Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, October 6, 2008

#45: Making a Video: An Overview

© 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

Since sites like YouTube brought user-generated video to the public's attention, folks all over the globe have been creating and posting videos on the web. The videos you can find online run the gamut from professional quality films to fun home movies. With a little know-how, anyone can create a video online, share it with the world, and get feedback from viewers. You want to try right? Right! So let's get started.

We will start with an overview the tools you can use to make and post a video on the web. In this post, we will go over some of the cameras out on the market and review some of the editing software available on your PC or online. The next post will give you step-by-step instructions on making your own short video with Windows Movie Maker. The final post will give ideas and examples for using videos in library projects. Library staff who complete the entire video module will receive two hours of training credit.

Don't worry if you don't have a video camera--most branch cameras do have the capability to take short video clips.


The Flip - http://www.theflip.com/

The Flip is a point and shoot camcorder with a built in USB plug. Available with one or two gigabytes of internal memory, the Flip allows 60 minutes of recording time. The rechargeable batteries last about four hours, and the Flip includes it's own built in editing software. You simply plug the Flip into your PC or laptop and you can create a custom mix of the recordings you made. You can also take still shots from your video and a sharing feature allows direct upload to YouTube. Three different models are available: the Flip Mino, priced at $179; the Flip Ultra, priced at $149; and the original Flip, priced at $129.

The Flip is an inexpensive option for libraries who want to incorporate video into their online presence. HCPL owns a couple of Flips which staff can borrow from the eBranch for your branch video projects! For more information on the Flip, please visit their website at http://www.theflip.com/.

Digital Cameras

Digital cameras, sometimes known as digicams, are cameras that can take both still photographs

© 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

and video. Some, but not all, will record sound. Many allow you to display your photos or video on a small screen built into the camera--if you aren't happy with what you see, you can delete it and no one has to know you took a bad picture! Images and video are stored on some kind of removable storage technology, most likely some form of flash memory (like an SD card). One downside to digital cameras is that they have very high battery requirements, and many are being designed to be so compact that it is difficult to develop a battery that is small enough to fit, yet large enough to power the camera for a decent period of time. They also tend to only allow you to record 30-45 seconds at a time, though depending on your memory card, you may be able to record several short clips.

Images and video are downloaded to your PC through a cable. You can then resize and manipulate the content as you desire, save it and upload it to the online sharing site of your choice.

There are a huge number of brands and models to choose from, and prices can range from under $100 into the thousands. Buying a digital camera is an investment just like buying a computer, so reading reviews on the cameras in your price range may help in narrowing down your choices. Consumer Reports or CNET Reviews may be helpful in learning more about the digital cameras currently on the market.


Camcorders are recording devices that contain both a video camera and a video recorder, hence the name camcorder (previous video recording technologies had separate devices for recording and acquisition). They record both video and audio, and up until the 2000s they utilized tape as their means of recording. Camcorders these days use "tapeless" recording on a memory card. One advantage they have over digital cameras is that most camcorders allow much longer recording times (usually anywhere from 60 minutes to 20 hours, though some may only allow shorter periods).

As the consumer market prefers camcorders that are portable and easy to use, consumer grade camcorders often sacrifice recording quality in favor of these features. They also often lack manual control for adjusting volume control and other settings. However, they offer many options for downloading your footage, such as through a USB cable or Firewire, and most consumer camcorders come with some light video editing software. Nearly any modern PC can be used to edit video footage taken with a camcorder.

A wide variety of camcorders are available on the market, ranging in price from under $200 to well into the thousands. Just like with a digital camera, it is a good idea to read some online reviews or the Consumer Reports on the models you may be interested in before you buy.

Video Editing Software

Windows MovieMaker

Windows Movie Maker is an excellent choice for editing short videos. It comes with all Windows PCs and is relatively easy software to learn. The drag and drop interface allows you the ability to cut and arrange your footage, add fun special effects, set your footage to music and add title cards to your movies. Once you are through editing, it saves and converts your movie to WMV (Windows Media Video) format and saves it to your computer. You can then upload it to the video sharing site of your choice.

Microsoft's website has a how-to center with guides that explain how to use the various features of Windows Movie Maker to edit and polish your footage: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/default.mspx

Animoto - http://animoto.com/

Animoto is a simple to use, web-based movie-making service. You just upload your photos, choose the music you'd like to use, and Animoto does the rest. It is a very easy way to make a cool music video using your existing photos. Animoto would be great for making a slide show of a fun program that took place at your branch!


After reading through the information above, take a look at the websites for the different video editing options and write about what you find. Which one do you think you will find most challenging to use? Which one appeals to you the most? Can you think of some fun library projects that you might do using one of these editing tools?


Use Animoto to make a music video with some of your existing photos. Then post it on your blog. Have fun!

This post was brought to you by Beth Krippel (ATA), Jim Johnson (KW), Abby Buchold (ADM) and Linda Stevens (ADM).

1 comment:

Agafiteis said...

The references to JumpCut in this post are no longer valid. After you go through all the motions of signing up, THEN you see this message:

"Jumpcut Uploaders --

We’re sorry to announce that we are no longer accepting uploads to Jumpcut.

We will be keeping the Jumpcut site up and running for the foreseeable future so you‘ll still be able to play, remix and share your existing movies – you just won’t be able to upload anything new.

If you’re looking for a place to upload and share your video, we recommend that you head over to Flickr: http://flickr.com/explore/video

Thanks for all of your contributions to the Jumpcut community.

The Jumpcut Team"