First, here is a link to my Storyboard for my Video project along with a mini snapshot of it that somehow miraculously appeared on my page!:
(editor’s note on 10/12: This video, by the way, measured at exactly 1 minute when I finished and filed it, but when I just played it it measured at 59 seconds. I hope that discrepancy doesn’t count against me.).
In my opinion, this week’s Mini Art School Assignment served two purposes. The first purpose was to provide a full immersion experience in utilizing new (to me) technology. The second was to push us to think about our project and take it from the theoretical to the practical, including consideration of the use of video and other moving media.
So first, a bit about using the new technology.
When first presented with this week’s assignment, I was intimidated, to say the least. How in the world was I going to draw a Storyboard when I have absolutely no ability when it comes to drawing? I mean, is there a program where you can produce stick figures?
But lo and behold, in reading about Storyboards online, I saw a reader comment that recommended a Storyboard creation site called Storyboardthat.com. Brilliant! It did limit me to six scenes in order to use the service for free, but that limitation was actually helpful because it forced me to really think about how to shape my video. I quickly decided that an interpretive approach would work best given the requirement that this video relate to our Multimedia Project and the nature of my Project.
The actual video creation proved much more difficult.
I knew the shots I wanted to take, thanks to the Storyboard, and took the shots at the beginning of one of my classes at Bloomfield College. My students were willing participants since it gave them additional time to get work done.
I tried to incorporate all the things we’ve read about – closeups, pan shots, detail shots, etc. Of course since I was shooting scenes in an area already set up, and didn’t want to show the student’s faces for privacy reasons, there were some limitations in the shots I was able to take. But I was pleased with what I had.
But then, trouble reared its ugly head. I could not upload any of the snippets I had taken on my phone. After much cursing and screaming (apologies to my neighbors!), I discovered, in the middle of the night, that the file size of my video snippets was too big. Exhausted, I couldn’t figure out how to fix that and literally started taping the scenes shot on my phone with my tablet and then shooting the tablet scenes with my phone in a smaller format. Very Lucy Ricardo! The results weren’t pretty but I was desperate!
After a few hours sleep, I took another stab at it and – gasp – discovered that I had, at some point – put a video toolbox on my phone, probably during some journalism workshop I attended. Who knew? After all, other than this, I had only attempted to actually upload a video from my phone once. Ever. But with the Toolbox now in sight, and after a few attempts to figure it out, I went back to my original files I had shot on my phone and was able to minimize the sizes and, voila, I was able to download them. Cue the angels singing. Hallelujah!
I had also never used Windows Movie Maker, but after a few stabs at it, I was able to create the video. The Toolbox had allowed me to not only minimize the files but to scrub the video snippets clean of any audio. The Movie Maker program also allowed the options to scrub out audio, select different sequencing and appearance details (such as fade in and out from scene to scene), and to add my own audio voiceover layer. From there, it was yet another introduction to a new program for me – Vimeo – and I was able to actually publish the sucker (though I still don’t get why it wouldn’t publish to YouTube, but I’ll save that for another day).
So that’s the technical side of this challenge.
The conceptual side of this challenge – taking our projects from the theoretical to the practical – also proved interesting. It made me think about the use of moving media for my project. Did I want to use it? Do I need to use it? Will it enhance my project? Could it prove useful for my students in the context of the overall project? Yes, I certainly want to include videos students have produced for their classes, but was there a need for me to incorporate my own?
I can’t say that I came away from this leaping with excitement at the opportunity to include video, or even Screencasting for that matter. After all, my Project as I have envisioned it is supposed to enhance what is happening in the classroom, so is there really a need to include moving media that would, by the nature of the Project and the audience, be instructional?
And is there really anything I could show these students that they a) don’t already know (since they’re already more technically savvy than I), or b) aren’t learning (or supposed to learn if they pay attention) in class? If I were teaching the broadcast or radio courses, I could see a role for video since this could help the students with their student projects. But I don’t teach those courses and have no clue what they’re learning or would need. And I’m not sure I really see a role for the print and writing courses that I teach.
Those are questions and issues I will still have to consider as I move forward with developing my Project.
For now, I am simply content and relieved to check this beastly exercise off my list. And I’m sure my neighbors are grateful for that as well!