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Get the most from digital video

Jacqui Sinkins shares her tips for success in the classroom

However good the digital video hardware and software, some technical help is useful. Staff had an in-service on how to use it which gave us the chance to play around with the equipment and make our own films.

When we hit any technical glitches the advisor from West Sussex AIS (advisory and inspection service) was able to help us. Children are far more motivated if they know their final product is going to be a film.

You don't always need to use digital video for an all-singing, all-dancing final presentation. You don't even have to turn it into a fantastic iMovie or burn it onto a CD. Basically, it's a tool. There are times when you may want to use it simply as a timing device.

Pupils don't necessarily all need to make individual films. DV is ideal for developing communication skills and helping children talk about what they're doing. Generally, working with DV has a lot of speaking and listening outcomes.

I've looked at what I've done before and then looked at DV to see how I could enhance it. Using DV, the project becomes sparkier and livelier and children see a clear end product and goal to work towards. Children can be taught basic digital video editing in an afternoon. This involves pulling sections of DV onto the storyboard, editing them and putting in a transition. Within a couple of months children will be making films.

Children like using the camera in pairs because that way they're working with someone they feel comfortable with. This is especially important when they're doing their piece to camera.

Filming with digital video

* Always use a tripod unless you are after a wobbly effect. It may be an additional expense but it creates a professional look to the finished product and reduces the risk of accidents with the camera.

* When filming pieces to camera attach a microphone for really clear sound.

* Give children short pre-filmed clips to practise editing.

* Look at how different styles of filming are used in adverts, films, interviews etc.

* Encourage children to produce plans, scripts or storyboards before filming starts.

* It is hard to edit your own work so get pupils to swap each other's work before editing.

* iMovie can be used to time events, so use it in science experiments such as those involving friction and gravity.

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