for librarians, researchers and educators interested in information management
I enjoy trying out the various video-making apps for ipad that I read about in education-focussed blogs, or discover via my children, Ms’ 11 and 13.
I like thinking about how the videos could be used in the context of the academic library, particularly in relation to online information literacy instruction.
Some of the apps I have looked at are:
Puppet Pals 2: This is my most recent discovery and current favourite. It allows you to create animated cartoons with a range of backgrounds and pre-made characters. You can drag your characters around, move their arms and legs, and the mouth moves when you record the dialogue. You can mix and match the heads and bodies or insert a cut-out head from a photo to put on the body of a character. I like the potential of this one (as well as Puppet Pal 1) for creating narratives or stories – something I discussed in a previous post on digital storytelling.
Echograph: This is a very cool app which enables you to create a photo with moving parts. You select a still from a video scene, and then create a gap through which a 5 second grab of the video displays. It can be wonderfully creative and is very effective in drawing attention.
Action Movie FX: Video a scene, select a target, and then choose a disaster such as flash floods, rockfalls, missiles, etc to create devastation and destruction. The best fun is in deciding which of your work colleagues or relatives you would ideally like to film to test-run the app!
Funny Movie Maker: This app allows you to choose any face (including photos of friends, pets, celebrities, politicians) and replace their mouth with yours to make the picture talk. My favourites are the talking fruits and animals. Great if you’re the type who doesn’t like your own face to be on camera.
Buddy Poke: With this free app you can create your own 3D avatar and record voice and actions. There are a lot of options for different backgrounds, expressions, poses, movements and angle shots as well as voice recording. The avatars are a bit cutesy for my liking, but they may appeal to a certain student demographic.
Talking Ben: There is a heap of characters in this series of apps, such as a talking cat (Tom), a talking bird (Larry) and even some talking amoeba called John. I like these apps because they disguise your voice, and there are various actions (such as getting Ben to open his newspaper, have a drink, have a telephone conversation etc) that you can activate throughout the recording to make the video more interesting.
If you know of others, I’d love to hear about them.
All of these apps allow you to save the videos you create, and share them via the usual channels – you tube, email, facebook etc. You can also import them into editing software like imovie, and combine them with other clips to create a longer video.
I see that the challenge is not so much in mastering the use of them, as they are very user-friendly, but in designing and writing content that works for the medium. I’ve seen enough boring library instructional videos ‘out there’ to realise that it requires a good dose of imagination, creativity and skill to translate information or instruction which may be well suited to a face to face situation, to the video environment where the average audience’s attention span seems to shrink and the expectation to be ‘entertained’ correspondingly expands.
Admittedly, most of the apps I have mentioned are just plain silly and I suspect the library might lose serious street-cred if we were to use them. For example, it’s probably too much to expect that a student would take advice about searching a database from a talking capsicum.
Nonetheless it’s still fun to think about the possibilities, give them a go and have a few laughs along the way.