Don Schindler

Digital Strategy & Executive Social Media Trainer

Month: June 2015

How do you create animated gif from your videos

Jersey cows flirting

Have you ever wondered how they create all those animated movie clips? Maybe you’d like to do one from a video you’ve taken – and maybe add some text to the image.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use a free app called Gif Forge to create an animated gif using a video that my dairy farmer friend, Ray Prock, sent me. (BTW, the reason I asked to use his video is I’m mesmerized by Jersey Cow Tongues. Check out Ray’s Facebook page of his farm to watch more). I could watch their snake-like flicking and twisting for hours.)

 

1. Go get the Gif Forge app. It’s FREE.

Sorry there’s no Android app for Gif Forge yet but there are many good Android animated gif programs like GifBoom or Gif Camera. I just don’t know how to use them.

Now you’ll need a video or a set of images or you can get a GIF from the internet to create your animated GIF.

2. Open the Gif Forge app.

Click the logo at the top of the screen to get to the Start Screen below. I’m going to convert a video I have into an animated GIF so I selected the middle icon (video) in the red circle. If you want to convert photos (camera) or a GIF from a web address (world) you would select the other icons.

Gif Forge Start Screen

Click on the Gif Forge logo at the top of the screen to get to the Start Screen then click the Video icon to add video.

 

3. Select Video to add your video to Gif Forge.

02-gifforge-select-video

You can also add GIFs you’ve previously made or select a Meme.

 

4. Video will be added.

You’ll probably need to trim your video to make the animated GIF. If you notice the red circles, you can drag either side to trim the video down. Normally an animated GIF is very short – just a few seconds or more. To keep the file size down for uploading and downloading to the web, I would recommend less than 5 seconds.

Trim video on Gif Forge

You can use one finger to trim the video down to what you want the GIF to be.

 

trim the video

I pulled the video to the end and trimmed the first part of the video.

 

5. Editing your animated GIF.

Now you are in the main editor where you can add text, slow down or speed up the GIF, go back to the video to trim it more, or save the GIF to your phone. You can also duplicate the GIF with the Loop icon. The GIF will automatically be running.

Editing a GIF

You can edit the GIF in many ways and save it here.

 

6. Add text to your animated GIF.

Adding text is pretty easy. Just select the handwriting tool icon and it will bring up two different ways to add text. The traditional movie clip GIF of adding “closed captioning” text (animated GIFs have no sound) or you can do Meme text with top and bottom text. I chose Meme style.

You then click on the text area provided and change out the words.

Adding text

Adding text to an animated GIF in Gif Forge.

You can change the size and the fonts (limited fonts) and then you’ll hit Done.

Completed text

When you are finished with the text, click the Check icon at the top.

 

7. On this screen, you’ll see the text for the GIF but this is not saved. Click Done.

Click done.

Click Done.

 

8. Back on the Edit screen, click the large Circle button to Save.

Click Save.

Click Save.

 

9. Select how to save or share your animated GIF.

You can download the animated GIF to your phone (which I recommend) or you can upload to Imgur or Tumblr or convert to video (cost).

Imgur is an image hosting and sharing community. It will allow another audience to see your animated GIFs and comment on them like YouTube.

Tumblr is a blogging community much like WordPress.com, but animated GIFs are very prominent.

You can also save your animated GIF to your own website if you want.

Click the Check icon to save.

Upload options for your GIF.

Upload options for your GIF.

That’s it. You’ve got your first animated GIF. Now you can share with your friends on your favorite social networks.

Remember if you have any questions, feel free to reach out via my social networks or you can email me at don (dot) schindler at gmail.

7 Videography Tips for Farmers

I recently taught a couple of workshops on photography and videography for beginners to some of our communicators. It’s amazing how advanced technology allows us to produce good videography by just knowing some of the basics.

Now does this mean that you will never need a professional videographer – absolutely not! Professional videographers have thousands of hours of training and can see things that you and I would never catch.

And I don’t claim to be an expert at this at all. I’m just passing along the basics that I’ve learned and that I believe will help you capture better video while you are on the farm or at the restaurant/market.

Here are seven tips that I’ve picked up on videography – I hope they help you out.

STOP – IF YOU ARE USING YOUR PHONE TO RECORD VIDEO, HOLD IT HORIZONTALLY. ALSO YOU NEED TO SHOOT ALL B-ROLL AND PHOTOS (for the video) THIS WAY!!!!

1. Lighting is everything.

light-videography-tips

You need good lighting. What makes good lighting? Indirect natural sunlight is awesome. Then after that sunlight. Gray days can be really good as well because they will make the shadows less harsh.

The problem with this video is that the sun is making her squint, but if the sun were behind her we wouldn’t see her face.  So, I guess it’s not all bad.  (And depending on what she’s talking about – like if she’s experiencing tough times or a rough situation, squinting is a good thing.)

 

2. Frame your subject to the left or right (try not to center).

frame-subject-videography-tips

There’s a Rule of Thirds in photography that basically wants you to put your subjects on the intersecting lines of the nine boxes created by a grid.

With videography, you definitely don’t want to center so you have the opportunity to put more information on the screen if necessary and it also makes the composition more interesting to the eye.

 

3. Mic them up because you need great sound.

mic-videography-tips

While cameras and phones have come a long way in the past few years with video, they still have issues with picking up sound. You are better off to getting a good microphone (wired or directional) to get some good quality sound from your subjects. Without it your video will suck.

 

4. Look at the background first and add depth if you can.

depth-videography-tips

This video has some great depth and strong diagonals to help the eye. You want to make the background as interesting as possible without being too busy (background movement will distract the viewer from the subject) so scouting your location for lighting, sound and background is all very important. Be intentional about your environment unless you can’t be.

 

5. B-Roll is awesome. Get some and then get some more.

b-roll-videography-tips

B-Roll keeps the viewer from getting bored and helps explains your subject’s words. While you can talk about kids dumping milk into a metal canister, the ability for them to see tells them a whole lot more about the entire process.

I usually try and add b-roll around every 4-6 seconds. When you capture b-roll, get at least 5-10 seconds worth a shot. You can always trim it down.

P.S. A pro once told me that he used extensive b-roll to keep people engaged especially when filming a boring or stutter-filled speaker. You can only edit a rough subject so much.

 

6. A cheap tripod is worth its weight in gold.

tripod-videography-tips

Some cheap tripods aren’t, but almost all tripods will help keep a stable, steady shot when you need it. Take the time to get one and it will save you a lot of hassle especially when you are shooting multiple subjects in the same place – a place with good lighting and excellent sound quality.

 

7. Zoom, zoom, zoom is for Miatas – not your audience.

zoom-videography-tips

I know it’s fun to play with auto zooms (bringing things in and out of the frame), but I would forgo it unless you have a serious need to act like a filmmaker.  If you want to zoom in and out, try lining up a different shot, zoom in or out to how you want the shot, and have them say the same thing. Or get another phone/camera and shoot at the same time. Then you’ll have more angles to chose from.

When it comes to good videography, being intentional is very important with your shots but don’t kill yourself over one video interview. Take lots and lots of them and sort through the ones you don’t like. That’s what is so awesome about today’s technology. Get lots of practices, definitely take a few classes if you have time and keep producing those amazing videos.

Also, if you need help with video editing, I  have a quick tutorial on editing with iMovie on an iPhone 6.

If you have a tip you want to share feel free to leave a comment or email me at don.schindler (at) gmail.com.

If you want to use my deck, you can download it from Slideshare.

 

10 Photography Tips for Farmers and Foodies

I recently taught a couple of workshops on photography and videography for beginners to some of our communicators. It’s amazing how advanced technology allows us to produce good photography by just knowing some of the basics.

Now does this mean that you will never need a professional photographer – absolutely not! Professionals have thousands of hours of training and can see things that you and I would never catch. And I don’t claim to be an expert at this at all. I’m just passing along the basics that I’ve learned and that I believe will help you capture better photos while you are on the farm or at the restaurant/market.

Here are 10 tips that I’ve picked up on photography – I hope they help you out.

1. Lighting is everything.

You need good lighting. What makes good lighting? Indirect natural sunlight is awesome. Then after that sunlight. Gray days can be really good as well because they will make the shadows less harsh.

lighting-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Jalal Hameed Bhatti via Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

Check out the natural light vs. the in-camera flash on food. It can make the food look unnatural or look like it’s floating in space. Look how much texture gets blown out because of the light source.

nature-light-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

I loved the article on “Beginner’s Guide to Food Photography” from The Serious Eats Team and I recommend you check it out.

2. Look at the background first and add depth if you can.

add-depth-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Dennis Jarvis via Flickr Creative Commons

This photo is great because it has serious depth, but he’s also using diagonals to drive your eye to the beautiful trees in the slight right of the center of the photo. Instead of being right up on the buildings, it’s great to walk away and look at them from different angles to see the uniques shapes and lines the photograph is producing.

 

3. The Rule of Thirds helps your composition.

rule-of-thirds-photography-tip

The Rule of Thirds courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

The Rule of Thirds is laying out the composition or elements of your photograph along the intersecting lines of the nine boxes created by the grid. Where did you find a grid? Well with most phones and cameras, you can turn on the grid in the camera settings.  This will help you align the subject of your photograph along these lines.

 

4. The eye loves textures and patterns – getting close can help you see them.

close-textures-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Geraint Rowland via Flickr Creative Commons

Focusing in on your subjects can produce some amazing shots especially with animals (that people normally don’t get too close to). I love the patterns of the fur and foreground grass in juxtaposition to the background signs. You can also see the Rule of Thirds here as well with the off set subject but the dominate eye almost in the center.

 

5. With food, you have control over how to dress it up and style it.

foodie-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

The Serious Eats Team does an amazing job of showcasing how they dress up this plate of chili. I would recommend going over and reading the entire article. What I took from the article was how much control you have over the food. It’s worth the time to invest to get a good shot of the food.

 

6. Use diagonal lines to guide the eyes.

use-diagonals-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of Berit Watkin via Flickr Creative Commons

The diagonals of this picture are fairly obvious just like the picture above but I would also take note of the gaze of the animals as well and you can see how their gaze with the diagonals drive the eye to the center of the picture.

 

7. Use natural frames to frame your subjects.

natural-frames-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of MFer Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s a great photo that uses a natural frame as well as symmetry and patterns. You can definitely see the subjects (close to Rule of Thirds) framed by the building’s doors and then off set by the lean-to shed on the right. Great composition here.

 

8. Symmetry is pleasing to the eye.

symmetry-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of George Thomas via Flickr Creative Commons

You can see with this photo that the building is almost dead center and looks symmetrical even with the missing boards. But one thing you probably didn’t notice is the natural framing – do you see the two birds at the top. Great composition.

 

9. Rules are meant to be broken.

change-the-rules-photography-tip

Photo courtesy of The Serious Eats Team

There was a rule a while back about plating food on blue plates because it would make the food pop! That’s not true. It really depends on the food itself and the angle of how you shoot it. Here is a great example of food being placed in a natural flowing way on plates that put emphasis on the food and how the eye is moving around them. And it’s also cheese! Yay, cheese! Great composition by The Serious Eats team.

 

10. Take lots of photos – you’ll make mistakes but that’s ok.

practice-photography-tip

Photos courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to good photography, being intentional is very important with your shots but don’t kill yourself over one photo. Take lots and lots of them and sort through the ones you don’t like. That’s what is so awesome about today’s technology. Get lots of practices, definitely take a few classes if you have time and keep producing those amazing photos.

If you have tip you want to share, feel free to leave a comment or email me at don.schindler (at) gmail.

If you want to use my deck, you can download it from Slideshare.

 

 

 

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