Thursday, April 2, 2015

Organizing and Editing Author Skype Visits #editing #skype #videos

Editing your Skype Author Visits

I was recently asked what software I used to edit the above video. I thought the question would make an excellent blog topic and might prove useful to other authors. I was also asked by Cat Michaels to be a guest on her Author 101 Blog to discuss Skype in the classroom. Please stay tuned for more information on that upcoming event!

Before we begin, you might find it helpful to watch the short 3 minute and 40 second video. 

Important Note: Do not ever post pictures or videos without express permission! In this case, the teacher authorized the use of pictures and video and cleared it through the school's principal. Every school will be different as far as their rules and regulations. This school's only stipulation was that I did not specify the name or location of the school. Please remember, a child's safety is more important than our marketing!  

Before you start your Skype call: 

1.  Do you have a good webcam? I don't use the standard webcam that came with my laptop. Instead I use this one by Logitech. You want to get as clear a picture as possible, which can be tough!

2.  Check your Skype connection speed! Can you achieve a "fast" connection, which is needed for the best call quality. If not, consider upgrading your service. Remember, your connection will also only be as good as the other person's call quality as well! You can have a super-fast connection speed, but if their connection is slow, your call quality will be degraded. 

3.  Turn off any unused computers, gaming equipment, etc. that may cause a draw on your connection speed. You don't want them bogging down your connection speed during a call!

4.  Pick yourself up a good mic. I use the Yeti and I love it! I also use it to record story segments.

Recording your Skype call: 

I'm not going to go into the specifics of how to record your calls because that will really depend on your computer operating system, whether you are using Mac vs. PC, etc. There are a lot of software options to choose from and Skype gives you a list of applications here.  

Editing your video:

Once upon a time--a long, long, time ago--my husband had a hobby video business. We had all the latest equipment and programs, and back in the day, I could easily put 40 hours into editing a phenomenal wedding video for someone. Boy, am I glad those days are gone! Programs are so intuitive and advanced nowadays. You can create videos in a fraction of the time and I'm always looking for an easier, more cutting edge way to do so. Why? Because I don't want to spend hours making videos when I can spend that precious time writing. After all, that is my true objective. 

Knowing I would be needing a simple software program to accomplish this task, I started doing some research and came across Wondershare Video Editor. 

Here is a capture of the main screen---it really is this simple! 

So which mode do I use? 
Full Feature. And here is the reason why....I'm used to editing and like a bit more flexibility to tweak and to split up my call into video segments. For example, the original video length of this call was 33 minutes and I knew I only wanted to create a short snippet. From that video I had to decide what I wanted to portray in the video above.  Let's break it down:

1.  Opening Titles -  Include any clips and pictures from the event to capture the attention of the watcher. I loved that the teacher in this video immediately posted pictures to the internet and shared their experience! Take the opportunity to grab those pictures! 

2.  The greeting - This is when we first came on and said hello. This is your moment to connect with the students. Get them talking! Let them know you are approachable. If you think you might be a little nervous, just think how they feel!  

3.  Introduce your book or series - Give the kids a little history about your books or yourself. Don't make it too long, make it interactive, and don't bore them! 

4.  Read the first chapter of your book -  Since this class had already started in on my third book (gosh, I love those dedicated Dani readers!) we read Chapter 13 together. 

I like reading off a split screen. In my humble opinion, when you read from the book during a Skype call you detach yourself from the kids. If you read from the screen they still feel that connection to you as you are facing them. Also make your reading as lively as possible. I also took this moment to give one of my many little messages--it's the mom in me--that you can't always "judge a book by its cover" and it's important to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

5.  Q & A - I love this part! Kids come up with the best questions! They can also keep you on your toes! Use this valuable time to not only answer their questions, but encourage them! Let them know how important reading and writing is. 

6. Closing - Be sure to say goodbye and let the children know how much you enjoyed visiting with them. Encourage them to visit your website and/or Facebook page with parental permission. Finally, take this opportunity once more to encourage them to read! I like closing with one of my quotes, "Books are like ice cream, there is a flavor for everyone!" Yes, yes I know. I misquoted myself at the end of the video! Silly me! 

Cutting your segments

You might wonder why I don't show the entire video call and only include snippets. I want teachers to schedule their own Skype visit! I don't want kids to watch some recycled video of me on YouTube. I want them to feel the same excitement as these children did at the thought of meeting an author.  

I can give you a real life scenario based on an email I received from a teacher. Not long ago I dropped off some posters to a local school where I will be appearing in April. After recess the teacher took the package I had left at the main office to class. She told her students as soon as she opened the package they would know who stopped by their school.  Slowly she pulled out one of the posters, which was abruptly accompanied by a shriek, "K. Lamb? K. Lamb was here?" Apparently there was also some cheering and "wows" involved, too! :)  

That is the kind of reaction you are trying to create. You want this to be a magical experience for a child. You and I know we are both just regular people struggling as we write our books as get lost in our own imaginations---but to a child, we are the creators of some of their favorite stories! Keep that magic alive for them!

Easy Mode

Now if your Skype call isn't very long and you're not worried about control over the video, this is the mode for you. I hope you're ready for the next few steps because they are a doozy! Go ahead, take a deep breath, and grab that can of Dr. Pepper while you still can because we are moving on to Wondershare in "Easy" Mode. 

Here's how to make a video: 

1. Import your file, which will probably be an .avi format 

2. Pick a pre-made template 

3. Select from a list of music 

4. Preview video

5. Save

Did I fool you into thinking it might be difficult? Nope? Hmm, I guess the name gave me away. It's really that easy! No treading dangerous waters. No hidden doozies. If there was a Video Editing for Dummies software, this would be it! And trust me, there will be times I will be using this feature. Why? Because sometimes I just don't have the time to invest in editing as much as I might enjoy the excuse when I have writer's block. 

This concludes today's workshop in the Author's Corner, but if you have any specific questions you'd like me to answer please do not hesitate to leave a comment below! I'm always happy to help my fellow authors as we make our way through the world of Indie publishing!

Have a wonderful day--and may you all be inspired to write your next adventure!

K. Lamb

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this! It was wonderful to see your video of your classroom Skype visit and your taking the time to share the behind-the-scenes technology is going to be helpful for many authors who wish to engage with young readers across the globe. This is simply amazing!