Tag: video

Categories vs Tags

It’s important to organise the information we share through our blogs to allow users to effectively access previous posts. Two ways to do this are through categories and tags – but what are they? How are categories and tags different and why should we use them? In the following video, Bec shares the different ways categories and tags make it easier to organise your blog’s content.

Scheduling a meeting in Outlook

In last Monday’s TLT, Bec and Clint showed us how to use Scheduling Assistant in Outlook to book a meeting. It is still a bit tricky when making a time with teachers, as class times do not currently feature in calendars, however, this is our recommended method for making a time to meet with specialists… such as Bec and I!


How to update Seesaw class settings

The ES are doing great things in Seesaw, including lots of student, teacher and parent activity. There are a range of different settings you can explore to find ways to customise the Seesaw experience to your class or grade level. In the following video, I’ll show you how to:

  • Add specialist and co-teachers to class journals
  • Edit students’ preferred names & icons
  • Add parents & allow parent access
  • Add/edit folders & skills
  • Allow student comments & “likes”

We will continue to add Seesaw resources to the Ed Tech blog. In the meantime, please let Bec and myself know anytime you have a question or celebration around Seesaw or if there is another resource you think would benefit the school.


Video Basics: Story, Framing, Lighting and Sound


Story is KING! Without a story your video is just unrelated pretty pictures. All videos have to have some kind of story or theme that holds it together. Without a compelling story everything else in this post doesn’t matter.

Framing: Basic Shot Composition

Photographers and videographers refer to the Rule of Thirds as a cornerstone of taking good shots. Put simply, don’t place the subject of your photo directly in the middle of the frame. Have them one third into your frame from either side. Watch the video below for more info.


Lighting will make or break a shot. There are two parts to great lighting. The first is to make sure your subject is well light. If you’re videoing people make sure their faces are well lit. This can be as easy as filming near a window or outside.

Once you’ve made sure your scene is well lit, think about using light for dramatic effect. Videographers and photographers talk about the golden hour. The golden hour is the first hour of daylight right around sunrise and the last hour right around sunset. Golden hour gives your shots a warm colour.

This video gives more detailed ideas for shooting at the golden hour.

Sound: Capturing Audio

Make sure you capture the best sound possible. People will watch less than perfect video but poor audio quality will have them clicking on to something else to watch very quickly. Here are some tips to ensure you capture good audio.

Film in a quiet place where you can control background noises. When you get to your filming location, stop and listen. Listen for noisy fans, humming refrigerators or barking dogs. If your location is noisy fix it.

Have your microphone up close to your talent. This may mean using a mic on a boom pole but it can be much simpler than that. It may be as simple as getting your camera closer to your subject. I once stuck my iPhone in my actor’s shirt pocket and used the Voice Memos App to record the audio as I filmed. It was a back up to a fancier audio recorder I was using. As it turned out the batteries in my audio recorder died so I used my iPhone’s audio for the last few minutes of the video. Nobody noticed.

If you want to learn more about capturing audio the Vimeo Video School Blog has lots of resources including Sound good, feel good: things to consider when capturing audio. It is good  for anyone wanting to do a deep dive into capturing audio for videos.

Sound: Background Music

Background music can be great but be purposeful when you use it. Your favorite song may not be the best music for your video.

Instrumental songs—songs without lyrics—are usually best because the brain can’t multitask. If people in your video are talking while there’s a song with lyrics playing in the background, the viewer’s brain tries to listen to both sets of words and it can’t. At least it can’t do it well. Scientifically, this is known as cognitive load.

So use music without lyrics but that’s not enough. It’s important that the volume of the background music is kept much lower than the actors speaking in your video. iMovie has a cool feature that lets you automatically drop the audio levels of the background music. It’s pretty handy. Use it but also check that it’s done it right by listening carefully to your entire movie. You may find that you have to make some further adjustments.

If you’re looking for more audio ideas Vid Authority has some more in depth tips for using background music in videos.

There you have it—Story, Shot Composition, Lighting and Sound. Control each of these elements and you’ll be on your way to your first Oscar!

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is a very broad topic so I’ll focus on two types–the Common Craft style and stop motion animation. Common Craft is a company that explains complex topics using a combination of stick figures and simple drawings. Libraries in the Internet Age is a good example of their work. You can head over to their website for more examples.

Another good example of this style of video is Casey Neistat’s Draw My Life.


Stop Motion animation is based on the idea that you string a number of still photos together in software like iMovie and then have them play back in sequence. This video from Mashable gives a quick explanation.

There are a lot more videos that explain stop motion. Here’s one that shows how to make a lego movie and another more general tutorial from Sony.


You don’t need much. Here are the basics:

  • camera: a camera phone is fine.
  • tripod or stabilisation system. Your camera needs to be rock solid. (We have various tripods/tools available in the EdTech Office if you need some help with this.)
  • editing software to put it all together i.e. iMovie
  • good light: You don’t need to get too fancy here but you do want to control your light. Work near a window. Use a desk lamp. Do what it takes to make it consistent.

iPhone or iPad Apps

There are some apps that can streamline the process. iMotion and Stop Motion are both free and can help get the job done.

Things to Remember

  • Have a script. Write down exactly what you want to say and then animate to that. It helps to mark in your script what will be happening in the animation. Pages or Word work fine for simple projects. Celtx is a good free option for scriptwriting for more complex projects. You can learn more about scriptwriting from this post I wrote earlier.
  • Storyboarding is a great way to organise your ideas. Here’s a simple template from Pens to Lens.
  • You don’t need to use a fancy camera but it needs to be held perfectly still. In other words, use a tripod.
  • When doing stop motion you need lots of photos. The more frames per second you use, the smoother your video will be.
  • You don’t need fancy editing software. iMovie will work. Some programs may make it quicker or easier to make a stop motion video but they aren’t absolutely necessary.
  • Get good audio. When recording audio work in a quiet place. Background noise is very distracting to an audience.

Scriptwriting Teachers’ Guide and Software

Clapperboard 2

We teach kids many forms of writing. Scriptwriting is a very relevant form these days. Pens to Lens is a site specifically designed to help teach this form of writing. There is a lot on the site including a useful teachers’ guide with several good resources.

I particularly like two resources. Worksheet B is a style guide which outlines the proper format for a screenplay. The Sample Script is really good as it is a short excerpt from the Toy Story script. It’s from the scene when Buzz and Woody meet the Aliens in the Crane Game. Think “the claw, the cla-a-a-a-w!” It would be good to use with kids as they’ll know the scene and then be able to see how the script is written for it.

Where Pens to Lens is full of good resources for teaching script writing, Celtx is a free online app for actually writing a script. Of course a script can be written in any word processor or text editor but Celtx helps with the drudgery of formatting a script. It helps free the writer from formatting so he/she can focus on the important part–telling his/her story.

Using Celts involves signing up for an account. The account is free. Scriptwriting is always free. There are other features in Celtx but one has to pay a subscription fee for them. For our needs, the free version should be enough.

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