5 Days Left: Make a Video, Head to Davos

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[Cross-posted from the YouTube blog.]

Is there one issue facing the world today that you feel passionate about? Have you always wanted to take your cause directly to people who have the power to do something about it, but lacked access to have your voice heard? Now is your chance to make your pitch -- and win a spot at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders will gather to hear what you have to say about the issue that matters most to you.

There is just one week left to submit a video for the opportunity to go to Davos. Each year, heads of state, business leaders, and social entrepreneurs gather at the World Economic Forum to discuss the most critical challenges facing citizens and nations around the world. And this year, one of you will get direct access to a special panel of these leaders at the Forum, to let them know why your cause matters.

The submission deadline is Monday, January 4, 2010, and all videos should be no longer than three minutes. Speak clearly and from the heart. Five finalists will be selected by a judging panel comprised of Paolo Coelho, Arianna Huffington and Muhammad Yunus. These finalist videos will then go to public vote on January 8, with a winner announced on January 19.

This is the chance you've been waiting for... unprecedented access to the world's most powerful leaders who can make a difference for your cause. Visit the Davos YouTube channel to submit your video and make your pitch to the world.



Steve Grove, News & Politics, recently watched "Mahmoud Jabari - Davos Competition."




How to be a Tech Reviewer - Part 1

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phonedog have answered all your questions about how to be a tech reviewer and uploaded this tutorial video. Watch it, then try your hand at reviewing any shiny new gadget you or your friends receive this holiday season. The phonedog team will select three promising new reviewers to feature on the YouTube homepage during the Consumer Electronics Show next month.



Here's a cheat sheet of the tips mentioned in the video:

Production Tips
- Make videos first! Worry about gear later
- Before you buy lights, search for help on YouTube
- Editing is your friend; subtitles are great because they can contain specs (like pricing info) and can reinforce other important information
- Overusing video effects is distracting
- Don't be afraid to shoot lots of video and edit down

Reviewing a Product
- Focus on what people use the device for, but definitely show the new and innovative features about it
- Take notes while testing a gadget
- Know your specs!
- Music can make your videos more lively
- Focus on the gadget, remove the clutter
- Try shooting in different locations
- Be yourself...but be as entertaining as you!
- Keep it under 7 minutes if you can

Finding Your Style
- Try out different ideas and styles and see what works
- Try unboxings, reviews and comparisons (aka "dog fights")
- Some ideas work, some don't -- keep experimenting!

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched "Tech Reviewing: Video Tips."




Weekend Project: New Year's Resolution Videos

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Some people say that you're more likely to complete a task if you make a public commitment to do so. With that in mind, today's Weekend Project challenges you to make a New Year's resolution video. Let your friends and family know what you've sworn to do differently in 2010, and you might find the extra motivation to stick to your guns through the start of the year -- even if that motivation comes from some good old-fashioned peer pressure.

Once you've made your video, tag it "yt09resolution" and you might find yourself featured on the homepage at the end of the year.

How you express your resolve is up to you. This New Year Resolution song from RhettandLink reminds us all that resolutions can be tough to keep. Hopefully a video commitment will make it a little easier in 2010.



Mark Day, Comedy Manager, recently exposed Nalts' hair transplant.




9 Easy Video Project Ideas in Under 2 Minutes

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Check out our snazzy new video, meant to both inspire you with easy video project ideas from the community and bring more denizens to the Creator's Corner:



A good suggestion in the comments, as well:

ReliableInsider

The easiest video idea in the world: wander around your own neighborhood.

Far too many videos are shot in people's bedrooms. What people really want to see are other parts of the country, other parts of the world. What seems mundane to you is actually fascinating.




Weekend Project Idea: Have a Brickfilm Holiday

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There's a ton of holiday-themed videos on YouTube, but one fun niche seems to be all the brickfilm expressions of holiday cheer and religious introspection.

The most famous of these videos is likely to be blobstudios's "Lego Star Wars - Christmas Special," with over 1M views. The maker of this video has a robust stop motion tip sheet on his Website that offers some fantastic advice about creating your own stop motion video.



We're planning to feature a selection of brickfilm holiday videos on our homepage on Christmas Day, so this weekend would be a perfect time to put those Legos and other building-block toys to work to tell holiday stories and spread some warm-and-fuzzies. Please tag your video with "yt09xmas" so we can find your creation and consider it for the homepage. Thanks!

Posted by Mia




Webinar on Basic Editing Techniques: Dec. 17, 2009

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YouTube's Creator's Corner and Videomaker magazine are pleased to offer another free Webinar to help newer videographers get comfortable with every aspect of the production process. This time, the topic is Basic Editing Techniques, and it will take place on December 17, 2009, at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET. You can register here for the free, hour-long seminar. (Once you've clicked the link, you'll be redirected to an external page provided by our partner, Webex. Please fill in the required information and click "Submit." You'll then be registered for the event.)

We want to make sure this session addresses the topics most useful to you, so we hope you'll take a minute to answer the survey in the top right corner of this blog: When it comes to editing techniques, what do you want to learn about? Check off as many topics that apply in the poll, or leave a comment beneath this blog post. The Videomaker team will consider your requests when putting together their presentation.

This Webinar follows the Basic Production Techniques course held in October.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, YouTube, and Scott Memmott, Content Director, Videomaker




It's Not SciFi, It's YouTube: Ataque de Panico's Federico Alvarez Mattos

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Uruguayan filmmaker Federico Alvarez Mattos recently made headlines when his special-effects-laden YouTube video, "Ataque de Panico (Panic Attack!) 2009," caught the eye of Hollywood bigwigs, who offered him $30 million to bring his talents to the large screen under the tutelage of director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man). Our Mexico-based communications manager Ricardo Blanco interviewed Mattos and put together this short piece about his incredible journey:

"Since age 8, I was a director. I got a cheap camera from my father and the first things that we filmed were special effects, made with Playmobil [small plastic figurines]," says Mattos, who is gradually uploading all his old videos to his YouTube channel. The filmmaker has come a long way from those days of toy-centric movies; now, in his short "Panic Attack!," he leads the inhabitants of Montevideo into a terrible future dominated by an invasion of massive robots.

For Mattos, the short is "an attempt to bring Hollywood to your neighborhood fantasy...to your country." The idea of giant robots invading a city other than "the usual" Los Angeles or New York came to him when he was a graduate student in screenwriting in Amsterdam. He thought it might be impressive for people to see Montevideo immersed in a science fiction environment.

Achieving this was not easy. Mattos started filming the short in 2006, but then he put it on hold, as he didn't have the required software to complete it. "We were missing the plug-ins needed; the ones available were very sophisticated tools, complex and slow," he recalls.

He resumed the project in late 2008, working on it for roughly 8 hours a day over 6 months. It cost $500 to make, and he uploaded it to YouTube on November 3, 2009.

Now it has over 1 million views and Mattos has the attention (and funding) of Hollywood. How did this happen?

"Beyond that you like the story or the effects, there is something indisputable: the film was seen by half a million people in two weeks. Motionographer.com blogged it the day it went up [and it went from there]," says Mattos.

Now he's been asked to direct "a sci-fi movie about an alien invasion" but cannot reveal more about the project. But we have to ask: Will there be robots?

"I don't think there will be," Mattos laughs. "I'm a little tired of them."




Weekend Project Idea: Create a Holiday Video Card

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With the holiday season in full swing, it's time to think about what form your greeting card will take. Let us suggest a video as fun (and generally inexpensive) way of letting family and friends know you're thinking about them. If you decide to incorporate pictures of the kids growing up over the year or snapshots from your '09 vacations, services like Animoto and One True Media can help you convert your photographs into a compelling video. They use YouTube APIs to make uploading to YouTube a breeze, too.

Here are some examples of "video cards" out there to get you inspired.

Family-focused, by JeremyCampMusic:



Animated, by dawgsays:



Humorous, by jibjab:




How'd They Do That? Lego Matrix

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By now you might have seen the immaculately accurate recreation -- in Legos -- of the legendary "bullet dodge" scene from The Matrix, in honor of the film's 10th anniversary this year:



But what's really cool is that the filmmakers, Trevor Boyd and Steve Ilett, have some detailed behind-the-scenes information on their site, including a guide to the technology behind the video and this fantastic tip sheet, which is a must-read for any budding Lego animator.




Learn How to Be a Gadget Reviewer

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With 40,000+ subscribers and a couple of hit videos, the folks behind the phonedog channel know a thing or two about making popular product-review videos (in their case, mobile phone reviews). In the spirit of the holidays, they've kindly agreed to share their secrets with you, to help the next generation of gadget reviewers rise up on YouTube.

Ask any question you like about how to be an effective gadget reviewer by leaving a comment on -- or uploading a response video to -- this video. phonedog will review your questions and then make a tutorial video, uploaded around December 15, to help give you your start in this field. Take their advice or leave it, but definitely test it out, particularly on any hot new gadgets you or your friends receive this holiday season. We'll be featuring three of the most promising new reviewers, as selected by phonedog, on the YouTube homepage during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January.

For more details, Noah from phonedog lays it all out:




Creators Call-Out: Videos for Human Rights Orgs

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YouTube can be a powerful tool championing the rights of individuals and promoting free expression. This month, during International Human Rights Day, we're partnering with Morgan Freeman and Amnesty International to encourage you to become advocates for equality and justice, through Video Volunteers.

Here's how you can help.
Create a video about the nonprofit of your choice working on a human rights issue that you care about -- it could be genocide, human trafficking, refugee protection, gender equality or something else -- and submit it to the Video Volunteers channel by December 21. Amnesty International and Freeman, who plays legendary crusader Nelson Mandela in the upcoming movie Invictus, will select three videos to appear on the YouTube homepage at the end of the month. Hear more from Morgan about the importance of taking up this cause:



This is your chance to help citizens around the world who often can't help themselves and to bring the vital work of human rights organizations to light. Join Morgan Freeman to protect the rights of these individuals at www.youtube.com/videovolunteers.