Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Video Making - Advice Needed.

These times I am learning about digital storytelling.  I have read the book Digital Storytelling by Adam Brice and Richard Lambert this last week.  I have now decided to narrow down my focus in digital storytelling to the actual making of videos with students. I did have visions of doing a whole lot more, however I realise it is just not possible.  I need to really focus in on what I want to do.

 I have some excellent material from the book on how to introduce film making to the students - I now realise I am not a movie goer and am really illiterate in this area.  However I am going to use the suggestions in the book- which means watching some movies that they suggest and learn a little more.  I also came across Mrs Pack on Twitter #6thchat, she works with her class and a general media studies class.  I enjoyed watching what she has achieved with her students.  She also has a lesson guide to download.

My question has now turned to what gear to use.  I do have mobile devices - iPad, iPod touch, digital camera and a Kodak play sport camera.  These are useful and could be used and I do use them.  However I want to also increase our range of tools to shoot video so that we have a more polished end result.

I would like:

                                     A video camera with jack inputs for  mic.
                                     Something like a Panasonic SD 90.

                                     Microphone - shotgun and lavalier

                                     Tripod - we have one at school

                                     Eventually some lighting

I want to get some editing software that goes beyond windows movie maker and iMovie on the mobile devices.  That means that whatever video camera I might get, needs to have a recording format compatible with the software.

While I am an Apple person at heart, we have PC computers at school. That means I can't get the better version of iMovie. My Principal did offer that next time my laptop is up for renewal that we get an Apple one for me.  I sort of turned that down, as everything else in the school is PC, however maybe I could take that option - if still an option!

 I want something that will be easy for the students to do the necessary editing - cutting, putting in music, voice over or whatever.  I want them to be able to fade in and fade out.  Even if I did get an Apple laptop, that would mean only one computer available to students for editing. (Yes I gave in a while back and let students use my computer - its the only one with a decent Windows movie maker! Or it could be to do with the server and levels of administration rights.)

I will also explore an easy to use software tool for editing movies on Window's computers, there is probably an upgraded Windows movie maker or the such like.

To all teachers who have worked with video making in the classroom I would really be interested in what you are using - especially if you are a PC school!  However I would also welcome those who use Apple to give me their thoughts.


  1. Kathryn,
    You are asking questions that I haven't even thought to ask in my video making at school!

    When I saw your tweet, I was going to suggest getting a Flip video, which is what I've been using for a couple of years. We found it so much easier to upload the video clips. Maybe not as professional as the original camcorder we had, but it definitely has made it easier to create video and record our learnings.

    We have Macs, and I have dreamed of purchasing Final Cut for editing videos.

    I also need to figure out a better microphone system! So, I don't really have answers for your questions, but I am going to bookmark this post and come back to see what others suggest!

    Best wishes,

    1. I think the thing is to find something with a mic input, I think the Kodak play touch may have one, I am not sure.

      Anyway, when a question is raised, answers coming in surprising ways!

      Enjoyed the #geniushour chat, must think about that more.

      May your last weeks of the year go well, I am sure you are looking forward to the summer break.

      Best wishes

  2. Hi Kathryn
    I'm a big believer in the theory that the best camera is the one you have with you!

    My students have largely been using my iphone to both film and edit movies. We have just acquired a set of three ipod touches however as you mention sound can be an issue. We do have access to HD video recorders however one of the big problems is finding computers that have the processing power to handle editing in HD.

    I am very fortunate that my father and brother both work in the film industry and my dad just gifted us a whole bunch of scraps of green and blue screen.


  3. Stephanie
    Thanks for taking the time. Thanks for pointing out about the HD taking up lot of processing power, will avoid them. However I am guessing the SD I am thinking about, doesn't need as much.

    Have just been looking at a tripod for the ipad2, that could be an option, as you can attach a mic to the ipad2. I think you can get tripods for the iphone too. Decisions, decisions, once I decide I am just going to have to go down a path, right or wrong. However because money is limited I don't want to make a huge wrong turn. It seems the Kodak playtouch or Kodak zi8 would have been a great option but not available in NZ and discontinued anyway I think.

    I have as yet to learn how to use green or blue screen, its something on my list to do.


  4. Hi, when we made Street Talk in our class last year we used a cheap hand-held cannon video camera, tripod and I-movie software (Apple). That was it! You don't need a lot of gear just ideas and dedication.

    You can check out all 20 episodes we made here: http://streettalk.edublogs.org/
    Stephen Baker
    Russell Street School

  5. Hi Kathryn,

    I was a Mac only type, but worked in a PC district, and discovered our PCs had MovieMaker on them. Everything I knew from iMovie transfered over to MovieMaker, and I ended up preferring it because I had more control of the clips I was editing.

    I taught one small group at a time how to edit their movies. When I didn't know how to do something in MovieMaker, it was a great opportunity to troubleshoot how to figure it out by using the help box, which taught them what to do if they couldn't remember how to do something, or didn't know how to do something.

    I am not sure how the Kodak Play Sport records, so it might need a converter to work with MovieMaker. For a Flip Cam, you can convert it to Movie Maker also. For the video on the iPads, you could download Spice and edit it on the iPad.


    1. Tracy
      Thanks for those helpful tips, especially about Spice and changing playsport clips to a MovieMaker format. We do use MovieMaker at the moment for editing, and I am interested to hear that you prefer it now to iMovie!
      Thanks again

  6. My big advice in using MovieMaker is getting the kids to save everytime they do something and be connected to the server by a cable rather than over wireless - MovieMaker has a tendancy to freeze for long periods.
    I also found that MPeg video files didn't work in MovieMaker and spent a long time looking for Codecs on the internet to solve problems with video and audio files not showing in MovieMaker.
    So my biggest advise would be to experiment with the cameras you have to find out which video formats will work on your version of MovieMaker.


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