Narrating Films with Quicktime and iMovie
Kate Schaller
Vanderbilt University
April 13, 2018
All Language Levels
One class period
Creative Tool
No Costs Involved

As language instructors, it’s likely that you already use film in the classroom. This activity allows students to further engage with German film as well as the German language, by creating voiceover narrations for short film sequences.

To set up the activity, it is necessary to have your students watch the film in its entirety. As you see in the tutorial, I suggest working with the German Expressionist work The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. This film works well for a number of reasons: it is fairly short (80 minutes), and could be watched either outside of class or over two class periods. It is easily available - it can be found in its entirety on YouTube, or on streaming services like Kanopy. Finally, it is a silent film with some intertitles, which makes it an ideal choice for students to narrate.

You as the instructor should also prepare a clip (or clips) for your students to work with; the length may depend on the level of the students. Refer to the video tutorial for how to create these clips using Quicktime and iMovie (as well as Soundflower, a free program that you can download, which allows you to record the computer’s internal sound).

Using the same tools, students can then record their own audio narrations to augment the video clips. Again, your instructions for their language use and content may be tailored to the language level; first semester students, for instance, could be asked to simply narrate in the present tense, while more advanced students may be asked to provide interpretations and cultural context in addition to narration.

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