Media Matters Curtain Up

Denelfimage Welcome to Media Matters.  We’ll be covering all things media here.  With the season upon us, why not start with a little animation you can make of yourself at  I’ll attach a little DEN flash in the comment below.  I saved it as an AVI file using SnagIt, a great screen capture (including video) program from  The elf site gives you the chance to paste your face or someone else’s (like a kid) into the body of a dancing elf.  You can add your own voice with mouth movements by using a phone—yet another use for cellphones in technology, for those of you following my passion on the subject.  You send the URL to a friend, or using SnagIt–or SnapzPro on a Mac–capture it for your desktop or video iPod.

Snagit_1 You have gathered that this blog covers any aspect of media.  If you have questions, tips, or comments, please send them.  To jump start things, in the next post I’ll share the sidebar chat comments from a DEN webinar– a fascinating little real-time blog post in itself about iPods, flash, and lots more.  But until then, please let me know what would be valuable to discuss.  I helped create, and directed the  nation’s oldest media festival for a decade or so, which means I know well that many of you know more than me, all of you know something no one else knows, and each of us can learn from each other–the very premise of the DEN!

I’m very happy the DEN offers the chance for the MediaMatters blog.  I’ll put the AVI elf file below.Flash is a great way to create video, and the DEN is playing with the flash authoring system from Academy 1,2,3, which lets teachers build lessons or other media projects and post them directly to a URL.  The DEN has built some which I’ll share next week.  For now, in keeping with the holiday check out a secret announcement from codename D.B. that shows the power of the application while keeping a holiday-safe distance from, say, math. Gives you some ideas….?

Catch this one quick.  I’m putting it up as an educational example for teachers. It was an internal explanation of what a White Elephant Gift exchange is. You don’t have to go through it all, but you’ll get the power and ease of the application on the tablet PC which we hope to open more broadly to teachers next year. And don’t forget the elf AVI below.

Invite Download DENelf2.avi


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  1. Joe Brennan said:

    Welcome to the blogosphere, Hall! And, darnit, you beat me to it!! I was going to use that very face on the dancing elf to spread some holiday cheer.

  2. Craig Halper said:

    Hall, we’re all looking forward to the official launch of your blog and the creative, informative posts that are sure to come.

    Happy holidays, and thanks for the dancing elf.


  3. Martha Thornburgh said:

    Hi, I love the Elf and I look forward to learning lots more from you. I have used Camtasia Studio, but not Snag IT so I installed my copy (came bundled with my Camtasia Studio) today and tried it out to send an elf greeting to friends and family. Wasn’t able to record the sound. Tried with Camtasia Studio as well. Any thoughts?

    Welcome!!! Really looking forward to learning from your blog.

  4. Hall Davidson said:

    In SnagIt, when you change to video capture, under “Input”, the drop down menu gives you the option to “Record Audio”. Check that box and your audio will go!

  5. Martha Thornburgh said:

    Thanks Hall, looks to be an issue with my new laptop. Camtasia/Snagit doesn’t recognize my speakers. It grays out that option. I will play around and see what I can figure out. Look forward to reading and learning from your blog.

  6. Hall Davidson said:

    Check the control panel. When you say “speakers” you probably mean “microphone”. Make sure your internal mike is selected in the control panel (Control Panel>Sound and Audio Devices>Audio). If you ever used a USB mike, etc, then your machine (and SnagIt) may be expecting it. If your laptop doesn’t have an internal mike–unlikely–you’ll know from the control panel. Run the mike check there, Otherwise, you might have to buy a USB mike or multimedia mike–less than $15. Then turn it on in the control panel.


  7. M. Thornburgh said:

    Camtasia recognises the mic. But I was trying to record the sound of the Elf video I made like yours. Camtasia will recognize my voice on the mic, but not sounds coming from the computer speakers. I tried with my old laptop and it worked so it must be some setting with my new laptop. I am through with elves, but will keep trying just to learn for next time. Thanks for trying to help.

  8. Hall Davidson said:

    Interesting. Good detective work checking it out on another laptop. It’s good to know because there are lots of applications for it (besides elves). Announcements, videos, and sometimes streams (all following copyright, of course). Also, it lets you record your own “lessons” on how to use Word, podcast, unitedsdtreaming, etc. So you were right when you said it was the speaker connection, not the mike, as I suggested. I stand corrected. And such a gentle correction! Teachers are the best… YOu can explore it with external mikes, I mean speakers 🙂 and see if SnagIt picks it up for online stuff. There is sometimes machine noise, too. Although it should find the internal signal. Hmmm. More to explore. What machine and operating system do you have?

  9. M. Thornburgh said:

    I have a Toshiba Satelite A105 with SRS TruSurround XT. (Christmas present from my dear hubby.) I am running XP Media Edition. You are right, there is a lot more to this than elves. I’ve used Camtasia a lot to make Whiteboard Movies and tutorials, but I guess that I have always been using a mike and my voice. I made a video cast today using the mike. I wrote to Toshiba, but didn’t find my answer. Will keep working on it. I always seem to learn better when I have to struggle first…. 🙂 Thanks so much for your help!

  10. Hall Davidson said:

    Great. Keep me posted (so to speak 🙂 ). If you’re running XP I assume you know Adobe Premiere Elements. Version 3 now lets you do voice overs in the program, its last real obstacle to greatness gone!

  11. Linda Foote said:

    From an email from Linda, in Poway, CA on the elf: (Great to hear from you, Linda)

    Last Sunday, thanks to your great timing, I “Elfed” one of the junior high kids, my teaching partner, and me. I used the recording function to get some concepts out there in a funny way to start the kids thinking in a direction that I could play off of to introduce the lesson. Thanks for sending me that great idea.


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