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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Assignment: Physical health

This is part of a series suggesting different ways to use Moviestorm in schools or other educational environments. They also make useful exercises for film-makers wanting to develop and practice different film-making techniques. Many more lesson plans and ideas, with free downloadable resources, can be found on the Moviestorm Web site.

Assignment: Physical Health
Create a public information program about the benefits of a good diet, or any other similar positive health practice such as smoking cessation, drug avoidance, or regular exercise.

image

Suggested techniques

Do it as a documentary discussing the issue in depth.

Present the topic in story form, taking one person as an example.

Create a propaganda style film or advert.

Intersperse the presentation with still images and video if appropriate. You could do this as a studio presentation or lecture, and display the images on a screen behind the presenter, or else you can make the images go full-screen.

Add extra content on-screen by using text to complement what you’re saying.

Add appropriate background music to create atmosphere, and ensure you have a striking title sequence.

For teachers: benefits to students

  • This allows the students to think creatively about how to get that message across to others in a way that means something to them. Some may prefer to concentrate on the facts, while others will adopt a more emotional or personal approach.
  • Adding multimedia content enables the student to approach the subject in a richer way than just using written text and still images.
  • Finding images and music to enhance the presentation requires detailed research.
  • Providing narration builds confidence in speaking without needing to do it in front of an audience or camera.
  • Creating a multimedia presentation helps develop presentational skills and requires the student to consider what information is best presented using the different media: spoken, written, or visual.

Suitability

  • Ages 14+
  • Suitable for groups
  • Physical education, health

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Assignment: Art report

This is part of a series suggesting different ways to use Moviestorm in schools or other educational environments. They also make useful exercises for film-makers wanting to develop and practice different film-making techniques. Many more lesson plans and ideas, with free downloadable resources, can be found on the Moviestorm Web site.

Assignment: Art report
Create a video report on a particular artistic style, movement, or period, and explain why they are historically significant.

image

Suggested techniques
Intersperse the presentation with still images and video if appropriate. You could do this as a studio presentation or lecture, and display the images on a screen behind the presenter, or else you can make the images go full-screen.

Create a virtual art gallery to display a selection of works.

If appropriate, create reconstructed or dramatised scenes from the era.

Add extra content on-screen by using text to complement what you’re saying.

Add appropriate background music to create atmosphere, and ensure you have a striking title sequence.

For teachers: benefits to students

  • Adding multimedia content enables the student to approach the subject in a richer way than just using written text and still images.
  • Finding images and music to enhance the presentation requires detailed research.
  • Providing narration builds confidence in speaking without needing to do it in front of an audience or camera.
  • Creating a multimedia presentation helps develop presentational skills and requires the student to consider what information is best presented using the different media: spoken, written, or visual.

Suitability

  • Ages 14+
  • Suitable for groups
  • Art

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Monday, June 27, 2011

Assignment: Music video

This is part of a series suggesting different ways to use Moviestorm in schools or other educational environments. They also make useful exercises for film-makers wanting to develop and practice different film-making techniques. Many more lesson plans and ideas, with free downloadable resources, can be found on the Moviestorm Web site.

Assignment: Music video
Pick a piece of music and make a video for it.

This was made by students at the Wan Smolbag Theatre in Vanuatu. The language is Bislama.

Suggested techniques
Watch a selection of music videos and use these as inspiration.

Tell a story that fits the piece.

Create a stage or studio sequence showing the musicians.

For teachers: benefits to students

  • This helps students to engage with a piece and find their own interpretation.
  • Editing video helps develop the relationship between sound and sight.

Suitability

  • Ages 12+
  • Suitable for solo work
  • Music

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Assignment: Myth

This is part of a series suggesting different ways to use Moviestorm in schools or other educational environments. They also make useful exercises for film-makers wanting to develop and practice different film-making techniques. Many more lesson plans and ideas, with free downloadable resources, can be found on the Moviestorm Web site.

Assignment: Myth
Create a short film based on a popular myth or legend, or write your own myth.

This is a movie for a school project for a children’s literature class. The assignment was to make a parody incorporating different children’s tales.


Suggested techniques

You can do it in modern dress and setting if period dress and sets aren’t available.

Use a voiceover, or tell the whole story in dialogue. Consider framing the story by having someone relate it, and cutting from the narrator to the story.

Add music and a title sequence.

Try it the other way round: plan your myth in storyboard format, then make the animation, then finally write the myth, so the animation becomes part of the planning process.

For teachers: benefits to students

  • This allows the student to visualise the story and bring it to life.
  • By putting the story in a modern context, it encourages students to think about the moral aspect of it and extract that from the original setting, then see how that can be applied to their own lives.
  • Using storyboarding techniques helps learners think of beginning-middle-and-end type planning.
  • This fits with part of the UK National Strategy http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/19065

Suitability

  • Ages 8+
  • Suitable for groups
  • Literature

 

(2) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Case study: Long Road Sixth Form College

Long Road is a college in Cambridge (UK) teaching A Levels and Diplomas to ages 16-18.  Some of the students have been using Moviestorm as part of their Level 2 Diploma, Media National Certificate. They are using Moviestorm as part of their moving image unit and short film project, and have been creating a 2-3 minute film.
Since Long Road is local to us, we dropped in one day to meet the students and find out what they were doing. Teacher Steven Thorne explained why they picked Moviestorm: “They’re not limited by college or real life constrictions. Moviestorm allows them to explore camera shots without going out with cameras and tripods. It’s quite self contained. Students don’t need to look for friends to be actors. They don’t have trouble uploading film or filling out risk assessments. It saves a lot of time, and it’s a good process that works well.”
Four groups of students showed us their work, and told us how Moviestorm was helping them.

The first group of three students was working on a drama style film featuring adult characters. The film wouldn’t have worked so well if students had taken on the roles of the adults, as it would have been unconvincing. Using Moviestorm allowed them to incorporate adults into their script, which gave them a lot more flexibility and opportunity with the stories they could tell.

A second group of students was working on a short film clearly inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The main part of this was a sequence in which skeletons rise from their graves. This would have been really hard to do well in live action, because it would have required special effects and some complex set design.  Moviestorm allows them to create these kind of characters and sequences quickly and easily.


The last two groups we spoke to were both working on action based movies. One was a gangster film, and the other was a police movie, The Wrong Raid, in which police target and raid the wrong house. Working with Moviestorm allows them to film action sequences safely and cost-effectively without needing stunt crew or special equipment.


All the groups told us they liked that Moviestorm was so easy to use. They also liked the large library of ready-made customisable props, sets and backgrounds, which meant that they could film a wide variety of movies without needing to find locations or costumes, and that they could get fairly realistic movies out of it. They compared the software to The Sims, but pointed out that Moviestorm allowed them to do a lot more and was more suited for making movies.
Teacher Steven Thorne was very happy with it, and plans to carry on using Moviestorm. “It’s very easy to use, and I’ll definitely use Moviestorm next year. Our gaming and animation students can quickly create stories using it.”

See more work from Long Road on the Creative and Media Level 2 blog.

Our thanks to Steven and all the students for inviting us.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Assignment: Yesterday’s News

This is part of a series suggesting different ways to use Moviestorm in schools or other educational environments. They also make useful exercises for film-makers wanting to develop and practice different film-making techniques. Many more lesson plans and ideas, with free downloadable resources, can be found on the Moviestorm Web site.

Assignment: Yesterday’s News
Create a news show focusing on a major event in history.

image

Suggested techniques

You can either present this as it might have been presented at the time, or you could present it as if it were a modern event.

Intersperse the presentation with still images and video if appropriate. You could do this as a studio presentation or lecture, and display the images on a screen behind the presenter, or cut away to reporters in the field, interviews, and video segments.

Add extra content on-screen by using text to complement what you’re saying.

You could either take a neutral tone and create an impartial report, or reflect a specific editorial attitude: you may not change any facts, but you may select your facts, opinions, and words to support your stance.

Report on the event using only what was known at the time: do not include later historical events, facts that only came to light later, or hindsight.

For teachers: benefits to students

  • The student is required to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the historical event they have chosen.
  • The student will develop a understanding of news media and how they present a topic to create different editorial slants.
  • The student has to be aware of how a story develops, and differentiate between what was known at the time and what historians know now, or using modern opinions based on what actually happened later.
  • Dramatic reconstruction makes for a good group project.
  • Adding multimedia content enables the student to approach the subject in a richer way than just using written text and still images.
  • Creating a multimedia presentation helps develop presentational skills and requires the student to consider what information is best presented using the different media: spoken, written, or visual.

Suitability

  • Ages 14+
  • Suitable for groups
  • History, media

Downloadable resources

Click the link to download a Moviestorm movie template.

cloud.moviestorm.co.uk/Lesson_Plans/News%20Program.zip

 

Installation instructions:

Download the file and extract the zip folder to this location:

 

Vista, Windows 7, Macs: [Username]/Moviestorm/Movies

 

Windows XP: C:/Documents and Settings/[Username]/Moviestorm/Movies

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Priscilla Angelique - musician, teacher, and animator

Working out of London, Priscilla runs a record label called “A Priscilla thing”, a label she founded in 2004. Focusing mainly on urban music, she is involved in everything including music writing, artwork and photo production as well as music video production. She also teaches music technology as well as producing her own music.  Before launching her own record label, Priscilla started her career in performing arts and music. “That was my first love,” she admits. Soon after she became fascinated with computers and pursued a career in teaching business and ICT whilst still running dance and music related classes. It was at this early stage that Priscilla began to produce music for her music classes, creating the style of music and dance that she still produces today.

Priscilla is still relatively new to the movie making scene.  She has only had a month’s experience with Moviestorm but is nevertheless achieving spectacular results.  Her Moviestorm discovery came when she saw it mentioned on BBC Click. She was already on the lookout for a simple and quick solution to create animated movies, and this seemed ideal. “I hadn’t created an animated video before, yet I felt there was no steep learning curve with Moviestorm,” she says. “What you had to do seemed obvious and it was just a matter of applying your ideas.  The workflow is clearly laid out before you on the screen.  On the first day of using Moviestorm I created a video for my single I’ll Fly.  I was so excited about how easy and effective it was to translate ideas into animation.  The next day I began a video for my single Keep Your Mind and then I spent about a month experimenting with Moviestorm.”


For her third video, Priscilla spent more time to create a music video that followed a story through more detailed and animated sequences. She started using Adobe Premiere to edit her movies, and began experimenting with Moviestorm’s lighting and special effects to develop her style and create increasingly powerful movies. However, as she points out, it wasn’t Moviestorm’s complexity, but its simplicity that kept her interested.  “The main reason for choosing Moviestorm is its simplicity.  In five minutes you can have walking, talking characters in a great set.  If you take your time you can create an animated video that has a professional feel without the professional fees.”


Inspired by cartoon music videos from hit bands such as the Gorillaz and the animated Jackson 5 from the 70’s, Priscilla admits that she enjoys the blending of live footage and animated sequences. “I’ve always wanted to put an animated version of myself in a music video without running up costs,” she laughs. She’s also up front about one of the other main attractions of Moviestorm: the cost. “Music videos are a very expensive and time consuming process, but Moviestorm allows me to achieve shots and effects that even with a modest budget would still be very out of reach.”
Using Moviestorm as a teaching tool

Priscilla is particularly interested in how Moviestorm can be used in virtual learning environments, or for creating video based tutorials. She points out that networks or Moodle sites are traditionally very text heavy, and Moviestorm provides an interesting alternative approach. She also suggests that lesson plans and notes could be dictated to a class by a Moviestorm actor in a video lesson plan in place of the teacher.
She is very keen to see media production classes utilise the benefits of Moviestorm for both final production work and as a pre-visualisation tool. Even foreign language students could use Moviestorm to construct a portfolio of audio/video translations to provide their user with a broader learning experience. “However a teacher chooses to use Moviestorm in the classroom, what makes it an exciting method is that learners can be involved in creating the content and the animated videos can be used for other lessons.  Whether it is just their voice that is used, or whether learners create the entire video, the input they have can encourage them to embrace learning in a new way. There are so many possibilities.”
Looking to the future, Priscilla tells us she has plans for further Moviestorm projects. She is currently planning to create an animated band within Moviestorm for a group called “Asonical”.

But that’s not all for this hugely ambitious lady. She is also hoping to start work soon on her first full animated feature film - an urban take on the classic Romeo and Juliet story, using Moviestorm and, of course, music from her label.



Priscilla now has a dedicated following of people who now know her for creating animated music videos. “People often email me via MySpace or Facebook and ask questions about the animated videos, like how long they took to make, how I made them etc.  I am starting to get known by musicians and non-musicians alike for my videos, and people look out for them when I release a track which is great.” She adds that “In any case, I am very much new to animation, and it is really credit to the visionaries behind Moviestorm’s development that enables someone with so little experience, like me, to be able to create animated videos to a standard that is hard to achieve with other packages in such a short period of time.“

We’re flattered. And we look forward to seeing much more from Priscilla.

Read more:
Priscilla Angelique Web site | YouTube

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Monday, June 20, 2011

Assignment: Business abroad

This is part of a series suggesting different ways to use Moviestorm in schools or other educational environments. They also make useful exercises for film-makers wanting to develop and practice different film-making techniques. Many more lesson plans and ideas, with free downloadable resources, can be found on the Moviestorm Web site.

Assignment: Business abroad
Film a business meeting in a foreign language

This was made by a student in Trinidad as part of his “Spanish for business” class.  This was a group presentation and the brief was to make a 3-4 min infomercial.

Suggested techniques

This can either be a presentation, negotiation or job interview.

Make it specific to a particular product, industry, career, or company to add authenticity.

For teachers: benefits to students

  • Students are required to show familiarity with business terms which will be useful in a commercial situation.

Suitability

  • Ages 16+
  • Suitable for groups
  • Languages

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Friday, June 17, 2011

Assignment: School Announcements

This is part of a series suggesting different ways to use Moviestorm in schools or other educational environments. They also make useful exercises for film-makers wanting to develop and practice different film-making techniques. Many more lesson plans and ideas, with free downloadable resources, can be found on the Moviestorm Web site.

Assignment: School Announcements
Make a video informing students of events taking place at the school.

This video was created by Larkspur Middle School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Suggested techniques

Build a set representing the school to add realism.

Create lookalikes of the teachers.

Present it as a news bulletin.

Put additional information on the screen where appropriate.

For teachers: benefits to students

  • This is a great way for students to get involved in school activities.
  • The video can be shown across the school and on the school Web site.

Suitability

  • Ages 10+
  • Suitable for groups, or can be produced by teachers
  • Any school or class

 

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

1 AD expansion pack

That was quick. It seems like only yesterday we announced the new 1 AD pack and hinted that Moddingstorm was going to be doing an expansion for it.  Well, it’s here already.

Here’s what’s in it:

Carrying on the theme of historical Middle Eastern domestic life, the pack contains 2 new outfits for male and female actors as well as an extra headscarf. The buildings available in the normal Moviestorm pack are available in more variations of the external structure with fat, thin, tall shapes to make your village look more varied. there are also canopies, steps, windows and a dome to attach to the buildings to add even more variety to street scenes.  Finally I have thrown in a few plates with grain on them for the home or market as well as some simple folded cloth, both laying folded and hanging on a wall.

You don’t need the official 1AD pack to make use of this - it’s a standalone pack. Combine both to give yourself maximum variety.

Get it from Moddingstorm, price £10.00.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

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