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    SoR Robot Tutorial Contest

    draft version - changes may be made

    About the Contest
    The SoR robot contests is my way of bribing you to help others. You make a great robot tutorial, I give you free money or an Axon.

    If you're low on cash, perhaps a poor student, this is a great way to pay for your project.

    Unlike previous SoR robot contests, this time it'll emphasize the Axon and video.

    How to Compete

      1) Make an educational video featuring the Axon

      2) Post the video on YouTube

      3) Declare your entry in this forum post before August 31st, 2010. Make sure you include the video.

      4) Winners will be announced within 2-3 weeks

    How to Win
    This contest will operate different from others. There will be no forum vote like in previous years. Instead I will judge based on three metrics:

    • view count of your video
    • YouTube score
    • effectiveness of presentation

    This means that I'm the final judge, but the popularity of the video will significantly affect my decision.

    What Makes a Quality Video?
    The point of this contest is to promote the use of the Axon. That means basically show off neat things you've done with it. It can be an entire robot, or just the integration with a single sensor.

    See this Axon II videos page for examples of what I'm looking for.

    Here are a few tips on how to make a quality video tutorial:

    Good Lighting - Do your filming during the day. Turn on every light in the room. Buy $15 desklamps. Use a camera that works well in low light. And when post-processing your video in editing software, use the brightness and contrast features to further improve it. Don't underestimate lighting, its harder than you think!

    Boring Videos Suck - People have short attention spans, and they like to be entertained. Browse popular videos on YouTube and try to understand why they are popular. They tend to be short, fast paced, and uniquely amazing. Edit out the slow boring parts, speed up boring but necessary parts, etc. And plan out your video, practice what you'll say, etc.

    Educational - Ask yourself what the 'take home message' of your tutorial video is. Ask yourself what people really want to know, and that a video will be great in teaching. Make sure you make it clear what you're teaching, and how it can pertain to the viewers future project.

    Audio - I generally find audio to be easy, but you need to plan out what you're going to say. If English isn't your first language, make sure to verify your grammar with Windows Word, etc. British accents are unacceptable (hehe). Do a test run to make sure the aircondition isn't really loud, leave the dog outside, turn off your phone, etc.

    Self-Contained - Ideally, you want all relevant information in the video. If you use X sensor, display text that says 'X Sensor' so that people can google it up. If you made some schematic, include a link to it in the info box. It should all be self-explanatory. If you need webspace, I can set you up a free account in the member tutorials section. Just email me about it.

    What NOT to do
    As view count in your video can help you win, you'll be tempted to spam your video across the web. Please don't spam the internet. It's ok to post it on your blog or facebook, send it to friends, send it over to a robot news site, or post it on another forum you're already a member of. But signing up to a forum just to spam isn't cool. You can however put the video up in Member Tutorials if you also do a short 1-page writeup of your project.

    Don't fill the video with 'The Axon is soooo cool and the best robot controller ever and I really like it because its the best blah blah blah'. The video will be judged by the usefulness of the tutorial, not your opinion of the Axon =P

    You can submit as many videos as you want - but its better to make one great video than three crappy videos.

    I'll give out a prize for every 5 videos submitted (really bad videos will be disqualified). Winners can choose between $100, a free Axon, or a reimbursement of their previous purchase of an Axon.

    My motivation for creating and funding this competition
    Robotics is known for people 'reinventing the wheel'. Everyone who makes a robot basically starts from scratch when it comes to writing software, designing electronics, etc. I would like to change that. I would like to make it easier for a beginner to start making robots. I would like to create a huge community of robotics enthusiasts to allow communication and collaboration, benefiting even the more advanced builders. This is my goal. And in return, everyone wins (not just those who get the checks).

    If you are a robotics company that would like to sponsor this and future SoR robot competitions, please contact me!

    Questions on the competition? Post them in the forum.

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