I spent a lot of my time this weekend making a new video for Bernard.  We realised that it’s National Poetry Day soon. In order to pick up on anyone searching for inspiration for that, we thought we’d make a video and push that out for more hits on his website.  Bernard is a poet working in schools so that’s a good marketing tactic for him.

The theme for National Poetry Day this year is Water.  So Bernard fished out some of his poems for children that he has already had published that feature water and we decided to go for ‘Puddles in the Playground’ as having a lot of scope for finding suitable images to play around with.

I recorded him reading the poem using Audacity (free open source software) and the built in microphone on my laptop. It does give a bit of background hiss, but my aim with this type of project is to do it low cost and quickly and I know that with Audacity I can remove a lot of background noise and clean it up. He did it in one take with a little stumble. I think the key is to keep going to get the feel of a live performance and not make it too artificial. We’ve done quite a few things like this, and often the more takes you do, the worse it gets and the less fun it is.

Once I had the recording on Audacity, I cleaned the background noise and was able to edit out the stumble (wrong word corrected) then saved the track as an MP3.

Next I started looking for suitable images to use on www.flickr.com.  I used the advanced search facility (appears as a link under the top right search box once you have done a standard search).


I filtered for pictures that are shared by Creative Commons Licence available to use commercially and to modify, adapt or build upon.


When I found pictures that fitted generally with the theme, I added them to a gallery and downloaded them on to my laptop.  I added to a gallery so that I could easily find them again later if I did use them for both crediting and letting the person know that I had used their image. The galleries are here:

I put the video together using Windows Movie Maker. My laptop has Windows 8 and didn’t come with Movie Maker so I added it some time ago. It is a bit clunky, but good enough to do slideshow type videos like this. Before I added the images to that, I cropped them all to 9:16 ratio and in some cases enhanced a little.

In general with a project like this, I start out loosely slotting in images and then adding the sound track and then moving the order around and changing the length for each and the transitions to fit the sound track until I have got something I like that works.  The final version is the 4th one.  After the first I went back and looked for a few more images and so on.  This is the creative process.

The title image and three composite images are all made using PowerPoint and saving slides as jpegs.

I saved the video as a HD in 9:16 format.

Once the final cut was uploaded to YouTube, I then went back to the galleries on flickr and added a link in the description and put a comment on each image I had used letting them know with a link to the video.  And I included links to the galleries on flickr in the description on YouTube.

If you want to learn how to use Movie Maker, a google search will bring up lots of YouTube how to guides.