Don’t knock problems…

…or problem solving.

I’m exploring the realm of video files and compatibility with older computers, operating systems, and editing programs.

And there are some serious issues which must be researched before purchasing anything.

But the entire problem solving issue is a wonderful learning tool. Too often folks take it for granted that when they buy something it will work. Hey – they even ask the salesman, will this work – can I edit with it on my computer.

I’ve found that most salesfolks will give the simple answer: YES.

The trick is knowing the follow-up questions. Will it work with Windows XP and MovieMaker? What if my computer doesn’t have a firewire? How about if my editing program was created before the format the camera shoots to?

This really isn’t the salespersons problem – it is and will become the buyer’s problem UNLESS the buyer is ready to research or learn how to problem-solve after the fact.

So I LOVE it when my kids come in with problems. The horrified looks on their faces says they are panicking – and it is my job to reassure them and then lead then down the path so they can learn how to recognize, diagnose, and solve the problem.

To me, school isn’t just about learning and memorizing. It’s learning the life skill of finding work-arounds, how to survive…and video production provides enough headaches and technical problems that you either have to learn how to find and fix it or get out of the editing booth.

So maybe I “waste” a lot of time working with individual students. But it feels right – especially if only a few of them realize that they too can be independent problem-solvers.

Oh (some self-righteous boasting here) – I’ve had the advanced students in both of my video classes rewire the equipment. They come in and have to learn the logic of camera into monitor – camera out to switcher – camera out to both program and preview. Ditto audio. At first it was intimidating, but then they realized it was simple logic and zoomed through and finished the job pretty darn quick.

UPDATE (3/4/10)
First period…a student who was using a little green Flip camera I picked up tried to import her files – and couldn’t. I looked at them in my laptop (remember, school computers are more than six year-old eMacs and my laptop is about four years old). The files showed up and played fine…but when transferred to her computer via flash drive, only audio showed up. These were .avi files.
Next step – convert using QuickTime Pro to QuickTime movies. Yeah – we had video. But when transferred to the old eMac, there was not audio. Short-term solution was to extract the audio from the audio only clip, match up with the QT clip and export to a single clip with both and bring it back into iMovie.
More work ahead…

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