Mod12: Resources for the Venture Forum

Student-generated content in the ETEC522 Venture Forum

When we first designed ETEC522, we thought that it would be a good idea to present students with venture pitches made by real entrepreuneurs. At the time, however, it was difficult to give students the same presentation venue because of limitations of bandwidth and, in particular, hosting options for video. Things have changed quite dramatically on both counts in the last couple of years. It is now possible for anyone with a video camera and an internet connection to upload video quite easily to any number of public/private hosted locations. For the purpose of ETEC522, we would like to give you some options as to whether or not you choose to use any video presentation to make your pitch, but if you do, you also can choose where to have the video hosted from amongst a choice of some Web 2.0 sites for video distribution: YouTube, Google Video, Blip TV or any other one you may choose. There are some conditions you need to meet, however, if you are going to use video:

  • The files that you produce need to be viewable to the students in the course. Avoid video formats that can only be viewd on one platform. Several of the hosting sites will transcode your uploaded video into Flash or Quicktime to make things compatible.
  • You cannot upload content that does not belong to you. Most sites have fairly strict guidelines concerning intellectual property, so you need to be sure that you are clear on those policies. Each of the sites listed below has a section that outlines terms of use and intellectual property (IP) policies, and it is in your best interest to make sure that you understand what you are agreeing to before you upload your video.
  • Conform to the 12 minute pitch that we’ve used throughout the Pitch Pool. In the Venture Forum, we’ll advise students to only give video pitches 12 minutes of their attention. If you can’t communicate your point within that time, you likely haven’t done enough work refining your idea and business approach.
  • Your video pitch needs to be linked into the ETEC522 Weblog we’ve been using throughout ETEC522 with a URL. This will help other students in the course to find your pitch and to leave their comments on it during the Venture Forum Activity. By embedding the URL created by the site that is hosting your video into our Weblog, you will be able to direct students in the course to your pitch.

Creating and editing your Video Pitch

Whether you are using a dedicated digital video camera, a web-camera on your computer, your mobile phone or even the video mode on your point-and-shoot digital camera, most if not all students in this course should have the technologies they need to create video content. If you don’t have such equipment, there is a good chance that a neighbour or colleague or, even, one of your children will have all the gear that you need! Below, we link to a few useful websites that provide tutorials and tips on creating digital video and basic video editing. Your computer may have come with the software you need (such as iMovie) or you can even go to an online video editing site like MotionBox to upload, edit and share your work. Even sites like YouTube allow you to remix videos online. Perhaps the most important tips to keep in mind concern lighting and sound. If you use good lighting when you shoot your video (i.e., nice bright light with the subject not positioned in front of a light source like a window), you will get nice bright colours and contrast. If you record your video in a room where there is not a lot of distracting noises (hums, fan noises, barking dogs, etc.) and you have strong sound levels, your audio should be easy to hear. Finally, if possible, record your video using a tripod. This will ensure that there is not much camera-shake in your finished video.

Digital Video Tutorials

Fortunately, most video editing tools have export options for sharing video via the Internet, and you should use whatever options are available to you using your software to export your files. As well, the video hosting sites listed below will take care of transcoding and compressing video that is uploaded, so you don’t have to worry too much about these issues. As long as you are uploading a video file that can be read by the hosting site, it will then produce a stream that others can view on their computers.

Getting Started with Video Uploads

The online video editing site we mentioned above (MotionBox) provides video hosting/sharing, but you should also take a look at the ones listed below to find a hosting service to share video or presentation media.

YouTube – http://www.youtube.com

YouTube is currently the leader of this emerging market, in terms of mind-share. It offers free hosting of video content as well as a number of Web 2.0 services to provide social interaction between those who use its services. You can comment on videos within YouTube, create groups of users, and otherwise broadly distribute video content held within YouTube across sites hooked into Web 2.0. YouTube is owned by Google, so you have to have a Google id in order to login and upload videos. To create an account, just look for the “Sign Up” link on the YouTube homepage. Once you are logged in to the YouTube site, you will see an option to Upload your videos. Simply follow the instructions provided on the page to upload your file.

YouTube provides some good tutorial resources on the following page: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/

Blip TV – http://blip.tv/

Blip TV is a relatively small player on the video hosting scene, but it seems to have developed quite a following amongst the weblogger community and those who can’t live without their Flickr, Twitter and MoveableType spaces. Like the other sites listed, it offers free hosting of video content, and a bunch of tools to help you to upload and distribute you content. It has developed some additional services like shared advertising commissions and more liberal IP conditions than YouTube and Google Video, so it is worth reading some of the background material provided on the Blip TV site. This site has more of a “start-up” feel to it, and the material on their site provides a good example of how a venture might present itself to the world before being invested in by a group of investors or acquired by another company. Blip TV also shows the power of integrating a number of Open Source applications thoughout its operations.

You have to sign up for an account to upload video onto Blip TV, but the process is quite easy. Just go to their home page and look for “Sign Up” on the top of the page.

Blip TV has provided some good learning resources to help you produce a venture Pitch or, even, an independent film, so it is worth taking a look at their learning centre: http://blip.tv/learning/

SlideShare – http://www.slideshare.net/

We’re also listing SlideShare as a possible resource for you since it allows you to upload PowerPoint style presentations to share via the Internet. This is perhaps a more graceful option than the old “export html” option from within Microsoft’s product, and has the advantage of making the presentation viewable across platforms without any strange html extensions getting in the way. SlideShare is also very much a start-up company in the Web 2.0 world, and it is interesting to see how they are addressing some of their site content to potential investors. SlideShare allows you to mash together a Powerpoint presentation with an mp3 file to get a vocie-over presentation, so you might find that of some use for your pitch: http://www.slideshare.net/faqs/slidecast

SlideShare provides a Frequently Asked Questions section that is worth looking at if you plan on using this site: http://www.slideshare.net/faqs

You have to sign up for an account to upload presentations to SlideShare, but the process is quite easy. Just go to their home page and look for “Signup” at the top of the page.

Zentation – http://www.zentation.com/

Zentation also provides hosting for presentations, but with its “patent pending” technology, you can also synchronize your presentation to any video that has been uploaded onto Google Video without any technical knowledge. Zentation is a good example of the growing Web 2.0 ecology where platforms of services are mashed together to provide functions for users.

Zentation provides a Frequently Asked Questions section that is worth looking at if you plan on using this site: http://www.zentation.com/support-faq.php

Since we are all interested in education in this course, you may also want to take a look at SchoolTube, a site that only allows teacher-vetted material to be distributed. It is an interesting example of how educators are using cutting-edge media tools and adapting them to suit the particular needs of the educational context. Only US educators can use the site at this time: http://www.schooltube.com