Slam Poetry is an incredible sub genre of poetry, and one that high school students can relate to much more than sonnets and haikus. The subject matter of slam poems are powerful, emotional, and easy to understand. In addition to this, slam poems are also an excellent way for students to practice public speaking and acting skills, because the delivery of a slam poem matters just as much as the poem itself.

Recording a slam poetry performance is a great way to spread the poem’s powerful message with others and analyze the words and body language of the speaker in a classroom setting.

In this article, I’ll show you how you can edit and caption a slam poetry video to share, discuss, and watch as many times as you want! This is a great tool for both students creating original slam poem videos, and teachers who may want to capture and dissect a famous poem. This tutorial uses a free online video editor called Kapwing.

Here is a GIF example of a poem that I edited and captioned with Kapwing.

There are four easy steps you can follow to create your own slam poetry video!

  1. Select Your Video and Upload to Kapwing’s Studio
  2. Edit the Length and Other Features
  3. Add Subtitles
  4. Publish and Share

1) Select Your Video and Upload to Kapwing’s Studio

This tutorial can be used for students who are looking to upload their own videos as well as teachers who want to create a lesson plan or inspirational video for their students during a slam poetry unit in school.

The first step for both of these cases is to find the video you want to use. For this example, I used one of my favorite slam poems from YouTube. With the Kapwing Studio, you can easily upload a video from your computer or paste a link from another site! Once you pick your video, upload it to Studio to get started!

If you don't have video footage, you can instead add an image and record your voice. Click the "Audio" tool in the Kapwing toolbar and use the "Record" button to record yourself reciting the poem.

2) Edit the Length and Other Features

Once your video has been uploaded, you can use Studio to make your initial video edits. This can include things like resizing it, trimming it to be a specific length, adding a border, and many other features! Spend some time exploring the different tools to customize your video in whatever way you want.

In my GIF, I've added a watermark in the bottom right corner by uploading a transparent PNG logo. You can also experiment with adding an animated Progress Bar across the bottom of the video to add more visual appeal.

3) Add Subtitles

Subtitles can add visual appeal to your slam poem by emphasizing certain words and lines. They also make your poetry video more accessible to people with hearing impediments and make your art more memorable. To add captions to the poem, click on the "Subtitles" tool in the Studio.

Alternatively (if you want to skip steps 1-2), creators can visit Kapwing’s Subtitler tool and upload your slam poetry footage.

Kapwing's Subtitle Maker

Using the subtitle maker, you can add your own subtitles. Use the "Add Subtitles" button at the bottom of the screen to append an additional line of text. Type out your words to transcribe the video.

With Kapwing, you can also use the "auto-generate" button to get automatic subtitles. Keep in mind that the auto-subtitler is only 80-90% accurate, so you'll need to go through and correct the spelling, punctuation, and timing of the text. Watch the entire video all the way through in case there are any mistakes you want to fix. You can also change the color, size, location, and font of your subtitles to fit with your poem.

The stylistic choices you make when adding the subtitles can have a big impact on the power of the poem. Like the structure of a stanza, the aesthetic design of the caption text will affect how the viewer hears and absorbs the poem. For example, you can choose to give emphasis to certain words by making them larger or a different color. You can make a line long or very short to put emphasis on certain moments.

4) Publish and Share

Once you’re confident in your subtitles and happy with the preview of your slam poetry, you can publish your video. From there you can continue editing or download the video to share with others! You can also download the MP4 to share on social media, like IGTV, Twitter, YouTube, or other slam poetry communities.

This type of video is an awesome introduction to slam poetry in the classroom as well as a great way for students to create their own slam poetry videos! It's a project that students can do from home, remotely, during the shelter in place order. Happy creating, and be sure to tag #kapwing in all your creations on social media.

This article is part of a series featuring educational tutorials and lesson plan inspirations for K-12 classrooms! Want to see more? Check out the Kapwing Education Page!

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