Thursday, November 15, 2012

Using Popcorn Maker to Edit Online Videos

Popcorn Maker is an online video editing tool that allows users to edit online videos and add multimedia-rich content.The following video provides a demonstration of what is possible:

I've attempted to create a test video in Popcorn maker using a video I already own and share on YouTube. A few observations:
  • It's important that the video is already publicly online, because that's the only way to import it into the editor; there is no Upload option.
  • There is a bit of a learning curve for users who don't do a lot of editing. I found that I could add text, but I couldn't change the color from the default black -- there is a box to enter a number code to change the font color, but no color wheel or swatch sampler to let me pick a different color. I was able to add a shadow behind the black letters, but even so they aren't always visible against the background.
  • Some prior knowledge of video editing is also helpful to understanding the timeline and how to arrange layers of text and images on top of videos. This resource may not be for beginners, unless they are willing to spend some time self-instructing by experimentation.
  • Once I added something that I wanted to remove, the only way I could find to do this was to move the item to a new layer and then delete the layer. 
  • Twitter option: This seems to give the option of posting a person's feed or search terms, but I couldn't get it to display either. It's possible that it displays differently after the work is saved, but I also wished that I could embed a single specific tweet rather than a feed or ticker of multiple tweets.
  • There doesn't seem to be a way to trim the length of videos. I was able to pause this one and then skip to the very end, but I couldn't cut the section I wanted to remove.
My Popcorn maker video:

All in all, it's a fun resource, but not as robust as software like Camtasia (my current favorite). It does, however, get points for adding social media content like Google Maps and Wikipedia (though Twitter is not yet as functional as the other two).

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