Thursday, October 6, 2011

Using movie segments

With the time constraints placed on classroom teachers, any saved moments in preparation before the students is like gold. So, what if you could cut segments from DVDs and place them together in a constructive order, without having to fast forward or change discs? If you have the discs, I have the software. Thanks go out to Glenn Wiebe, at History Tech, for the ideas.

Here is what you will need: DVDs that you want to use segments from. It is imperative to own your own DVDs, as you can “rip” a copy, if you have purchased the original. To “rip” is to transfer the data from a disc (CD or DVD) to your computer’s hard drive. I recommend finding originals on Amazon. A lot of their used copies are perfectly good and are a super bargain. You will need a computer with a DVD player in it. That is just about any computer that is less than about five years old.

You will need specific software. I specifically recommend two from personal experience: Magic Ripper, available from the website This software will cost you a bit, but is worth it. Magic Ripper is only available for Windows based systems. If you are running a Mac, or just don’t want to pay the cost, the other option is Handbrake, available at This is a free download, and pretty simple to operate. Both programs will allow you to transfer the movie into a new format of your choice and save it on to a computer. From there, you can carry it on a jump drive, external hard drive, or other portable electronic device. Portability!!

Using either Windows Movie Maker (a free download) or iMovie (a part of iLife Suite that comes loaded on Macs, or is a cheap download), you can “trim” segments from the digital copies of your movies you have “ripped”. This is simple, and will take you no time at all to learn it. In Movie Maker, when you have segments you want in order, and are ready to use them, go to the file menu and click on “Publish Movie”. You can choose to create your finished project in a format playable on Windows based systems, or to put it on a DVD, playable in most players. I haven’t had enough experience playing with my new Mac to guide you through that, but Mac is fairly intuitive. You will need to use iDVD to create a finished DVD, similar to Movie Maker. Good luck, and if you have any questions, email me:

Ultimately, you can put together your most used segments from a series of different documentaries, movies, and videos. This is an incredible tool, and hopefully will allow you to condense your resources in one location. By having the video on the original disc, you have permission to make a digital copy for personal and educational purposes under Fair Use policies. Good luck.

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