My top 5 tools for digital storytelling

Why have I chosen these tools?

IMG_9759 Funky \ O R Y
I just LOVE editing movie footage and have recently worked on a movie crew of an amateur production of a movie. Serious movie makers certainly wouldn’t have used any of my recommended tools! So why did I choose them? Because time is precious for teachers!  The tools have been chosen according to ease of use, but still maintain an effective outcome. I have purposely not rated the tools because all of the tools meet different needs, therefore one is not necessarily ‘better’ than another. You will find some are ‘quick and simple’ and others have more complex functions.

At the bottom of the page you will have the opportunity to contribute your own ideas.

Digital storytelling is easy and engaging for students …more about digital storytelling

1. Photo Story (free software)

Microsoft’s Photo Story is a very user friendly program that is available for free from the Microsoft web site. This program does not use a video camera or digital video recordings. Instead Photo Story creates the video from digital image stills, such as digital photographs. The program can also add narration, which will require a microphone connected to your computer. The Photo Story will turn your still pictures and sounds into a video at the end, creating video files which can be played using the Windows Media Player or any other video player with the capabilities of playing .wmv files.

You Tube tutorial: How to use Photo Story 3

System requirements: Windows XP; Windows XP Home Edition ; Windows XP Media Center Edition; Windows XP Professional Edition ; Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2

2. Windows movie maker (free software)

Windows Movie Maker is a little more difficult to use than Photo Story but is a free basic video editor available to users of Windows XP. Movie Maker allows you to combine full-motion video, still images, narration, music, effects, titles, and transitions to create your own movies. It’s a simple program but it allows you to make professional-looking movies that you can share over the internet or burn to DVD. With Movie Maker 2.1, you can create, edit, and share your movies. Build your movie with a few simple drag-and-drops. Delete bad shots and include only the best scenes. Then share your movie via the Web, e-mail, or CD. Using third-party software you can even take movies you’ve made and turn them into DVDs.

YouTube tutorial: How to use Windows movie maker

Download Instructions:

You will probably find that WMM is already on your PC and you didn’t know it! Movie Maker 2.1 is available for download with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). You can download SP2, Movie Maker 2.1, and all future critical updates automatically by turning on the Automatic Updates feature in Windows XP.

3. Sound slides ($39.95 basic)

Soundslides is a favorite of mine when I am in a big hurry. It is created for storytellers on a deadline, designed to make quick work of slide show production.

Soundslides operates in a single window on your Windows or Mac OS X computer, with a straightforward interface that leads you through importing your images and audio. Editing tools are familiar and behave the way you’d expect.

It cannot edit video or do complex tasks but what Soundslides does, is make it easy for you to present your images with impact, then sync them seamlessly with any audio track. With Soundslides Plus, you can even skip the sound and just focus on the images.

YouTube tutorial: Using Soundslides

Available as Mac or PC download.

3. Camtasia (or other screen recorder software)

Screen recorder software can be used for making digital stories very quickly and successfully, although the effects can be limiting and a little cumbersome (for the purpose of DST) compared to other options. If you are after a very quick way to narrate a PowerPoint show or images it is a good way to go. Camtasia will embed into Powerpoint, which definitely makes the process easier than capturing it in the usual Screen recorder manner.

Jing is a product which is free, but it doesn’t have as many options as Camtasia. It is highly recommended for a quick and cheap way of recording your screen.

YouTube tutorial: How to use Camtasia Studio

Camtasia has a free trial you can download:

4. iMovie (Mac only)

Being a Mac user myself, I highly recommend using iMovie, which is an alternative for Mac users, to Windows Movie Maker. iMovie is designed to work alongside iPhoto (a photo library) and iTunes (a music library / player). Any images in iPhoto and sounds in iTunes can be accessed from the Photos and Audio panes in iMovie. Like Windows movie maker, iMovie can edit video footage as well as still images. It has the capacity to narrate, import audio and is compatible with iDVD for putting onto DVD. iMovie has the capacity to upload straight onto YouTube and output into a variety of formats.

Once you get used to it, you will find it quite quick and simple, but it is more complex than other programs I have recommended here as it has ‘more functions’.

Read more here…

YouTube tutorial: How to use iMovie

5. Slide show movie maker (free)

Create AVI photo slideshows

Slide Show Movie Maker can create an .avi video slideshow from a series of .bmp or .jpg images. Images can have professional-looking fade-in and fade-out effects, plus attractive text overlays. The program lets you choose to save output using any one of your systems installed .avi codecs. You can choose to build your slideshow from selected pictures or entire directories. If you select any of the included effects, they can be previewed, using the built in viewer before you apply any of them. The program also lets you save your work as projects, so you can continue working on them at a later time. Additional features include pa color fading panorama scrolling and more.

System requirements: Windows 9x, NT, ME, 2000, XP, XP Pro with a resolution with minimal 1024 x 768 pixel

Bonus tool: Audacity (free)

This software is only for editing audio but can be used in conjunction with any of my top 5 tools. It is free to download and is primarily used for recording and editing sounds. It is easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more! See the complete list of features

YouTube tutorial: Using Audacity

System requirements: Available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

Anybody out there know of any other great DST tools to share?

I welcome your opinion and will always reply to comments! Just click on the ‘no comments’ or ‘#comments’ below.



Filed under Blog tips, E-learning tips, E-learning tools, New tools, Other

3 responses to “My top 5 tools for digital storytelling

  1. Pingback: My top 5 tools for digital story telling | Swineblogger… through …

  2. Thanks for those tips. I am a new convert to iMac and now LOVE iMovie and all things Mac.

  3. jennywood

    @geoff allemand, Glad to see you have ‘seen the light’!


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