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).

Help, I Want to Make a Video But My Topic Is Not Very Visual!

I recently received an email from a reader who was having difficulty figuring out how to make a video about his non-visual topic. He wanted to communicate his research on data technology but was at a loss as to how to depict this topic using video. I gave him some suggestions specific to his situation, but realized that there were likely others out there like him. So, I decided to make a tutorial that shows three ways to generate film footage about a non-visual topic. Here it is:

360° Time Lapse with a GoPro Hero 4

Are you looking for an easy way to create a brief video that shows a 360° view of a natural landscape, a park or playground, a city block, or the interior of a building? I’ve produced a two-part tutorial showing how to do it with a GoPro camera, an egg timer, and GoPro Studio.

If you conduct field research, this might be a great way to document a study site or create a unique view of whatever you are studying. Put the time lapse video on your website or use it in a presentation.

How to Record a Movie with QuickTime

Would you like to record a PowerPoint presentation along with your voice explaining your slides…perhaps to put on your website or to submit as a video abstract for your next journal article…but don’t know how?

An easy way to record your computer screen and audio is with QuickTime, the video player software that comes with the Mac operating system (also available for Windows). You can also record the screen of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with Quicktime…as long as the mobile device is attached to your computer via the lightning port and is running iOS 8 or later. In addition, you can record yourself with the built-in camera on your laptop or create a podcast by making an audio recording with QuickTime.

In the following video tutorial, I show how to make movie, audio, and screen recordings with QuickTime, which can then be edited (the previous post shows how to edit QuickTime clips).

How to Edit an iPhone Video to Create an Eye-Catching Tweet

I recently taught a workshop on science videography at a science society conference and wanted to post a few Tweets to let society members know about it and to attract additional participants. My plan was to post daily Tweets during the week prior to the workshop. My problem was how to make my Tweets noticeable among the many other Tweets being posted by conference goers. So, instead of attaching photos to the Tweets, I decided to create a series of brief video bulletins to make my Tweets more eye-catching and to emphasize the topic of the workshop.

However, I did not want to spend a lot of time on this, as I had my hands full preparing for the workshop. After a bit of experimentation, I discovered that it was easy to take short (10 second) video clips and use the editing option in the iPhone camera app to add a bit of text describing the workshop. Then it was an easy task to compose a Tweet on my phone and attach the video bulletin, a different one each day. A bunch of people viewed the Tweets, and I attracted several additional participants for my workshop. See below for an example:

Someone who saw my Tweets asked me how I created them. So, this week I put together a tutorial to show how to quickly turn a video clip stored in an iPhone camera roll into an eye-catching bulletin to announce an upcoming event or publication. The resultant video announcement can be exported and posted on a website, on a Facebook page, on a LinkedIn profile, or in a Tweet.