Ideas to Share

Video Editing: Creating the Flying Fish Video

The description that I included with the video on YouTube is not visible when the video is embedded into my Web site, at…deo-in-education/, but you can read it at Some of that information is below, with additional information about the video’s content and how I made the video that would not fit in the YouTube description field.

I used the Flying Fish Market video as part of a series of videos during a mini-unit on fact versus fantasy. The volume had to be turned way down because of inappropriate lyrics. We discussed what is real and what is fake or pretend using a variety of vocabulary words. Some students needed more concrete questions (“Do fish fly or swim?”). The difficulty level and wording of the questions varied with the students’ abilities to answer them. Whenever possible, I included the whole range of Norman L. Webb’s (et al) “Depth of Knowledge Levels,” as used by my school district. Most of the students in three of my classes were even able to ask each other questions with prompting. A few of my classes have some students who neither talk nor have effective use of picture symbol communication boards or devices; those students work on attending/focusing skills and using non-verbal communication skills such as eyegaze, pointing, and gesturing as they learn to use picture symbols. One of my verbal students declared my videos “boring.” Another student screamed that the movie was broken every time I stopped it to ask the class questions; he had to be repeatedly calmed down to prevent him from hitting his head. If I had waited until the end of this video, the students would not have remembered the sections about which I was asking. The rest of my students enjoyed the videos and the way I presented them. Having only two upset students during a week of class lessons is excellent progress in my school. The other videos may make it to YouTube someday, when and if I find the time.

I could have used my camera’s backlighting setting when recording the centered shots. I did not realize how much the white clouds in the background were affecting the video. This was very noticeable when I showed the video to one of my classes as part of a fiction versus non-fiction lesson, so I made some corrections in iMovie.

I wanted to highlight as much of the action as possible, so my cuts often do not make sense if you are following the music. I used transitions (spin in, spin out) between some camera takes, but the music is still rough. I found that if I included too many transitions it created a visually choppy video, so I used my judgment for which transitions to retain and where I can eliminate excessive transitions.

I use a Panasonic HC-X920 camcorder for my introduction and conclusion. I like this camera because its three MOS sensors seem to pick up great detail. Unfortunately, I might need a replacement. As of this recording, I have not decided whether to get another X920 or to go for a more modern one that adjusts better when light and dark are in the same shot but has only one sensor. I want it all for as little money as possible!

I did not use an external microphone when I recorded the Universal Orlando show, but I think that the loud music would have still made the some of the performers’ words difficult to hear even with an external microphone. I do not have a license for professional taping and felt that it would be a waste of my money to purchase a microphone that Universal might not even let me use.

The background noises during my introduction and conclusion could not be avoided. I live in a large busy city; noises, as I discovered when I moved here, are a fact of life. I tried taping in my apartment and at work, in the evening and in the morning, and quiet never happened. I’m not sure how much you will hear on your end, but I had forgotten just how much of a luxury silence really is. I also tried to get rid of the reverberation in my comments by using an external microphone, but it was not compatible with my camera so the audio and video did not quite line up and could not be fixed by separating and adjusting the tracks in post-production. I am not real happy with the way I sound, but after over two hours of trying, I gave up and just chose the best clip.

If you want to get the full experience of the show, you will have to visit Universal Orlando yourself. It is a trip that I highly recommend. I am not an employee, nor do I have any personal or business connection to the park, but I can say that shows, such as the one you just watched, are best seen live. Besides, you can’t ride the rides from your computer.

Video Introduction Transcript:

            Hi! My name is Jeanne Stork. I teach in an adapted computer lab for students with significant disabilities.

This video demonstrates how angles and zoom can be used to avoid obstacles and to highlight action. I recorded the show at Universal Orlando from the center, left, and right, and I zoomed in on the action to highlight particular performances. I’ll be back after the show to discuss more of my process.

            Video Conclusion Transcript.

            Hi! Jeanne Stork, here again. I had to remain stationary, so I panned a bit horizontally and vertically, being careful not to disturb any other audience members. The shot taken from the audience’s right side is at a closer angle to the stage than from the left side, so I played with shooting angles that way. I selected the angles for this video that worked around obstacles, mmm such as performers standing in front of the camera waiting for their turns, and that highlighted action that I found to be particularly entertaining. The camera’s optical zoom let me capture a few of the stunts up close then return to a wider shot to record more of the action. I also added a post-production digital zoom to close the video. I wanted to focus in on the upper left corner of the screen and avoid the audience crowding the rest of the shot as people got up to leave. I used the camera’s optical zoom many times while taping, but it is nice that iMovie has this cool zooming function. Please, read my notes if you want some additional information. Thank you.

By Jeanne Stork

I am a special education teacher who supervised a technology lab for twenty five years. The lab had specialized software, adapted mice, additional adapted hardware, and picture symbol communication aids for students whose significant disabilities made it difficult for them to use the general computer lab. I taught students who could not climb the stairs to my lab in their classrooms. I also assisted teachers and other personnel in my school with their technology needs as time permitted. Before moving to the technology lab, I was a classroom teacher with a classroom computer that students and staff could use. Now, I am a semi-retired substitute teacher.

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