Help, I Want to Make a Video But My Topic Is Not Very Visual!

I recently received an email from a reader who was having difficulty figuring out how to make a video about his non-visual topic. He wanted to communicate his research on data technology but was at a loss as to how to depict this topic using video. I gave him some suggestions specific to his situation, but realized that there were likely others out there like him. So, I decided to make a tutorial that shows three ways to generate film footage about a non-visual topic. Here it is:

360° Time Lapse with a GoPro Hero 4

Are you looking for an easy way to create a brief video that shows a 360° view of a natural landscape, a park or playground, a city block, or the interior of a building? I’ve produced a two-part tutorial showing how to do it with a GoPro camera, an egg timer, and GoPro Studio.

If you conduct field research, this might be a great way to document a study site or create a unique view of whatever you are studying. Put the time lapse video on your website or use it in a presentation.

How to Record a Movie with QuickTime

Would you like to record a PowerPoint presentation along with your voice explaining your slides…perhaps to put on your website or to submit as a video abstract for your next journal article…but don’t know how?

An easy way to record your computer screen and audio is with QuickTime, the video player software that comes with the Mac operating system (also available for Windows). You can also record the screen of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with Quicktime…as long as the mobile device is attached to your computer via the lightning port and is running iOS 8 or later. In addition, you can record yourself with the built-in camera on your laptop or create a podcast by making an audio recording with QuickTime.

In the following video tutorial, I show how to make movie, audio, and screen recordings with QuickTime, which can then be edited (the previous post shows how to edit QuickTime clips).

How to Edit an iPhone Video to Create an Eye-Catching Tweet

I recently taught a workshop on science videography at a science society conference and wanted to post a few Tweets to let society members know about it and to attract additional participants. My plan was to post daily Tweets during the week prior to the workshop. My problem was how to make my Tweets noticeable among the many other Tweets being posted by conference goers. So, instead of attaching photos to the Tweets, I decided to create a series of brief video bulletins to make my Tweets more eye-catching and to emphasize the topic of the workshop.

However, I did not want to spend a lot of time on this, as I had my hands full preparing for the workshop. After a bit of experimentation, I discovered that it was easy to take short (10 second) video clips and use the editing option in the iPhone camera app to add a bit of text describing the workshop. Then it was an easy task to compose a Tweet on my phone and attach the video bulletin, a different one each day. A bunch of people viewed the Tweets, and I attracted several additional participants for my workshop. See below for an example:

Someone who saw my Tweets asked me how I created them. So, this week I put together a tutorial to show how to quickly turn a video clip stored in an iPhone camera roll into an eye-catching bulletin to announce an upcoming event or publication. The resultant video announcement can be exported and posted on a website, on a Facebook page, on a LinkedIn profile, or in a Tweet.

Use a Movie Trailer to Share Science

Hollywood uses movie trailers to announce a new film and to attract viewers. You can use the same approach to tell others about an upcoming journal article, report, book, or research project. Students might use a trailer to share their experiences on a field trip or to make a video to accompany a conference poster. It’s a fun way to share your work with others or to tell people about your activities.

How does one go about creating a movie trailer? In iMovie (both the desktop and mobile versions), you are given the option of making a movie from scratch or using a movie trailer template. If you select the latter, the trailer editor does most of the work for you—for example, making suggestions about what types of footage and text to use. The trailer option may be helpful if you are having difficulty getting started with a video project. You may be at a loss as to how to organize your material to tell a story…..or you may not have time to plan, shoot, and edit a movie from scratch.

To help you out, I’ve created a two-part tutorial to show how to use the trailer option in iMovie (Version 10.0.8) to create a movie trailer. In this tutorial, I recreate a trailer that announces an upcoming, hypothetical paper, but you can use it for many other purposes. The tutorial walks you through the workspace and shows how to: import footage and other media, modify added video clips and photos, and convert the trailer to a movie project to allow more extensive editing.

Even if you do not plan to use a movie trailer to share your work, making a mock trailer is a great way to begin learning how to design and edit a video. And, who knows? You may end up with something great. If you already have film clips or photos of your research or other activity, the movie trailer editor will allow you to make a video in less than an hour. If you do not like the provided templates (and some are pretty cheesy), it’s possible to convert the trailer to a regular movie project that can then be edited to your liking.

Parts One and Two are embedded below (select full-screen and HD for best viewing). Direct links to the videos are here and here.