The ds106 Guide to Video

Working with digital video can be HARD. To help out, we’ve pulled together a bunch of resources and tutorials that we think you may find useful as you dive into making your own videos.

If you’re looking for an in-depth overview of Digital Video for #ds106 we HIGHLY recommend watching this video by UMW New Media Specialist, Andy Rush. It is fairly long, but it is filled with useful information. (Forward to 2:18 when the meat of the presentation begins).


Getting Videos to Work With in Your Project

Completing video assignments for DS106 will always involve getting some kind of video clips to work with. There are lots of potential sources for these clips. You can download videos from Web sites (like YouTube). You can record yourself using a digital video camera or a built-in webcam on a laptop. You can grab a clip off of a DVD that you own. You can capture a video from your desktop; this is commonly called “screencasting.” Here are some tutorials and resources to help with this step.

Software/Tools You May Find Useful for Getting Video

See the Packing List

Converting your Video Sources

Occasionally, you will find that the clips you get from the sources above are not in the format that your video editing software likes. You may find this overview of video encoding useful.

Generally, here are some rules of thumb:


  • Windows Movie Maker is particular about the formats you can import:
  • iMovie is a bit more accepting of different video formats, but it can still stumble on some. Generally, video in the .mov format or .mp4 format should import into iMovie.
  • .flv files will not import into either Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. This format is really for viewing video, not editing it.
  • If you are capturing video from YouTube or a DVD, try and capture it in a source that your video editor recognizes rather than converting it later.

There are ways to convert video formats, if the source you have is not importing properly into your editor.

  • Handbrake This is a cross-platform program for transcoding video from one format to another. It can be used to get video off a DVD (although we recommend VLC for this), but it can also be used to convert some standard video formats into another format.
  • MPEG Streamclip This program also mentioned above can convert some standard formats into others.
  • VLC Again, this program is mentioned above, and it can also do transcoding between different formats.
  • Zamzar This is a Web site that will convert files (up to 100 MB) form one format to another (it does more than just video). See the list of the video formats in imports/exports
  • Online Converter is another useful online file format converter.


Sometimes, the problem you may be having with getting a video to play/work properly on your computer is that you don’t have the proper “codec” installed on your computer. Codecs are just small programs that translate different media formats. If you are using a PC, try downloading the K-Lite Codec Pack/ On the Mac [ Perian will add several popular codecs to your system.


Editing Your Videos

After collecting your video clips and sources, the lion’s share of work you will be doing is editing the pieces together. Most video editing programs will allow you to add other media, like additional audio tracks and images, to a video project. So think about ALL of the media resources you need to gather before you sit down to edit.

Windows comes with a free movie editor called Windows (Live) Movie Maker. Mac computers come with iMovie. Generally, iMovie is more fully-featured and easier to use, but we have had lots of ds106 students successfully complete their projects using WMM.

Tutorials/Explanations on This Topic