Adding Text-Overlays on Social Videos

There was a interesting link to an article (A StraightfowardGuide to Text-Overlay on Social Videos)  in my Twitter feed posted by Peter Stewart (The ‘Live’ guy) @TweeterStewart. Very worthwile.

I responded :

Thks, great post. Reminder that CTpro provides ability to input templates & assign up to 4 fields of text. You can indicate name, font, size and color for each. Just create the background in whatever app you want and import it using our Asset Management tool.

I never ceased to be amazed at the things CTpro Mobile Video Suite does.

Working alone or working together – CTpro’s got you covered.

There are those who work completely alone. There are those who never coordinate their activities with others, those who do not share artwork with others. Those who have no need to incorporate pre-recorded packages. Those who don’t work toward a deadline and never need to send a finished segment to be scheduled. There are those who never, ever depend on external input, expertise, suggestions or direction.

And then there are those who do.

I have written before about the features of CTpro Mobile Video Suite that allow the mobile content creator to shoot, edit and broadcast all from within one app. CTpro has an incredible built in camera, and unbelievable video and audio editing tools for the remote content creator.

But an application for the mobile journalist needs to also incorporate the ability to work with others. CTpro Mobile Video Suite is not just an integrated and comprehensive app for independently working in the field, it integrates with superbly with others whether they are in the field, in the editing suite or in the control room. The CTpro Mobile Video Suite mobile journalist is just as much a part of the team as the anchor.

Take artwork, for example. More often than not standardized graphics are used for overlays and special features. Use CTpro Mobile Video Suite to connect via Dropbox to a shared resource to download a previously created or just created static or interactive.

Need video just shot by a colleague at another location that you want to incorporate in your piece? Same thing, download it and transfer it onto your smartphone or you computer by connecting a Lightning cable or using Dropbox. If your colleague needs something that you have just shot and edited, send it via FTP or Dropbox without even leaving the application.

With CTpro Mobile Video Suite you can even transfer you project along with a Final Cut Pro X EDL to your Mac Desktop or put it onto a SanDisk iXpand Flashdrive to share with another iPhone or another Computer, even a Windows system.

With CTpro Mobile Video Suite you can work completely alone or you can work as a connected co-worker. CTpro Mobile Video Suite is the most versatile of mobile journalism applications because it works the way you need to work, when and however you need to work. All from within the same application.

Port to Android?

I’m often asked whether CTpro Mobile Video Suite will be ported to Android devices. The quick answer is, no.

I understand why people ask this question. It is usually because they are keen to optimize their investment in their current device. Unfortunately, the device they have may not be the most appropriate device for their intended use. I think the “right” question people should ask me is, “Are you familiar with any applications for Android devices that will make me as productive as this app will?”

While I am familiar with many apps for Android devices, I am not familiar with any apps for Android that will make the user as productive as CTpro Mobile Video Suite. It’s not that Android devices are “bad” devices, it is because there are so many different variations of them. Android developers cannot create a completely integrated and comprehensive app because they never know on which device their application will ultimately run. They cannot target the fastest, most powerful Android phone as the “platform” that most users will use because that might not be the one that has the largest number of owners. The software developer wants to develop an application that will make money so the developer needs to target either a device that has the largest installed user base, (and often times this is country specific) or the developer needs to guess which features will be the most useful for the general population. Rarely are the apps comprehensive. More often than not, they are part of a solution, a the solution that relies on several external apps to provide a complete solution.

With iPhones and iOS it is different. The platform’s development is under tight control. An app must adhere to the hardware/OS system’s manufacturer’s, i.e. Apple’s, specifications. Of course, there are differences with iPhones based on size, resolution, memory and price. But an app written for the most current iOS will run on all iPhones capable of running the latest iOS version. With this level of standardization comes the ability to create a more robust solution. This is why you can have an app such as CTpro Mobile Video Suite. Note that while there could be many more CTpro Mobile Video Suites, there aren’t. That’s because iOS developers want to write apps that appeal to the broadest user group. CTpro Mobile Video Suite is written for the mobile journalist or the professional in field content creator.

So do yourself a favor and don’t look at the hardware to “protect your investment.” Protect your investment by becoming more protective with the best tool. Don’t hammer in a nail with a spoon! Use the app that provides the absolute best solution for the task at hand. And remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using the Android phone as a phone while using the iOS device as your content creation solution.

How smartphones are making journalism fairer – International Journalism Festival

If you are serious about mobile journalism, this is a must watch video on the topic. Lengthy, but full of information. One of the best discussions I have seen.

“Smartphones are powerful tools for creating audio-visual stories that are optimised for online and social media. But they are also unique tools for tackling prejudices within newsrooms that can hold some journalists back from achieving their full potential, and for building engagement and dialogue with non-traditional audiences. This session will explore how smartphones improve inclusiveness in newsrooms for women, older journalists, ethnic minority journalists, and vulnerable contributors including migrants, people living with disabilities, and children.”


Source: How smartphones are making journalism fairer – International Journalism Festival

My Take on an Integrated Mojo App

I’ve been “in the game” for a long time. Back in 1982, I was hired to instruct Apple resellers on the benefits of the Apple /// computer using Quicktime ///, Applewriter /// and Visicalc ///. Not only did the resellers eat it up, business people loved it, that is they loved it until Lotus 1-2-3 on the IBM PC started to take over. In truth, most Lotus users were happy to beat around on the spreadsheet portion of Lotus 1-2-3, but everyone made sure that you knew that Lotus 1-2-3 was “integrated.”

At the end of 1982 that I headed to Cupertino to learn all the ins and outs of the next product that Apple would launch at the beginning of the next year – the Lisa. Now, everyone knows that the real reason for naming it Lisa was because Steve had a daughter named Lisa, right? But I, as an upholder of the Apple faith, and one of the System Sales Engineers responsible for preaching about the significance of this Apple product, the words we ingrained into everyone’s head were “Local Integrated Software Architecture.” Got that – INTEGRATED.

Today, the word “integrated” is used more and more as software developers are “discovering” the content creation and mobile journalism markets. But sure, why not? Tagging that word on an application instantly gives the app a patina of suitability and justifies the sale or purchase. There are a lot of apps out there and getting a piece of that app pie pays big. But take note, if you really want an integrated app for mobile journalism – the only truly integrated and comprehensive “mojo” app on the market that is professional enough to use at TV stations as well as online social media sites is CTpro Mobile Video Suite.

Of course, I do have a vested interest in saying so because I represent the product. But I didn’t have to get involved with the product at all. I was happily retired when I first saw it but from the second I saw it I understood that it would change things in exactly the way the first Mac changed things and I wanted to be a part of its success. Remember, the Mac was, at the end of the day, the “computer for the rest of us.” CTpro Mobile Video Suite is the app for the rest of us. It is an app I can not only sell but can actually use.

CTpro Mobile Video Suite took years to design. The development was started by people with years of experience in the television industry, not the software industry. It was designed by a team at a TV station because they needed a single app that solved multiple problems without having to mess around with nearly a dozen apps, most of which did not focus on production of content for broadcast TV.

Unlike these broadcast developers, I have never worked at a television station. I started selling video products to TV stations and post-production facilities back in 1986. My involvement with video production started over 40 years ago when, as a classroom teacher. That’s when I taught a course at junior high called “Communications.” The highlight of that course was when the students, using reel-to-reel videotape machines and a humongous camera made their own “TV shows.” This was a class for kids that had “trouble” in “regular” classes. In several instances, it was as life-changing for them, as it was for me. (I’m sure that the kids thought that the highlight was the field trip to the New Jersey Public Televisions broadcast facilities in Trenton – a place that I visited later many times in my role selling SDI video cards.)

So for the last 40 years, I think I laid a good when it comes to the hardware and software that is used in the industry. I have “paid my dues” when it comes to being an industry player. And what I learned over that period of time, is that whatever I sell needs to help tell a story. The story is the goal.

I have been told so many times that the storyteller needs to have the right tool at the right time to get the job done easily and get the job done fast that when I repeat it, one might suspect that I am the one cranking out news stories. “Taking too much time to file a story means that the information is already old by the time the intended audience gets to see it.” “Time is of the essence.” “Having the right tools readily available is key.” In short, when it comes to the application that is used to help tell the story, the right app with the right features is the best game in town. Learning the intricacies of a dozen different smartphone apps not only wastes time and it does little to enhance telling the story. People that tell you otherwise are missing the point.

So – why is CTpro Mobile Video Suite the solution?

Let’s start with the built-in camera. CTpro Mobile Video Suite’s camera has built-in stabilization, independent aperture and ISO control, it allows for either automatic or manual settings for all for all functions including when pre-setting color temperature. Variable zoom can quickly switch between one or the other cameras when using the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, iPhone 8 or 8 Plus or iPhone X. Of course, you can switch from front to back cameras. The camera tool also indicates processor use, the battery level, the storage still available and the actual length of the recording, displays zebra, grid and waveform when desired, and enables manual or automatic focus as well as “Tap to Focus” as well as a “Smart Face” function which identifies faces and tracks the face selected. The user shoots at the resolution needed for broadcast TV, at the frame rate needed, at the compression needed to easily transmit back to the station or to stream online – live.

Next – the editing tool. Here, the premise is to make it simple to edit video and audio so that the mobile journalist can devote his time to the actual story. There are two video tracks available, V1 and V2. They serve different purposes and the edit capability for each one can be different. For example, V1 can be used to “split” a clip into several sub clips. This is useful in the case of an interview. We call the V2 track the Illustration track and every shot that is put into the V2 track is linked to the clip on V1 upon which it is placed. While the V2 track cannot be “split” like the V1 track, it can be edited just like V1 to have different Mark-In and Mark-Out points. The linkage between the Illustration clip on V2 with the video on V1 assures the integrity of its placement relative to the V1 video track if the V1 track is moved to anywhere else on the timeline. It is moved simply by selecting it an moving it with the finger.

Since titling is essential, CTpro Mobile Video Suite has the ability to bring in images that were created as .PNG files with an alpha channel at a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Static images, such as a station bug or identifier can take up very little of the output screen or as much as the maximum resolution of the output. Dynamic graphics, such as lower third titles can have up to four different fields that will contain text that is overlaid onto the graphic. Titles will be displayed as an overlay by selecting an In and an Out point. The transition length (fade-in, fade out) for the title to appear and disappear is definable by the user. Font, size, and positioning are handled by the application so the user doesn’t have to worry about adjustments to assure repeatable and consistent broadcast level results.

Great audio is as important as great video. You can access the audio level settings for the clips separately from the video clips, e.g. video thumbnails are replaced with audio thumbnails that display the audio waveform. CTpro Mobile Video Suite will automatically normalize all of the audio segments to align all of the audio to a specific reference. Crossfades are automatically set and are visually represented so that the user can easily identify these. (The audio between V1 and V2 are automatically adjusted to prevent the audio from becoming inaudible.) By automatically adjusting the levels of audio, any audio balancing is only required to back off less important sounds. This is facilitated even further by identifying video tracks that are interviews. Additionally, adding voice overs is easy to do by selecting a Mark-In and Mark-out point where the voice over should be placed. There is even a five-second countdown to prepare. CTpro Mobile Video Suite’s sound illustration library allows the user to insert music into either audio track, 1 or 2. Music can be automixed as the very last task before the final version of the project is compiled.

When it comes to getting the story back from the field to the station, CTpro Mobile Video Suite connects via FTP or Dropbox. Access is built right into the app. And, CTpro Mobile Video Suite’s Live module streams to any RTMP device or web site directly from the iPhone. It can be accessed by clicking on the Live button on from the CTpro Mobile Video Suite Project screen. Live will sequence and play out any of the videos on the iPhone that are stored in the video folder of the Photos application. These can be freshly edited CTpro projects that have been compiled within the app to create the fully encapsulated QuickTime files. The Live tool can switch between the live camera input (Front or Rear) and the stored video during playback. This is even more remarkable when one takes into consideration that the output is done in CBR or in VBR whereby the stream automatically adapts to network congestion avoiding transmission problems.

Getting the app is easy – download it from the app store. Use it as you need it, subscribe either monthly or yearly. Support is built in. Use the extensive context-sensitive tutorials to learn the app and if you are in a pinch, use the built-in Teamviewer connection to exchange information with CTpro technical support. The demo version is the actual app without export capabilities. (The developers want to make some money as well.)

Integration? I’ve heard the word. I have seen the attempts. You have to mean it. Your development team has to mean it. You cannot retrofit it. It’s foundational. That’s why CTpro Mobile Video Suite is the only integrated, comprehensive and professional solution you will find. It takes your mind off “nerd development” and lets you concentrate on storytelling. Want to be the nerdiest person around? Buy a dozen other apps, attend a three-day course in learning how to use them. Want to be productive on day 1. Get CTpro Mobile Video Suite.

iPhone camera quality

The iPhone has a truly remarkable camera. As with any media, you need to make sure that your ighting is spot on to get the best results. Here is an example of the quality you can expect using the iPhone and CTpro Mobile Video Suite’s camera app which takes advantage iPhone’s hardware to produce stunning results.

Please click on the link below to see a few seconds of the shoot.


Tell the story!

From a recent article about filmaking :

“Will this become the norm for filmmakers? He (Soderbergh) shakes his head. “I don’t expect this to become a trend. You just have to be a certain kind of filmmaker. Look, part of the process as a filmmaker – and as a person – is the answer to the question: ‘What matters?’”

In his case, Soderbergh is less concerned about harnessing fancy equipment than he is about telling stories.”

The article is here:

I would say the same thing about mobile journalism, vloggers, social media gurus, et al.

Why, just why are so many people in this industry infatuated with buying as many different apps as possible, learning as many different apps as possible when they should be more concerned with telling the story. As if that isn’t hard enough!!! The fact of the matter is that one app, CTpro Mobile Video Suite is the one ecosystem that has everything you need to effectively and conveniently tell the story that you want. It kills me to think of the time people waste evaluating and learning all about apps and their features that they will never need or use. Tell the story!