July 14 Day 493: Always Learning

I have been editing videos for the #TacomaMath workgroup of the STEAM Learning Network of Graduate Tacoma for 5 months. We released the first video on February 5, 2021 and with few exceptions, created a Math Around Town recording every week since.

I’ve learned a lot over these five months. I seem to learn something new with each production. I am not particularly sophisticated. I use the iMovie app on my iPad. It does not have all the capabilities of iMovie on a Mac but it mostly does what we need. When searching the internet for a technique (say, changing to a specific font in the captions,) I find it’s easy on the Mac version and imperfect workarounds exist for the iPad. This week’s problem ended up being just that except I had couldn’t find documentation of an imperfect workaround. I needed to figure it out and this blog post will become the documentation I was looking for.

Here was my dilemma. July 12-16, 2021 is National Summer Learning Week. #TacomaMath volunteered to produce content for today, Wednesday, focusing on math. The video footage was provided by several collaborators and the rough cut looked great. As I was coordinating with the audio track, I realized a little more footage was needed. I hopped in the car, went to the park, and found a beautiful family willing to help. I returned to editing and was satisfied with the final result except it appeared that a gray filter was applied to most of the video. I thought maybe I had accidentally added a filter and had no idea how to clear the dull gray.

I searched the internet and learned about filters on the iPad. But that wasn’t the solution. Surely someone would have come across this problem before. I could not have been the first person to have made this mistake. So I asked the internet for help.

I heard crickets.

I was prepared to release the dull version of the video because there were other projects that needed my attention in a timely fashion. But I just couldn’t let it go. So I contacted Apple Support for iMovie for iOS.

After answering a few questions online, it was recommended that I talk with a support person in real time. I typed in my cell number and they called me within 2 minutes. The first person I talked with asked me to try all the things I had already done but I was willing to do it all again. After 15 minutes she was out of ideas and called her boss, Greg.

Greg and I worked together for another 30 minutes. He remoted accessed my iPad and talked me through more possibilities—only some of which I had tried previously. I learned how to reinstall an app without losing the files associated with it. So that was cool.

I am a good problem solver. I mean, I do have a PhD in mathematics. And I know I do my best work when I have someone knowledgeable to bounce ideas against. Greg asked about the naming convention of my original files and that is when the pieces came together.

This was the first time I was using video footage from more than one contributor. Some of us have Apple phones and others have Android phones. In order to bring the Android footage into iMovie, I had to convert it from its original form to either *.mov or *.mp4. The encoding is different on the backend and somehow adding a *.mov file from an iPhone made all the Android footage gray (even though it had been converted to *.mov). Removing the iPhone footage returned the project to its original brightness.

So what was the final solution? I converted the iPhone footage to *.mp4. It may seem a little bit backwards but it worked. Whatever the encoding conflict between the source material, it was removed and everything was bright again.

I really like this week’s investigation of pendulums through swings sets. There are no answers provided. Only questions. I’m proud of the support that #TacomaMath provided to #SummerLearningWeek—not only through the Math Around Town Video but also through math chalk puzzles at south and east side Metro Parks locations.

We are all learning everyday. And I like that.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

One thought on “July 14 Day 493: Always Learning

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: