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Making the Rudolph Music Video (a Web 2.0 story)

by Kelly Walsh on December 26, 2010

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Join me on a little diversion from Ed Tech, to explore some fun Web 2.0 tools that I use to create music videos.

I occasionally get asked what it takes to create videos like the one I made to accompany this year’s “musical Christmas card”, my version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (or last year’s rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”). A fundamental concept behind what is now commonly referred to as “Web 2.0” was the transition from Internet surfers mostly just pulling content from the Internet to the wide adoption of tools to create and ‘push’ content out to the Internet. Many of the tools I used to create this video are the kinds of tools that have helped enable this transition.

Naturally, it starts with the music, but that’s really a separate discussion. Suffice it to say that I used my Korg D3200 Digital Studio (a powerful yet affordable ‘studio-in-a-box’ from Korg) to record and engineer the music. What I’m going to focus on in this post is the making of the video.

Gathering and Creating the Content
First I needed the visual content – the collection of photos, pictures, and video clips that would be used to compile the music video. Some of these I took or made myself, like the pictures of the stuffed Rudolph toys or the elves with the guitar (I made this using Microsoft Paint, which as you are all probably aware, comes free with the Windows Operating System). Others I searched out and found on the Internet. After having learned about Creative Commons a few months ago, I made a point of seeking out images that were free to use and manipulate. My primary source of these images was Flickr (I included references and links to all such images in the comments section of the video itself).

Some of the images required some editing in order to make them appear as I wanted. For example, you will notice various historical pictures (like Reagan at the Berlin Wall, or Lincoln’s Inauguration) which feature Rudolph flying along in the sky. My older son has become rather adept at using Adobe’s Photoshop, and was kind enough to “shop” these pictures for me, inserting Rudolph and manipulating the image’s colors and positioning to make it work better within the context of the picture. He also used Photoshop to wrap Santa’s arm and hands to appear to hold and play the bass guitar (I then used Paint to create different versions of his original edited picture). Friend and artist Glen Cotler also used Photoshop, to create those great pictures of Rudolph playing guitar. (Thanks to Glen and my son Ian for their great work!).

I also used a couple other programs to create content. I used Vuvox to create the scrolling visual with Santa holding a bag of toy’s and the scrolling text quotes (“Rudolph with your nose so bright …”), as well as the clip at the very end of the video (for more about Vuvox, check out this post). One other tool I used is a demo version of Sony Vegas Pro. I used Vegas Pro to create this video of me playing guitar and singing a song a few months ago and I borrowed some small sections of it to include in the Rudolph video.

Compiling and Publishing the Video
The program I used to compile and produce the video is Camtasia Studio 7 from TechSmith. I became a huge fan of Camtasia this year and have used it to create many music videos, and all of the video blog postings I’ve done out on the EmergingEdTech YouTube Channel. I wrote this post about “5 Reasons Why I Think Camtasia Rocks” earlier this year.

Last, but certainly not least, I should mention YouTube! Neither of the aforementioned channels would exist without YouTube, and I probably wouldn’t be doing any of these music videos if YouTube didn’t happen along years ago. This widely used free video broadcasting service is undeniably one of the key players in the evolution of Web 2.0, and I am very grateful for it.

Well, that’s the story of the many different tools that were used to create the music video you see above. It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun, and now it can enjoy a long life out there on the ‘Tube! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
5 Reasons Why I Think Camtasia Rocks
Comparing 12 Free Screencasting Tools
Creating brief instructional videos (and more) with Jing
Vuvox Rocks (what a great tool for creating student reports and teacher presentations)

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Class Workshop in a Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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