AdMaker Guide

Overview

AdMaker is an online video editing tool that allows you to edit an ad from a past presidential campaign or create one using historical footage and your own video, images, and sounds. Register with The Living Room Candidate to save AdMaker projects to your My LRC page for editing, playback, downloading, and sharing.

What You Will Need to View the Site

AdMaker requires Adobe Flash Player 10 or above.

Screen resolution: AdMaker is optimized for 1024x768 or higher screen resolution, and works with all major Web browsers.

including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Internet Connection: AdMaker requires an active, broadband Internet connection

Starting an AdMaker Project

Choose one of five AdMaker activities from the AdMaker main menu.

Two activities accessible in the left box allow you to re-edit "Convention," a 1968 ad for Richard Nixon. To view the original ad on which both activities are based, click on "View Ad." To launch an activity, click on the blue activity title text.

Two activities accessible in the center box allow you to re-edit "Fundamentals," a 2008 ad for Barack Obama. To view the original ad on which both activities are based, click on "View Ad." To launch an activity, click on the blue activity title text.

A fifth activity, "Create an Ad," allows you to create an ad from scratch using a preloaded library of video and audio clips, still images, and/or your own uploaded media. To launch this activity, click on the blue activity title text.

Lesson plans corresponding to each of the five activities are also available from this page.

Video Player

The video player window is located on the top left corner of the AdMaker activity screen. Use the video player to preview your project while you edit, or to play it back when you are finished.

image of AdMaker video player

The video player has the following functions:

Pause/Play Button image of play button

Preview your project while you are working on it by pressing the play button. You will notice a pause button under the video while the video is playing. If this is pressed, the video pauses and the button changes to a play button, which can then be pressed to restart the video.

Full Screen Button image of full-screen button

Click the "Full Screen" button to enlarge the video to full screen size. To exit Full Screen mode, press the escape ("Esc") button on your alphanumeric keyboard.

Volume Button image of volume button

Roll over the speaker icon to activate a slider with which you can increase or decrease the volume.

Scrub Bar image of video scrub bar

Dragging the square back and forth will advance or rewind the video.

Asset Browser

The asset browser on the top right corner of the AdMaker activity screen displays all of the video clips, audio files, still images, and effects, collectively known as assets, that you can use in your project. Navigate the asset browser by clicking the tabs at the top of the window.

The video, audio, images, titles, effects, and transitions tabs contain assets that have been chosen by the Museum for inclusion in the activity.

image of AdMaker asset browser
Video

To see the video clips available for use in your project, click the "Video" tab. If there are more clips than fit in the asset browser, use the scrollbar on the right side of the window to scroll among all available clips.

Each clip is represented by a thumbnail image and a clip title. Additional information about each video clip, including its length and the historical commercial in which the clip originally appeared, is shown at the bottom of the asset browser once you click on an individual clip.

To insert a video clip into your project, drag and drop the clip into its desired place in the timeline.

To view or audition a clip, you must first drag it into the timeline and press the 'play' button on the video player. You can always move, lengthen, shorten, copy, or delete the clip later. More information about using the timeline is included below.

Audio

To see the audio and music files available for use in your project, click the “Audio” tab. If there are more audio files than fit in the asset browser window, use the scrollbar on the right side of the asset browser to see all available clips.

Each audio file is represented by a waveform image and a title. Additional information about each audio file, including its length and the original commercial, musical work, or speech from which the audio was drawn, is shown at the bottom of the asset browser once you click on an individual audio file.

To insert an audio clip into your project, drag and drop its thumbnail to the desired place in the timeline.

To hear an audio file, you must first drag it into the timeline and press the 'Play' button on the video player. You can always move, lengthen, shorten, copy, or delete the file later. More information about using the timeline is included below.

Images

To see the still images available for use in your project, click the "Images" tab. If there are more images than fit in the asset browser window, use the scrollbar on the right side of the asset browser to see all available images.

Each image is represented by a thumbnail and a title. Additional information about each image is shown at the bottom of the asset browser once you click on an individual image.

To insert an image into your project, drag and drop its thumbnail to the desired place in the timeline.

Titles

Titles cards contain written text that you insert between video clips or still images. Text boxes are written text that you combine with a video or still image.

To write a title or textbox, you must first drag the title or textbox thumbnail into the timeline. You can always move, lengthen, shorten, or delete the title or textbox later. Once you have added a title or textbox to the timeline, you can edit the text and its attributes, such as font, color, and size, in the Titles and Effects Editor located on the bottom right of the screen. More information about using the Titles and Effects Editor is included below.

Effects

Effects change the look of the video clips and images.

To see the available visual effects, click the "Effects" tab. If there are more effects than fit in the asset browser window, use the scrollbar on the right side of the asset browser to see all available effects. Each effect is represented by a thumbnail and a title. Additional information about each effect is shown at the bottom of the asset browser once you click on an individual effect's thumbnail.

Effects work only if they are applied to a video or still image. To see how an effect changes a video clip or still image, you must first drag the desired effect into the timeline, make sure that there is at least one video or still image underneath the effect in the timeline, and then press 'play' on the video player. Use the titles and effects editor to change various attributes of the chosen effect.

Transitions

Transitions alter how one video clip or image replaces another.

To see the available transition effects, click the "Transitions" tab. Additional information about each transition is shown at the bottom of the asset browser once you click on an individual transition.

To insert a transition into your project, drag and drop its thumbnail to the desired place in the timeline. For a transition to work, it must overlap two video clips or images in the timeline.

Timeline

The timeline window appears in the bottom left corner of the AdMaker activity page.

Use the timeline to arrange video clips, audio files, still images, titles, effects, and transitions (collectively referred to as assets) into a single chronological video presentation, which you can then save. Video, audio, and effects each occupy a horizontal 'track' on the timeline. You can have one track.

Top buttons: The top row of the timeline window contains buttons that allow you to remove selected assets from, or copy and paste selected assets within the timeline.

Timeline ruler: The numbered ruler below the top buttons allows you to view the length of time occupied by each asset and the project as a whole. When you load the AdMaker, the timeline ruler is divided into two-second intervals. You can change the scale of the timeline ruler by dragging the slider located at the bottom of the timeline.

image of AdMaker timeline window
Titles and Effects Editor

The Titles and Effects Editor allows you to edit attributes of your assets. For example, you can edit the volume of a particular audio clip, or change the position, size, and font color of text that appears on screen during your commercial. The Titles and Effects Editor window appears in the bottom right corner of the AdMaker activity page. If you are working with a video clip that contains audio and would like to add a separate audio track, you can do this by lowering the volume for the video clip.

The contents of the titles and effects editor change depending on the asset you are editing. To edit a particular asset, click its thumbnail in the timeline.

image of AdMaker Titles and Effects Editor
Viewing Videos

To view or pause a video, click the "Pause/Play" button image of play button in the video player window

Adding and Removing Video Clips, Audio Clips, and Images

To add a video clip, audio clip, or still image to your project, drag and drop its thumbnail from the asset browser to the desired place in the timeline.

Video clips and images in your project appear in the image of video icon row of the timeline. Audio clips appear in the image of audio icon row of the timeline, directly below video clips and images.

To remove a video clip, audio clip, or still image from your project, click its thumbnail in the timeline and then click the “Delete” button in the timeline window. Alternatively, you can remove the clip or image by dragging and dropping its thumbnail out of the timeline window.

If you have chosen Activity 1 for 1968 or 2008, the timeline will load with the ad's video clips and images. You can remove any clips or images that you do not want in your ad using the above method.

Changing the Order of Video Clips, Audio Clips, and Images

To move a clip or image earlier or later in your ad, click its thumbnail in the timeline, then drag and drop it to the desired location. To make the clip or image appear earlier in the ad, drag it to the left in the timeline. To make it appear later, drag it to the right.

Adjusting the Length of a Video Clip, Audio Clip, or Image

To make a video clip longer or shorter, click its thumbnail in the timeline. A scrub bar labeled "Length" will appear in the titles and effects editor window. Dragging the square back and forth will shorten or lengthen the clip.

In the same way, you can adjust the length of time that a still image appears in your commercial. Click the image's thumbnail in the timeline to show the "Length" scrub bar in the titles and effects editor window. Then drag the square back and forth to shorten or lengthen the duration that the image will appear on screen during your ad.

To make an audio clip shorter or longer, click its thumbnail in the timeline. A scrub bar labeled "Trim" will appear in the titles and effects editor window. Dragging the left or right squares toward each other will trim the beginning or end of the clip, respectively.

Adding Titles and Textboxes to Your Ad

To add a title to your ad, click the "Titles" tab in the asset browser window, then drag and drop the Title thumbnail from the asset browser to the desired place in the timeline. Titles added to your commercial appear in the image of video icon row of the timeline along with video clips and images. To enter text and change its attributes, such as font, size, and color, click the title's thumbnail in the Timeline, then edit its attributes in the titles and effects editor.

To add a textbox to your ad, click the "Titles" tab in the asset browser window, then drag and drop the Textbox thumbnail from the asset browser to the desired place in the timeline. Textboxes added to your commercial appear in the image of textbox icon row of the timeline along with effects and transitions. To enter text and change text attributes, such as font, size, color, and position on the screen, click the title's thumbnail in the timeline, then edit attributes in the titles and effects editor.

Adding Effects and Transitions to Your Ad

To add an effect to your ad, click the "Effects" tab in the asset browser window. This will display the various effects you can use in your commercial. Clicking on an effect's thumbnail will display more information about the effect at the bottom of the asset browser window. When you have found the effect that you wish to use, drag and drop its thumbnail to the desired place in the timeline window. Effects added to your ad will appear in the [insert icon] row of the timeline, above video clips and still images.

To add a transition between video clips or still images in your ad, click the "Transitions" tab in the asset browser window. This will display the various transitions you can use in your commercial. Clicking on a transition's thumbnail will display more information about the transition at the bottom of the asset browser window. When you have found the transition that you wish to use, drag and drop its thumbnail to the desired place in the timeline window. Transitions added to your ad will appear in the image of video icon row of the timeline, along with video clips and still images.

Saving Your Ad

You will need to register for an account to save your projects. After logging in to your account, click the "Save Ad" button in the timeline window to save your project at any time. At the prompt, enter a name for your project and click the "Save" button. You will also be asked if you'd like to export your ad as a standalone video file. You can access all of your saved projects, as well as any exported ads, from your MY LRC page.

Exporting Your Ad

In addition to saving your project, you may also choose to export your project as a standalone video file. There are two ways that you can export your project. You may either click "Export" when you are saving your ad in the AdMaker screen (see above), or you may export the ad from your MY LRC page.

Note that the export process can take any number of hours, with the exact amount of time depending on the speed of your Internet connection and the number of people using the AdMaker at any given time. You may continue to use the AdMaker while your ad is exporting. When your file is ready, it will appear on your MY LRC page.

Downloading Your Ad

Once you’ve exported an ad, you can download the ad or share a link to the ad from your MY LRC page.