|The scourge of would be pirates... A watermark?!|
Today I want to talk about protecting our privacy just that little bit more through the simple act of watermarking. Watermarking is something like an official seal that people use to display ownership and copyright items and intellectual property. The practice originates from the use of faint imprints on paper to prevent counterfeiting, and it is still used today on official documents like passports and security papers as well as on bank notes.
In the digital age many photographers will watermark their photographs through use of Photoshop to prevent their free use on other peoples websites. You will commonly see examples of watermarks when doing a Google image search for something that brings up a lot of stock image results. Stock photos will usually have the owner's website emblazoned across the image in transparent text, such as"Stockimages.com". The watermark shows who the photograph belongs to without too much distortion across the picture so that potential buyers can still clearly see the image before purchase.
You can also watermark and date your live webcam streams and video recordings by using some simple software. Watermarking your intellectual property is something that could help you if for any reason your live shows are illegally recorded, or your prerecorded videos are uploaded without your consent. The practice generally dissuades pirates from taking your videos as dates make it difficult for them to pose as a live camgirl and listing your camgirl name and site will give you additional publicity and make it easier for you to prove that you own the rights to the video. For photographs, again this means you can give a free preview of your pictures without making it easy for other sites or members to download and rip you off.
To watermark your photos without Photoshop I recommend using the website picmarkr.com. It is a free site that will allow you to create and add custom watermarks to your images. I won't go into great detail about how to use it, but if you are looking for a tutorial I suggest looking at this one.
For your custom video clips or any recordings you are making available online, one of the free and easy options to add a watermark is to use Windows Movie Maker. As I do not make pre-recorded content as of yet I couldn't tell you how to do this, but there is again an excellent tutorial available here that should answer any questions you might have.
For live streaming I would recommend downloading the free Manycam software here. Manycam is a free program that can add many effects to your camera while streaming live and is also a camsplitter so it enables you to broadcast on several sites simultaneously.
To create your watermark with ManyCam there are several things you will need to do. First of all you will need to make sure you are streaming your camera through the application itself. To do this you must click the video tab at the top of the window, then click on the sources tab, and finally select your webcam from the drop down camera menu underlined in red on the illustration below.
Once you have got your camera streaming properly, you will need to get rid of the ugly logo that Manycams uses as its watermark when you start the program for the first time. To do this you will need to click on the effects tab, next to the sources tab you selected earlier. You then select the text over video function option and un-check the "Show Manycams Logo" box that the red arrow is pointing to below. This will remove the logo circled in the bottom right of the cam stream.
When the logo is gone you can create your own watermark by checking the "Enable text" box circled in the bottom left of the image below. This allows you to write directly into the text box above it and your message will appear in the cam stream window. You can change the font size, colour, style and transparency with the tool bar above the text box, as well as adjust the colour and transparency of the text background. You can also position your watermark by left clicking and holding the mouse button to drag it wherever you like on your cam window. When you are satisfied with the position, release the left mouse button to drop it.
To time stamp your live shows you will need to select the date and time option that sits just below the text over video option we picked before in the left hand menu. When you have selected this option, to enable the time and date you will need to check the "Show clock" box circled in red below and select a time and date format from the options that are available. In my case I have selected the DD/MM/YY option along with the 24 hour clock to make my time stamp as small as possible. To change the position of the clock, drag and drop in the same way you did with your watermark.
Once this is complete you are basically ready to go. You can start streaming live with the knowledge that your work is watermarked. To stream through Manycam you will need to ensure it is running and select it instead of your webcam when choosing what to stream. I have used my Skype video settings as an example below. To make sure that anyone I Skype with can see my watermark, I have selected the ManyCam Virtual Webcam instead of the usual HP Webcam I would use. Be sure this is selected with all your show streaming software such as the flash encoder, JustCamIt and and MFC software.
To use ManyCam software for watermarking you will need to have it running in the background. Once it is open, even if you close the application it will still be running in the hidden icons tray in the bottom right of the screen in your task bar (Assuming you are running a Windows OS and not a Mac. I am not a Mac user so I am afraid you guys are own your own here!). Keeping it open gives you the option to alter your text and use different effects during a show, but closing the screen and having it running in the background is fine and will ensure that your watermark remains.
So there you have it. I hope you have found this post somewhat helpful. I use a watermark in all my shows now as an extra precaution, and it has made me feel more confident about tackling potential piracy. While we must remember it does not remove the threat entirely, it does protect us that little bit more and helps when sending a DCMA.
Be safe and be blessed!