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Making Movies and Video Intros!

Wow - it's March already - my favorite month (when I was born!) and lots of hints of springtime! Very inspiring!  So much so, that I have been moved to add something extra special to my teacherspayteachers store and can't wait to tell you about it!  But first.....

.....I would like to continue with some tips for all you budding teacherpreneurs!

Many sellers reach the stage of trying to find new ways to get their products in front of potential buyers - we all know about making eye-catching pins, not using product covers anymore and so on - the advice is endless and we twist ourselves in knots trying to keep up with it all!  What we try never seems to be enough and we strive to move on to the next 'big' thing that will improve our sales!

The current trend, especially on facebook, is to promote our products via the medium of video. There are lots of great phone apps out there like Ripl, Adobe Spark Post etc - these are great if you want to create 'on the go' and are time poor, but the end results can leave a lot to be desired.  I do like Kizoa and imovie, but I am a bit old school and like to create on my computer.  My preferred desktop app for Windows is Movie Maker.  I love spending time creating videos, but yes, it is not a quick fix!
At this point I need to mention Video Intros - because I have started creating these to sell on TpT!  I am very excited about this new project, but I know it has left some of my seller friends scratching their heads!  They suggested I write a blog post explaining what they are and how to use them, however I felt that this was impossible to do without first explaining how to make a movie/video which would allow you to also insert a video intro - confused much?! Read on for a tutorial.....
 

Movie Maker Tutorial

1. Organize Your Files

Before starting your project it is a good idea to organize all the files you'll be using for your movie. It is advised that you do the following:
  • Identify, sort, and save all the files you'll be using in a single file folder, preferably with separate sub-folders for images, videos, sound effects, music, etc. 
  • Re-name the individual files according to their order of use in the project 
  • When the files have already been imported to a Movie Maker Project file (*.wlmp), DO NOT move these files to other locations. 
  • DO NOT move the main file folder (and sub-folders) of the imported files in the project. 
  • Avoid re-naming imported files.

2.  Importing Files

After you have organized your files, you can import them into the Windows Live Movie Maker.
The pictures and video clips can be imported by clicking either of the two Add videos and photos buttons (one at the Home tab and the other at the storyboard) > locate the file folder(s) > select all the files to be used for the project > click Open > the files will be imported into the storyboard/timeline.


Below is the view of the imported images in the storyboard. You can change the sizes of the images in the timeline - just click on View and choose the size you want.


If you intend to have music accompany your movie, you should import the music file early on since the music will dictate how the images/videos will be edited in the timeline. To import the music file just click the Add Music icon (you have the option to add your music at the start of the project or at specific parts of the timeline) > locate the file folder > select the music file > click Open.


The imported music file will appear as a green bar below the images, with its duration visually depicted by the length of the bar.

3. Save your project now!

  • Select File > Save Project As… 
  • Choose a save location on your computer and enter a name for your file in the file name field. 
  • Click on Save.

4. Moving/Editing the Files

Moving Files in the Timeline

You can move the image and video files according to the order of appearance in the movie by dragging the thumbnails left/right/up/down. This is where the pre-organization of files will prove to be beneficial - if you re-named your files in chronological order then they will be imported and placed in the timeline in the same order - so no need to move and arrange them one-by-one.

Editing Photos


There is only one editing option for images in Movie Maker - adjusting the time duration of the image in the timeline - which will dictate how long a certain image will appear in the movie. To edit the time duration of images: select a particular image, click Edit below Video Tools (highlighted in yellow) in the Function Menu above and set the desired time duration (in seconds) either by:
  1. choosing one of the pre-set time durations in the drop-down list or 
  2. type in the exact time duration
Editing Music


Music files have similar editing options. These can be found on Music Tools (highlighted in green) beside the Video Tools. The music-editing options include:
 
Audio Settings Adjustments: includes music volume adjustment (no sound to full sound) and fade in and fade out speed selection (none, slow, medium, fast) 

Split Tool: enables you to split your music file into two or more segments by moving the vertical bar to the specific point/time you'd like the music file to be split and clicking the Split icon.
 
Set start time: allows you to set the point in the timeline when you'd like the music to start playing. You could do this by either typing in the exact start time or clicking the up and down arrows. Another alternative method is to manually drag the music bar to the point in the timeline you'd like the music to start playing. 

Set start/end point: an exact equivalent of the Video Tools Trim Tool, this enables trimming of the selected music so it starts/ends at the specified point in the timeline, which could also be done in two ways:
  1. Manually move/drag the vertical bar to the specific point int the timeline where you'd like the music to start, then click on Set start point to trim the music at the specified point. Do the same to set the end point, clicking Set end point this time; or 
  2. Set the Start point and End point by typing in the exact times or clicking the up and down arrows.
Miscellaneous File Tools


There are other tools and commands that you may find useful when moving/editing files in your project:
  • Duplicating Files: you can copy images/videos/music files by simply selecting the thumbnail/item > click the Copy icon > paste it on the specified point in the timeline. The copied file will have the same added effects as the original file. 
  • Removing Files: just select the file(s) you'd like to remove and click the Remove icon or press the Delete key. 
  • Selecting Files: you can select a single file (clicking on a thumbnail/item), multiple files (batch selection using Ctrl+mouse click), or all files (clicking the Select all icon or pressing Ctrl+A). 
  • Rotating Images/Videos: click on the Rotate Left or Rotate Right icon to change the orientation of your images or videos.

5. Adding Animations & Visual Effects

Movie Maker comes with sets of special animation and visual effects that you could use to make your movie more attractive. These include transition effects, pan and zoom effects, visual effects, and pre-set AutoMovie themes.

Transition Effects


Transition effects allow you to insert special effects which dictate how your movie plays from one video clip or picture to the next. You can add a transition between two pictures or video clips in any combination on the storyboard/timeline. To do this:

Transitions are added at the start of images/videos, so click on the particular clip where you'd like the transition to start (i.e. the second of two images should be selected to add a transition between them)

Click on the Animations tab > click the drop-down button > hover the cursor over the thumbnails to see the preview of each transition in the preview screen > select your chosen transition effect.

Set the time duration of the transition either by typing in the exact time or choosing from the pre-set time durations.

A grey triangle will appear on the left side of the clip thumbnail indicating that the transition effect has been applied.


If you intend to use the exact same transition for all your pictures and video clips, just click the Apply to all icon to apply the selected transition to all images and videos in the timeline.

If you want to only apply a certain transition effect to a select number of pictures and video clips, you can use the Ctrl+arrow key or Ctrl+Shift to batch select the items and then click the transition you'd like to use and set the time duration. The transition effect will be applied to all selected items in the timeline.

To change or remove transitions, click on the image or video and choose No Transition or choose other transitions.

Pan & Zoom Effects


Pan and zoom effects refer to the movement of the image or video within the viewing screen. Pan effects include movement in the horizontal (left/right), vertical (up/down), diagonal or even rotational directions, while Zoom effects are zooming in or zooming out of the screen (in combination with pan effects). To add these effects to your project: 
  • Select the picture or video clip you'd like to add an effect to.
  • Click on the Animations tab > click the drop-down button > hover the cursor over the thumbnails to see the preview of each effect in the preview screen > select your chosen pan & zoom effect.
  • A four-square icon will appear on the top left corner of the clip thumbnail indicating the pan and zoom effect has been applied.
If you intend to use the exact same pan and zoom effect for all your pictures and video clips, just click the Apply to all icon to apply the selected effect to all images and videos in the timeline. 

If you want to only apply a certain pan and zoom effect to a select number of pictures and video clips, you can use the Ctrl+arrow key or Ctrl+Shift to batch select the items and then click the effect you'd like to use. The particular pan and zoom effect will be applied to all selected items in the timeline.

Visual Effects


Movie Maker also has a range of visual effects that you can apply to your pictures and images to give them a distinct feel or atmospheric look.  Take a look and explore the various visual effects available and test what effect will they give your images and videos.  To use these effects:
  • Select the image/video you'd like to give a visual effect > click the Visual Effects tab > choose the desired effect. 
  • There is also a brightness adjustment setting you could use for your images/videos. 
  • Like with the transitions and pan and zoom effects, you have the option to apply a specific visual effect to all of your images/videos by clicking the Apply to all button.
AutoMovie Themes


Movie Maker also offers AutoMovie themes which you could use to instantly give your project the necessary movie elements in just one-click of a button! Each AutoMovie theme comes with its own pre-defined set of animations and visual effects that serves as a guide/suggestion on what you could do with your set of images and video clips in your timeline.

The AutoMovie themes can be accessed under the Home tab, and by clicking on a selected theme, its pre-defined animations and visual effects will automatically be applied to your images and video clips in your storyboard. You have the option to adjust your images and videos to fit the theme or adjust the theme settings to fit your set of images and videos. 

6. Adding Titles, Captions, Credits

Text can also be added in your movie project in the form of titles, captions, and credits. These three differ in their locations within the timeline: titles are added at the start of the movie, captions added in the middle, while credits are added in the end. These can be added by clicking either the Title, Caption, or Credit icons in the Home tab > a text box will appear in the particular slide or image/video > type in the text > re-size the text box dimensions as needed > move by dragging the text box to the desired area in the screen.
Texts appear as pink-colored bars at the bottom of the pictures and video clips in the timeline.


Text-editing options are available via Text Tools (highlighted in pink). You can access these by clicking on a text bar in the timeline to open the Text Tools sub-menu. The text-formatting options include:
  • Font Settings: enables you to change the font type, font size, font color, bold, italicize. 
  • Paragraph Settings: change the text alignment (left, center, right) and the transparency of the text. 
  • Edit Text: allows you change the text. 
  • Background Color: enables you to change the background color (whole screen) of titles and credits, but not of captions (since they are positioned over images and videos). 
  • Start Time: set the time when you want the text to start showing in the timeline by typing in the exact time (in seconds) or using the up/down buttons. 
  • Text Duration: like with images and video clips, you could set the length of time you'd like the text to appear in the movie (by typing in the exact time or selecting one of the pre-set time durations). 
  • Effects: text also have animation options like images and video clips. Simply hover into the thumbnails in the grid (more in the drop-down menu), choose and select the text animation you like.
So, that's it!  Simple, right?!  Actually when written down, it can look overwhelming - the best way is to just have a go and play - I found out everything by trial and error!

If you click on the image below, you will see one of my movies.  The only difference is that my clips are not photos.  I created my images in PowerPoint first and then saved each as a JPEG - the process is exactly the same, except this step.


As you can see, something extra has been added to my movie - this is a Video Intro!!  I wanted to add my logo so potential buyers would recognize my brand, so I added an animated video to the end of my movie, although really as the name 'Video Intro' suggests, it would be better at the beginning!

These video intros are fun and just add a little something extra to spice up your video!  They let potential buyers know who you are and where to find your resource.

I have added some video intros to my teacherspayteachers store - all you have to do is purchase and I do the rest for you!  Below you can see the video intros in action!  There are various options which are explained in each product listing - all the information is contained in the PDF which you can download after purchasing.




So, that's it!  Have fun playing around with movie maker and enjoy the fruits of your labor!


Teacher Treat Tuesday!


So..... February is the month of love......
and I want to show you how much you are appreciated as a teacher!

Teachers work SO hard and are often underpaid and under-appreciated.  How often do we hear negative comments about the profession?  How often do we hear negativity from parents and school management?  Much of this is unintentional but it does impact on our well-being!  I hear so often that teachers are burnt out and leaving the profession in droves!  Yet, despite it all, teaching is one of the most important and rewarding jobs anyone can do.  It's not just about the paycheck at the end of the month, it's a calling and a passion.  I admire anyone who has worked or wants to work as a teacher.

So, let's bask in some love and positivity, share our resources with hard-working teachers and take some stress out of planning time!

Help yourself to the freebies below.  If you have a freebie to share, just join the linky!  Feel free to share this blog link with your teachers friends - let's spread the love!

If you found our freebies useful, let me know in the comments - I'd love to bring this to you on a monthly basis!

Apologies - I have had to repost this today, Wednesday, as half the post appeared to have disappeared!!

HTML Tips and Tricks!

Well, it's been a while!!  Not only have I been busy creating new resources, but I have been taking time to update ALL my resource descriptions on teacherspayteachers, especially the earliest, to reflect current advice from the experts!  Whilst doing this for myself, I thought maybe I should share some tips with you. 
 
Whether you are a new seller on teacherspayteachers or a 'veteran', a little bit of change is always good!
I won't say what I have done in the past, as I really don't want to think about it - *cringe*, but I have found a system that works for me and may also offer some guidance for you too!
HTML is not for everyone, however a little bit of basic HTML is easily mastered and makes a world of difference to the look of your product descriptions - clear structure allows potential buyers to see the important bits at a glance!
So sit back, relax and read on!
Before I get to the body of product descriptions, I just want to tell you a little bit about snippets.

SNIPPETS
Below is an example of a 'snippet' - apparently these are very important!

These snippets contain three lines.  As a buyer browses a page of products, the first thing they will see from your description is these three lines.  It is essential to pack as much information as possible into those three lines to try and engage your buyer.  Not a waffly paragraph, but something that shows the nuts and bolts of your resource.  This text should also be keyword rich to push your resource as high up in the search rankings as possible - every little action can have big consequences!

RESOURCE DESCRIPTIONS
How you present your product to potential buyers is of extreme importance - this is your chance to showcase your resource in all its glory!  If a buyer has narrowed their search down to a couple of products, they are likely to choose the product that has a clear and concise description as well as all the relevant detail - they can see clearly what is included in the resource.

If you have a look at a range of products for sale on TpT, you tend to see 3 styles of description:

STYLE 1: The 'I don't have time, I can't be bothered, one line will do' style.  An example of this would be:  'I have created a phonics resource for you'.  Not that rich in detail is certainly an understatement!

STYLE 2: This is the extreme opposite of style 1 - paragraph upon paragraph of non-essential detail.  The buyer just sees hundreds of words and is almost afraid to dive in there in case they get lost!  With no structure, no formatting, the buyer is left wondering how much of it they have to read to get to the important stuff.  Or indeed whether all that waffle is covering the fact that the resource itself is not that wide-ranging or engaging.

STYLE 3:  This is the one we should be aiming for.  The description will be clear and concise, have appropriate detail (think if you were searching - what details would be important to you as a teacher looking for a resource), a structured format where the most important bits jump out at the buyer, where they can easily see at a glance what is included in the resource.  All the while, the description should be written with key words in mind - you want your resource to be found, after all!

So..... how do you achieve Style 3?
  
My own personal preference is to write a couple of short paragraphs at the beginning of the description, then move on to clear and detailed lists.
Section 1: a general summary of what can be found in the resource.
Section 2: a general summary of skills covered and why in relation to the curriculum
Section 3: a list of actual content
Section 4: a list of related products that might interest the buyer
Section 5: an informative statement about following my store, giving feedback and contact details.

Obviously what you decide to include and how you include it is entirely up to you.  I would say however, that you should keep to the same format for all of your listings - how you style yourself is part of your brand.  Buyers who recognize and like your brand will become repeat buyers.

This is where HTML comes in.  Adding a little bit of code will help make essential detail stand out and catch a buyer's eye.  You can create the following text effects by copying the HTML code below.


RELATED PRODUCTS
Depending on how many products your store has, you may not have any related products to add.  However, many sellers create a series of resources and will have multiple related products to include.  
Just copy the HTML below to enable you to add the desired related products.


BULLET POINTS
Now to the fun bit!  When I list the actual content of my resource, I love to add bullet points - the buyer's eye will often go straight to that section to see what content is included.  Rather than the traditional bullet, I like to change it up, depending on the resource.  For example, a Valentine's resource may have heart bullets, a St. Patrick's resource may have shamrock bullets, a weather resource may have umbrella bullets etc. 
 
Below you will find the HTML to create lots of fun bullet points.  Don't overdo it, but it's nice to show a little creativity!







So.....here endeth my tutorial!  I hope it has been of some use!  
Please feel free to share this information with anyone who may need it!

Bye for now!

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