Title: FrameByFrame and ScreenFlow

On Friday I took part in the North Lanarkshire ICT co-ordinator’s meetings and the Educational Computer Centre, when I say took part I mean my colleague Ann McCabe did all the heavy lifting, but I did talk to the groups about FrameByFrame a stop-motion animation application for Apple Macs. FrameByFrame is not as fully featured as some applications but it is very easy to use and freeware. There are some good example movies on the FrameByFrame webpage.

I’ve not used FrameByFrame in the classroom although I’ve had children make a few animations (Sandaig Example) with other software. Apart from the chance to make animations that relate to their learning making an animation involves a lot of creative team work and co-operative learning, obviously valuable in the classroom. FrameByFrame will give you a good chance to try out animation without expense, altohugh it lacks titling and the ability to add audio that could be done easily by importing the movies into iMovie.

I’ve made a few quick tests with FrameByFrame and though it might be interesting to use ScreenFlow to make a wee movie of using FrameByFrame. ScreenFlow is an application for creating screen recordings on a Mac. I blogged about ScreenFlow before, but I’ve not used it much since. It looks like the most powerful screen recorder available for a mac, it records the whole screen but then lets you edit the footage, zooming in to areas or windows and a whole lot more.

The following movie is much more of an experiment than a polished piece of work, I did not really read the ScreenFlow manual (there are a series of movies on the ScreenFlow site), so made one or two mistakes.

  • I didn’t really plan well enough and did not realise that ScreenFlow would not let you combine recordings, (you can add more recordings to a recording).I made 4 separate recordings and combined the exported movies in QuickTime Pro. Planning is obviously vital in producing good.
  • a script might help.
  • I shot the animation and recorded it in my kitchen which as you can see has very poor lighting.
  • I relied on the built-in mic on my macbook, an external mic may have sounded better.

After I exported the movie at the suggested 640 x 400 I then stiched them together in quicktime Pro and rexported a few times changing the size and quality of the movie. i then used QuicTime Pros export for web feature to export m4v files and the html need to display the movie. This export seems to do a great job of getting file size down, but again reading a maunal may improve that.

ScreenFlow looks like it will be very useful in helping teachers and pupils use software in the classroom, and I think I’ll spend some time watching the manuals and practising.

I have been working on OpenSourceCPD a bit recently. Mostly working on the On-site Cpd Opportunities. Nearly everything is labelled first draft being work in progress but I guess that is the beauty of a wiki.

Yesterday I knocked out a rough version of the first of some guides to Online Tools. This covers the basic use of Picnik the online image editor. I used Picnik a couple of times with my class last session and was please with how easy it was for children to use. The course (or cpd opportunity) at OpenSourceCPD just goes over the basic use of Picnik and has a few ideas about using it in school. Very much a first draft at the moment, feedback is welcome in the comments or via email.

For the first time on the OpenSourceCPD site I’ve made use of a screencast. I’ve made a few of these before elsewhere and used the smartnote book recorder to make instructional videos for the children at school but this time I used an application new to me ScreenFlow.

ScreenFlow is a mac application that allows you to record your screen, audio from the mac and a mic (you can also record from an isight). It then allows you to edit the video and export to quicktime. The editing is very slick, you can auto highlight the main window, the mouse or zoom and pan the video. You can add other images, video and audio. I had a bit of trouble with my mic and recorded the audio over the original footage without too much bother. I am not completely happy with the result (and may redo it ) but that is more to do with me than screenflow, my previous efforts were much shorter, smaller and without a voice over. I think I was trying to go a little too quickly to make for good instruction.

As ever I’d be interested in feedback about OpensourceCPD and the screencast not only the content but the playback as it is a H.264 movie and nearly 30mb.