Visuals 101


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  • When you add “extras” to your course, you will find that the most effective are your visual additions. This includes videos and still photos. We are going to explore the requirements of each, and what you need to make your visuals powerful. This PowerPoint will deal with the very basics of visuals: how to choose and use the hardware and the accessories. We will be looking at examples of different equipment; these pictures are not an endorsement of any product. The picture is simply an example of what we are talking about. Let’s start at the beginning!
  • When talking about “stills”, we are going to deal specifically with still pictures. These can be digital or hard copy. First, we will start with the equipment you need to take pictures. The most obvious is a camera. Today, you can buy an acceptable digital camera for less than $100, but you are probably going to want to be in the $100-$200 range to have some nice, usable features. You can always spend more, but when you are purchasing a camera, do your homework. Look at how you are going to use the camera and what features you would like to have. I personally prefer a “point and shoot” camera—something that I can simply take a picture with and not have to make many adjustments. I like things very simple. Other people, however, may like to adjust shutter speeds, create special effects, and so on. You decide what works for you. The newer digital cameras also have video filming capabilities, and depending upon the camera, filming time can be very short and poor quality or longer and a bit better quality. This is something to experiment with, when you have time.When you get a camera, you will receive some accessories with it. Make sure you have the cord which will attach camera to computer (a USB interface cable). This cord makes getting your photos from camera to computer very easy.
  • After you take your pictures, attach the cord to your camera and computer. Then adjust your camera to view the memory card (usually a small button). Depending upon your computer software and configuration, when you turn your camera on, you may see a box with suggestions on how to open the file. Choose one (I usually choose Microsoft Photo Editor) and follow the on-screen directions. SAVE everything once you have downloaded the pictures to your computer.
  • Most people will not have the following problem, but in case you do, here is one solution. You may end up with another scenario than what I just talked about. When you connect the camera to the computer: nothing happens. First, make sure your camera is turned on and turned to the memory card view. If you still don’t get a pop-up box on your screen, go to My Computer and look for the device. Double click on your camera and you will see its different memories. Click on Removable Memory. You will then see folders, and one of them should be DCIM. Click on that, and after that, if you have another folder level, click on that one too. At this point, you should be able to see your pictures. Click on your choices, then copy and save the ones you want.
  • An accessory that is really nice to have is a tripod. I recommend a small size for that will make it very portable, not heavy and awkward like the big tripods. The beauty of a tripod is that, once attached and the camera is made stationery, your pictures will not have the “shake” or the fuzziness of some hand-held camera shots. The tripod screws into the bottom of your camera, and then you can adjust the camera and the legs according to what you need. A monopod is simply a tripod with just one leg. If you have a tripod, you really don’t need to purchase a monopod. Simply use the legs of the tripod to stabilize your shots. The advantage to a monopod is its simple design: one stick with a screw at the top. Once the camera is attached, you can simply brace the pod on a solid surface and take your shot. It removes a margin of error from your pictures, but you still have to hold the camera—even though it is braced for stability. One or both, these are great little inexpensive accessories to own if you take pictures.
  • Video cameras are like still cameras: there are all kinds of quality and features available to you. They are a bit pricier than a still camera, and you need to do homework here considering which features you want and how much you want to spend. It is another way to make a video.The very cheapest option for videoing that you have is a webcam. These little gadgets sit on the top of your computer monitor most of the time. They can allow you to film, video-chat, take stills, and more. You can just sit and talk to the webcam, or you can move it around and film various things. It requires the least amount of lighting when in use. A disadvantage is that it is always connected to your computer (so you can go as far as the cord reaches), but an advantage is that it is probably the easiest-to-use visual aid you will have.
  • Your new phone (I-Phone, Androids, etc.) has incredible visual possibilities attached to it. On your phone, you can produce still pictures, moving pictures, and audio with just several clicks on the screen. It is always with you, so you can snap that spontaneous picture which is exactly right for your new course, interview the interesting person in the grocery line, video that rare bird in the yard. Some of the new phones can even video for over an hour, but the problem is always the battery capacity. As technology develops, however, this problem is being solved and the batteries are improving. You need to make sure that your phone can be connected to a computer so that anything you create can be “captured” (brought into a media where you can use or edit the pictures). A cell phone charger cord can solve this problem, if it has a USB plug on it.Since there are an endless number of phone manufacturers and models on the market, I suggest that you consult your owner’s manual for directions on how to take pictures, how to take videos, and how to make audio files. If you do not have an owner’s manual (which many of the phones do not), go online and google your phone. Websites which have owner directions as well as answering troubleshooting questions will be available to you. Another resource for you is a nearby teenager, and I don’t mean this as a joke. Teens seem to be born knowing tech, and most are really happy to help. If you plan to use your cell phone extensively, you probably should consider a cell phone tripod. This will steady the phone as you video or snap—it is especially handy for video.
  • You have just reviewed the most common and basic of visual hardware. Your camera, video recorder, web cam, and cell phone are all tools which you can use to great advantage in your online courses. If you can have only one, choose the web cam for its versatility and budget price. Some simple accessories like a tripod or monopod will make recording with your cameras and cell phone much more professional. Get familiar with whatever tool you have and practice so that you will improve the quality of your images. Some things work visually and some things don’t, and that is what you have to figure out before you upload images of any kind into your course.
  • Visuals 101

    1. 1. The Most BasicInformationOn Hardware
    2. 2. Nice Camera Features to Have• For simple: a point-and-shoot camera• A USB interface cable• Disposable batteries (not rechargeable)• Viewfinder plus LCD viewing screen• Camera case A USB interface cable makes the “capture” of photos simple. Just attach one end to computer (USB) and one end to camera.
    3. 3. To Capture Pictures into Your Computer
    4. 4. My blank computer screen: nothing happened! Found my camera on the computer Here is the picture folder Success: The pictures in my camera
    5. 5. Suggested Camera Accessories Small tripod Monopod
    6. 6. One example of a video camera.This one has a viewable LCDscreen instead of a viewfinder.Webcams come in all shapes andprices. Be sure to get one with amicrophone.
    7. 7. Did You Know? Cell phone tripodAn incredible tool! Your charger cord should have these features
    8. 8. Two picturesby samephotographerat differenttimes