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Remix videos with Popcorn Maker

January 10, 2013

UPDATE: Mozilla took down Popcorn Maker in September of 2015

popcorn Maker LogoMozilla’s Popcorn Maker is not a snack-producing appliance. It’s a free tool with which you can enhance, remix and share web content. All you need is a web browser to combine video and audio from YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, or HTML5 with content from the rest of the web: text, links, maps, pictures, and live feeds. This is not a traditional video editor. It’s a way to overlay information on top of existing video and sound files. Anyone can visit the Popcorn Maker site and experiment with the editor. However, you’ll need a free Persona account to log in and save projects.

Popcorn MakerI went through the online tutorial, then created a Persona account, dug in, and created a sample project. It is not yet possible to embed Popcorn Maker content into a WordPress.com blog, so if you’d like to see the silly sample I created, click the image at right. It is based on an equally silly YouTube video I made a couple of weeks ago. Don’t groan too much!

As with many free tools at the start, there is very little documentation, but I found the Popcord Maker editor intuitive and very easy to use. You drop “events” onto a timeline and then customize their content, position, duration and so on. I am used to web documents auto-saving, so I neglected to click the “Save” button often enough and managed to lose 15 minutes of work by mistakenly closing the editor window. I also had trouble coordinating a “pause” event with some text I wanted to appear.

Popcorn Maker would be an excellent tool for students to use in developing creative mashups with video, sound, images, and more. Mozilla provides a gallery of project ideas that you can use as a starting point. The TED video below features Mozilla Foundation COO Ryan Merkley demonstrating Popcorn Maker. He’s showing an earlier version of the tool, but the video provides a good sense of the tool’s power.

Version 1 of Popcorn Maker was unveiled last November and it is sure to evolve and grow. If the current tool is not advanced enough for you, take a look at Mozilla’s Popcorn.js, an HTML5 media framework for creating time-based interactive media.

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