This week we were asked to introduce ourselves online to the co-participants in #etmooc. The format was left up to us – from a simple text on the blog to a multimedia ‘presentation’.
I decided to go for a multimedia offering. I thought that:
- images and brief text fragments will convey the message most efficiently and expressively
- it will be fun (and useful) to try out new tools to create such presentations
- digital storytelling is trending – important to get some skills in there!
- with many digital storytelling tools out there which require very low tech skills, and allow for easy sharing of the product, such multimedia presentations are an excellent choice for the orientation/ice-breaking activities online (and offline) courses!
- I believe in enabling learners’/teachers’ online DIY by using low-threshold technology – this was a chance to test some out!
In prep for the post I have combed through a number of other etmooc introductions (hello everybody!) – and picked up a great list of tools which can be used for introductory activities – I compiled a public list on Diigo with some very brief annotations. Thanks everybody for sharing (special thanks to Erin Luong, Lyn Hilt, Joanna Sanders, Monika, Glenn Hervieux, Shira Leibowitz whose posts directly contributed to my list). I am sure there is much more out there and the list will grow in the future.
It was hard to pick but I went with Animoto because:
- I have never used it before
- It is an online tool so I did not need to download and install anything and worry about PC/Mac compatibility
- I liked that it looked ‘professional’ and polished, yet fun whether used by complete beginners or more experienced users
- It allowed for combination of video, text, audio and images + had some quite decent musical tracks to choose from (you can upload your own if you wish – NB copyright!)
- The free version allows only for 30 sec videos and v. limited text – this forces a wonderful brevity and distillation of message so important in the online world, suffering from a chronic attention deficit (I tend to ramble so a fantastic way to improve my own skills here;)
- It allowed publication to YouTube – important for me as a Word Press user as WP does not allow embedding of Animoto videos but works for YouTube (for security reasons).
How I did it.
I decided to include video I took with my phone alongside some CC licensed images from Flickr. This turned out to be quite a distraction (mainly due to the fact that Animoto video editing itself is very limited and only allows for clipping the ends and muting of soundtrack) – but a productive one!
As using Animoto itself is very intuitive and including images very simple, I will talk about the editing of video itself, before I included it in my production.
I needed to clip, flip and crop my .3gb video.
My computer is running Windows XP which unfortunately does not have an inbuilt video editor. I did not want to download and install anything on it – it’s been running slowly so I want to avoid cluttering it up any further. And certainly did not want to pay for anything or such a small project. I also wanted to avoid using YouTube’s own editing suite (I do not like putting all my eggs in one basket).
I looked for a simple free online video editing tool and found this very useful compilation of some recent offerings from makeuseof blogs. I was most impressed with the ones which allow for collaborative editing and creation of social networks – definitely something to keep in mind for later use (assuming they survive – the turnaround is very rapid in these start ups) !
Unfortunately, I did not manage to find anything which would do all three things for me.
First, I used Pixorial to rotate and cut the video to size I wanted (the tool has some other ). Then, I took the output (Pixorial converts your video to .mp4 so if you do not want to lose quality it may not be an optimal option) and used Video Tool Box to crop it to focus on the part of the video I wanted (Video Tool Box preserves the video format – and gives you an option of converting it if you wish).
Both of the tools have size limits on the files you can upload in their free versions (Pixorial is more generous), and require a decent speed internet connection for download/upload so not really suitable for larger video processing but ideal for these snippets from your phone’s camera.
Overall, I think I will go back to both Animoto as well as Pixorial and Video Tool Box. I would also like to try my hand at WeVideo and FileLab Video Editor and try out their more complex editing options and effects. They are both much more sophisticated than YouTube editing options!