image_pdfimage_print

Week 4: Video Killed the Radio Star….Really?

Everything is due July 19 by 11:59.

Some of you have gotten a lot of things up and running and fixed by using the Digital Knowledge Center.  The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

Here is the topic most students find both the most challenging and/or rewarding portion of ds106: video. It presents challenges with file formats, creating more complex narratives, and working with more complicated software.

But it is also one of the most engaging forms of media — hence the current statistic that in the span of one minute, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.

Before jumping into video editing, you will spend some time first looking critically at some cinema techniques. Read the rest of this post for details about the work for this unit as we learn to “read” movies. Then you will be completing your own video stories, from start to YouTube– this unit is two weeks long, so plan your time accordingly.

Before jumping into video editing, you will spend some time first looking critically at some cinema techniques. Read the rest of this post for details about the work for this unit as we learn to “read” movies. Then you will be completing your own video stories, from start to YouTube– this unit is two weeks long, so plan your time accordingly.

 Video Ready Your Tools

For the work in the next week, you will need to be using software that allows you to combine, edit, augment, re-sequence video, as well as being able to add or even replace the soundtrack within a video.

Reference the Tools for the Trade for links to software you might want to use as well as our new Video Guide for video resources and tutorials.

We most strongly recommend for the future assignment that you use the applications that come with your computer either Windows Movie Maker Live or Apple’s iMovie, these are generally the easiest to get started with and should be available on your computer.

We recommend using video editing software that allows you to cut and re-arrange clips on a timeline, and to add, and layer audio tracks. Most typically this is the software that came with your operating system- iMovie on Macs and MovieMaker on Windows PCs.

Many of the assignments will require downloading of clips from web sites such as YouTube and vimeo. You will need to use a tool that can download videos to a file format you can use on your computer (usually MP4). Our tool of choice is SaveFrom.net but we review a few other techniques as well.

Windows users may have challenges in importing the downloaded mp4 video files into Movie Maker (We have been told that the Windows Movie Maker Live can import MP4)- you may have to use a converter to change mp4 into AVI or WMV file formats. See the ds106 Handbook for some video converter options.

Other resources that may help you include:

Focus on the storytelling aspect of your video making- -do not get caught up in the technical points or making the video just for the assignment points…  Be very sure that your videos tell a story, that it surprises us, that it perhaps jars us, and that when you write-up your blog post you are providing full details and context for your videos

Learn How to Read a Movie

You have likely watched plenty of movies, but when we say “reading” movies, we mean looking at them with a keener eye for the cinematic elements that make them successful (or not). This is not about reviews of “good” or “bad” movies, but how well they convey the story to all our senses, how well they suspend our disbelief to make the plot real, to draw us in– how well they tell a story.

For your work in this week, you are expected to look for details in movies, many of which are found in Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” which you must read this week.

In addition, to get a deeper appreciation for the power of cinematic techniques, watch at least 3 of the following videos about filmmaking.

Look, Listen, Analyze

Now apply some of the criteria you reviewed above to a classic movie scene. From the YouTube playlists below, pick one scene from a classic movie you will analyze — do not watch it yet! — just choose one that might interest you. If you want to use another clip, it should be a complete scene, not a movie trailer.

You will now analyze the clip by watching it three times, in different ways.

  1. Analyze the camera work. Before watching the first time, turn the volume on the clip (or on your computer) all the way down. Take notes on the visual aspects of the clip. Look for camera angles, cuts, how many times the camera switches view, the quality of light, the cuts or transitions. Look for the ways the camera tells, guides the story.
  2. Analyze the audio track. Now turn the volume up, but play it without looking at the screen (or turn off the screen); just listen to the audio. Take notes on the pacing of the dialogue, the spaces in the audio, the use of music or sound effects (think back to our work earlier on listening to audio).
  3. Put it all together. Finally, watch the scene as normal. Pay attention to something you may have missed the first time or how the elements you saw in the first two steps work together.

Write up a blog post that includes the embedded clip, and the notes you made in the three views of the scene. Did you notice anything new by minimizing one of your senses?

Also use what you have read in Ebert’s column or anything else you observed in the cinematic technique videos to identify key elements of this scene. Include specific reference to Ebert’s ideas of left/right character placement, what the camera angle suggests, how the way the scene is shot builds the story element. We are looking for the video aspects that makes this work well (or not) – not just “this is a great scene” or “this is my favorite movie”.

Video Assignment Bank

For this week you should complete two ds106 video assignments of at least eight stars, each should be posted to your blog, appropriately tagged and categorized. All videos should have an opening and closing title/credits sequence.

I have to reiterate because many people are not doing this.  Each assignment blog post should include:

  • Write about thinking behind the assignment, the inspiration, what it means to you. What is it’s story? Does it make a story spine?
  • The video you produced for the assignment is embedded into your blog post. Your videos should have an opening title sequence and a closing credits sequence. Check your video software for it’s title creation features.
  • Share your process. What tools did you use? What techniques? Think of this as information that would help someone else doing the same assignment. Include a screenshot of your video editing screen. You must provide URLs/sources for all media you included that were not ones you created yourself.
  • To have your work connected back to the assignment, your blog post must include the two tags for the assignment, one will be VideoAssignments and the other will have a name like VideoAssignments447. Look for the tags entry box on the right side of the WordPress editor, below the Categories.

Creating your Own Digital Assignment

The archive of ds106 assignments grows every day and you are to be a part of it!  You can do any category of submissions

Here are a few guidelines to help you craft your submission:

  • Be Worth Doing. The assignments should be more than justa dding text to a picture or something you can do in a one off web site. A ds106 assignment should take some time to do, and be challenging. It should be something that really lends itself to storytelling, not just creating media. 
  • Be descriptive. Having a blog post as an example of an assignment is preferred, but at the very least a good image or video example of an assignment is a must, along with a well-written description. True ds106ers actually DO their own assignments first!
  • Be creative. Write the assignment that you would want to complete, and think about things like the title and description as teasers to get people excited about it.

You must create and do two of your own digital storytelling assignments before the end of the semester, if you have not done any up to this week one is due this week.  You must submit your assignment to the bank located at the following url: http://assignments.ds106.us/submit-an-assignment/

Creating Tutorials

You are required to create at least two tutorials for either assignments you create or pre-existing assignments in the repository. These tutorials can be blog posts with specific instructions or screenshots, screencasts walking an audience through the process, or some other approach to helping others complete the task. A way to consider how these are done would be to ask what sort of tutorial would have helped you best to do the assignment.  If a tutorial already exist then you cannot do another unless the tutorial did not work for you or you feel there is a better tool to use.  When creating the tutorial think of someone that does not know how to use the
tool, maybe your grandmother, grandfather, mom, dad so be detailed.  You may want someone with no experience to try it out before submitting.

  1. Write the instructions professionally. Using a friendly and professional tone is often the most effective. There are many ways to undermine the professionalism of your writing. Stay on target with your writing. Avoid going off subject. E.g. Talking about your personal life. It’s best to stay on topic, being focused on what you are writing. That doesn’t mean that it should lack of having a personality, but don’t let it undermine the professionalism of your writing.
  2. Credit your sources. Copyright is an important issue in the tutorial publishing. You need to link to each image and asset you’ve used. This way people can verify the usage rights of the photos and materials. This is not applicable if you’re not using assets, if you created your own assets, or if you photographed your own images.
  3. Practice the subject on what you make your tutorial about. You can create your project first. Then you go back and make it a second time, while recording your projects process for the second time. The other approach is to create your project and record your steps as it goes.
  4. Capture screenshots or make screen videos. The most basic way to capture screenshots is to use tools, and shortcuts, built into your computer. Press Print screen and Ctrl to make a screen shot. Then clean them up in a photo editing software program like Photoshop or Gimp if needed. That being said, you can also make a video of your work for example if you are making a Photoshop tutorial. You can use programs like Camtasia or an open source program like Camstudio. Use what you prefer the best, experiment with it until you get the hang of it.
  5. Review your tutorial. Keep your readers in mind. For which audience you are making your tutorial? Is the tutorial meant for beginners or for advanced users? You need to answer all these questions, and work to improve the tutorial based on these types of issues.

Like assignments, tutorials have tags that need to be added to the post on your blog in order for it to be associated with the proper assignment. You need to check the tutorial tag for the assignment you are writing the documentation for. You will need to correctly use the tutorial tags to get full credit.

If you have not completed any tutorial, you must complete one this week.

Weekly Summary Checklist

Your summary blog post for this week should include and link to the following requirements. Remember, I am also looking for more that a list of what you did; take some time to reflect on what you learned or discovered this week. Include in your weekly summary again a sense of what kind of feedback you are getting on your blog and how you are giving feedback to others.

  • Reading Movies Write a blog post that includes your response to the methods suggested by Ebert- why might they work (or not)? Summarize what you learned from the two videos you watched about cinema techniques.
  • Look. Listen. Analyze. Write up a blog post that includes the embedded clip for the scene you reviewed, and the notes you made in the three views of the scene. Did you notice anything new by minimizing one of your senses?
  • Assignments: You should link to and discuss the posts for the two ds106 video assignments completed. Each post should be put in categories that you made for your site, and should also include the tags specific to each assignment. Be sure that your assignment blog posts contain the elements out line in the ds106 Handbook.
  • Create Your Own Digital Storytelling Assignments: Explore the collection of assignments created by participants in ds106 and see examples of the work done in response to them.
  • Create Your Own Tutorials: Edit your tutorial for grammatical and logical errors. Make sure the tutorial is structurally sound, sequential, and understandable. Work to make your writing as concise and clear as possible.
  • Comment on other blog post: Make sure that you do different people for each comment.
  • Daily Creates: Do three daily creates.

Week 3: If it Sounds like a Duck it may not be a Duck.

Everything is due July 12 by 11:59.

Some of you have gotten a lot of things up and running and fixed by using the Digital Knowledge Center.  The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

Finish Reading: Week 3: If it Sounds like a Duck it may not be a Duck.

If Week 1 wasn’t enough Week 2 is here.

All work is due by midnight on July 5, 2015.

The University of Mary Washington’s Digital Knowledge Center provides peer tutoring to all University students on digital projects and assignments. Students can schedule 50 minute, one-one-one tutorials with a trained peer tutor on any DS106 related projects.  Click Here to set up an appointment.

Finish Reading: If Week 1 wasn’t enough Week 2 is here.

Fair Warning

Hello and welcome to the online, Summer version of Digital Storytelling (CPSC 106). If you are receiving this email, it means you are currently enrolled to take this course in Summer 2015

Please read this in its entirety!

I wanted to take a moment to quickly orientate you all in regards to how this course will be run over the Summer (Summer Session I and II, 2 different Sections).

Let’s start by saying this course will probably be unlike most courses you have taken thus far in your school career, and that is not simply because it will be held entirely online—for it is quite likely in this day and age some of you have taken an online course before. What is different about ds106 (the nickname for the course) is that you will not only be asked, but required, to narrate your process of learning over the course of the semester. You will be required to setup and manage your own domain and web hosting space (details forthcoming); you will be expected to create a series of online identities across several web services (including YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, SoundCloud, Google Apps, etc.); and regularly update your own web space where you will be installing, designing, and customizing your own site. More specifically, you will be asked to use these spaces to create digital narratives both individually and collaboratively over the course of the semester—so please be prepared to work together.

Also, it is very important to keep in mind that a lion’s share of the course work, and by extension your grade, will be focused around the regular updating of your own site as well as commenting on those of your classmates. We can not stress strongly enough how essential both posting and commenting are to your success is this course. If you foresee any issue with either of these activities—particularly with doing them openly online—we recommend you reconsider taking this course.

Another issue that comes up again and again with this course is the time commitment. We will be creating a variety of narratives across a wide range of media, experimenting with everything from digital photography to digital audio to web video. These forms are often quite complicated and time consuming, and while the students who have taken this class in previous semesters enjoyed the process tremendously, they almost all noted it demands a significant amount of time. If you are taking a large number of credits or some particularly difficult classes in other disciplines this Fall (or trying to hold-down a full-time job, etc.), you may want to reconsider taking this course. What’s more, if you took this class as a 100-level filler and expect to get by with minimal work or engagement, you will quickly realize that it’s far more than that—and the dangerous part of the course is you will greatly enjoy the work. Don’t be seduced! At any rate, consider this fair warning. And please try not to make me remind you that you were warned before the class even began.

The main site for the course is located at http://.ds106.us. Please go there and take a look around to get a sense of the chaos, If you have any questions let us know.

Something to keep in mind about that course site is that it will not only include the posts of students from UMW, but also from others beyond the boundaries of our school. ds106 may be taken by more people from outside UMW than the number enrolled in the class at UMW—and they will be taking it for free. Why free? Free because they are not getting credit for the class like you are from UMW. Your work as a class will happen alongside numerous people with a wide experience and interests—many of whom have no association with UMW whatsoever. This serves as a microcosm of the web, we will not be working within a siloed learning management system for this class, rather we will be doing our business out on the open web. If this is concern, then you have yet another reason to reconsider taking the course.

This course is designed to get you to both think about and interact within the digital landscapes and networks that everywhere surround us. Narratives and storytelling provide the frame we need for exploring and experimenting with emerging forms of creative expression in the digital realm as well as means for interrogating the digital environments we are increasingly dependent upon. To this end you will be asked to steward your own website, and one of your first assignments will be to setup your own domain and establish your own web host—and by extension your own digital identity.

While this should be self-evident, turns out it needs repeating. If you don’t have access to a solid, reliable computer and a fast internet connection for the five-week duration of the class you should not be taking ds106. Period. A computer and consistent, fast internet service are absolutely necessary.

Shortly we will be sending out another email with instructions for getting your own web host, domain, and installing a couple of open source applications. We will also be expecting you all to get Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube (or Vimeo) accounts as soon as possible.

Finally, if you have significant issues with any of the above listed points—which we’re sure some of you do— feel free to reach out tojenniferpolack@gmail.com.