How to Create a Videographic

I recently came across a Tweet from Climate Central that was illustrated with a striking videographic, which is a combination of graph and video. In this case, the graph showed where Earth’s accumulated energy (heat) ends up (land, sea, air), and it was superimposed on a video of ice floes floating on the ocean.

The idea behind such videographics is to create an attractive and memorable information product that catches people’s eye. The moving image draws your attention as you scroll through Tweets or surf through a website. My attention was definitely captured, and I took a closer look at the graph and the data it presented.

In addition to making your Tweets more visible and informative, videographics can be used on a webpage, as supplemental online material for a journal article, or for a scientific presentation. On a webpage, it can create an eye-catching visual that highlights a recent publication. More journals now accept videos and interactive graphics to accompany articles; a videographic can enhance an online article or be offered as a downloadable supplementary file. Judicious use of a videographic in a conference presentation or seminar can emphasize a key finding and make the point more memorable.

So, how do you create a videographic? It’s relatively easy if you know how to use Photoshop and a movie-editing program. Here are the steps:

1. Prepare your graph in any graphing program and save it as an image (jpg, png).

2. Open the image in Photoshop.

3. Use the “magic wand” tool to highlight the graph’s background and delete it.

4. Now save the graph with its transparent background as a .png file, which will preserve the transparency.

5. Import the new graph into iMovie (or other movie-editing program).

6. Import a video clip that illustrates what the graph depicts (clouds streaming across the sky, waves lapping on the shore, people walking).

7. In the timeline, add a ten-second segment (or whatever duration you choose) of the video. Add the graph to the timeline as a picture-in-picture image and resize/re-position as needed.

8. Export the video file and post it on your website or in a Tweet.

I made a tutorial showing exactly how to prepare your graph and then superimpose it on a video clip (see embedded video below or go to this link).

How to Create and Use an Electronic White Board in a Science Video

In the last post, I described how useful virtual white/black boards can be in creating content for a science video.  In this post, I offer a video tutorial to show how to create a virtual white board and instructions for using it to create content for your videos.  I provide a step-by-step description of how to create a background image to use as a virtual drawing pad, what applications and equipment you will need, and how to record your screen and voice.

See the tutorial here (for best viewing, select the HD version and full-screen options (see menu bar at bottom of player window)):

You can download the transcript here:

Download (PDF, 36KB)

How to Remove the Background from an Image (Part 2)

This is the second part of the Adobe Photoshop (CS5) tutorial in which I show how to remove the background from an image when that background is not a solid color but is instead a more complex image.  I provide several examples of images with different types of backgrounds and then show different techniques for handling these situations.

Once you master these very easy techniques, you will then be poised to create more professional looking montages in your videos or even to begin creating some simple animations.

Here is the video tutorial (for best viewing, select the HD version and full-screen options (see menu bar at bottom of player window):

How to Remove the Background from an Image (Part 1)

In this post, I introduce a tutorial I created to show how to use Adobe Photoshop (CS5) to remove the background from an image.

Have you ever wondered how people superimpose graphs, isolated images, clip art, and other graphics onto another image so that they both have the same background?  You might wish to layer a series of images of plants or animals, for example, onto a map or a diagram so that they all share a common background.  To do this, you will have to delete the background of the original photographs (left-hand image below) so that when you layer the images onto a base photograph, they all have the same background (right-hand image below):

How is this done?  In the following tutorial, I show how easy it is to remove the background from this type of image in Photoshop.  This technique is a precursor to developing animations and montages of images in a video….so that the result looks professional.

Take a look (for best viewing, select the HD version and full-screen options (see menu bar at bottom of player window):