I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! We’re now in the penultimate week of the semester with only one project left to go. This week you’ll be developing your Draft Video Story, with quite a bit of freedom to choose a format and style that fits your course topic well.
You’ll also be reading about web accessibility and user experience, which is a good time to revisit the design of your WordPress blog and make adjustments. Your blog should showcase your projects effectively, and now you’ve had time to explore your blog and make thoughtful design choices.
As you work on your story, a few recommendations to keep in mind about strong video stories:
- Make use of both audio and visuals. This is a unique strength of the video medium, and the most compelling videos effectively use both to heighten the experience.
- Edit with a purpose. Remember the design principles from way back at the beginning of the semester? Make design choices deliberately with your communication goals in mind. For example, don’t just throw in a random sampling of Premiere transitions; think about how those transitions affect the way viewers perceive your story.
- Respect your viewer. Watching a full video is asking a lot from your audience. Guide your viewer through the story, but don’t make things longer than necessary. Think critically about what your viewer wants to see or know next. Remember that many TV ads tell a complete story in just 30 seconds!
Week 11 To-do List
❑ Go through the Week 11 reading
❑ Complete the Raw Footage & Storyboard assignment by Tuesday
❑ Complete the Draft Video Story by Friday
❑ Take the Unit 4 Quiz by Friday
Your assignment this week: Watch that documentary you’ve been meaning to see. Check out the viral videos (like this!) you’ve been resisting. Binge on that TV show your friend recommended.
OK, so you have a bit more to do than just watch TV/movies, but this can be a good start and quite helpful as we begin Unit 4: Adobe Premiere and Video Storytelling.
As you go about your week and watch Netflix/TV/Prime/Hulu/whatever, think about the following questions: What is the format? How does it catch your attention? What type of shots are used? And does it make use of both audio and visuals to present the story? Thinking critically about how videos are constructed will help as you begin your own video projects this unit.
Adobe Premiere Pro is the fourth and final software program we’ll be using for COM210. For this week’s tutorials, you’ll be shooting some video footage and editing it together in Premiere, then exploring some more advanced techniques and transitions with provided materials. Note that you’ll need to shoot some video footage for the first tutorial, so don’t wait for the last minute!
A while ago, a clip about snakes and one baby iguana from the show “Planet Earth II” went viral on social media — it’s well worth the 2 minutes if you haven’t seen it, and also consider how the variety of shots, the sequences, the music and other editing decisions make this into such a dramatic little story.
There is also a behind-the-scenes 360 video showing how the team filmed this scene, too.
Week 10 To-Do List
❑ Go through the Week 10 readings listed on the Course Schedule
❑ Complete the Premiere Tutorials by Friday at 11:59 p.m.
After you started your Audio Story last week, we’re now in another week of feedback and revisions to improve your project for the final version. Here are a few tips for making sure your story is as strong as possible:
Watch out for copyrighted material! Review the copyright materials from the beginning of the semester or the Creative Commons Audio chapter if you’re unsure about what you can legally use. Also use common sense — if you find a recent hit song labeled as free-to-use on SoundCloud or another website, this most likely means someone else uploaded it illegally, not that you can use the song.
Go beyond the tutorials. Your Audio Story should show that you can use and combine the Audition skills from the tutorials in new ways. It’s perfectly fine to include an interview or vox pop segment in your Audio Story, but make sure you are using those techniques in effective or creative ways that aren’t just a copy of the tutorials.
Use the strengths of audio. Think about the difference between talking on the phone vs. reading an email, or the difference between listening to a song vs. reading the lyrics — emotions and feelings come through more effectively when we hear voices and sounds. Think about how to use those strengths to make your Audio Story memorable and interesting.
Guide your listener. Compared to visual media, audio gives your audience very few clues about what to expect. Guide your listener through your content by using appropriate music, introductions and transitions.
Listen to your sound multiple ways. If you’re mostly editing with headphones, make sure to also listen out loud once or twice, and vice versa. Avoid editing with earbuds altogether, if possible. This is essential for making sure your audio sounds consistent and balanced.
Week 9 Checklist
❑ Complete the Audio Story Feedback assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday
❑ Post and submit your Final Audio Story by 11:59 p.m. on Friday
❑ Complete your Unit 3 Participation Credit by Friday
After learning basic techniques for audio editing in the tutorials, it’s now time to start the third unit project in this course: your Audio Story. Students often find the editing tools for audio easier than the first two units, but this means it’s all the more important to plan your project carefully and gather high-quality audio to work with.
Here are answers to some questions that commonly come up about the Audio Story:
What counts as a “story,” and what formats are recommended? There’s a lot of freedom over the format of your audio story, but whatever format you choose should sound planned and deliberate. To count as a story, it should have a clear beginning, middle and end. This doesn’t mean it needs to be a “once upon a time” sort of story, but that you should guide your listener through the content and consider using narrative elements like anecdotes and a concluding moment of reflection (as described in the audio chapters).
Does it need to include an interview? There’s no requirement about interviewing someone for your Audio Story, but you should record and use a variety of voices and sounds to construct your story. If you narrate most of it yourself, think about what other sounds — ambient sound, sound effects, music, etc. — will help tell your story effectively.
What if I can’t get all my interviews/material this week? As long as you submit a draft that shows reasonable progress, you can continue adding material until the final version is due. However, mention any incomplete aspects in your blog post so you can still get helpful feedback.
How much should the story relate to my course topic? Like all portfolio projects, the audio story should have a clear connection to your course topic. However, it does not need to encapsulate everything about your topic. Specific stories are often more successful than broad ones that try to cover too much.
Week 8 Checklist
❑ Read the Week 8 materials listed on the Course Schedule
❑ Post and submit the Raw Audio Footage assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday
❑ Post and submit your Draft Audio Story by 11:59 p.m. on Friday
❑ Take the Unit 3 Quiz in Blackboard by 11:59 p.m. on Friday
After finishing up Unit 2 last week, we’re now halfway through the course and ready to begin Unit 3: Audio Editing and Adobe Audition. This is a big shift from the visual design we focused on during the first half of the semester — many students find audio storytelling to be more fun, but if you’re a visual learner be prepared for a challenge.
Compared to the previous two units, there are fewer tools and techniques to learn in Audition. But that means it’s that much more important to collect high-quality audio and think about how to structure a story, and this week’s chapters provide important concepts, tips and examples. Take time this week to listen through some of the podcasts and radio segments recommended in the Introduction to Audio Storytelling chapter, and you’ll have much stronger ideas for your own audio project.
For this week’s assignment, note that for the third tutorial you’ll need to record several very brief interviews. I’d recommend reading the instructions right away so you can plan ahead for that part even if you don’t start the tutorials until later.
Week 7 Checklist
❑ Complete the Audition Tutorials assignment by Friday
❑ Read the Week 7 materials listed on the Course Schedule