Check out Google’s new technology, Tilt Brush. I already have ideas how this could be adapted for more applications than just creating art. Imagine how this could be used for medical surgery simulation or anatomy class. How about exploring the “inside” or middle of a molecule or atom in physics and chemistry class? You could see how the electrons orbit the nucleus. Or, better yet, allowing a student that is bound to a wheelchair, to interact with others in art class or even gym. A child stuck in a hospital bed could travel to Hawaii and climb a tree! We could build skyscrapers or a city at the bottom of the ocean! Just dream of the possibilities.
We have all heard the acronym, Keep It Simple Stupid or KISS principle. Well, I have brought it forward into our 21st Century supportive culture with an update. It is now, Keep It Simple and Supportive. When it comes to the world of educational videos, an animation style should support what is being taught by stimulating our visual interest. If the video portion is just regurgitating what is being said in the audio, we the viewer start, to feel insulted. Children’s (young children’s) videos tend to like this visual literal of what is being said in the audio, for teaching and reinforcing… the Direct Instruction philosophy of call, answer, and repeat which is great for instilling basic principles in young developing minds. However, for older students, and definitely college students, this style of instruction will come across as childish and boring. Because of that, this style of video will not stimulate the viewer.
Here is a great example of what I am talking about.
This video is also very simple, and minimal, in its construction. Because of this less time and cost goes into producing this type of animation compared to a more complicated style, but yet is very mature. Most of this animation is comprised of still objects instead of elaborate 3D renderings or complex moving characters. A slight visual vibration effect is added to the still objects to create a sense of motion, or life, in objects. There is also a cyclical brightness oscillation that can be seen, changing the scenery from light to dark to light again adding a passage of time feel to the objects and background using a pulsing feel. These few basic ideas all add to the engagement factor, while not distracting the viewer from the import part, the information that the narrator is imparting upon us. Could we employ this style to teach history or psychology? Heck yes!
Simple… entertaining… not distracting… and just plain cute!
For today’s video-style inspiration, we are going to looking at Cooking Panda videos from Facebook. Woo. Woo. Settle down. These videos are not how to cook panda, but instead how you can easily make awesome tasty dinners at home. The videos show step by step all of the ingredients and the preparation in cooking simple 20-30 minute recipes. The videos are always shot from above the countertop, giving us a first-person view of the prep work, as if we are doing the prep ourselves. This first-person view gives us that “this is easy, and I can make this” feel and as a visual style, it is very contemporary looking. Time-lapse or hyper-lapse, shooting condenses the prep of the food into a 60-second video. Let’s face it, 60 seconds is the max of my attention span, so this is a win-win! The use of jump cuts betweens steps helps to accelerate the timeline of the video and provides a magical feel. Just wave the spatula above the food, apply jump cut, wha la! Magic… your peppers are already grilled. And let’s face it, we did not need to watch the grilling of peppers. Clear and even lighting, with a sharp deep focus in the shooting style, and saturated colors make everything in the shots look tasty. Add some playful music to make things even more fun!
Next time you need to make an educational video, especially a science lab video, think about applying aspects of the Cooking Panda video style, and you will make a very well received video.