Movie production in the classroom can be a scary thing for many teachers, and to be honest, I have seldom done a video project with students where I was in total control. There is always something that I didn’t know or think about. However, I have done enough projects now to have some idea of what to expect. Having certain tools handy will certainly make the whole process run smoother, making those bumps that do come up seem much smaller.
Here are five apps that I can’t live without. The best thing about all of these is that they are free!
1. Windows Movie Maker: I know that there are several other programs and apps out there that work better and have more options, but Movie Maker is just dead simple and, at least with the machines in our building, works rather well. I seldom have to do more than about three minutes of instruction with students, and they can handle putting a movie together.
2. Any Video Converter: I have used this tool more in the last several months than any other tool on my desktop. It is lifesaver when it comes to converting all of the various file types out there. This converter is free and will convert most file types into a .wmv which is the file type needed for videos to be rendered in Windows Movie Maker. The other bonus that comes with this converter is the ability to easily download Youtube videos.
3. Audacity: This simple but powerful tool allows users to record, edit, and mix audio files. It is by far the cheapest (free) and easiest editing tool I have used.
4. AoA Audio Extractor: This tool comes in real handy when audio files need to be separated from the video for editing and mixing purposes. I am guessing there might other ways to do this, but AoA works great.
5. VLC Media Player: This player will play just about any file you can get onto your computer, whether it be audio or video. When students bring in several different files and you have to sort through them, at least you will be able to see what is in them.