20 Puppet Shows up and running

I worked feverishly to move the video performances of our class puppets shows from my digital camcorder to a website this week, so that I could have the site up and running for students and their families this weekend (There are 20 puppet shows, with one still to go — it was delayed due to sickness of one student). I succeeded, but in order to do so, I had to abandon my plan to use my new classroom Mac to make the movies. I returned to familiar ground with my PC and Moviemaker.

Next time …

If you are wondering how I went about creating the puppet show online site:

  • First, of course, my students had to write and perform the plays. This began in early December with brainstorming, collaborative writing, puppet making, and then moved into January with performances;
  • I used my digital camcorder to record them, keeping the rest of the class quiet (which normally is difficult, to be honest, but for times when we are recording, they are wonderful). I keep considering the value of using my Flip Camera for this part of things, but I would have to download between classes, and that doesn’t seem feasible. Plus, I like the quality of video from the camcorder. The sound abilities of Flip are not quite there yet. Of course, sound is always an issue, and my digital camcorder does not have a jack for an external microphone, so kids need to be loud to be heard.
  • I moved the videos from the camcorder to my PC (I am still on XP, by the way), and then dumped the raw videos into MovieMaker, where I added a quick title.
  • In MM, I created a small video file movie (I use the 2.1 m output, which is good for web). This part of the process — creating 21 small movies, essentially — is the most tedious and the longest part of the entire process;
  • I uploaded the videos into my Vimeo account. I pay for an advanced Vimeo account because I want to do different things, including removing all returning links to Vimeo. I just want to the video for embedding and that is it. But there is a free Vimeo account you can get and I have been happy with the hosting of all of my videos there, so far;
  • I went into WordPress.com and set up a free blog site (actually, I returned to the site I used last year, and made a new theme for this year). One of the nice things about WordPress is that it integrates perfectly with Vimeo, so all you need to do is grab the video number from Vimeo and use a macro shortcut [vimeo xxxxxx] and the video embeds automatically. I also tinker with the settings of the WordPress site so that there are NO auto-generated links to other related sites. This means turning off the option for making my site available for search engines. Since we are talking a school site, I don’t want any unsavory links to other sites popping up. Now, with WordPress.com, there is a possibility of advertising, but none of the handful of sites that I have used have had any advertising on it. Probably, there is not enough traffic. But it is something to keep an eye out on. (I also have an adblocker, so if you see ads at my site, please be a friend and let me know)
  • I add the videos under “categories” so that I can group them by class (I teach four classes) and then archive the previous year’s puppet shows under its own category.

And, the Puppet Show site is ready for viewing!

Peace (in the puppets),

PS — Here is a funny one — Sit On Your Head Day:

One Comment
  1. Thanks for sharing your process. I couldn’t follow some of what you did “grab the video number from Vimeo and use a macro shortcut [vimeo xxxxxx]” but that’s okay. I have a few more things to learn. Maybe 2010 will be the year, we’ll see.

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