Cinemagraph Learning step 1

Earlier this week

I wasn’t sure why they are called cinemagraph other than having the same observation as

In some ways it took me back to Oct2015 and trying to step up into the Gifitup challenge. Taking time to make a GIF art over just an animated reply or statement. I am of the camp that they all have a place and purpose. The snarky fast GIF can say more than a full blog post at times and a really great art GIF can mesmerize for hours.

So the next conversations were….

The #ds106 club jumped right in with suggestions, resources and encouragement.

So as I am waiting for the arrival of grand baby #1 – whom at this time seems to be teasing us with a later than expected arrival and some false starts and my body is sore from spring garden clean up – I decided to try and focus on the challenge. I have to admit – my focus ability is very short now – so this is going to take a few iterations. To keep it in scope and to keep building – I started with the inspiration. Well -Cristopher Benitah spent a year collecting photographs and is at more of a professional level than I am -but that should not be a show stopper.

Subject and planning are key here. Not wanting to get to invested or too far from home in a video shoot if “the call” comes,  I found his example of hands, sky and water.  I thought this would be a reasonable goal and would use the subject as a way to deconstruct the process and decide what I need to do. Hopefully this will then help make a video set up more productive when I get to that point. I have visions of baby cinemagraphs floating thru my brain. 🙂

Started with a photo of my husbands hands to be able to crop out back ground and make my still. I used his because it was a quick shoot instead of setting up a tripod and remote to take a shot of my own hands. Nice to have a model around at times.

Pulled into PS – standard stuff. Lasso and magic wand and eliminated the background. Adjusted the photo to B&W and saved it.

Searched for some video footage of rain that was labeled reusable. Wasn’t very obvious in what I found, but then used the GIFIt plugin for YouTube and captured 6 seconds. Imported into PS using tutorial suggested by @mdvfunes at

Brought it into PS via Open after setting my workspace as Motion.  Had to do some problem solving as directions were not for same version of PS and things are in different places…. Set frame rate at 12. Pasted the hands in as a layer and lowered opacity and then that gave me something and I am still not sure what it was or is: Not very long – should probably loop it for better effect…

From there I went back to what I know – imported video as frames. Used Timeline and created frame animation from layers, made sure all new layers visible in all layers was checked and pasted in the hands. I ended up with an 8mb GIF – so went back and got rid of 40 frames and got down to 9. Copied the 9, reversed them and added them to get 18 movement frames. Applied the hands frame but wasn’t able to take the opacity down -still trying to figure that one out. That would make it look like the hands were actually in the water. Scaled down the size to 500 pixels and got a gif at 863k.

What I wanted was the hands a little more transparent and then a lava lamp bubble horizontal in the palms moving as the rain was moving behind it.

A few tweets and @dogtrax was able to turn on a light bulb.

But for video within a video with a still as a mask and constant will still take many frames being merged – at least in my brain and my level of PS. So I am thinking there are actions and presets to do some of this to be explored to speed things up over merging layer one of vid 1 with layer 1 of vid 2 and so on….don’t cha think?

I may try the long and tedious way with a short clip to try it out when I want the video within video with still.

The real challenge and task ahead is starting with my video and capturing that….seems there is plenty to keep me busy on this.

I am also now thinking I could use the accidental video now as an import as one layer – so again more to think of in creating the parts to get to a whole. Hoping eventually to document more precisely start to finish  – that will help me – but let’s just call this the semi-focused keeping busy so I am not worrying about when “the call” will come for now.

Thanks @dogtrax, @mdvfunes, @twoodwar, and #ds106 club for the diversion and a reasonable challenge  to take on in staying creative each day and between larger projects. Doing the sprints of creating art objects is good practice and spurs the thoughts and visions of ways to use in other things.

#4life 🙂



Coming up for Air – Baby Here Soon!

Geesh! Time flies when you are doing lots of different things.

I took on some consulting hours to help an organization write their technology plan and have ended up taking on the clean up of their website. A content management system is used which is great and distributes work. But for the last 3 years there have been many transitions and all of the check points fell off the map. The front end just look tired and had some dead ends, some loops and some things that were conflicting- not too bad, but only because there were no viewers using much of it. The back end – out of control and very tangled. Becuase of their host and set up  – there isn’t a staging or development area. You can not publish things – but it makes the clean up of the back end even more tedious and error prone. So the only way is jump off the cliff and try to fly! So after a week of 12-16 hour days – I was ready for some sleep and a break.

First came my Happy Cow! A local paint and wine studio had a Friday afternoon session- so I signed up. When I got there I found out I was the only one and they didn’t cancel – so it would be me and Fred the instructor. Fred and I painted away and even finished 90 minutes sooner than was scheduled. I could have gone a little more leisurely – but it worked out fine.

Happy Cow!

I would like to do another one and work on a different type of eye, plus make the background a little brighter for some contrast.

Saturday morning – well started with some of the web grunt work – but just was not ready for it. My first grandchild’s due date is within this week- so I decided I needed to get the “Waiting” video done before arrival. Several months ago this had a lot of grand visions in my head – but I couldn’t get all I wanted. The plus was a weekly shot of Mom that shows the journey. We don’t know who the little person is – that will be a surprise for all until entry into the world. So excited!

Here is the video. I do want to get to more than just music and get more audio and narration in the family stories – but that is still evolving. Until then it is trying to find music that goes with the idea of the video. I have also begun to get better at keeping them to under 5 min. Any longer than that – no one wants to watch and they just go on. These are being placed in a flip book so each video created is separate and a reader can view, skip of view multiple times within the  book.

So – my #ds106 #4life friends – I am still creating – still learning from you, still growing my skills. And still tracking what you are all doing. One of you will soon have something that I won’t be able to pass up being a part of even if there are websites to clean up.


Organizing for Video and Good Sound

Well creations are happening which means I usually find needs, desires, or ways to use stuff to make content creation and assembly at a next step.

I  watched a video cast – Audio Master Class by Leon Cych on organizing your equipment for video shoots and how to get the best sound etc. with minimal and inexpensive equipment recommended by @johnjohnston. Many of the tips are things I have done before – but like everyone I forget my organization and just dump stuff together. Which then means I go into org-mode.  (BTW – I can’t wait to go to the new Container Store in town – but waiting as long as I can- could be huge budget damage!)

Also looking at how an educator or student is ready for digital capture and creations to practice and apply learning. As I create my own stories, there is always a part of me that thinks thru how students can use as well as how educators could apply in their own learning and in the learning environments of their students. Organization can save a lot of time and headaches. It also lets one focus on the activity. I am one for learning by futzing – but good futzing means you do learn to manage as much as you can so that you can futz on higher level things. Organize to futz at higher order skills seems like a good goal.

Getting the stuff manageable:

Video Set Up Pack

I have each piece in a ziploc bag-wouldn’t cool nylon bags be snazzy! – but hey zip bags are easy, see thru and replaceable) I have 10 bags now. Each has labeled what is in it and a number. I know I have 10 bags. Why? because when you are out somewhere the last thing you want to lose is that one little do-hickey thing-a-ma-bob. This way I find my stuff, but when packing up I know I don’t leave anything behind. If you are fortunate enough to have more than one set up for class us – label with a letter and a number. Bag A – Bag B etc. With a quick glance you can make sure and remind students to match all their items for an equipment check. When you really want to get fancy – metal rings work great for attaching cheat sheets and directions. Remember to include photos for clarity in directions and fewer words. No one reads when they are in an active situation, but they will look at pictures.

Video Set Up Pack

Repurposed a former laptop tote. Has a place to put my iPad as well. Backpacks work great for class set ups – everyone has old ones somewhere.

The only thing missing is the tri-pod. Right now I use a great tripod – it is actually an antique. Way cool – but heavy and not as portable as I would like. So for my Christmas list – a flexible, lightweight and hopefully colorful tripod. 🙂

Can’t wait to go out and begin a shoot. Watch out family – the story interviews are about to begin.

Contents of my Video Pack:

  1. iPad Mount with lens adapter and boom mic mount capacity
  2. wide-angle and zoom lens for iPad – attaches to mount
  3. boom mic – with stand, cables, filter
  4. Lapel Mic
  5. Green Screen hanging clips (shower hooks and command strips)
  6. Green Screen cloth
  7. phone and iPad mounts
  8. 2 grips/table clamp tripod
  9. misc. audio cable, mount instructions, micro fiber cloth for cleaning
  10. extra batteries for boom mic

Still need to add a tripod…..

I am using TouchCast app on my iPad for capture as well as the standard Camera/Video app.

Another app I us is Fuse by TechSmith when working with others who use a video server such as Eduvision by JDL Horizons.. This equation allows for immediate upload to a server – great for student assignments or professional development, coaching and mentoring of educators who want to capture their practice.

Next will be doing a similar clean up of my DSLR camera bag for lenses and external flash with remote.

What do you do to organize or make sure you get the best when out capturing content?

#4life Skills applied

Direct Link to Flip Book creation.bookcover

Seems  I have been absent in some ways in posting and updating. But I have been busy creating and #4Life. My intent was to create along #ds106tales this fall but seems they are now in week 7 already!

I look back at the last 8 months and how much the DS106 community has accelerated my skill building and made a difference in my creations. Adopting the “Make Art Damn it!” frame of mind has been awesome. Learning from others, expanding possibilities. I started this journey to learn things so I could use the stacks of family content now in my possession and under my care due to the loss of parents and parents-in-law over the last years. The loss along with my own children now adults and starting their own life paths of careers, love, and family, I wanted to be able to start creating in ways that would be special for them and the future through digital storytelling of family.

My brother-in-law by alignment of the stars has a milestone birthday of 70 years in October. My husband and sister-in-law wanted to do something to remember and celebrate their big brother’s milestone. Deadlines and specific targets always seem to keep me focused and this seemed a good kick-start to now applying some of my learned ds106 skills to something personal.

I have created GIFs of family and events. Scanning photos, capturing audio and whatever I can. Rochelle Lockridge introduced me to Flipbuilder via the Noir106 radio programs in spring 2015. The many assignments of the ds106 assignment bank in audio, design, video,  have given me lots of practice of which most is posted in this blog. The daily create has been a great source as well! Sandy Brown-Jensen has been a muse and inspiration as she shares her family storytelling creations. Thanks Sandy!

And thanks to all my #DS106 friends for your support and sharing (Twitter): @mdvfunes, @johnjohnston, @ronald_2008, and so many others – too many to list, but so important! Follow the #ds106 tag in Twitter and you will see them.

DESIGN: Created some designs to use as chapter start pages and book cover

I used Canava for these design posters. A handy tool for good graphic plates when you need several instead of one intense grand creation.

Book cover


Chapter cover for Flip Book

I practiced my audio and video skills and learned lots! So much it is hard to share. I used Wondershare Filmora and iMovie as video editors and expanded on tools within each. I used the iMovie map animation in a video about the places he has lived over the years – so cool! The feature was there right in front of me all the time, but I discovered it thru this tutorial.

7 videos created for the Flip book: the YouTube Playlist starts with this video.


Each one improved IMHO. I used Audacity for audio and created audio scripts and clips first. Then imported into the video editors. For some of the videos I used features in one and then imported into the other video editor to gain the best features of each. I also used some of the iMovie templates, but to escape from the constraints, built a foundation and then changed the movie to a new project. This kept the theme transitions in place and available, but then allowed me to add and change to meet my needs.

I also was able to use family video from years past. Boy – a lot of footage and not much captured! LOL. I used a downloader to convert the DVD footage to usable digital pieces and edited in the video editors. A few I used FinalCut Pro for editing, to create content pieces much as I did with Audacity for sound. Without all the fancy interface it was powerful, but less cluttered and assisted in sticking to creating content pieces instead of production.

I also used my JibJab account and captured some video card creations to manipulate and build upon.

The Flip Book Creation:

The Flip book itself was a learning experience. Creating the WP plugin version and getting it to be accessible via a web page on a sub-domain I created for family stories.

The sub domain will give the opportunity to create something more static and approaches content differently than a straight up blog. I am going to try different versions of the theme with the sub domain over the next few months.

Flip Book Builder worked well. Things I know I will do differently are in customizing presentation and making sure the table of content links actually become links. I included the thumbnails open in the link to help family see the navigation. In the future, I would present with the option closed as the default.

The biggest AHA was that I now want to improve an develop more skill in using a page layout tool. I have access to inDesign – but will also look for some other open source options. The first flip book is okay-  but being able to make the pages look more art like and not document layout will be more pleasing for reading. It is not just about the content. Content is first and critical – but presentation makes the content shine.

As I move on to the next family project – I will reflect and try to post some process and development posts.

To see the Flip book check out my Family Stories site (still working on a better title for the site – suggestions welcomed!)

Direct Link to Flip Book.

 YouTube Playlist 


Essence of me? 60sec? I’m too complex!


Daily creates are an important part of maintaining creative flows and really do boost deeper thinking and learning. They also feed and nurture keeping your head up instead of looking at your feet so that you are not missing possibilities when doing more involved creations.

You can’t do them wrong – except not to do them at all.

Because of some larger projects I have been neglecting and skipping doing the TDC – although I do check each day and I LOVE seeing what others do. But like any exercise – you just gotta do it and it will become part of you.

TDC 1328 was to take 10 things that show the essence of yourself and create a 1 minute video. Since I am in the 5 decade of life I seem to be little more complex than 10 things. It reminds me of learning the lesson of interviewing professionals for positions who were on the latter end of their career or for part time positions where a seasoned veteran was a good choice. So much to share that interviews took too long. I finally figured out to phrase each question with time parameters of “in the last 6-18 months” or ” if you had to give only 1 example and only one what would it be?”. That’s how I felt – too many things and not enough structure or parameters for what “essence” was to be.

Then remembering this is a daily create – DON”T THINK SO HARD!

I set my timer for 20 minutes and went forward not worrying about this being my only opportunity to share or create.

Opened my Photos storage and selected some photos quickly along with some short video clips.

I have a few video editing programs because of my former job position which required me to review and check out different tools. Choices were: iMovie – which hasn’t bowled me over lately, Final Cut Pro/Adobe Premier – too complex for a TDC, Camtasia – love it but for different application and Wondershare by Filmora which I haven’t really tried other than look at the demo – so it won the toss up.

I like the bells and whistles provided and that it is a little more updated than templates in iMovie. It is a tool for doing the greeting card – short type videos IMHO – not a production. Some limitations on manipulations. Easy to use as claimed though. I could see using some of the bells and whistles in short clips ant then exporting them out to another editor for use.

Dropped the stills and video clips into the editor in a random fashion. The only thing I wanted to make sure of was that the photo of me and my husband was last to end the video.

I then had fun trying every transition and used multiples – which in a production video can be counter to the story.

There were also some filters and enhancements so I popped a few of those in.

Added a title and a closing.

The tool will upload to Youtube – so that cut some time.

Done. 🙂

Stuck to the 20 minutes – sometimes the write ups take longer than the TDC! Those in an active session -I advise starting a draft post of your weekly summary and stick them in it as you do them – two birds with one stone – especially on the busy weeks. Of course – definitely do a full independent write up especially when you have done something that others might learn from when reading.