Elearning:Video

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Short videos can greatly enhance learning in both face-to-face (F2F) or online environments. A well thought-out, well produced video—particularly those used as triggers in inquiry-based or problem-based learning—can be used multiple times. In this tool kit, you will have the opportunity to create a short educational video (interview or narrative).

Background

Video, along with film, film animation, computer animations and simple animated graphics falls into the category of "moving image". Moving image technology has been used in education almost since its invention. However video really came into prominence in education after the World War II and the creation of National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

During WWII, the NFB's propaganda film (16 mm) productions were widely shown at schools, church halls and community centres across Canada. After the war, the NFB carried on with the production of films for educational purposes in areas such as agricultural extension. In elementary and secondary schools, NFB films have from their onset been used in the schools on a limited basis to augment learning goals in the curriculum.

In the 1970s, video technology began to arrive in the classroom in the form of 'portable' reel-to-reel machines. As video technology was more portable than 16 mm film, it made further inroads into education. Although awkward and clunky and with poorer picture and sound quality than 16 mm film, video was both more accessible and less expensive to produce than film.

Beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, video technology moved from analog to digital. It has been the widespread availability of digital technology, for both production (digital video capture) and post-production (editing). Today digital video cameras and video editing software are available to more and more Canadians. Including educators.

Process

Video production is divided into three stages, Pre-Production (planning), Production (capture) and Post-production (editing and distribution). Below are some guidelines for each stage, followed by a hands-on activity.

Pre-Production

Design Issues

    • Pre-production is the planning stage. Before a camera is even picked up, it's important to think about the target audience, learning objectives, and delivery.
    • What age and educational level are the students? It's important to use think about the level of the language, complexity of the concepts, and so on. What will the students learn by viewing this video? What are the primary learning objectives? Also, what unique contribution would made by using a video? Thinking ahead to how the video will be delivered will help determine the style and approach to videotaping.

Script

    • With this knowledge, create a shooting script (sometimes called a shot list) that covers the learning objectives. If you are doing an interview, the shot list can be the series of questions the interviewee will be asked. As part of the script prepare a list of shots that show or illustrate the subject matter in the responses.

Equipment Preparation

    • Digital video camera with 2 charged batteries (one in reserve)
    • Storage media: videotapes if using MiniDV, writeable DVDs, memory cards, or a computer to download video if the camera’s hard drive becomes full.
    • Tripod with correct camera mount plate for a video camera. A collapsible tripod whose legs extend up to around 5 feet.
    • Lavaliere (lapel) or camera mounted unidirectional microphone for capturing dialogue.
    • Optional: Lighting kit.

Production

Setting up your equipment properly will ensure the quality of the video you capture.

  1. Mount the camera on the tripod, make sure it's level.
  2. If possible, have the interviewee seated.
  3. Check framing and focus. Between questions, you may want to change the frame. This will give some variety to final product. If you change frame, always re-focus.
  4. Lighting guide (if you have no lighting kit). If outside, avoid bright sunlight, cloudy days are best. Inside, it's usually best to close blinds or curtains using only available light, usually fluorescence.
  5. Connect lapel microphone or attached unidirectional microphone to camera. During the interview, try to minimize abrupt outside noise interruptions, e.g., telephones. You will not be recording you own voice.

Interviewing

    • To conduct an interview, place yourself behind the camera or very close to the side.
    • When conducting interview, don't rush! Let the guest finishing speaking, pause, and then present the next question.
    • Always give your guest the chance to stop the interview at any time, to change their response or to think about their answer. Give them some control of the interview.

Post-production

With recording completed, capture video by downloading it from the camera to the computer into your editing software. For Windows users, [xx MS Movie Maker is usually bundled on your machine; for Mac users iMovie is.

More sophisticated video editing software options include Adobe Premiere (cross-platform) and Final Cut Express for Mac users who want to bring their iMovie skills up several notches, or Final Cut Pro, the full professional version.

Editing Tips

  • View the footage several times on your computer. This helps you develop a sense of what your material contains. You may want to create a log of your footage, recording the start and end time and description of each shot. This can be extremely helpful when trying to find a specific clip, but you cannot recall where in your shooting schedule it was captured.
  • You can begin editing almost anywhere but it’s almost always easiest to start with the first question and follow through to the end. Select the best shots if the question has been answered more than once.. Make sure the pacing is comfortable, taking pauses and using transitions to enhance the viewing experience. To start out, clips should be between 7 and 30 seconds in length. Clips shorter than 7 seconds makes adding transitions difficult; longer than 30 seconds often “lose” the viewer.
  • Use the timeline in your editing software to arrange your clips in sequence. Now you can insert the transitions or special effects. To open and close your video, use fade in and fade out transitions. Feel free to try other transitions between clips—but don’t try to use too many! It is better to stick with a handful and use them consistently: it makes for a much more enjoyable viewing experience.
  • When you have finished editing and saving your complete video, export (or “share” is it’s called on iMovie) it as either a QuickTime (.mov), MPEG (.mp4) or Windows Media Video (.wmv) file for web streaming and DVD production (among others).

If you plan on uploading your video to a web 2.0 video site (such as YouTube or Vimeo, export it at the highest resolution possible. However these sights have a maximum file size: verify what it is before you try to upload your video!

Activity

Objective

To create a short (less than 10 minute) educational video, integrable into your LMS site. Your video may be hosted within the LMS site, or on an external server and embedded into the LMS using HTML code.

Process

  1. Develop a shooting script. For an interview it would be a list of questions; for a more narrative video it would be a story. Be as detailed as possible, in order to make the shoot as efficient as possible. Include a shot list.
  2. Capture your video.
  3. Download the video clips from the camera to the computer. If your camera uses tape, remove the tape so you have an archive of your original footage.
  4. Review them several times until you feel quite familiar with them
  5. Make a copy of the clips to edit (always save your original raw footage)
  6. Make edits, including crops, splits, and at least 3 transitions (opening, between 2 clips, closing)
  7. Create a title screen for your video’s opening screen.
  8. Create credits for the end for the production team: producer, director, cameraperson, editor, screenwriter.
  9. Save your completed project.
  10. Export for web streaming
  11. Load (or link) into your LMS site

Reflection

Write an entry for your course weblog about your experience here (on your "Home" page and posting a new entry). How labour intensive was the process? What worked well? What was challenging? What surprised you?

Resources

The following are good resources for the novice video producer:

These are but three examples of the sort of resources available online. There are many, many more—explore!