I have always liked using the trailer feature in iMovie on my Mac. I have used it several times with groups of children in KS2 to create a stimulus for the wider work around story writing. The results always look very professional and are easy to achieve. What has always been a bit of a chore is shooting enough footage to make the trailer have variety of shot and then the process of transferring the footage from whatever camera you have used. In the past we have used iPods for ease of handling and the ability to email footage to the Mac being used to save the “which wire”game. Even then, the footage was often too large to email. So I was delighted when I began to explore the new iMovie on the iPad. The fairly recent updates have transformed the software into something more like its Mac counterpart, of course with the advantage that the camera and the software are on the same device. The trailer feature is also really nicely put together as it automatically cuts clips to the correct length before inserting.
Although I spend a lot of time teaching media techniques and digital literacy to children and highly value the ability to work with a blank canvas, as a simple activity that allows you to focus on the decisions rather than the process behind making a piece of media this really is invaluable. I gave my 13 yr old an iPad with it on yesterday and asked her to have a quick look through the different styles to see if anything was of use. For ten minutes (and I am not exaggerating) I didn’t see her, then she showed me this:
I did of course question why several shots were sideways on. “To disorientate the audience” apparently….forgot to shoot in landscape I think more likely, but that apart, the ease and speed with which she could focus on a genre, create a plot and then use the scaffolding of the trailer option to produce this opens up such a lot of possibilities. So next time you ask your class to write a report on a key event in history or whatever, maybe get hold of some iOS devices and make them create it in a genre trailer. They will have fun, will need to show social skills, co-operation, planning etc but will also have to really know their subject to get the outcome to look right. The app will take about a minute to learn using this option.