Thursday, April 14, 2011

Testing Out JayCut for video editing

For the past couple of years, we have used MovieMaker for a book trailer project that we do with our 7th graders to teach them about copyright, fair use and the program. MovieMaker, though a great tool, experiences some weird issues when it is being used by multiple users on a networked system, so we were trying to look for something that was "in the cloud" that would be comparable to MovieMaker...enter jaycut, a free online video editor. (thanks to Elisabeth at Archipelago for sending this to Dave (Big Building, Lots of Books) It looks similar to MovieMaker and iMovie and it relatively easy to use. However, there were some drawbacks that I found as I made this book trailer for Wendelin Van Draanen's The Running Dream.

One of the great things about Jaycut is that it does make your project available anywhere you have a computer and wifi access. I started my project yesterday at school and started working on it a few hours ago and all my files were there. With MovieMaker, we really need to emphasize file management and a lot of times, students will have to "search for missing files" because it is made for one computer / one user. With Jaycut, I did not have to worry about that because it's on Jaycut's servers. Also, it is pretty easy to use! Publishing and downloading was a simple click and the only thing is you have to wait for your movie to be rendered and emailed to you.

However, here are some of the drawbacks that I experienced while trying to make this book trailer and trying to think like a 7th grader.
  • transitions  - you need to use transitions between video files and image files. You can't use transitions between image to image. Our kids use only image files for the project so having transitions between them is one of the fun things they can do
  • moving files  - you are locked into your storyboard once you have dropped them onto the timeline. You can not just drop things and move things back and forth on the timeline. For example, say you have 10 images and you want to insert an image between 3 and 4. You will have to move 4 - 10 over to make room for the next image instead of just dropping it between those 2 images
  • credits - there is a text option which actually does not have that many options to choose from. There is no credits option and you cannot add a different animation to the titles/text. As you can see, at the end of my movie, there's just a single screen with the credits
I would recommend this program if you were making your own personal movies and were not concerned with having a lot of features or extras.  But if you were doing an assignment with your students and needed them to cite their resources, it would prove a little challenging. Also, if have kids working on it at school and they were finishing it the first 10 minutes before class, the waiting time for publishing might prove to be a problem.

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