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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online

YouTube claims that twenty hours of video is uploaded to its site every minute. Much of this video is created by amateur video producers. In years past if you wanted to create video, you had to have (often expensive) recording and editing equipment. Today, the web has made it possible for anyone to create and edit professional-looking content without having to purchase any special equipment or software. Creating video content is a great way to get students engaged in projects through which they can demonstrate their learning. The following are six free, web-based, resources students can use to create their own videos.

1. Masher is a great, free, tool for creating video mash-ups. Masher offers a large collection of video clips from the BBC's Motion Gallery and Rip Curl video. There is a large music library, an effects library, and a good selection of video player skins. If you don't find content that you like in Masher's library, you can add your own images, video clips, and music clips through the Masher uploader. Masher also gives you the option to insert text throughout your videos. Creating with Masher is a simple matter of dragging elements from the media gallery into the timeline editor. From there you can arrange the sequence of elements using the drag and drop interface. When you're happy with the sequence, publish and share your production.

2. Animoto makes it possible to quickly create a video using still images, music, and text. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto. Animoto's free service limits you to 30 second videos. You can create longer videos if you apply for an education account. In the video below I explain how to create your first Animoto video.
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3. Stupeflix is a service that allows user to quickly and easily create video montages using their favorite images and audio clips. In many ways Stupeflix reminds me of Animoto, but there are a couple of differences that are worth noting. Stupeflix allows users to drag and drop their images into the sequence that they would like the images to appear. Adding text to the images is easier in Stupeflix than it is on Animoto. Stupeflix offers only one default soundtrack so you have to upload your own audio clips. That said the advantage of Stupeflix is that you can use more than one audio clip within the same video.

4. Photo Peach is a new service that allows you to quickly and easily create an audio slideshow, with captions, from images in your Flickr, Picassa, or Facebook account. You can also use images saved on your local hard drive to create your slideshow. Photo Peach is similar to Animoto and Stupeflix services although they do have some differences worth noting. Adding captions to each image is a little more intuitive on Photo Peach than it is on Animoto. To add captions to your Photo Peach slideshow simply type your desired text into the caption box that appears as each image is automatically displayed by Photo Peach. Changing the order of appearance for each image is also easier on Photo Peach than it is on Animoto. Changing the sequence of images in Photo Peach is a simple drag and drop procedure.

5. Xtra Normal is a unique service that enables students to create animated, narrated movies just by typing the dialogue then dragging and dropping characters and set elements into the movies. There are free and paid plans for using Xtra Normal. The primary difference between the plans being that the paid plan offers more options for the setting of your story. The standard plan should be more than adequate for most academic applications.

6. Memoov is a free service for creating animated videos. Without downloading any software or having any special skills, Memoov allows users to create animated videos up to five minutes in length. Creating an animated video with Memoov can be as simple as selecting a setting image(s), selecting a character or characters, and adding dialogue. Memoov offers users a wide variety options that make it stand out amongst similar services. Memoov allows users to customize the appearance of the characters in their animated videos. On the dialogue front, Memoov gives users the option to record their own voices for use in their videos. Users can also upload pre-recorded dialogue in MP3 format. Memoov users have the option to add background music to their animated videos.

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