Visting Takapuna’s Beach

Earlier this week, I was in Takapuna for awhile, so I went and visited the beach there, which is the subject of my latest brief YouTube video. I haven’t been there in awhile, so it was nice to stop by.

Being winter, it was a little cooler than I would have liked, but the beach was still quite busy, anyway. The clouds were moving pretty quickly, so an area of beach that was in full sun one moment could be in shade the next. I didn’t realise that was happening until I edited the video.

I’ll let you in on a secret: At one point in the video I have a title that says it’s looking toward the Pacific. The truth is, on the eastern side of Auckland’s North Shore (where Takapuna is), everywhere one looks toward the east is looking toward the Pacific, though there may be islands in the way.

I used that phrase to give some sort of geographic orientation to foreigners, and so they’d know what ocean they were looking at. But that part of the North Shore isn’t really directly open to the ocean (because of islands). So, the label I added is a little misleading: It’s true, but probably not quite in the way some viewers will take it.

It was one of those times when simplicity was better than strict accuracy, something I’ve run into before when I’ve made these videos. Actually, I’ve learned a lot of things since I started making them. I’m sure that as I continue to learn more, and as I get more confident, I’ll make longer videos.

At any rate, making the videos has been fun. And, it’s always nice to have an excuse to visit favourite places.

This is another crosspost with AmeriNZ Blog, something I wanted to share here, too, because it gives some behind-the-scenes information about the video.


Rainy Auckland Winter Day

The video above is a short video I made this evening as an experiment. I wanted to see how easy it was to make a video using iMovie on my iPad. On the whole, it was pretty easy.

I shot some video of the rain this afternoon with an idea that I might make a YouTube video with it. This evening I was playing with my iPad, remembered that it had iMovie on it, and I wondered how hard it would be to use.

The first problem was figuring out how to get my footage onto my iPad. It turns out, my videos don’t automatically share to iCloud (probably a setting I made at some point). So, I uploaded them to Dropbox, then opened Dropbox on my iPad and saved them to my photos on my iPad (often called a “Camera Roll”)

After that, it was just a matter of figuring out how to assemble everything. I expect phone and tablet apps to teach me how to use them as I use them, but sometimes I get stuck. Apart from having to Google how to get video onto my iPad, this time I had very little trouble figuring it out.

However, there were a few things I haven’t figured out yet, like how to shorten the duration of onscreen titles and how to adjust the level of the music track (the levels in the video were automatic; the music was included with iMove, by the way).

If I’d edited the video on the Mac, I’d have no trouble with any of those things, and I would have edited out the camera shake in a couple spots. But I wanted to see what was possible—or, at least, obvious—to do on the iPad. Some day I may shoot some video and want to get it uploaded quickly (interestingly, one of the templates was for CNN’s uploaded videos from amateurs).

So, all in all, it wasn’t too bad, though I’ll use the Mac for editing nearly all the time. Still, it was kind of fun.

This was my second video so far this year, and this video is actually part of the “soft re-launch” of my YouTube Channel. I’m posting similarly short videos up until the actual relaunch, which is coming soon.

And all of that will be shared here on this blog. Of course.

The Technical Stuff: The video was shot using a 20.3MP Samsung DX 1000, and the still shot of water drops at the beginning and end was shot with an iPhone 5c. The video was edited on an iPad2 using iMovie, a built-in template and built-in music. The final video was saved as a 1080 HD video, then uploaded to YouTube directly from the iPad (which takes a lot longer than from a desktop computer, BTW).

This is one of those rare crossposts with AmeriNZ Blog, something I forgot to share here, too.


AmeriNZ Blog 2014 in pictures

I was curious what a year of blogging would look like as images alone. So, I made this slide show with most of the images I posted to AmeriNZ Blog in 2014, in rough chronological order. It’s nothing fancy—I used a standard iMovie template—but I think it’s interesting to see what I talked about.

Obviously 2014 was a year of politics, furbabies and life in New Zealand, shown through photos of politicians, public events, created graphics, Internet memes, and the odd selfie. However, there aren’t all that many photos of me, so I don’t know if this qualifies as “self indulgent” or not. I’m thinking at 10:13 it very well may.

On the other hand, if an image is worth a thousand words, then there quite were a few words published, too, especially since not all posts had images.

This was just a bit of fun while I’m on holiday, but it also helped refresh my memory on how to edit actual videos—you know, just in case…

The background music is called “Perspectives” and is a royalty-free track by Kevin MacLeod ( and licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.


Changing the past

This is a bit of a weird story.

On December 25, 2008, I posted a video called “Auckland Christmas” to YouTube, and also to my podcast as “AmeriNZ Video 03 – Auckland Christmas” (and I also posted a verison to my blog as “Auckland Christmas”). The video contained a music track that I used under license from the Podsafe Music Network (now called Mevio Music Alley).

At some point after I posted the video, the artist apparently signed up with a licensing agency that charges for use. I was unaware any of that had happened—who keeps running checks on tracks they’ve used?

Today I got an email from YouTube telling me the video “may have content that is owned or licensed” by the new company (which I’d never heard of, though they’re a “YouTube Partner”, whatever that means). They also said that while this wouldn’t count against me, and the video would remain, there might be ads posted next to the video. However, despite saying “this claim is not penalising your account status,” they also ominously warned on the notice page that my “video’s status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change.”

Here’s where it gets really weird: The track is still listed and available on Mevio’s Music Alley—so, therefore, my original license must still be valid. If it’s not, then the burden of proof ought to be on the company claiming licensing rights, and they shouldn’t get free ads at my expense.

However, I’m not a copyright lawyer and can’t afford one, so I can’t comment on any of the legalities here. Instead, this is only about my sense of right and wrong: I legally used a track provided for my use and I fully complied with the terms of the license I was given. That license appears to still be in effect. I think—but don’t know—that the copyright licenser didn’t take any further action because I complied with the terms of the license I’d been given (and which may still be in effect).

However, I’m in no position to challenge them or Google/YouTube. So I was left with few options.

First, the new company licenses tracks for $1.99 and I could have paid their fee to re-license the track from them, but why should I? As far as I’m concerned, I already had—and still have—a valid license to use the track.

The second option is the nuclear option: Deleting the video from YouTube (which is a shame because it was the most viewed one I had). This is the option I chose (though I first made it unlisted while I decided what to do).

My next step was to take the original video project and delete the music track entirely, along with any mention of it in the end credits and written descriptions. I left the end of the video silent as a sort of protest. I then overwrote the copy on my podcast site so the video’s still available.

My final step will be to upload the altered/censored video back to YouTube. Had I paid to re-license the track I already have a license for, I’m sure I’d have to alter the credits in the video and re-upload, anyway, so why not instead make a point?

I chose that track originally because it was free and reasonably inoffensive, meaning, innocuous. It wasn’t overtly religious, as so many Christmas songs are, and wasn’t awful (as, frankly, so much free music is). There was no option to pay anything for the music and, four years ago, there were few if any other options for music I could use legally.

So there you have it. Some company asserts its muscularity and someone like me has little choice but to surrender—or fight and face the consequences. This song is not worth the fight, even if the principle could be. But since I clearly have no idea what the law says about a situation like this—someone legally uses a music track they’re licensed to use, then later someone else claims the rights—this case is too murky to take a stand on.

Next time, it may be different.

This is crossposted to my blog, one of the few times I’ve done that.


AmeriNZ Video 04 – From our deck

Don’t get excited: It’s been just over a year since my third video, and this is what you get after that long wait? Yep! I was trying out our new camera and decided to post some of the test so you can see a little of the area around our house. Plus, it’s summer here…

There will be real videos in 2010 and an audio podcast soon.

Important note: The video player on the website doesn’t work—click on “Play in Popup” or download the video. This is a podPress bug, nothing I can fix.

Please leave a comment, email me at Arthur{at} or ring my US listener line on (206) 666-5172.

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