Video project tips
This page was originally created to assist students with the SciTube project. However, many of these video production tips and suggestions are useful when using a computer for any project involving video creation
See Video project tips - iPad for specific information on using an iPad for video production.
Note to students with the Fujitsu T731 tablet (the Fujitsu computer without a removable screen): Your computer came with Live Movie Maker version 15 (2011). Movie Maker version 16 (2012) does work on your computer, but you may need to update your video driver following the MovieMaker 2012 Fix for T731 directions here.
SciTube is an eighth grade Earth Science project where students are asked to create a five minute video exploring a particular science topic. The recommended source for video media for this project is Discovery Education Streaming, which has videos that can be easily downloaded and imported into Windows Movie Maker to edit and add narration. (If you have not created a Discovery account, click here for directions.) Some of the tips below are useful for obtaining media from other sources.
Q & A
Where can I get more information on using Windows Movie Maker and iMovie?
- Windows Movie Maker tips and video tutorials - This is for the version of Movie Maker (formally called Live Movie Maker) that is part of the free Windows Essentials set of programs from Microsoft. If you DO NOT have a small T580 computer, you can also download and install the latest version of Movie Maker from that site, but you may need to update your video driver.
- Mac iMovie tutorials - Use the help menu in iMovie.
- iPad iMovie
How do I login into Discovery Education (also known as United Streaming)?
See the directions here and make sure you are entering in your username and password correctly. Username is des+your network username such as desshawt. If you have never logged in before, your password is your birthday in the format YYYYMMDD that contains eight digits. For example, January 9, 1997 would be 19970109.
Video shot on my camera does not play properly on my Windows computer or in Movie Maker. What do I do?
It is likely that you do not have the necessary codec installed on your computer to play the video. This is often the case if the sound plays but not the video (or the reverse.) Installing the K-Lite Codec Pack will often solve this problem.
How do I install the K-Lite Codec Pack for Windows?
- Download the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack from here then open it to start the installer.
- If you are prompted to uninstall an old version of the K-Lite codec Pack, answer Yes.
- Click Next on the first screen.
- Select Advanced mode for Installation Mode, then click Next.
- Click Next to accept the default destination location and stop at the "Select Components" screen.
- On the "Select Components" screen, change Profile 1 to "Profile 8: Lots of stuff (without player)"
- Click Next three more times and stop at the "File associations" screen.
- On the "File associations" screen, click the check-box to select Windows Media Player.
- Click Next four more times until you get to Additional Options.
- Do not install any of the free software offered by checking the No thanks box.
- Click Next to go to Ready to Install.
- Click Install.
- After the install says "Done!", click Finish to exit setup. (Leave the check-boxes on that screen off.)
- Ignore the ads the come up on the Codec Guide web page that automatically loads and close that page.
How do I convert a video file to WMV format for use in Movie Maker?
First try installing the K-Lite Codec Pack by following the directions above. That may allow you to use your video file in Movie Maker without converting it. If that still doesn't work then you can try converting the file to .WMV (Windows Media Video) format using either the free Zamzar online service or the Any Video Converter software. (See below for details on both.) Using Zamzar is easier; using Any Video Converter might be quicker.
Zamzar.com is a free, easy to use service for converting many video file formats and for downloading videos from a variety of websites. This includes converting to .wmv format for use with Movie Maker.
- Under the Convert Files tab at zamzar.com, browse for the file on your computer.
- For use with Movie Maker, select wmv as the output format.
- Enter your email address and click Convert.
- Wait for the file you selected to be uploaded Zamzar.com. You can leave the web page or turn off your computer AFTER it says "file upload complete."
You will eventually receive an email message with a link to a converted file you can download. This does not happen quickly (unless you pay for the service) so you should plan ahead if you need to work with this file at a particular time. (For example, don't expect to use Zamzar during class to get a video you want to work on in Movie Maker during the same class period.)
Any Video Converter
While Zamar is one of the easiest ways to convert video files to .wmv format for use with Movie Maker, you may need to wait a while for the conversion. Another option for converting videos to .wmv and may other formats is the software Any Video Converter. You can download the free version by visiting here and clicking on the green download button. Then you need to install it on your computer to use it. CNote to Windows users: Computer Services recommends that you do NOT install any free toolbars or other software recommended by Any Video Converter during AVC installation. Pay attention to the prompts. (This requires using Custom installation instead of the Install Now or express install button.)
Where can I legitimately get media (images and music) to use in my project?
How do I convert a song to an MP3 in iTunes?
Copyright and Fair Use of Digital Media from Others
Almost everything you can find online is copyrighted. (More information about copyright is here.) As a student you may include copyrighted material in school projects by following "Fair Use" Best Practices, which include:
- Use a small portion of copyrighted works to create new materials.
- You may distribute/post your work digitally if your use of copyrighted materials is transformative.
Transformative use: Modifying existing media, putting it into a new context, and using it a way that is different from how it was originally intended.
- Example of proper Fair Use: Taking a small portion of a video and recording a different sound track and narration in order to convey a different message than the original video.
- Example of improper Fair Use: Using an entire song as a sound track for your video (unless its copyright explicitly allows for reuse).
Don't forget you still need to cite your sources even when used under Fair Use.
To avoid worrying about Fair Use, get media from websites that specialize in publishing public domain (free for any use) or Creative Commons licensed work intended for sharing. A few of those sites are listed in the section "Where can I legitimately get media (images and music) to use in my project?" above.
If you do use digital material under Fair Use, you should consider using the Fair Use Evaluator (click here) from the American Library Association to justify your use to your teacher and yourself.
How to Download a video from YouTube
In order to use a YouTube video in Windows Movie Maker (WMM) you need to save a copy of the video in a format WMM can import such as wmv or avi. Any Video Converter, which is described above, will do this. Remember to cite the source.