Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Holiday Video Fun with an iPhone and iMovie 09

This afternoon my 9 year old daughter planned, directed, and starred in her third cooking program in a series she has titled, “The International Cooking Show.” This time around she demonstrated how to cook holiday sausage balls, and had her younger sister participate in the program as well. We still haven’t had anyone else contribute a video to the project wiki, but we’re not giving up hope! (You, your children and your students are welcome to join at any time!) The influence of Sandra Lee on her presentation style as well as in-show mannerisms is hard to miss. It’s wonderful for her to have this constructive outlet for all those dramatic personality traits!

For Sarah’s last episode of “The International Cooking Show” (the recipe was black bean dip) we recorded the program using my iPhone in a single take. For today’s recipe, however, several different steps were required with time in between, so the program had to be recorded in several segments. After recording these, we imported the clips from the iPhone into iPhoto 09.

iPhone video clips for the Sausage Balls Cooking Show

This was one of my favorite frames from the entire video, which in its final version runs 7.5 minutes.

Classic frame

With only one two minute segment eliminated because of a retake, the unedited film was a little over 12 minutes long. For the sake of speed (and my desire for a Sunday afternoon nap, which unfortunately did not materialize) I was hoping Sarah would be able to do a “quick edit” of the video segments in QuickTime 7 Pro. After installing Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, QT 7 is still available but moved to the Utilities folder, within Applications.

QuickTime 7 Pro is great for quick edits on videos

Apple has not officially discontinued its QuickTime Pro product, but has integrated some of its features into the latest free version of QuickTime Player which were previously reserved for “pro users only.” These free features now include the ability to record audio and video and play video back in fullscreen mode. We tried unsuccessfully today to copy and paste our QuickTime video clips together into a single, longer clip using the new Snow Leopard QuickTime Player and could not do it. We had to go back to using QuickTime Pro 7 for this type of editing. It is possible to “trim” a video like you can on the iPhone in the “regular” QuickTime Player application, cutting off footage from the start and end of a clip, but it is not possible to make mid-clip deletions or insertions like you could and still can with QuickTime Pro 7.

Since the unedited video was longer than 10 minutes and we wanted to publish this to YouTube (with comment moderation turned ON, of course) we had to import the clips into iMovie 09 for editing. As she did herself in her first cooking show episode on making banana bread, Sarah wanted to speed up some segments of her video and add music to the background during those parts. To do this in iMovie 09, we had to double click the clip, in the inspector tab make sure CLIP was selected, and click CONVERT ENTIRE CLIP next to the “speed” option.

Speed up a clip in iMovie (1 of 2)

Then we could drag the speed option as fast as it would go, increasing the speed (I think) by a factor of 800% With a few deletions and several speed-ups, Sarah and I were able to get the final video down to 7.5 minutes.

The quality of this iPhone-shot video is very good and the audio quality is also quite passable. Having used a variety of video cameras in the past, I can attest to the GREAT value of flash-based video recording like this which does NOT require importing and digitization of footage. Video clips import readily and are easy to manipulate with iMovie ’09’s “scrubber” interfaces for realtime editing. I showed Sarah how to find music and audio resources using the links provided in our Celebrate Oklahoma Voices project wiki, and she ended up choosing the song “Malt Shop Bop” from the Incompetech’s Royalty Free Music Archive.

This project was a lot of fun, and provided both my girls some great opportunities to further develop their oral presentation skills, planning and organization skills, as well as technical abilities editing digital videos. If you have a young person in your family who likes to cook and may spend some time (as my older daughter definitely does) watching professional cooking shows on television, consider helping them create a short how-to cooking video this holiday season and sharing it as part of our “International Cooking Show” project. We probably should offer some tangible incentives for the first few people to participate. I’ll visit with the girls tomorrow about that idea and see what they can come up with. 🙂

If video editing on Windows 7 or Ubuntu can be this easy, I’d love to personally experience it. Our iPhone and iMovie ’09 videomaking experiences today were just as they should be: easy and extremely empowering. We were able to do everything we wanted without a glitch or hiccup.

If you have feedback for this cooking show episode, please leave it for the girls over on the Learning Signs blog post for the video, or directly on the YouTube video itself. Consider cooking and sharing this recipe with your family over the holidays. Nothing says “holiday vacation” like a tray of fresh, piping-hot sausage balls! If you’re looking for the recipe, refer back to our 2007 post (and VoiceThread with Rachel) on cooking sausage balls, or link to today’s show embedded on the “International Cooking Show” project wiki.

Holiday Sausage Balls!

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2 responses to “Holiday Video Fun with an iPhone and iMovie 09”

  1. Franki Avatar

    A great video–thanks for sharing! Understanding the whole process is helpful. Your daughter’s personality shines through on this one:-)

  2. Chris Betcher Avatar

    Sarah and Rachel, that was awesome! Thanks for sharing it with us. I really enjoyed your cooking lesson (and I’m not just saying that in a condescending “it was cute cos you’re just a kid” way, I really mean it, you did a better job of it than many adults could do!)… I thoroughly enjoyed your explanation and demonstration of how to cook these sausage balls. I thought it was clear, funny, entertaining, and you both really did a great job of it! Loved the expression in your voice, your sense of timing and the overall clarity of what you’ve done. Well done! I’m looking forward to the next episode!

    PS: Down here in Australia, we call them meat balls, not sausage balls, and I don’t think we use as much cheese in them. I might have to try your recipe!