I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the best way to have any fun with video online is for it to be as simple as possible and to not have high expectations for quality. One thing you have to know about working with video online, the end result will be Flash Video (.flv) files. It has become the default video format on the web and most online video sites use FLV to stream videos online. What I've discovered in the process is it's probably best to just leave your fancy expensive camcorder at home and grab something inexpensive and simple to use if you're planning on posting your video on the web. By simple I mean, no file conversion and no tapes. What you want is a camera that saves video files to either a hard drive or media card in a format that is highly compatible. Make sure the camera saves files in one of these video formats: wmv, avi, asf, mov, qt, mpg, mp4, vob, rm or dv. Most online editing sites will even take your cell phone video: 3gp, 3g2 and even Flash (flv) files.
Here's a short video I shot using both the Flip Mino and my digital camera, a Canon PowerShot SD10. I wanted to compare the quality and to give you an idea of what kinds of cameras are available for you to use.
Exploring Video Cameras from Coop on Vimeo.
I made this video in Windows Movie Maker, but I also uploaded the files to several online video editing sites:
I tried Eyespot first. It's a pretty slick site, easy to use. I was able to easily upload my 3 short videos. To edit the video I had to go the Mixer area. That is what these sites call the editing area. In there I could trim the videos before placing them in a timeline for my movie. I could also add photos, music, transitions, effects and something called Mixables. It took me a minute or two to figure out how the trimming process worked, but it's simple enough. Put the green arrow where you want the video to start and the red where you want it to stop. Hit the Done button and it places the trimmed piece in your timeline. After adding all my trimmed pieces, I added some transitions and a song and made my movie. My Lady: Yamaha V-Star
The first thing you'll notice about my movie made in Eyespot is the ads on the bottom of the movie. Yep, Ads by Google. I do like that you can allow visitors to download your video in various formats: PC|Mac|iPod|PSP|DivX. That's sweet, but I hope the downloads don't have ads.
I tried Motionbox next, and it was just as easy to upload my files to their site. They have a different focus at Motionbox it seems. There are no ads, which is good, but it didn't seem like the typical social networking site. Trimming the clips was easy, although I was stumped at first. I had one of those Doh! moments. Anyway, from what I could see, trimming was the only thing I could do with my video - nothing else. That's it. Trim and put clips together. Okay. Next.
JumpCut is a Yahoo! site, so I was able to log in using my Yahoo! ID. I really liked JumpCut. It was super easy and I even had a little fun playing around with all the options. I could do everything I was able to do at Eyespot. It's hard to explain, but it just had a friendlier feel to the site, and I found it easier to explore the option without fear of losing my work. I also made the best movie here. Oh, and guess what - no ads.
Overall, the video quality at all three sites was equal, and I feel confidant that if I ever needed to edit video online that I would have a good place to do so. And I wouldn't hesitate to have my students use any of the sites for a class project, although my current preference would be Jumpcut. Give it a try.