If you want to remix and mashup your own media with licensed content from top branded sources, and monetize the resulting rich-media presentations, you need look no further.
The key defining feature of all of these tools is the ability to take your existing media - whether from your hard drive or existing web services like Flickr or YouTube - and blend them together into new combined presentations.
These final presentations can then be embedded into your blog, website or social networking service profile, letting your friends or users check out a range of your work from a single easy-to-use player.
Furthermore, your widget player can include a mini-store in a similar style to Chitika MiniMalls, giving you the chance to monetize your content through affiliate sales of the licensed content featured in your mashup.
MixerCast offers a rich range of media remixing tools, the ability to import content from an impressive kine-up of sources, and a growing library of professionally produced content that you can use to enhance your work, whether with images, music or even video.
You are given two options as to how you wish to create your web-embeddable media mashups.
The first option is a very straightforward wizard that will guide you step by step through the process of uploading, selecting and recording your content and arranging it within a range of templates. Templates come in standard player, banner and panoramic formats, giving you a good amount of freedom to choose how your widget will look and fit into your website or blog.
Second is the more complex MixerCast Designer, which adds a greater degree of hands-on control to the editing and remixing process.
MixerCast offers a good range of content types for you to work with. In terms of your own content, you can bring in images, music and video from the following web-based sources:
Forthcoming support is also promised for:
Considering the fact that MixerCast is still in Alpha release, it has covered the most important bases well to begin with. In addition to these web services, it is also possible to bring in media directly from your own computer, or record video directly from your webcam. MixerCast supports the following formats:
Further to this line-up, which covers most bases, there are also a range of widgets that can be used that will bring in content from services including the web-app of the moment Twitter, and the ability to place Media RSS feeds right into your presentation layouts.
Then of course is one of MixerCast central features, the inclusion of professionally created, fully licensed images, music and video content that you can mix right into your mashup presentations.
By far the most impressive feature here is the content provided by Muze Music, as there are literally thousands of licensed tracks in just about every musical genre imaginable, ready to be plugged right into your presentation.
The photo coverage so far is a bit less comprehensive, with a reasonably limited selection of offerings currently available through Getty Images and a nature and wildlife collection. Hopefully as the platform comes out of alpha these libraries will be expanding, as I see the inclusion of licensed media to be a key selling point for MixerCast and one that really distinguishes it from the competition.
The forthcoming Muze Video collection should make for an impressive addition to the MixerCast line-up.
What's nice about the inclusion of these media, apart from the obvious benefits of being able to use high-quality music and images for your mashups, is the the ability to generate affiliate revenue from the discrete shopping cart built into the MixerCast widgets. If you place a killer track as the background music of your mashup, for instance, you could stand to make a small kickback from the sale of that music via one of the MixerCast affiliate retailers.
MixerCast gives you plenty of options when it comes to content, then, and also presents you with two different ways to set about remixing it. Both are based on pre-designed templates into which you add your media.
The first option is to make use of the MixerCast Wizard, the quicker and simpler of the two editing approaches.
You begin by choosing from one of around thirty available templates, which are similar to those you might find on desktop applications like iDVD. Templates comprise of backgrounds and animated foreground elements that act as frames for your content. As you drop your content into these frames, the templates become personalized. They come in three predefined sizes: a standard player (500 x 375), banner (728 x 90) and a larger 'panoramic view' (667 x 375).
The selection on offer has been well designed, and will cover most uses and occasions. As screen media are obviously the emphasis of the application, many of the templates provide framing devices such as a laptop computer, a scrapbook or a series of Polaroid photos into which you can insert your own images and videos.
Adding your media with the wizard is a very speedy way to put your templatized mashup together. If you want to take a little bit more control over the overall look and additional content types available, there is a more complex application that will let you make more precision tweaks to your design.
Working with the fuller-featured Designer starts out in the same way as the Wizard, by selecting the size of the presentation and the template you plan to use. Things change rapidly from there though as you launch the more complex editing application.
Using this application, which launches into a new full-screen window you can really get down to customizing the look and feel of your presentation, from the ability to change the background image, to the option of grabbing your media files and resizing, repositioning and rotating them on the screen.
Various features allow you to make both minor changes, like altering the hue and saturation of your images, and major additions, such as a Meebo instant messenger or Twitter badge that you can drag and position on your 'canvas'.
The strong supply of internal widgets make creating your own truly custom arrangements easy, and it possible in a very short space of time to transform your initial template beyond all recognition, with the ability to work from a blank canvas available if you prefer to start from scratch.
Significantly, you can also bring in content via Media RSS, which gives you the chance to have your videos, for instance, constantly update to the latest in a series within your MixerCast player without you having to manually replace the content.
Here is a quick example of a standard-sized player. In addition to the banner and panoramic views it is also quite possible to manually change the sizes of the MixerCast widget to suit your needs, by editing the embed code. The MixerCast blog gives you full instructions on how to do it.
Once you have completed your mashup there are a number of ways that you can share it. As you would expect, MixerCast widgets can be embedded in most websites, blogs and SNS with a simple copy-and-paste of a few lines of code.
Furthermore, you can invite friends by email to view the hosted version of your mashup directly from the MixerCast website. MixerCast features a gallery and the usual array of 'latest', 'featured' and 'most popular' presentations, making it easy to track down the kind of content you are looking for much as you might over at YouTube.
A nice addition to these standard features is the ability to create your own remix of other users' MixerCasts. In a similar style to the popular video remixing sites EyeSpot and JumpCut, MixerCast users can create new mashups from those created by community members. The original is copied, so remains unharmed, and should the original user delete any media from the source MixerCast, it will also become absent in any remixed versions. Nevertheless, this is a nice addition to MixerCast well-rounded feature-set.
MixerCast offers a great way to remix your own media with professionally produced video, music and images, and this is one of its chief differentiators.
That isn't to say that the comprehensive feature-set of the service lags in anyway behind its numerous competitors, however, but rather that this key feature seems unique to the platform at the time of writing. MixerCast has an impressive range of editing and remixing tricks and tools up its sleeve, and gives you the option of creating your multimedia mashups using either a simple wizard or a more in-depth content editing application.
Thanks to its links to professionally produced media - including a really nice catalogue of recorded music that spans from Miles Davis to J. S. Bach - it is possible to create not only great looking, well-soundtracked presentations, but also to add monetization into the mix. Including licensed work within your presentation will give users the option of purchasing said content from an affiliate destination. Sales made through your widget are compensated, with a split of revenues carved up between the license holder, MixerCast and yourself.
While this is unlikely to make you rich, inspired use of licensed content within your highly portable, widgetized presentation could well supply another revenue stream to your existing blogging income sources.
If you are looking for a well-designed way to create rich-media mashups that incorporate your existing web media, top-quality licensed content and a range of advanced features, such as Twitter , Meebo and Media RSS integration, MixerCast might well be worth taking the time to check out.
If you would like to learn more about MixerCast you might want to check out the following links:
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Originally written by Michael Pick for Master New Media and originally published as: "Remix, Mash Up And Monetize Your Media With Licensed Content: MixerCast