Brilliantly Stupid or Stupidly Brilliant?

An introduction for #ds106zone, the Summer 2013 version of #ds106 (or rather, winter for me here in Australia).

Creating the video itself was fairly simple–I did it in Apple iMovie on my Mac (recorded and edited there, and added the titles too). Then I decided to use Mozilla Popcorn to add some links, and thought of a couple of other words to put on there as well…and it drove me absolutely bonkers.

I messed around with the timing of the links and the text that pops up at various times, and I would get it just right and then the next time I played it the timing would be off. So I’d fix it and it would seem fine, and then I’d play it and the timing would work fine…until the next time I played it. I honestly never knew when the damn things were going to pop up. And in the video below, some are WAY off. But I can’t seem to fix it, no matter what I do. [Update the next day: now they seem to be timed pretty well when I play it.] Trick: use the green “play” button at the bottom…I think that helps get the timing right (rather than the grey play button on the original Vimeo video.

I’ve used Popcorn before and didn’t have this much trouble…not sure what is going on.

At any rate, next time I might just use the stupid YouTube video editor to add links. Might work better. But I expect I’ll learn more in #ds106 of better ways to do what I’m trying to do.

Maybe viewing it from the original link will work better than the embedded version? The original looked okay when I viewed it the last time, but who knows. Here’s the original video on Vimeo, without the links and text added through Popcorn.

Later update: Realized one of my added pop-up statements was wrong; tried to change it over at Mozilla popcorn, and it seemed to work…but when I go to the link from outside the program, it’s not saved. IT JUST WON’T SAVE the new version, even though it says it has. I cannot believe how much time I’ve spent trying to get this to work. I give up.


Even later update: Okay, seems to have finally saved, so the below is actually the corrected version. I am so done with Popcorn right now.




  1. Okay, this is way cool! I took (or am still taking since I’m not done) Dan Ariely’s MOOC on behavioral economics. One of the things he had in his videos was some interactivity where the video would stop and he’d pose a question to the viewers, after which the video would pick up.

    How do you put the links into your video and more importantly (from my perspective) how do you get the video to pause while the viewer checks out the link?

    1. Hi Steve:

      Thanks! For the links, I used Mozilla Popcorn, which allows you to import a video from somewhere else and then basically overlay things onto it. One of the things you can do with it is overlay live links, which is nice. The problem with it is that I could not for the life of me get the timing to work out. The little popup bubbles can be timed to come up and go away at certain points in the video, of course, and the “overlay” of the Popcorn popups was not syncing well with the timing of the original video…so I’d set the timing one way and it would be different when it played. I think part of the problem is that my computer is really, really slow right now (and my internet connection is sometimes very slow as well), and that probably made the playback and editing not work at the right speed. Or maybe it had to do with Popcorn itself. I don’t know. But it drove me nuts.

      As for stopping the video while the viewer checks out the link…I don’t know how to do that. You’ll notice that mine doesn’t actually stop on its own. If you want to check out the links you have to pause it manually (I think). Actually, I haven’t tried it–does it stop playing when you click on the link? If so, then it’s something to do with the Popcorn program.

      One thing I’d do differently if I did this again would be to have the titles in between, where I talk about how I wrote a blog post and you can go read it, etc., last longer than they do. I set those in Apple iMovie, and decided to make them short because the whole video was already longer than I wanted. But it’s easy to set the timing of those for longer, and I think it would have been more effective, e.g., for when I say “you can go read my blog post” in one title, and then “I don’t think you’re reading” in the next. As it is the transition between these two is too quick, I think.

      The whole thing took me far more hours than I thought it would, but I guess that’s how these projects end up working…!

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