Friday, 11 March 2011

Magic Lantern Rides Again!

On Monday I was invited to Thurston Primary School to work with Woodpeckers, their Year 2 class, and make a film of their current project on London. They had made some splendid models and written a simple script retelling major events in London's history. We had a delightful time. I use the word carefully to mean filled with delight. Children aged six and seven are generally still full of wonder. This can make them difficult to teach because the world is still a sweetshop and they can easily wander off looking for better flavours. But if you can offer them something sufficiently interesting - so that there is nothing better on offer- they will become totally engaged. And somehow their enthusiasm can draw a similar response from their teachers and we re-enter a fresh, exciting world again. There's just one problem with being a six year-old again when you are half a century more than that - it's absolutely exhausting.

They love sound recording. Everyone can participate, and, with a projector, everyone can see what is happening. By judicious editing , adding FX, music and special effects a simple script is more than half-way to becoming a movie. My Blue Snowball microphone proved its worth too. Being a desktop microphone there is no problem positioning it. It has three settings.  Cardioid which will pick up even quiet voices from a metre away with no problems. Omni directional pickup means you can sit a group around it too. But it also has a -10db setting which is really useful if recording in a very noisy setting. In our case this was when we were a horde of invaded Celts fighting The Roman Army...
You can find the movie "London - A Short History" via my digitalglue movie widget in the sidebar. I still favour blip.tv for hosting. There are two excellent reasons for this.: They are rarely hit by school filtering systems and the school and parents can download and keep the original, best quality video file. If you enjoy watching the movie half as much as I did making it, you'll be back for more...