It is no secret that I’m a fan of Apple Products. One look around my house and you might think that you’ve stumbled into a suburban Apple Store.
Earlier this summer, I got an e-mail from them talking about the Apple Camps that they do. I had heard about these in the past, but for one reason or another had not given them much thought. But, as my daughter does a show called Emily Explains It and I never seem to have enough time to put them together for her I thought it would be great to have her learn the basics.
I wanted my son to also attend because I think video editing skills are something that would benefit anyone and I know he has posed an interest before, but he was away the week that they were holding it so only my daughter got to go.
The camps are two days of 90 minutes each and then a Saturday film festival where they show all the kid’s work. Oh and did I mention that it is free?
Day 1: Storyboarding & Garageband
The instructors are great and really know how to interact with the kids. They go over the concept of laying out your story in order to help you focus your shots and think about how things are going to fit together later. It was fun to look at the variety of ideas the kids came up with.
Then they got an introduction to Garageband and each camper composed a piece of music on the iPads that they could use in their movies. If you’ve never sat down with Loops in Garageband, you’d be amazed how easy it is to come up with some simple music for your own use.
The homework for the night was to go home and shoot their video so that the next day they could edit it.
Day 2: Editing
Emily had grand visions of an epic squirrel adventure in the woods, but the downpour we had when we got home meant that it wouldn’t be. Instead she filmed hundreds of shot of her stuffed squirrel trying to find a place to hide his acorn. Heck, I even made a couple of cameos.
We returned to the Apple Store and they showed her how to plug in her camera and capture the footage on the mac and then walked her through the basics of iMovie and let her go at it. It was fun to watch her figure out how you can put together two completely separate scenes and make them work together. Then she discovered sound effects and really began to have a great time.
Suddenly the ninety minutes was up and here is the one part where the camp broke down for me.
Somehow they had planned that these little Spielbergs would finish their movies in that time, but never told them. Now, they were stuck not being able to finish the movies. This in my opinion is piss poor planning and you could see several kids a bit heart broken over it. They could fix this by letting them know up front and encouraging people if they have their own macs to bring them so that they can start work there and then bring it home.
We exported the movie and I knew we could make it work at home with some tweaking and that is what we did.
Day 3: Showtime!
Since there is more than one camp going on at anytime the store was packed when we got there. They had set up an area in the back of the store and of course were showing the movies on a big screen iMac.
Each kid would get up and introduce their film and then it would be shown. Lots of Lego and Barbies showed up, but there was only one stuffed squirrel which you can watch here.
So What Did I think?
If your kids have any interest in learning Apple software and there is a store near you I can’t reccomend this enough. The kids will have fun, you’ll have fun and you can’t beat the price. Emily walked away all excited about video editing and that is what I had hoped for.
It is also a genius move on Apple’s part because of course the parents get to play with all the fun gear while their kids are learning. They also did a nice job of on day 1 showing us the parental control features built into the Mac OS for those who didn’t know they were there. I saw more than one parent (myself included) walk out with a bag with some goodie in it before the end of camp.
Apple Camp is awesome and you should definitely consider it for your kids.