Cloudy Video

I successfully created a video using all cloud tools. Recently we held the Williamsville District Art Show at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, and I took numerous pictures and videos of the event with my  phone. I am used to downloading photos and editing in either iMovie or MovieMaker, both of which do a nice job. With the new Chromebook, I wondered if it were possible to move, manage and create video without having to be tied to a particular device. The answer was indeed yes.

Here were the steps:

Uploading: Using the Google Drive app on my iPhone, I uploaded all of the original media to Drive.

Editing: WeVideo is a Chrome app available for free, and uses a freemium pricing structure. The free version allows for 5 videos, 5 minutes of video export per month, and a short post-roll branding at the end of exported videos. Paid versions provide additional files, export time, and non-branding. You can grant WeVideo access to Drive, and once connected, media files can be imported directly for editing.

Exporting/posting: WeVideo exports in .mp4 format to Drive (and other web locations). On a Chromebook, when choosing to upload files, the file browser treats Drive as the local directory! This was the aha moment for me. Typically when uploading media to a server, the upload feature triggers a file browser for the local device. In the case of a Chromebook, the “local device” is Drive, so I could directly transfer the completed video file from Drive to the web server. Very slick!

I was very impressed with WeVideo on my first outing. The editing tools were comparable to typical movie editing software. I was able to create transitions, titles, etc. with relative ease, though it always takes a little while to learn how these tools are implemented. As a movie editing software user already, I chose the timeline mode to work in. For those not familiar with editing, there is a storyboard mode for beginners.

As I mentioned previously, the main thing for me was actually how the Chromebook treats browsing the local directory on a device – the local directory is the cloud, and not the device (though you can still browse to the download directory which resides on the Chromebook). This has implications across workflow, not just for video. The very nice thing regarding video, though, is that there is significantly less copying/managing when all the media lives in the cloud.

This was just a first pass, but so far, I’m really enjoying cloudy video!

PS If you would like to see the final product of this experiment, click below. If the file is not playing, click here to go to the page the video is posted on.

Tech Fix

I needed a tech fix today. Some people have particular vices they turn to when the time comes – thankfully for me it is some techie thing, which is not so bad in the big picture (compared to other vices…). What satisfied my need is a nifty Acer C720P Touch Chromeook. I’ve been contemplating a Chromebook for a while now, and decided to pull the trigger. The nice thing is that for most Chromebooks, the trigger is not too big to pull (financially, that is).

Acer C720P

On first startup, I have been impressed. You have to login to a Google account to get started, and it is easy to do. As soon as I logged in, all my “stuff” was right there.

The feel of the keyboard is a bit mushy for my preference in typing, but we’ll see how that plays out in the longer term. I usually like the feel of firm, responsive keys.

I purposely paid a little extra for a touch screen – this concept fascinates me. This model does not fold flat and inverted with the keyboard underneath as if it is a flat tablet, but the touch screen is a nice extra. I wonder how much I will actually use this feature – more to come on this.

The Chromebook is extremely light, and still firm to hold. The touchpad seems very responsive, and there are 2 USB ports and an HDMI port for external video. All seem like nice-to-haves. Again, only time will tell.

I am looking forward to pushing the Chromebook to its limits!