Many of you will no doubt remember Tara Pirie, one of the ponytail gang of LIVE safari presenters.
She is currently doing leopard research for her PhD at Thaba Tholo in conjunction with Ingwe Leopard Research, a project Will Fox is also closely involved with. (For more info click here
.) Of course we have all stayed in touch since the LIVE safaris ended. From various fireside and other chats an idea has grown about how WildEarth's experience with LIVE content broadcasting can be used to help research projects such as Tara is doing.
From those discussions the concept of bringing together our viewers, and other conservation-minded people, with research projects by creating a LIVE platform for camera traps was developed. In a nutshell the concept is to have camera traps send pictures to the WildEarth platform the minute they are taken, and to involve our audience in the evaluating of these images and in the identifying of the animal species in them. Even which individual it shows in the case of leopards! We know this is something many of you enjoy and are doing already, so why not expand on this to actually help the researchers? As, beyond it being a lot of fun to do, it will create awareness for the research projects as well as save the researchers lots of time they can then spend on other aspects of their projects.
To get this off the ground WildEarth will have to build desktop as well as mobile apps that will allow you and others to be notified of new images and to allow you to ID them anywhere and anytime. At the same time Tara and Ingwe Leopard Research need more camera traps to expand their research area. Therefore WildEarth and Ingwe Leopard Research have decided to team up to make this happen with Thaba Tholo being the first location where the new system will be rolled out.
Getting 20 additional camera traps and building the LIVE camera trapping platform does require quite a bit of cash though and in order to raise the required funds for this we have created a crowd funding project. If successful, this project, which will run until the end of December, will allow Tara to deploy 20 new camera traps that are equipped with the new LIVE system, and WildEarth to build the various apps needed for you to be able help the project by identifying animals in the pictures taken by those camera traps.
A lot more detail and a great video about this can be found on the IndieGogo project page
, so please check this out and see if you can make a contribution towards helping us help the leopard. Either by contributing financially and/or by sharing the information wide and far with others who might be.
One of the key features of our new site are the videomarks. These are like bookmarks in our huge archive library. Some of our cams have been archived back to 2008 and WE are still converting this footage into a format that can be viewed on all devices (including iPads and iPhones). The past 6 months of archive, and everything that is recorded from now, is available for viewing and videomarking.
You can watch the video above to see exactly how you create a videomark, but here are the steps ...
- Go to the archives - Visit the archives at http://beta.wildearth.tv/video-archives ... for now videomarks can only be created from the archives and not from the cam pages. However, we are working on speeding the archiving process up and will then begin to work on creating videomarks in real time. Currently recordings can take up to 30 minutes to appear in the archives.
- Pick an archive - Now select which cam's archives you want to explore from the left drop down box under the video player.
- Change the thumbnail frequency - The default display of thumbnails in the matrix is one every hour, but you can change the frequency in the second (from the left) drop down box. You can select one thumbnail every 30 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes or even a thumbnail every 1 minute. Then by clicking the next button on the top and bottom right (or left) of the thumbnail matrix you can page through the days thumbnails.
- Change the date - Of course you can also select different days to view within the archive using the rightmost drop down menu. Or you can click the "previous day" button or the "next day" button (if you are not looking at today's archive).
- Click the thumbnail - Once you have found a moment in the archives that you would like to view then just go ahead and click that thumbnail. The video should start playing in the player above the thumbnail matrix. [note: if you are doing this on an iPad or iPhone you may have to tap the player once of twice to get the video playing. This is a known bug and WE are trying to figure out what is causing this.]
- "Scrub" the video clip - You can 'scrub' through the video using the slider on the control bar of the player at the bottom. Remember that all videos in our archive are recorded in 10 minute clips. [note: right now when you get to the end of a 10 minute clip the next one does not automatically play (this is called: "seamless play"). Its coming, but not quite working yet ...)
- Creating a videomark - When you have found a great moment it's time to create your videomark! All you have to do is click the "create a videomark" button under the video player and a pop up window will appear ...
- Title - You have to create a title for your videomark. This will be used to create the videomark's unique URL (link). Its also important to catch people's attention so think of something that describes the action in your videomark. [note: It cannot be offensive, silly or rude. If it is the archivists will delete your videomark.]
- Description - The description is also important and helps your viewers know more about what to expect in your videomark.
- Tags - Only tags from our official tag list will be accepted. As you start typing tag-options from the official list will appear. We only allow tags from the official list so that there are no spelling mistakes. Tags are really important as it makes the search work, but also they mean that Google can index the videomark page better and this will mean more views for your videomark.
- A videomark is born - Then click "save videomark" and your videomark will be created! You will be taken to a new page (your videomark page). The URL (address) is a unique URL that will only change if the title is changed. You can copy and paste this URL into Facebook Pages or email it to your friends.
- Following - you (as the videomark creator) are automatically following the videomark, but anyone else can follow it and if they do the comments made under the videomark will show up in their private newsfeeds (home page when logged in - beta.wildearth.tv)
- Sharing - If you want people to see and appreciate your creation then you should share your videomark. Its easy. Just click on the sharing icon beneath the video player and you will be given options to share based on which social networks you have linked to your WildEarth user account. [note: right now you can only share to personal Facebook timeline and not to a Page, but we are working on this don't you worry ...]
Good luck and have fun. We built the videomark system to be a neat way to find those pearls of nature in our archive and share them. Many people cannot spend that much time watching the LIVE cams, but if you create great videomarks for the various sightings at the cams then everybody can keep up with what is going on. So create videomarks and share ... its in your nature.
Be sure to check out the newest member of our growing group of wildlife broadcasters: The Allen BirdCam
. This cam is located near a bird feeder in a suburban garden in Pretoria in South Africa and has already shown a great variety of wildlife. Well over 30 species of birds have been spotted so far as well as various mammal species, including genets and bushbabies.
Tyrone Allen and I have been working over the past couple of days to get this camera ready and it is the first one that will run solely on our new website and to use the new embedded player on Tyrone's own site, www.allenbirdcam.com
. Ths site has more info and history and is certainly worth checking out. The camera will also remain available on Ustream
Speaking to Tyrone earlier today he told me there are various regular visitors to the cam that are easily recognisable; there's a hornbill with a broken beak, a tailless barbet and a one-legged starling. Quite an eclectic bunch that is fun to watch as they feast on the various pieces of food. And, as if that is not enough, there are the various bushbabies who each seem have their own personal favourite snacks.
So, be sure to check it out when you get a chance ... and to create and share a videomark when you see something interesting!
Since WildEarth's current video player and website were launched in 2010, almost three years have passed and in Internet terms that is a very long time. Lots of new developments have happened since then, most notably the rapidly growing use of mobile devices for watching video and of social media for sharing content.
Behind the scenes we have been working hard on building a new player and site that would allow you to make full use of those new ways of watching and sharing our content. We started from scratch and as always these types of projects take longer than planned, and it is certainly still not finished, but today we are ready to let our viewers have a look at it, give it a try, and then let us know what you think of what is there and what you would like to be added or changed. The new site can be found at beta.wildearth.tv.
(Note that you will have to re-register as it uses a different registration system.)
The new player works on both Flash and non-Flash systems which means you can also watch the videos on mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android-based ones.
We also think you will be happy with the much improved and more intuitive archiving and videomarking functions which now includes thumbnails for easy searching for events and a much easier way of creating videomarks.
A third major change is the ability to register on the site with either your e-mail or by linking one of your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) accounts and directly share news, videomarks, or other info directly with your Facebook, Twitter and other friends.
And finally, for now, you can easily build your own newsfeed by 'following' cameras, videomarks or other users on the site. This means that whenever you come back you will see all the latest for all that you've followed, all in one spot.
Over the coming months we will be streamlining and perfecting the site, as well as add more features to it. And, as always, we would like to ask for your help in this by letting us know your experiences with the beta site: What you like, what you don't like, and what is missing or not working as it should. It's important to us to build the best experience for you as our viewers and for that we need to hear from you.
For now we will keep the old sites and players running but we do plan to take them down in the not too distant future, so give the new site a try and let us know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org
With the filming of the documentary series complete our stay at Thornybush Private Nature Reserve is coming to an end. Sunday's afternoon drive will be the last one before we dismantle our broadcast systems and pack everything up.
While our stay has been brief and we were not able to get the broadcast range we'd hoped there have been many great sightings and experiences and it was great to see both some old and new people on the drives.
Some of you have asked us whether it was possible to create a tip jar for the crew as was done in the past, and we are happy to do so and I've created a Paypal address tips can be sent to: email@example.com
. (Don't worry if this returns an e-mail stating money was sent to Petrus Braat as this is the name of my Paypal account that we are using to be able to get the money to South Africa in an efficient manner. All money is for the crew only.)
Marc especially has worked very hard, doing all the drives with hardly any breaks, but the rest of the crew have also gone out of their way to work around the many gremlins we encountered along the way. Therefore Marc will receive half of the tips received with the other half being split between the rest of the crew. We feel this is a fair way of rewarding all those who've braved many early and cold mornings, and many a late night, to bring you the drives these past months.
Thanks to you all for watching our drives!