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Making media yourself – explainer videos

2 minutes reading time
11-17 years
Copyright: Ute Grabowsky/photothek.net

In many families it is normal to have unknown things explained with the help of videos: How do I disable tracking on my smartphone again? How do I write an argument or how do I cook the best spaghetti bolognese? YouTube is full of so-called explainer videos. You can find out how such videos help with learning in our article “When videos on the Internet replace the dictionary“.

Thanks to the smartphone, it is not difficult to make such an explanatory video with the whole family. First of all, of course, the topic must stand. Maybe there is something interesting from your child’s school lessons that you would like to explain briefly, concisely and excitingly in a video. If your family likes to cook, recipes can also be described in an explainer video. Or you want to turn the best photos from your last vacation into a movie.

An explainer video can look different. We present two options that can be easily implemented at home:

  1. In a photo show, selected photos are put together one after the other, accompanied by sound and music, and supplemented with texts and stickers. This can be done very easily with Adobe Spark Video, for example. The program is available as a free app or you can create your Adobe video directly on your computer online. However, it is a prerequisite that one registers with Adobe.
  2. If your child likes to draw, this may be the format for them! You can draw the explanations and film them as you go, or you can draw individual elements, cut them out, and then slide them into the picture one by one. This technique is also called laying trick. Previously cut out figures, symbols and words are moved on a background and filmed from above. The film can be recorded either in one piece (so that you can see how a person or his hand pushes the individual elements into the picture) or by single-frame animation. A new photo is taken after each change to the image. The many individual photos are strung together at the end (this can now be done quite easily via an app), so that a moving film is created. With such films, one also speaks of stop motion.

Once you’ve thought together about how the topic should be told in what kind of explainer film, you’re ready to go! The cell phone camera (or other digital camera) can be handheld or placed on a tripod, depending on whether you are filming from above or from the side. You can shoot single clips or let the camera run all the time. In any case, the clips must be “cut” and stitched together afterwards. There are certain apps for this, in which texts, sounds, etc. can also be added. For iOS devices we recommend iMovie, for Android devices PowerDirector. You don’t necessarily have to talk during the filming, but you can also do that afterwards via the app with your smartphone.

Making videos yourself is always a team effort. Someone has to film, someone else is responsible for painting or moving objects. Maybe there are also people who are supposed to explain things. So here the whole family can join in!

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