Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Google Maps - Now with Video

Video on maps with Baby Elephant and Guinea Pigs at Twycross Zoo, UK
On learning of the ability to add a video to google on 23 Aug 17, I’ve explored the feature in great detail.

I’ve added 71 videos to google maps and made 45 post in my Local Guides Resources Community.

I’ve also created a youtube playlist called, How to Add Video to Google Maps which contains 28 videos which are embedded below (where video 28 is the oldest video - these numbers are a guide as of time or writing, will serve for this post).

  • You will find two versions of the post edited The Tarp (one using PowerDirector, the other Google Photos Create a Movie). Videos 23, 25 and 26 are a slight side step in they actually place realtime video within the Maps App as an overlay, which includes a realtime gps pushpin.
  • Video 21 is the first time I realised how restrictive 30 seconds is to do anything useful, which contrasts with the Hotel Chocolat Mousse (v20).
  • Video 13-19 are about product demos with video. Where video 11 is an idea on how to share places with videos - create a simple list.
  • Video 4 is an idea how Maps is looking like a nice little social network while videos 1 and 2 go in search of finding videos within places on Desktop - a very hit and miss affair, yet lots of fun trying. It’s also quite gratifying to find a place like the Golden Gate Bridge and see a misty landscape video attached to the page - such a different experience than search the web or youtube for the same video.

On videos and production - I was delighted and pretty excited to see Videos finally being added to Maps. And I want to make that crystal clear in light of what I am about to say.

Google in their post on 25 Aug, have started off far too simplistically in my opinion (which their ‘tap and hold’ for 10 seconds or ‘add 30 seconds’ from your camera roll’ (ref local guides blog post). Where in the second paragraph they offer a linked post called, How to post great videos on Google Maps.

On reading this post, you get the same advice of 10secs, 30 secs and then advice to ‘shoot vertically - the tall way’. In my view this is terrible advice - sure mobile phones are held portrait and youtube are now catering for all video formats, but landscape is SO IMPORTANT in video making. It really is.

This ‘How to post’ includes fives videos all recorded in portrait than do very little to show good practice. And keen eyes will spot the final ‘personal review’ video is timed at 58 seconds - and therefore will NOt to allowed to be posted at Maps without cutting off the last 28 seconds.

I’m fully aware how Video at Maps is all a beta, but video making is NOT a beta at all - and that is why I have posted over 70 videos to Maps myself using a variety of technique and style.

What has truly amazed me, how Google Local Guides have NOT TALKED ABOUT their own superb product photos.google.com and the brilliant Photo Assistant Create a Movie tool. All you have to do is select up to 50 videos from google photos and the app does the rest even including music - it’s SO FAST and SO EASY.

For example, I was at a local 5k run last weekend, I recorded 43 video clips and Google Photos did the rest. The full length video is called, Decathlon 5k where on maps it’s split into five parts at the place page.

For another example using Google Photos Create a Movie, take a look at this local food store tour that’s been open just three weeks, Welcome to New Street Co-op. I wanted to keep this video edit to exactly what Google Photos gave me, not changing anything at all.

For video editing on Android I use PowerDirector by Cyberlink, it’s easy, fast and just marvellous. New to it or not so sure how to use it - check out my youtube playlist which has 42 videos, it’s called PowerDirector Android App Tutorials.

I also video edit on win10 using Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 13.0 - two playlists 11.0 and 13.0.

Summary - I learned about adding video to google maps four weeks ago (on 23 Aug 17), I tried it out and added 71 videos myself. I think the feature brings Maps to LIFE in a living breathing 3 dimensional way.

I sincerely hope video on maps will flourish while the googlers who codeo it, will add new features as soon as possible including linking/sharing to each video and allowing comments. I also hope the 30 seconds is lifted to allow for 60 seconds. As I have found out by experience, spending three hours at a park following a fun run, will allow me to record 46 video files - 30 seconds is just too short..

History - a few links as a reminder of the passage of time

Google Maps Video 25 Aug 17 - a month ago
Google Local Guides 15 Jan 15 - 2.8 years ago
Google Maps App 23 Sep 2008 - 9 years ago
Google Street View 25 May 2007 - 10 years ago
Google Maps opened  8 Feb 2005 - 12 years ago

Sunday, 13 August 2017

People, their choices in their surroundings over time

the timeline

This is a tricky post to write as it spans 1950 to 2017. It’s intended to be Part Four of the Decathlon series, yet somehow Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown have slipped in - rightly so as they help to tell the story.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Making Good Audio with the Moto G4 using RecForge II Pro and the Zoom H1

Zoom H1 sitting next to the Moto G4
Of the seven hundred public videos I have on youtube, the 1st, 2nd and 9th most watched video is about cleaning audio.

For example, watch the most viewed How to clean audio with Audacity: Noise Removal, Normalise and Compressor at this link.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Sounds of the Countryside while Walking

On taking a short walk on a country path through woodland, there are so many choices driven by your senses. What do you photograph or video at the time or write about later?

One option, just relax and see where the moment takes you. While out yesterday, I had nothing in mind, albeit to be 'out' in the first place. That's often the hardest step to take.

All I really wanted, to walk and see things for the first time. The Woodland in August is so different than any other time - that said, I could easily say the same about every month or season of any year.

Without really thinking my mobile came out the pocket being drawn by the Hornbeam Catkins. That was the first of seventy six photos, four audio recordings, three videos and one photosphere.

They had moved the stile, to be more exact - it had disappeared. Styles are quite iconic on a walk, they signal the end of one thing and the beginning of the next. To be fair, I know this path is on a pony route, so fair enough.

Next were the toadstools, four were sat in a row. Nine photos later then two trees.

What caught my attention, the farm machinery in the next field - something I could not see. That's what made me start recording the audio. How the tractor, the farmer's voices were all intermixed with the wind in the trees and the bird song. There were discussions on how best to attach the pickup reel to the tow mechanism.

0:00 Audio One 1:36 Audio Two
2:49 Audio Three and 3:58 Audio 4

In the video I made, you will hear four audio sets, this slide will help tell them apart and look at the waveforms. Post edit was made in Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 13.0 on Win10. Audio recorded using Moto G4, then using Audacity to Normalise and Compressor (no noise reduction).

0:00 Audio One - Tractor, Birdsong
1:36 Audio Two - Light Aircraft, Wind in Trees
2:49 Audio Three - Strong Wind in Trees, high level aircraft
3:58 Audio 4 - More high level aircraft, squeak of trees in wind

Listen here..


Friday, 4 August 2017

Decathlon USA new store in San Francisco on Maps Pushpin for Streetview front of store versus back

how to spot a pushpin error and see if it can be improved
As a Google Community Local Guide, I have 1,611 photos on Google Maps (with view 26 million views). I also have 211 edits and have added 47 places. Anyone can be a local guide, find out more at the website.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Index of Posts Help and Support

whatsinkenilworth.com recent posts section on desktop
I've written a new page called, Index of Posts Help. This is a copy of that page as I wanted it also listed as a blog post too.

It reads..

When viewing this site on desktop there is an Recent Posts section on the right - when viewing the site on mobile it's hidden.

Therefore, this page is offers some guidance to find what you are looking for.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

All Posts are a Discussion

I have made a new page called All Posts are a Discussion. This is a copy of that page as I wanted it also listed as a blog post too.

It reads..

To get the most out of this website, it worth understanding how the posts are written and what makes me write them that way.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Searching and Shopping at Decathlon Online Mobile App and In Store Part Three

hat and waistcoat on a hedge
in front chelmsford store

This is a longer post which digs as deep as I can at using a curious mind to think about and explore a retail store.

This post, like all posts on this site are a discussion where comments are open at the base of this page. In this age of realtime web publishing, an edit or update is only a click away (any I make are labelled with edit/update and  the date).

If you’re new to Decathlon, or haven’t visited in awhile let’s get an overview. There are 20 Passion Brands which are described on the corporate website as, ‘Our twenty Passion Brand teams channel all their energy into developing attractive, technical, yet simple products, always at the lowest possible prices’.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

How to Shop at Decathlon in a fast paced world - In store Online Desktop Mobile Web App Part Two

quechua softshell jacket and moto g4
with decathlon app start screen

This post is Part Two in the Decathlon series. Missed Part One, it’s called Help People Cope with and Access the Modern World, Case Study Decathlon (read it here).

In Part One, you’ll find a backstory on how people (in this case me), found out about Decathlon in about 2001 way before the web and online gripped the planet. Hence the title, cope with and access the modern world as the customer and we as people have many search and buying decisions to make whether physical or virtual.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Help People Cope with and Access the Modern World - Case Study Decathlon Part One

quechua old school camping headtorch, circa 2009?
This post is part one of a set of two or three.

Across networks on the internet my name as Mike Downes is followed by a few words namely, ‘help people cope with an access the modern world’. My twitter bio is on the right.

I really don't expect people to pay attention to that, yet it has a meaning for me underlying most of my motivations for making videos and helping people learn.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The VR180 Resource Page - Making Thinking Watching

yellow areas are visbile on camera
On 22 June 2017 at VidCon, YouTube announced this new thing called VR180 Virtual Reality 180 (blog post). We also know YouTube announced a new way to see and share 360 video on 13 March 2015 (blog post).

On first hearing about VR180, I was like, 'it should be 120 degrees, but hey 360 halved is 180, so a fair compromise.

Friday, 7 July 2017

West Midlands Police NPAS Live Video to facebook and twitter periscope

On Thursday 6 July 2017, Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman and NPAS hosted the fifth episode of #WMPLive with quite a special set of broadcasts spread across Facebook and Twitter/Periscope.

The National Police Air Service NPAS, which has fifteen bases in the UK, provides air support to the 43 police forces in the UK.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

UK Police on YouTube Subscribers and Views Survey Feb 2017

Most UK Police Forces make videos and use YouTube as a means to store and share messages.

On the 17th Feb 2017, I did a little survey. Two data counts - Channel Views and Subscribers.

You can take a copy of the data sheet (as a pdf) and see the charts.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Tips on Google Apps Drive Docs Keep Mobile Desktop

For no real reason at all, I found myself making a few help videos yesterday on using Google Docs, Keep and Translate.

It's in my nature to see something of interest and share it, helping people to learn.

I have made many more videos on Google stuff, will add more to playlist - for the minute here are the five.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Create a fast and easy Movie using Google Photos

Maldon in the Wind
With so many ways to make videos these days, and with little or no edit skills - what’s an easy and fast way to get your message across?

Step One - Take a camera, like a mobile phone, stand still and take a few, nicely composed photos.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Words Pictures Film a new Paid Channel

Last month on 22 Dec 16, I passed 1,000 Subscribers on my YouTube Channel.

Not a huge milestone in creator standards, but being as I’m a YouTube Verified Partner it has one huge benefit - the gateway and opportunity to start a Paid Channel (help page).

This is a curious while fascinating area to research. I say that as it’s a direct opposite of what most people see at public youtube.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Your Own Private Super Power

News Year’s Day can be a time of reflection for many. An early draft of Resolutions - things to put right or try harder for in the year ahead.

Like many people, when I’m out walking, driving, out on my bike, cooking food, taking a shower or lying there with eyes closed waiting for sleep images or ideas flash through our brains.

Popular Posts - last 7 days

Popular Posts - last 30 days


Search results

AP Top Headlines At 12:41 p.m. EDT

Kenilworth Weekly News - News Feed (Johnston Press)