Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Movie Maker Live, No Voiceover?

Oh Microsoft, you made such significant leaps forward with the new MovieMaker Live, but one glaring problem exists. In the classroom, I’m not always going to be importing full-on video clips. Often, my students just need a great way to add photos to a movie and record their voiceover as a narrative of the visual story.  Or, perhaps I have the video, but I want to easily speak over a clip that has poor audio. You took away the easy voiceover tool in earlier versions of MovieMaker.  So let’s share a work around.

Adding A Voiceover To Movie Maker Live Projects
It’s actually pretty easy, as far as work arounds go. Record your narration in your local audio recorder, export the audio and import it into Movie Maker as a music file.  From that point, you can clip and adjust the length of still photos to match the new audio, or clip and place the audio track so that it matches the video segment that goes with it.

Audacity is my preferred audio recording tool on the pc. It’s a simple and free install. The only trick is that you need to install separately the LAME encoders so that it will export your audio as an mp3.  But even that is pretty easy.

Once installed, open Audacity and hit the little red button to record. Stop when done and go to File – Export as MP3 to get your audio Movie Make-ready.  Movie Maker will import that MP3 after you click the big ‘Add Music’ button at the top of the window.  Drag the new skinny green audio track to wherever you want the audio to be in your movie.

Movie Maker doesn’t allow multiple audio tracks. There is any audio you have with the video track and the Add Music track.  If you want to have your voice over  with a music background and the occasional frog croaking in the background, you can do all of that audio in Audacity and export it as one single audio track for Movie Maker. Audacity can have many tracks in the project, but exporting will flatten it into one.
Another thing to remember is that when adding audio to Movie Maker, you can edit the audio just like a video clip. Select the audio and then you can split the audio clip in an effort to put space between spoken sentences or such.

So, how do you use movies in your classroom?  One middle school teacher is having the students pull or capture still images that compliment their written stories and record it all as a movie.  Another teacher had students create short movies where students demonstrated what they learned during anti-bully lessons.  An easy scaffolding lesson would be to give small groups the same 3 minute video clip of a class Science demonstration. Have each group compete for the best video using text and voiceovers to show understanding. How would YOU use video in your classroom?

photo: microphone

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