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How to make a Facebook Cover VIDEO

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170616-010936

For the lucky few (guinea pigs) Facebook have enabled a feature which allows users to upload a video to be used instead of a regular (static) cover photo.

This feature is still very much in its infancy but it was worthy of a little bit of experimentation, so this is how I created a short video animation for the Darlington FC Supporters Group Facebook page.

According to Facebook the video should be between 20 and 90 seconds long. The video can, in fact, be much shorter than this but you need to be careful because on some (possibly most) browsers the video will loop infinitely so a bit of consideration needs to be given to not annoying your visitors too much with a video where the looping quickly becomes a real pain.

The other recommendation is that the video should be at least 820 pixels wide x 312 pixels high. Creating a video to that size or even that aspect ratio is no mean feat in itself, so here is how I went about it.

Before continuing this is the final product:

fb-cover-video

The animation itself was created in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 so anyone who is familiar with PowerPoint will probably be able to fumble around and work out how it was done. The key element was the background image which was created to the correct size (820px x 312px, as stipulated by Facebook) and then pasted into PowerPoint at the largest size which would fit to the width of the page. The actual dimensions of the pasted image aren’t so important at this stage - it’s the aspect ratio we’re trying to attain.

Once we have the background image we can start placing the text elements and pictures in their final postions (how the image will look after the animation has run) and then apply whatever effects you want. When you’ve finished and saved your work you can then save it as a video, and the option is available in PowerPoint 2010 to save your presentation as a WMV movie. In earlier versions of PowerPoint you’re out of luck with this easy step, but there are ways around this limitation in earlier versions:

Convert PowerPoint 2007 Presentations to Video

If you still use PowerPoint 2003 then you could probably still use Windows Movie Maker to convert your presentation as a video (as described at the link above), but you will need to do your own research into that.

Assembling your toolkit

Ok, assuming you now have your presentation in a video format - and quite immediately in WMV format if you’re fortunate to have PowerPoint 2010 in your armoury - then it’s time to find a way to crop the video to the size of your background image, and then to resize the cropped video to the desired dimensions.

You could download a bloated and expensive video editing program, or you can use the free, extremely lightweight, and quite brilliant program called VirtualDub. At this point it’s worth noting that you’re also going to need to download a plugin for that - to enable it to open WMV files - and also you need to have the WMV “Codec” available on your computer. A Codec (Coder/Decoder) allows your video application to handle a particular video format, and the easiest way to get the Codec you need is to download and install the K-Lite Codec Pack. You can get different sized packs and while you will probably find that the basic pack contains the Codec you need, there’s no harm in going straight for the Mega Pack (it’s free!) and covering yourself for any future needs:

K-Lite Codec Pack Download Page

Download VirtualDub

Download WMV Plugin for VirtualDub

You don’t need to install VirtualDub - just unzip it to a folder somewhere and double click the “VirtualDub.exe” file to open the program. In the same folder you’ll see a folder called “plugins32”, which is where you should put the WMV plugin, when you’ve downloaded that.

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Enabling the WMV Codec

Before opening VirtualDub you’ll need to enable that WMV Codec. Assuming you’ve installed the K-Lite Codec Pack by now simply go to the start menu and choose “K-Lite Codec Pack > Configuration > ffdshow video decoder” and scroll down to where it says “WMV3/9”. It will probably say “disabled” in the “Decoder” column - simply click on that word and select “libavcodec” to enable it, then click “Ok” and you’re good to go.

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Cropping & Resizing your Video

After opening VirtualDub click on “File > Open video file…” (or just press “Ctrl+O”) to select and open your video from wherever you’ve saved it.

Next, click on the “Video” menu and choose “Filters…” (or press Ctrl+F”). Click on “Add…” then scroll down to the filter called “null transform” and click “Ok”. You will now see that the “Cropping…” button becomes enabled so click that and crop your video by clicking and dragging the border lines.

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Once you’ve cropped your video you’ll need to resize it, which means going back into the list of filters and selecting the one which (conveniently, this time) is called “resize”. This will bring a box up where you can choose your preferred size. It’s probably best at this point to disable “Aspect ratio” and type in 820 x 312 pixels in the Absolute (pixels) width & height boxes at the top.

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Once you’ve done this you can go back to the File menu and choose “Export” to export your perfectly cropped and resized video and an animated GIF.

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It’s as simple as that!

All that remains is for you to upload it to your Facebook page. Facebook will convert your animated GIF to an MP4 video for you, but there’s nothing to stop you creating your video in another format (such as MP4) yourself - it’s just that this is a great way to create simple animations in the right size and aspect ratio and, even if Facebook cover videos either aren’t available for you yet, or they’re simply not going to work for you, then you may find that VirtualDub comes in useful for creating all kinds of animations for other uses.

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Thank you.

Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.