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Hello everyone! Some of you may know Vince Morris, Director of the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership and Arkansas Pro Bono Partnership, and all-around legal rebel. Recently, Morris's article on self-help resources was published in the Mississippi Law Journal. The article focuses on the increase in what Morris calls Unrepresented Litigants (URLs) and the potentials of different technologies to help them access justice. The article also explores the question of whose responsibility it is to provide these resources - courts? Legal aid organizations? Someone else altogether? It's a great article and I'd urge you to check it out!
You can find the article here: "Navigating Justice: Self-Help Resources, Access to Justice, and Whose Job is it Anyway?" by Vince Morris.
Hello everyone! Back on 13 February, LSNTAP and Atlanta Legal Aid Society co-hosted a webinar on Video Editing and Multi-Lingual Strategies. Brian Rowe of LSNTAP and Kristin Verrill facilitated the discussion, and our speakers were
- Susan Muirhead, formerly of Illinois Legal Aid Online, and
- Daniel Ediger, of the Northwest Justice Project.
To kick things off, Muirhead demonstrated some features of Final Cut Pro (version 6). To start, she demonstrated disk scratching, or designating where your project files will be saved, and checking the formatting and other settings on a video. Now, you’re ready to get started.
Muirhead pointed out different areas of the Final Cut interface: a Browser, Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline.
Next, Muirhead showed some different ways to import media files (video, audio, and images) to demonstrate working with them. Within the Browser, Muirhead then created a Bin (or folder) to organize the files she was working with. Effects, transitions, and video filters are also contained within a different window of the Browser.
The Viewer allows you to play around with effects and filters, and the Canvas lets you see the final video as you build it. The Timeline, along the bottom of the screen, is where you edit the video (on the top portion) and the audio (along the bottom portion). For audio, Muirhead suggests keeping volume levels around twelve decibels, according to the meter on the right-hand side of Final Cut’s interface.
Muirhead demonstrated bringing video files into the Timeline and rendering them so that they could be formatted and viewed in Final Cut. Within the Viewer, she demonstrated layering of video, text, and audio files, such that the files in each track will be displayed over the files in the tracks below them. She also used “in and out points” to create motion over an image of a document – so that the “camera” pans from top to bottom to show all of it. She also demonstrated adding transitions for video clips and correcting a video’s color, rendering after each change. Finally, Muirhead demonstrated exporting the video for use.
In response to a question from the audience, Rowe and Muirhead discussed the cost of Final Cut – around $300. While on the expensive side, Final Cut is a professional editing tool and gives the user a lot more flexibility and tools to use than other pieces of software, like iMovie. It might still be worth checking, however, if there is a nonprofit discount available.
For more on using iMovie and Final Cut, check out articles and other documentation compiled by Muirhead on the ShareLawVideo website.
Next, Ediger took over to talk about using iMovie for multi-lingual videos. He opened a new project and imported some media, then demonstrated the different parts of the interface: the Viewer (in green, below), the “raw ingredients” field (in yellow, below), and the Editor (in blue, below).
If you’re using Camtasia Studio (which is cross-platform software, as opposed to iMovie and Final Cut, which are Apple-specific), the fields are similar.
Ediger demonstrated adding in stills, video clips, and audio tracks (using iMovie’s “Jingles,” a set of clips you can use for free). Because iMovie has a much simpler interface than Final Cut, you can essentially just drag and drop everything into place. Once finished, Ediger demonstrated exporting the video and uploading it to YouTube.
Ediger then moved on to a discussion of multi-lingual videos. Basically, he suggested recording video just once to save time and money, using a group of relatively inexpensive tools.
YouTube also has an embeddable button that you can include on your video to link to the same video in another language, which Ediger recommends.
He also recommends recreating only the text in animated videos, instead of redoing all the visuals. It can also be very cheap to use a green screen (basically, a green sheet of fabric, which you can order online, and some cheap lamps) if you prefer to have a live person in your video. Visually interesting or entertaining elements of your video, like speech bubbles instead of voices, can also make it easier to translate your video. Be creative!
A number of Ediger’s images are available on the ShareLawVideo website if you’re interested in using those, or contact him for those not yet uploaded.
Ediger and Rowe talked about free and low-cost video editing and animation websites, of which there are a fair number out there. Mashable lists a number of such sites, including Xtranormal, GoAnimate, Devolver, and Voki; other options include Animoto, Stupeflix, DoInk (for iPad or iPhone), Flixtime, DigitalFilms.com, Toon Boom, and Image Chef. I haven't experimented with any of these too extensively, so look around - but there are a variety of websites or software packages that can meet your budget and needs.
Jing and Snagit are also good tools for screen grabs, though it seems that Jing will be discontinued in the next year or so. YouTube also now has some video editing features within its interface. They’re fairly basic, but easy to use.
Finally, Ediger demonstrated a few features of Camtasia Studio, and Rowe brought up Amara, a pretty neat crowd-sourced, low-cost translation tool for videos. And with that, the presentation wrapped up.
Thanks very much to our presenters!
Happy editing, everyone,
I just wanted to remind people that NTAP will be at NTC this year. It is a great conference this will be my fourth time attending. Today is also the last day to Register at the reduced rate before late registration. I look forward to seeing people there. Please feel free to ping me on Twitter @sarterus or send me an email if you want to connect in person.
2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC): MINNEAPOLIS
Early Bird registration for the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference is now closed, but regular registration is still open to join the NTEN community in Minneapolis, April 11-13, 2013!
Our signature three-day gathering brings together nonprofit professionals from around the world to collaborate, innovate, and maximize effectiveness. With a wide mix of social events, seminars, trainings, and resources, the 2013 NTC will help you put technology to work to further your cause.
Hello everyone! A growing trend, and one that recently went around on the LSTech Listserv, is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. With the rise of smart phones, tablets, and other personal productivity-enhancing devices, and especially if your staff travels a lot, you might want to look into developing one.
Basically, BYOD sets guidelines for personal devices to be used for work purposes. Another option, called Company Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) sets the parameters for personal use on an otherwise work-owned device.
Some things to consider when setting up either BYOD or COPE policies might include:
- To begin, it might be helpful just to consider what portion of use will be work-related versus personal (for an individual employee or employees as a whole). This will vary by organization and probably by individual as well.
- Clearly delineate who will own what with regard to both the device itself and the information it stores/accesses, and whether the organization’s IT staff can monitor the device’s use.
- Establish what acceptable use is – what employees can access, download, view, and so on. This includes anti-harassment guidelines (possibly just integrated with those you already have), prohibitions on illicit material, and more.
- You may also want to define which particular employees are entitled to bring their devices and/or be reimbursed for their work use (i.e., who has a legitimate work use for their personal device?).
- Will you pay employees overtime if they use their device to make phone calls, send emails, etc after hours?
Moving on, you may want to consider what specific technology you’ll allow on your network. It certainly makes things easier for your IT staff if a limited number of types of devices, platforms, and operating systems are allowed. But, try to provide a variety of options: iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, etc. You may also want to set up a procedure for the IT staff to configure and secure devices before they connect for the first time.
Next, security is a very important consideration. It’s important that devices are adequately protected, probably with a strong password (this should mean more than just a 4-digit PIN; define what it means at your organization). Decide whether mobile devices should be able or permitted to access sensitive data or just more basic services, like calendars and email.
Applications downloaded to the phone or tablet are another consideration: make a “whitelist” and a “blacklist” of allowed/not allowed apps, and make sure employees know that they should only download from the App Store, Google Play, or equivalents. Also be sure to clarify for which apps your IT staff will offer support.
What happens if the device is lost or stolen, or if the employee leaves the organization? Be sure that you can remotely wipe the device, especially if it stores sensitive information, and set up procedures for removing data when employees quit or are let go. Make sure that employees sign a consent form to let you wipe the device if necessary, and that they back up data (both work and personal).
Financial issues are the other major consideration in setting up a BYOD or COPE policy. You need to define who buys the device in the first place, who pays what portion of the monthly plan and how, and what to do if the device is lost or broken.
To buy the device in the first place, some organizations set limits based on what type of phone will be purchased, and the employee pays anything over that limit (maybe $200). If the phone is owned by the organization, it should obviously be fully paid for by the organization.
Next, you need to decide how much of the bill the organization will pay. Some organizations just provide a flat amount, like $20 per month as a part of the employee’s paycheck. The exact amount will depend on what kind of phone it is, how heavily it is used, whether there is a data plan, and maybe on the individual’s position in the organization (i.e. the Executive Director may get his/her data plan and minutes compensated, while attorneys only receive compensation for minutes). Also define what services are covered by that compensation - roaming? Overages? Text messaging or a data plan?
The tax issues associated with this are a little confusing. From my understanding (as outlined in this memorandum), if an employee is reimbursed for business use of a personal cell phone, that money counts as a working condition fringe benefit and not towards the employee’s gross income. Therefore, it’s not taxable as income. You do, of course, have to have legitimate business reasons to have the phone.
If the phone is owned by the organization, the full bill is paid directly to the phone company (and any personal use of the device is considered a de minimis benefit and is therefore not taxable). Again, the phone is considered a working condition fringe benefit, does not count toward the employee’s gross income, and is not taxable (as outlined in this notice). Please feel free to correct me in the comments if I have the tax information wrong!
If you don’t have a BYOD or COPE policy, I’d strongly suggest developing one, or a similar data security policy. Just because you’re not thinking about it doesn’t mean that the attorneys at your organization are ignoring it too - they may be using their phones for all sorts of things that are jeopardizing data! See the how-to articles below, or many sample policies from other organizations (to be uploaded soon!).
Some resources for more information:
- “Bring your own device,” from Wikipedia
- “How do you respond to the legal risks of BYOD?,” from Networked Lawyers
- “Does Your Firm Have a Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy?,” from the ABA Journal
- “7 Tips for Establishing a Successful BYOD Policy,” from CIO.com
- “How to create a BYOD policy,” from TechTarget
- “BYOD Policy Template,” from IT Manager Daily
- “Internal Revenue Service Notice 2011-72: Tax Treatment of Employer-Provided Cell Phones,” from the IRS
- “Interim Guidance on Reimbursement of Employee Personal Cell Phone Usage in light of Notice 2011-72,” from the IRS
- Sample BYOD policies from other legal services organizations
- The LSTech listserv! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion!
Happy Friday everyone, and happy BYOD-ing!