e-Learning Toolkit: DVD and Video Authoring

I like the idea of using video and DVD’s in education. I remember back when I was about 14 years old and being really excited about the chance to be video-taped during tennis, so that I could help learn what I could improve upon. In terms of modeling, video is amazing I think. On top of this, I’ve recently come across some really, really smart ways of incorporating video in a Physics classroom. If you have any interest in innovative use of video in the classroom, I strongly suggest you check out this link and this link. The first example has a physics math teacher video recording himself going up and down stairs and an escalator, as part of a lesson in relative motion. The second video is one of Kobe Bryant jumping over a pool of snakes, and a physics classroom analyzing the video to see if it is fake.

The first video is a good example of quick’n’dirty video production/authoring, while the second video example is simply using a video off of youtube. If I have the option, I would always go the youtube route. Why? Because creating, editing, and polishing a video is a lot of work.

I didn’t work through the activity on the ETEC565 e-Learning Toolkit pages for DVDs and videos because I’ve done this stuff several times in the past, for both business (engineering and teaching) and pleasure (home movies). Editing video in terms of cutting and trimming is quite simple, and I think almost every software tool can do this reasonably well. It can still be very time consuming though. For example, if I have 60 minutes of video that I want to trim down to 20, it could easily take me over 2 hours to do this. It simply takes a lot of time to search for the exact edit points, trim, review to ensure the context of the video is intact, go to another section to trim, review, trim, review, etc…

There’s a second albatross in the room, in addition to the long(ish) times required for trimming video, and that’s the introduction of HD video into the consumer market. HD video looks fantastic but brings along a couple of new problems:
1. more computer power is needed. Most desktops will have no problem with editing HD video, but less expensive laptops will. It is not uncommon for a laptop to have jittery playback while editing HD video
2. better software is required. Are you still using your old Adobe Premier Elements 4 software? Forgetaboutit for HD video….
3. export formats and codecs are confusing.
4. file sizes are large.

Nothing has frustrated me more than the last two points. In attempting to get a final video that is small enough to upload or put on a flash drive, I’ve encountered many, many hurdles. This was partly due to using older software and I won’t go into all the details. My suggestion now is to keep things simple. Make sure you have a program that will export a standard .avi file. Then use the divx encoder (more $$) to compress the file. The other solution is to use your editing software to produce a dvd (if it supports this). Once you have a dvd, you can then use some different programs to rip it or shrink it.

In terms of editing HD video, I can only recommend Adobe Premier (not elements) or Edius Neo. Other less expensive programs will operate a lot slower, at least that is what happened when I demo’ed other programs. Premier is quite expensive and I think it has some pretty high hardware requirements now. If you’re less concerned about performance and more concerned with price, my two budget solutions are Sony Vegas HD and Magix Movie Edit Pro. It’s worth noting that the less expensive options are all-in-one solutions, in that they can make dvds, menus, etc. The more expensive options quite often need supplementary software for dvds and menus. BTW, I have a windows viewpoint. I think for Mac the other option is Final Cut Pro.

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