What is a QR Code?
“QR”, or ‘quick response’ codes, are everywhere, though if you were like me you may have largely ignored them not really knowing what they were for. In a nutshell, a QR code is a graphical way to represent a string of characters. Special scanners can read these codes and quickly load the text into a device. Luckily for us, you don’t need an expensive scanner to read them – most smartphones can do it! The most useful application of these codes is to represent the address of a website. You scan the QR code and your device (smartphone/iPad/etc) will open the URL in a browser. It’s basically a nice shortcut for businesses to say ‘you can access more information about this product if you scan here’. They must figure they have a better chance of convincing a customer to scan a code than to get them to open a new browser window and type out a full address manually. Scrapbookers can take advantage of the ‘scan code to instantly go to webpage’ technology to link to videos.
Okay, I have a video – how do I get it in my scrapbook?
First, you must upload your video to the internet. YouTube is a popular choice for personal use because it is free and relatively intuitive to use. You can sign in with a Google account (e.g. gmail). If you don’t have a Google account you can create one for free using an existing email account (can be Yahoo, for example).
Once you login, click the “Upload” button at the top of the screen
- Unlisted: Only people who have the link to the video can view it. Unlike private videos, the people you share the video with do not need to have a Google account to see the video. Unlisted videos won’t appear in any of YouTube’s public spaces.
- Private: Video can only be seen by you and the users you select. The video won’t appear on your channel or search results and will be invisible to other users. Google account is needed to view your video
- Public: Anyone in the world can see it and it will appear in searches
My suggestion is to set it to Unlisted so you do not have to sign in while you are looking through your scrapbook. You can always change the privacy setting within the Video Manager
While the video is uploading, you can add a description and change the category if you wish. I did not change them since this video is not public. Also circled is the URL the finished video will have. You will want to copy this path (also available on your Video Manager page).
If you click on the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab, you will see some additional options. I normally uncheck everything (though to post the excerpt in the blog I do have to check ‘Allow embedding’
Once the video has finished uploading, click back on the ‘Basic Info’ tab and select a thumbnail. If you do not care for any of the (randomly selected) thumbnails you may upload your own by clicking on the “Custom Thumbnail” button.
Now that your video has been uploaded, visit a ‘QR generator’ website. I like http://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/. It is easy to use and will allow you to change the size of the QR code. I suggest starting with 300px. You can hide the white border, if you wish, by checking the ‘No Margins’ box. I noticed they now have an option for having ‘dynamic’ links, which in theory you can update the URL that the QR code points to. I have not tried this yet – you will need to sign in with Google.
Save the file to your hard drive – be sure to give it a meaningful name so you remember what it was for later.
You can then import the .png file into your digiscrap page, or you can print it on your printer and glue it to your page manually. I suggest you experiment with different sizes to make sure you are able to scan it. You don’t want to receive your finished book in the mail only to discover you made the code too small to read. You may want to create a quick test page populated with various size codes. Print it out the test page and see which is the smallest size that is still easily readable with your mobile device.
Here is an example of a QR code placed on a layout
How do I read these codes?
In order to scan a QR code you will need to download an install an app on your smartphone or iPad. There are a number of QR scanners available for mobile devices. The one I use on my Android phone is called “QR Droid” (this company has a similar app for the iPhone called “Zapper Scanner”). I like QR Droid because it is simple and straightforward without a lot of unnecessary other features (though it will also scan regular bar codes, which is a nice feature if you want to have just one app that will do both functions), but if you search the Play Market/App Store you can find one of many out there. Once you have it loaded, try to scan this code to go to MouseScrappers.com. You may have to move the phone around (closer/further from screen) to be able to read it – you can’t hold it too close or too far away (and sometimes screens are harder to read than paper).
That’s all there is to it. If you need any help, feel free to drop me a line.