Revelation Sight & Sound
Digital Video in the Curriculum
Until recently, capturing and using moving images was not an option most people could choose. It was something everyone wanted to do but only those who joined an after-school ciné club were ever likely to be able to try it.
For many years, you needed an expensive reel-to-reel ciné camera which used acetate film. Once the film was exposed it couldn’t be reused. Editing was a complicated process which involved the use of razor blades and sticky tape!
Video cassette recorders were a great leap forward because they made it possible to capture moving images and sounds on cheap re-usable tape. But editing remained almost impossible and the resulting ‘film’ was invariably a disjointed set of clips packed with footage one would gladly discard if only it were simpler to do.
Now, everything has changed and moving images are arguably the most powerful way to communicate any message. The change has been brought about by the arrival of digital recording. Digital cameras can be used to film the action and modern computers are just powerful enough to handle the recorded footage.
But most important of all is the arrival of video editing software. Using Revelation Sight and Sound you can select the clips which best tell your story and then trim them so only the relevant footage is kept. You can rearrange your clips and apply transitions and effects.
You can add sound and music to build emotion. On top of all that, you can intersperse other film such as Pathé News footage selected from their archive which is now available for schools to download.
You will find that you can use film in every subject of the curriculum. Imagine, for example, that you have been asked to produce a report on flooding. After researching the subject you would normally produce some written text. You might add pictures and create a paper printout or you might produce a presentation or even a set of web pages. But imagine what you could do with moving images! You could include filmed interviews in your presentation, or you could add streaming video to your web pages.
Or you could produce a complete film, in documentary style, which would show how flooding occurs and what it’s like when it happens. You could even include interviews with people who had experienced flooding and add some news footage from Pathé or the BBC archive of real floods.
There’s one other idea you might not have considered – perhaps storytelling would be an effective way to present your findings? Imagine a film in which your main characters learn about floods then take steps to prevent their homes from being flooded. Imagine the tension as the rains come and the river rises. Will it break its banks or will your heroes’ efforts save them? This would be the most difficult method but your viewers would never forget
what they had learned about flooding – and neither would you!
The following paragraphs contain just a handful of ideas for each curriculum subject. They’re not the only things you can do; in fact they are just the tip of the iceberg. But they may help you to get started with the most exciting communications medium there is.
Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1
Generally speaking, these activities will be best undertaken with adult help.
The exception is role play using toy cameras and props.
- Use Digital Video in play – role play with a toy camera.
- Watch a video and identify the goodies and baddies - How do we know which is which – clothes? colour? music?
- Re-order the shots in a simple video – (e.g. how to make a cup of tea).
- Make a video of the classroom and its life to welcome new children – Choose what to show, who to introduce, what routines/rules to explain.
- Make the role play area into a newsroom -
Children can investigate local stories (such as which class produced this week’s assembly) and can plan and present a news bulletin to their peers. The final production could be filmed and viewed by parents later.
- Watch short videos – Identify the beginning, middle and end.
- Watch different genres – Identify which are for toddlers, children or adults. See which are funny, which are sad. Discuss how we know. What are the clues?
- Retell a favourite story.
- Make a ‘how to’ video – how to glue or how to fold, run or jump.
- Set up a camera on a tripod facing a weather map – If possible, connect it to a television screen for a live showing. The children can be weather reporters.
- Make a film which describes a familiar object.
- Make a safety film about how to play safely in an outdoor area – Film the right and wrong way to play safely, e.g. A child running out without looking and bumping into somebody. You could include a close-up of a cut knee to illustrate the dangers (an opportunity for budding makeup artists).
- Create a puppet show and film it -
Making films is a wonderful way to learn about every subject under the sun.
In order to make a film about something, you have to research the subject first. It’s the best and most exciting way to learn. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Make a holiday film -
Promote the good points about the local geography where you live.
- Make a documentary -
Draw attention to the good and bad aspects of your local area.
- Identify the black spots that exist in your area -
Make a video to bring attention to them and include suggestions for improvement. Submit the video to your local council and invite them to respond.
- Identify one local environmental issue (e.g. pollution) -
Make a one minute campaign video about the issue. Invite your local television station to broadcast it as a public awareness film or include it in a local news programme.
- Make a local history film about your area -
Use stills and old film to show life in the past. Pathé News, the BBC, and even parents will be good sources for old material.
- Make a film telling the story of an incident from history -
Pick one that you have been studying recently.
- Video as autobiography - Ask an older relative if you can film them talking about their life.
- Make a film to demonstrate a science experiment -
After a scientific study, agree on exactly what the outcomes were and make a film to present them to your schoolmates or at a parents’ viewing.
- Make a time lapse film -
Show the germination and growth of a seed.
- Make a cookery programme - Focus on how cooking is a critical process. In addition to showing perfect results, iIllustrate what happens when you do not cook food for long enough (include risks to health) and show what happens when food is overcooked. You could even illustrate this with the story of King Arthur and the burnt cakes.
- Film a person walking, running, jumping, etc. -
Use slow motion to illustrate the exact movements of the limbs. (You could use this technique in PE as well). Show how, when a person runs, they have both feet off the ground during the cycle and tell the story of the argument that ranged for years before the invention of ciné-photography about whether a horse ever had all four legs off the ground at the same time.
- Make films in different genres -
Try documentary, propaganda, news, advertisement, etc.
- Make a film which retells a favourite or familiar story -
Try Little Red Riding Hood, James and the Giant Peach, The Wizard of Oz, etc.
- Make a documentary about the making of the current school production -
Whether it’s a nativity play, song concert or school play... You may be able to use the same scenery, actors and costumes to film your shots.
- Film a sequence to go with a poem or a song - look at how images relate to words and lyrics.
- Make a film about an artist (e.g. Rembrandt).
- Make a film about art techniques -
This could be a ‘masterclass’ style of programme.
- Make a television programme -
Three children each paint the same scene or still life. A panel of experts discuss their work both during and after painting and at the end, select a winner.
- Create publicity materials for your filmshows
- Film is the ideal way to improve your ability -
Filming allows you to watch yourself and see exactly how you are performing. You can do this with any sport. The following suggestions refer to athletics but could be applied to any sport.
- Film yourself running, jumping or throwing -
Get a friend to film you or you could set up the camera first and then perform in front of it. Watch the film critically and examine how well you perform.
- Watch the films made by others -
Compare your performance and technique with theirs
Film amateur athletes (with their permission).
Compare their technique with your own.
- Watch professional athletes -
Compare your technique with theirs (on television for example).
- Invite a health and fitness expert to view your films and offer support and advice.
- Invite a sports coach to view your films and offer support and advice.
- Make a film about a musician (e.g. Mozart).
- Make a film about how to play an instrument -
This could be a ‘masterclass’ style of programme.
- Make a documentary about the school band or orchestra.
- Create original music for the sound tracks of your films -
You may need to create music which evokes emotions or happiness, fear, or excitement.
- Create sound track music -
Use real instruments if you can play one and/or computer software.
See the website at www.logotron.co.uk/notate for details about the Notate music software from Logotron.
Film making requires the use of high levels of ICT knowledge and skills.
These are learned in an exciting and motivating environment. Among other things you will:
- Master the art of communicating using words (both spoken and written) images (still and moving) and sounds (including voice, music and sound effects).
- Develop high levels of skill in file handling and file management and you will become expert at working within the operating environment of your computer.
- Learn about file types, file sizes and different methods of file sharing and distribution.
Current software v.1.088d