Exciting Opportunity 14 – 19 Documentary Competition 2011

July 5, 2011

So, what’s this competition all about?

The Showroom Workstation, The Childrens University, Red Tape Central (SVC), Sheffield Theatres and Channel 4 are working together on this exciting competition which will give you the chance to make a documentary film with the experts!

The most successful entrants will see their entry screened at the Showroom before an audience of industry professionals on Monday 24th October.  You will also be offered a place on a four day Mobile Movie Workshop held at the Showroom and Red Tape Central from 25th – 28th October 2011 (during the half-term holiday) when you will work through from pre to post production to plan, film and edit your very own documentary!

The films from the workshops will be showcased in the Mobile Movie Finals at Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema on at 11am on Saturday 5th November when each member of the team producing the winning film will receive a Toshiba Camileo S20 Full HD 1080p Camcorder!

The closing date for submissions is the 18th September 2011. The entries will the be judged by an industry panel and the winners notified by email and post by Friday 7th October.

So, if you’ve ever fancied yourself as a bit of a filmmaker or have ambitions to become the next David Fincher or Steven Spielberg, this could be just what you need to get noticed by the right people and start to make your dreams a reality!

CLICK HERE <http://www.sheffield-mobile-movie.co.uk/>  to visit the Sheffield Mobile Movie website for more details!

Hold on, did someone mention Channel 4?

That’s right! The Sheffield Mobile Movie competition is part of Channel 4’s Inspiration Week. All entrants to the Sheffield Mobile Movie competition are invited to register for the Sheffield Channel 4 open day, taking place on Saturday 17th September. The Channel 4 Inspiration event will then take place on Monday 24th October. Details of this event can be found HERE.


OK, great! What do I have to do to enter?

All you have to do is make a documentary style movie on your mobile phone between 1 and 2 minutes in length and upload it at the Sheffield Mobile Movie website HERE. <http://www.sheffield-mobile-movie.co.uk/>

The subject of your Mobile Movie can be anything that inspires you, from sport to music or anything in between. All they ask is that you are between 14-19 years old, are currently attending a Sheffield school and that your finished film complies to the BBFC ‘U’ certificate, details of which can be found HERE. <http://www.bbfc.co.uk/classification/guidelines/u/>

I want to get started, how long have I got?

You can upload your Mobile Movie right away! The closing date for submissions is the 18th September 2011. The entries will the be judged by our industry panel and the winners notified by email and post by Friday 7th October 2011. Please note that the judge’s decision is final.

I’m still not sure what I have to do, can I contact anyone?

No problem, just visit the website HERE

<http://www.sheffield-mobile-movie.co.uk/index.php?option=com_contact1&gt; and use our contact form. The Sheffield Mobile Movie Team will get back to you as soon as they can.




Newfield GCSE Stamp Project 2010

January 21, 2011


A year 10 art class from Newfield School were at the CLC for a repeat of the very successful GCSE coursework stamp project. They created the artwork for the stamp back at school and then scanned it onto the computers. The students then used Adobe Photoshop Elements to crop the pipcture, add the Queen’s head, change the colour, and resize, before creating a sheet of 20 stamps.

We liked the artwork so much that we had a number of pieces blown up and put onto canvas to brighten up our entrance hall.

How To: Green Screen for Schools

October 27, 2010


Green Screen, also known as Blue Screen or Chroma Keying, is a technique in video whereby you film your subject in front of a green or blue background and remove the blue/green colour to reveal another image behind. Most people know it best from weather forecasts – the forecaster isn’t actually standing in front of a weather map at all. It is used heavily in films and television programs too – see this link for an amazing video showing the potential of the technique.

How we’ve used it:

Students found it very motivating to use the green screen, as they could transport themselves anywhere they needed, for example play football at Bramall Lane, or play the guitar on stage at Wembley. We have found it particularly good for the students from the special schools we work with, as they can act out certain behaviours in a safe setting – for example crossing a road for a Green Cross Code video.

The Background

At the CLC we use a green screen (we decided on green as less people wear green than blue – anything the same colour as the background will also become transparent!) made up of a large green curtain on a curtain rail. You get best results with a very bright, vibrant green or blue colour, for example:

We also bought a Lastolite portable green screen with frame, which packs up small enough to take into schools. However, you don’t have to use a piece of cloth, it could be a wall painted blue or green with enough room for filming in front.

The Lighting and Other Considerations

You get the best results from an evenly lit background, as any difference in shade of colour will cause problems in the editing stage. If possible light the background and the subject separately, as this helps with crisp edges (and reduces the green halo effect). Try and avoid the subject casting shadows on the screen. Finally it is difficult to get a good result when there is a lot of movement; static scenes (e.g. news reports) work best.

The Editing

We use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit our green screen videos, but this is an expensive option for schools. There is a cheaper version, Adobe Premiere Elements, which costs around £60 for a single licence, and this still gives a good result:

  1. Drag your background image onto Video 1 track on timeline.
  2. Drag your green screen clip onto Video 2 track (i.e. above the background).
  3. Click on the Edit tab on the right and then Effects. Scroll down to find the Keying section and drag the Chroma Key effect to the green screen clip. (There is a specific Green Screen effect too, but the Chroma Key one is easier to tweak to get best result).
  4. Click on Edit Effect and open the Chroma Key effect (click on triangle).
  5. Click on the eyedropper icon then click on the preview screen to pick the most representative colour of the background (i.e. not too dark or light a shade).
  6. Use the Similarity and Blend sliders to get rid of any remaining background colour. I generally aim for Similarity between 15-30%, and Blend <20%.
  7. If there is a problem area in a corner (which never appears behind the subject), use the Eight-Point Garbage Matte effect. You can drag any of the 8 points to mask out areas you don’t want.

See below for a screen shot of Adobe Premiere Elements:

  • If you have access to a Mac, then iMovie has a Green Screen function:
  1. Click on iMovie > Preferences in the top menu bar, and tick the box next to Show Advanced Tools.
  2. Drag your background image or video onto the project area first.
  3. Now drag your green screen clip on top of the background image. In the menu that appears, choose Green Screen.
  4. The software does all the tricky stuff (like choosing the colour to remove) and gives a surprisingly good result.

It is possible to chroma key video in Windows Movie Maker – see how to do it here. However the end result isn’t great unless you have a very well lit background, without too much variation in colour.



TeachMeet NQT

October 21, 2010

Our CLC is hosting a TeachMeet on the 11th November, starting at 5.30pm. A TeachMeet is an informal conference for teachers, by teachers. Anyone who attends is welcome to give a presentation, relating to the use of technology in the classroom or for CPD. These presentations can be 2 minute nano presentations, or 7 minute micro presentations. This means that the evening moves at a good pace and planning a presentation isn’t too onerous. Above all the experience is supposed to be fun as well as informative.

This TeachMeet has an NQT focus, with the aim of inspiring newly qualified teachers (and trainee teachers) in the use of ICT and providing them with resources and ideas for use in their own practice. However all teachers and educationalists are welcome to attend, whether from the Primary, Secondary, Further of Special sector. The evening also provides the opportunity to network and socialise with other teachers, and consume free food and drink!

Currently there are presentations on the following subjects:

  • Joining a global staffroom for support and inspiration: Building your PLN
  • Putting the Interactive into IWBs
  • Using video in the music classroom
  • Multimedia Extravaganza in Y6
  • Using Microsoft Mouse Mischief to make PowerPoint presentations interactive – and fun
  • Organising your classroom for learning

If you are interested in attending/presenting you can sign up at www.teachmeet.org.uk (scroll down to find the Sheffield logo), or e-mail me, Catherine Elliott, at celliott@ssclc.net.

There is also a Page for the TeachMeet, which will contain links to some of the presentations and videos from the night. It can be found here.

Enter the Robots

May 20, 2010

We have just had delivery of our new “teaching aids” – four sets of the Lego Mindstorms Nxt 2.0.

The idea is to invite primary and secondary classes to the CLC to build and program the robots, which fits in particular with the control aspects of the curriculum. The robots come with a number of sensors, from colour to gyroscopic sensors, and the students will program them to react to their surroundings.

We were initially drawn in by the Renewable Energy Add-on set, complete with wind turbine and solar panels, to use in our soon to be completed ourdoor play area. Sadly this isn’t available until later in the year.

If you are one of our partnership schools and interested in trying out the Mindstorms kits, please let us know.

Here is a stop-motion animation of one of the robots being built – thanks to Andrew, our technician, for the construction and animation work!

Hockney-inspired Self Portraits

May 11, 2010

Bents Green Secondary Community Special School year 9 art classes have been spending Friday afternoons at the CLC to work on David Hockney-inspired portraits. The pupils have been looking at Hockney’s photo collages (examples here), in particular those of his mother. They then came to the CLC to create their own versions using photographs of themselves.

As a starter activity they used the fantastic Hockneyizer tool at Big Huge Labs to create automated collages of famous people. You upload a single image and the tool turns it into a Polaroid collage – you can see an example of the CLC on the right.

The students then took photographs of each other and uploaded them to the computers. To create their collages we initially used Photoshop Elements to edit the photos, add frames and arrange them, but this was quite tricky to do.

With later groups I directed them to Picnik, a very simple free online editing website. Here they could crop their images to focus on a particular feature, add frames, effects and change the colours if they wished. They then added all the edited images to PowerPoint, to arrange them for the final picture. I suggested PowerPoint as it is very easy to manipulate images on a slide, and the whole project is one that can be repeated back at school without the need for expensive software or expert knowledge.

National Education Network Website

November 20, 2009

The Natonal Education Network (NEN)  is the UK collaborative network for education, providing schools with a safe, secure and reliable learning environment and direct access to a growing range of online services and content.

Their website is well thought out and it is simple to find the information you are looking for. It provides links to a large number of web-based resources for all subject areas from KS1-KS4+, plus resources on E-Safety. In addition it links to the websites of all the regional NEN providers, for example the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning (YHGfL) which provides the broadband connection for schools in our area. Each regional provider has their own bank of resources which are well worth investigating.