YouTube Royalty-Free Music bank

May 1, 2014

When adding music to a video, there is always the point when you want to reach for your audio collection, be it iTunes, Amazon or that pile of dusty CDs and import your favourite song and use that.

Yeah, that’s called copyright infringement.  It’s so easy to do, but ethically and legally it’s a big NO.

Copyright infringement joke

The irony is not lost on me

The big problem is what do you do if you don’t (or know someone who does) have the talent  to create music for your video.  And let’s face it, even if you do, that’s a whole extra level of work.

There are royalty-free music websites out there, but whenever I’ve tried to use them, I’ve found it near impossible to find the right type of music for the mood I’m trying to convey.

The closest I’d found was Video Copilot, which sells a CD of audio effects and includes some music ambience tracks.   These tracks aren’t bad, but they are limited.

The Solution!

Last time I uploaded a video to YouTube* I noticed a new feature, Creation Tools.  And in there, is an Audio Library link.

YouTube's audio libraryThe mp3 files are catalogued by genre, mood, instrument, duration and sub-categorized as well.

And just like that, problem solved.  A decent, well organised collection of royalty-free music.

Thank you, YouTube*!

 

* It’s a video hosting website, some of you may have heard of it

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FIXED: Playing MP3 files in Windows Media Player from IE (instead of Quicktime)

February 18, 2013

Preamble

OK, before I start. I don’t want to hear about Chrome, Firefox, Winamp, iTunes or frankly anything else. It’s taken me an absolute age to find a solution to this on the internet and almost every forum I went on where someone was having this issue, there was someone else suggesting they just change browser or media player.

I can’t. We run RM CC4 at school, which uses Internet Explorer 8/9 and Windows Media Player.

If you’re a fanboy (or fangirl) of another set up, good for you. Glad you’ve got the freedom to do so. Now shush, this article isn’t for you.

The Problem

For the rest of us, there’s a really annoying issue if you have Quicktime installed and you’re using IE8 or IE9.  When you click on a link to an MP3 file, instead of delivering the file, the window gets taken over by thew Quicktime logo , shortly followed by a whole page of white with a tiny play bar in the middle.  Not pretty, not flexible and kinda annoying.

Quicktime

You get this followed by…

The Playbar

…this

The Extended Problem

A lot of people blame Apple for this, but I think the blame lies with Microsoft (when you see the solution).  The issue is that Microsoft have changed the way you control what plays what, but the parallels with the old system are still there, so lots of forums and help sites list the old way, which no longer works.

The Solution

Inside Internet Explorer, do to the following:

  • Click on Tools
  • Internet Options (yeah, Internet Options, not Manage Add-ons)
  • Click on the Programs tab
  • Click Set Programs

At this point, a window for the Control Panel opens up .  It looks like, but is not the Default Programs area of the Control Panel.

Default Programs page

  • Click on the Set program access and computer defaults link
  • Check Custom
  • Click on the down arrows

Set access

  • Scroll down to Choose a default media player :
  • Check Windows Media Player
  • Click OK

And that’s it.  At least it worked for me.   Hopefully it will help you as well.

 

 


TV studio

July 29, 2010

So typical, after just promising that there would be no drop off in blog posts, I’ve been away from WordPress for a week!

I do have a good excuse though, we’ve spent the better part of the first week of the holidays rewiring our greenscreen TV studio.

Greenscreen TV Studio

I’m very proud of that studio, which unlike most school’s was entirely fitted by myself and colleagues.  There are some excellent companies out there, like PlanetDV who will do all the heavy lifting for you, but they do charge for the fitting.

Also, the majority of systems use professional software which adds another layer of complexity to the filming process.  With the best will in the world, students don’t need high-end products as a studio when used correctly is more about confidence building and public speaking skills.

The studio cost less than £7000 to fit completely (compare this to a nearby City Learning Centre’s £250,000).  I’ve often talked about sharing how we did this and so it’s about time I did.  

In the coming weeks alongside the 20 tips, I’ll be posting a breakdown of how I designed the studio, the choices I made and the impact it has had on teaching and learning.  Hopefully by the completion you’ll have a shopping list of everything you need to replicate the facility, if you so desire.  and if not, you might be a little entertained along the way.


Crazytalk Standard

June 4, 2010

Crazytalk logo

Reallusion’s Craztalk is an incredible package.  It can take any still image and animate that image based on your voice.   You record your script, either in the software, or something like Audacity

Animation has never been so easy!  It’s an excellent way of introducing tasks, presenting new information or turning it over to your students to allow them to produce presentations.

Crazytalk's interface

Ignoring this slightly strange looking gentleman, Crazytalk comes with a number of characters already for you to use, but I find the best way is to use it with images of famous people.  Your students will recognise them and immediately understand the context.

Here’s an example of what I mean:
Winston Churchill reading out one of his famous speeches for an English lesson 
(MediaFire download)

Crazytalk Standard costs $49.95.  If you’re buying it yourself.   You can apply for an educational discount, but personally, save yourself some $100 money and don’t buy Crazytalk Pro.  The features are fancier, but I’ve never used them.


Audacity

May 26, 2010

A great free audio recording tool.   I find it amazing how many people still don’t know about Audacity.  It’s perfect for podcasting as all you do is record your voice via a microphone, then you can trim the start and end, add music and simply export as mp3.

A screen grab of Audacity in action.  Free from http://audacity.sourceforge.net

Audacity's interface