e-Learning Tech Stuff #002 – Green Screen Technology

September 17, 2009

Once only available to Hollywood and BBC weathermen, it’s now possible for anyone to use green screen or chroma key technology.

Chroma key is a technique for mixing two images or frames together, in which a color (or a small color range) from one image is removed (or made transparent), revealing another image behind it. This technique is also referred to as color keying, colour-separation overlay, greenscreen, and bluescreen.

Source.

This video was made using a couple of Sony HDD Camcorders, on one of them was screwed a 37mm adapter with a ring of green LEDs.

greenscreen001

I sat on a sofa in front of a screen which is not green (but you can use green) but has reflective beads to reflect the green light back into the camera.

Using Apple’s iMovie 09 and switching on the Advanced Tools option in preferences allows you to add your green screen footage over existing footage.

greenscreen002

There is a nice and simple guide on how to do that here.

Has quite a bit of potential to making short videos more interesting and adding learners and practitioners over existing footage to explain stuff.

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Packing

April 22, 2009

Well I have started packing for the Plymouth e-Learning Conference. Well less packing and more charging. I seem to take more and more equipment to conferences these days. Some of it will be used in my workshops, some I will use to blog and twitter, and some I will bring because I think I might use it, but generally don’t.

Apart from the workshop equipment I usually like to have the following on me at conferences (and a jacket with big pockets to carry it all).

Laptop – though I have a selection of micro-laptops or UMPCs I generally always fall back on my reliable MacBook Pro. In the main as it has a decent keyboard, partly as I have a spare battery for it and it has a built in camera.

Phones – normally two, this year three. Not for making phone calls mind you. I have my work Nokia which is what people at work will be able to call and SMS me on. I have my home T-Mobile Nokia N95 which I use for internet, either on the device or configured as a wireless router, a digital camera, a video camera and a broadcast camera using QIK. This year I will also be bringing an iPhone!

Digital Camera – despite having the 5MP Nokia N95 I do like to have a proper digital camera with a proper lense. I would love to bring my Canon DSLR, but it’s too heavy, so I have a little Sony pocket camera which does the job.

Video Camera – I have found my little Panasonic HD camera a great tool for conferences, at the ALT Conference I used it to create a little video that I then edited on my MacBook Pro (another reason to carry that around). Quick and easy to use, and records to SD cards so video clips can be easily transferred to the computer.

MP3 Recorder – I always carry this, thinking I should record some podcasts when I am at the conference and never seem to get round to it… this conference I hope will be different.

Chargers – as batteries never seem to last as long as the conference.

So what do you bring to a conference?


Sony Camcorder with GPS

April 3, 2009

hdr-tg5vI am really starting to see some of the real educational possibilities of GPS and location based learning. One of the key features of using images in location based learning is the ability to add geo-data the images and video taken by a camera.

Sony have announced a new HD Camcorder with GPS capabilities.

Perfect for travelers, this camcorder features a built-in GPS receiver that automatically adjusts your camcorder’s clock to the proper time zone and lets you view your current location on the LCD map display, as well as “tag” your shooting locations. You can view your tagged videos and pictures via the Map Index function or after you’ve downloaded them to your PC.

As with any HD camera, the technical specifications are pretty good.

Capture all the action on your next trip with this ultra-portable, titanium-bodied Handycam® camcorder. It features Full HD 1920 x 1080 video recording, 4MP still shots.

Sony have also moved to solid state media as well.

Record to 16GB embedded flash memory or choose instead to record to removable Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media

Overall an interesting camera, but does GPS add the value for what is still an expensive camera.