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Byline: Lewis Taylor The Register-Guard

Caroline Imbert is no video expert.

But while visiting Eugene as a University of Oregon guest lecturer in 2006, the 27-year-old doctoral student from Lyon, France, made lots and lots of short videos on her digital camera.

When she returned home, she made a video travelogue of those bits and pieces.

"I wanted to share my memories and emotions through a visual medium with my friends," she recalled in an e-mail. "Then, I thought, let's share it with the world."

Imbert posted her video, which she called "Carrie in Eugene, Oregon" on YouTube, where it's since been viewed more than 3,000 times. She's one of many everyday videographers who have discovered that the biggest streaming video service on the Web isn't just a place to post skateboarding videos and funny TV clips.

"It's a window on the world, really," Imbert says, "Better than TV, because it looks into the unofficial world ... the real world."

Imbert's strangely entrancing video shows grainy images of the Oregon Coast, the UO campus and the Willamette Valley Folk Festival, overlayed with an introspective pop song by the band Eve6 (sample lyric: "This place is strange, empty").

Based on her viewer comments - most of which praise her for her outsider's perspective on Eugene - Imbert has a future as a YouTuber. She has since made other Eugene-themed videos including "Carrie in Eugene, Oregon 2 (more than 600 views)" and "Saturday Market (more than 1,400 views)."

While not exactly a YouTube superstar like, say, Tyson the skateboarding bulldog (1.1 million views), Imbert proves that anyone with a means of capturing video can find a home on YouTube.

"The technology itself is not difficult," she explains, "if you know how to use a computer.... Making a video was new for me, and it took time to find and master the (editing) program."

Imbert used the basic Windows Movie Maker software that came with her computer to edit her movie. Then, it was a simple matter of "uploading" her video to YouTube.

Unlike Imbert, Jonathan Simmons is a video expert.

The 22-year-old KVAL videographer uses YouTube to post some of the professional-quality news packages he puts together for the local CBS affiliate. He also maintains a more personal YouTube "channel" where, among other things, he posts videos of his cat Jack, a 1-year-old Siamese-tabby mix. One video, "Jack vs. Snake," has been viewed more than 9,000 times.

"That's just really cool that 9,000 people would take a couple of minutes out of their day and watch something that I've put together," he says.

Simmons recommends keeping videos short and to the point. He says most viewers will click on another screen if the movie isn't captivating in the first 30 seconds.

"I don't want to waste the viewer's time," he says. "You can waste hours on YouTube (as it is)."

Simmons posted his first YouTube video in May of 2006. It featured rough footage of a dramatic Eugene windstorm shot with a digital still camera. The movie has been viewed nearly 2,000 times.

Unlike some YouTube videographers who try to rack up "views" the way MySpace fanatics tally "friends," Simmons isn't out to become the most popular YouTuber. He sees the site as a great way to communicate with friends and family and says his Jack the cat videos have brought him closer to his cousin.

Cree Ingles, the closest thing to a Eugene YouTube celebrity, reaches a much larger audience with her YouTube postings, which aren't really videos so much as video blogs. She hosts an "American Idol"-inspired contest called YouTube Idol that draws tens of thousands of views and even attracts the attention of "American Idol" contestants, including Jennifer Hudson.

Her advice for would be YouTubers: Just be yourself.

"You can plan and plan a video and think, `This will hit big,' and then nobody watches it. Or you could just do some silly video and all of a sudden you have 10,000 (views),"

Ingles' no-frills approach involves a Web cam and not much else. She captures video of herself speaking in front of her computer monitor, then uploads it directly to YouTube, often without editing it. Her method, she says, is the simplest and purest way there is to make a YouTube video.

"I'm a real person with real problems, and people relate to that," Ingles says.

Tyler Macklin finds more high-tech uses for YouTube. An electronic communications major at the UO school of journalism, he uses the site as a sort of curriculum vitae for his video work, which includes public service announcements for safe sex, responsible drinking and other issues confronting college students.

"Some of my videos, thousands of people have seen them," he says. "It's strange, because I don't really know who these people are."

Macklin also uses YouTube to see what other videographers are doing. He discovers new techniques and trends in production and comes up with ideas for his own projects.

"If you want to attract people's attention, you want fast editing and quick flips," he advises.

Macklin uses a MiniDV camera to shoot his videos. He edits them with Adobe Premier software when he's working on a PC and Final Cut Pro when he's on a Mac.

If for some reason you don't want to follow the YouTube herd, there are plenty of other clone sites, including the Christian-themed GodTube .com and, a high definition version.

Whatever streaming video service you're using, most video mavens agree it's a good idea to keep your movies less than three minutes (YouTube limits videos to about 10 minutes).

"There should be no more or less than what's needed," says Simmons, the KVAL videographer. "But if you can shoot videos that people are interested in, then put them up. You never know who's going to watch."

Getting started with YouTube is easy.

Register: It's free to register at All that's required is an e-mail address and some basic information.

Make a movie: It doesn't matter whether you've got a cell phone video camera or a mini DV cam.

Capture: This means copying the video in your camera to your computer. If you're using a camcorder, a USB or FireWire cord is an easy way to do it. If you're using a still camera, you might want to use a card reader.

Edit (or don't): You can use the program that came with your computer - Windows Movie Maker if you've got a PC, iMovie if you've got a Mac - to edit your video or buy more elaborate software. If you've got something short, or don't mind that rough look, you can upload it in its raw form. You also can use a free (albeit very clunky) YouTube editing program after you've uploaded your video.

Encode: This means converting your file to the optimum format. If you just want your video on YouTube and don't care about quality, you can probably skip this step. The video magicians at YouTube convert all variety of formats (WMV, AVI, MOV, MPEG and MP4) to streaming video (Adobe Flash Video). Encoding video can decrease the file size and bit rate and make streaming and storing easier. If your video is not in a Windows Media Video (WMV) file, YouTube recommends that you encode the file as an MPEG4 (MP4) file. For more on encoding, see the YouTube help site at

Upload: This just means feeding your video to the YouTube Web site. The computer does most of the work for you if you follow the on-screen prompts.

Watch and share: Once you've watched your video and are convinced it's a keeper, you can share your masterpiece with friends by clicking on the link that says "Share Channel."
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Title Annotation:Personal Life; Anyone with a means of capturing video can find a home on YouTube
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 26, 2007
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