Aside

The Year 5 teachers have been making exciting iBooks about the Greeks using iBooks Author, and as part of that they’ve been making some movies on iPads with iMovie.  However, we just hit a snag where the movies would fail to export to the camera roll.  Arrgh!

Thankfully, Apple Discussion Forums came to the rescue, with the suggestion to check the privacy settings for photos.  The fix worked – yay!

iMovie Export Fix

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Video Central now takes .m4v

LGfL offer a great video hosting service for schools called Video Central, which allows schools and children to upload video work for private or public sharing. All was well until I discovered that the latest iMovie now exports its videos by default in the .mp4 format. Which Video Central didn’t accept.

Now, you can pretty easily convert these video files into a .mov file (which they do accept) using QuickTime, but this is one extra layer of complexity that we could all do without. So I thought I would send some feedback about this via LGfL’s webmaster, only to then be told that they’ve now included the .m4v format. Joy!

In real iLife

Yesterday was fun and got to see a bit how useful iLife apps can be with children.

In the morning I was teaching music with Year 3, where we were doing some preparation for making a radio show all about saving the environment. I had pre-chosen some songs with an eco-theme and then got children listening to some of them to try out work out the environmental message and to decide if they liked them or not. To do this, I got children to search for the songs on the iTunes Music Store and then listen to the 90 second previews you can now get. It would have been more ideal if we had headphones for everyone as it was a little noisy, but that will have to wait until the next financial year.

After school, I had another instalment of iMovie club. We ended up having a go at using the ‘trailers’ feature of iMovie 11, which groups of 3 deciding which film genre they wanted to do, printing off a storyboard and then starting to film their footage using Flipcams. The final product may not make a huge amount of sense, but it’s definitely giving children the experience of sequencing shots together and trying to tell a story. We’ll see next week how good the final product is.

iMovie haters?

I’m probably alone in this, but I find software like iMovie amazing. As a teen making films on a Hi-8 camera, we had to edit either in camera with some judicial timing of the record button or try and stitch clips together with a hopelessly inaccurate VHS machine. We then graduated to using a two-deck VHS assemble editor when at Sixth-form college, which gave us the semblance of accuracy. The pinnacle of control was filming with Super-8 and then manually splicing together film, holding up frames to a lightbulb (hello burnt retina!) to find the perfect cut. So the fact you put together a video in iMovie insanely quickly is pretty insanely great.

When Apple ditched the traditional timeline with iMovie ’08, there was much uproar. Admittedly iMovie ’08 lost quite a lot of features and was a bit confusing, but over the next few updates it regained its skills and took things further. Tools like the precision editor and the advanced ‘cutaway’ option when inserting a clip let you do things that would be fiddly and confusing when using an older ‘timeline’ editor. I’ve never used Final Cut Pro X, but I can completely see why they’ve taken the iMovie ideas and extended them.

iMovie Club pt.2

iMovie club this week included a foray into the wonderful world of music video creation.  I showed an example of what you can do with just an iSight camera and then talked children through importing CDs into iTunes and downloading YouTube videos (thanks to ClickToFlash).

The technique basically was to start recording iSight video using iMovie, play the song in iTunes and then mime along to the song.  You then put the resulting video into the timeline and then add the audio of the original song as the background sound.  A double-click on the video lets you turn down the audio thus leaving just the CD audio.  If you use the precision editor you can then slide the video back and forth until the miming syncs up with the audio.  (Using a clapperboard would make this a lot easier, so maybe I’ll try that next time.)

Once the basics of the track was laid down, children could then import downloaded YouTube videos into iMovie and then select interesting clips to insert over the song.  If you enable the advance tools in the preferences, you can insert a cutaway by dragging a clip onto an existing video clip in the project.  This keeps the audio and the mimed video in sync between cutaways – it’s a pretty cool feature!

It did take quite a lot of one-to-one support from me, so hopefully next week children will feel more confident to continue creating their music videos and exploring

iMovie Club

I’ve just done an after school club today that I actually enjoyed! It was a ‘iMovie Club’, making use of a suite of iMacs and my misspent youth making short films.

The club is with a lovely bunch of motivated Year 5&6 kids and today we had a go at making spoof news programmes. We used Photo Booth to shoot the footage, dropping in location shots pulled from Google in the background, thus transporting kids from the news studio around the globe. They then imported these clips into iMovie and started editing from there.

It was only the first session, but I was really pleased with how confident many of the children were with the iMacs. Most KS2 kids will have done some sort of video project over the last year and it definitely showed. I’m looking forward to what gets produced over the term!