Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bring Your Projects to Life ~ QR Codes

Bring Your Projects to Life
by Roxanne Buchholz, Studio Creative Team Lead
I first introduced you to the latest in QR technology in last month’s newsletter article entitled “Keepsakes that Talk.” We covered how to get an app that reads QR Codes on your smartphone or tablet, as well as how to generate your own QR Codes for use in your customized Studio projects.

This month, I’d like to expand on the topic and discuss how to set-up a YouTube account, as well as create an Animoto slideshow—both ways to help you make fun QR Code messages to add to your own projects. Setting up these accounts is quick, easy and free. 


"HM Mission Calendar 2013 QR," 11 x 8.5 Calendar shown above, by Roxanne Buchholz, template 101779

Creating a YouTube Account 

A YouTube account is a key part in the use of QR Codes because the videos you create need to be uploaded to the internet and have a URL associated with them in order to generate the code. YouTube allows you to manage your videos from multiple sources as well as create your own through your camcorder, webcam or screen capture software.

#1 — Go to and click “Create Account.” Because Google and YouTube are partners, for every account you create with YouTube, you will also have an associated Gmail address instantly. 

#2 — Enter your e-mail address and a password. Fill-in a few simple questions and type in the characters seen into the word verification field to continue.

#3 — Check the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy box after you have read all the legalese.

#4 — Click on “Next Step” to verify your account via text message or voice call. You will then enter the verification code that was given to you and click on the “Verify” button.

#5 — Congratulations! You now have your own YouTube account and can begin creating your own videos or link any videos that you created in other programs, such as Animoto or iMovie.

Creating an Animoto Video Slideshow 

Animoto allows you to create a video slideshow set to music. They offer free unlimited 30-second video productions or you can upgrade to unlimited length HD videos for as low as $2.50 per month. This is a great option for those of you that would rather show-off photos than a live video of yourself.

"HM Valentine Stamps QR," 7 x 5 Invitation shown above, by Roxanne Buchholz, template 99232

#1 — Go to Click “Sign Up” to begin. Enter your e-mail address, name and a password, and click on the green “Sign up” button to continue.

#2 — Click “Create Video” in the upper left to begin.

#3 — Choose a style. The style affects the look and feel of your video. Click on any of the styles to see a preview of what a video would look like in that style.

#4 — Add pictures, text and music. Animoto will then walk you through the steps required to create a video, including uploading photos and video clips and choosing a song. Don't forget the Advanced Settings in the top-right corner to add those extra great features that make your video pop.

#5 — When you’re all done, click the green “Preview Video” button. Animoto will then generate a low resolution preview. If it all looks good, go ahead and click on the blue “Produce” button. If you need to make changes, go ahead and edit.

#6 — As soon as your video is generated, Animoto will send you an email letting you know it’s ready to upload to your favorite social media outlet. You will now have the option to “Share” to your YouTube account, your Facebook account, your blog, email to your friends and more. Click on the appropriate social media button or choose “Download/Export” to share the video to YouTube. Simply click on the blue “Begin Export” button, grant access to your Google/YouTube account, and wait a few minutes. You will be sent an email notification when it’s finished.

Remember, in order to create your QR Code, you will need to upload to your YouTube account and copy and paste the URL into your QR Code generator.

Generating the URL for Your QR Code

Whether you create a video or slideshow, by uploading it to your YouTube account, it will then have a URL, which is needed to generate your personalized QR Code. Simply click on the video in YouTube that you’d like to create a QR Code for, and highlight and copy the URL at the top of the page. Then open up your favorite QR generator and paste in the URL. Within seconds, you will have created your own personalized QR code featuring a very special video or slideshow produced by you.

Tips and Tricks for Successfully Using a QR Code in a Studio Project: 

#1 — NEVER use a border on a QR code; use a frame instead. Our borders intrude slightly on the design and may make the code unreadable if they are too wide.

#2 — If you or your recipient has trouble watching the video greeting that you’ve made on YouTube, Animoto or iMovie, make sure the smartphone or tablet system has been updated with the latest version of software.

#3 — Always test your QR Code BEFORE publishing your project. Always, always! After you have created your own QR code and dropped it into your Studio project, give it a test to make sure that it is readable at 100% of the project size. If you go to “View” at the top of your Studio page, scroll down to Zoom and select 100%. That will give you an accurate view of the size it will be when printed. Simply hold your smart phone up to your computer screen and scan. Did it take you to where you wanted to go? If not, try re-generating the code or making the QR Code larger in your project.

The 8 x 8 Vacation Storybooks above were designed by Roxanne Buchholz: "HM 1880s Train QR," template 101819; "HM Badlands QR," template 101818; "HM Deadwood and Lead QR," template 101817; "HM Needles Scenic Highway QR," template 101816; "HM Custer State Park QR," template 101815; "HM Black Hills Caverns QR," template 101813.

By creating your own videos or slideshows with QR Codes, you can add that extra “wow” factor to your already fabulous Studio projects!

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