Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adding Video to Your Blog

There's people out there that do this very successfully, certainly a lot better than I do. One of the reasons that I have so much profession respect for Jarrod Lamshed, Will Chamberlain and Joe McClung is there all teachers with blogs that promote the use of video for sharing. Nothing comes close to being able to get a 'feel' for a classroom than being able to view it.

Not so long ago I was asked by another teacher how to create a video for a blog. Now this in itself isn't a major, although I would say that I've taken it for granted somewhat. What really surprised me is that the IT person said that he'd have to tutor him about it for a week or so and didn't have the time. That led to me thinking that I really should explain how I do it as to me its straightforward, and ask Jarrod, Will and Joe to explain how they all go about it.

For my educational site I try and post once a day. Although that's a little difficult at times once you have the students 'humming' its relatively straight forward and video is a huge part of it. I take the opportunity to video as many school events as possible, or things from an educational perspective that I think the (online) audience would find interesting. Its that old cliche but some of the most viewed material that I've produced has been complete accidents. Our most popular language series in 2008 'Learn to Speak Samoan' came about as an accident because I had a charged camera, some free time and a student who didn't speak English. Our Girls Rugby videos which became firm favourites were a result of having footage that we were using for training and drills turned over to a wider audience.

I use a standard video camera without additional microphone (currently its a Canon MV800i) and a tripod. I then use a firewire capable to port the material across to movie maker. I use Photostory to create a five second link to the blog for before and at the end for the credits. I keep the videos no longer than three minutes. When publishing for uploading to blogger I generally don't upload anything bigger than 30 megs. I believe that the limit for files is 55 meg.

That's it.

I probably should have an individual sound mic, I know that I should use a program a bit more advanced that movie maker. I have used Moviemaker simply because I'm comfortable with it and its straightforward. I know there's better programs out there, but its always been adequate. Now that in New Zealand were into Term Two I have spent last term training a team of students to do all the filming and the editing. This term I look forward to viewing the finished product online and (hopeful) approving it for publication.

What I would encourage to anyone whose running a blog to think about publishing video footage, students really respond well to it (so much more so than written text or static photographs I believe) and it gives your auidence a greater understanding of others. Now there's also the whole idea of broadcasting/streaming live from your classroom, and I lookforward to reading from our experts on how that's done as that's something that's probably straightforward but I know nothing about the logistics of.


Jarrod Lamshed said...

We use video in a very similar way to how you have described here. This isn't surprising really since we have modeled our blog on the work you did last year at Tamaki Today!

We film on fairly basic cannon video camera, most of the time without an external microphone. We also use a tripod for a steadier picture, and have begun using a monopod. A monopod is basically a one legged version of a tripod. The single leg on the ground gives steadiness to your picture, but also allows for greater flexibility with angles and the ability to move around quickly if needed.

Using a firewire cable, we transfer our raw footage into iMovie on our macs (we are an all mac school). Students edit the footage (sometimes lightly, sometimes heavily) and create any titles, transitions and credits needed for their project. They then export the finished product twice. The first export is at fairly low quality export settings to create a smaller file to upload to our class blog. The second export is a full quality version that we keep for our records and to send home at the end of the year.

We then add our small movie to our blog (built in iWeb) and upload to the internet.

This term we plan to do some experimenting with the video recording capabilities of students mobile phones (after some negotiation with the boss about mobile phone rules!). A lot of the students have them, and it will be interesting to see what difference it makes to our output.

Movie is a great way to engage students and I highly recommend giving it a go!

Michael/@teachernz said...

There aren't many video posts on our blog and even fewer made by the students. All school videos are recorded on my mobile phone (always on, always there) and then edited/soundtrack added in Moviemaker. Perhaps it's time to give more over to the students. Problem is we only have a MASSIVE shoulder mounted Sony HD camera. It's almost bigger that some of the children! We have a set of Digital Blue cameras, but the picture quality and sound leave a lot to be desired.

NZWaikato said...

@ Jarrod - thanks I am sure people will be interested in the basics of that, and nice to plug that other site Tamakitoday.
@ TeacherNZ I can't believe that all the footage from your site comes from a mobile phone, can I ask why you dont have an up-to-date camera in your school?