Experiment: Under the Volcano

I've been taking a digital-storytelling course at night for about 7 weeks. My original goal was to learn how to edit video, nothing too fancy. I just wanted to learn how to make a video with a steady hand sans jump cuts.

But making videos, as I discovered, involves a lot of advanced planning, a minimum knowledge of lighting and a very steady hand (Read: tripod). I quickly discovered that my first idea was a little too lofty and required a lot more time than just a few weeks. In addition, filming requires consistent lighting, so you have to film at exactly the same time of day. Since I work during the week, that left me only Fridays and possibly the weekends for filming. I also discovered that I needed a partner for some additional assistance. I could not ask my Significant Other because I would need his help using the movie software. My daughter was an option, but only if she found what I was doing interesting.

My ship came in yesterday. Both my kids were home with me, and my daughter wanted to do a volcano experiment. I decided to make a how-to science video. Not what I had hoped for, but the best I could do in the time I had.

Volcano experiment

For the volcano you will need a bottle. The volcano shape is made with salt dough, which takes about 10 minutes to make. Here's the recipe:

Salt dough
2 cups of white flour
1 cup of salt
2tbsp of vegetable oil
1/3 of a cup of water (mix a few drops of food colouring to give your volcano some colour. My kids chose blue...?) Mix this in a large bowl with your hands.

Add this to the outside of the bottle in the shape of a pyramid. We used a fork and knife to give the volcano a more textured look.

It was hard to make the volcano shell and film at the same time. We added a backdrop, a purple lizard, a bunch of plastic frogs and placed them all on a green plate to make it look more like a set. As you'll see in the video, we made up a little story incorporating a despotic red frog and a petulant purple lizard. It was fun.

Mixture for the volcanic reaction
 Take a glass and add
50ml of lukewarm water
50g of baking soda
3 or 4 drops of red food colouring
30ml of liquid dishwashing soap
Use a funnel and pour the mixture into the volcano bottle. Then rinse the funnel, and slowly add 100 ml of vinegar to the volcano's crater.

There is a rapid chemical reaction when the vinegar comes into contact with the baking soda.


reisa | March 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Right on - you did it ! The first thing about making a video is just going ahead and doing it... and you even got a little social commentary into the story (or maybe that was just me reading into it ;)

Looks like you had a great time doing this with the kids !
Bravo !


Heather | March 15, 2012 at 8:17 AM

You're right. It's all about doing. It's easy to sit around with a ton of ideas and do nothing. I learned a lot from doing this, and hopefully with each new "film" I'll learn a lot more. Heather

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