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How to work with video for the classroom

A common question asked of me is how to convert videos to either allow teachers to show that video in a class and/or, even more common, post those videos to the internet. I figured that since I’m always giving this advice to instructors over the phone, it might be nice to put some of this information down here on the blog.

To get the question of “how do I capture the video?” out of the way, CTLT has been recommending the Flip Video Camera for a while now. They’re compact, cheap, and do a good job.

Once you have the video, however, there’s still a number of things to do, such as editing/titling, converting, and burning to DVD-Video. Luckily, we’ve spent a long time the last few years finding free, good software that will help you get these jobs done.

Editing:

Windows Movie Maker
This is a pretty simple way to use a video editing program for Windows (download version 2.6 for Windows 7, otherwise you should probably use version 2.1). It will allow you to edit and title your video, as well as add transitions. When you’re done with your project, you’ll typically export the file as a Windows Media Video file (.wmv), which you can then either convert for the web, burn to a DVD as a DVD-Video or data DVD, or all of those things.

Converting for the Web:

Any Video Converter
We’ve been recommending this one for a while now. It’s free, simple to use, and works well. Supports most codecs (file types), and converts to many codecs (for the web, you’ll save the video as either .mp4 or .flv. And if it can’t handle a video, try

VideoHelp.com
This site has been around forever. From the front page, type “.myfiletype to .desiredfiletype” in the search box (e.g., “.mkv to .avi”). If this community can’t point you to a file conversion solution, you’ve run into a rare problem, indeed.

Burning to DVD-Video:

DVDFlick
Pretty simple to use DVD-Video program. Put a DVD into your DVD-writer, drag your video into the program, set up your menus (or don’t), then tell it to make a DVD-Video. From there, it will perform the 6 or so steps involved in making a DVD-Video for you, ending with burning your video to a DVD. When it’s done, that DVD will play in 99.8% of all DVD players and DVD computer drives.

DVDStyler
Or you can use this program. Using DVDStyler is also easy, has better looking menus (and more options), and works nearly as fast as DVDFlick. However, it seems to have problems authoring and burning DVD-Videos from many smaller videos. A good option if you want to burn one to five videos to a disk, but maybe not so great for ~ten or more videos.

As always, you can always contact CTLT for more help with such issues.

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