TimelineJS is a web-based tool that allows you to easily create visually-rich, interactive timelines generated by your data. It’s an open source tool from Knight Lab at Northwestern University and is free to use — all you need is your content and a Google Drive spreadsheet.How it works
Just download the spreadsheet template from the TimelineJS website, input your text, images, and links, then upload it to your Google Drive account. Next, publish your spreadsheet in Google Drive according to TimelineJS directions, then return to the TimelineJS website to paste your Google sheet link and view the result. You can share the link or embed your timeline on your own website.//
My timeline Same Sex Marriages in the United States and When They Took Effect uses the TimelineJS default settings for visual effects and themes, and I think those produce a clean, professional appearance. However, you can alter visual effects and themes to your satisfaction. You can also edit and update your data within the Google spreadsheet at any time, and the changes will automatically appear in your timeline. For instance, I’ve had to update marriage equality information for a number of new states!Where it excels
- TimelineJS scores big for ease of use. This spreadsheet method makes Timeline JS much simpler and faster to work with than other timeline tools that default to creating the timeline slide by slide and element by element.
- It also really shines in its ability to display your timeline responsively. Check out a timeline on your phone. It adapts and looks good on both large and small screens, though I would recommend doing timeline creation on a large screen due to the complexities of inputting information.
- There are no options for creating an account, so it’s important to keep track of links to timelines that you construct.
- Each slide must have something entered in the Start Date column in order to display. Don’t alter the headings or delete columns from the spreadsheet template or the TimelineJS generator won’t work.
- If your website runs on WordPress, you may need to use this plugin and your Google spreadsheet URL instead of the standard <iframe> embed code.
TimelineJS is a flexible tool that can enhance many topics and areas of study. Most users will simply gather materials for the story they want to tell and enter them into the spreadsheet template. Those who have JSON skills can go further and create custom installations.
Timelines are an excellent way to visually convey transition and change within sciences or social movements, and there are lots of possibilities for teaching and learning. These can extend beyond simply the instructor presenting content to requiring class participation in gathering and describing the data. Since creation and editing of this timeline tool is done in a shareable Google spreadsheet, direct collaboration is possible. Students could also select and construct topics and histories individually or in group projects.More examples
Be sure to look through some other examples for inspiration and ideas for your own timelines.
If you’re an iOS user, you might want to check this out.
For a limited time, get discounts on a selection of popular apps, many of which can help with productivity and idea capture. If you have a break over the holidays, it can be a perfect time to explore a new app or two before the hectic pace resumes. Boost your effectiveness in the new year!
Check out this new video from the UCSF Tech Commons on how to properly use the keyboard trays in the Library’s computer labs.
This video will not be nominated for an award at the Sundance Film Festival this year, but would you believe it was filmed, edited, and distributed using just an iPhone? It was, and this post showcases the workflow and technology used to create and share a video using a single device that fits in your hand. It also follows up the previous Mobilized post, Top 5 Tips for Better Mobile Video.Why Mobile Video?
Before we dive into all the tools and tech available for this type of project, let’s make sure we understand why we would want to use our mobile device to produce a video. Here are just a few scenarios where you may want to take out your phone and start recording (and then editing):
- Interview a colleague to promote a new service in your school or department
- Document a conference or professional development event
- Create a video to use on your website or in your CLE course
- The digital video equipment offered through the UCSF Library is not available
- You have a limited budget and little digital video experience
Notice what these different videos have in common? They all involve short videos that require minimal editing and have a clear objective.
Now that we have thought about the Why, let’s talk about the How. The keyboard tray video was filmed, edited, and shared using just one device, but I combined a number of apps and equipment to accomplish this, including:
- iPhone 6 camera to record video
- Slow-Mo setting on the iPhone 6 camera
- Voice Memos app on the iPhone 6 to record audio
- iMovie iPhone app to edit the footage
- YouTube to upload and distribute the video
- Tripod for filming
Here is a summary of my workflow used to create the video:1. PLAN
Just because I used a mobile device to create this video, it does not mean I could skip outlining the video, that is, storyboarding! The first thing I did was outline what I wanted to cover in the video and identified the clips, audio, and images that I needed to capture. I turned this into a list of video clips and pictures (a shot list) that I could quickly check off while filming.
This is what my storyboard looked like:2. FILM
Armed with my storyboard and shot list, I started filming the clips in sequence using the iPhone 6 camera. You may notice that certain audio in the video carries over from one clip to the next. This was done by recording audio in the Voice Memo app, which I later imported in the iMovie video project during editing.
An extremely helpful piece of equipment for this project was the tripod. I recently purchased the Kooteck Tripod for Smartphones from Amazon.com for $12.99. This resulted in steadier, more professional-looking shots, especially when shooting in slow motion. I also used the iPhone’s camera to take a few pictures that I used for b-roll, also known as alternative footage.
Oh, and don’t forget to hold your phone horizontally while filming! There are very good reasons to avoid vertical videos. Learn more about Vertical Video Syndrome.3. EDIT
I purchased the iPhone iMovie app for $4.99 to edit the video. I chose iMovie, because I use the desktop application frequently and was interested in how the video editing experience differed on a 4.7” screen. Of course, there are many other free and paid video-editing apps to choose from in both the Android and Apple iOS markets. If there is a specific app that you like to use, please let us know in the comment section below!
Using the iMovie app, I added titles, transitions, and a jingle to enhance the video. The jingles that come with the iMovie app are royalty free, but there are fewer options in the mobile app than what you get in the desktop version of iMovie. Even though my audio options were limited, I was still able to use sound to cover up some awkward silences and improve the overall quality of the video.
Here is a screenshot from my iMovie project showing the video and audio tracks:
When I was finished, I exported the final video out of iMovie to the iPhone camera roll. The size of the 36-second video was just 7MB (not bad)!4. SHARE
Now for the easy part — sharing your masterpiece with colleagues! I uploaded the final video directly from my iPhone to YouTube, which only took a few moments. I added a description as well as important metadata or tags to help people find the video when searching. I uploaded the video to YouTube because YouTube integrates well with the platform used for this blog, making it easier to embed my final video in the post you are reading now.
I can now share my video in an email, via the UCSF CLE, or on my department website! Make sure to check out UCSF’s media distribution system, Media@UCSF, for sharing UCSF-related videos. You can also read more about Media@UCSF on the Convergence blog.That’s a Wrap
And that is one example of how you can film, edit, and share a video using only your mobile device! This video took no more than an hour to create from start to finish and was done using only the iPhone. No work was done using a laptop or desktop computer and no cables were needed!
Do you need assistance creating your own video using a mobile device? Stop by the UCSF Library’s Tech Commons or attend a Tech Clinic with the Learning Technologies Group for tips and tricks for creating your own video. Remember, you do not need an iPhone 6 to create an effective video — you just need to know the tools, apps, and resources available, and start filming!
Check out the resources below for creating videos using mobile devices:
- Filming with the iPhone 5s
- Director Ran Out of Money, Finishing Shooting Oscar-Nominated Movie on an iPhone
- 5 Apps for Making Movies on Mobile Devices
- The iPhone 6’s New Camera Could Forever Change Filmmaking
- The Original iPhone Film Festival
Lastly, thank you UCSF Library staff member, Ben Stever for your patience and cooperation during the filming of this video!