Tech Friday: Video-The Right Tool For The Job

Two Stories: 


I’ve been participating in a entrepreneur boot camp of sorts which requires us to create slide show presentations to introduce our company. Because the leader is using an older Dell laptop with Microsoft Office 2003 installed, we are required to create these presentations to run on PowerPoint 2003 on her laptop. After the presentations have been created, our team was asked to record a voice-over to accompany these slides. This was recorded using Audacity on a Windows machine using a Samson condenser microphone with a USB interface. We did it in a couple of takes, and listened to the playback. All seemed well, although the team expressed some trepidation at attempting to synchronize the playback of the audio with the individual slides, a finicky process which would take some hours.  So the question is, why not use the sound recording function in PowerPoint 2007, (Windows) or Keynote ’09 (Mac)? 


We’ve been engaged in a study comparing a 15 week exercise program delivered in three “modes”, 1.) a live class at the ‘Y’, 2.) an interactive version delivered over the internet using multi-point two-way videoconferencing, and 3.) a DVD version of the program.  As part of our telemedicine project we had a contractor create a version of our program for delivery on DVD. We shot great footage with professional audio, lighting, and camera work. The footage was edited to create a 15 week version of our program.  Once the raw edits were created, we sent them off to a DVD guru who used one of those $1,200 authoring programs to put it together.  The result was OK, but non-intuitive. The users of the DVD basically hated it and several dropped out of the study.  
Now, a year has past and the study subjects who participated in the live session and those who took the interactive tele-version of the program want to have a DVD version of the program as a reference so that they can continue their exercise. We decided to provide them with a free DVD, using clips recorded from the telemedicine session. I combined these using iMovie ’09 and the result is better than the original professional DVD. (!)  I subsequently bought David Pogue’s Missing Manual book on iMovie and iDVD and am looking forward to re-doing our original DVD as well as create some promotional material for sharing on the web.  
Now, video editing isn’t my favorite pastime, but it is certainly no worse than grant-writing, and if the results are near-professional, then why not take advantage of what has really become a disruptive technology? 
On the other hand, here is an example of Eva Sollberger’s Stuck in Vermont video blog. Eva is a one-person video production company. She shoots, edits and publishes. This particular episode is about 6-8th graders creating their own news show.  It sure beats Channel 5 eyewitness news. 

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