TESOL Video News

TESOL Video News, Volume 14:2 (Fall 2003)

by User Not Found | 11/01/2011

Video Interest Section E-Newsletter

In This Issue...

Input Sought on Proposed Name Change
Editorial Note
From the Chair
Capturing DVD Images for Pedagogical Applications
Language on Your Laptop: Using Simple Desktop Capture and Editing Tools to Make Language Video Clips
About this Member Community

Input Sought on Proposed Name Change

Announcement! At the Annual Business Meeting of the Video Interest Section at the 2003 TESOL conference in Baltimore, Maryland, those members present voted to change the name of the Video Interest Section to Video and Digital Media Interest Section to reflect technological developments. Before this name change is implemented, members must be consulted. Please give your input concerning this possible change through the IS e-list (vidis-l@lists.tesol.org) or by contacting one of the IS officers. Meanwhile, we are looking into the possibility of online voting on the name change. We hope to have more to report in the next issue of TVN.

Editorial Note

By Johanna Katchen, katchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw, and Andrei Campeanu, andrei@atmediaservices.com, VIS E-Section coeditors

Welcome to the second TESOL Video E-Newsletter. TESOL has phased out printed newsletters in favor of smaller, electronic communications. TESOL now handles all formatting; editors are instructed to submit RTF files. The reasoning behind this restriction is to enable even those with the oldest e-mail and Internet software to read the material. Members of the Video IS tend to be among the more technologically savvy and may be using newer hardware and software. We have prepared this issue using FrontPage, with color and photos, but we are uncertain how TESOL will send the issue to you. If you receive straight black and white text, no photos, and would like more, then you may want to click onhttp://teens.nthu.edu.tw/johanna/December%20TVN/December%202003%20TVN.htm (Explorer). The file is not linked to any other site and you need this URL to access it.

TESOL has promised to let us expand the content and to hand over more of the formatting to us when some technical problems have been resolved. We hope that time will come soon. An advantage of e-newsletters is that we can bring these to you up to six times per year. Thus, from now on, you should receive more frequent Video e-newsletters.

In this issue there is a message from the chair, Barbara Morris. Then there are two articles based on presentations at the Video IS Academic Session in Baltimore, Maryland, in March 2003: Johanna Katchen's "Capturing DVD Images for Pedagogical Applications" and Andrei Campeanu's "Language on Your Laptop: Using Simple Desktop Capture and Editing Tools to Make Language Video Clips." Both show how the computer has become an additional and essential tool in the production of video teaching materials.

The Video IS is soliciting articles for future issues of TESOL Video News. To submit articles or announcements, send material to katchen@mx.nthu.edu.twor andrei@atmediaservices.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

From the Chair

Barbara Morris photo.By Barbara Morris, bmorris@udel.edu

We in the Video Interest Section (VIDIS) are fortunate. Ours is a small group--about 150 strong--which means we can, and do, actually get to know each other. All it takes is participation--from reading or contributing to this e-newsletter to posting a message on our new electronic mailing list (e-list) (see below on how to join) to submitting a proposal for TESOL or running for a position on the VIDIS board. By contributing, you get noticed. And you can really make a difference to your colleagues.

Video transects many areas and we are, consequently, a diverse and dynamic group! That what interests us is also of value to many outside our interest section is apparent in the number of joint sessions with other interest sections--known in TESOLese as InterSections--which we cosponsored in Baltimore. In addition to the now-traditional joint presentation with the TESOLers for Social Responsibility Caucus, we participated in a session on body language with the International Teaching Assistants IS and the Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening IS and another on student video production with the Refugee Concerns IS.

The latter InterSection, which I chaired, included participants from elementary, secondary, adult education, and IEP settings. As a spin-off from that experience (and also in response to the excitement generated by the academic session, "Digital Video--Technological Options Pedagogical Payload," described elsewhere in this newsletter), I and chair-elect Jonathan Gourlay are planning an academic session in Long Beach that should interest just about everybody at the convention. Entitled "Cool Video and ELT Learning Objectives," the session will include representatives from pre-K-12, adult, and higher education, as well as professional video producers, who will discuss how emerging video technologies can address teaching standards and objectives.

We are also planning three more intersections for Long Beach--with the TESOLers for Social Responsibility Caucus, the Teacher Education IS, and the Intercultural Communication IS.

As cochair, my big job has been overseeing the TESOL 2004 proposal evaluation process. We had 33 proposal submissions this year, and Video Theater proposals are still arriving as I write this. I want to thank everyone who submitted a proposal, and I especially want to thank the proposal readers: Tom Bello, Andrei Campeanu, Jonathan Gourlay, Johanna Katchen, Susan Matsen, Naomi Migliacci, Diane Ogden, and Daniel Walsh.

A second responsibility is communicating with you, the members of the VIDIS. This e-newsletter represents our most visible means of communication, thanks to the hard work of editors Andrei Campeanu and Johanna Katchen.

Another significant way of communicating is through our new electronic mailing list (e-list): VIDIS-L. Currently only about one third of our membership has subscribed to this free service through which any one of us can post comments and queries. I urge all of you, if you haven't yet done so, to sign up right now while you're online, either by visiting http://www2.tesol.org/ and clicking on Communities, then on Manage your E-List Subscriptions, where you need to fill in the form and check off Video. Alternatively, you can send a blank message to join-vidis-l@lists.tesol.org.

Besides being small and diverse, we are fortunate that new technologies make us an evolving interest section. In Baltimore, a proposal was made to change our name to "Video and Digital Media Interest Section" to reflect these changes. In upcoming newsletters you will have the chance to express your opinion about this proposed name change.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Capturing DVD Images for Pedagogical Applications

Johanna Katchen photo.By Johanna Katchen, katchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw

Technology now permits us to copy digital images directly from DVDs. This article does not discuss copying moving images or sound but only still images. From the teacher's point of view, if you want to show moving images, for most classroom applications you can just use the DVD. The still image, however, is more useful for the activities teachers develop for use before or after watching an excerpt of a film. As with the DVD, the still pictures are also copyright-protected. The definition of fair use in classroom settings may (or perhaps may not) include the judicious use of a few images for review purposes.

Why Use Captured Images?

You can use the still image from a DVD in the same way you can use any picture--they can be purely decorative, making handouts more appealing and bulletin boards more colorful. More specifically, images from a film aid memory in postviewing tasks. For example, the first few scenes of a film usually introduce most of the primary and secondary characters. A common activity after viewing these scenes is to describe the characters or to predict something about them and their behavior. This is far easier for students to do if there is some image of the character (perhaps one-inch square) next to the name and some space for them to write their descriptions. This solution can be seen in commercial textbooks. After all, even native speakers can have difficulty keeping names and faces of several characters straight after one or two viewings. Moreover, the teacher might waste too much time trying to locate a still image of each character from the DVD in front of the whole class. Other activities might include using a selected set of 4-6 images from a part of a film to prompt students to retell what happened or, before viewing, showing a still of the main characters together and having students guess their relationship or predict what will happen.

If students report on aspects of films, they, too, can sometimes prepare more efficient materials with still images. I have learned this from experience. The first time I asked my class of 28 freshmen English majors (in Taiwan) to give group reports on aspects of a DVD film, they wasted class time and were very frustrated using the DVD controls to locate the parts of the film they wanted to show to illustrate their points. Fortunately, not long after, the students' self-access lab received a new computer on which was installed a DVD drive and software to capture images. At that time, we were using Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and at the beginning of the second week I gave students a review of characters using PowerPoint. Next to the image of each character (captured from the DVD) were his or her name and a brief description. Although I did not specifically teach the students how to use the software, I told them what software I used for this presentation and for previous classroom handouts, told them where it was available for their use, and encouraged them to think of this option for their next group reports.

A few weeks later, two of six groups used still images from the Harry Potter film embedded in PowerPoint presentations to report on costumes and objects that behave in unusual ways. (Two other groups used material gathered from the Internet, and the group reporting on the music obviously had to work with audio.) By the end of this two-semester course, all groups had worked with captured still images and other technology on their own initiative to compile lovely presentations. Students are often far ahead of their teachers in making technology their own.

How Can I Capture the Images?

To capture still images from DVDs, you need a DVD drive on your computer and software that allows you to play the DVD and capture images. One of the first companies to permit capture of still images was CyberLink (http://www.cyberlink.com.tw/) with its Power DVD, software that comes with many new computers in Taiwan and that I am most familiar with. Some other, newer DVD software also allows capture.

Capturing still images from DVDs is relatively easy and involves three basic steps: capturing and saving the images, locating the saved images, and incorporating them into teaching materials. First, play the DVD and, when you find an image you want to capture, hit pause on that image. You may have to move forward or backward frame by frame (you can usually do this while the image is paused) to get the best image (e.g., with the character's eyes open, mouth closed). When you find the frame you want, hit the capture button or icon. You can continue pausing and capturing until you get all the images you require. On Power DVD, capturing the image also saves it.

Remember, however, that saved images do take up rather a lot of memory on the computer (up to several megabytes), so make sure you have enough memory on the drive to which you are saving the images. Normally, when you install the new software, your computer will choose the C drive unless you tell it otherwise. Thus, to find the images saved by the Power DVD I am using, I open C drive, Program Files, Cyberlink, Power DVD, Images. Here the images will be automatically numbered in sequence. Though sensible in computer terms, this does seem to be a long way to dig to find your saved image. Power DVD and other software give you other options when capturing, such as saving the image directly to a clipboard and then pasting it where you want it. I prefer to capture several images while I am playing the DVD and then later, when I am ready to use them, to select the ones I like best and delete the rest. But other people may have different preferences.

To use an image, I open it, copy it, open the file in which I want to put it, and paste it in. At this point the image is quite large. You may want to modify (e.g., resize, crop, make brighter) your image within the original software (if it permits), your picture editor (most newer computers come with a built-in picture editor), or the program you are pasting it into. For example, both Word and PowerPoint have a picture toolbar to do simple editing. You would work with these images captured from DVD the same way you work with other images from a digital still camera or scanned image, for example.

Note that for handouts, it is better to turn the images into black and white first (the computer usually calls this gray scale). You may need to brighten the image to get acceptable contrast of lighter and darker gray scale. I have found that a photocopier always seems to make images somewhat darker than the original, so adjust accordingly.

As mentioned earlier, captured images take up a lot of memory, so usually a file containing images cannot be transported on a floppy disk. How, then, will you take your material to class? If the file is on your laptop, can you take your laptop and connect it to a projector in the classroom? If the classroom already has a computer with stable Internet access, you might temporarily upload to your own Web site (it does not have to be linked nor publicly accessible as long as you know the URL) and then download it in class (better to do this before class). Some of my students used this option for their reports.

Two more dependable ways to access your images in class are to save the file on a CD or an external hard drive. Some of these portable drives are as small as a key and have a capacity of 250 megabytes or more. Larger ones are the size of a PDA and often store 20-30 gigabytes. Make sure the computer you plan to use is compatible and can read the drive without installing special software first (Windows 98 requires that you install the driver from the disc; newer versions install automatically). Essentially it is the same advice for anyone using technology: try to test the equipment ahead of time to make sure everything works.

To the movie buff, the moving image may be more exciting than the still image. For the teacher, however, a few carefully selected still images from a film, presented on a projector or a handout, can facilitate various pre-, mid-, and postviewing discussion and writing activities.

Johanna Katchen teaches both undergraduate English majors and graduate students in English language teaching at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan Republic of China. This article is now a lesson in her AV Methods and Materials course. http://mozilla.hss.nthu.edu.tw/johanna/

Language on Your Laptop: Using Simple Desktop Capture and Editing Tools to Make Language Video Clips

Andrei Campeanu photo.By Andrei Campeanu, andrei@atmediaservices.com

Progress is a wonderful thing. There was a time when videotaping anything, including a simple talking head, meant 80 pounds of camera gear, microphones, and wires; 100 pounds of lights; a crew of three' and access to an editing suite with lots of black boxes, giant tape machines, and a grumpy editor. Not anymore. All the capabilities needed to capture a simple video scene are right here on the laptop I'm using to write this article, supplemented by a digital video camera, which rests right next to it. Total combined weight, including batteries, is about eight pounds.

To an old production hand like me, this is a moment similar to that of Gutenberg relieving the scribes of their daily drudgery, or Kodak introducing the Brownie, or Mr. Wang's early word processors making Wite-Out obsolete. In my case, the only aggrieved party was my chiropractor, although I'm sure some of the unemployed scribes in Gutenberg's day also objected.

The Age of Desktop Video

Okay, so the age of desktop video has arrived. What does that mean in practical terms? It means that any mildly motivated teacher or instructor can use these tools to

  • capture language for later use in the classroom or
  • involve the classroom in the video production process to elicit language and interaction between students

The lag time between capturing and viewing the finished video clip on the computer screen is now measured in minutes and hours instead of days and weeks.

Capturing in Action

At our session at TESOL in Baltimore, Maryland, a roomful of professionals produced a very credible 5-minute video with about 20 minutes of instruction, 10 minutes of production with two cameras, and about 30 minutes of laptop editing.

We used two Sony PD-100A cameras and a G4 Macintosh laptop, but any combination of digital video camera and laptop with a Firewire (IE-1394) connection will do the job. My Apple laptop came with iMovie editing and compression software. There are literally dozens of low-cost editing software packages for both Mac and PC that either come with the camera (like Sony's Pixela Image Mixer) or are packaged with the laptop. Others are downloadable from the Web. If you're using a PC, you need to make sure you have a video capture card with a Firewire input. A brief list of packages and related links is available on my company's Web site, http://www.atmediaservices.com/. We recommend you also search using keywords.

Most of our seminar participants had used a video camera (more accurately, a camcorder) at some point in their lives, so operating one was no mystery. The rules we gave them are as follows:

  • Be aware of the light: Put the strongest light source to your back.
  • Be aware of the sounds around you: Close your eyes and listen; keep away from distracting or loud background noises.
  • Zoom all the way out (the W setting on your zoom button) and stay close to your subject: Concentrate on the face (close-up) or the head and upper body (medium shot); this helps capture all facial, mouth, and hand movements.
  • Good sound is crucial: Keep the microphone (and attached camera) within a couple of feet of the interviewee; the voice of your subject should be the loudest thing you hear. Use headphones or earphones plugged into the camera sound output to monitor what you are recording.
  • The subject should have a consistent eye line: Give them something to look at besides the camera. Engage your subject; look up from your LCD or viewfinder and make eye contact if you can.
  • Ask simple, short, open-ended questions: Give your subject someone to respond to. Don't hide behind your camera.

Armed with these instructions, four camera volunteers took turns at recording basic introductions from their colleagues in the room. I then used one of the cameras to play back the recorded interviews. The results were excellent. Almost none of the recorded interviews had any glaring technical flaws and all were transferred (digitized) into the computer via the IE-1394 input using the capture function in my iMovie software.

The Editing Process

The 18 or so video clips captured were edited on the laptop while my fellow panelists continued the presentation. The editing process consisted of selecting the six most interesting, well shot, and clear-sounding clips; picking start and end points for each clip; and then assembling them into a rough sequence.

We reviewed the process with our audience at the end of the session. The demonstration of the editing process was pretty straightforward. We recommended the following steps:

  • Set the camera to its play mode and plug it into your computer using the iLink IE-1394 or Firewire port.
  • Open the editing software. (Some software packages launch automatically when a video camera is connected, others don't.) Check to make sure the computer recognizes the camcorder output.
  • Play the video in the camcorder and select the sections you want to transfer (digitize) to your computer. The camera can generally be controlled directly from the computer.
  • Be generous with your start and stop marks (in- and out-points). It is simpler to trim off unwanted material in the computer than to go back and redigitize material from the tape.
  • Pick several clips with the same subject--in our case, answers to the same questions. Trim unwanted material. Compare the clips side-by-side on screen and pick the one with the best possible combination of production and pedagogical values.
  • Use the selected clips to create a sequence. Place them in a timeline. Play the sequence a few times and shuffle clips around until you're happy. Add dissolves, fades, or wipes from the effects menu. Even out the sound levels between the different clips.
  • Compress the final sequence to a format you can play back on your computer (e.g., Quicktime, Media for Windows, MPEG, RealVideo). With most editing software, it is a menu choice.

After a brief demonstration of these steps and the results, we discussed the technical qualities and the pedagogical payload delivered by the video clips. The interesting conclusion was that, within broad limits, language trumps production values. The audience seemed to feel that an interesting answer or a good story would be watched even if the image were not top notch. Bad sound, however, was considered a serious sin and made clips useless, although someone pointed out that watching video with no sound also has pedagogical applications.

We also had a general sense that, while not trying to compete with Hollywood or professionally produced language videos, most of the teachers in the audience felt they could create additional language materials for their classroom with the technology they had on hand or had within easy reach.

As we were putting away our gear, I thought of the accordion folder in which my aunt, a language teacher for more than 40 years, carries all her reams of teaching aids to class and of my laptop as an electronic version of that folder. The only difference? My laptop has an 80 Gigabyte drive. That's an 80-million-page folder.

The president of a/t media services, inc., Andrei Campeanu develops video components for course books. He currently serves TESOL as Video Interest Section e-newsletter (Newsletter) Editor.

About this Member Community Video (VID) Interest Section

The Video Interest Section focuses on the production and use of video materials in English language teaching. Areas include student and teacher produced videos, reviews of commercially available materials, listening/speaking/reading/writing instruction through movies and TV, media literacy, film analysis, intercultural training, video as an assessment tool, teacher education, interactive video, distance learning, and the use of new video-related technology.

Community Leaders, 2003-2004

Cochair: Barbara Morris, bmorris@udel.edu
Cochair: Rebecca T. Valdovinos, rebeka54@earthlink.net
Chair-Elect: Jonathan Gourlay, jgourlay@comfsm.fm
Coeditor: Andrei J. Campeanu, andrei@atmediaservices.com
Coeditor: Johanna E. Katchen, katchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw

E-list: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected/ to subscribe to VIDIS-L, or http://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=vdmis-l if already subscribed.