14 July 2014

Three Apps, Three Types of Movie Projects

A quality five-minute movie project will suck weeks away from your class time, if done right. Then again, with the right technology--a coupla iPads, apps, and Web 2.0 accounts for example--a decent 30-second video can be churned out in a class period often with just the technology half your kids carry in their pockets.

There are three basic categories of movie project: basic non-edited, edited nonscripted, and scripted edited. that more or less align with different levels of assessment: practice, formative, and summative. The products of these project types are also suited to different audiences: self, teacher/peers, public. Since Christmas came in July, and I now have my very own set of 10 class iPads, I've selected an iPad app to focus on for each movie making level.

Sock Puppets: basic non-edited
It's silly to go through cutting, editing, and fancy bells and whistles for a simple practice level activity that is just meant to get students to briefly apply what they've learned for the day, and Sock Puppets is perhaps the most adorable way to do it.

I cannot thank Bethanie enough for introducing me to this free iPad app that allows you to create 30-second videos with two characters--two socks--talking. They can choose their socks, their backgrounds then record their voices and move the characters around. I believe you can make longer videos with more choices with the paid version, but the basic set more than suits my purposes. I love the simplicity and brevity of the task, and of course as Bethanie would say, how "totes adorbs" the whole thing is: the little chipmunk voices will keep the class giggling in the TL. 

I am excited to use this one for basic end-of-class interpersonal activities: conversational review and application. How much more fun will it be to practice basic greetings with goofy virtual socks with helium voices (instead of their own, in case self-consciousness is an issue)? Plus they'll WANT to listen to themselves, thus sneakily getting them to reflect on their pronunciation and fluency!

Adobe Voice: unscripted edited
A formative assessment might require a little more planning, a little more revision than a simple practice activity, and Adobe Voice is a free, easy way to put together a slightly more polished video.

I owe Jason Mammano for showing me this one--and helping hook me up with some iPads!) Students can combine their own photos or visuals from the app library with their voice in quick, attractive videos--and Voice automatically adds a soundtrack to their story! So students can record and rerecord their lines on the fly without really having to write anything down and still have something beautiful to show for their efforts within the space of a class period!

I can see this app coming in handy for pitches or presentation previews, for groups or individuals to put together what they're thinking of doing before they actually have to do it. Sort of an audiovisual outline, if you will, spitballing cut down to the good stuff in post.

GreenScreen: scripted edited
When students are sending a product out into the world--one that represents them, you, the school--it's got to be good. So it's worth having an app that takes a little more time to do something really cool.

We lucky Pinnacle Leaders in my district got GreenScreen pushed out to all of our iPads gratis, but it's usually $2.99, but really, this is such an involved app, it may be something you only really need on your teacher device. Student groups can do the shooting with student devices but maybe take turns editing on yours having reviewed their video and shared the good ones via AirDrop. (That means there's also an incentive to review and finalize their shots before the deadline!) This app requires a "green screen" or blue screen of your own, and while some taped up green butcher paper would suffice, a nice wrinkle-free green cloth with extra lighting is more ideal to avoid wonky shadows. Heck, if you have a little more decorative autonomy than I, maybe you could talk the boss into letting you paint part of a wall green!

This editing process is pretty involved and requires detailed editing, so of course students would want to have what they say when--even where they move--spelled out ahead of time, then rehearsed, recorded, and probably rerecorded (and probably rererecorded often times). Therefore, this would definitely be for culminating projects at the end of the unit, perhaps for social media campaigns or PSAs. Come to think of it, this could make for a pretty awesome MST3K final project for my Film and Literature class!

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