Xilisoft Video Converter

July 5, 2010

In recent posts I’ve spent some time talking about getting videos off youtube, or old tapes etc…but not mention the best way to get them to your students.

There are dozens of video converters out there, but my preference lies with Xilisoft. (I pronounce it “zilly-soft”, but that’s a guess)

Xilisoft Video Converter

This software just works.   It’s $35 (don’t get confused by the Platinum and Ultimate additions – the standard does everything you need).  Just drag your video into the software, set your type of video output (it has dozens of optimised presets – everythign from iPad and Android phones, to general web video – even has MS Zune !!?)

Like I’ve said, there are plenty of video converters out there, some for free, but Xilisoft works and works well.  It especially good at keeping audio and video from YouTube synchronised.


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