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Tips 'N Tricks:  Video Production

Tips and Tricks for Video ProductionCreate videos without a video camera.  Software like Sony Vegas is designed for the “Ken Burns” effect – panning and zooming on still pictures. Video can be downloaded or used from different sources (watch copyrights!). The main advantage to working without a camera is that this allows us to focus on our “best available choice” for capturing narration/audio. Remember: Radio with pictures!

Create Videos from Slides.  Presentation slideshows can be saved as picture files and brought into video editing programs.  The new version of PowerPoint even has a features to save presentations in a video format, even including a voice-over narration.  Screencast software (and other techniques) can be used to capture a multimedia presention directly from a video output, allowing all transitions and animations.

Consider videos that are entirely voice-overs (or find ways to dub new audio into video). Find creative ways to create supporting video/B-roll for these productions. Slideshows like PowerPoints can be easily captured to videos with scan converters (today's PowerPoint has a "save as" video feature. Crazy Talk is software designed to animate and lip-sync audio to still-pictures -- powerful powerful tool -- imagine a student-centered production where kids create narrations and pictures of dolls/stuffed animals are animated/lip synced to narration.

Create a “brand” for your work – using graphics, videos, music, etc… create “intros”, “outros”, and short episode breaks. Use these consistently across productions. A short intro allows views to get focused so they are ready for information. The outro brings a video to a closure and prepares students for the next transition/activity.
When using videos in class, give students a checklist, worksheet, or ask them to write down short reflections while they watch. Today’s youth multi-task well (or say they do), especially with media. Ask them to do more than passively watch TV for 10 minutes.

Music beds, soft background music in videos, can enhance how a production sounds and cover up problems in poor audio. Music beds can distract kids, however, especially certain high-needs students. If children tap on the table during one of my videos, it is my fault for putting that music bed there – be thoughtful how you use music (and please be respectful of artists' copyrights).

“Student-Centered” DOES NOT mean we just let kids do what they want to do any way they want to do it. If our purpose is to teach meaningful skills, then it is appropriate to model and scaffold. If students need help in organizing/producing a given project, then it might be appropriate to revisit that project to review, enrich, and extend student learning. I believe that professional media specialists/educators owe it to our students to make them look/sound good when we produce media. If we are going to encourage students to create multimedia in school, we have an obligation to guide them.

Don't forget permission!  Media produced by or in collaboration with students represents a valuable asset if students, families, stakeholders give permission for that media to be shared. Always follow district guidelines and, when in doubt, get people involved to sign releases. Minors need parental approval. Make sure students feel good about media production they participate in. Make sure they feel good about it today and in the future. “Student Centered” media can highlight our students’ strengths – professional educators need to take responsibility for the quality of our student productions just like teachers. Teachers have always worked in traditional formats to help students create projects of reasonable quality -- multimedia should not be treated with any less respect.

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