Free Resources

YOU-TUBE:  - ConverterLite.  The link is: http://www.converterlite.com  (Contributed by Stephen Sullivan)

     ConverterLite allows you to convert video files on a digital video camera that uses a memory card.  The files typically start as file types that can't be taken straight to YouTube.  If you download ConverterLite (which is free), when its window opens, find where the original file is (after putting it on your computer), and use the window that opens in ConverterLite to find the file.  Sometimes you have to find it by typing it up in the file box, since the program sometimes doesn't find it.  You have to type in not only the file but also what kind of file it is.  For example, "video.mod" (.mod files are one type that comes directly from a memory card, and can't be uploaded to YouTube as is).
 
     The program will give you choices as to what kind of file you can convert it to.  Your choices will be either .mp4, .avi, or a few others.  Those two, though, are the best choices because YouTube works best with them, as well as .wmv files.  You can only convert a video to .wmv in Windows Live Movie Maker.  ConverterLite is also available for Mac systems, and for most Windows operating systems (Windows 8, which I have, Windows 7, which my old laptop had, Windows Vista, which some laptops still have, and Windows XP, which is 12 years old, but still around).  All Mac systems of the last 10 plus years work with various versions of this program.

     .wmv means Windows Media Video; these files are only created from videos that have been uploaded to Windows Live Movie Maker, or Windows Movie Maker in older systems.  Once created, they also can directly upload to YouTube.  I typically use them because, in Move Maker (and iLife for Macs), you can actually take .mod files (right from the memory card) to the program, wait about 5 to 20 minutes for the program to make them viewable, edit the videos (length, extract audio from the file and replace with audio from a separate microphone, if you wish), add titles and credits if you want, and then save the completed video as a .wmv.  So, your two options in Windows are to convert an original file to a .mp4 or .avi in ConverterLite (and specify size), or to convert a raw, unusable video to something YouTube can use through Windows Movie Maker or iLife for Macs.  There may be other protocol for Macs that I'm unaware of.

     Some other software is called Audacity.  You download it like downloading ConverterLite, by going to www.audacity.com.  You just make sure you're downloading the right version.  They are all free, and if something says you have to pay, it's a scam, and you should verify the website, but that probably won't happen.  Just know if your computer is Windows, Mac, or Linux, and what version of one of those operating systems you have.

   Blue Snowball, is a microphone that plugs into a computer by a USB cable.  It's one of many similar recording microphones, and it can have many great uses today.  Audacity is for editing and finalizing recordings, and also works with a laptop or desktop microphone, if its close enough to the source of the sound.  However, it records sound much better than most laptop speakers do.  Macs do have great microphones, but not as good as the Blue Snowball and higher-grade versions of it.  Costwise, Audacity and ConverterLite are free. 

     The Blue Snowball can be good for recording student progress, recording professional-quality audio for a performance video, podcasts, etc.  It is not terribly expensive.  These days they range from $60 to as much as $90 for the same model I have (which came out in 2009); there's a new and improved version called the Black Snowball now, but it's more expensive ($130 to $170 range).  It's a little better, but both are considered Pro Audio.  It all depends on the goals of the studio, teacher, and students. 
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