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

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

Communicate using freemium tools

The Communication Team at the Data Driven Technologies is using the following freemium services to keep LA Data Platform User Group and SQL Saturday in Los Angeles relevant on social media. We choose those tools primarily due to their price and ease of use.

sender

To send all our email campaigns, we use a combination of Moosend MailerLite and Sender.

MailerLite.com is a freemium service (completely free under 1000 email contacts with less than 12,000 emails a month) to schedule and compose email newsletters. We use it to communicate with Los Angeles Data Platform User Group members. It’s more important for us to constantly engage our core User Group members, so we stay under 1,000 subscribers while sending as much volume of emails as possible. We send over 10+ scheduled email campaigns every month which translates into close to less than 12,000 emails monthly, so with MailerLite we can achieve email volume for free. Sender.net is a freemium service (free with 15,000 emails monthly limit) to schedule and compose email newsletters. We use it to communicate with 1.5K+ SQL Saturday in Los Angeles members. We send about 5-6 scheduled email campaigns for 3-4 months prior to an event in June and 2-3 campaigns after the event, so we want a limitless contact list while we can compromise on a total monthly volume of emails.

To manage social media posts, we use a combination of Buffer (free with 3 social media channels and 10 scheduled posts) and Planoly (free with 2 social media channels and photos only). Buffer.com is a freemium service to schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more while Planoly.com is a freemium service to schedule posts to Instagram and Pinterest. We have 2 separate accounts (one for LA Data Platform User Group and one for SQL Saturday in Los Angeles) to avoid hitting the free account limits too early.

Image result for linktree logo
linktree

Another great freemium service (a free account is more than enough) that we are using is Linktree.com. Linktree.com manages all our digital touchpoints in one single place as well as collects views/clicks statistics. We keep all the essential links for both LA Data Platform User Group and SQL Saturday in Los Angeles members and use 2 separate accounts for each.

Image result for databox logo
databox

Many sponsors are asking us for the audience numbers to make decisions, so we need an easy way to communicate those trends and numbers. This is where we found a handy Databox.com freemium service (free with 3 social media sources limit). Databox.com makes dashboards to highlight different social media KPIs. We have one account for each: LA Data Platform and SQL Saturday in LA.

Image result for tweetdeck.twitter.com logo
Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck.twitter.com is a completely free solution (TweetDeck is owned by Twitter) to manage and organize multiple Twitter accounts. We occasionally use it to like, retweet, mention, and participate in interesting topics from @LASQLBootCamp, @LADataPlatform, and @SQLSatLA Twitter accounts.

mxtoolbox.com

mxtoolbox.com is a freemium monitoring service for your MX records to check on your email deliverability. We use it to check on our LA Data Platform and SQL Sat LA email campaigns.

uptime robot

https://uptimerobot.com is a freemium monitoring service for your HTTPS, website. We use it to check on our web site up-time.

Just Do It! Keep your local community vibrant and relevant! Virtual event is better than no event at all!

Introduction

What keeps your local tech community gatherings (User Group, SQL Saturday, and others) is you, your team, and your events. What might be obvious to some, might not obvious to all – having no events, no activities in your tech community will erode the foundation of your community and will lead to its demise.

Yes, we all agree that 2020 and 2021 have completely changed the game of running community events with many mature in-person events downsizing or completely closing its doors due to COVID and the local regulations that came with it. At the same time, is not to say that you can’t run events. If your local regulations are preventing you from running an in-person event, just run a virtual event, at least for the time being. And while virtual events are not a full replacement for in-person (primarily due to completely missing out on the networking aspect), it’s still way better than no event at all.

Problem

While the cost of virtual event is close to none and it requires less preparation, it’s does require new skills. Running a virtual event is very different than in-person, but it also much easier than in-person event. So, what do you to go from organizing in-person event to a virtual event?

Solution

For your user group monthly meeting, all you need is you (and maybe a backup person just in case), catch all tech support email account, tools to organize the event (Eventbrite.com), some marketing campaigns to promote the meeting, and some experience (and patience for few hours) with Zoom/MS Teams/other remote meeting software of your choice. If you want to go fancy, some familiarity with TechSmith Camtasia and YouTube would be needed to record and share recorded session.

If this is going to be a full day event with multiple rooms like a SQL Saturday event, you would need a great team of volunteers, catch all tech support email account, tools to organize the event (Eventbrite.com/SQLSaturday.com/Sessionize.com/and few custom Microsoft Forms), well thought through marketing campaign to promote the event and decent familiarity with software to run a long remote meeting. If you want to go fancy, some familiarity with TechSmith Camtasia and YouTube would be needed to record and share recorded sessions.

Great Team

You would need a team of really dedicated volunteers to moderate virtual rooms, preferably one volunteer dedicated per each virtual room for 8 hours.

Marketing

You need to involve email marketing, social media, but more importantly you need to reach out to organizers of similar events to help you out reaching out wider audience.

Consider adding Meetup to your marketing toolbelt. Please reach out to ms-data at microsoft.com to join Azure Data Tech Groups and get your Meetup cost comped by Microsoft.

Remote meeting software

Here you need to decide on Zoom, MS Teams or something else, get comfortable with it, have few dry runs with volunteers and speakers, setup 8 hours long meeting per each virtual room, and pray for it to work flawlessly.

To conclude

The Data Driven Technologies Team is running Los Angeles Data Platform User Group virtually for 2-3 years now. We have also organized and delivered 2 Virtual SQL Saturday in Los Angeles events (2020 and 2021).

If you need help, I am here for you. Let’s me help you with running your virtual event with handholding and guidance. I can help you out with everything your need – technology tools, marketing, speakers, attendees, sponsors, etc…

I want your User Group, SQL Saturday event and more importantly SQL Saturday brand to stay relevant.

Official message about our move to sqlsaturday.com

It has been brought to our attention that there might be some confusion about the status of the 2021 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event and our decision to deactivate our listing on the https://datasaturdays.com/ platform and move it to https://sqlsaturday.com/2021-06-12-sqlsaturday1020/

Originally the 2021 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event was listed on https://datasaturdays.com/, but about a month or so ago we were asked to remove our branding and our logo.  Our branding and our logo are very important to us for sentimental reasons and we decided to list the event on sqlsaturday.com instead.  Everything else stays the same.  The event is still scheduled for June 12th and we will be sending out more details soon. 

If you have any other questions about our move to the sqlsaturday.com platform or its affiliation with Redgate, please reach out to us directly and we will be happy to discuss. 

You are cordially invited to attend 2021 Virtual Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event!

Virtual 2021 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA
 Logo by Janella Payumo and Robert Mizikovsky

You are cordially invited! đŸ˜Ž

We are reaching out to all people that enjoyed SQL Saturday in LA 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 events to let you know that the 2021 event is fast approaching. Only 30+ days remain until the June 12 Virtual Data.SQL.Saturday.LA event.

Please register soon to reserve your spot by using http:// 2021sqlsatla.eventbrite.com http://sqlsatla2021.eventbrite.com/ hyperlink, register using a form below or just use a QR code.

https://linktr.ee/sqlsatla

Eventbrite QR code

Our sponsors

Event Flyer

Choosing a FREE Email marketing service platform to engage your community event members

Introduction

Running community events occasionally is not enough to engage your attendees/members. Unless you are running daily events, you are advised to communicate with your members between the events, as much more as possible. Using Email Marketing Service (EMS) platform is one way to make it happen. This blog post is going to take you on a leaving the MailChimp journey and exploring a few of the alternative Email Marketing Service (“EMS”) platforms that we (organizers of Los Angeles Data Platform User Group and SQL Saturday in Los Angeles event) chose to use as well as few DNS settings to set up to avoid the spam filter.

After years of using MailChimp to keep our members engaged for both the LA Data Platform/SQL Malibu user group (started in 2013) and SQL Saturday events (started in 2017), we’ve finally decided to draw a line and choose something else.

While MailChimp has a great product, the company that became the staple in the world of emails got overly confident and decided to squeeze every dollar. Some of the features that made MailChimp the king of the SOHO market are the ability to schedule posts to Facebook and Twitter, superb email deliverability reports, and an overall great interface. At the same time, some of those features became paid plan-only features. We were enjoying a FREE plan, but over the years MailChimp decided to make it less attractive by pushing some of the previously included features behind the paywall.

It’s started with something minor like making it difficult to BYOH (bring your own HTML code), continued with reduction of the contact list, and finally ended up with making campaign scheduling capabilities only available in paid plans.

Problem

We are a non-profit and trying to enjoy champagne on a beer budget where we can. We prefer to enjoy free services as much as we can. With Mailchimp taking away campaign scheduling, we decided to seriously consider alternatives. We briefly migrated to MailerLite to only discover that sending 12,000 emails a month is not enough for us. If initially, our user group emails were mostly about inviting members to attend user group meetings, in the last couple of months we have added weekly links Friday campaigns which caused us to run out of 12,000 monthly emails quicker and made MailerLite not that attractive any longer. Hitting the 12,000 monthly emails limit for a free plan too soon, effectively brought us back to look further and consider much more forward-looking alternatives that would work for us today and a year from now.

Solution

What are we using today? We reviewed and analyzed all different alternatives here and chose 2 platforms. As of May 2, 2021, we are using Sender.net for SQL Saturday in LA event and MooSend.com MailerLite.com for LA Data Platform.

What are we getting for free from each platform?

Sender – 15,000 monthly emails for a contact list under 2,500 subscribers with all features included.

Moosend – unlimited emails for a contact list under 1,000 subscribers. We can schedule campaigns and we can see open/clicks/problems reporting. As of Feb 2, 2022, we are no longer on Moosend (Moosend is no longer offering a free forever account) and moved to MailerLite which mostly provides the same product for free.

How did we migrate from MailChimp/MailerLite/Moosend?

Migration is a fairly simple process of exporting/importing your contact list and exporting/importing your regular campaigns. What might take you more time is matching every EMS platform dictionary (see Fig 2). What might be also a bit confusing is how to recreate the Signup form, so people can easily subscribe to your mailing list.

Fig #2 – MailChimp’s Audience is MailerLite’s Subscribers is Moosend Mailing lists is Senders subscribers

Like with any EMS platform, you would want to invest some time in setting things up to improve email deliverability beyond the content of your email. You would want to make sure that your DNS is aware of your EMS. Luckily, all major EMS platforms can help with that and would even provide you with instructions on how to fix it.

SPF, DKIM

In a nutshell, you would need to add the following records to improve your email deliverability and avoid the spam filter:

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication method designed to detect forging sender addresses during the delivery of the email.[1] SPF alone, though, is limited to detecting a forged sender claim in the envelope of the email, which is used when the mail gets bounced.[1] Only in combination with DMARC can it be used to detect the forging of the visible sender in emails (email spoofing[2]), a technique often used in phishing and email spam.

DomainKeys / DKIM is an email authentication method designed to detect forged sender addresses in the email (email spoofing), a technique often used in phishing and email spam.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is an email authentication protocol. It is designed to give email domain owners the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing. The purpose and primary outcome of implementing DMARC is to protect a domain from being used in business email compromise attacks, phishing emails, email scams, and other cyber threat activities.

While the 3 settings mentioned above are a great way to ensure your emails are reaching your member’s mailboxes, you would be strongly advised to get a free account with mxtoolbox that would constantly scan your domain records for problems.

Disclaimer

This blog post is partially based on the following resources:

https://tutorialdeep.com/blog/free-mailchimp-alternatives

2021 Data.SQL.Saturday.LA Sponsorship Plan announced

Sponsorship Plan

We appreciate you taking time to consider sponsoring 2021 Data.SQL.Saturday in LA. We have assembled a few sponsorship plans that you can select from. Donations for this event will be used to cover the costs of running the event and the LA Data Platform SQL User Group meetings. The event is put on by the Data Driven Technologies, Inc. a local 501.c.3 non-profit.

Event Overview

The Data.SQL.Saturday is a single day conference that offers data professionals the opportunity to improve their stills and learn about new products while networking with others in their field and connecting with other members of the local Database community and our sponsors.

This event is put together by a group of dedicated Los Angeles database community volunteers and local database user groups as well as volunteer speakers from across the globe. 

Attendance

When the event was held in-person, it used to bring in 300+ attendees.  In 2020 we moved to a virtual event for the first time and had 700+ registrations from all around the world, with 400+ attending the event.

Cost of Sponsorship

This year, sponsorship ranges from Swag Only to $1,000.00, depending on the package you select:

 TierSwagBronzeSilverGold
Amount$0$250$500$1000
Sponsor Logo and URL on the event web site and xxxx
Sponsor Logo and URL included in email campaignsxxxx
Sponsors Logo included in session slidesxxxx
Sponsor Logo included in YouTube videosxxxx
Social Media posts Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagramxxxx
Sponsor Rafflexxxx
Collect Raffle Leadsxxx
Email sent on behalf of a sponsor  xx
Product-focused sponsor session 
(based on availability, first come first serve) 
  xx
Sponsor a virtual room (name a room)
(based on availability, first come first serve) 
  x
Short video advertising embedded in a recorded session
(YouTube video will contain a paid promotion like a product placement, sponsorship, or endorsement)
   x
12-months of LA Data Platform User Group sponsorship   x
Dedicated virtual sponsor rooms (MS Teams breakout)   x
Sponsorship Plan

*To collect and received leads you must participate in the raffle and offer a raffle prize valued at $50.00 or more.

To sponsor please follow this link to fill out the sponsorship form: https://tinyurl.com/3zjp744s.  An invoice will be emailed to you (generated by PayPal) and can be paid by check or credit card. All fees must be paid in advance.

Cancellation Policy

Any cancellation that is caused by us will result in a full refund. It’s really that simple – no event, no expenses, no need for sponsorship money.

Raffle

The raffle registration is used to opt-in for us to share their information with our sponsors.  Remember the raffle prize is your key to success and the better the prize the more leads you will collect.

We will manage the raffle and collect, cleanup and de-dup the data for you and send you the leads after the event.  We will let you know who the winners of the raffle are, and you can send them the prize.  If you prefer that we manage the prize for you, please let us know and we will work on the details.