Since the winter gift giving frenzy is upon us and we all know educators use vacations to catch up on things, I thought I’d give the next few weeks over to advice about how to spend both money and time this holiday season. In the tradition of Kathy Schrock (see the archive of her webinar on the Discovery EdTechConnect page), I have a couple of shelves and hard drives full of goodies I’ve used to help turn out a story in one fashion or another.
I’ve already tooted Audacity’s horn (and remember, it’s free!) a couple of weeks ago. Today I’m recommending a utility that is right under your nose and will cost you little, but every media center should have at least one copy of QuickTime Pro. The easiest way to see what it does is to see what it doesn’t. If you don’t already have a copy of QT Pro, just open up a QT movie and start looking through the menus at the top of the window. All those grayed out features with “Pro” in front of them are yours for just $29.99. And there’s no thing to buy. Once Apple has received your payment you get a key code that unlocks the features on the QT that is already in your computer. You can show movies full screen, record video and sound, edit, and save and export in a variety of formats. Lately, my most common use for it has been to take the edited QT movie files that I share through this blog and export them as hinted streaming movies. That way viewers don’t have to wait for the whole movie to download before it starts playing (and when, not if, I forget to do that, please remind me). In addition to everything else it can do, it’s a great piece of software to get sound and video web ready.
[photo – Jupiterimages Corporation. "Man in Santa hat, holding gifts, portrait from above." unitedstreaming: http://www.unitedstreaming.com]