With global collaboration and a flat world in mind, this group of Adobe Education Leaders (primary through post secondary education) is sharing their expertise and thoughts on the use of technology in the school classroom and at districts and college/university campuses around the world.
Adobe recently restructured the Creative Cloud learning resources area into the new Creative Cloud Learn Central gateway which provides a plethora of tutorials for getting started with Creative Cloud apps. These videos are sourced from a number of resources, including videos from various community leaders working through Adobe, Infinite Skills, Lynda.com, Kelby Training, Train Simple, and Peachpit.
These are organized by product, with most having a series of levels; “Get Started”, “Fundamentals”, “What’s New”, and “Master Class”. You can access the product tutorials by category like this… or simply view them all at once. One of the really neat things about this relaunch is that anyone can use this resource now – meaning you no longer have to be a Creative Cloud subscriber. These videos make great supplemental viewing for students – and a number of the presenters are actually AELs!
I announced a few days back on my personal blog that I am speaking on Edge Animate at Adobe MAX this year. Also included in that post is a quick, 30-second video ad for the session. For those who are unaware, Adobe actually solicits these videos from speakers as part of the speaker tasks and have done so for at least three years now. It is an optional task and I’ve never bothered to build one out in previous years but thought it might be fun to actually do it this time.
I prepared for a lengthy process of planning, recording, editing, compositing, and all the turmoil that normally comes with a project like this. I figured that I might be able to get it done in 3 or 4 days. Using Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Audition, and After Effects… I was able to do it all in less than 2 hours.
So… what did I need to do to get all of this together?
Initial Assets on hand:
Static session info panel built in Photoshop
Soundtrack already created in Sonar X2 Producer for another project
The Edge Animate logo
What I need to build:
Build up the assets into a nice, 30 second motion video composition
Record and master the voiceover track
Integrate the After Effects composition, VO and BG tracks, and add company branding
The first thing I needed to do was build the core of the ad, which is based upon the Edge Animate logo. I basically plopped the logo in the center of the screen and then had it scale smoothly from far away up until the frame was entirely filled. Upon filling the frame, I employed a glow and burn effect to remove the logo and reveal the session information. Finally, I added some fractal background animation upon a solid fill behind everything whose colors were sampled from the Edge Animate logo. This composition is dynamically linked to Premiere Pro so I didn’t even have to render it!
In Audition, I set about recording the voiceover track and performing some mastering upon it so I wouldn’t have to fiddle with it at all in Premiere Pro. I’ve never had a good time playing with audio in Premiere Pro directly. Incidentally, Jason Levine has an excellent video tutorial on using Audition to generate broadcast-safe audio tracks.
The final step is to glue it all together in Premiere Pro. The After Effects comp was already present via the excellent dynamic link functionality present in the Creative Suite video production apps but I wanted to add the logo for my company, Fractured Vision Media, LLC, to the tail. It’s also simple to throw in some dissolves so that it all flows nicely. All I needed to do then was drop in the two audio tracks and trim the background to the length of the sequence. Done.
The result is included below. It took barely two hours to create and get up on YouTube and I think it gets the message across quite well. Cannot imagine doing this in any other toolset so quickly!
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend, and speak at, the Adobe Education Exchange Live event in Toronto, Ontario back on November 9th. The event piggy-backed onto the larger DesignThinkers conference being held at the same time and both events led up the Adobe Design Achievement Awards (ADAA) ceremony.
The session I gave at the event was around the University of Denver and our work with enabling our community members to take charge of and deliver encoded video streams through tooling and services built in both HTML and Flash Platform technologies. We’ve always been about using whatever tools are appropriate for accomplishing specific needs and oftentimes this involves using a number of different technologies together. As someone who works in both web standards and Flash – it irritates me beyond belief when the two are placed in an adversarial context. That just isn’t reality – and is harmful to the creative process.
The talk was recorded – but don’t think it is available publicly. Slides are below.
Another hi-light for me was getting the chance to chat with gaming evangelist Tom Krcha about Flash, gaming, education, and a number of related topics. Tom gave a great overview of “The Future of Flash” to close out the event and I think it really opened a lot of people’s eyes. Flash is a complex platform consisting of many tools, services, frameworks, targets, runtimes, and people doing extraordinary things all the time. It is a shame that so many see it as just a web animation tool as it really is so much more. Having sessions like this should definitely help!
The ADAA ceremony was interesting… this is the second ADAA awards I was able to attend in person and it really is quite an event. To see the truly great works produced by these students is truly something incredible. Please do have a look at the winners and finalists over at http://www.adaagallery.com/.
A week or so after getting back, I was asked by the Adobe Media Server User Group whether I’d want to speak at their November meeting. For that talk, I modified my Adobe Education talk to focus on AIR and AMS – and the processes used to have it all work. The slides of this talk are below.
Linda Dickeson, Adobe Education Leader and Distance Learning Coordinator, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, NE
From an educator’s perspective, I have been anticipating the release of the new version 9 of Premiere Elements. For several years, Premiere Elements has been a popular movie making solution for education. It’s an intuitive video project environment for students from upper elementary school age through high school (and beyond).
At younger ages, students arrange media clips on a Sceneline, similar to creating a storyboard or slideshow. Older students move into using a Timeline with multiple video and audio tracks; keyframes for animation; and professional quality effects, filters and transitions. These experiences position students well to move into using Premiere Pro, Adobe’s professional video editing solution.
So why should educators be excited about Premiere Elements version 9 release? Among all of the various new features, here are a few of my favorite:
The TOP of my list is that now Premiere Elements is available for Macintosh! For school districts or institutions supporting both platforms, having cross-platforms solutions that look and operate the same makes support and training much easier.
You can share a final project by creating a Web DVD, which makes a Flash-based movie for the web including the easily created interactive disk menu (scenes and chapters). Upload the Web DVD to your own web site or Photoshop.com for sharing, making the project available to a much wider audience.
Premiere Elements has enhanced support for HD video and supports video from newer camera types (Flip, DSLR, etc.).
There are lots of new professional quality filters and effects.
New Themes give you more choices for Instant Movies, DVD menus or Title clips.
There are great resources at Adobe’s new Education Exchange—successful lesson plans, activities and tutorials for multiple curricular areas shared by educators (sign up for your free account). Adobe TV has free video tutorials on every product.
For the past two years, Serge Jespers (@sjespers) has developed a widget to draw attention to the upcoming Adobe MAX conference that involves both video and community collaboration. Last year’s widget allowed users to post a short message on why one would want to attend MAX. This year’s widget allows users to record acceptance speeches for MAX Unawards and thewholeprocessbehindit is a great read!
So… we have a few Adobe Education Leaders who have received MAX Unawards! These are listed below and I encourage other AELs to submit and be added here…
Tom Green (@TomGreen) won the award for ‘Crustiest Tutorialist Of The Year‘
Joseph Labrecque (@JosephLabrecque) won the award for ‘Most Frustrated AIR Developer‘
David Egbert (@DaveEgbert) won the award for ‘Best Un Acceptance Speech‘
Something we’ve struggled with for some time at the University of Denver Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is the full integration of YouTube videos within our rich media tools such as those found within the CourseMedia™ ecosystem. Traditionally, this has been not altogether possible as previous versions of the YouTube Chromeless Player were ActionScript 2 based and so were isolated in a separate Flash Player virtual machine (VM) in any of our ActionScript 3 based tools. There are ways of setting up a proxy and transferring messages between the two VMs through that proxy- but it is messy, includes too much overhead, and is nowhere near ideal. We ended up just opening YouTube content within a browser window- not at all integrated into our systems.
A few days ago, however, Google released an AS3 based Chromeless Player. Using the new player API, we were able to not only effectively integrate seamless YouTube videos within our normal display mechanisms, but were provided the flexibility of hooking full YouTube control functionality into our existing controls for native system content. The result being that the user experiences a YouTube video in the exact same way that they would expect to experience a native system video. This greatly improves the user experience and effectively adds the entire public YouTube video library as potential course material. A quick overview video of how we’ve used this to enhance a few CourseMedia™ tools is presented below:
Dr. Devin K. Joshi is an Assistant Professor in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. This interview was conducted by Alex Karklins of the DU Center for Teaching and Learning regarding his use of CourseMedia™ as a faculty member.
DU CourseMedia™ is a course media management system that helps instructors organize and present media materials (images, video and audio). Instructors have access to large collection of art and world history images, library reserve videos and audio works.
I wrote a new AIR app called LiveStreamer available now via the Adobe AIR Marketplace.
This started as a simple mechanism to display a live RTMP stream from Flash Media Server to a client machine and related projection system. So… not for broadcast over the web- just sending a live stream from one physical location to another.
While developing the application, I came across the need to test an RTMP stream and it was so simple using this app that I decided to expand it. In the current version (0.9.0), it will accept RTMP and HTTP streams- just type in the URL and you can easily test it in order to verify that it is correct before trying to publish anything on a website or whatnot. You can also use it as a fullscreen projection or display mechanism as was originally intended.
If you have some FLVs or MP4s or whatnot on your local machine- you can just drag those into the app to watch them. I’m thinking about adding some playback controls and other options a bit later.
Application for display of video streams via RTMP, HTTP, or local filesystem. Just drag in a file or enter a stream address and away we go!
At the University of Denver, we have built a good number of AIR applications at this point. Some are internal data management tools, others are full, complex, private applications such as the VPS Projection system, and then we have small utility apps like this which others may also find some use for. These we make available to others free of charge as part of our community outreach.