On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me – software to make a movie

Yesterday I started my twelve days of Christmas series, starting with an external webcam and how this is a useful piece of technology to leverage with a Tablet PC for education.  Today I want to look at the software we can use to leverage the webcam.

Oh – and this isn’t about making a movie – that just rhymed nicely!

There are some obvious software choices out there that work to capture video from the webcam.  You can use the software that comes bundled with the webcam (in the case of the Logitech C920, it’s not bad, but is very limited on the editing side).  You can also use the wonderful add in for PowerPoint, Microsoft Mix – which is a very easy entry point to creating video augmented content from either existing PowerPoint presentation or using screen capturing.  You can also use very high end software like Adobe Premier which allows absolute control.  I really encourage you to look at all of these options – but I actually want to focus on my two favourites for the rest of this blog.

The first is OneNote from Microsoft.  From the insert menu you can “Record Video” – this starts the recording with a small preview of the webcam.  Not many people realise that whilst it defaults to whatever the default webcam is, you can also select the camera that you would like to use from the now open “Recording and Playback” menu.

If anyone from Microsoft OneNote development land is reading this, it’d be great if there was a way to do this without starting to record first!

Once the correct webcam is selected, you can also make the preview full screen – this is great when used with a projector or large LCD panel – you can really show the students what you want them to see.  I often use this with Science demonstrations or experiments.  If you have a Surface Pro 3, you can also double click the purple button and take a screen shot which you can annotate over – this an absolutely brilliant to mix high fidelity content (video) with low fidelity annotations.  Check out my video below for a demo of all of this.  Please note that there is a very slow frame rate when demoing the video recoding using OneNote – this is an artefact due to me recording the recording to make the video!  It doesn’t happen with normal use!

The second piece of software is Camtasia Studio from TechSmith.  This provides in one package a screen capture, webcam capture, microphone capture and multitrack editing software with simple transitions, video effects and audio editing.  It is my go to software for making videos for my students – and it is what I used to make the videos that I am including in this series.

This is my go to software because it has been really simple to learn how to use, yet allows me the flexibility to achieve videos that I’m happy to share in the time I have to actually record and edit them. I also love that I can tweak the things I want to – zoom and pan within video, mashing up multiple video recordings with still images and overlays to show ideas and concepts, and simple video and audio editing. Again check out the video below for a quick demo.

Camtasia also does some very complex things – check back tomorrow to have a look at green screen or Chromakey.

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