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Thursday, July 12, 2012

10 Ways to Create Videos Without Installing Software

Creating videos used to require that you own expensive equipment and software. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. In fact, now there are many tools you can use to create videos online. Here is a collection of some of my favorite tools for creating videos online.

WeVideo is a collaborative online video creation tool. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. The video editor provides tools for trimming the length of display and or sound of each element you add to your video project. What makes WeVideo collaborative is that you can invite other people to create and edit with you. The WeVideo Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. WeVideo also offers an Android app that students can use to capture images and video footage to add to their projects. 


The National Archives Digital Vault poster and video creation tools allow students to drag and drop digital artifacts into a poster or video. The National Archives provides images, documents, and audio in an easy to use editor. To create a video simply drag your selected images on to the editing templates, type image captions, select the duration of display for each image, and select audio tracks.


Muvee Cloud is a simple service for creating videos based on your images and audio files. At its most basic Muvee Cloud is a place for creating collaborative private photo albums. As the creator of an album you can select the best images and create a video for the group. You can choose to share your videos privately so that only those you invite can see them or you can share your videos on Facebook, Twitter, or embed them into your blog.

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.

Animoto makes it possible to quickly create a video using still images, music, and text. In the last year Animoto has added the option to include video clips in your videos too. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using AnimotoAnimoto's free service limits you to 30 second videos. You can create longer videos if you apply for an education account. I like to use Animoto early in the school year to introduce my new students to some of the basic skills that will be carried across to more complex video creation later in the year.

Flixtime is a video creation service that is quite similar to AnimotoFlixtime gives users the ability to create 60 second videos by mixing together images, video clips, and music tracks. You can use your own images, video clips, and music tracks or you can choose media from the Flixtime galleries. Flixtime also gives you the option to record voiceovers for your videos through their site. Flixtime videos can be downloaded for use on your local computer, shared via email or social networks, or posted to YouTube.

Photo Peach is a 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. 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 sequence of images in Photo Peach is a simple drag and drop procedure.

The Zimmer Twins is a neat site for introducing elementary school students to making simple animated video stories. On the Zimmer Twins site students can create a story from scratch or complete one of the "cliff hanger" story starters. Students do not need to have any drawing skills in order to create a story as all elements are added to the video through a simple drag and drop interface. Students select settings, characters, character actions, emotions, and text styles then drag those elements into the storyboard. Students then arrange those elements and type words into the conversation bubbles where appropriate.

Screenr is a very simple, easy-to-use tool for creating screencast videos. You do not need to register in order to use Screenr, but if you want to save your recordings you do need a Twitter account. Screenr  uses your Twitter ID to save your recording and publish it to Twitter  (you can opt not to publish to Twitter). The recordings you make using Screenr can also be published to YouTube or you can download your recordings.


Tracking Shot is a simple music video creation tool that is kind of like a stripped-down version of AnimotoTo create a music video using Tracking Shot just upload some pictures, upload music, and let Tracking Shot mix the video. If you're not happy with the original mix, click the remix link and get a new version of the video. One of the limitations of Tracking Shot is that the only ways to share your videos is by email or by posting a link online. There doesn't appear to be an embed option available.


What is your favorite video creation tool? What should be added to this list? Please leave a suggestion in the comments. 

Discovering the World's News in Pictures

One of my favorite features on the BBC New website is the Day in  the Day in Pictures. The Day in Pictures displays a small collection of photographs from around the world. The pictures capture a mix of  serious news stories and lighter cultural stories. The Day in Pictures collections are part of a much larger resource from the BBC simply called In Pictures. The In Pictures resource provides hundreds of images in a variety collections and slideshows about current events throughout the world. Some of the slide shows even include narration. All of the images include captions explaining what is happening in the picture and a little background knowledge about the event being photographed.

Applications for Education
For years I used the Day in Pictures pictures as conversation starters for current events discussions in my Global Studies classes. The collections are also great supplementary material for students to use in presentations about current events. For visual learners the images from the In Pictures collections are helpful for providing visual connections to and context for a story.

Use Your Webcam to Sign PDFs

If you have ever received a PDF attachment that needs to be signed, you've probably gone through the hassle of printing it, signing it, scanning it, then emailing it back to the sender. If you're a Mac user running OSX Lion there is an easier way to sign PDFs. Tekzilla shows you how in the video below.

Get Hip With New Hip Hughes History Videos

I've mentioned Keith Hughes' Hip Hughes History YouTube channel in the past. This morning I showed the channel to my friend Alice Barr and I thought that I should share it here again. Keith Recently added a couple of new videos to his channel. The 1996 Election for Dummies is latest addition the U.S. Elections for Dummies playlist. The other video that you might want to add to your U.S. History course blog or website is U.S. Sectionalism for Dummies.


Applications for Education
As Keith Hughes points out at the beginning of some of the videos, these videos are not a replacement for paying attention in class and doing your own research. That said, the videos are good for reviewing or previewing a topic. If you teach U.S. History and you're building a course resource page this summer, I highly recommend adding some of the Hip Hughes History videos to that page.

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