Saturday, December 05, 2009

Presenting Glogster Using Adobe Premiere Elements

I just returned from a technology conference that was chock full of presentations dealing with the effective use of Web 2.0 tools. I have presented a lot, and know the pitfalls of presenting in a venue that is unfamiliar to you. Will the bandwidth be sufficient? Will the projector work with my laptop? Will the sound be loud enough? Will the site I am about to demo be available? Will the site I am about to demo be accessible through the content filter at the conference venue?

Of course, I am always over-prepared for any emergency. I have the presentation on my computer, on a Flash drive, on a CD-R, in the cloud, in SlideShare, in Adobe Connect and even on paper. This works for a static presentation, but would not work well for an online application presentation.

My suggestion, for demonstration of Web 2.0 tools, to create a screencast of the things you want to show ahead of time and carry that along with you. It is better than simply static screenshots, and can get you through the time when the tech support team is frantically trying to get the Internet back up! Screencasts that you can carry with you can be created with Adobe Captivate or Techsmith's Jing Pro.

Screencasts work great except for those that incorporate video. At the conference this week, I watched a team of teachers successfully showcase their interdisciplinary Glogster project. I was contemplating what they would have done to show the multimedia Glogs if the Internet had not been available. (Don't forget, if you want to use Glogster with your students, sign up for a Glogster EDU account!)

I wanted to share the way I would prepare if I were planning a presentation about a site such as Glogster. I would first screencast myself creating the Glog, step-by-step, so the audience would understand how it works. And, if it were simply a Glog with images and text, I would screenshot the final product to show. A Glog shows up rather large on the computer screen, so you probably would have to make two screenshots and then stitch them together in an image-editing program such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. The other alternative, to avoid the stitching component, is to chose to embed the Glog on a blog or Google Doc, and change the dimensions in the embed code so you can see the entire Glog on your screen and simply create a single scereenshot.

However, if you create a Glogster project that includes videos, there is another easy solution I have discovered that will give your audience as close to a real-live experience as possible.
Adobe Premiere Elements, as opposed to Windows MovieMaker or Apple iMovie, includes three timelines of video and audio. By putting items on separate lines of video, one can layer and re-size one video on top of another. This is really easy to do, and it can help you simulate a multimedia Glogster page, with a limit of two videos. (Premiere Elements is a Windows-only program, but I use it on the Bootcamp side of my Mac.)

Here is a link to my original Glog and the one I am going to create a local copy of.


1. Create the screenshot of your Glog and have it saved as an image on your local hard drive.

2. Gather two original video files you uploaded to Glogster and have them available on your local hard drive, too.

3. Open Adobe Premiere Elements.

4. Place the screenshot JPEG on the Video 1 timeline. The default length will be 5 seconds, but you can stretch it wider.

5. Place one video on the Video 2 timeline and one on the Video 3 Timeline.

6. Drag the video on the Video 3 timeline to the right so it begins at the end of video on the Video 2 timeline.

7. Stretch the JPEG on the Video 1 timeline to match the end of the video on the Video 3 timeline. It will now stretch from the beginning to the end of the project.

8. When you move the playbar over each clip, the clip shows up large on top of the background JPEG in the preview window. Simply grab the handles of the clip, resize it, and place it on top of its static counterpart on the background JPEG.

9. Once you are done with placing both videos onto the background, export your project as a movie and show this movie when demonstrating your Glog. The videos will start automatically in your movie, but your audience will get a real flavor for your multimedia Glog! Here is the finished product that can live on your hard drive.

There are other options for creating "back-up" versions of your Glog, too, working on the same principle of placing the multimedia elements over the static background image. One can do this in a single slide in PowerPoint by rotating the slide to the portrait mode, putting the screenshot Glog as the background, and placing your local copy of the videos over this background and re-sizing and rotating them as needed. The advantage of using PowerPoint for your demo version is that you would be able to start and stop both the audio and video when you wanted to. Don't forget you would have to make sure your local videos traveled with the PowerPoint slide, since they are not embedded, but just referenced.

However, I love the multiple lines of video feature in Adobe Premiere Elements. I use it a lot for things like having videos show up in the background graphic of a vintage television set or having a moving image in a picture frame within another video.