Category Archives: Technology

Choosing software


For the Video OOC we will  concentrate on iMovie but will also give support for other tools.  This is for no other reason than that we all use Macs for work.

Most video editors have the same basic features so if you fancy trying something new there is a comprehensive list of software here and here.  You shouldn’t have too much trouble following our tutorials but let us know what you are using and we will do what we can to help.


Choosing a camera

For starters, use what you already have access to; your phone, your digital camera.  These days with the popularity of sites like Youtube, Vimeo and Vine, we are used to seeing lower quality pictures.  So long as the audio quality is good and you plan well, the camera is less important.

Once you get into the swing of things you might want to upgrade. (You don’t have to!) There’s a good tutorial and video here on choosing a device that’s right for you.

Instant Video Apps

This Mooc is designed to help you plan, shoot, edit and share your own videos using either iMovie (if you have a Mac) or Movie Maker (if you use windows).  Both these programs are sophisticated packages that are suitable for everyone from beginners right through to professional film makers. However, they take a while to get the hang of – hence this MOOC!

However, some of you might want something right now – either because you feel you don’t have time to join the MOOC, or you just want to get going with the minimum of fuss or just that making videos is something you need to be able to do but with no aspirations to be Steven Spielberg.

The good news is there are loads of instant apps out there that are available on line or downloadable for your mobile device.  Most of them are free in the online versions, at least at entry level. The downloadable ones are a few Euros.

Basically you select a theme from a given range, drag and drop your MP4 video clips into it, add some still images if you like, type a bit of text into a template and choose some background music from a menu.  Then save it and send all your friends the url link.  Simple.

The downside is that you are often restricted to length – both of the finished video and also the length of each video clip, the selection of music can be pretty awful and the themes are     a bit obvious.  The other problem is that it works best for video clips with no audio track – great for those phone camera vids of your breathtaking holiday landscapes – but not so good if your vid is recording conversation because it will be competing with the music track (often compulsory).

Basically, all these apps do what they say on the packet – produce instant and acceptable results with little expertise needed on your part.  You have little or no opportunity to edit or customise your video but this has its merits if time is short.

These are some of the ones we have used and found bomb-proof:

Animoto: Our all-time favourite! Has improved hugely since the early days of supermarket musak back tracks so if you haven’t used it for a while, give it another go.

Stupeflix: Love it – totally idiot proof, great tutorial – takes 2 minutes to get going

Videolicious: Drove me stupid but my best nerdy friend loved it. Designed for a mobile and I think my lack of dexterity on tablet touch screen was seriously limiting factor!

Smilebox: Probably the most restrictive of all but the easiest!  It’s origins as a twee greeting card app are still a bit visible but at least you have the choice of no music.

There are lots more but these are the easiest we have found – and if you are just looking for a more-than-acceptable result with minimal fuss, you’ll love them.  In fact, as the first assignment for the MOOC is to make a max 2 min video or comic introducing yourself, why not give them a go!