Video Magic

Have you seen Zach King’s Magic Vines? The girls have been totally fascinated by the 6-second video illusions produced by Zach King on Vine, a video-sharing platform for super short video loops.

“How does he do that?” they demanded, squinting carefully at his amazing feats, which include flying with cardboard wings and getting into the driver’s seat by jumping through a (closed) car door. “Well…” I started, sensing an opportunity… “how about, you think of something magic you want to do – and we’ll try and make a magic video of our own!” It was uttered before I had too much time to consider the viability of my offer.

“I want to magically become a princess!” declared Miss Chu.

“Ok…” I paused, thinking quickly… “that is probably, actually, possible.” They were getting excited now.

I explained the process to the girls as we storyboarded out their idea…and they were off! Shooting the sequences was actually pretty tedious, because the girls couldn’t be as spontaneous as usual for the “magic” to work. But it was good for them to realise what goes on behind the scenes. And they were both elated by the results. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination – and we certainly couldn’t keep it within 6 seconds – but they loved watching it and have been coming up with several other (possible and impossible!) ideas.

Our first “magic” video:

The massive rise of digital media has seen video really come to the fore as a means of communication. All the statistics point towards a world where information will be increasingly consumed through video, with traditional print on the decline.

In ten years’ time, what will be the most pervasive and effective mode of communication? Video is already replacing written news, textbooks, greeting cards, print ads. But could video ever replace academic papers? Will micro-video replace emails and shopping lists? Are kids in school being prepared to communicate well in the digital environment?

Apparently if you’re 35 or over, it’s quite hard for you to imagine video being your go-to means of communication. We were already adults at the turn of the century; our childhood was fully print-based. Marketing types put us in a different category from younger generations, amongst whom there is a clear trend towards embracing video as a both a source of information and a means to communicate.

For a generation who have not known life before Google and YouTube, the ability to evaluate and produce (and not just consume) high quality digital content is arguably as important as writing a good letter or essay. And yet schools, for a myriad of reasons, have not, or possibly cannot – adapt their curriculum at a pace which adequately reflects the technological changes in everyday life.

I was pondering this as Miss Chu has just been issued a “Creative Writing” exercise book at school. I have nothing against Creative Writing, but I remember having my own “Creative Writing” book at school and it struck me that technology has moved on so much since then, it’s almost odd that her exercise book should look the same as mine. Perhaps kids could be learning not only how to craft a narrative – but to weave their written storytelling in with audio, film and animation.

I think we’ll certainly be attempting some more movie magic in the Chu household…stay tuned!


  1. As usual, the time and effort (and, of course, the final result) are just amazing! Makes me wish I was born a few decades later to take advantage of all this creativity – I want to be a princess too!
    Best wishes
    A Lynn xxx

  2. That was great – Caitlin really enjoyed it to and an interesting point on the different ways we “oldies” regard text v video compared to the kids. Increasingly Adam in P7 gets to submit homework digitally and choose different formats to do work that sometimes I regard as lesser/easier forms but I guess it’s more appropriate in this day and age than writing an essay!!

    • Interesting abt the P7 work. Don’t know many kids further along the school journey, so keen to know what might be ahead! Apparently videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text – so it definitely requires less mental effort to “consume” than reading and maybe has a bit a reputation for being a lesser medium. But making them is another matter!

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