A TechSmith Camtasia video editing boot camp

Introduction

Digital content is the king. Record, run video editing software, upload to a resource like YouTube or Rumble, and it will stay there forever. There are many benefits in recording and sharing knowledge via video: it can improve the speaker’s ability to deliver material, anybody can see it again and again. This blog post is going to cover a number of easy-to-follow steps to do video editing using TechSmith Camtasia.

Problem

Let’s talk about video editing. Making video content is usually split into 2 phases – pre-production (recording) and post-production (perfecting). While recording video is fairly obvious and mostly involves hitting the red record button, perfecting video is usually a time-consuming and scary process. Let’s make it easy. The following steps and screenshots will help you to get up to speed in creating video content as quickly as possible.

Solution

  • Add media artifacts

Start with downloading the mp4 from MS Teams. Now proceed with opening Camtasia and add a thumbnail, downloaded video, and intro (see Fig #1).

Fig #1 – Add Media artifacts
  • Add media artifacts to a track

Drag and drop media artifacts from the Media Bin into Track1 in the following order intro, thumbnail, and then video (Fig #2). Make sure that all 3 are stacked up one after the other, meaning that there is no space between them.

Fig #2 – Adding media to track 1
  • Edit the video to lose anything that is not important

Left double-click on the video, drag the red time tracker, and then choose Cut (Fig #3).

Fig #3 – edit recorded video
  • Remove noise

Apply noise reduction audio effect to remove any undesired noise from the recorded video by Clicking Audio Effects, choosing Noise Removal, and dragging and dropping it to the video.

Fig #4 – Remove noise
  • Make sure your video is perfect

Left double-click on the intro to bring back the triangle-shaped time tracker to the beginning, and hit the play button (Fig #5) to watch the entire video to make sure it’s all perfect.

Fig #5
  • Make it a video file (mp4)

Choose Share from a menu item above, and then click on Local File (see Fig #6). Depending on your machine, dimension, and format as well as the TechSmith version, this step might take between 30-90 minutes.

Fig #6 – Make a video file
  • Enjoy it

Create a YouTube account with a channel, upload your mp4 file, and let everyone know that it’s ready for public consumption (Fig #7). Don’t forget to make it public.

Fig #7 – YouTube video
  • Syndicate your content

While YouTube drives most of the viewers to channel, others platforms like Rumble are becoming more and more popular. Why not push your content to other platforms?

While you might think it’s not worth the time due to an effort that involves re-uploading your content, in reality, most YouTube competitors have a syncing capability built-in. Make your content available on YouTube, create an account in a competing platform, give that platform permission to access YouTube, and walla, your YouTube content will become available on the other platform as well.

Fig #8 – Content syndication

Disclaimer

This blog post is made possible by two great products Snag-It and Camtasia by the TechSmith Corporation.

Make your User Group session and event recordings available to the public

Introduction

There is plenty of free and paid content available online already and yet tomorrow we will see even more content available. That begs the inevitable question – why bother with recording and sharing on YouTube/Rumble? The main reason is, it’s a one-time investment that continues to pay off forever. This blog post is going to dive into how to minimize the overhead of the post-production process, i.e. the most time-consuming part of making content.

Problem

Where do you find the content? How to record? How to do post-production and how to make it visible to the public?

That being said, the most important question is how do manage the overhead – how to make content consistently and efficiently?

Solution

Let’s talk about solutions.

Your User Group meetings and SQL Saturday event have speakers and sessions. All it takes is to ask permission to record. Most if not all speakers would love to be recorded as it promotes them and their content.

If you are running virtual meetings using Zoom/Teams, you already have that capability built-in. Just hit the record button once your presenter gives you the green light and hit the record button once again to stop recording. Don’t forget to download that recorded video once it’s ready.

You don’t need to be a professional Editor-in-Chief to edit video. If you have never done that before, you just need patience, tons of patience. While initially, you are not going to enjoy the steep learning curve with all new techniques and vocabulary that you might not be familiar with, on your second and third video, it will get really easy, copy-and-paste easy.

Thinking in economic terms, what is an opportunity cost here? Once you become familiar with software like TechSmith Camtasia, it will take you somewhere between 30-60 minutes to produce each video.

Fig #1 – Camtasia

Here is a short boot-camp intro into video editing using Camtasia – https://datadriventechnologies.org/2022/02/18/a-techsmith-camtasia-video-editing-bootcamp/.

Once you are done with perfecting the video (removing noise, making cuts on both ends of the video, and adding intro), you are ready to make it an mp4 movie file. Once you have that file, feel free to upload your newly minted content to YouTube where it will stay there forever. It will stay forever to promote the content, speaker, and event.

Just to give you an idea of what LA Data Platform and SQL Saturday in Los Angeles video stats are looking like.

Fig #2 – YouTube numbers

Live streaming your Virtual User Group meeting!

Introduction

January 19, 2022, marked the day of LA Data Platform User Group’s first (and also first successful) attempt to enhance the MS Teams environment by opening up our user group meeting to a broader audience. This blog post explains how to add a Facebook Live (live stream) option to your existing MS Teams set up.

Problem

While MS Teams provides a great way to run virtual meetings, it is limited in its distribution. Unfortunately, MS Teams is not designed to play well with other distribution platforms (other than itself). MS Teams allows people with a meeting hyperlink to join using either a desktop app (full experience) and/or a web browser (limited experience). Both of those options keep users locked into a Microsoft ecosystem, but what if you wanted to invite users beyond Microsoft?

The main problem is how Teams handles Real-Time Messaging Protocol (“RTMP”). RTMP is the standard protocol that allows Teams to send A/V data to the server. Unfortunately, as of now, Microsoft does not expose any server details. This is where OBS Studio and Restream.io come in to bridge this gap.

Solution

Introducing Restream.IO (freemium) and OBS Studio (free). Both tools allow our User Group to escape the MS Teams “bubble” and to live stream our session to Facebook Live (and more social media channels in the future). In nutshell, we will use OBS to stream MS Teams while using Restream to connect OBS stream to Facebook.

Restream.io – Restream allows you to broadcast live content to 30+ social media channels (free tier is limited to 2 social media channels).

You would need to visit https://restream.io/, create an account, and set up your feed destinations (social media channels). Hit Add Destination button and proceed to your selected social media channel. In our case, we added the LA Data Platform Facebook account.

Fig #1 – Setup destinations

OBS Studio – free and open-source software for video recording and live streaming. Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Download it from here – https://obsproject.com.

While the main purpose of OBS Studio is to help record content, we are going to use it to capture screen/audio and stream it in real-time to restream.io services. Essentially, we are using OBS capture and stream MS Teams window (see Fig #2).

Fig #2 – OBS Studio Screen capture

To make OBS Studio work, you would need to decide on the display capture and set up the streaming.

Under OBS Studio sources, you will find Display Capture that allows you to select the Display that is going to be captured (see Fig #3).

Fig #3 – Source setup

Click on Settings, then Stream, and choose Restream.io service from a drop-down (see Fig #4).

Fig #4 – Stream setup

Now, click on the Get Stream Key button which would lead you to the restream.io website to copy Stream Key (see Fig #5) which you would need to type/paste to a Stream Key textbox.

Fig #5 – Restream.io Stream Key

If you did everything correctly, you are all set now (see Fig #6).

Fig #6 – Restream account connected

Summary

To conclude, what did we gain from Facebook Live? Despite the fact that we didn’t gain any immediate Facebook likes/follows, our Facebook Group got much more visibility now in form of # people reached and # engagements. Here is what our User Group January 2022 session live stream looked like on Facebook (see Fig #7).

Fig #7 – Facebook Live

Disclaimer

This blog post is partially based on the following resources:

https://www.dacast.com/blog/rtmp-real-time-messaging-protocol/

https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-teams-is-getting-rtmp-support-for-streaming-large-meetings-on-other-platforms

LA Data Platform 2022 schedule

Announcing Los Angeles Data Platform User Group 2022 schedule:

FEB 16, 2022 – How I Cut My Maintenance Plans by 80% by Paresh Motiwala

MAR 16, 2022 – Paginated Reporting: Jaspersoft versus SSRS by Eugene Meidinger

APR 20, 2022 – DevOps Your Databases by Paul Hunter

MAY 18, 2022 – Build a blog worth reading by Blythe Morrow

JUN 15, 2022 – AWS RDS SQL Server Security by Sudarshan Roy

JUL 20, 2022 – Managing HADR with DBA Tools by Frank Gill

AUG 2022 – Change Management with Change Tracking and Temporary Tables by Tim Mitchell

SEP 21, 2022 – Reusable Notebooks for DBA’s and Developers by Deepthi Goguri

OCT 19, 2022 – Tame Your Unruly Data With Constraints by Rob Volk

NOV 16, 2022 – Modernize your Data wrangling approach for Datalakes by Dan King

DEC 21, 2022 – Analyse your Power BI Refresh by Phil Seamark

Hello MailerLite and Goodbye Moosend

After enjoying a 6+ months of free forever service by MooSend, the new owner (SiteCore) decided to remove that option (see Fig #1). We are back to MailerLite. Luckily for us, we were familiar with MailerLite, didn’t close our account and still familiar with the interface. This blog post is going to cover all the needed changes to go from MooSend to MailerLite.

Fig #1 – 30-day “eviction” letter

Moving email platform is nothing new to us (this is our 4th move), but here is what it takes to move between the platforms. If this is your first-time, you need to allocate somewhere between 30 to 120 minutes.

You can move to your new email marketing platforms in 5 easy steps:

  1. Email List – copy list with all the email addressees
  2. Email campaigns – copy HTML-based email newsletters
  3. Signup form – create a new hyperlink to allow people to subscribe your contact list
  4. DNS records – adjust MX setting to improve email deliverability
  5. Test email campaigns sending it to test accounts

Email List

Export contacts from MooSend (see Fig #2), downloaded the list, and imported that list into MailerLite (see Fig #3).

Fig #2 – MooSend
Fig #3 – MailerLite

Email campaigns

Recreate email campaigns and since MailerLite doesn’t allow custom-HTML option with a free account, we just recreated all the building blocks to match as best as we can our current 5 email campaigns and most importantly copied over all the unique images used in email campaigns (Fig #4).

Fig #4 – Rebuilding email campaign from MooSend to Mailerlite

Signup form

Create a new form to allow people to subscribe by adding their email address to a main email list (Fig #5)

Fig #5 – Recreating sign from MooSend to Mailerlite

DNS records

Follow instruction on MailerLite and make adjustments to you web site DNS records. You would need to add/update your MX, TXT, and CNAME records prior to getting everything green (Fig #6).

Fig #6 -DKIM/SPF approved

Enjoy your new email marketing platform – MailerLite.

Welcome aboard to 2 new members

Introducing 2 new team members. Welcome Thimantha Vidanagamage and welcome Brodie Brickey.

We would like to welcome 2 new members to the Data Driven Technologies, Inc Team:

Thimantha – Thimantha helped us to deliver the first ever LA Data Platform User Group meeting that was live streamed to the world outside of MS Teams. During our 2022 January User Group meeting, we added a live stream to Facebook Live (using OBS Studio, Restream.io, and Facebook) in addition to running our meeting using MS Teams.

Brodie – Brodie volunteered and helped us to successfully deliver 3 SQL Saturday in Los Angeles events. During 2021 SQL Saturday in Los Angeles event, Brodie stepped up and took over building a schedule and session abstract moderation (using Sessionize).

Thimantha Vidanagamage
Thimantha Vidanagamage

Thimantha is Data & AI Consultant, Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist – Azure AI Engineer – Data Analyst. He will help us craft our video content strategy and take our digital content to a new level.

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/thimanthav/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/thimanthav

Brodie Brickey

Brodie is Data Solutions Architect and Consultant at Eagle Peak Group. He will help us to curate everything session related – session abstracts, speaker bio, and slide decks.

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brodie-brickey/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/BrodieBrickey

Retrospective on Virtual 2021 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event

It’s been over 2 months now after our second virtual event and it’s time to talk about how it all happened. This LinkedIn article is going to talk about our original plan, the demise of PASS and replacement tools, some 2021 stats, and what worked well.

Our goal was to “rinse and repeat” our first 2020 virtual event:

  • 300-400 remote attendees
  • 30 speakers/sessions (5 rooms x 6 session)
  • 5-10 sponsors
  • Rely on our battle-proven experience from 2020 event to deliver the 2021 event
  • Use PASS/SQL Saturday infrastructure

Running a PASS-free virtual event

Back in 2020, we had to adjust from in-person to delivering a virtual event. To deliver our 1st virtual event, we were using GoToWebinar software licenses (provided by PASS) to deliver virtual event as well as sqlsaturday.com to market event for attendees, speakers, and sponsors. As early as November 2020, we started to see the likelihood of PASS eventual demise. Needless to say, we started to explore alternatives. Luckily, as a non-profit we already had most of the tools. We had enough available licenses for MS Teams via Microsoft for Non-profit program as well as our own WordPress web site.

Here are the tools that we used to replace tools previously provided by PASS:

  • Event delivery platform – replaced 5 x GoToWebinar licenses that we were provided by PASS in 2020 with 5 x MS Teams licenses (we created 5 new generic users in our Office tenant with proper licensing)
  • Attendee registration – replaced sqlsaturday.com event page with Eventbrite
  • Sponsor registration – replaced sqlsaturday.com sponsor web page with a combination of blog post on datadriventechnologies.org web site to list all available sponsorship tiers, Microsoft Form to enable sponsor sign up, and PayPal invoicing to collect fees (we are working on automating it with Power Automate)
  • Speaker registration/schedule/session management – replaced sqlsaturday.com schedule section with sessionize.com
  • Event listing – initially replaced sqlsaturday.com with datasaturdays.com that was eventually replaced with a new sqlsaturday.com (fully owned now by SQL Saturday Incorporated)
  • Event/session feedback – replaced sqlsaturday.com feedback section with a custom Microsoft Form + QR code
  • Event raffle – replaced sqlsaturday.com SpeedPASS with a custom Microsoft Form + QR code and Microsoft Office Excel
  • Volunteer registration – replaced sqlsaturday.com volunteer section with a custom Microsoft Form
  • Email marketing – replaced sqlsaturday.com message system (it was quite awful to begin with) with Sender.net Email Marketing Platform
  • Evaluated different MS Teams offering – Meeting, Webinar, and Live Event

Event stats:

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  • 300-400 actual attendees

What worked great

  • 5 MS Teams meetings (8 hours long) to cover 5 tracks/virtual rooms
  • Dedicated 1 host per 1 virtual room
  • Scheduled meetings for all hosts to test-drive MS Teams Meeting functionality
  • Scheduled meetings with speakers 2 days prior to the event to practice transferring control and sharing the screen using MS Teams
  • Created tinyurl.com links for each virtual room to hide MS Teams long URLs to provide convenience for attendees to switch between rooms (example: https://tinyurl.com/2021datasqlsatla-vmware)
  • Ran a Virtual raffle via Microsoft Forms + QR code (less than 200 attendees signed up for that) – we will definitely use it once we go back to an in-person event
  • Administered prize distribution after the event – we had 5 e-gift cards to deliver as well as 5-10 hard-paper books and other swag to USPS
  • Speaker gifts – still working on it
  • Scheduled reminders for all the speakers about exact timing of their sessions
  • Kept constant communication vie email with speakers to prevent no-show
  • Utilized a free-tier (all the features with a 15,000 emails a month limit) Sender.net Email Marketing Platform to send 8 email campaigns (welcome, raffle, schedule, to attend or not to attend, how to connect, message from sponsor, thank you for attending, recorded session)
  • Created and utilized a WhatsApp Messenger group for a internal communication between team members
  • Provided double opt-in for speaker content recording – we asked before and after recording (all the speakers agreed to be recorded)
  • Each host sent an email to all his/her room speakers to introduce himself/herself as well as to share an event playbook that included all the nitty-gritty details
  • Setup a 5-pages long PPT template to present event information by each host before each session (additionally, we used MS Teams Power Point Live feature to allow attendees to navigate to sessions/sponsors using hyperlinks)
  • Introduced LinkTree to maintain all links in one place – https://linktr.ee/sqlsatla 
  • Produced promotional (3) and recorded (20+) videos for our YouTube channel