Today I posted a video some sixth grade students made for a spot on our news program. One of my loyal readers wanted to know how it was done, so this post is an attempt to tell how the video was made. We did not use any really expensive equipment to make that video. The library has a Sony DV Handycam camcorder that was used by the kids to take video. I told them not to worry about the sounds, noises, or talking, as in all likelihood we would remove it and use our own voice over narrations. So I got a locker key from the office, and they got the camera and we went looking for lockers to shoot.
Once we had our footage, we came back to the library, and they set up my Dell laptop. Using a Compaq firewire card we connected the camera to the computer and turned it on. Almost immediately the computer asked if we wanted to capture the footage. I made the girls direct it to my external harddrive (notice the duct tape holding it together–i dropped it about a year ago!! It still works thankfully!) I learned sometime ago that if video was captured to a basic computer it may skip as the computer’s basic memory is not fast enough to handle video. (I had an entire Christmas program from school that skipped like crazy, and lots of disappointed parents.) I also don’t want to fill up my harddrive with a bunch of videos. So I sought out an expert–the video editor from my church, and he recommended an external hard drive that had 200GB of memory and a 7200 spin rate to keep video from skipping. I now have two of these, both four or five years old, which are great, b/c now all pictures and video go there.
Anyway, once we got our film on the computer, we used a very basic editor–the freebie Windows Movie Maker. The girls imported the video, and then we cut out and snipped unnecessary footage. I wanted them to cut more, but they were very protective of the video.
I had them create a cover or opening, and they used PowerPoint that was saved as an image. Pretty basic. Then they wanted to do their audio voice over. WMM allows you to, so they began by planning what to say. Before videoing, they had already written out a plan of what to get–lockers that were not closed right, lockers with things blocking the frames that might cause jams, and messy lockers. They had already selected the messy locker, and they decided to clean it out for the video too. That was cute. The guy who owned the locker kept asking if anyone saw anyone around his locker. They didn’t tell until he saw his locker on the show. They also told me his locker is already messy and full of clothes again.
Anyway, they did their audio narration section by section (as the clips imported were in pieces–every time the camera was stopped and started clips were created, so there were many.) They would mute the existing audio, and record their own.
They ran into a problem when they wanted to add transitions, as the narration would not align, so they only used one transition–a flip or rotate at the point where they cleaned out the locker. If one looks closely, it is in the wrong place, but they were pleased as punch with it.
I told them their video could NOT go more than 3 minutes, so they did not get to put any credits on (other than “the end”). Oh did they fuss. But they did not want to get rid of any footage, and we were at the end of their class, so they decided on just a quick “the end.” We used a CHEAP headset w/ a microphone to record it. They saved it as a movie file (.wmv in moviemaker) and then watched it again. They wanted music, so we looked in freeplaymusic.com for some. I finally had to lay down the law, as they didn’t have time to search– that would have taken a whole day again, and so I convinced them to use something I had already used for another project. So they re-imported their video w/out music in WMM, and added the song twice with a slight overlap at the end of the first time and the beginning of the second. The music was 90 seconds, so two times through was just enough. They saved it as a movie file, and that was the final project, which we played out during the news program the next day. The whole project took two days–one day to shoot and capture, and then one day to edit and finalize. (They are w/ me for 45 minutes each day.)
Our studio has a pc/tv converter, so inserting the wmv into a ppt slide allowed us t0 share it schoolwide.
These girls are already planning their next one, which will center on lost and found stuff. They are in the planning stages of a puppet show type video, where the clothes talk to each other asking where their owners are. Should be cute–IF they can pull it off.
Now that I’ve told you how it was done, I want to say that our studio has a fancy, expensive video editor, but my goal was to let the girls see that one does not have to use fancy expensive equipment to make videos. I think they got it too. They are all jazzed about the lost and found clothes puppet show. I also know that this could have been done using a 2.0 USB wire instead of a firewire, and that using a Mac would have been just as easy (but our school does not use Mac.) Even better, the new flip cameras make it even easier to capture video.