Saturday, August 10, 2013

Capacity focus, 74b: Anabel Silva's first graders in Portugal show how Windows Movie Maker can be used as a free introductory level video editor for education and other purposes

Video editing has a reputation for being quite difficult as a basic technique, and as a result the learning curve for serious video editing software tends to be steep.

That is the context in which the often underestimated (and admittedly limited -- hence the way it is so often scanted by those who are able to use more sophisticated and complex software . . . ) Windows Movie Maker (WMM) shines, as a way to learn basic techniques, practices and concepts, and to produce basic video clips suitable for presentations and web video clips. Indeed, WMM is so relatively easy to use that we may observe [HT: Microsoft Partners in Learning] how Anabel Silva, a teacher in Portugal, incorporates having her first graders make movies with it into her lessons:

Notice, the use of YouTube as a means to host the video. Similarly, note the simple way that a computer lab has been implemented by using a U of tables around the walls that mount modern flat panel PCs; indeed some may be all-in-one machines. As has been remarked on at KF earlier on (also cf here and here), this sort of layout has significant advantages for education, especially on managing the activities as the screens are easily visible to a teacher based at the open end of the U:

The mere fact that Ms Silva's first graders show us that this works, should give us hope that we too can do the like for ourselves, in not only schools but churches, blogs and more. 

So, with a modest investment in processing power, video and audio capture equipment -- multimedia PCs [most modern notebook PCs should be able to meet this standard], vid cams (and in some cases a phone or a tablet PC is enough), fluid head cam tripods, mikes, etc. -- we should be able to do at least as well as these happy first graders in Portugal.

That is, it is important that we realise this is not beyond our reach.

And, we must also realise that if we do not take up this challenge, with the same economics at work, and with the same YouTube, Vimeo etc available for free, there will be others who will take full advantage to propagate messages and agendas tothe detriment of our region. That is -- in case we have forgotten -- we are back at yet another surge or two from the spiritual tidal waves bearing down on our region:

 So much for motive.

What about means and opportunities?

In steps:

 1 --> First, notebook and suitable desktop PCs are now commonplace all over the region, as is broadband web access. These PCs will as a rule be loaded with WMM, and adequate video cameras are now fairly low cost. Indeed, they are incorporated in many smart phones and tablet PCs. Such will be enough for basic or unique clips.

2 --> However, it will be worth the while to invest in a basic set-up and to acquire some basic skills, e.g. as is discussed here at KF.

 3 --> The following 101 level "5 x 5" video tutorial for Vimeo may be as good a frirst tutorial as we can get (and obviously, what it is teaching extends beyond a video that has five five second clips!):

Video 101: Editing with Windows Live Movie Maker from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

 4 --> This one on setting up and doing an interview is great for many of the issues on actually shooting and recording the video:

10 Steps to Shooting your First DIY Interview from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

5 --> Notice particularly the way the rule of thirds is used and the utility of key, fill and back lighting are briefly pointed out:
6 --> BTW, a white Styrofoam sheet is a cheap light reflector that can be used.

7 --> Notice as well how it is emphasised that a separate audio recorder tends to make a much better audio solution than built in mikes.

8 --> A bit of appropriate background music or the like, may also be useful.

9 --> I would add that in planning a video, whether an interview or otherwise, it is wise to do a storyboard, in effect a comic book -- often posted up on a bulletin board -- that, panel by panel, tells the story in the right sequence. OSU's women and tech tutorial on story-boarding here is useful, and this clip helps make the point:

10 --> Here is a useful-looking software package for doing a storyboard I just ran across in searching for the above image. (You might just do some stick figure crude sketches, or maybe use stick-figure or wireframe and clay dummies -- plasticine will do . . . indeed you can do an animation by using stop motion sequences of shots with such models --  and lay out backdrops then take digital snapshots, on which you can add dialogue and notes if you want, comic book style.) 

. . . It is worth pausing to look at this clip on possibilities for clay animation (mute the audio which is distracting and too loud . . . I think this is a child's work):

--> The creative use of a whiteboard shows possibilities too, as will the possible use of a flannelgraph as a canvas for the animation

--> The tutorial here will be helpful. Here is an entire site on clay animation.
--> As an alternative, action figure toys -- maybe home made to get out of copyright challenges -- can be used as characters

--> Think about, say: a magazine format regular news, issues, views and advice video show shot in a living room, with interviews, skype or similar live telconferences, maybe phone call ins and messaging interaction, site visits and field trips with vid clips, and using clay animations, whiteboard stop motion, drawings, still photos and infographic charts, all done on a weekly basis and broadcast say using Youtube

11 --> Vimeo has a whole "video school" full of video tutorials here. QuickTactical's WMM tutorial here will also be very helpful, as will the get started PDF here. This textbook excerpt is also quite useful. Note the discussion on the significance of the timeline mode, and what to do if your version of WMM has been crippled from using that.

12 --> Multiply this by how many modern flat screen TVs have HDMI input ports (and other computer oriented ports), and how widespread laptop PCs, Tablets and smart phones are. We have a tremendous opportunity to educate and inform, and either we will do it right, or someone else will be -- correction, is already -- doing it wrong to manipulate and indoctrinate against the gospel and its historically anchored factual foundations.

So, it comes back to the old Mordecai moment question again: 

Why not now, why not here, why not us? END