Makin’ Movies

Even though I am a non-credit student auditing this class, I’m trying to complete the assignments given to the credit students.  One such assignment was to make an introduction “video”.

My little point-and-shoot camera has a video mode.  I knew I could simply set it on a tripod and talk to it.  But I noticed that my computer has a program called “Windows Movie Maker”.  So I decided to give it a whirl.

But not by making an introductory video.  My boss at work had given me another assignment:  give a 5 minute report at the next staff meeting about the conference you attended.

So, I rationalized that (1) part of the purpose of the class assignment was to practice with (and/or learn) movie-making software, (2) the credit students aren’t really all that interested in meeting me anyway, and (3) I’m really strapped for time, so what the heck.

The result?

  • I created a 5-minute “video” made up of stills, text slides, and voice-over that summarized what I did/learned at the conference.
  • It took me 5 hours to create it.
  • It took me 1.5 hours to find equipment that would run it and get it hooked up with projector and speakers so I could show it during the staff meeting.
  • I learned a great deal.  I learned the basics of using the software.  I learned that to create a good end product takes an enormous amout of time.

After presenting at the staff meeting, I also learned that sometimes, the medium is simply not appropriate.  People got a lot more out of the other naturalists’ presentations which were all simple in-person story-telling.  (Though two of them definitely went over their 5 minute “limit”.)

All of this has me pondering appropriateness of the technology.  We must take care not to use technology for technolgy’s sake, but to employ it when it truly enhances the experience.

(I have some ideas for ways to use movie-making to promote the center, and perhaps create some online resources for teachers… for example, a pre-visit video that students and teachers can watch in the classroom before coming on a fieldtrip.  Hmm…  What else?)

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