Friday, 15 May 2015


The Deftones - probably the most original Metal / Alternative band to come out America.
Somehow I don't think she'll be remembered in 2 years let alone 10! R.I.P. B. B. King!
I don't want to hear her cover of the Bee Gees song 'How Deep Is Your Love'.

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s great to see you as always! I hope that all is well with you and that you are winning with your tech projects! What? You are not doing a tech project??? C’mon... What’s wrong with you??? You need a challenge! Come with me...

Technology is a funny old thing... Tech know how = Technology. The Internet has been responsible for many things – including causing business models to adapt and change where possible or they fall by the wayside. One of the things that technology has changed somewhat is a reliance on systems created by others... All too often we give our power away to the next new thing on the Web be it MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and so on! Some of us have stopped being excited at the prospect of creating an online web presence. That’s right! I am waxing on about how many of us have turned away from the dizzy world of Web Design. Read on...

#Incomedia #WebAnimatorPlus #SorensonSqueeze #Multimedia

I would like to use the world of music to illustrate just how bizarre the mentality of the artist / band has become... As a younger man I was searching for the equivalent of my Holy Grail, a recording contract! Suffice to say that I never got one! Hahahaha! I laugh but I am actually very relieved that I didn’t get one as I have had friends who thought themselves fortunate to have gotten a “record deal” only to be dropped unexpectedly.

Along came the Internet and then the advent of the CD-R... The CD-R writer when it was first launched was quite cost prohibitive and when the CD-R Plus & Minus writers became a PC standard we got some great software to enable us artists to make our own CDs. Some of us managed to make a living – not a fortune – selling our original music. Some of us came up with a great way to present a CD-R album i.e. many of us made custom album cases / packaging to sweeten the deal. But the euphoria that came with being truly independent was short lived as the MP3 format hit the scene and with Napster the masses didn’t want to buy music anymore. To be honest I can’t say that I blame people for not wanting to purchase music as a majority of chart music is forgettable. Without Googling Jennifer Lopez, name 3 of her tracks starting from now... See? You had to think about hard!

Apple’s iTunes, in my opinion, and I know that I go on about it a lot, snared the artist / band back into bondage. Jobs decided what a track was worth and I do believe that the iTunes business model doesn’t give a lot of scope to up and coming musicians in terms of royalties, etc. The artist still comes last when it comes to dividing up the costs to make and promote recordings. Further down the line there are outlets such as BandCamp that helps to get up and coming artists / bands music to an audience. So, artists / bands do not have an official website as they rely upon BandCamp, Zimbalam and an assortment of social network accounts. Artists / bands just squander their powers away when they could be selling CDs, CD-Rs, MP3 and merchandise from their very own official website.

It seems to me as though creative people in general are being discouraged from actively participating in their own web design. I think this is wrong! Yes, there are web hosting services that allow their customers to modify website templates but that are not what design is all about! Uh-uh! Me? I would rather see a badly designed website than a modified template as it such sites gives me an idea as to what the people behind them are about.

Once upon a time what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) web design software had a buzz around it as so many people from a non-design background were willing to have a go at designing their own website. Those were the days! Of course there were those that insisted that hand coding a site was the only way to go! Now it seems that the average person on the street has no desire to create a website as Facebook, Twitter, G Plus, YouTube, etc has fulfilled a basic need... A Facebook presence can lead the targeted market to a BandCamp page and so on...

Personally I would love to get you to make your own website! Although I am appealing to musicians in this narrative I wish to appeal to anyone and everyone to get the credit card out and invest in some decent web design and multimedia software...
One of the most important reasons for you to have your own website is to have an outlet whereby you can’t be oppressed. God knows how irritating it is when the social network Mother Hen Brigade tells us:

1. “Stop making friends! You are making too many friends and if you don’t stop making friends we’ll delete your account.” Yeah, right! These people are bluffing as they WANT and NEED our data. And if they do decide to delete your account unceremoniously they know that the likelihood of you making another one is high – especially as you may have bonded with some great people as I have!

2. “You have been accused of SPAM... As a result you cannot post many more links... Blah, blah, blah...” You know how I feel about that if you read up on my Antisocial Networking articles. In a nutshell “spam” is an overused terminology that is malleable to suit the purpose of the people behind the social networks. Just messaging someone you don’t know on Facebook constitutes as “spam”. As far as I am concerned “spam” is when you get true junk email i.e. offers for Viagra, slimming pills, etc. In fact Facebook is the BIGGEST SPAMMER going as it constantly puts advertisements in our faces on a daily basis! And to a degree it is the same with Google’s Gmail! Of course when they SPAM us... No... When they constantly bombard us with SPAM they call it something else... Great! The two-faced so and so’s... As you should know by now the main reason for these attacks and threats is that the social networks don’t want you to use their tools for your marketing.

3. You have the power to create your own business online without giving a large portion to a second or third party. PayPal is enough!

4. Avoiding censorship! I tell you... <shakes head and smiles wryly> ...the people who take it upon themselves to police the Internet end up being the very thing that they detest: A TROLL! Lately I have seen “ATTACHMENT UNAVAILABLE” on Facebook. Gee, I wonder that that is all about... You can bet it is someone posting up a conspiracy theory that touches upon the untouchables... Ooooh... People should have their say! On the one hand some people claim “freedom of speech” and in the next breath or click of a mouse all of a sudden we aren’t entitled to freedom of speech. Somebody somewhere would like to take things a step further and have you locked up with a criminal record for having and expressing an opinion these days. Let’s get away from conspiracy theories and freedom of speech...

You are an artist and your work features nudity / sexuality as you are using that medium or mediums to express something of artistic value... Sadly, very sadly, the self-appointed Internet Police try to make you out to be some kind of pervert or something. Often the self-appointed Internet Police are not intelligent enough to reason with and they troll you. They try to shut you down because they believe that they are the voice of reason when the irony is that you can’t reason with such folk! As an artist you might find that your own website is vital.

Still on the subject of censorship... I have a female friend on Facebook who has just hit her fifties and looking great – if I do say so myself – who likes to take glamour photos of herself and share them with her Facebook admirers. I think her photographs are tasteful and bear in mind that Facebook (and many other social networks) do not allow nudity on its platform. Even if Facebook were to revoke the policy on nudity my friend’s photos would be still tasteful! However, she gets trolled by people that keep claiming that her photos are indecent only to be proven wrong by the bods behind Facebook! I do feel for her as I believe that she should be able to express herself without people being a nuisance. If you don’t like it do not look and then launch into an insincere tirade against. My friend has her audience and she’s happy so why rain on her parade? The self-appointed Internet Police are nothing but simple minded trolls.

Again, my last point on censorship is that if you are a music artist and your video contains nudity / sexuality you can’t show it on YouTube. Do not misunderstand me; I don’t particularly like gratuity be it of a sexual, violent or any other nature but if there is context behind it that’s down to the originator. If you or I don’t like it then we can’t do squat about it as it is already out there. Do I want to take the time to have artistic expressions removed? Hell-to-the-no! The way I see it is this: as long as there is a warning that the material may be offensive then the expression is what it is. An artistic expression is a lot different to having some genuinely disturbing picture or video suddenly appear from performing an innocent Google search...

5. The last reason is that building a website enables you to learn more about the Internet and things like ecommerce (PayPal), web and graphic design and so on! These things are good to know and it will empower you!

When I was employed as a web and graphic designer many moons ago (gosh I am getting old) one the most exciting things around was (then) Macromedia Flash. Flash, in its early stages, just allowed for simple to complex animations that included sound and interactions that often became a part of the website navigation... Adobe bought out Macromedia and Flash eventually gained the ability to stream video and this video technology is prevalent in YouTube today! However, Flash has had its run and now one can create animations that include sound, video and interaction with relative ease! Certainly HTML5 based animation / interaction is far easier to achieve than with using Adobe Flash! For a start the Incomedia WebAnimator Plus costs a mere £64.99 compared to the cost of the Adobe Flash CS 6 software! Seriously! C’mon... Why on Earth would you want to pay £400 just to make animation / interactive content that can be seen on the PC, Mac and mobile devices when you can pay just £64.99???

Honestly, Adobe does not have the stranglehold on web media as it once did. Adobe is one of those business models that have had to adapt with the changes in technology and it is currently offering a monthly payment scheme for its collection of software. Personally I think that some of these monthly costs are too high! Adobe tries to keep up this elitist sensibility when they have been surpassed by Incomedia and Magix when it comes to web design, video editing / production and DTP. Once upon a time people would pay good money to do a two day course on Dreamweaver and today we would just spend the money on the following web design programs:-

Incomedia WebSite X5 Standard & Professional

Magix / Xara Web Designer Standard & Premium

Coffee Cup Visual Site Designer

And you will still have money left over to other stuff when you skip doing these two day courses. What £250 for a two day course??? Are you nuts??? Bear in mind that there are some free web design software out there! I will do an article on them in due course!

You can easily use WebAnimator with the web design programs listed above.

I don’t want to bore you with an extensive tutorial on WebAnimator Plus. No! What I want to do is give you a taste of what can be done with it! Below I did a very simple PowerPoint-like presentation based on one of my favourite Rock groups of all time, The Deftones, to illustrate just how quick one can create such presentations that can be viewed on a PC, Mac and mobile devices without you wanting to pull your hair out! 

1. I decided to create a full HD screen presentation, 1920 x 1080.

2. I created a menu screen quite easily by using an image (of the band) and adding a button. The image fades in and once complete the button flies in from the left to the centre of the presentation.

3. I then added a second scene that holds a full HD video so once the button is clicked on the first scene it jumps to scene two (with the video).

As you can imagine I could have created a more sophisticated presentation that has many screens / pages (scenes) and with intricate animations and interactions. But the purpose is to show you that within minutes a simple presentation can be completely outputted to an HTML file with the resources folder (containing the video and graphics) that can be placed online straightaway or can be a part of a website. Easy!

The last two screenshots above show the presentation playing within the Chrome browser using F11 to go full screen.

WebAnimator Plus: Present the way you want to! A well deserved Synapse Circuit Platinum Award as WebAnimator Plus allows you to create sophisticated animations, presentations and interactions with ease using image, sound and video files. There's also basic shapes and buttons! 

If you read my review on Magix Video X7 Pro you should be familiar with the Sorenson Squeeze video format converter and compressor. No? OK... In a nutshell... Sorenson Squeeze can take video files and convert them into different file formats for different purposes i.e. the web, DVD, Bluray and so on. Even though we have fast broadband speeds and 4G data connections for our mobile devices it is still a good idea to make large video files as small as possible while maintaining the integrity of the video. If you are a recording artist and you want to showcase your videos without hindrances then you might just want to invest in Sorenson Squeeze. There are three different versions of Sorenson Squeeze:

Desktop Lite, $199

Desktop Standard, $549


Desktop Pro, $749

You will find that the Lite version should give you all that you need to start compression your files and / or formatting for different mediums i.e. DVD and Bluray. The professional version is for people / institutions that make their living from streaming video and create daily broadcasts independent of YouTube and similar online video outlets.

Sorenson Squeeze is a reliable and fast video / audio converter and compressor! It gets a Synapse Circuit Platinum! 

There are some free video compressors and I will have to take a look and make comparisons with the commercially available software such as Sorenson Squeeze. The reason why I recommend Sorenson Squeeze is because of its track record. Several years ago when I was part of a team creating a CD ROM for an up and coming Pop music act we discovered that the video was causing a major problem with some test systems that we had access to. I found Sorenson Squeeze through a web search – before Google had begun – and when it arrived we were able to have different formats on the CD ROM: MPEG-1 and QuickTime. Back in those days formatting video was a real pain mainly because PCs were used primarily for word processing and not much else. One couldn’t guarantee that a video would be able to play smoothly from one system to another.

In any event no matter what software you use to compress a video file into MP4 and OGG when combined with Incomedia WebAnimator Plus the results will be brilliant! The only thing missing from WebAnimator is a packager for Android and iOS apps! But that said who wants to be constantly downloading apps when presentations / animations can be viewed online? Even the news aggregator apps rely on taking content from the web.

And do not forget that if you get Incomedia WebSite X5 Standard or Professional it will be even easier to add an animation / presentation to the website you are creating whether it is for the desktop or mobile device such as a smartphone and / or tablet!

Do checkout these links for WebAnimator, Sorenson Squeeze and WebSite X5:-


Sorenson Squeeze

WebSite X5

Dive in and make your website! Once it’s online give me a shout and I will link it!

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit

No comments:

Post a Comment