IMPORTANT :: LAPTOP AND SOFTWARE OWNERSHIP REQUIREMENT
Students are required to provide their own laptop and software for this course.
PLEASE REVIEW THE POLICY HERE.
There are three essential technology tools you will use extensively in this course:
. editing software (video, still image, sound)
. electronic journal (wordPress is recommended)
. video publishing (youTube or Vimeo is recommended)
Further details about each of these tools can be found below.
software apps and tutorials
Students will be expected to provide/download editing software and gain familiarity with these tools on their own. The curriculum is built around basic software tools, typically those that already come with your computer OS, or simple free apps. The course focuses on creative inquiry, composition, and communication – not advanced sofware training. It is not a software-intensive course and students are not expected, nor intended, to become advanced software users. Instructors will not spend large amounts of class time engaged in software training.
The links below provide access to software and how-to’s for a basic core of tools:
has excellent video tutorials for many software applications. The campus has purchased a group subscription for use by Illinois students. If you enter any of the following terms into the search field, you will find training help: iMovie, Movie Maker, WordPress, Vimeo, Youtube, Audacity, .
Illinois students, use this link: go.illinois.edu/lynda (login with your campus netid + password)
The link above will work if you are on campus and connected to the campus network. If you are connecting via WiFi from off campus, you will need to access the campus network using VPN. Students should refer to the CITES VPN screen for technical information on installing and using VPN. Section instructors are not experts in this domain.
If you are unfamiliar with lynda.com, or are having difficulty accessing the service, check out this CITES screen.
APPLE has very helpful iMovie and iLife tutorials online:
PC video editing software downloads and how-to’s:
Windows Movie Maker came bundled with earlier versions of Windows. If you are using this version, here are some how-to’s and tutorials. For PC users who are looking for a slightly more powerful and elegant editing tool: Although WwV instructors do not endorse specific products, several former students have reported satisfaction with Cyberlink PowerDirector, while others report strong satisfaction with VideoPad.
is a youtube-like site that also sports a very handy resource called the Vimeo Video School. Their Video 101 lessons feature beginner tutorials for both iMovie and Live Movie Maker, plus good pointers on composition, sound, etc.
(online editing tool :: Mac or PC)
This is a new site that just went up last summer, so it is still relatively untested, but it offers some VERY exciting possibilities as a network-based cross-platform editing tool. Once you sign up for a free account, users can upload clips, edit them from within a web browser, share material with collaborators, and publish work. Think YouTube with editing capabilities.
is an interesting new iPhone app that lets multiple authors who have recorded the same event collaboratively sync and edit footage to create multi-angle videos.
Sound editing software
freeware: Mac or PC)
Audacity (downloads and tutorials)
All students are required to start and maintain an electronic journal for the purpose of publishing both their writing and their video work. There are a number of excellent free options, but WordPress and Blogger are two of the most popular. Below are links to both options, plus learning resources. Students can typically create a blog in a matter of minutes, and learning to post and manage your online journal requires only minimal skill:
publishing videos + network communities
Students need to join at least one online video community. YouTube is the most visible and well-known. Vimeo is an increasingly popular option because of the superior quality of its published videos. Follow the links in this paragraph to establish accounts at these sites. Just look for a ‘create account’ or ‘sign up’ link. Its free.
Once you start creating finished video work, you should consider joining the Writing with Video Vimeo group. You will be able to upload work for others to see, and it will be a great way to see what other students in the course are producing. If you’d like to see older work completed by former students, there is a fairly large archive on the Writing with Video Youtube channel.
You should also consider joining the Writing With Video Facebook group, where you will find examples of interesting and relevant content from across the web.
equipment access + checkout
Camcorders, microphones, tripods, audio recording decks, and various cords can be checked out at the Art+Design Facilities checkout window, located on the 3rd floor of the Art+Design building (room 318). Sometime during the first week of classes students will be informed about important policies such as duration of checkout periods, reserving equipment, and late fees. Students can call 333.5839 to reserve equipment in advance or inquire about equipment availability.
Students are encouraged to consider providing their own camcorder since demand for the Art+Design machines is high. Writing with Video does not require the use of expensive equipment, and students are even encouraged to experiment with cell phones that have image and video capture capability.
For those considering purchasing a camcorder, models that have a jack for an external microphone are particularly attractive. Although instructors do not make purchasing recommendations, students might want to consider the Kodak Playtouch, one of the few camcorders for under $200 that comes with an external mic jack (here’s the CNET review).
For those planning to check out camcorders from the A+D checkout window, some recommendations and advice:
- Canon FS100′s or Panasonic 700′s: these camcorders are good general-use machines and are pretty simple to use. The Canons are the most simple, the Panasonics are slightly more sophisticated and complex. they both use SD cards. If you check out one of these models, you should also check out a Multi Card Reader, which attaches to your laptop and allows you to transfer video files from the SD card to your computer. SD cards are widely available (Best Buy, Staples, Walgreens, Amazon). Currently, an 8GB card can be purchased at Amazon for about $10, and roughly translates into 2 hours of video capture (this is an estimate and can vary depending on camcorder technical settings). For convenience, you might consider purchasing your own multi card reader (> $20).
- when you go to the checkout window, ask for a specific model (i.e. “Hi, I’d like to check out a Canon 100 camcorder, please.”) the checkout staff person may not be a video expert.
- Some camcorders don’t seem to work well with certain editing tools. There is currently almost universal confusion about this, so much so that Apple has actually posted a page listing which camcorders are compatible with iMovie ’09. Here’s a link to that page. Bottom line: you may encounter some complications and frustration on this front. Your instructor will try to help, but remember that they are not a software/equipment demi-god and may not have a ready answer. You may need to be patient and persistent in working through this.
More tips for checking out other A+D equipment:
- tripods: be sure to ask for a small lightweight video tripod (not a still camera model)
- audio recorders: the ZOOM audio recorders are recommended for their small size and ease of use. these decks record onto SD cards (which you need to provide). you should also check out a multi-card reader, which you can connect to your laptop when you’re ready to transfer your audio files.
- micophones: one of the most common microphones used in WwV is a hand-held omnidirectional mic that picks up sound in a spherical pattern in all directions
- another popular mic is what’s called a shotgun mic, which is a directional microphone that picks up sound in a tight pattern in front of the mic (it requires a AA battery).
- YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT A CABLE TO CONNECT YOUR MIC TO YOUR CAMCORDER. ask for a ‘XRL to mini’ cable. the XLR is the fat end and connects to the mic. the mini is the small jack and it connects to the camcorder.
- If you’d like to learn more about how microphones work, visit the audio-technica site, and here’s a link to information on basic sound principles.
file compatability issues + video converters
One of the newer video conversion apps for Macs is Miro. It converts a wide range of video file formats, and it’s free.
WwV students sometimes encounter a situation where their video editing software does not seem to recognize the file format from their camcorder. It is hard to predict who will encounter this frustration. If this happens to you, try using Squared 5 or Prism conversion software. These programs can input almost any video format and convert it to an output format that your editing software can recognize (i.e. converting to Quicktime for editing with iMovie). There are both Mac and PC versions available. Mac users: if your camcorder is generating .mts files, here’s a handy file converter that will convert directly for iMovie (only about $5 for download).
tips for beginners
vimeo video school: video 101
video shooting tips :: some basic techniques
the language of film (and video) :: starting to think like an author and media builder
how to shoot video that doesn’t suck :: a great book for the absolute novice; no deep truths but lots of great tips for beginners :: take a look at the video teaser and check out the website
video production process + journaling template
Beginning with module 02, students will be introduced to a four-step video production process that includes specific directed writing activities during each step. Here’s a convenient link to this journaling template.
guidelines for the group critique process
Group discussion and critique of artwork is a process that many students have little or no experience with. Here is an online guideline to help those seeking a model for how and why this method is used in most art schools.
The choreographer Liz Lerman has also developed a very effective critique method that students may learn more about from individual section instructors. Here is a link to more information on the Liz Lerman critique method.
guidance on process-based writing
The Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) method offers a useful perspective on the writing process as a tool for exploration and communication. AWA founder Pat Schneider’s book Writing Alone and With Others is recommended for anyone who wishes to learn more about process-based writing.
ethics + release forms
There are ethical and moral responsibilities that come with authorship and media production. Students are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards in the production of work for this class. This means asking for permission to shoot, being considerate, and being honest about your intentions.
It is always best to obtain formal permission from people who will be recorded on camera (not people just walking down the street but, for instance, people that you interview). Here is a very simple release form that can be used for this purpose.
Be advised that it is unethical, and in some instances illegal, to secretly or surreptitiously capture audio/video. The same holds true for distributing or publishing this kind of content. Don’t shoot footage under false pretenses. Don’t shoot subjects who may not be able to give you considered consent (i.e. children at daycare, or clients at a mental health facility — in instances like these, seek permission from someone in a position of authority and responsibility). Don’t shoot if you’ve asked permission and the answer is ‘No’.
If your behavior could possibly be construed as dishonest, manipulative, or disrespectful … then maybe it is. Maybe you shouldn’t do it. Don’t compromise your ethical integrity.
Further, the academic coordinator and all section instructors for the course adhere to a zero tolerance policy regarding students who engage in, or record, behavior that is illegal. Be advised that instructors may be bound by law to turn over material of this kind to police and/or academic authorities.
is a big deal. Copyright matters. There is a great resource on all of this that been produced in comic form by the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Duke University. Its called Bound By Law?, and you can either watch the flash version online, or download the pdf version.
has done some very important work in the area of intellectual property rights for electronic work, particularly content distributed within electronic communities. This is a great site for understanding the importance of respecting intellectual property rights. And you can also license your own work here. Also, here are some ideas about a code of best practices for fair use of video content that has been produced by others, compliments of the Center for Social Media.
copyright-free music source
Speaking of respecting intellectual property, Moby created a nice resource for legally downloading music specifically for use by independent, non-profit video authors. And there’s more: asimplesound + soundsnap.
are a very effective tool for organizing and visualizing ideas. They are in common use by nearly all time-based media authors. If you google ‘storyboards’ you’ll find many templates available for download. Here’s an example of a very simple but useful storyboard.