Filming talks at smaller meet-ups

Mark Wilkinson speaking at WordPress Cheltenham

Yesterday I was pleased to speak at the WordPress Cheltenham group. My talk was all how to write extensible WordPress code. I actively speak and have spoken at a number of these local events and something I wanted to explore was filming to talks to put up on the web. Here is how I did it and the kit that I used.

Why film the talks

Primarily because I want to be able to place them on our website over at Highrise Digital, or even on this blog so that people can view them there. Any local attendees that could not make the meetup on that date can then look back at them in order to hopefully get something out of them.

Why on at smaller meetups

Well not necessarily but the larger ‘conferences’, notably WordCamps that I have spoken to, more often than not film the talks anyway. However, if I know that is not taking place then I would happily film at larger events too in this way.

The kit I used

First of all the thing that makes this possible (well not possible but a lot easier) is some screen recording software. Most will do what I need, but as I used Screen Flow I am going to mention that here. It enables me to capture a video feed of my presenting screen (my slides), an audio feed from my computer, or in this case a mic connected to my computer and finally a video feed from a webcam. This means I can then stitch these together in an edit to produce the final video.

The Webcam

I opted for the very good quality and fairly inexpensive Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam. It records a great quality picture in full HD and easily mounts to a tripod.

Logictech HD Pro C920 webcam image
A great quality webcam for a good price – HD Pro C920

The Mic

I used will use a simple Lavalier microphone plugged into the headphone port on my MacBook. In my first attempt it didn’t record from this microphone but I think that is because unplugged and plugged in the camera just before I started recording and I think it selected a different microphone from the above camera instead.

Tripod

I use an Amazon Basics tripod which does the trick although it would be good if it was a little higher. However, I can also put it on a table or desk.

The first outcome

The first attempt at this setup us below. As you can hear it did not pick up the correct Mic, but hopefully I can correct that next time and make it better. Maybe some lighting would also help.

Talk: The fundamentals of creating sound plugins

Thanks to WordPress core making plugins to add functionality is not that difficult. However for each plugin you make, there are some sound principles you should follow in order to make your plugin the best it can be.

wcmcr-2017

This talk will teach you some of the principles to follow when making your plugins, which will make it easier for you to develop and upgrade your plugin, as well as allowing other developers to make changes in a safer way and keep things secure. Ideal for beginners and intermediate developers in plugin development.

View the slides

Talk: A deep understanding of WordPress actions and filters

WordPress is known for its extensibility – the ability to change the behaviour of the software without breaking the core code. This is added through plugins and themes.

wcedin-talk

Understanding how to extend WordPress is essential if you want to develop solutions using WordPress. This talk will teach you how actions and filters work, with some practical and theoretical examples to illustrate their functionality.

Attendees should hopefully come away from this talk with a greater understanding on how actions and filters, or hooks as they are collectively known, can unlock the door to building greater things with WordPress, and as I worked out being able to say “Wow, you can do (almost) anything with WordPress!”.

View the slides

Talk: WordPress is a CMS, not a CMS

WordPress allows users to manage their content through the WordPress admin screens. This means users can add, edit and delete content and media and manage their sites without the need to ask developers for every change. WordPress is a content management system, but all too often it can end up becoming a content mismanagement system when editing and managing the site is just too difficult, This talk goes through some of the ways in which we build sites so they are easy to content manage, whilst allowing clients to edit pretty much all of their site. It will cover the different methods we use to make content management easy and some of the problems that we see with sites we have been asked to improve. Hopefully by the end of this talk attendees will come away with some practical examples on how to make content management with WordPress easier and quicker for users.

View the slides

I received some great feedback about the talk.

Talk: Computing in UK Schools

In 2013/2014 the UK government made major changes to the ICT curriculum, most notably removing a lot of the traditional “how to use” content and replacing this with a Computing focused curriculum. As a former teacher at the time I went through this transition.

In this talk I outline what is now taught in UK schools at the moment along with some of the techniques and software programs used to get these skills and knowledge across to our youngsters. The talk touches on the role WordPress could and perhaps should play in the curriculum.

View the slides

View the video below. My talk starts at 18 minutes in as I was the second speaker.

Talk: Tremendous taxonomies

Taxonomies have been around in WordPress for a long time as a way of grouping things together, but did you know there is a lot you can do with taxonomies which you may not know? In this talk I will outline what taxonomies are and how you can create your own custom taxonomies. I will share some use cases for having custom taxonomies as well as some different and interesting ways in which I have used taxonomies on some sites in the past. In addition I will looks at some of the ways in which you can optimise the admin UI for taxonomies, making it more appropriate in some cases. The talk will also look at how you can associate data with different taxonomy terms.

View the slides

Talk: Publishing a plugin on WordPress.org

How do you get a plugin onto the WordPress.org repository? What steps do you need to take? Are there any specific requirements? These are just some of the questions this talk, aimed at anyone who wants to push a plugin to the WordPress.org repository will answer. We will go through the steps you need to take in order to prepare your plugin, some best practices in the plugin code and how to submit it to .org.

View the slides

WordCamp Speaking – Why?

During a discussion over on the WP UK Community Slack channels I was asked by Jenny Wong “I would like to know what drives you to be a WordCamp Speaker?” After a little discussion after I thought this would make a really good blog post – so here goes!

My WordCamp Speaking

I thought it would be a good idea to give you a little background on my WordCamp speaking. It all started back in 2014 when I was encouraged to speak at WordCamp Sheffield, a one-day WordCamp organised by Kimb Jones and others. I spoke about Customising the WordPress admin for clients and the talk went very well. I was very nervous before hand but I was made to feel very welcome and comfortable and it passed without incident!

Continue reading “WordCamp Speaking – Why?”

A New Chapter – Beyond Freelancing

Last year I spoke at WordCamp Manchester about freelancing. The talk went down well and I enjoyed sharing my experiences of finally being an established freelancer. Fast forward nearly 6 months and I am no longer freelancing. Today I can introduce my new business, in partnership with Keith Devon, we have launched Highrise Digital Ltd.

A New WordPress Agency

I have worked with Keith for 18 months now, as a freelancer on a number of projects. We met at the WordPress London Meetup in September 2014 where I spoke about my development setup. At the time Keith was on the lookout for freelancers to help him with projects that he had at the time.

We worked really well together with complementary skills sets. Keith very much more front-end focused and me liking to work in the back-end of WordPress. The projects we worked on were a great success and it became obvious that we should go into business together at the back-end of 2015.

So Highrise Digital Ltd was born on February 5th 2016, when we incorporated the business and set things up officially. We spent much of the early part of the discussions deciding what to call the business and agreeing on some branding. You can find out about this, on this post Keith wrote about the experience.

The last few weeks have been extremely busy getting the business setup and in the right place to trade correctly. However it is very exciting and I look forward to working with Keith for many years to come on lots of exciting WordPress projects!

Speaking at WordCamp London 2016

It is the time of year again where WordCamp London is taking place very soon and I am delighted to announce that I have been kindly selected to speak at the event. My talk is titled “Publishing a Plugin on WordPress.org“.

I started writing plugins a long time ago mainly for client work, however over the last couple of years I have been releasing some of the plugins I have built to the open source community via WordPress.org’s plugin repository. In this talk I will go present on the following:

  • The reasons why you may want to release a plugin on WordPress.org rather than keeping it for yourself!
  • The specific steps, setup and rules you need to follow in order to prepare your plugin for a WordPress.org release
  • How to actually submit your plugin, including the process itself and some things to think about to make the plugin review teams’ lives easier
  • A brief look at aftercare of the your plugin particularly around using the support forums etc.

If you have yet to purchase your ticket for WordCamp London, I would strongly urge you to do so. At just £30 they are an absolute bargain and I am sure you will get a lot out of the weekend.

Look forward to seeing you all there!