Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

DIY Camera Slider Project

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 by Brian Spellman, KET

Continuing our test-builds of do-it-yourself photography/video production tools, here’s a camera slider that schools and home users should have a good time building for little money. Using it is fun, it’s very portable, and it adds many possibilities for interesting camera moves for video production projects. Students will notice that the moves are used regularly in films and tv shows. Slideshow pics are swipeable in portable devices.


Based on the Filmriot crew’s DIY Camera Slider design, our unit was inexpensive (around $20.00, including some used parts) and it helped to produce some nice test video right off the bat. Mods I added were: substitution of a raised metal electrical switch plate; addition of an inexpensive quick-release camera mount I found online; and felt strips to line the tubes for smoother sliding. If I can build this (think Homer Simpson BBQ project) I know you can.

Here’s the first quick video test. Could do better with practice and care, but the dogs, Precious and Bunny, were perfect with no direction at all.

Camera Slider Test Video
Camera Slider Test Video

Shot with iPhone 5; edited in Lumify app (to try); WiFi transfered to iPad w/PhotoSync app (on both); edited in iMovie app to add titles, stills, and music; exported to YouTube over WiFi; inserted into WordPress blog w/Royal Slider plugin.

See the earlier camera stabilizer project.

Coming soon: a camera crane/jib project for more super-silky-fun moves!

If you’ve made something useful for video production and would like to share it please leave a response, below!

Animoto – Online Video Maker

Friday, February 18th, 2011 by Brian Spellman, KET

ANIMOTO is a popular and easy way to make a quick online movie comprised of your still pictures (and now video clips, too). Just create a free “lite” account, upload pictures and/or video clips, select music, add notes if you want, and hit go. In a few minutes you’ll have a free video ready to download or share via email link or blogs and websites. Here’s the link Animoto provided after editing my pictures together: Animoto Picture Video Test. You can also export your videos directly to YouTube or SmugMug (a subscription-based media sharing service). The free version  of Animoto limits your video output to 30 seconds; if you want or need more time and features there are yearly “Plus – Enthusiast” and “Pro” subscription rates. Educators can apply for a free Animoto “Plus” Education account for use in the classroom.  The Plus account allows for up to 10-minute videos, and adds video greetings and download/sharing features.  Higher-quality video processing (480p or 720p) costs extra.  A Pro account level also removes branding.

Here’s a quick test I made from pictures I’ve been working on for use in our KET Media Lab workshops. One is a movie poster parody project.  For a long time I noticed that many of the new Hollywood film posters were pictures of stars posing with guns. My poster’s “star” has no gun but he’s posing as if he did. More about online video processing to come. I found the online processing to be a breeze, and it didn’t take long, either.




Visit to Elkhorn Crossing School, Scott County

Friday, October 1st, 2010 by Brian Spellman, KET

I had the opportunity to see Scott County’s new Elkhorn Crossing School last month (9/17/10). It was a very different and exciting school visit. Principal Dr. Francis O’Hara met with me in the hallway upon my arrival and gave an energetic overview of the new inquiry and project-based learning extension of Scott County High School for sophomores and juniors. Students are selected to participate in the half-day morning or afternoon session of three full-year courses/credits on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s already very popular. Elkhorn Crossing was recently featured in the August, 2010 KETEducation Matters program, “Transforming Education in Kentucky,” now viewable online (forward-cue video to 7 min. 35 sec. in). Check out the program for more details about this unique Kentucky school along with interviews with the principal and staff.

Here’s an overview slideshow of pictures from my visit to the Media Arts Village set of rooms that students rotate around during their half-day of classes at the school. Subjects include Media Arts or Advanced Media Arts; Biology, Honors Biology, Chemistry, or Honors Chemistry; and English II, Honors English II, or AP English III. Students take one career course and two core academic courses within the same village. Other villages at the school include Biomedical Sciences, and Pre-Engineering (with Health Services to be added next). All village teachers collaborate to develop and plan instructional activities and projects that integrate and enrich studies so that students will make lasting and meaningful connections of content across the curriculum.

Todd Norton’s Media Arts class was busily working on a digital still picture compositing exercise the day I visited. Students manipulated their graphic projects while seated around a circle of shiny new Mac pcs running the Photoshop graphics program, sharing techniques and suggestions freely in a relaxed atmosphere. The adjoining video studio provided green-painted chromakey walls for students to take pictures of one another for adding various backgrounds to their projects. Video equipment in the brand-new school was still in need of connecting; we’ll be very interested to see what the students do with their impressive video production gear when it’s ready.

Next door to the Media Arts room I met Ms. Greshen Willis, Biology teacher, who showed me her well-appointed lab and presentation equipment including a computer, a SMART pc-projector integrated presentation system with Sympodium desktop presentation slate, a document camera, etc. All classrooms are similarly equipped. Her arriving students were all pleasant, relaxed, and behaved very maturely. On more than one occasion at the school I was approached by a student who introduced him/herself and asked if I needed any help. I was also told that students volunteer to clean the floors and take out the trash.

One does sense feelings of ownership and responsibility from the students regarding their school, which emphasizes a “School to Career” thought process. One of the requirements is that students give a formal project presentation using supporting media to an adult panel audience. Reminded of Kentucky’s promising “School to Work” educational initiative from a few years ago, I was glad to see this encouraging development in combining academic and career-oriented studies. That, and the joy of teaching and learning that I observed made for a very pleasant visit.

600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951