Tag Archives: Video

Playing with Video: Introducing What I Now Teach

As part of switching to a new position (more below), I recently started pursuing some Adobe credentials. This is the assignment that I produced for the first week in a course on Video Production.


Challenge: Create a short video about the subject you teach.

What Do I Teach? (0:40 secs on Vimeo)Narrating the Work

Recently I moved out of the classroom, sort of, becoming a technology integration coordinator at my school. This left me with a slight challenge to consider what I actually teach. Plus, a lot of people immediately answer that kind of question with a content area subject, but I remind myself all the time that it is actually people more then content.

Now I spend most of my time teaching teachers how to use the various technology tools at their disposal better, but I spent over ten years in an English classroom, focusing a lot of efforts on teaching student writers how to read like writers and write like readers. I also continue to teach an online screenwriting course with students from all over the world.

My instinct was to record people, since stories are about people, but kept questioning how clear that would be in such a short time. For whatever reason, I struggled to think of ways of capturing myself engaged with another teacher for this assignment.

Consequently, I got thinking of trying to represent writing visually and gravitated back a bit toward a subject. I also just started playing around.

I have always liked the sound of a typewriter far more than a computer keyboard, and I have similarly been drawn to film titles sequences that begin with typing of some kind. Also, given that I was leaning toward representing screenwriting in some way, the old-timey typewriter seemed a interesting fit.

Essentially, I went a bit more literal with this than I would normally. However, I started just playing and was having fun manipulating the sound of the typewriter’s clack to appear with each character and timing the carriage returns. I also pushed to 40 seconds, but that was because I thought it clever to add the unexpected screenwriterly CUT TO BLACK as the end.

In truth the whole thing might be too long, but, again, I was playing around more than anything. Also, I liked the suspense of sorts created by revealing one character at a time, which kind of withholds the words and meaning  a bit.

Reflecting on the Week

I thought this was a good opening week with a lot of the most fundamental items covered. The story structure material was interesting as an opening. I was familiar with it, but still think it was a good place to start.

Also, I am really new with Premiere, so this will be a a good experience for me, and I appreciated the short tutorials. I am going to need a lot of practice, however.

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An #ETMOOC Introduction

In one of my more successful MOOC outings, BonkOpen2012 with Indiana University’s Dr. Curt Bonk, I picked up the idea of the Eight Noun Introduction. I really liked it and proceeded to riff of of it a little, using Wordle to add some visual flair to the idea. This is what resulted.

Image: Eight Noun Introduction

An Eight Noun Introduction

While I love the idea as an introductory activity and use the task with online students, I wanted to riff off of it again, spinning a new version for #ETMOOC. So here is the new #ETMOOC-styled version 3.0 riff on the concept, complete with some motion and sound. It is definitely a little different than some of the Intros I have watched, but I wanted to tinker.

Making this video version was a bit of an experiment, really. Consequently, it took longer than I expected to make, as I played around a lot trying different ways of putting things together. Since the original image was the product of the algorithm used by Wordle, I ended up having to kind of deconstruct it. Trying to figure out what font was being used was actually one of the more time-consuming efforts, certainly more time and effor than I expected. For those wondering, it is Coolvetica, which I had to download.

Here is how I built the rest DS106-style.

I opted to use Keynote on my MacBook. Truthfully, after years of using PowerPoint, I am still getting a bit used to Keynote. I like it but can get frustrated easily at times. However, there are some clever features that I am growing to like more and more, namely the Build Inspector. Considering what I was hoping to create, it seemed like a good opportunity to practice too.

To begin, I pasted the Wordle image onto a blank slide to use as a template. Then I recreated the words with an individual Text Box for each one, matching the color by eye as best I could. After rotating and placing all of the individual text boxes in the proper positions, I could delete the original template image, essentially having recreated it as a slide with movable parts.

The next challenge involved all of the moves. For speed and sanity sake, I created a separate slide to use as a staging area for each word, crafting each move. To get the final placements exactly right, I did have to map each word’s placement on the original reconstructed slide. One bonus is that all of an object’s moves in the Build Inspector are preserved even when cutting and pasting the object into another slide. So once all the movements were set, I could paste it back on its individual slide, just to keep everything separate and organized.

Once each word and set of moves was finished on a separate slide, I created a new blank slide to serve as the foundation for all of the animation. This slide would become the only one needed once built. At that point, it was simply a matter of copying and pasting each word on the new blank slide in the order of appearance.

With everything now assembled on a single slide, I tweaked the timing of each word’s movement in the Build Inspector to make everything flow a little better. All that was left in Keynote was the export, which required a small adjustment in the frame rate, because I knew I was going to use iMovie to merge the video and audio together. I probably could have done the whole thing in Keynote, but iMovie offers a little more specific video control than does keynote.

It seemed necessary to use some music to score the video so I did a quick search for some royalty free tunes. I wanted something on the jazzy side, then found my way to The Underscore Orkestra’s “Devil with the Devil” track. Using Audacity for speed’s sake, I trimmed the opening 40 seconds of the tune and exported it as an mp3 file.

With all that prep work it was quick work in iMovie. Import the video. Import the recut tune into iTunes, so it is easily accessible in iMovie. Then merge the video and audio together. As a timing consideration I did have to split a freeze frame at the opening, so that I had a blank white screen that I could manipulate to delay the opening move and make it work better with the music.

There were a few small obstacles along the way that I could foresee that could cause many people trouble. Exporting out of Keynote or importing into iMovie there will always be a frame rate issue that has to be resolved on one end or the other. My advice is to alter the fram rate and export from Keynote at the highest quality. That will guarantee better result when it is imported into iMovie. The aspect ratio needs to be 4:3 with no theme when importing into iMovie. Also, as mentioned, audio needs to be imported into iTunes or GarageBand to be easily accessible in iMovie. The fading can be done iMovie as well but the controls are a simple. A main issue is matching the audio clip length with the video length, which was one of the reasons I dropped it all in iMovie. I find it easier to wrestle with all the timing in iMovie.

Learning I Value: A Video Product & Process

As part of MOOCMOOC one of the tasks was to make a video about the kind of learning we value most. It took a longer than I hoped for me to be able to do it, but I still wanted to do it, regardless. I reframed things a little, although that is kind of the point often, now isn’t it?

I had to steal minutes here and there to put it together, but once I was able to get a good run at the work things started to come together quickly. While the task allowed for more time, keeping things short and simple is always a challenge. I was trying to cut it down to a single minute but that would have actually taken longer, and I didn’t want any more delays.

In the spirit of another MOOC, DS106, here is the method behind the making. Made all with an iPad, tried playing around here a little. I started just kind of playing around and sketching some ideas in the app Paper 53, just thinking really. While playing, it occurred to me that that rough, sketched look could work on its own.

From there it was a matter of shooting a little bit of footage. I opted for some quick and dirty B-Roll type stuff that just came to mind. Being primarily for the MOOCMOOC community of online collaborators, it seemed appropriate to I include myself with a basic A-Roll talking head shot.

Lately, I have been opting for the app Pinnacle, formerly Avid Studio, to edit video over iMovie. Using Pinnacle allows for dropping in a separate audio track for narration over the B-Roll with relative ease. It is a small but significant feature that iMovie does not have.

Finally, since I mention jazz, metaphorically, it seemed almost necessary that I drop some in to score a portion. For speed sake and because my iPad’s memory is practically full, rather than download something and try to cut it, made something quick in GarageBand. It is kind of amazing how someone with little to no musical talent, like myself, can string together a handful of instrumental loops, tinker a bit, and create something that isn’t half bad.

The real trick is getting the audio out of GarageBand and into Pinnacle. As expected, Apple doesn’t necessarily play well with others, especially if they have a competing product. So it is a couple of touches to export audio from GarageBand into iMovie, which is actually what I did. Then exporting the audio from iMovie, unfortunately as a video file, allowed me to kick it into the Camera Roll, where I could easily pull it into Pinnacle. At that point, I could use it as just another audio track. A little fine tuning and I had my own original score. A minor workaround that I thought was worth sharing.