Monday, February 25, 2008

Word Caption Software - Free

World Caption is a free program for adding captions to a QuickTime compatible video, using a transcript of that video. While World Caption cannot be used to generate a transcript, it makes the process of synchronizing a transcript to video simple, and allows quick and easy generation of captions.

World Caption accepts UTF-8 encoded text files, which means it can handle a wide number of languages - including languages with non-Latin character sets such as Japanese.

World Caption allows addition of any number of tracks to the video. This allows the creation of caption tracks for several languages.

World Caption requires Mac OS X version 10.4 or later. It is offered free though the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Subtitle Software - Free

If you need to add subtitles to your DVD or video project the Belle Nuit Subtitler is an option. They have a full featured version for sale, but the offline version is free. It is an application to:

Spot, edit and render subtitles for video editing, DVD authoring and digital cinema. Translators can spot directly with a QuickTime movie and translate precisely. The subtitles can then be imported to Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress, Avid DS and Final Cut Pro for editing. The same subtitles can be sent also to Adobe Encore DVD, Apple DVD Studio Pro, Sonic Producer and Sonic Scenarist for authoring. The subtitles can also be used for live subtitling on Texas Instruments Digital Cinema projectors. Belle Nuit Subtitler frees the video editors from repetitive work and from typo errors.

With the offline version you can freely distribute the program and use on any numbers of computers. The offline version is fully functional with the following restrictions:
  • You can only export 10 titles at a time.
  • Some tools in the Tools menu do not work.
Give it to your translator, your director or your producer or whoever is responsible for the subtitle text. With the offline license, you can also test the entire workflow (import/export, quality of titles) and buy only the online license, when you are satisfied with the result.

Hoover High School, Ohio

Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio offers three different video production courses. On their website you can find examples of student work and a promo video for their program.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Learn Final Cut Pro Podcast

Eliot Baring has posted six episodes on the basics of Final Cut Pro. His website states:

Learn Final Cut Pro with filmmaker and multimedia teacher Eliot Baring in these exciting, easy to follow FCP podcasts. Ideal for editors, students and teachers, this will take you through absolutely everything FCP has to offer.

Monday, February 18, 2008 Tutorials

The website has a number of video tutorials that range from prop building to scriptwriting. They are all fun to watch and emphasize how to do things on the cheap.

Here is a tutorial on how to build a prop jet pack. They did it for $30. It looks pretty good.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

iMovie plug-ins from - FREE offers a free sampler of their Slick Transitions and Effects

You can get 20 fully functional plug-ins for free!

Supports iMovie HD 6, 5 and 4
Universal Binary for Intel and PowerPC Macs
(Plug-ins do not work with iLife '08's rewritten version of iMovie 7)

Give Slick software a try for free.

Requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, including Leopard 10.5

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Emerald Ridge High School Video Curriculum

Check out the website of, which contains the curriculum of the three year video program at Emerald Ridge High School.

Web Jam - Free Website Hosting

Webjam is another free place to host your website. It features an easy drag and drop design interface.

Students can set up a website to promote their short film or to promote themselves. Students who want to protect their identity can create a production company website.

Check out other free web hosting sites.

Vorhees High School Website

Vorhees High School in New Jersey has a website with photos of their TV studio and examples of student work.

Friday, February 15, 2008

HD to SD Version in Final Cut Pro

The website has a quick tutorial on how to convert an HD project into an SD version in Final Cut Pro.

Teacher's Guide to Intellectual Property Rights

Mircosoft is sponsoring an initiative to teach intellectual property rights to middle and high school students. Information Week has an article about it which notes:
Microsoft's survey found that about half of the teenagers surveyed (49%) said they are not familiar with the rules and guidelines for downloading content from the Internet. Only 11% understood the rules well, and of those, 82% said downloading content illegally merits punishment. Among those unfamiliar with the law, only 57% supported punishment for intellectual property violations.

To address this issue they have set up The Teacher's Guide to Intellectual Property Rights. have a set up a website with curriculum aimed at 8th-10th grade students, but which is modifiable for upper grades. This curriculum includes:
Four thematic units comprise the IPR Education Curriculum. Within each unit are stand-alone yet complementary lesson plans (activities) that focus on and play off of an IPR-related scenario presented through a Case Study.

Guiding Questions help set the expectation for what students will learn in each unit, and Baseline and Post-Unit Assessments serve to gauge changes in student knowledge and perceptions about IP. Each unit consists of 4-6 lesson plans (activities), including a Culminating Activity that serves as a project-based unit assessment.

To support this initiative, Microsoft has launched MyBytes, a web site where students can create custom ringtones, share content, and learn more about intellectual property rights.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Apple Soundtrack Pro Training Material

An Apple Certified Trainer in Logic and Soundtrack Pro has generously put up both chapter notes, supplemental material, and interactive quizzes for these applications.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Alliance for a Media Literate America

The Alliance for a Media Literate America is a membership organization that may be of interest to video production teachers. Their website notes:

"Since its founding in 2001, the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA) has emerged as the leading voice for inquiry-based media literacy education in the United States.

Established to bring together previously isolated practitioners and projects, AMLA works to harness the collective passion, energy and expertise of its members into a vibrant support network with a strong and effective organizational presence in the world of K-12 and higher education. "

They have published a set of Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States.

They also have some lesson plans on their website.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lightwave 3D Tutorials - Free

New Tek has put on their website over 10 hours of free tutorials for their Lightwave 3D software.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spaceship Compositing Tutorial

Here is an interesting spaceship compositing tutorial using After Effects. (Unfortunately, it doesn't show the After Effects application.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hit By A Car Tutorial

Here is an After Effects tutorial for how to get hit by a car.

Detonation Films SFX Tutorials

Detonation Films has a page with a number of video tutorials on special effects techniques they have done for Final Cut Express. They includes a compositing demos for several other applications.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Creative Cow Magazine - Free

Creative Cow runs a great forum for finding answers to technical questions. They now produce Creative Cow Magazine and the subscription is free.

They say this about themselves.

Creative COW Magazine is the outgrowth of the Creative Communities of the World media professionals web community located at Born from the work that Ron & Kathlyn Lindeboom and their team began over 11 years ago a team that now includes over 200 leaders and writers who create some of the finest content and support on the net for media professionals the COW has well over 275,000 unique visitors each month, with months reaching as high as 11 million pageviews.

Out of this phenomenal community, now comes a FREE magazine filled with the kind of no-nonsense practical and useable knowledge that will help unlock many new techniques, areas of expertise and tools that will make you a stronger and more creative media professional.

See the Video Instructor list of free industry magazines.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Celtx - Scriptwriting Software - Free

In a previous post I discussed using Macros in Microsoft word as script formating aids. I am now using Celtx, which is excellent freeware script writing software.

It has an easy to use interface and once you teach students the basic structure of proper formating, they can quickly use the software. Best of all, it is an open source project. It continues to add new features that make it useful for more that just formating.

The website states:

Celtx is the world's first fully integrated solution for media pre-production and collaboration. It replaces old fashioned 'paper, pen & binder' media creation with a digital approach to writing and organizing that's more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share.

The website has some tutorial videos that provide a great way to learn what it does. It is available for OSX, Windows, and Linux.

UPDATE: Version 1 is now out.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Adobe Software Donation Program

K-12 Schools in the US and primary and secondary schools in Canada may request a software donation from Adobe through Gifts In Kind.

Eligible schools may request up to a total of four individual title products or one suite product per year. Each product package provides licensing for one computer. No additional licenses or program upgrades are available through this donation program.

Schools may apply once per Fiscal Year (December 1-November 30). Please be sure your request includes all the products (maximum of 4 individual or 1 bundled package) your school requires.

The software is not actually free, you must pay an administrative fee:

In order to recover its costs for administering this program, Gifts In Kind charges a modest administrative fee of $40 per package of Acrobat Pro, Contribute, Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Fireworks, In Design, Illustrator, Photoshop and Premiere Pro; and a $140 administrative fee for CS Design Premiere, CS Web Premiere, and CS Production Premiere.

If you are not a member of Gifts In Kind, you will be charged an additional $25 on your entire order. If your order is not approved, you will not be charged for any portion of the order if paying by credit, or your check will be returned if paying by check.
If your organization is a North American based nonprofit, you may be eligible for a software donation from Adobe. Please go to Tech Soup for more information about Adobe's North American Nonprofit Software Donation Program and to how to apply.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Adobe Video Curriculum - Free

Adobe has developed an ISTE-aligned curriculum for video production, centered around Adobe software. It is available as a free download.

Digital Video: Foundations of Video Design and Production is a yearlong, project-based curriculum set that helps students develop career and communication skills in video and audio production. The Digital Video projects include instructor project guidelines and reproducible student materials. You can download individual projects or the entire curriculum.

Two other available courses are:
Visual Design: Foundations of Design and Print Production and

Digital Design: Foundations of Web Design

Adobe has an Education Resources page with interesting articles, case studies and other resources.

Monday, February 4, 2008

D-Day Invasion - Done by three guys

Here is an interesting YouTube video that shows some of the process taken to stage the invasion of Omaha Beach on D-Day for a BBC documentary. A total of three people were involved. They had four days of production. Very cool.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

DV Magazine - Free

You can get a free subscription to DV Magazine.

Their tag line is "Tools and techniques for the independent professional." I recommend that advanced video students subscribe to this magazine.

Their website states:
Since 1993, DV Magazine has served the information needs of professionals involved in the production, postproduction, and delivery of digital video. Written and produced by experts in the field, DV provides objective, hard-hitting, in depth product information.

See the Video Instructor list of free industry magazines.