TV studio

July 29, 2010

So typical, after just promising that there would be no drop off in blog posts, I’ve been away from WordPress for a week!

I do have a good excuse though, we’ve spent the better part of the first week of the holidays rewiring our greenscreen TV studio.

Greenscreen TV Studio

I’m very proud of that studio, which unlike most school’s was entirely fitted by myself and colleagues.  There are some excellent companies out there, like PlanetDV who will do all the heavy lifting for you, but they do charge for the fitting.

Also, the majority of systems use professional software which adds another layer of complexity to the filming process.  With the best will in the world, students don’t need high-end products as a studio when used correctly is more about confidence building and public speaking skills.

The studio cost less than £7000 to fit completely (compare this to a nearby City Learning Centre’s £250,000).  I’ve often talked about sharing how we did this and so it’s about time I did.  

In the coming weeks alongside the 20 tips, I’ll be posting a breakdown of how I designed the studio, the choices I made and the impact it has had on teaching and learning.  Hopefully by the completion you’ll have a shopping list of everything you need to replicate the facility, if you so desire.  and if not, you might be a little entertained along the way.

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Crazytalk Standard

June 4, 2010

Crazytalk logo

Reallusion’s Craztalk is an incredible package.  It can take any still image and animate that image based on your voice.   You record your script, either in the software, or something like Audacity

Animation has never been so easy!  It’s an excellent way of introducing tasks, presenting new information or turning it over to your students to allow them to produce presentations.

Crazytalk's interface

Ignoring this slightly strange looking gentleman, Crazytalk comes with a number of characters already for you to use, but I find the best way is to use it with images of famous people.  Your students will recognise them and immediately understand the context.

Here’s an example of what I mean:
Winston Churchill reading out one of his famous speeches for an English lesson 
(MediaFire download)

Crazytalk Standard costs $49.95.  If you’re buying it yourself.   You can apply for an educational discount, but personally, save yourself some $100 money and don’t buy Crazytalk Pro.  The features are fancier, but I’ve never used them.


Audacity

May 26, 2010

A great free audio recording tool.   I find it amazing how many people still don’t know about Audacity.  It’s perfect for podcasting as all you do is record your voice via a microphone, then you can trim the start and end, add music and simply export as mp3.

A screen grab of Audacity in action.  Free from http://audacity.sourceforge.net

Audacity's interface