Easy to make Book Trailers

Embedding book trailers on your library web page is a great way to pique interest in your collection.  There are various software programs you could use to make your book trailer:  iMovie, Photostory, MovieMaker, Google Presentations, Prezi, and VoiceThread to name a few.

You don’t need any fancy photo editing software to make creative images for your presentation either.  I use all the creative features of PowerPoint to make slides with collages of images and then save the PowerPoint presentation as *.jpg.  It’s very easy to do and most people are already comfortable with the PowerPoint interface.  Make sure you use copyfriendly images by using a Creative Commons search .

I also write out a script for my book trailer and then record the audio using Audacity.  You can easily edit the recording then export it as a *.wav or *.mp3 file.

For this book trailer of 13 Little Blue Envelopes I assembled the PowerPoint jpgs and Audacity *.wav file in Windows MovieMaker.  I added a few titles, transitions and video effects.  I exported the movie to my computer or you can export it directly to YouTube.

Book Trailers are easy to make for both teacher librarians and students.  Try making 1 or 2 a month and put together a YouTube playlist and have the book trailers loop on a projector during the school day.  More ideas at:  https://sites.google.com/a/lshigh.org/gotbooks/book-trailers

Film freaks must-see website

filmsiteIf you love films or teach digital video production – you need to check out http://www.filmsite.org written and edited by Tim Dirks.  Not only does this website give you a comprehensive listing of highly acclaimed movies – it also educates readers about film genres, directors, actors and movie trivia.

It looks like the site has just gone through a major overhaul with a sponsorship by AMC  – which is good – because the previous pop-up ads were annoying (but there are still a lot of advertisements).

I use this site all the time with my Digital Video Production course.  My students are currently researching specific genres and identifying the attributes of those genres.  In class we are producing two films right now – an over-the-top slapstick comedy and a futuristic spy thriller.  I ask students to identify themes from those genres and explain how they are incorporating them into their films.

Student make sure their characters are specific and unique to their genre and spend time determining the best way to demonstrate their understanding of that genre in the plot, dialogue, settings and background music.

You can also check out http://www.filmsite.org just for fun.  Enjoy reading about the evolution of filmmaking and browsing through the famous film quotes.

“Here’s looking at you, kid”

ITSC notes – Marco Torres

Listening to Marco Torres on Sunday at ITSC was motivating and inspiring. As a film maker and storyteller he brings passion and a creative vision to his work with students. Watching the films his students have made me reflect on my own curriculum and how I inspire my students in Digital Video class.

I realize that even though I give students a lot of flexibility in their films, that I still approach the class with a “set” curriculum. I have specific “types” of films I want my students to produce. What would happen if I change that and instead say “what story do you have inside of you that needs to be told”. How would this change the authenticity of the films my students make? I am hoping that the focus will move away from the entertainment to reflective and imaginative films that include more interviews, family stories, personal thoughts and musings, and creative expression.

More on the iCan film festival http://www.sfett.com/html_movie/Ican/4.html after the workshop…

Learning Premiere Elements for digital storytelling

On Wednesday I am hosting a workshop to demonstrate Premiere Elements with technology teachers in my area. We will also explore Audacity and PhotoStory. Here are my links for the workshop:

Premiere Elements 2.0

Premiere Elements 2.0 Tutorial (pdf) from Center for Digital Storytelling

How to make an awesome green screen (Chroma Key) video on YouTube


Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

Audacity – http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ Download the latest stable version.

Audacity Tutorials – http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/tutorials

Audacity wiki – http://audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

PhotoStory 3 for Windows

Create slideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.

PhotoStory 3 for Windows from Microsoft – http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/photostory/default.mspx

Photostory 3 Tutorials by JakesOnline – http://www.jakesonline.org/photostory.htm

Beginners Guide to PhotoStory (ignore all ads in middle section and click on links on sidebar) http://www.windowsphotostory.com/

Pics4Learning – copyright free photos for education – http://www.pics4learning.com/

Digital Storytelling

Center for Digital Storytelling http://www.storycenter.org/index1.html

50 Ways to tell a story http://cogdogroo.wikispaces.com/StoryTools

Digital Storytelling – by Wes Fryer – http://teachdigital.pbwiki.com/ds

Marco Torres – Short films

Students as directors of learning – http://jdorman.wikispaces.com/digitalstorytelling

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling – http://www.coe.uh.edu/digital-storytelling/

Digital Stories resources by Dean Shareski – http://digitalstories.wikispaces.com/Resources


Student blogging with 21classes.com

Well, I have been blogging with 2 different classes this semester and would like to give an update of how it’s going so far.  I chose to use http://www.21classes.com with my Graphic Design and Digital Video Production classes.  I chose to blog with these students because they are considered “advanced” project classes and incorporating reflective writing along with the projects will give me insights into the students thinking of why they designed projects the way they did.  Plus the blogs give an authentic audience for the student’s work and opportunities for comments create interaction among the students.21classes.gif

First of all, the Graphic Design students immediately taught each other how to customize their blogs with colors, backgrounds, embedded images, and tweaking CSS code (see samples).  I only pointed the way and soon I noticed kids helping kids and lots of learning happening without any of my help – thank you MySpace!

The Digital Video students enjoyed embedding their first video project into their blog.  I have also assigned them to look for examples of interesting video clips, editing techniques and add them to their blog for assignments.  Almost all written work for both classes is placed on the blogs.  I am requiring (for now) student to comment on other’s post to encourage communication – but most of the kids do it without specific direction.

21classes keeps our student’s blogs private and also has a community portal so students can easily access each other’s blogs plus it gives me a place to post assignments for both classes.  Students from Graphic Design and Digital Video classes can see each other’s blogs and this has increased interest in what the other class is doing.

So far I am please with the overall layout, user interface and ease of use of 21 classes.  We are already maxing out our free space so I will be upgrading to the paid subscription ($8.95 per month) but this gives each student 25 mb of space which will be needed by the Graphic Design students since we are posting graphic samples and student projects on the blogs.