Janna Laughon.com
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Movie Making
Lights, Camera, Action!!!
Making Movies with Students Using a PC!

Want to thrill your students and wow their parents, but ... you only have a PC?  Here's how to help your students create inexpensive movies with equipment you probably already have by using MovieMaker and other PC software.

We're going to learn how to take photos, video, and student art and mix it with audio to create something incredible!



Lights, Camera, Action!!!

Making Movies with Students Using a PC!

Janna Laughon

2009 SDCUE Conference

laughonj@cajonvalley.net         www.jannalaughon.com


Important Links:


Audio Editing:



Allows Audacity to encode files as MP3.  It doesn’t matter where you put this file, but you’ll need to find it later.  The Audacity program folder is a good place to park it when you download it!

Win:   http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/
Mac:   http://spaghetticode.org/lame

Copyright or Royalty Free Music:

Freeplay Music (no cost, but major limitations)



Soundzabound Music



Royalty Free Music.com



Getting Started – Media:

Digital Photos

·        Landscape, rather than Portrait

·        Close-ups tend to look the best

·        Take lots of them – more choices when editing


·        Start the recording before subjects begin the action – edit later!

·        Hold the camera as still as possible – minimize the “zooming”

·        Take as much video as possible

Student Created Artwork

·        Again – Landscape, rather than Portrait

·        Scan and save as a JPEG image – easiest to work with!


·        Record directly into Audacity – cheap and easy!

·        Edit your recording in Audacity – export as a MP3


Getting Started – Equipment:


·        Digital camera

·        PC with Windows MovieMaker


·        Microphone to plug into PC (USB or 3.5 mm jack)

·        Digital camcorder (mini DV, mini DVD, Hard Drive)

·        Tripod – worth its weight in gold!

·        Digital audio recorder – Expensive!

·        Adobe Premier Elements – much better than MovieMaker!

·        Library of Copyright/Royalty Free music

·        Multiple DVD burner


Movie Making – Instruction:


·        Kits – Limited choices (pics, video, soundtrack, transitions)

·        Limited group size: 3-4 students max


·        Using equipment to generate media

·        More choices – larger groups


·        Production staff with specific assignments

·        Group-generated projects

·        Teacher as an advisor


Movie Making – Management:


·        Grouping students

·        Research

·        Story Boarding

Acquiring Media

·        Setting ground rules

·        Production Staff

·        Parent Volunteers

Special Concerns

·        Permission to publish issues

·        Copyright issues

Finished Product

·        Distribution

·        Movie Premier Night

·        Student Film Festivals

Helpful Hints:
If your network doesn't support a shared folder, flash drives are the easiest way to manage multiple group projects.  I get 1-2 GB ones in bundles from Costco!

An inexpensive microphone (USB or 3.5 mm jack) is helpful to record audio.  I prefer the "headphone-type" 3.5 mm microphones. 

A Digital Audio Recorder (DAR) is great, but don't worry if you don't have one.  DAR's are darn expensive!

Try not to buy anything if possible.  Use what you already have.  You might be surprised with what is "hiding out" at your school site!

If you're looking for good quality video, it's worth investing in a camcorder with an internal hard drive.  They seem to produce better quality video than the mini DV and DVD camcorders.