Monthly Archives: December 2009

Extract Still Images From Video

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DIY Podcast topic modules feature images that you can use when building your podcasts, but you may occasionally wish to grab a still image from one of the video clips. A couple of videos that come to mind are Sunita Williams exercising on the space station, which you’ll find in the Fitness module, and Clay Anderson demonstrating sports in space, which you’ll find in the Sports Demo module.

Most video editing software makes it easy to extract a still image from video. Depending on the software you use, the still image function may be listed as “Export,” “Make Freeze Frame,” “Extract” or “Take Picture from Preview.” You also may want to try a simple Web search for a free image extraction tool.

Students can use special effects with still images to create supplemental video that runs with their narration. We’ll discuss some of the ways still images are used to create video productions in upcoming posts on the DIY Podcast Blog.

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Adding Still Images to Video Projects

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We started a conversation on the DIY Podcast Blog last week about using still images in students’ video podcasts. Still images can be used in a variety of ways to enhance video projects. One technique, known as the pan and scan effect or move-on-stills photography, was introduced to most of us through Ken Burns’ documentary film “The Civil War.”

The technique is used primarily when film or video material is not available. It gives life to still images by slowly zooming in on subjects of interest and panning from one subject to another. For example, if your students include DIY Podcast clips of an astronaut in their video project, they could use this effect on an expedition or space shuttle crew portrait. Your class videographer could slowly pan across crew members’ faces and settle on the crew member being discussed by the narrator. The pan and scan effect also can be used to transition from one scene to another.

You can achieve this technique with a camera or with software that incorporates still images into a video project using slow pan and zoom effects. If you scan an image, it’s important to determine the right scanning resolution for your work. You need enough data in the scanned image to allow you to zoom in without causing the image to break into blocks of pixels, but you don’t necessarily need to go with the highest scanning density because the resulting file will take a lot of hard drive space and slow your computer processing.

We’ll consider some of the benefits of using still images in video projects in our next blog post. How are you using still images with video in your classroom? Post a comment and share your experience.

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Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

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Most of the DIY Podcast topic modules feature astronauts on the International Space Station explaining or demonstrating scientific concepts. Your students can create audio podcasts with the sound clips we provide on the Audio Clips page of each topic module. But what if your students could interview an astronaut aboard the space station and ask the specific questions they want answered? Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, offers this opportunity.

If you or one of your students’ parents is a ham radio operator, you may be able to contact an astronaut aboard the station. Record the conversation audio, and then your students will have unique content to add to their podcasts. As students prepare for a 10-minute session with a space explorer, they could study a topic related to a DIY Podcast module, listen to the clips provided in the module, and then ask informed questions to get answers they would like to include as sound bites in their own podcasts.

ARISS
International Space Station Reference: Ham Radio
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