You don’t need to rush along to your nearest camera shop and splash out on the latest state of the art video equipment. It is quite possible to make great films using your mobile phone (a number of film festivals are now devoted exclusively to mobile phone films!) This has exciting implications for film making in the classroom: more on that in a later post, as we are staying small and simple for now.
As busy ESOL teachers and learners we simply do not have the luxury of time whichprofessional film makers enjoy. We therefore need to make sure that any time we spend on filming in our lessons is used as efficiently as possible. This is particularly important when you are filming on location: organisation and planning is everything.
If you are working with a script make sure that your learners can confidently deliver their lines. Invest time before filming on looking at stress patterns and features of connected speech, so that the resulting dialogue does not put any strain on the listener.
Perhaps one of your learners has experience in film editing. If so, ask this learner to share his/her knowledge with the rest of the class. It can happen, however, that none of your learners are confident in film editing techniques and if you’re not either, then what?
Newcomers to film making and editing have some steep learning curves to contend with. I know a teacher who once spent an evening in tears believing her computer had swallowed two hours worth of film. * It doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t we all have a computer geek/ frustrated film maker friend to hand? Friends such as these can often solve in a minute what might take you or I a week of evenings. Time for a matey phone call…
Teachers with access to computer suites are particularly fortunate here. In our last film
) , we copied a folder of video clips to each computer and learners used Microsoft Word Movie Maker to edit and order the clips. The resulting film was a blend of learners’ ideas.
Free editing software (such as Windows Movie maker) is simple enough to use. If you work with Apple products, then iMovie is even better. Enjoy yourself, and take it easy – September is a long way off yet!
If you have useful advice for teachers and learners on the technical aspects of filming, we would love to hear from you.
*Luckily for me it hadn’t!