Digital Video AGP Learning Journal by Dennis Price

"Hi, I'm Dennis. Watch my video, please."

Disclaimer: I'm already making films -- I just want to get better at it so I can help my students learn to make video worth watching, rather than herky-jerky shots of their friends with french fries jammed up their noses. I have much to do, but here is a sample film I created to model my Actuality Film assignment for grade 8.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can learn in this course. Onward and upward!

Assignment 1: Listen to the Color of Your Dreams

"Blue" was created with images I captured myself. The cat (his name's Wittle Kitty) was doctored in Photoshop to isolate the blue, but the images from around school were captured using an artistic filter in my lil o'l point-and-shoot. I tried using the timecode to add in a few half-second shots, and it worked out. The music is "She Dreams in Blue" by Josh Woodward, an artist who offers a number of creative commons licensed songs for creators ( I'm still struggling with using the rolling edit tool, mainly because I keep forgetting to use it. Live session one is tonight, and I'm ready to go!

Twenty Seconds of School vol. 1

First attempt, shot on a Panasonic Luminex camera. I re-used footage from my sample assignment above for this, and I'm not particularly pleased with the result. I think my first clips might be a bit short, making the ending rushed more than I'd like. Also, I ran out of usable footage sooner than I thought, so I'm going to do another attempt at this assignment with found footage for practice.

I lied. Attempt No. 2 is footage shot on my iPhone. Why? Because Internet Law decrees that everyone must make at least one Cute Cat Video. It may be my imagination, but the video quality is better on my phone than the Luminex camera; I may need to make some adjustments to the settings. I do have an Olympus PL-1, but was too lazy to pull it out for this. This was a fun edit and is a gift for my wife, who adores this cat (as do I).

I Think I'm a Clone Now

The trick for me was setting up the shots and filming myself. I jumped onto a tutorial site and figured out how Kev cloned himself, then shot this in my classroom. I should have gone for more variety of shot angles, but I only had a 15-minute shooting window so it’s a bit of a rush job on that end of things. Editing it wasn’t too bad (I didn’t even try to smooth over the soundtrack the way Kev did), and I’m fairly pleased with the final result. I realize seeing myself on camera that I have a case of resting butthole face, which really isn’t a reflection of how I am.

Novice Assignment: Cutting on Action

The next assignment is piece together an action sequence using the concept of cutting on action. I get the concept (I taught a less-than-pretentious film studies class for a couple years ago) and I've been wracking my brain to come up with ideas to create said video for more than a week. Unfortunately, there was this whole thing called "The End of the School Year and the Beginning of Summer Vacay, Vol. 18." Yeah, wrapping up the year and getting a jump on summer fun (yardwork, painting, family reunion) has kept me too busy to film. So I took the easy way out -- I used the sample footage provided by one of the instructors. I'll do my own and add it here eventually, but as I'm already behind and have about two weeks to finish the course work, I'm just covering my . . . part that needs to be covered so I complete the course.

I suppose I could have messed a bit with the audio, but I feel by leaving it alone it reflects those hectic moments when you leave the house at the last minute for work. Simple cuts, no transitions, and we have a video. I considered adding a thought balloon with the phone showing up, but using the cut-in did the trick anyway.

Screencasting 101

Our final assignment hit me a bad time - vacation + home remodeling season. I basically had one afternoon to get this done and am posting it without too much fiddling because I have a kitchen that MUST have new trim and a fresh coat of paint by tomorrow so we can leave as scheduled. On top of that, there is a giant pile of debris behind the house that must be cleared away to the dump AND power washing the house and deck. Whew! I am up to the task, but that means I maybe didn't put quite as much into the assignment as I should. Doing a screen cast is a little harder than I thought because I found myself forgetting to describe what I was doing or where the tool is located in the menu. This is take 2. Take 1 featured me melting down into a puddle of mumbled half-words and vague utterances. This one isn't much better (I need to fiddle with the mic settings a bit and stop yelling into the mic as well.) Anyway, the idea behind Tek Slap is a series of quick hit tips for various programs. My seventh graders always seem to struggle with longer tutorials because they are in a hurry to finish a project so they can sit and do nothing -- when will they realize it isn't a race, it's art?

Reflection Terminus

In spite of my somewhat cavalier approach to this final reflective video, I did sharpen my skills and do feel a bit more prepared to teach video making and video editing. At this writing, the likelihood of my media class continuing is up in the air after my principal (who urged me to create the course and has supported my efforts these past two years) suddenly announced her retirement at graduation. In other words, this may have all been for naught. However, I do intent on using screencasting to flip the classroom a bit and perhaps, should we go to a One to One program at my school, I will be guiding light other teachers may follow. Let's hope for the best! In any case, enjoy life and drink some lemonade!


Created with images by czubeka2 - "iphone tripod timelapse"

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