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Re: [teacherartexchange] Video Recorders


From: Michal Austin (whest177_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Oct 24 2010 - 09:45:41 PDT

I teach a Digital Communications class, with 1st semester focusing on
Photoshop & 2nd semester on video production. I use Final Cut Express
on my Macs, since 99% of student needs can be fulfilled with this
software. The cost difference between Express & the full blown version
is significant. Unfortunately on my PC laptops we are stuck with Adobe
Premier (not bad, not the best tho), or Windows Movie Maker. I assign
computers based on student's prior experience on what software they'll
use. One of the best features of Final Cut Express is it is the best
one I've seen for working with audio & allowing you to have 2 audio
files playing at once (in case you're interviewing & want soft music
in the background - you can lower volume in either track according to
need). Once students understand the basics of video editing they can
figure out whatever software they have. Windows Movie Maker, as much
as I dislike it overall, really is super simple for teaching basics,
since you start at the top & work your way down the list, so it is
pretty much step-by-step.

Some of the assignments I teach:
* 1st assignment is to tape themselves using different camera angles
(close-up, mid-shot, wide-shot) reading from a script. The script is
an introduction to themselves - "Hi, my name is _____". "In my free
time I like to _____", "My favorite thing I did last summer is
________", "My favorite vacation was _______ because _______", etc.
Each sentence is assigned a camera angle, and each sentence is shot
out of order so students learn basic manipulation of the software.
* Tell a story from the viewpoint of an animal. Get on the floor &
chase a ball, scratch on the door, etc.
* Recite a poem in front of a green screen & add video to the background
* 30 second commercial (and I am a HUGE stickler on the time, because
if you get into contests that timing is the first thing the judges
look at. 29 or 31 seconds = disqualified)
* Create a "how-to" video on the hobby of their choice
* Create a 30 second video to promote school activities (shown at
* Newscast on "The Week in Review" for school activites

I also have them use "CamStudio" or "Jing", which is a free download,
to create a vod-casts teaching how to use different software.
CamStudio is a screen capturing software for PCs, and we use Jing on
our Macs.

I haven't ever uploaded anything to TeacherTube, but use YouTube all
the time. If your video is too long you might break it into sections &
upload each section individually. However, I make my students edit
heavily to keep the videos interesting (no 2 minute video of them
walking down the path - 3 seconds at the start of the walk, 3 seconds
further down the path, 3 more seconds further on will convey that same
story. Changing angles and deleting irrelevant parts keep the largest
majority of our videos are 2 minutes & under. Have your students start
watching commercials to see how to tell a story in 30 seconds - it
really helps. Hope this answers your questions - it is amazing how
motivating digital storytelling can be!

On Oct 24, 2010, at 10:53 AM, Diane Gregory wrote:

> Michal,
> Sounds like you have a lot of experience doing video with your
> students.
> What kinds of assignments do you assign?
> I just got a video camera made by Kodak. I also got Camtasia.
> My original purpose was to create short instructional studio
> videos for my elementary art methods class for pre-service
> elementary classroom teachers. I plan to create my own channel on
> YouTube or
> TeacherTube. Our server does not support video yet.
> Do you have any experience working with YouTube or TeacherTube? If so,
> do you have any advice or suggestions?
> Now I am thinking perhaps I will expand this to our methods
> classes for Art Education majors. What version of Final Cut do you
> use?
> Do you use Final Cut Pro or one of the other versions? Is it hard
> for the
> students to learn?
> Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
> Diane
> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Michal Austin <>
>> It would depend on what you plan to do with your video recorder. I
>> have 5 Flip
>> Video cameras that I purchased for around $90 each - they were 30
>> minute cameras
>> on clearance. I believe Flip was either eliminating those colors or
>> the 30
>> minute version for the 60 minute ones. These are for student use. I
>> check them
>> out to students for our class assignments & they work wonderful for
>> that
>> purpose. I have one of my own that I carry & use regularly. They
>> don't have
>> great zoom quality, but the overall image is acceptable.
>> I also have 1 Sony & 2 Canon video cameras that I spent appx. $300
>> each on,
>> again on sale. These are for higher end projects. I love these
>> cameras, but
>> don't use them quite as much because getting the video off onto
>> the large
>> variety of computers in my room becomes a challenge (different
>> cords, adapters,
>> etc). I have had the Sony for around 7 years now & it is still
>> impressive (and
>> probably my favorite camera). The one feature I don't like on my
>> Canons is the
>> way they switch formats easily, so it is easy to have 1/2 your
>> video in full
>> screen, 1/2 in wide screen. I wish that feature was a little more
>> difficult to
>> switch. I also find them a bit clunkier. All 3 of these use the
>> mini dv tapes.
>> Our athletic program uses the mini DVDs and I absolutely HATE
>> everything about
>> the results on those. Every time you turn off the camera it makes
>> your video
>> into a new "scene", so watching your video is not fluid, and
>> pulling video off
>> to work on it is clunky & not user-friendly.
>> Part of the process in making quality videos is having a quality
>> software
>> program to edit them. We use WIndows Movie Maker (ICK!), Adobe
>> Premier (not
>> completely thrilled, but it's workable), & for my Macs we use
>> Final Cut, which
>> is my #1 top choice (I don't like iMovie any better than Movie
>> Maker).
>> ~Michal
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