Live.

In September 2017 Adobe finally released Character Animator as version 1.1, part of their Creative Cloud suite of apps. If you want to give Character Animator a go, even just to see how you can control a ready made cartoon puppet via your webcam, sign-up for a FREE seven-day trial at Adobe's website. The app is available for Windows and Mac.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Why you need to move to Cards & End Screens

If you're creating video content on YouTube I hope you are taking full advantage of YouTube’s free marketing tools. Of course they don't call them that. They call those tools Cards and End Screens.

If you haven't visited YouTube for a while you may not have heard of either End Screens or Cards. But you probably will have heard of Annotations, or at least seen them on videos. But here's the thing, Annotations are NO MORE. Annotations RIP. As of about May of 2017 YouTube Creators haven't been able to create new annotations, nor can they edit existing annotations (with the exception of removing them from videos).

Oh no! Annotations were great, at least for Creators, who sadly seldom used annotations in a subtle way. Nonetheless, annotations were useful for Creators. They were a boon; I could use them to link to my website’s landing page or squeeze page. In fact, I could link to multiple websites, although YouTube didn’t really want anyone to know about that.

So why has YouTube killed off a tool that's really, really, REALLY useful? Well the answer is also really simple. The world has gone mobile, and it has gone mobile remarkably quickly. It is only ten years since Apple released the first generation of iPhone, and in those ten years the world really has changed with most people spending a huge amount of time peering into their palms.

Getting back to YouTube, that means more viewers on mobile devices compared to desktops. According to YouTube, more than half of views are now on mobile devices. The reason that is important for annotations is that they do not work on mobile. So irrespective of how useful they may have been for desktop viewers, they really have no purpose if the majority of viewers cannot use them on their mobile devices.

Of course the story does have a happy ending, although some YouTube Creators may disagree. YouTube introduced Cards and then End Screens, both mobile and desktop friendly. Sure, they are different to Annotations and cannot do all the things that Annotations could but maybe that is a good thing. Let's be truthful, as far as viewers were concerned, Annotations sucked! They looked ugly, Creators often obscured their videos with them and frequently placed them in the wrong part of the frame. By comparison Cards and End Frames look far more attractive, professional and add to the viewer experience.

It is also good for Creators. We can link to other videos, our own and others. We can request viewers to subscribe to our channels. We can even lead our viewers off to our sales pages and merchant stores, although it would be good if we could include affiliate links to the likes of Amazon and eBay.

Some of the restrictions imposed by YouTube are actually good for both viewers and creators. End Screens, by definition, come at the end of a video, and then only for the last 5 to 20seconds. Some creators would like to be able to have their clickable links on view for much longer, just like they did with annotations. What they fail to recognise is that a viewer who has stuck with the video to the end is obviously interested in the product and far more likely to respond to a call to action and click through. The link is in the perfect place and will not annoy viewers who would never respond anyway.

In contrast, Cards can be placed at any point in the video but they only manifest themselves as a teaser for a few seconds across the top right of the screen. At any other point a small icon will appear in the top right if the viewer taps the screen. A tap on that icon will bring up the Cards. Cards and End Screens respect the viewer but are still fantastic marketing tools for YouTube Creators.

If you have annotations on your old videos and they are working for you, that’s great, they will continue to work… ONLY on desktops. But if you want to market to ALL of your viewers ditch the Annotations and move over to Cards and End Screens. Despite the fact you the new tools do not offer the functionality of Annotations, if you want to maximise the marketing potential of your videos it may be wise to bite the bullet and re-edit with Cards and End Screens in mind. Realistically, the proportion of viewers on mobile devices is only going to go one way, and that is up!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Why Your iPhone 5 and 5C and iPad 4 Won't Work With iOS 11

When Apple updates it’s mobile operating system in the autumn of 2017 to iOS 11, owners of an iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPad 4 will find they have been left behind in the update.
This is a result of Apple’s policy to cease support of 32-bit Apps and devices. Since 2013, with the introduction of the Apple A7 processor, Apple’s mobile devices have been using 64-bit processors. The A7 processor was introduced on the iPhone 5S and then used in the iPad Air, iPad Mini 2 and iPad Mini 3. So all these devices will be able to update to iOS 11. But if your device has a 32-bit processor, essentially A6X and earlier processors, your device will effectively be consigned to history.
This means your old device will remain forever stuck at iOS 10.3.2, with no new security updates. If you still have an iPhone 4 owner, you will know that it refuses to update beyond iOS 7.1.2. Owners of an iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPad 4 will have the same experience, although they will be stuck at iOS 10.3.2.
Moreover, older apps that only run in 32-bit will no longer work. Nor will they appear in your Purchased tab when you head over to the App Store. Presumably if you want to keep using these older 32-bit apps you will have to avoid the software update and make sure you back-up your apps.
Since the summer of 2015 all new apps and app updates have had to be 64-bit, you you should be OK with your recent downloads from the App Store.

From Apple’s perspective the move is sensible. The older 32-bit processors cannot handle as much data as their newer 64-bit cousins, so will be slower. Furthermore, by forcing users to keep upgrading their devices Apple keeps making more money. However, if you are happy with the functionality of your iPhone 5, do you really need a 5S or higher? Probably not. Your decision to upgrade will perhaps have more to do with whether you want to be seen with an older model or you really do need the features you can only get on an iPhone 6 etc.
When it comes to making videos, yes you can do it successfully on older iPhone and iPads. The iPhone 4 is capable of shooting HD 720p and the iPad 4 will shoot HD 1080p. The problem is that your video making apps, like Filmic Pro won't work on the iPhone 4 (you are stuck with Filmic Classic) and Filmic Pro 6 struggles on an iPad 4. So the release of iOS 11 maybe the spur you need to better quality video equipment.
I have just upgraded from both of these devices to an iPhone SE. It has the same video capability of an iPhone 6S but in an iPhone 5 case. I only use my iPhone for making videos so the iPhone SE works well for me. Not only do I get the same video spec as the iPhone 6S but I get it at a cheaper price. That means I can shoot at higher frame rates (upto 120fps at 1080p and 240fps at 720p), plus shoot at upto 4K on the rear camera and upto HD 720p on the facetime camera. The added bonus is that most of my filming-making accessories remain compatible.
For a good example of a professional video made using Filmic Pro take a look at this 2014 item from the Irish broadcaster RTE, shot on an iPhone 5S.

The King of Coffee from Philip Bromwell on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Funny Bloopers & Outtakes Videos at Highlander Glasgow Shoot

Funny Bloopers and Outtakes Videos

We have been filming at Highlander International  Paper Recycling in Glasgow for around two years and naturally, some shots just go wrong. Rather than delete them we decided to share them with you. So sit back, hit play, and and enjoy some funny bloopers & outtakes videos courtesy of Highlander.

Highlander are based in the central belt of Scotland, on the outskirts of Glasgow and are located in the former premises of Hannay Paper Recyclers. A factory that was custom built to match the needs of a paper recycling operation. Interestingly, the premises were also turned into a TV and video production studio in the noughties, the business being know know as Popmorphic. Unfortunately the video business failed but that was good news for Highlander, who now own the premises and run it as a highly successful paper recycling facility.

The funny bloopers video was produced by Tosh Lubek Productions, an Ayrshire and Glasgow video production company.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Video Production Ayrshire

Video Production Ayrshire

For video production in Ayrshire, Ayrshire, Glasgow, and Lanarkshire call Tosh Lubek Productions on
01292 570823 and ask for Tosh. Alternatively vist the website.
Tosh Lubek Productions is an Ayrshire based commercial video production company that recently worked
with Jill Simpson from Deva Training from Kilmarnock. Once the videos were completed and uploaded to
YouTube and other social media sites Jill offered to record a video testimonial for Tosh Lubek.

Jill said, “I did three videos with Tosh as part of the 5TopTips for small business series. I think what might
have stopped me had I been  buying the service was not so much a lack of confidence – presenting is,
after all my thing – rather my concern that the actual process would be a complicated and expensive one.

In fact, that wasn’t the case at all. Tosh came to my office, found a suitable place for me to stand and
made the whole thing very simple. The resulting videos looked great, and the feedback I get about them
is always positive.

There were a few things I liked; Tosh took the trouble to find out about my business, and put together a
draft script using my website, LinkedIn profile and so on. That gave me a starter for 10 instead of a blank
sheet of paper.  He gave me clear guidance about how the talk should be structured and how long it
should be to keep people’s attention and get the DEVA message across.

Tosh is very experienced and knowledgeable but he makes you feel completely at ease, which is
important when you’re talking about your business in front of the camera.

The autocue which he set up made it easy for me to speak to camera and not lose my place. 

Tosh placed the videos on YouTube and gave us the links to use wherever we wanted to. He also
publicised them through his own website and social media. There’s no question that having these has
provided DEVA with better exposure in the right places for our business.

I certainly would recommend Tosh Lubek. The mini videos I did with him were relatively straightforward,
I would imagine, but given his track record, I’d have no hesitation in recommending him for far more
complex work.

A lot of people might dread doing this, but video is such a powerful tool.  In every business, customers
like to put a personality to a product or service. If you’re thinking about it, I would say have a chat with
Tosh and go for it!”

Thank you Jill for a superb testimonial, it is much appreciated.
Jill’s testimonial was freely given and NOT part of any exchange of money, goods or services. If you
wish to confirm the testimonial is accurate Jill Simpson can be contacted through her website.

To keep up to date with the latest videos from Tosh Lubek Productions please subscribe to the
ToshLubek YouTube channel by using this link

For advice on getting useful testimonials from your clients see The Secret Life of Testimonials by
Sean D’Souza, you can find details here

The video: Commercial video production in Ayrshire and Glasgow by Tosh Lubek Productions,
Deva Training Testimonial can be seen here.

Video production Ayr, video production Ayrshire, video production Glasgow, video production Lanarkshire.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Why you need to use YouTube Cards and End Screens

YouTube Annotations. They are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them.

As a viewer you may think they are ugly and often hide the video you want to watch. But if you are a YouTube creator you will know annotations have been one of your best friends. When introduced by YouTube they helped Creators grow their channels by encouraging fans to subscribe, lead them to other related videos, boost comments, likes and shares, Annotation can even facilitate the sale of merchandise. So if Annotations are so good, why is YouTube doing away with them from Tuesday May 2nd 2017?

The big problem for Annotations is that they are old technology that does not work on mobile. Annotations were introduced in 2008 when our e-lives were firmly tied to desktop computers. Mobile networks were relatively slow and streaming HD videos to your phone was a bizarre notion for most people. Almost ten years later everything has moved on. Desktop viewing has been overtaken by mobile and annotations have not kept pace because they were never intended to be mobile friendly.

In 2015 YouTube introduced Cards, which were meant to be a mobile friendly replacement for Annotations, however Cards did not provide the same functionality. Then in 2016 End Screens were launched, again usable on mobiles but restricted to appearing on the last 20sec of a video. The fact that Cards and End Screens are not direct replacements for Annotations is perhaps not surprising. YouTube have said that viewers on average close 12 annotations before they click on one, which suggests viewers do not like them or the way they are being used. With such evidence why would YouTube introduce Annotations Mk II that work on mobile? With Cards and End Screens YouTube have provided the main benefits of Annotations but restricted what Creators can do, thereby avoiding viewers.

Although some Creators have complained about the demise of Annotations their use has dropped by over 70 percent as the new mobile friendly tools had been adopted. The fact that Cards and End Screens also produce seven time more clicks across YouTube than Annotations must also have been a big reason behind the move.

So if you have videos on YouTube what will this mean? As from 2nd May 2017, you will not be able to add new or edit existing annotations. But viewers will continue to see your existing Annotations on desktop computers. Fortunately, you will be able to delete your Annotations post May 2nd, very handy if you have Annotations that show product prices or other details that may change in the future.

If you are a die-hard Annotation user and the majority of your watch time is from desktop users, check and update your existing Annotations before YouTube remove your ability to do so. Update anything that needs updating, make your Annotations as attractive as possible and of course make them user friendly.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Why Your YouTube channels Needs 10,000 views for adverts

So you want to make money online and you think an easy way to do that is create video content, upload it to YouTube and monetize it with ads. Well hold on there, the goal posts have just shifted. YouTube has just changed some of its rules about YouTube Partner Program membership.

YouTube has introduced changes it hopes will address the concerns of some heavy weight advertisers who recently discovered their adverts had been appearing beside videos that promote hate, extremist views and terrorism.

Obviously major brands do not want to be associated with such material but the is a further twist. Some of their advertising budget is being shared with the hate speech creators. Effectively, major advertisers fear they are inadvertently helping to fund and facilitate individuals and organisation whose views are highly divergent from those of their brands.

With around 250 companies quitting Google’s ad platforms, estimated by some to be worth about $750m in lost revenues, it is no surprise that Google have sat up and announced some changes to safeguard the interests of their advertisers.

Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, wrote in a blog post, “We’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.” He continued, “We’ll also tighten safeguards to ensure that ads show up only against legitimate creators in our YouTube Partner Program—as opposed to those who impersonate other channels or violate our community guidelines. Finally, we won’t stop at taking down ads. The YouTube team is taking a hard look at our existing community guidelines to determine what content is allowed on the platform—not just what content can be monetized.”

So how is this going to affect your YouTube channel?

If you already have an established channel you don’t need to worry. If it is already monetized your viewers will continue to see ads appear with your videos. However, if you are creating a new channel the changes will affect you.

You can monetize your channel as before by going to your channel features and enabling monetization, but your viewers will not see adverts on your videos until your channel reaches the 10,000 view threshold. Or at least that is when your viewers may start seeing adverts on your videos. According to a post by Ariel Bardin, vice president of product management at YouTube, "After a creator hits 10k lifetime views on their channel, we'll review their activity against our policies. If everything looks good, we'll bring this channel into YPP [YouTube Partner Program] and begin serving ads against their content. Together these new thresholds will help ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules." So even if your channel reaches 10k views you will only get adverts appearing on your videos if you play by YouTube’s rules and policies, and those policies may change some more in the weeks and months ahead.

So is this bad for your YouTube channel? No. In fact, provided you are playing by the rules, YouTube’s changes are sensible and good news, since they are clearly aimed at bringing back advertisers and their advertising budgets.

If you want to learn how to make great videos on a budget enrol onto my video production course that teaches everything you need to know to get started with making great videos on a budget. Right now I'm offering a whopping 87% discount on this course worth $75. Sign up now for just $10 using discount code TEACHME10