We are often experimenting with new tools to create our videos and illustrations. It's a changing process! Tech is simply a tool in our eyes, and because of that, we focus on our goal of what we are trying to do as our driving force---not the tech itself. It's why we believe that you can do video creation with students in the classroom even when tech is limited. One thing we love to present on!
When we started (in 2013), we only used a cell phone to record audio, Moviemaker (free), and Microsoft Paint. You can see our milestones here from when we first started.
As we grew, we wanted to create more types of things with more detail. We now make infocomics, GIFs, misconception comics, and add more detail to our videos---so we have looked for tech to help us meet those goals.
Here's what we use as of June 2017 with a limited budget:
Drawing Software- Petunia has no artistic background, but she practices a lot. She started with MS Paint. Over time, her style of drawing has changed. She now uses the software Sketchbook Pro for all video illustrations and GIFs. All of the illustrations---for videos and for GIFs---are individual image files. To make a GIF, the images can be looped together in a GIF maker. Sketchbook has this ability. If you are trying to make GIFs with your images, here is a very easy to use GIF maker: www.gifmaker.me. Additionally, here are some other suggestions for free drawing programs on a variety of device types.
Drawing Hardware- It's hard to imagine (or maybe it's not ;P), but Petunia used a simple computer mouse to draw for a long time for a lot of our videos. As her drawings have evolved, she now uses a Cintiq 13 HD drawing tablet by Wacom.
Movie Editing Software- We used to use free Windows Moviemaker to put the audio and pictures together, and it really is an easy to use, great program for the classroom. After wanting some extra features, we switched over to Camtasia, which we really like. If you are looking for some free options for movie editing, check these out.
Audio Software- Pinky still uses the free program Audacity to record. It works for both PC and Apple computers. While you don't technically need any audio software (we didn't in the beginning), it adds a lot of awesome features like cutting things out or removing background noise.
Audio Hardware- Pinky no longer uses a cell phone to record audio or the internal microphone on her laptop. She now uses this Yeti microphone. She also made a "portable sound booth" to put her microphone in which we think has made a difference in our more recent videos. You can find a lot of instructions for making one of these online!
I notice you animate some portions of your videos. What tool do you use to animate?
Our videos are mostly a series of comics timed to audio, but sometimes they contain minor animations. At this time, we do not use a fancy animation program. We create an image, save it, reopen it to make a slight change (such an image rotation or position change), save the new image, and repeat--- and we eventually end with a series of images that can appear animated once they are all put into a movie editing program in order. If trying this out, we would suggest naming your images numerically in sequence as shown below.
P.S. We're very passionate about involving students as video creators in the classroom. Check out our student creation page for step by step instructions on a teacher-student collaborative video creation procedure that maximizes your classroom time.