Facebook Debugger Tool Not Working – Won’t Refresh Youtube Image / Attachment

In a previous post, I spoke about forcing Facebook to refresh a YouTube video image with the Facebook debugger tool. This is still recommended as the first line of defense if Facebook isn’t refreshing their cache to the newest available version of the image on your YouTube video, or any other linked image. However, I’m finding that this tool doesn’t always work.

Facebook’s debug tool has now failed me in multiple cases. It first failed me when I attempted to run a Facebook ad for a brand new short film and music video on my YouTube account. Facebook kept rejecting my ad because they have some weird rule against having text on your video image. Despite changing the YouTube image to one without text, the Facebook automated ad tool kept rejecting the ad, claiming that there was text in the image. And in every one of the ad rejection emails, they displayed the old image which no longer existed. Because this concerned advertising, and I pay them for said advertising, I was able to contact them through the ad manager about the issue. Even then, they kept claiming to have fixed the issue, but didn’t. It took literally 4 months of emails and claims of having fixed it for them to actually fix the issue. They obviously have a really bad issue with caching YouTube video images.

My latest experience with this Facebook cache problem involves a YouTube live stream commentary track for the movie “Home Alone” that we did just a couple of days ago. After posting the video to Facebook for the first time, I realized that there was a misspelling on the image. So, I immediately fixed the image and re-uploaded it to YouTube. Then, I used the Facebook Debugging Tool to refresh the cache of the YouTube link, which should update the image. However, instead of replacing the old image with the new one that was now present on YouTube, Facebook behaved erratically, sometimes showing the new image, but mostly showing the old image more than 90% of the time. More than 24 hours later, it’s still showing the original image, regardless of using the debug tool to refresh the image countless times.

Here you see the original image with the misspelled word “comentary” from the original image, despite the original image no longer existing on YouTube:

If you scroll down a bit on the Facebook Debug Tool page, you will see the direct URL to the YouTube image:

If you plug that URL directly into your browser address bar, you can see the current image on YouTube’s servers, which, as you will see here, has the word spelled correctly:

You can even plug that direct image URL into the debug tool, and you will see that it pulls the correct image from it:

However, despite Facebook being able to pull the correct image through the direct URL, it still shows the incorrect, cached image when you plug the video URL back in.

To take this further, click over to the Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger (different from the other debug tool), plug in your video URL and scroll about half way down until you see two tiny thumbnails of your image. From there, you can click on that image thumbnail, open the full size image and see that Facebook opens the correct image. These are the dual thumbnails that you’re looking for:

Facebook appears to be able to display the correct image when you go directly to the image URL. But, when you ask Facebook to pull the YouTube video image, it ignores the URL and displays its old cached item instead. And even its own debug / refresh tool doesn’t refresh it.

I’d like to get Facebook involved to solve this, but I can’t find any way to contact them about it. If anybody has a way to get in contact with them to solve the issue of their broken debugging tool, please let me know.

– MIKAL
http://mikalfilms.com

Facebook Won’t Show My New Youtube Video Cover Image

Did you change your video’s default cover image on Youtube, only to find that Facebook keeps showing the old image? That’s because Facebook caches the old image from your video. You have to force it to look at the new image.

Here’s how to fix that.

Part 1.
If you’re posting the video in a new Facebook post, follow these instructions. If you’re trying to update the default image in a Facebook video post that was already posted, scroll down to Part 2.

1. Navigate to https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug. This is the Facebook Developer Debugging Tool.

2. Paste your video URL into the address bar on the page, as shown.

Facebook Developer URL Debugging Tool

3. Click the blue “Debug” button to the right of the address bar.

4. Scroll down and click the “Scrape Again” button.

Your video preview on the debugger page will now show your new preview image.  That means the video is ready to be posted.

5. Post your video URL in the Facebook status message box. It will show up with the new image.

Youtube Video on Facebook with Full Size Preview Image

Part 2.
If you’re trying to update the default image on a Youtube video that’s already been posted to Facebook, follow these instructions instead:

1. Navigate to your Facebook post with the video.

2. Click through the date/time link just below your name (or your page name), as shown below. This will take you to the post’s individual page.

Facebook Post Youtube Video Date Time

3. Now, click the three dots in the upper right corner of the post.

4. From the resulting drop-down menu, select “Refresh Share Attachment”.

Facebook post Youtube video Refresh Share Attachment

Ta-da! Your Facebook video post now reflects the newest default image set on your Youtube video.

– MIKAL
http://mikalfilms.com

P.S. If you want to see the video in these screen shots, check it out here – Rock N’ Roll Parking Lot.

Force Facebook To Show Your Full Youtube Video Image

Are you tired of Facebook forcing your video preview images into tiny squares in the lower left corner, like this?

Facebook's shitty way of displaying Youtube video default images

It seems that Facebook does this to its own users as vengeance against them for choosing Youtube over Facebook’s native video upload feature. Petty? Yes. But, it’s Facebook’s own fault. With Youtube, you have the largest video search engine in the world, your videos can actually be optimized for search engines, and you can actually make money off of your videos via ad revenue. Facebook shares none of these features.

There’s a simple way to fix this.

1. Log in to your Youtube account and go to the Creator Studio. If you don’t know how to get there, click your Youtube icon in the upper right corner of the page, and click “Creator Studio”.

Youtube Creator Studio Button

2.  Once you’re in the Creator Studio, click the Video Manager button on the left.

Youtube Video Manager Button

3. Now you’ll see a list of your videos. Click the Edit button on the video that you want to post on Facebook.

Youtube Video Edit Button

4. Next, click the Advanced Settings tab.

Youtube Edit Video Advanced Settings Tab

5. Under Advanced Settings, you’ll find “Distribution Options” near the bottom of the left hand column. Uncheck the box that says “Allow Embedding”.

Youtube Distribution Options Uncheck Allow Embedding

6. Click “Save Changes” at the top (or bottom, it’s in both places) of the page.

Youtube Advanced Settings Save Changes Button

7.  Now, paste the URL to your video in your Facebook status update box. It will look like this:

Youtube Video on Facebook with Full Size Preview Image

If it still doesn’t show up full size, that’s because Facebook caches your Youtube video info, and is still using the old info. Luckily, this is also easy to fix.

To force Facebook to see the new info:

1. Go to: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug

2. Enter the URL to your video in the address bar as shown below.

Facebook Developer URL Debugging Tool

3. Click the blue “Debug” button to the right of the address bar.

4. Scroll down and hit the “Scrape Again” button. You will now see this:

Facebook Developer Debugging Tool with Full Size Youtube Video Preview

5. You’ve just forced Facebook to retrieve the new info from Youtube.

Now, just paste your Youtube video URL into the Facebook status update box again, and it will definitely show up correctly with the full size preview image.

You’re welcome.

I learned of the “Allow Embedding” fix from Mech Tech on Youtube. Check out Mech Tech’s video on forcing Facebook to show a full size Youtube video image here. And tell him MIKAL sent you.

Oh, and, if you want to check out the film in the images in this article, here it is – Rock N’ Roll Parking Lot.

– MIKAL
http://mikalfilms.com

Your Lav Mic Doesn’t Work With The Zoom H6 Recorder?

No time for cute stories? Scroll down to the TL;DR section at the bottom.

Earlier this year, I purchased the Zoom H6 portable multitrack audio recorder for outdoor film shoots. And it was great. Out of the box, it comes with four XLR (microphone) inputs, four 1/4″ inputs, two detachable microphones (an X/Y and another called a ‘mid-side’ mic), and a stereo 1/8″ input on the X/Y mic attachment. It will record up to 6 tracks at once.

When the time came that I needed some lavalier/lapel mics for a shoot, I found the best low-priced lav mic in production, the JK Mic-J 044, by watching a bunch of youtube low-priced lav mic test videos. They’re around $30 each, depending on which input you get with them. You can get them with the 1/8″ mono TS output, the 1/8″ TRS out, the TRRS (for plugging into phones), the mini-XLR, and a few others. I ordered one of the TRRS models, as well as 4 of the 1/8″ TS output models. It is important to note that these do not include wireless packs. They are just the mic with about a 3 foot cord on them. If you want wireless, you have to buy those separately from someone else, and they are not cheap.

I can’t tell you how excited I was when they arrived. I opened one up, plugged the TRRS model into my phone, and, BAM! It worked. And it sounded just as great as it did in those youtube videos. Next, I took out one of the 1/8″ TS models, added an adapter to turn the 1/8″ into a 1/4″ out, and plugged it into one of my Zoom H6’s 1/4″ inputs.

Aaaaaand… nothing. No sound. After some googling, I read that you have to turn on the ‘plugin power’, which is a lower voltage version of phantom power, meant for lav mics. So, I turned plugin power on.

Nothing.

I opened up another one of the JK Mic-J 044 lav mic packages, just to make sure I didn’t have a faulty mic in the first package. I plugged it in, and got nothing. Either I had a whole batch of bad mics, or there was a compatibility issue between the JK Mic-J 044 lav mic and the Zoom H6 recorder.

To make sure the H6’s 1/4″ input was working, I grabbed an old $20 lav mic from my closet. Guess what? The mic worked. So, the H6 was working.

I also tested the mics by plugging one into the stereo 1/8″ input on the side of the X/Y mic attachment that comes with the Zoom H6. This input is wired differently than the XLR / 1/4″ inputs on the sides of the H6. It worked! That’s great and all, but, if I just settled there, I would only be able to use one of the lav mics at a time, when I needed to be able to use 4 or 5 at once.

I grabbed the mic manufacturer’s website (JK Microphones) off of the back of the mic package to see if their site had any info about them not working with the Zoom H6 recorder. Nothing. So, I emailed them from their site.

Next, I went through several weeks of writing back and forth with them trying to figure out what the problem was. They were extremely nice, and genuinely wanted to figure out why this combination was not working. After all, it’s not just in a company’s best interest to work with customers, but even moreso to make sure their products are compatible with the widest possible field of gear that they can. And they didn’t want to alienate everybody who owned a Zoom H6.

JK even mailed me a bunch of other mics for free so I could test them with my H6. First, they sent me 4 of the 1/8″ TRS output models, thinking that maybe the H6 only accepts TRS and not TS. These didn’t work, either.

Then, I looked up the wiring diagram for the H6 inputs and shared it with JK. They found that their Mic-J outputs were wired differently than the H6 inputs. So, they made a couple of differently wired TRS models, and sent them to me along with some 1/4″ adapters that seemed to work on their end. And, once again, they didn’t work.

I had all but given up at this point, resigned to the fact that I might not be able to use these great sounding $30 lav mics with my H6, and I may have to spend a ton of money on high end lavs instead.

Then, I discovered a youtube video about using lav mics with the H6. The guy in the video said that the H6 only accepted XLR inputs, and that 1/4″ outputs would not work with it. This was incorrect, as the H6 comes stock with combination XLR / 1/4″ inputs. Further, I had already proven that the 1/4″ inputs work with another one of my older, lower quality lav mics. But, I kept watching. He mentioned buying the Rode VXLR adapters, which are adapters to turn 1/8″ or 1/4″ outputs into XLR outputs. I happened to have a few of these from an earlier experiment. So, I tried it out.

It didn’t work. But, one thing that the guy in the video didn’t mention was whether he had turned on phantom power or plugin power. So, I tried plugin power. Nothing. Then, I tried phantom power on 12 volts. Eureka! It worked.

So, the culmination of months of experimentation ends with finding that plugging the JK Mic-J 044 (1/8″ TRS model), into a Rode VXLR adapter, then into the Zoom H6, with plugin power turned on at 12 volts, is the magic combination.

TL;DR
Here’s how to make the JK Mic-J 044 lav mic work with the Zoom H6 recorder:

  • Get the JK Mic-J 044 lav mic (1/8″ TRS model) from Amazon. (If you already have another lav mic that won’t work with the Zoom H6, make sure it’s TRS, and proceed to the next step)
  • Get a Rode VXLR adapter (1/8″ to XLR) from Amazon, or wherever they’re selling it.
  • Plug the lav mic into the VXLR adapter.
  • Plug the VXLR adapter into one of the H6’s XLR inputs.
  • Turn on “Phantom Power” for the track you want to record on, and set the voltage to 12 volts.
  • Click the corresponding button to the input that you’re plugged into.

That’s it. The m@!4*&#F@(#*r works.

Above: JK Mic-J 044 lav mic plugged into a Rode VXLR adapter, in turn plugged into the Zoom H6 recorder.

The Importance of Reading a Casting Call Before Replying

I once had a test in my high school English class that consisted of a list of approximately forty-five instructions, numbered accordingly. Each was a small task, such as ‘Turn to page 9, and draw a circle around the square.’

A short time after the test began, a few people stopped working and sat silently for the rest of the allotted time. In fact, some even purposely dropped their pencils loudly, in an effort to call attention to the fact that they were stopping.

The rest of the class just kept on working – heads down, pencils scribbling, pages turning back and forth.

About ten minutes later, I began to hear gasps of anti-serendipity from those who had kept working.  Something terrible had happened. After following instructions one through forty-four, they read number forty-five, as follows: ‘Do not do instructions one through forty-four. Put your pencil down. You are done.’

After everybody reached this point, our teacher asked us who passed and who failed. He had just given us a lesson in how to follow instructions. Those who read the instructions fully before beginning ended up having to do no work at all, while those who didn’t read the instructions fully before beginning ended up doing a ton of work that they weren’t supposed to do.

‘Always read the instructions in full before doing any work,’ he told us.

As an indie filmmaker, I suffer no delusions of being Spielberg or Hitchcock. Putting out a casting call for a low or no-money part in a film production does not make you a big shot, and it does not command the respect of seasoned professionals. You should treat everybody with the same respect you’d like them to show you. If you’re basically a nobody (within the film industry that is; I’m sure we’re all just as special as our moms say!), making demands of others won’t get you very far.

However, here is a bit of advice that will help both the filmmakers and the actors. It doesn’t require arrogance, belittling, or a show of power.

Ready? Here it is:

Reading the instructions is always the first test.

In most situations, a casting call will have specific instructions on how to submit for a part. If you don’t read the notice in full before replying, you’re probably going to do it wrong. The person who receives it will notice this immediately. This tells them that you didn’t read the casting call fully (or at all), and that you don’t follow instructions.

A casting call will likely tell you where to send your submission. For example, it might give you a specific email address where you should send that info. Or, if the casting call is posted on facebook, it might ask you to send your submission as a private message to a specific FB page related to the casting. If a casting notice says to send your info to a specific email address, or to a specific facebook page, that is exactly where you should send it. If you ignore these instructions, and instead try to call the person, or seek out their personal facebook page to send your info, you will not get a reply. This shows them that you don’t follow instructions.

The casting call will also likely be very specific as to what you should send with your submission. It might ask for photos or video, along with a description of any experience you might have. It may also ask you to introduce yourself, and specify which casting call and which part you are submitting for.

Even if the casting notice doesn’t specify those things, you should always be courteous and introduce yourself when sending the requested materials, along with an explanation of what you’re submitting for. If you just blast out photos to someone with no message introducing yourself or saying why you’re contacting them, you won’t get a reply. If you just contact them with “I’m interested in (name of production),” without any of the requested materials, and no explanation as to why those things are missing, you’re probably not getting a reply. Even worse, if you just send a message saying “I’m interested” or “I’m interested in the casting call”, without even specifying what casting call, you probably won’t get a reply.

If you reply to a casting call on Facebook by writing “I’m interested” as a reply to the post, instead of submitting through whatever means the casting notice instructs, you will be telling the casting director that you’re bad at following instructions. A lot of people will reply to these with “I’m interested!” or “I just applied.” Do not do this. This not only does not help your submission, but it may hurt your chances. There are plenty of articles on casting company websites that tell you not to do this. But, people persist, because they do not read the instructions.

Do not use third party websites that give you online resumes and tell you to use their system to email your resume for casting submissions. There are plenty of these out there. A lot of them charge you for this bad service. Don’t do it. These companies scrape real casting notices from other sites, then post them without permission on their own site, and charge you to gain access to them or submit to them. I’ve caught websites doing this with my casting calls in the past, and I’ve been very stern when telling them that they do not have permission to post my casting calls and charge people to submit to them. Not to mention, casting directors in general do not want to see this. They want you to be thoughtful enough to send the information they’ve requested in their casting call. Casting directors will often just delete these third party site submissions without reading them. They’re not personal. They’re spam.

Some of the most egregious examples of not reading instructions include people not even knowing what they’re submitting to. They’re just shotgunning generic info to any and every email address they can find. This will not help you. In fact, it will piss off anybody that you send it to, burning bridges with those who you could’ve worked with if you’d just followed instructions.

If you reply to a casting call for Ghostbusters with “I’m interested in the twinkies audition” because you saw a twinkie in the photo with the casting call, you’re probably not going to get a reply.

Reading the instructions is always the first test.

“I’m here for the twinkies audition” – Egon Spengler

– MIKAL
MIKALFilms.com
DARKLYFilms.com

Youtube’s Inability To Split Ad Revenue Between Audio & Video Copyright Holders

If you post media to Youtube as many millions of others do, you may have experienced this: You post your new video, whether it’s an original narrative, a piece of documentary style footage, or just a video of you goofing around with your friends.  Then, you look at your video manager page and see an alert that copyrighted content has been detected in your video, which means that youtube has now placed ads on your video, and that someone else is going to collect all ad revenue from your video being played. By corollary, this also means that you cannot monetize your own video, because Youtube has already done this and directed the revenue to somebody else.

“Yes, Mikal, but, what’s the problem?”

When Youtube’s auto-detection software flags a video as containing copyrighted content, it could be something as big as a fully copied video, movie, etc., or it could be something as small as a few seconds of audio in the background of an otherwise completely original video. For example, if you’re filming yourself in a public place, and someone has music playing off in the background, that could be enough to get your video flagged, and all of your potential ad revenue redirected to whoever owns that 5 seconds of music that was accidentally captured in the background.

Recently, I’ve been uploading video clips from my Halloween event, The Masquerade Of The Red Death. One of the performers in the clips had a cover version of the song “Black Hole Sun” playing in the background during their performance. Because of this, the youtube content ID system automatically tagged the video as containing copyrighted material, and automatically placed ads on the video with 100% of ad revenue going to the copyright holder of the song “Black Hole Sun”.

Despite someone else owning the copyright to the song “Black Hole Sun”, that same copyright holder does not hold the copyright to my event’s original content, my event’s original video, my event’s original audio, or the performer’s original performance. So, now, the copyright holder of the song “Black Hole Sun” is receiving ad revenue for someone else’s video, someone else’s audio, and someone else’s performance.

If Youtube were to do even as little as simply acknowledging the issue, they might be able to get away with the slightly-less-lazy way out and simply allow 50/50 split to copyright holders – half for video, half for audio. But, this would still leave us unable to split shares between multiple owners of audio or video content. The best solution would be to allow creators to assign copyright split percentages between all creators of audio and video in a creation. This would solve the problem of Youtube sending ad revenue from a video to someone other than the proper copyright holders.

If Bob created 100% of the video and 90% of the audio, while Sal created audio that appears in 10% of the background, Bob should receive 100% of the revenue from the video, and 90% of the revenue from the audio, while Sal receives 10% of the revenue from the audio. And if there’s a performer in the video that performs an act that they hold copyright over, they should get their percentage as well. Why shouldn’t you be able to assign 33% to Bob, 33% to Sal, and 33 (or 34)% to Jane the trapeze artist?

“All your moneyz are belong to us… or at least somebody else.” – Yootoob

Above: Photo that I took of my Bell & Howell Super 8 camera. I get 50% of ad revenue for taking the photo, Bell & Howell get 50% for making the camera that appears in the photo.

– MIKAL
MIKALFilms.com
DARKLYFilms.com

Diary of an Independent Filmmaker

(Say hello to the group.)

Hello. My name is MIKAL. And I am an independent filmmaker.

“Hi, Mikal!”

(Tell us a little about yourself.)

It all started one day when I went to a local big box store and saw a camera for $125. Up until then, I was fine. I don’t know what happened.

The clerk said, “You gotta do it, man. Everybody’s doin’ it. Only losers don’t do it. Do it once and you’ll never want to stop.”

I could hear the voices in my head battling it out.

On my left shoulder, Thomas Edison was saying “Just take it! Just take it, man! Nobody’ll know!”

On my right shoulder, Louis Le Prince was saying “Don’t listen to him, Mikal. There is no way this could end well.”

I thought, “Maybe I’ll just try a little bit. Just once can’t hurt.”

I took my money out of my pocket and laid it out on the counter. The guy on the other side quietly picked it up and shoved it in his metal box, then gave me a nod. This was the signal that the deal was done. I took the bag with the stuff in it and exited swiftly, making sure not to stop or make eye contact with anyone else.

After that, it was like… I couldn’t stop. I spent more and more money on cameras. And that was just a gateway to more camera-related paraphernalia. I was buying tripods. I was buying dollies. Shotgun microphones. Boom poles. Lav mics. The hard stuff, man. And it’s like, it never ends. You somehow always need more.

Before I knew it, I was filming almost every day. I’d take time off of work to go film things. Sick days. Vacation days. Anything as an excuse to go do it.

Now I’m at the point that I just don’t know how to stop.

(Mikal, are you filming us right now?)

Sorry.

Above: The $125 camera that first introduced me to the world of independent film making. 

– MIKAL
MIKALFilms.com
DARKLYFilms.com