The Gingerbread Girl and the iPad

When the early silent film style gets a 21st tech makeover!

Children performing appear with permission. This was part of a collaborative  project with the Apple Distinguished school ACS Hillingdon. (Thanks to Marc Smith and Sue Wakefield)

Here’s the view from the timeline, so you can see the individual audio files from Garageband as they interact with the visuals.

iMovie and Garageband really set the iPad apart from all other devices. An expensive Surface does not offer these levels of creativity out of the box and a cheaper Chromebook… Well, no! They can’t even get close.

This project uses the Do Ink Green Screen app and it’s interesting how “forgiving” it is when iMovie’s “Silent Era” filter is applied.   Even the children’s C21st clothing and labels seem to be absorbed into a fun silent movie world. We also used the ability to speed up and slow down clips to create the sightly jerky early C20th cinematic feel. Keynote effects with a green back ground were also exported as a movie for the “fresh from the oven” scene! Keynote as video effects tool is great when used with a green back ground and imported into the Do Ink app.

Of course Garageband has a big role to play here and we restricted the students to only using the piano instrument as this would have been more in keeping with the genre of the time.  We helped the children explore different musical motifs in Garageband, for example creating an arpeggio, a long drone bass note and a trill. These all resonated with the children, I imagine through watching cartoons and films, it’s a language they recognise, but regardless of musical expertise could now creatively engage in.  What surprised me was how focused these learners were spending well over an hour on one instrument in Garageband, honing the sounds and notes of the smart piano.

The class learned about “spotting”. This is how film directors and composers will look through a sequence of moving images and decide how sound/music is going to support/interpret the meaning of a scene. In Hollywood, this would all be done on one screen on a “proper computer”.  Working  in pairs the children could play the clip on one iPad and compose/check before airdropping the clip to

The iPad here is enabling children via Garageband to physical shape and mould sound to support their own visual creations. Whilst Garageband is available on the Mac , this kind of physical experience is the domain of a touch screen.

There are so many takeaways for teachers and learners,  practical, technical, pedagogical and philosophical etc –

  • many (more) shots are required to tell a story than expected
  • team work and organised planning are essential to success
  • camera work needs to be varied to support the action
  • timings of clips is crucial to fluent story telling
  • Sound is an art in itself and “magical”
  • the creative addition of sound alters how see visuals
  • each child has their own personalised version of the team’s film (thanks to the joy of Airdrop)
  • student generated content can be of the highest visual calibre and in turn the ownership of this content has a deep positive effect on learning

This is the junction where art, tech and science, all meet and I guess there is something here for everyone. OK!



About Digital Roadtrip

Apple ADE 2007 and Apple Trainer/Mentor

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