Zen Mix is an Flash Web application that allows you to put any Web video (in flv format) on top of a Web picture and apply cool effects. This can be done very fast and for free. See the Feature link at the top of the Zen Mix site for live examples. Zen Mixes can be used for vlogging (video blogging), storytelling, promotion, e-learning, and more.

1. CREATING A ZEN MIX

For information on creating a Zen Mix see the following page:

https://zenvlog.wordpress.com/zen-mix-intro/

In general you copy a URL to a Web video and picture into Zen Mix, then select from a series of blend modes and save the file. It quickly adds interest and apparent quality to what is often termed in the industry “a talking head”.

2. PLAYING A ZEN MIX

Zen Mixes are usually played on the Zen Mix Player page for example:

http://www.zenmix.com/mix.php?danzen/woods1

Here, danzen is the creator and woods1 is the title of the mix that is being requested.

You can also embed the mix directly on a page with the Flash code provided in Zen Mix (one of your last panels when creating a Zen Mix – note it is set to be paused at the start – you can change this by setting autoplay=true in two places). Flash is the most ubiquitous platform in the world with 98% penetration. Most sites like Blogger and MySpace allow you to embed the code. Some will not like WordPress and then you will need to link to the Zen Mix Player page.

Since the video and picture come from the Web, there may be delay depending on connection speeds. In general, the presentations work well with high speed modems, ISDN, etc. Dial up may experience choppy play of the video until it all loads – just reload the page and it should be better the next time.

Roll over the bottom of the video to reveal a toolbar. The toolbar allows you to play and pause the video, see how much of the video has downloaded and see where you are in the video. You can also scrub the video by dragging the play head. You can mute the sound. Pressing the spacebar will toggle between pause and play.


3. MIXES AND MASHES

A mix is a single file where a mash is a series of mixes. You specify a mash by putting more than one mix on the end of the url. For example:

http://www.zenmix.com/mix.php?danzen/dancing1~dancing2~dancing3

This plays three mix files in a row belonging to creator danzen. Anyone can create mashes and you can play files from more than one creator in a mash – for example:

mix.php?creator1/mixfile~creator2/mixfile

You can play mixes in a random order by putting {} around the mixes – for example:

mix.php?{creator1/mix1~mix2~creator2/mix}

You can play a single mix from a bunch of mixes by using [] around the mixes – this example will play mix1 or mix2 or mix3:

mix.php?[creator1/mix1~mix2~mix3]

You can mix these up and use () to enforce sequence:

mix.php?creator1/mix1~[mix2~mix3]~{creator2/mix1~(mix2~mix3)~mix4}

The above example will play creator1’s mix1 first all the time followed by either mix2 or mix3 followed by creator2’s files in random order except whenever it plays mix2 it will play mix3 next and it will never play mix3 before mix2.

4. NAVIGATING IN A MASH

You can see the mixes in a mash by looking at its URL. To go from one mix to the next roll over the little boxes in the Zen Mix logo and you will see an arrow – click the right arrow to go to the next mix and the left arrow to go to the previous mix. If there is only one mix in the mash then you will not see arrows when you roll over the boxes. You can also click the mix and then use the right and left arrows (or the up and down). When the video of a mix ends it will automatically load the next mix.

5. MIX INFORMATION

At the bottom of the Zen Mix Player page the creator and title of the current mix is shown along with its picture and video source. Click the links there to reveal the sources.

Also at the bottom of the page we show the total mash time and the time that the mix appears in the mash. For instance, in the Dancing Mash of three mixes, when the first mix is playing the first time is: 0s / 8:45s. When the second mix plays, the time is: 2:59s / 8:45s and when the last mix plays, the time is: 5:57s / 8:45s.

6. USING A FLASH FILE INSTEAD OF A PICTURE

You can use another Flash swf file as a URL instead of a picture URL. This will work in general but there may be problems with resizing if the Flash file is interactive. There is also a potential problem if the Flash file is coded without concern for _root scope.

This means that you can put a Zen Mix inside a Zen Mix. And indeed there is an example in the Features Mash link at the top of the Zen Mix site with three Zen Mixes at once. This sometimes runs a little ragged until all videos are in cache so try a refresh.

It also means that Zen Mix allows you to put video overtop of motion graphic flash features like the upcoming Zen Pan and indeed even interactive flash features.

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