Sunday, February 17, 2013

10 Tools Challenge - Windows Movie Maker

This month my intent was to focus on testing Windows Movie Maker.  It took me a while to figure out the webcam options and audio recording options on my laptop and to get it all to work.  In the end, the presentation I created was based primarily on images accompanied by a narration, but I did sign off with a few seconds of video.

I didn't initially plan on posting the video but YouTube makes is to easy that the only reason not to post it would be that it was too embarrassing.  It's definitely amateurish but who cares. I'll be able to see improvements in my next experiment.  It is posted on YouTube under the title "Selecting Images for a Presentation".  As the title suggests, the video is about the images that I selected for a recent presentation I have been working on and the rationale for the selection.  It's just five minutes long and I didn't do much editing or retakes of the audio narration.


  • I tried to be thorough in my initial steps, especially in trying to identify all the options in terms of video capture.  I looked up some YouTube videos about creating videos.  I picked up a few tips about positioning the webcam for example.  I discovered that I had two options for the webcam:  an internal webcam on my laptop and a very easy-to-use plug-and-play mini external webcam that fits nicely on the edge of my laptop screen.  My first recording attempts were quite pathetic.  The audio was not loud enough, the lighting was insufficient, and the color was too green. I ran a second test using my iPhone camera to discover that the MOV file wasn't compatible with Movie Maker.  MOV file open with QuickTime. I would need to convert the file.  Then the conversion tool turned the movie sideways!  Next I had to look up how to rotate the video.  I found a YouTube video that explained how to take the video "upside down" during capture, with the iPhone buttons at the bottom.  Within two hours, I had learned how to improve video files in Windows Movie Maker with two types of input (iPhone and webcam); and I had solved two problems (the file format and the sideways display).
  • Once I had solved all these initial technical problems I should have spent more time storyboarding and planning. By the time I figured out how the technology I was too much in a hurry to produce something.  Even now, knowing that I could have done it much better, I'm not inclined to make the improvements. I'm calling it "good enough".  Importing images and then adding narration was very easy, and so was the final step of saving the whole project as a video.
  • This was a very important experiment with a new tool because it lifted some myths about the complexity of multimedia presentations.  From now on, I will feel much more comfortable considering integrating video components into training materials or presentations.  I also know I could learn much more about how to make it really great.

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