Behind the Scenes: Making a Session Teaser Video

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Earlier this year I attended GEUG14, the Google Apps for Education European User Group meet up in York. The conference was great for all sorts of reasons, but it had one particularly neat feature: instead of providing a heap of wordy session abstracts to choose from, the GEUG team had instead recorded a series of short video introductions via Google Hangouts and published them on their Google Site beforehand (click the links in the programme to see the Hangout videos!). I liked the idea so much, I sneakily borrowed it for our digifest purposes.

Video is nice, but what if you don’t like to appear on camera?
I’m quite camera shy myself and will avoid having my mug all over the web at any cost. I still wanted an attention grabbing teaser trailer though, so here’s what I did instead:

I storyboarded using plain old pen and paper to clarify my idea for myself.

draft

Next, I tracked down some suitable images. My preferred search portal is http://search.creativecommons.org.

Once I had pinned down the images I needed, I started building the animation. For this I used the free version of Hippo Studio’s Animator suite. It’s a powerful, yet easy to learn animation tool that exports to GIF, HTML5 or AVI formats.

hipposcreenshot

With the animation assembled, I needed some music to jazz things up. I could have turned to CC Search again, but as I already had FMA (Free Music Archive) open in one of my zillion browser  tabs, I ran a search on there instead. It didn’t take long before I struck lucky and found something that seemed suitable for the opening sequence:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/mildtape/Wildtape/LCL39_mildtape-wildtape_03-DroidPianoRoll
[sadly WordPress isn’t playing nicely with the FMA mp3 player]

For my next step I turned to another old favourite of mine: Serif MoviePlus. Why do I like it? It’s way more versatile than Windows Movie Maker, but is still simple enough to use for quick video editing. I have the full fat version on my home PC, but for this project the free download did everything I needed.

MoviePlus

I drafted a short script, recorded the voice over, adjusted the timings a little and exported it all to WMV.

Here is the final result on YouTube:

Yes, this was definitely a lot more laborious and time consuming (about 4 hours all in) than if I had just done a quick face to camera piece, but I enjoy twiddling with all these different tools so much more than I enjoy seeing my face on YouTube!  😉

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