It is amazingly easy to create video content

Tech tools available today make it easy for a novice to create usable videos. No one will confuse what you create with what comes out of Hollywood or Madison Avenue, but it won’t cost thousands of dollars per minute of content either.

To show how easy it is, I’ve accumulated several of my videos and briefly discussed them on my other blog, Outrun Change:

Here is my most popular video, with over 3,600 views:


Making videos is incredibly easy. I hope my simple efforts will encourage you to try it yourself.

Keep in mind I’m working with a point-and-shoot camera, have zero editing experience, and possess a level of creativity that is only slightly higher than the average accountant.

Equipment that is not cheapest on the market, some minimal experience, and measurable levels of creativity combined with the astounding tools available today would result in great video for your organization.

Jump in, the water’s fine!

Covering the controlled territory, battles, and casualties of the Civil War in a very short video? A superb creative visualization.

How’s this for a very creative visualization? A four-minute video that tells the story of the American Civil War through the amount of territory controlled by the Union and Confederate forces with mention of major battles and a casualty counter in the corner.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum created The Civil War in Four Minutes.

You can view the video here at what appears to be the only authorized place to host it.

Update on 1/19/19: Video is no longer available online. You need to buy a copy if you want to see it. A bootleg copy can be found online, but I won’t link to it.


4,000 years of history in 1 chart – superb visualization

Think you could map out the history of the world over the last 4,000 years, showing the relative power of all the major governments and people groups, and then put all that info into one chart?

John B. Sparks did just that back in 1931. His five-foot-long chart can be seen at Slate – The Entire History of the World – Really, All of It – Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart.


“Deck the Halls with Macro Follies” – Economists sing your favorite holiday carols

Remember the rapping economists we saw here and here?  They’re back!

Just in time for Christmas, EconStories imagines their fantasy Christmas album featuring the classic hits from Keynes, Hayek, and other renown singers you know and love.

Enjoy the greatest collection of economic hits ever aggregated.


 Remember, the only one who has the power to create presents out of thin air is Santa himself.

If you want a few 20 second explanations of how to slow or increase the economy, check out the new interpretations of your favorite songs of the season.

Link, if you need it:

hat tip Cafe Hayek

Views of my cartoons at YouTube increasing

Last year I created two cartoons about internal controls for local churches. Those cartoons are featured on my other blog, Once Upon Internal Control.

Views on YouTube for all my cartoons have been running about 50 a week during 2012. For reasons I cannot detect, the traffic on the two main cartoons has surged.

In three weeks, there were 363 viewings of part 1.  In those same three weeks, part 2 was watched 108 times.

Total views to date for part 1 are 2,030 and for part 2 are 385.

Each cartoon runs about 8 minutes.  Here are the cartoons – –

Bank reconciliations and offering count procedures:


Good procedures protect from false accusations:


(Cross-post from Once Upon Internal Control.)

Moving up the value chain – data, information, knowledge, wisdom

What’s the difference between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom?

John Bredehoft pointed me to an academic definition from Sujatha Das, in her post Difference between Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom.

Value increases dramatically with each step up. Knowledge is far more valuable that just information. Wisdom far surpasses knowledge in value.


Words as a creative visualization? Part 2

Previous post introduced the idea that software could take raw data and convert it to a usable news article.  My friend John Bredehoft introduced the idea to me.

I think it is a great way for creative visualization of raw data.  Good way to help us understand a mass of numbers.

What does an auto-written article look like? 

Here are a few examples I found.  They are all on the Forbes website, where Narrative Science is credited as the author.


Words as a creative visualization? Part 1

I enjoy watching for creative ways to explain things.

I’ve discussed rap videos to explain economics, the federal budget illustrated on a one-page chart, and using one map to show the destruction of Napoleon’s army during his invasion of Russia. That one map does a better job of telling the story that a 1,000 word article and far faster than a 100 page book.

I have tried my hand at creative visualizations by producing two animated cartoons.  They tell the story of setting up good internal controls in a local church. Part one has received over 900 views on YouTube. Part two is here.

Here’s a big brain stretch for you – using a computer program to turn raw data into a story – creative visualization using words


Creative Visualization – mapping the growth of retail stores

Check out these time-lapsed maps showing the growth of a retail chain from Flowing Data.  Great visualization of the speed and location of new stores.  Also shows the diffusion across the country.

Lets you see the data of Walmart from 1 store in 1962 to 4,393 in 2010.

Check out these visuals:


Rap video on government distortions of supply and demand

Check out Supply & Demand: A Thug Story

Government interference with the pricing mechanism produces shortages which are resolved by non-price mechanisms: discrimination, waiting lines, rationing, black markets, or favoritism.  Markets messed up?  Look for government messing with price signals to find the cause.



A field trip from August 2011 to August 1981 and back

John Bredehoft has a creative two-part post comparing technology in 2011 and 1981. Focus is on the change in portability – the ease of getting news anywhere and being able to reach someone anywhere.

What if modern portability existed, or didn’t exist, 30 years ago?

More on changes in portability

Communication then:


What if US metropolitan areas were independent countries?

Previously looked at a visual comparing US states to other countries. This visual compares metropolitan areas to countries.

If U.S. Cities Were Countries, How Would They Rank?

A few tidbits from the article:

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana has a GDP comparable to Netherlands, which makes it sized same as the 18th largest economy in the world (more…)

“If you care about improving people’s lives, then you really care about economic freedom”

How do we make life better for people?

Is there a relationship between the level of economic freedom in a country and the level of income, life expectancy, civil rights, and a cleaner environment? Is there an inverse relationship between the level of economic freedom and the level of corruption, infant mortality, and child labor?

The answer to both questions is yes.

The higher the level of economic freedom is in a country, the higher the level of those good things.  With more freedom there are less of those bad things. See this very innovative, creative video, from the Charles Koch Foundation, for a visual explanation: