Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Police Twitter Awards 6 June 2017 Live Broadcast #PolTAwards

This post is designed for Mobile users wishing to click on the Police Twitter Awards.

Timestamps to skip to a particular part of the live broadcast made on 6 June 2017 at 7pm.

Video, Contents and Website

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Twitter Text in Photos Best Practices

Over the last few days, we have seen many important and urgent tweets containing written information in photos.

As twitter does not allow more than 140 characters in a tweet, many organisations such as the Greater Manchester Police, The O2 and Mayor Andy Burnham have resorted to a words words and an image containing the message.

Of course, it would be wonderful in an emergency if certain organisations were allowed to tweet longer than 140 characters. My suggestion would be 4,000 characters, enough for 700 words.

Edit 15 June 17 - Twitter have suggested a thread of tweets as a way of telling a longer story, then suggest a Twitter Moment, see How to use Tweet Threads.

This text would immediately be searchable in twitter, where text contained in an image, to my knowledge, is not.

My suggestions
  • Make a Square Image, in my tests 1000 x1000 pixels which was a good sensible size
  • Use a font size of about 20 point which will allow 215 words, 1208 characters
  • Think mobile, chances are this slide will be seen on a handheld device first
  • Think portrait and landscape, hence the square format, with a mobile in landscape - can you read the first line easily with a pinch zoom
  • Use short paragraphs, and break text into bullet points making it even easier to read
  • Use Simple Global English, think language accessible to everyone
  • Use a small border of needed, a large border for a logo is wasted space
  • Desktop - Composing the text slide can be very easy, there are many text editors, then save as jpg/png or screenshot
  • Mobile - I have used Google Keep and Docs, both with different text size effects writing until the area looks square
  • With slides as large large text and photos or graphics 16:9 is a good format, but again if unsure, use square

What follows is some data drawn from a few recent tweets contained text in photos from the lead collage slide at top of this page. My small sample was enough to see a maximum of 627 words, with an average of 152 words at 890 characters. My mid test slide contained 215 words, 1,208 characters.

To collate this data, I uploaded a slide to then used grab image text, then copied that text to a google doc and used tools/word count.

Sample TweetWordsCharactersSample TweetWordsCharacters
132121248test 01111619
1430204test 022151208
1579434test 034442477

I have used Greater Manchester Police (who were social media brilliant by the way) as that’s what kicked off this post.

And again, IF TWITTER RAISED THE 140 CHARACTER LIMIT in a crisis for certain organisations this would be wonderful.

Anyone can benefit from this guide whether individual twitter users, social media editors and planners, those in police, government or the mainstream media.

For me personally, I had a little trouble reading some text slides when I needed it most. It was of course when the news was fast and emerging from Manchester.

As I write the last words of this post, GMPolice have tweeted six more tribute slides from the families of the victims. If in any small way this post may help those hard working people who make the slides ready to tweet, and then get easily read - then it's been worth it.

Edit, just received a helpful idea from Emma, see comments or read, 'Another thing that could be useful, if you have images of text is to ensure you use the alt tags - Making images accessible for people on Twitter - I think that allows for 420 characters.'


Links to twitter accounts while researching.. Greater Manchester Police Andy Burnham

/ /

Thursday, 20 April 2017

PowerDirector Android App Case Study Sgt Harry Tangye

PowerDirector Case Study Sgt Harry Tangye
I posted a PowerDirector Resource Page on 5 Dec 16.

That was four months ago when using a Moto E. From 10 Jan 17, I updated to a Moto G4 with Octa Core Processor and a 5.5 inch screen. I've never looked back.

This post will start off with an example from someone who has been using PowerDirector that is not me.

There are a few reasons for this..
  • We can encourage anyone to use PowerDirector for the very first time
  • We can critique each other's work and best of all
  • We can find new ways of editing that we have never thought of ourselves

Case Study - Sgt Harry Tangye is from the Devon and Cornwall Police UK. He's an award winning officer and has just returned from the #SMILEcon held in Long Beach, California. His presentation is on video too at this link.

Harry is a natural on camera, if you have not watched Harry - Police Officer Learn2Live then you definitely should. It does not stop there, Harry is also a talented writer at his blog

I'm quite delighted that Sgt Harry has started to make videos using an Android phone and PowerDirector. As a serving officer, it's difficult to keep tweeting, keep taking photos and making videos is even more of a demand. That said, he's done it! And now has just passed 500 views.

Remember, any Policing usually attracts a lot of attention, this blog is a place of learning and reflection, not a place that 'tells the news' - for that have a read of this piece by Rachael Dodd from the Plymouth Herald called, 'Revealed: This is what a police sergeant deals with every day, A police officer has vlogged his busy bank holiday shift to give people an insight into life in the emergency services'.

I've embedded 'A bank holiday with Sgt Tangye @DC_ARVSgt' above. The video is ten minutes in length and is made up of thirteen short clips (from 12 secs to 3 minutes) and a black end slide. Doing the math, the average clip length is about 45 seconds. We can see animated text and image overlays, along with a selection of transitions between the clips.

From a production and PowerDirector point of view what can we learn that will help others? I particularly like Harry's style of being on camera, with an over his shoulder view. A couple of clips stand out for me that show off some pre-planning.

Did you spot them? Have a look again at 1:04 (drives off) and 6:52 (drives back) where the camera is fixed, maybe on a tripod. This technique is just brilliant and done right, so effective.

There are a couple of really excellent post edits too - a text overlay to correct the RAC not AA and also a few images overlays that highlight a press clipping and a Police Dog on the back seat.

Social Media Policing is tricky business, especially when tweets, photos and videos get shared in more than one place quite quickly.

Here are three images from tweets that Harry made on that same shift - 1, Car 2, Police Dog Bud 3, Police Dog Bud again.

There are 1,000s of police officers on twitter in the UK (more like 5,000 at least) - all use words, some photos - but not enough video.

And as for edited video - that is a needle in a haystack. Of course I cannot read all those tweets each and every day. If you have seen edited video from an officer, please let me know.

I'm not counting live video as that's a one take camera roll - and a different topic (loads of live video posts on this blog).

It's also no secret I've helped many Police Officers in the last six years to enhance their Social Policing using video.

All I can do is lead by modelling and keep encouraging those who like Sgt Harry Tangye want to have a go. I cannot wait for the next video diary.

Notes on using PowerDirector Myself - My video editing speed using PowerDirector (PD) has grown out of control. The rate at which I can make videos is quick.

The more you do, the more you get a rapport with yourself, a flow, a pattern.

In Jan 17 alone I made 50 video and 43 of those were on mobile.

I have have 21 PD Help Videos and 28 on the playlist in total.

My aim right now -- get to grips with EVERY FEATURE the PD Android App has to offer.

I am pretty close to finishing all the testing and the finding of new buttons to push.

Just because a mobile is small and lightweight and an App like PD is cheap at just £5.00 UK, does not make it trivial or a gimmick.

In other words, people need to step up and realise the immense potential in this App. I now produce 1920 x 1080p videos at 60fps that render in a just a few minutes. Something I could ONLY dream of on Windows 10 desktop using Vegas. That's not to say Vegas is not a good piece of software, because it's brilliant.

And Windows 10 is brilliant too -- it's just Mobile Android and PD are so freaking easy to use. I need not sit at a desk in one place, use a second monitor and a mouse, but relax lying down on a bed, or slouched in any of chair or even even be out and out in any place I can imagine -- and still edit fast and with ease.

In the last week, I've made videos on..

  • Sound Clips
  • My Easy Workflow in Ten Steps
  • Audio Mixing
  • Add AUDIO ONLY to a timeline
  • Titles with Drop Shadow and now looking at using 
  • Portrait Vertical Video

I'm thinking about Vertical Video Diaries next or Talking Books. look closely how YouTube are displaying vertical videos. Watch this example I've made.

These vertical HD Screens are seen everywhere these days. Been to a McDonald's recently, or a train station, shopping mall or the lobby of a hotel? Quite intriguing.

Of course the widescreen is not lost - it just has it's place. Any photo or video is all about geometry, if you have not seen Walter Mitty (2013), then go have a look - every scene has perfect framing, see slide on the right.

But we the video editors are in the design driving seat - and it's our choice what videos we make.
still from Walter Mitty 2013

Armed with a mobile, and PowerDirector - go surprise yourself.

You need gumption and a creative eye, and the will to try -- not endless excuses on built on 1,000s of $s of unnecessary kit.

Viewer Feedback - And using YouTube Analytics, we know, like instantly know by looking in Realtime (which updates every 10 seconds), we can see the geography, device type and operating system.

My favourite metric has always been audience retention or average view duration - it's really the same thing.

End Point - PowerDirector on Android (or iMovie on iOS) is a superbly strong and simple video editing suite in our pocket. Mobiles are everywhere and a super powerful - yet I rarely come across anyone who uses their mobile to it's FULL potential.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The UK Fire and Rescue Service Drone Resource Page

Chief Fire Officers Association
Fire Services in the UK
In the News

This page is version 001 updated 11.24am uk 21 March 17 - expect many updates in next few days.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Police Officer with a Flying Camera

I’ll run the scenario, then break it down.

‘’A Police Officer responds on a blue light to an emergency, ‘violent male in local park’.  Officer is single crewed and first on the scene.

On the Officer’s vehicle dashboard, a button labelled ‘Drone Follow Me’ which gets a tap as the officer exits the vehicle.

Monday, 13 March 2017

The UK Police and Fire Drone Resource Page

UK Police Forces
Drone Models
From Wikipedia
In the News
Drone Research
Drone Complaints and Crime
Further Help and Safety

Introduction - This page is written for the public, the police and the skilled set of people who make the drones.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Bobby on the Beat versus The Drone

Discussion piece in these sections

Bobby on the Beat
Some Air and Tech History
The Power is in the Downlink
Drone Technology
Modern Police and the Drone

Sunday, 5 March 2017

And then suddenly I realised all of those Officers are on Twitter

And then suddenly I realised, all of them were on twitter - I have an informal way to get hold of them at any time.

On my bike, down the path and over the usual bridge. Under another bridge and saw three Police Officers standing on my left, patrol car parked. I had no idea what was going on.

At the bottom on the hill where the path splits, caught sight of three more Police Officers and a carefree horse out for a stroll.

I was asked politely to find an alternative route as two members of the public and the officers were coaxing the pony into a harness.

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