I was recently asked to introduce some emerging educational technology trends to a parent group on campus. I decided video clips would be the best way to share these trends because parents could see the technologies in action, and many of the companies have published their own high quality marketing videos on YouTube. I knew I could download the YouTube videos and then use a video editing software to combine all the clips into a single video, but I was interested to see if I could accomplish the task using online tools.
Youtube does feature the ability to edit clips together, but only if they are clips you have uploaded to your own account. Since I wanted to use clips created by other YouTube users, this was not the feature I wanted. I also found a number of sites like YouTubeDoubler which allow you to play two (or more) YouTube videos simultaneously, creating an audio mashup. While interesting, that wasn’t what I needed. But using the search term “video mash-up”, I discovered two sites able to create a video from an assortment of video links.
Weavly.com allows you to import online audio and video content into their timeline editor to create new content. The drag and drop interface is easy to use, and content can be easily found through the site’s search feature for audio and video content. Clips can be edited to change the start and end times before or after they are added to the timeline. Audio files can be imported on top of video clips to have multiple audio sources playing, or to replace the audio from a video clip with another selection. The site also includes the ability to add titles and pauses to slow the pace of your creation.
While the site is easy to use, the help features are limited. The online support for educational accounts seems to have been disabled, and the Facebook and Twitter feeds are quite out of date. However, the site still functions well and I had no issue creating a video to share with parents.
The next site I tested was PopcornMaker by Mozilla, which also allows the user to search for and combine a variety of media clips into a longer video. This site supports a few more media sites and includes the option to use still images as well as video and audio clips. The editor interface features the ability to trim and manipulate the selected media via the drag and drop timeline, and an area to set specific in and out times. I found the editing on the PopcornMaker to be much easier with this feature.
The editor also features a tab for “Events” which includes titles and pauses, but also images, google maps and popup text. These additional events can be used to create “Pop-Up” video style movies, or overlay more information into the video. The events can be timed, moved around the video screen and transitions customized for how the event will appear on the video. Text and pop-ups can even include web links that become live links when the video is saved. The events feature could make this a powerful tool for sharing content with students, or having students create reports and projects.
To save a your projects, a free account must be created, and a special login key generated. This was a bit clumsy to use initially. In order to share projects, they must be saved by clicking on the “Save” button in the upper left. I struggled to find this button since the other controls are located in the right side control menu. Overall however, PopcornMaker is functional, supported by help articles and very easy to use. I also found a site featuring a variety of fun remix projects designed to introduce you to the fun features of PopcornMaker.
Author: Brooke Ahrens
Brooke Carey Ahrens is a Google Certified Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at a bay area high school. Brooke is currently serving as a rep Northern California Region rep for the California School Library Association.