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Tips for Using Movie Maker
Movie Maker is an easy-to-use program found on many computers. With just a little help, children can start stringing together an original video. It’s an increasingly important skill to have as the world communicates more and more through video.
- Ask the child if he or she has used Movie Maker or another movie-making software. The Using Windows Movie Maker printout can help orient him or her to the basics. Chances are he or she will catch on fast!
- You’ll need some raw video to work with. The child can use existing video, but be sure not to alter any video files that are important or irreplaceable. He or she might also like the assignment of taking fresh video to make a movie. (Be aware that video captured with a cell phone will need an extra conversion step.)
- Help your child choose a good subject for the video. It could be something straightforward like, “Here’s how you make brownies.” Or it could be more complicated, such as a scene from an original script written by the child.
- Use the You’re the Director! printout to help the child account for all the decisions a director has to make during filming. They include characters, setting, camera angles, action, music etc. Even if he or she is making a more straightforward video (such as instructions for making brownies), many of those same decisions need to be made.
- Once the video is filmed, the easy movie-making process involves selecting which pieces of the video you will use and choosing the transitions that will go in between. To make these decisions, help the child think through the creation of the video. What’s the point? To be informative, funny, or make the audience feel scared or sad? Discuss how the child – the film editor – can make choices that help achieve those goals. For instance, the person who picked the music for those tense scenes in Jaws surely made the right decision!
- Don’t forget the credits! Movie Maker allows budding directors to give credit where credit is due. Remind the child to list himself and anyone else he likes in the credits. Watch a real movie’s credits for some ideas on how to create this important aspect of the video. Maybe the child will name you executive producer – so glamorous!
- Does the child’s video crack you up? Maybe it’s a contender for YouTube. If you upload it there, make sure you take all necessary precautions to keep his or her identity safe. Also know that YouTube videos allow comments and sometimes YouTube watchers can be unkind.
- Give the child a compliment by “hiring” him or her to give the Movie Maker treatment to a home video. Edited, well-presented videos of friends and family make great keepsakes.
- If the child likes making little movies, look for opportunities to use this skill in school assignments. Teachers may be willing to receive assignments — or supplements to assignments — in video format. For instance, if a teacher asks for a how-to report, video is a great way to show and tell!