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Help & Resources


What is this site all about?
This is an "Open Content" Web site featuring raw footage shot for NOVA's Car of the Future documentary. You can download our clips to use in your own film on tomorrow's cars, environmental issues, or any topic you want. Feel free to mix the footage with other footage you shoot or obtain elsewhere, such as from other Open Content sites.

What is "Open Content"?
Open Content is material that anyone can use, free of charge, with only a few restrictions.

Do I need to register to use this site?
No, but you will need to register to use the Filmmakers' Forum. You can do this for free.

How can I view your clips?
You can use the "Search clips/browse clips by" box in the upper right of this page to search or browse our video collection. To watch video previews, you'll need a copy of QuickTime or Windows Media Player, which may already exist on your computer. Both programs are available free of charge for Windows and Mac users.

Once you've read our Open Content guidelines, you can download our clips. These clips are available as MPEG-4 files, which are viewable with most video software and editing programs.

I want to make a video, but what if I need help?
Check out our how-to guides below. These guides include resources that should help you throughout the filmmaking process, from capturing your first shot to sharing your final creation with the rest of us. If you would like to exchange ideas with other documentarians, you can visit our Filmmakers' Forum.

What kinds of videos can I make?
Your videos can be about any issue that's important to you, from tomorrow's cars to the environment. You can create these videos for display on this site, for school or community projects, or anything else that comes to mind as long as you follow a few fair and simple rules. You should familiarize yourself with these rules before you download our clips.

Your clips have all the material I need. Do I have to shoot new footage?

Do you have any other footage that I can use?
NOVA does not currently have any other Open Content footage available, but if this experiment appears to be useful to a lot of people, we will try to find the resources to do similar projects more often.

Can I contribute new footage to your collection of stock and interview clips?
Not at the moment, but your finished video can include as much or as little of your own footage as you like.

I'm done with my video. Now what?
When you're done with your video, you can share it with the rest of us. But you'll need to find hosting for your creation first. YouTube or any other site that provides upload capability is fine—just send us the link.

How can I help support "Car of the Future" Open Content?
Glad you asked! You can help support innovative new media projects like this one through your local PBS station or by making a one-time gift.

What if I still have questions?
Our how-to resources below should help answer any lingering questions about shooting, editing, and sharing your film. If you've reviewed the FAQ and resources on this page and still have questions about our Web site or suggestions for new resources we could add, please send us some feedback. You can also use this form to report any technical glitches on our site.


Car of the Future
Before you start working on your own video, you might want to familiarize yourself with NOVA's Car of the Future documentary, which you can watch online. The "Car of the Future" site also offers an extensive list of resources with useful information on important topics such as fuel emissions and what car companies are doing to improve the future of personal transportation.

How-To: Start filming
If you want to shoot your own footage but you don't have a camera, you can start looking for one by reading product reviews, which can be found all over the Web at sites like and Amazon. If you would rather rent a camera, check with your local retailers. Many schools will also lend video- and audio-recording equipment to teachers and students.

Some sites that might help you along the way include:

Current: Essential Gear
If you're still not sure how to find the best equipment, Current TV Executive Director Evan Stone has a few helpful suggestions.

OurMedia: Video
OurMedia is an Open Content site that allows filmmakers to share their work with others. This help page includes a variety of easy-to-use tutorials on shooting video like a cinematographer, making sure you've got the best lighting, and much more.

Basic Filmmaking Tutorial
Surrey Films offers helpful tips for novice filmmakers on getting the right angles and framing when shooting video.

Inside Indies: Learn from the Pros
PBS's Independent Lens offers video interviews with seasoned filmmakers who give the inside scoop on how to create a compelling story.

How-To: Edit your video
Most new computers come with basic video-editing software, like Apple's iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, that will allow you to create your film. If you don't have either of these programs or want to use something else, you can check the Web for other user-reviewed products. might be a good place to start looking for free and pay software.

OurMedia: Multimedia
Editing is about more than just cutting and pasting scenes together. In order to keep your audience engaged, you need to tell a story. OurMedia tells you how.

One-Minute Movies: How to Edit
This BBC-created tutorial offers useful information on how to organize your clips and edit your video like the pros.

YouTube: Making Videos
YouTube's Help Center presents a lot of useful information for recording and editing video. It also tells you how to optimize your video for easy uploading.

How-To: Share your work
When you're done with your film, you can show it off to the rest of us. But first you'll need to find hosting for your video.

YouTube is one of the biggest resources of free, streaming video content on the planet. You can upload your finished video here.

Yahoo! Video
Yahoo! users can upload their videos for others to watch, rate, and share with others.

Internet Archive: Moving Image Archive
This digital library contains thousands of free user-uploaded videos. Submitting your video here will give you the option of letting other users download it to their computers.

Four-Eyed Monsters: Distributing Your Videos
The creators of the feature film Four-Eyed Monsters offer a quick tutorial on how to spread your video all over the Web and get more exposure.

Share Your Videos
Once you've uploaded your video to YouTube or another site, please submit it to our Share Your Videos page. We may select your video to be featured on our site, where other users can comment on your creation.

Filmmakers' Forum
After you've shared your video with us, let people know about it on our Filmmakers' Forum.

Other Open Content Sites
Interested in finding more Open Content on the Web? There are a number of other sites out there that might prove useful.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides free tools that let users easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. Creators of original works can use the CC like we do—to change their copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."

This is a video sharing service that provides content creators with free hosting, support for a variety of video formats, and distribution using technologies like RSS. Blip.TV is ideal for users generating ongoing content with multiple "episodes."

Internet Archive
The Internet Archive maintains extensive collections of digital media that are either public domain or licensed under Creative Commons or similar licenses. Users can upload their own content here.

Dubbed "Wiki meets YouTube," Kaltura is striving to create the world's largest distributed video network. Kaltura enables sites to integrate rich-media functionalities, including video searching, uploading, importing, editing, annotating, remixing, and sharing.

Media Rights helps showcase important social-issue documentaries and puts media makers in touch with educators, librarians, and nonprofits. Together, they use the documentaries to generate discussion and encourage action on contemporary social issues.

MIT OpenCourseWare
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun an initiative to put all educational materials (including video) free of charge online. Subjects include but aren't limited to environmental engineering and Earth sciences.

MOD Films
MOD creates "remixable" film content for potential use in digital videos and games, and as source material for online communities.

OurMedia allows users to discuss home-brewed media, store their work online, and share their creative efforts with a global audience.

Revver is a YouTube-like Web site that supports the free and unlimited sharing of user-generated videos across the Web.

This Open Content site, created by WGBH in Boston, allows users to download clips on a broad variety of topics and then edit and mix them together to create their own videos.

Wikimedia Commons
The Wikimedia Commons is a repository of free images, video, and other multimedia files. All of the content is either in the public domain or released under licenses such as from the Creative Commons.


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