OT- Help with "Tech stuff"

Submitted by ijohnb on September 18th, 2017 at 10:03 AM

I know this is in-season OT, and for that I am duly ashamed.  However, I could use some help and often get some ideas from this blog.  This is kind of specifically for unabashed tech geeks who could point me in the right direction.

My son is really interested in the young "tech culture."  Film Theory, Game Theory, TDM, those absolutely horrible (but suprisingly very funny) "Jeffy" vidoes.  He has a video camera and likes to do different things with it, make videos of his own, either like "voiceover videos" with different characters or taking videos of trips. etc.  Like the American Beauty guy but far less creepy.

Problem is, he wants to do things with these videos that I don't know how to do, and he alone cannot figure out how as he is only 10 and is just gaining experience with computer literacy and doesn't really know exactly what he wants to do, only that he wants to do what "they" do.  Things like gameplay capture, editing, text and audio inclusion.

My question is, what is the best way for a novice to advance this interest?  I know there are some techies on this blog that could give me some ideas.  Are there like in-home "computer tutors," like completely not creepy people who will provide lessons on an hourly basis?   It is not really "graphic design," it is more the groundwork for that so I don't really think he is ready for a class in that.  

Are there really good programs, downloads, software for this that I haven't seen yet?  You Tube movie maker and Windows Video maker are kind of disasters and really just frustrate him because they are not intutive or user friendly.  There is no support either. 

Any suggestions would be helpful.  I want to be the helpful dad but don't know where to point him with this.  (And please not "point him outside to pick up a football - he is not interested). Thanks for any suggestions.



September 18th, 2017 at 10:18 AM ^

I used Adobe Premier to edit videos for my high school film class. It was a really good program. Not sure how much it costs now but it's definitely a premium product.

Granted, this would have been about 13 years ago.


September 18th, 2017 at 10:48 AM ^

as is almost everything else Adobe makes. Subscription cost can get a bit onerous if you're using it as a hobby.

There are discounts available for education he could hit up.

Further, you could give Premiere Elements a shot - it's about $80 with no subscription. Less functionality but he probably could do fine without the whizz bangs.


September 18th, 2017 at 10:20 AM ^

Premiere is wayyyyyy too advanced at age 10. Do some searches for some simple Windows Movie Maker tutorials. That should be plenty for someone his age to import his footage and play around with it.


September 18th, 2017 at 3:46 PM ^

Agreed. If Windows Movie Maker frustrates him, Premiere will make him quit altogether. Get him to stick with Movie Maker. He'll learn the basics of cutting up videos, assembling audio/video/transitions on a timeline, and so on.

Eventually, probably years later, he'll grow tired of the limited tool set of WMM and want to try Premiere. Then he can learn advanced methods. I also highly recommend After Effects at this stage as well, since it will allow him to make much better transitions.


September 18th, 2017 at 10:34 AM ^

I was and still am a tech geek, but never really got into the video editing at all. My son on the other hand likes programming and videos. He used the Windows Movie Maker with success after watching some YouTube how to with it. He also loved combining that stuff with a program called Scratch, it's an MIT programming language developed for kids. And the best resource I ever found, I stumbled across at the library. A whole section of books, written for kids, on how to program, use computers, edit film/movie, maybe your local library will have them too.

He's also right around the age where schools should start offering STEM related classes. PLTW, Project Lead The Way, my wife teaches engineering with it to high school kids, but I know she also has video and film editing in the course too. They start teaching with 6th graders in my district.


September 18th, 2017 at 10:28 AM ^

Do you live close to an Apple store? 

Go take your kid and get him into "Today at Apple" classes.. it's an amazing free resource. 

Looking at the AA schedule, this is one class I found: 



Even if he doesn't use imovie, he'll still learn some skills that are transferable to most any video editing software. 


September 18th, 2017 at 10:29 AM ^

There are tons of videos on youtube to teach almost anything these days.  Lots of free courses he can take, and tutorials on how to do video editing for any software out there.  Take some time to search through google and youtube it's all out there.


September 18th, 2017 at 10:31 AM ^

I always liked Video Studio. Simple, has some neat features, and not too expensive at ~$100.

Coming from a nerd, I will say that it is all about his drive to know this stuff. The best resources are on the internet with some googling down the rabbit hole. It is not always something you can just be taught... It is a passion. Kids these days pick up things faster than we can imagine, so don't be afraid to give him some tools to play around with.


September 18th, 2017 at 10:38 AM ^

Valve allows you to do your own things using some of its game engines.  For an 8th grade project my kid used this to create an animated film.  I have no idea the degree of difficulty with this, but in general, properly motivated kids can excel at things that would prove too difficult for me.

In general to lighten your load, I'd recommend free software at first where possible.  For instance, there's a bunch of audio editing stuff that's available.  


wolverine in jp

September 18th, 2017 at 11:01 AM ^

Best free video editing software is Davinci Resolve.  However, if you or your son have a school email address, you can get the adobe full set of software for 10-20/month.

Adobe Premeir is difficult, but my 14 your old son was able to pick it up, and he was not very computer literate at the time.

For the screen capture software (e.g. videos of gaming) OBS is by far the most popular.  It can be used for streaming as well.   

There are a lot of videos on how to use this software on youtube.  I would suggest trying Davinci Resolve first and see how well he does.  Remember, give it time as there is a learning curve.  I think there are more instructional videos on Adobe, Davinci and OBS software than the others you listed, which helps a lot.   


September 18th, 2017 at 11:59 AM ^

She's got that all figured out on an iPhone and is posting her voice over videos to YouTube.  She likely got a little help from my 11 year old son.

Kids know so much today!


September 18th, 2017 at 12:10 PM ^

This type of content development is in high demand. I have a client that pays roughly $500 /minute for polished video with graphic layover used for corporate communications. I sell the work and hire a 3rd party to deliver because it is not in my skill set. Go get em kid!

Blue Ninja

September 18th, 2017 at 5:06 PM ^

I am a staff pastor at our church, one of my jobs is doing all in-house videos. I don't know what his video setup is but if he's stationary make sure to get a good tripod rather than doing say selfie videos or having someone hold camera or phone. 

For video editing I always used iMovie previously. Its easy to learn and use but not many bells and whistles. Recently I discovered Filmora which also has an app you can use on your phone/tablet. Lots of upgrades for it as well so it can get pricey on that end but the initial cost is low, I believe it was around $50 for a one device lifetime subscription. Has lots of options right off the bat as well. He can always try a demo version, which has a watermark, but at least get a feel for it and figure it out. 

Biggest advice, check out Youtube. Always lots of "how to" videos on there.

Another good source for putting in images with wording is Wordswag for the phone.