Monthly Archives: October 2011

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Have Students Create An Actors’ Commentary Video

Category : Tips

One of the best parts of DVD movies are the commentaries by directors, actors, costume designers, and others involved in the creation and production of films. A few years ago, Kevin Honeycutt and I were talking about student video production and came up with the idea of a “Director’s Commentary” or an “Actor’s Commentary” video assignment. The idea is for students to watch their video together, and record the audio of their discussion reflecting on what took place, what they learned, the “backstory” they want to share about different video elements, etc. They could follow a teacher-created rubric to “cover their bases” when creating the commentary audio. While I’ve wanted to share this idea and promote it ever since, today’s the first time I’ve actually created one of these “Actors Commentary” videos. In this post, I’ll share some lessons learned and suggestions for classroom teachers.

My 3 kids (who are on fall break) and I created, “Actors Commentary: The Hobbit In Five Minutes” today. The video track of this is identical to the 4 minute, 19 second “The Hobbit In Five Minutes” project we created in July 2011, but the audio track is different. We used my Sony digital audio recorder to watch the original video together, with the computer’s audio muted.

Prior to actually creating this “commentary video,” I mistakenly thought YouTube supported swapping or exchanging an audio file from MY computer in an existing video. This is NOT the case.

Audio Swap in YouTube

As several contributors in this YouTube Help forum post explain, the purpose of Audio Swap in YouTube is to basically salvage a video which has been taken down because of copyright violations and permit a user to still keep it online with copyright-approved music content. The ONLY options provided for a YouTube Audio Swap are choosing pre-selected and pre-defined music clips for which YouTube has obtained licensing permission from the artists and/or recording companies. You CANNOT upload your own audio directly to an existing YouTube video and swap it out. To do this, you must use a video editing program on your computer and make the audio switch.

Fortunately, iMovie software on a Mac makes this process very straightforward. I bet many readers have been reticent to embrace “the new iMovie” since Apple updated it from its timeline version (iMovie ’06) several years ago. I’ve had my doubts about the new version too, but was finally convinced the new version is better because of the realtime editing and effects features. There are three basic steps to swapping a new audio file into an existing movie you’ve created in iMovie to create a “commentary version.” I did this today with iMovie ’11.

First, create a new iMovie project. From the FILE menu choose IMPORT, then MOVIES. Select the exported / final movie you want to use for this commentary. (If you’re downloading from YouTube, my favorite, free browser-button tool to use is PWN YouTube. I use this within Google Chrome frequently.)

Second, drag your imported video from the Clip Library (bottom of the screen) to your project area. With the entire clip selected (double click it) choose the CLIP menu, then MUTE CLIP. It’s possible to extract the clip audio and delete it, but muting the clip works well (and with ‘minimal clicks’) for this purpose.

iMovie - Mute Clip

Third, drag your recorded audio file from your computer’s hard drive (your Finder) onto your iMovie project window. Make sure you drag the file as shown below, so it drops next to your video clip instead of on top of it. The entire background of the project window should turn GREEN, which means your file will import as background audio.

To add background audio to an iMovie Project

That’s it! Now you’re ready to share / export your video and upload it to YouTube.

I’ve created a new category for “Actors Commentary” videos on Share: Playing with Media, and added this example as a new post. Consider asking YOUR students to create an “Actors’ Commentary” video during the next video project they complete in your class. When they publish it, please share it using the CONTRIBUTE form on Share: Playing with Media!

This was a lot of fun to do, and I’m sure our family will have fun listening to this version as well as the original in the years to come. Playing with media can be quite engaging!

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A Second Grade Field Trip to the Zoo with AudioBoo

Category : Tips

This week on Tuesday my daughter’s second grade class took their fall field trip to the Oklahoma City Zoo. I brought my iPhone and iRig microphone, and the girls in our group used the camera along with the free app AudioBoo to record some reflections during our visit. We recorded nine AudioBoos (all less than 60 seconds each) and three videos. Here are the “digital artifacts” we created documenting our field trip. This kind of mobile storytelling and archiving is exactly the sort of mobile media use by students I want to encourage through my eBook, “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing,” as well as website SHARE: Playing with Media. These are all examples of “no-edit audio recording” and media creation following “the ethic of minimal clicks!”

If you listen to ANY of these, check out the first one about the flamingos. Rachel had some misperceptions about them “easily having some of their legs cut off” which we were able to discuss because of this AudioBoo recording! If she hadn’t recorded and shared her perceptions, I don’t think the adults in our group would have realized her misunderstanding. Great example of the value of having students explain their perceptions and ideas with an audio recorder! Check out the Audio Page of for more links to free, no-edit audio tools.

Flamingos at the Zoo (AudioBoo)

Flamingos at the Zoo


Flamingos at the zoo (mp3)

Turtles and Koi (AudioBoo)

Turtles and Koi


Turtles and Koi at the zoo (mp3)

Head-butting Goats (AudioBoo)

Head butting goats


Head-butting Goats at the zoo (mp3)

Cool facts about California Sea Lions (AudioBoo)

The Sea Lion bellows!


Cool facts about California sea lions (mp3)

Clown Fish in the Anemone (AudioBoo)

Clown Fish in the Anemone


Nemo the clown fish in the anemone (mp3)

The Giant Anteater (AudioBoo)

Giant Anteater


The Giant Anteater! (mp3)

Galapagos Turtles (AudioBoo)

Galapagos Turtles


Galapagos Tortoises at the zoo (mp3)

Baby Elephant (AudioBoo)

Baby Elephant at the Oklahoma City Zoo


Watching a 1 year old baby elephant (mp3)

3 Month Old Baby Tigers Playing (AudioBoo)

Baby Tigers playing


3 month old baby tigers playing (mp3)

We also recorded three movies during our field trip.



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Audio Editing Apps

Category : Tips

I received a request from Lorelei Loveridge, who I met last week in Doha, Qatar, asking for a list all the apps I use on my iPhone and iPad. Fortunately this isn’t an extremely time consuming list to share since I’ve been using Appolicious for about a year. ALMOST all the apps I use along with my family (the five of us all share a single iTunes library) are listed on – There are currently 568 apps there. Tonight I updated the list with the automated Appolicious “library builder,” however, and it didn’t “detect” all my new apps. So perhaps a few are missing. I haven’t made a new “curated list” of apps in awhile, and I’ve never made one for just audio apps, so tonight I also created the “Audio Recording and Sharing (Oct 2011)” Appolicious list. In the eight workshops I shared in Qatar over the weekend, I focused a bit on audio applications which support my eBook, “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing.” Here are the ten audio apps I included in my list tonight. Note the last 3 are technically for creating narrated slideshows, but since they have audio recording features I included them here.

Best iPhone Apps: Audio Recording and Sharing (Oct 2011) by wfryer | Appolicious

All the apps in this list are free with the exception of iRig Recorder ($5), SonicPics ($3) and StoryRobe ($1). Note free versions of iRig Recorder and SonicPics (iRig Recorder free and SonicPics Lite) are available in more limited but free versions. The audio app list I created tonight on Appolicious is “clickable” so you can use that version to check out the different app features. Since I’m not sure Appolicious has all my recent app additions included in my library, I also took some screenshots tonight of the current app folders I’m using on my iPhone for Audio Recording and Sharing, Photo Editing, Video Editing, Uploading Apps for Photos and Text, and Photo Capture or iPhoneography.

Audio Recording and Sharing Apps (Oct 2011)

Photo Editing Apps  (Oct 2011)

Video Editing Apps  (Oct 2011)

Uploading Apps for Photos and Text  (Oct 2011)

Photo Capture / iPhoneography Apps  (Oct 2011)

Are there any iOS apps in these categories which you’re using and absolutely LOVE? I’d love to know about them, and I bet Lorelei would as well. Please share them in the comments, along with direct links to their websites or iTunes pages if you can / feel so inclined. 🙂 Full disclosure: Humbledaisy, the creator of SonicPics, is a current advertiser on my blog.

Cross-posted from “Moving at the Speed of Creativity”

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Win a Digital Audio Recorder in October 2011

Category : Tips

By sharing at least ONE example of a student media project in October 2011, you could win an RCA VR5320 1GB Digital Voice Recorder! This recorder is wonderful to use for student digital storytelling projects, including oral history interviews. The recorder is USB-ready with it’s own USB plug. No cords or adapters are required. The recorder is battery operated.


To enter the drawing, use the CONTRIBUTE form on the website to submit a link to the student media project you’d like to share. Be sure to obtain permission from both the student(s) and parent(s) to comply with the website posting policy.

Congratulations to Brad Wilson, who shared the student media example, “4th Graders Interview State Rep During Field Trip” on the Playing with Media SHARING site in September and won an iRig Microphone in the September drawing.

Visit to view more examples of student media projects. Also be sure to read “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing” by Wesley Fryer. It’s available in several eBook formats (including an enhanced/multimedia version for iPad) as well as in paperback.

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Order your copy of Mapping Media to the Curriculum: Vol I" and "Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing" by Wesley Fryer, Ph.D. Individual book chapters for the first six media products in the "Mapping Media to the Curriculum" framework are also available in the PlayingWithMedia eStore and as eBook singles from