Ask the Experts: Video Apps for iPads

Q: I need a dance film project that my students can create with their iPads but that requires more than just the iPad. What special video apps for iPads have you used?

A: I am fortunate enough to teach in a school that gives every student an iPad and encourages faculty to find ways to use technology in the classroom. One of the apps that my school purchased for everyone was iStopMotion, a stop-motion movie-making app that also does time-lapse.

Though it might not seem like a typical dance educator tool, having your students create a stop-motion film really can push them to think outside the box. They’ll need to plan each and every move, so they’ll know their piece forwards and backwards. Students can easily create a special effect—think of David Parsons’ Caught, where the light only catches him in the air after a jump—and “fly” in their dance by jumping in each frame they shoot.

Using the time-lapse feature, students can experiment with extremely slow movement and see it differently as it’s sped up; they can also see what happens when that process is applied to movement originally performed at regular speed. You can add sound within the app, but I personally prefer to open the video in iMovie to add sound and titles, because it gives me more control over those elements. iStopMotion isn’t the only stop-motion app out there, and at $9.99 it might seem pricey. I think it’s worth it, but there are plenty of free options for you to try: Stop-Motion Camera; Frame X Frame; and Stop Motion Cafe.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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