What the “L” is missing?

I must admit that I was quite proud of a YouTube video that I created to help out Alan Levine (aka “Cogdog”). Alan wanted to collect a series of amazing stories of online connections to use as a keynote for the 2015 K12 Online Conference. I learned a great deal while creating my “Amazing CONnections” video, which I reflected upon and shared in my recent post entitled “An inexpensive teleprompter for your classroom”.

The other evening, I was replaying portions of this video and I happened to look closely at the two credit clips (around the 11:27 mark) that I used at the end of the video. The first one gave appropriate credit to Jess McCulloch, in Australia, who was the key to my “Amazing CONnections” video. Jess was credited as follows:

Jess - Credit-400x227The last credit, formatted in a similar manner, was mine. I thought that I was giving credit to my Life-Long-Learners blog, when I created and shared the following frame:

L-L-E Credit- 400x228
True, if you scan the frame quickly, you may miss the slight imperfection. However, on a second glance, I probably thought “What the “L” is missing?” In my haste to complete this rather lengthy video, the inaccuracies of my one-finger typing skills were shared with many viewers. True, there were no spelling mistakes in this credit slide, but it is somewhat misleading in that my wife and I are now pensioners and are no longer earning a salary.

Although the story in the video was not compromised in any way by this credit mistake, I still felt bad about my oversight. I knew I had to correct this error and in doing so I learned a few things which I will identify in the points below:

1) You cannot significantly modify a YouTube video once it is uploaded.

I searched online to see how I might modify my previously uploaded video to YouTube. I thought that perhaps, I could “tweak” the video, in much the same way as one corrects a misspelled word in a blog entry. In other words, there would be no need to erase the entire blog post. Rather one would simply connect with the host server, make the necessary correction, and upload the updated or corrected file. To my disappointment, YouTube only allowed one the option to “enhance” previously uploaded videos. Possible tasks included adjusting lighting & colour, applying slow motion, trimming segments, blurring faces, and other enhancements. After reviewing these options, I quickly realized that there would be no easy way to correct my video credit.

2. You cannot delete a YouTube video and be assured that an improved copy of that video will be uploaded to the same file location.

My next thought was that perhaps I could delete the old video on YouTube and upload my “improved” video (with the corrected credits) into the “same file location”. My concern was that there were possibly a number of links that Alan Levine had created to this old video and if the new “improved” one did not upload to the exact same “location” with the same URL, there were potentially going to be a variety of “dead” hyperlinks.

3. Once a resource is shared online, it can be a challenge identifying the links which point to that resource. It can be an even greater challenge to contact the individuals who created the links and ask them to modify their respective hyperlink targets.

My third idea was to consider uploading the new version of this video and email Alan Levine asking that he re-link all his references from his various posts to this new location. Knowing just how busy Alan is, I knew that this strategy was not an option.

4. Keep ALL components and files related to the construction of any project involving technology.

Since I had saved all the files related to my original “Amazing CONnections” video, I was able to correct the typo on my credit slide. I chose to upload my corrected version of  my “Amazing CONnections” video to YouTube and named it “Amazing CONnections (with corrected credits)”. I then linked the two videos together in case an individual was interested in viewing the later version with the corrected credits.

Undoubtedly, the most important thing that I learned was just how important it is to keep all components and working copies of any project. As an educator, who fell in love with Photo Story 3 for Windows, I shared the power of this simple storytelling software with many students and teachers. I stressed that it was so important to not only save the smaller compiled (.wmv) video file but also the larger project file (.wp3) which contained all pictures with their associated Ken Burns’ effects, the title and credit slides, together with the transitions and narration and/or music backgrounds.

The Teachable Moment
The need to have access to the Photo Story 3 project files was shared with me by a fellow teacher. This individual was teaching in a junior high school with students in Grade 7 through Grade 9. In 2006, she used Photo Story 3 to create a powerful video to show all students as part of their school’s Remembrance Day service. All the students in the three grade levels attended a special service in the school gym. A laptop was connected to a video projector and the Photo Story 3 compiled .wmv file was played for all students to see. The teacher said that the Photo Story 3 video, with its powerful images and audio clips, provided a very moving and engaging video for all students.

We now fast-forward to 2009. Pushed for time, like many teachers, this individual thought that she could safely reuse the Photo Story 3 “Remembrance Day” video that she had created three years ago. After all, it was three years since the students in her school had seen the Remembrance Day video that she had created back in 2006. With very few exceptions, the students that were in Grade 7 in 2006 were now in Grade 10 in high school in 2009. So she thought she would dust off and modify if necessary the Photo Story 3 video she had created for the Remembrance Day service. She was able to find the .wmv video file and noted that all she would have to do was to change the date on the title slide from “November 11, 2006” to “November 11, 2009”. However, she soon learned that she was unable to modify the the compiled .wmv video file. What she needed was the corresponding .wp3 project file in which the title’s slides could be modified. Unfortunately, once the video was created, the project files tended to become less important as they were never played. Although she had saved the .wmv video file for three years, she was unable to edit this compiled file. Unfortunately, she had to invest a great deal of time to re-create the entire video from scratch. She contacted me so that I might share how important it is to keep all components of any video projects.

In my case, I was thankful that I had kept all components of the of the video that I had created. So I was able to scrub through the video file until I found the “missing L” credit slide. I was able to correct this frame, import it into the video, and save the video as a new and improved version. I then uploaded it to YouTube where I renamed it “Amazing CONnections (with corrected credits)”. My last credit slide now appears correctly as:

L-L-L Credit 400x228I suppose it could have been worse.

Knowing my warped sense of humor, some people might suggest I may be slightly off-kilter. This thought might have been reinforced with my blog readers, if I had mistakenly left out the “R” rather than the “L” in the above credits’ slide.

The care and keep smiling 🙂

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