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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Social Media Day Atlanta

by Amani Channel
#smdayATL #smday

Shame on me for not knowing about this waaaay in advance, but today is Social Media Day, at least according to Mashable.

People across the country are planning meetups and discussions that center around social media, which has become a force of nature of late.

I found out when one of the local Atlanta organizers asked me to help with the live stream.

Better late than never especially considering that I try to stay active in Atlanta’s SM community.

I hope to see you tonight. Thanks to Joe Hamm for coordinating this, all of the sponsors, and the friends I’ll see tonight.

Hopefully the stream will go without a hitch. If so, you can watch it right here. If not, I’ll probably be posting the video shortly after.

Free TV Show from Ustream

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

My Kyte Stream: Mac Battery Issues

by Amani Channel

Here is one of the latest mobile videos I produced using my iPhone3Gs and Kyte.tv.

Apple just showed me love on a battery situation I was having. I can’t say enough about how happy I am with the customer service, and Apple’s computer product.

If you’re wondering, my battery basically died so I scheduled an appointment at the Apple store. It turns out that it was bulging which isn’t a good thing.

Some Mac batteries have been known to explode, so it’s a good thing that I caught it when I did. In addition, the bulging battery was pressing against the finger pad and had disabled the button.

Thanks to Apple Care, It’s all taken care of.

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Happy Foursquare Day (Almost)!

by Amani Channel
#4sqday #4sqatl

Friday It is 4/16, Foursquare Day! Could there be a better day to jump on the Foursquare bandwagon? All around the globe people are using their smartphones to play the location-based social game that lets people check-in to places throughout their travels.

It’s a chance to experiment with social media marketing for businesses that are participating because many are offering discounts to people who check-in.

This whole thing was started by a Tampa eye doctor, and the idea kind of blew up. If you’re just learning about Foursquare, it’s a social media game that allows you to tell others about the businesses or venues you frequent.

You get points, can leave tips for other visitors, and even become the Mayor of a place. There is the potential for viral promotions because a tweet can be sent out to your Twitter network which tells everyone where you are. You can also see where your Foursquare friends are or have been, and if 50 or more people check-in at one time they earn a “swarm” badge.

For my Atlanta peeps, visit this link to learn about the discounts, and deals that are available by participating businesses. You can also visit www.4sqday.com to learn more about the Foursquare holiday. BTW the Twitter hashtag is #4sqday or #4sqatl (in Atlanta).

Make sure you check in!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Foursquare Day: The Tampa Eye Doctor Who Started it All

by Amani Channel
#4sqday @natebw

I just wrapped up my first official Skype Interview/production thanks to a Tampa Florida eye doctor named Nate Bonilla-Warford or simply Nate BW (follow on Twitter @NateBW).

He came up with an idea to promote his favorite social geo-location game Foursquare on 4/16 “Foursqure Day.” (see this St. Pete Times article)

Dr. Nate sat down with me and explained why he likes Foursquare so much, how it’s used to promote his business, and the overwhelming response to his idea to celebrate Foursquare.

Some production notes:
I recorded this talk back by using ScreenFlow, then exported the file in NTSC/DV resolution. I then imported the .mov file into Adobe Premier Pro, and shortened the interview down to less than 10 minutes (so that YouTube, and other video sites will accept it). I also added the Visual Eye Media and My Urban Report logos to the time line, and theme music. I adjusted the music track, and also had to sweeten the audio a bit since Dr. Nate’s sound was a bit louder then mine and only on one channel. The last thing I did was add the text elements which included lower thirds, and the via skype bug.

We had a problem with his camera freezing up during the interview, so I asked him to send me a couple of high resolution photos which I cropped in Photoshop and used to cover the segments of the interview where there were video issues. I also added a couple of shots of his business when he referenced it.

After that, I exported a full resolution version of the video which was more than 2 gigs, and compressed it down to 50MB using MPegstreamclip.

Watch Interview

More about Foursquare:
PBS Interview w. Tristan Walker
BlackWeb 2.0

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Atlantans Line Up for the #iPad

by Amani Channel

I couldn’t resist venturing out to the Apple store to see what people thought about the iPad.

In my old news days I would have called a local mall (Perimeter in this case) to make sure it was okay to bring my camera crew inside. Since this was a weekend day, something usually needs to be set up ahead of time. If the mall management approved, I would then check with Apple store management to make sure my crew was good to shoot inside the store.

That was then, this is now.

In this care I just casually entered the mall with my iPhone and Owle Bubo attachment. Security didn’t notice, and if you’ve ever had to get permission to shoot inside a mall, management can sometimes be pesky. They may decide to escort you around which is a bother if you ask me.

Not on this day. The process is somewhat the same, but with a guerrilla slant. I approached the Apple store and just started rolling and talking to people on camera.

I used a variety of mobile apps, Kyte, Ustream Live, and Qik during my visit. Kyte and Qik are still my mobile video communities of choice.

I’ve been having some issues broadcasting video with Ustream live. Watch or listen here.

Kyte Videos
Watch iPad Demo & Q&A

Qik Video (There was some interference I’m assuming from the electronic devices)

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Georgia Technology Summit Wrap and Video Links

by Amani Channel

I spent part of Wednesday at the Technology Association of Georgia’s 2010 Summit (Check out Lance Wheatherby’s live blog for a full rundown). It’s a great event for meeting some of the top innovators, start-up companies, and entrepreneurs in the state (I was invited to sit at the bloggers’ table).

The highlight for me was listening to both of the keynote speakers, Carlos Dominguez, Sr. VP of Cisco Systems, and Bert Ellis, an Atlanta entrepreneur who has a long history of investing in media and tech companies.

Dominguez spoke about change and basically told the audience that social media is the future. He also worked in some product placement of the Flip camera, and said that video is the big thing for online communications for businesses.

Ellis made a flashy entrance by riding into the Cobb Galleria ballroom in an electric car called a Wheego. Ellis said that 300 have been sold so far. He spoke about the changes in the television industry and said that pocket cameras are a part of the future of news. Ellis also shared some seasoned advice to entrepreneurs saying that you can’t be afraid to fail.

After Ellis’ presentation, I caught up with him and showed him my iPhone, the Owle, and some of the mobile apps that allow instant Internet video uploading and live streaming. I think that smartphones can play a role in newsgathering as well. Hopefully we’ll stay in touch. He has a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and his hands are in several ventures. It was a great connection.

Since my mind is now on video and media production, I wanted to share a few links that I’ve run across. Hopefully you’ll find the information valuable.

This post by PodcastingNews shares some helpful interview and sound gathering tips.

knows his stuff, and provides a comprehensive list of things you should know or try if you’re interested in stepping up your video production skills.

If you post videos to YouTube, the SEOptimiseBlog will help your video get found. Great tips.

Looking for 42 ways to use videos to brand, promote, and market your services? All you have to do is visit ReelSEO to get the 411.

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Producing News with Your Smarthphone: The Tampa Trip

by Amani Channel

I’m heading to Tampa, Florida for a couple of days to take care of some business. I have my second thesis defense at the University of South Florida, and tomorrow I’m scheduled to give a teleseminar with the Poynter Institute about producing news with with smartphones.

My mobile media journey started a couple of years ago when I used Twitter to share news from the field as I covered the 2008 Gulf Coast storm season for the now defunct HDNews. I don’t know how many journalists were doing it at the time, but I found Twitter and hashtags (like #Ike and #gustav) to be a great way to share first hand accounts of what I was witnessing from the field during Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Ike and Tropical Storm Hanna.

I also used my blog to post the stories that we produced from the field and I shared footage that wasn’t included in my stories. Oh if only the iPhone 3GS was out back then. The iPhone and other smartphones like the Android and Nokia models make it extremely easy to share video from anywhere. Other applications and sites like TwitPic allow easy photo sharing.

We all know that media can’t be everywhere, but people with these devices are and it’s changing the face of news and information. As an example, check out these pics from the Chile earthquake that were posted via Twitter.

Of course I can’t share all of my secrets, but if you check out this Webinar, you should have a greater understanding of now TV news stations, and vloggers like myself are using technology to innovate the gathering of content.

WTTG Fox 5
in Washington DC, and KOB in New Mexico are doing a great job of experimenting with technology to enhance coverage.

I’ll probably be posting mostly mobile videos, so keep it tuned to either my Twitter account, or check back here for the latest video updates.

Forgive the typos, I gotta board my flight!

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Video Gadgets and Gizmos

by Amani Channel

Here are a few innovative video products I’ve run across in my online travels:


Ion Twin Video Camera

If you’re looking for a pocket camera that records you and the action at the same time, the “Ion Twin” video camera may be for you.
from BRoll.net

This little “wonder-cam” shoots and records from 2 cameras on opposite sides. That way, you can shoot the all important “action – re-action” with one camera.

I really believe that the iPhone has the potential to change the way videos are produced and shared, and OWLE has a product that takes video production to a more professional level. The device enhances the video, audio, and lighting. A news reporter recently produced a news package using the OWLE at the CES trade show. I could try to explain how it works, but this video does a great job of showing you:

Steady Shots
One of my rules of video production is that you have to keep your shots still. In this age of pocket and cell phone video cameras it can be a challenge. The solution? The “Smoothee.” It is a nifty device that stabilizes iPhone video images.

Some don’t think the video quality of the iPhone warrants an accessory like this, but as an avid iPhone 3Gs video producer, I think it can greatly enhance the video quality.

Since I’m talking about steadicams check out the Flip Float. This is a homemade steadicam created for Flip cameras.

Flip Float (Mini Camera Stabilizer) from ProtoDojo on Vimeo.

Looks pretty cool to me… If only I was more mechanically inclined.

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