Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi
 


Monday, November 26, 2007

Cross-Media Publishing: Create DVD Slide Shows, Videos And Print Photo Books With One True Media

Cross-media publishing is the ability to publish content across multiple media like the Web, printed books, video, slide shows and more. A new web-based platform provides all you need to assemble fancy multimedia slide shows with audio and music while providing you with all the facilities needed to publishing your creations to a variety of media at the click of a button.

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If you want to create impressive slide shows, video montages, photo books, DVDs and more besides from your regular photos and video files, One True Media has a range of cross-media publishing features that have little or no competition.

There are certainly no shortage of online services that will help you to transform your run-of-the-mill images and videos into great-looking motion presentations and animated slide shows. Just looking at some of the websites reviewed in the last year at Master New Media, Scrapblog, Vuvox, Flektor and Animoto stand out as contenders in this field.

One True Media stands out as a slightly different proposition to these other excellent services, however, on the grounds of not only making it easy for you to create visually stunning slideshows, video mashups and photo books, but also of providing true cross-media publishing functionalities allowing you to output your multimedia contentas into a variety of distributable media formats.

Whether you want to share your creations on the web on your Facebook profile or blog, or as a glossy coffee table book, DVD, or even TiVo show to share with your friends, One True Media has an impressive range of functionalities to get your media out there.

Furthermore, One True Media lets you upload your images or videos, apply themes and transitions to them, and then transfer them easily across from one format to another. You might start by creating a slideshow, and then save your work also as a video montage and photo book without having to make any major changes in the process. This flexibility strikes me as a very welcome feature, and one that might be useful to anyone looking to start publishing across multimedia media.

In my review of the service, I took a look at:

  • Importing- The range of media types you can bring into One True Media
  • Editing - The variety of effects, editing tools and free and premium styles you can apply to your media
  • Sharing - The range of sharing options available, from embedded video players to mugs, calendars and glossy photo books
  • Premium Extras - The value-added content available to users for one-time, monthly or annual fees

 

One True Media Overview

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One True Media has been around for a couple of years now, but recently received a radical new makeover. The all new service provides what is fast becoming an excellent end-to-end solution for bringing your media content in from a number of on and off-line locations, easily editing and remixing them into multiple visual formats, and then sharing them with more ways than you could begin to imagine.

The core of the service is on its three most popular media creation options - video montages, photo books, and slide shows.

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Video montages let you quickly take either your photos, videos or a combination of the two and remix them into professional looking motion presentations, replete with well-designed motion graphic elements.

You simply choose from a selection of animated templates, apply them to your videos or photos, and fine-tune as much as you feel comfortable - including the ability to edit your video, crop and resize your photos, and even bring in your own soundtrack - and you have a polished finished product.

What's especially cool is that as soon as you have finished up your video montage, you can quickly save the same data and transform it into a slide show, or move on to a digital or hard copy photo book.

Add to the option to create your own TiVo channel, burn custom designed DVDs, print T-shirts, calendars, mugs and all kinds of other merchandise, or just share your masterpiece on the web, and you have a very versatile browser-based application well worth taking a look at.



Bringing In Your Media

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When you begin a project you'll see that there are a variety of ways that you can bring your existing photos and videos into One True Media.

In addition to being able to directly upload files from your desktop, you can also:

  • Use existing files previously uploaded into your One True Media account
  • Import your Flickr-hosted photos directly from your account
  • Import your Photobucket-hosted photos from your account
  • Point at a URL for images you already have stored online
  • Use stock content from a good range of free images supplied by One True Media

This is a painless and bug-free experience, but you should bear in mind that with a basic free account there are limitations as to how much you can upload in a given month. This is capped at 100MB per month, which is a relative small amount of data storage for photos, and especially if you plan on using video. Luckily, the One True Media premium account is quite reasonably priced - more on this below - and offers unlimited upload and download capabilities.



Supported media files

One True Media manages to support a decent cross section of the most popular media sharing formats. Video is well-covered, as is audio, and it's only images that are slightly limited, given that only the JPEG format is accepted. Still, as this is perhaps the most popular format for sharing photos on the web, it isn't terribly limiting.

The full range of media you can import into One True Media are as follows:



Editing and Enhancing Your Media

Once you've brought your desired media in to One True Media, you can set about creating your slide show, video montage or photo book. The process for doing so is reasonably similar between the formats, and you can easily switch between the formats at any point. This makes it very easy to put together a video, and then turn the same content easily into a book or slide show, for instance.

From the very beginning, you'll see a preview of your photos or video inserted into the default template and ready to play, and it's possible to stop right there. However, given that there are a vast number of style templates to apply, it's well worth exploring the options available to you.

By far the easiest option is the application of one of several great-looking preset styles. These styles supply you with a musical soundtrack, great looking motion graphic transitions, and a unique animated look for your montage.

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There are a good range of options available to you for a variety of moods and occasions, and the vast majority of the styles available are free to use. Further to this selection, which you can explore by category, there are additional premium styles that you can make use of, either by becoming a premium member, or paying on a one-off basis for a particular style, at $2.99 per style.

While some of the styles will definitely appeal more to the younger crowd, there are many that could very well add some much-needed sparkle to your existing photos, presentation or home movies.

Each style comes complete with its own set of transitions, applied between your videos or images. What's great is that you aren't stuck with the default settings, and can actually click on a "transitions" tab to apply whichever transition styles you like to individual images, or your whole set.

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There's a vast selection of these transitions on offer, arranged in menus according to the theme you are using. They range from simple dissolves and fades, to more complex, ornamental wipes and other transitions, and offer every bit as much scope as a desktop video editing application.

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Going beyond transitions you can also add some nice looking effects to your images or videos, mostly in the form of animated image overlays that spice up the look of a given photo but placing it within an animated context. Again, the quality of these effects is high, and it's evident that One True Media has invested in some skilled motion graphics professionals to put these together.

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Thrills and spills aside One True Media also makes it very easy to edit your video. If you choose to clip your video footage, all you need to do is take a look a a filmstrip of thumbnail images, and add a start or end point wherever you like, trimming your movie down to size. Even if you've never used video editing software before in your life, this makes for a very intuitive approach.

If you're working with photos or images, it's even easier to make changes. You can resize and rotate any image you like, and decide how long you would like it to appear on screen, from a quick couple of seconds, to a longer shot.

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You also have the option of applying a particular effect to each images, such as a pan from left to right, a zoom in or zoom out, for that "Ken Burns effect" made so easy in iMovie.

Sequencing your images is as easy as dragging and dropping them left and right along a film strip, until you're happy at the order that they play in. Once you have that decided, you can apply the same effects and styles to your photos as you would to your video files.

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Given that you can decide the exact timing of your photos or videos, and apply transitions between them, One True Media could quite feasibly be used to create presentations. If you consider that it is also possible to bring in your own soundtrack, if you don't want to use the extensive music library on offer, it makes sense that you could import your voice recording track, and then arrange your videos and photo slides timed to your speech.

Limitations on data storage aside, I could see no limit on how large or long a montage or slide show is.

Furthermore you can also add in text caption slides, which compounds this capability to create cogent presentations with One True Media. In the basic, free version you are limited to clean white text on a black ground. A premium feature allows you to change a number of options, such as font size and color.

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Your presentation will be assigned a default soundtrack that matches the style template you choose, but it is possible as I have mentioned, to either import your own audio track or select from a a well-populated library of music files.

The music on offer is arranged by category, and there are a good number of styles on offer. Once you've uploaded or decided on your music selection, it's also possible, as is the case with video, to trim your music track down to fit the running time of your video or slide show.

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One thing missing in video sharing services like YouTube is the ability to choose a thumbnail image from anywhere in your presentation to represent it if you choose to share your slide show or video montage publicly. This is a nice feature, and one that some players allow for - blip.tv, Brightcove and Veoh spring to mind - while others don't.

Finally creating a photo book is perhaps even easier than montages and slide shows. Here you simply choose a soft back or hard back design for your book, make adjustments to layout from drop-down menu of options, add captions, and then choose either to have your book created and sent out to you, or else publish it in digital format directly to the web.

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The layouts on offer are quite impressive, and it's great that everything is taken care of you almost instantly. You don't even need to drag and drop your images - they appear in the book automatically and let you make granular changes as necessary.

In sum this makes for a nice range of options to take the same couple of videos or series of photos, and quickly transform them into three distinct media products in the space of a few minutes. Given that you can then go on to use the same content to produce a variety of merchandise, and it becomes apparent that One True Media has a lot of possible use case scenarios up its sleeve.



Sharing Your Media

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It's certainly very easy to create media with One True Media, even as an absolute novice to video and photo editing, but in my humble opinion what makes One True Media stand out from its competition at this point in time is the variety of ways that you can take your media elsewhere when you have finished creating it. This is what is officially called as cross-media publishing.

A lot of similar services do just as well in the content creation stakes, but ultimately limit your sharing options to embedding your presentation in a blog or social network profile. One True Media allows you to do both of these things, but then goes a step further.

It's worth noting that a lot of the extended sharing features in One True Media involve you paying something, but I don't see this as an issue at all, but rather a smart business model.

So, for instance, you can choose to create a DVD, with your own choice of custom cover, from the content you produce, or purchase for a small fee an iPod optimized video. As I've mentioned, you can also create soft and hardcover photo books from your One True Media projects, and it's even possible (for a fee, or for premium members) to create your own TiVo channel for sharing your files.

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Add to this the ability to embed your media directly into your MySpace, Facebook or a number of other social network profiles, share it by email, post it directly to YouTube or your TypePad blog, and even send it to a mobile phone and you'll see that One True Media has done a great job of keeping one vital point in mind where others have failed: people want to access their media on a number of devices and in a number of different circumstances. Other similar services could learn a lot from this model.

Of course One True Media also offers its own gallery where users can come and check each other's content out, and leave comments, so this diversity of sharing options isn't at the cost of more traditionally "web 2.0" features.

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I'm impressed by how smart this approach is though, and believe that we are going to be seeing a lot more companies replicating the on- and off-line sharing features evident here. As an end-user I'd like the option to share my media not only with my early adopter geek friends, but with friends less involved in the tech world, or older relatives who are happy with a DVD but wouldn't know where to start when it comes to checking out a Flickr set. One True Media is one of the few such companies to deliver on this front, and that's commendable stuff.

One True Media also goes a step further in another business-savvy move - they have partnered up with Qoop, a company that turns digital content into real world products, rather like CafePress and similar services.

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This means that you aren't limited to just DVDs and photo books, but can feasibly turn your media into just about anything - from calendars and T-shirts to posters and stickers.

This is a smart move on the part of One True Media, and will further extend the end-to-end features that they offer their end-users. I can see this being as much use to small businesses as it is to individuals, and love the idea of this well thought through partnership.



Premium Features and Pricing

One True Media wears its business model on its sleeve, which is quite a refreshing change from a lot of venture capital backed companies that seem to be lacking any sensible way of recouping the money ploughed into them. As a user this means that there are times when I wished certain things were free - as I've been conditioned to by the current landscape - but I actually think that One True Media has managed to find a good balance between free and premium content - the "freemium" model.

This basically means that throughout my use of One True Media I find premium extras alongside free content. Certain style templates cost me a few dollars, for instance, as do extended editing features that I may or may not want to make use of.

Beyond these little extras, obviously there are also the options available for me to buy various print and hard copy media relating to the digital content I produce, alongside the extended range of merchandise offered via the Qoop partnership.

The only major limitation to the free version is the 100MB cap on my uploading each month, which is lifted entirely and becomes unlimited if I sign up for a premium account. While this isn't such a huge amount of storage, I think it is enough to cater to the casual user. Those that intend to use One True Media on a daily or more regular basis are being asked to pay a little for the privilege, and that seems fair to me.

You can see below a matrix of the major differences between free and premium accounts:

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Examples

To illustrate how easy it is to do cross-media publishing with your images and to transform your media into very different presentations, I took four images of Robin Good, uploaded them to One True Media, and saved them in the three different formats available. As you'll see, there is quite a considerable difference between the three offerings, but the changes I made from one version to another only took a matter of a minute or two.



Video Montage

I started by arraning the photos into this video montage, adding a default style and transitions. The results make use of a "news at ten" template to display the pictures:


Photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.com



Slide Show

I then saved the media project as a slide show, and chose the defauly mosaic effect as my template. Here are the results:


Free MySpace slideshows, photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.com



Photo Book

Finally, I created a photo book by choosing a particular style. It's great that I can create this book, play with the layouts (the one's you can see are default settings) and share the book not only in hard copy form, but also as a digital interactive book on my website, like the one below:


Create a slideshow at www.OneTrueMedia.com



Review Summary

One True Media provides a true cross-media publishing solution for your slide shows as well as simple end-to-end solution for quickly importing your images, videos and music, arranging them into a variety of formats - video montages, photo books and slide show DVDs.

You begin by bringing in your images, video or sound files, and from there can quickly edit, stylize and transform them into impressive visual presentations. Once you've chosen from the vast range of styles and templates on offer, you can publish right away, or get stuck into some advanced customization features, such as setting clip-by-clip effects, overlays and transitions. This is incredibly easy, and doesn't take more than a minute to get to grips with.

After that you can publish the results to the web as an embedded video player or slideshow, share them on your social network profile, or create any number of hard copy spin-offs, ranging from photo books, to calendars, mugs and custom-designed DVDs.

So while One True Media will primarily be used for fun, I think that it also has possible business uses, given that the degree of control over how your media is styled is so exact, and the fact that it is incredibly easy to create a whole range of motion and print media from a single set of files.

Premium extras include a much greater amount of styles and templates to use, along with unlimited upload and download features and other trimmings, such as the ability to publish a certain number of your media creations to your very own TiVo channel.

In short One True Media is great fun to use, and produces some very impressive results, whether for publishing to the web, or sharing on DVD, print or merchandising. If you're looking for an easy way to do cross-media publishing with your slide shows and to take your slightly tired looking videos and photos, and transform them into high impact visual media, One True Media is well worth checking out.



Additional Resources

If you'd like to learn more about One True Media, you might want to take a look at the following links:




Originally written by Michael Pick for Master New Media and titled "Cross-Media Publishing: Create Slide Shows, Video Montages, Photo Books And More With One True Media"

 
 
 
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posted by Michael Pick on Monday, November 26 2007, updated on Friday, February 26 2010


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