With the rise of the Web, video has increasingly become a central way that we communicate with others.
The medium of video combines images, motion, and sound, making it the most complex and, perhaps, the most evocative medium. The use of video in the classroom, not only in the humanities, but increasingly in STEM courses, is rising to meet its increasing use in popular culture as a central means of communication. A wide range of applications, from how-to instruction, to advertising, to interviewing, to storytelling, makes video an ideal choice for creating and studying complex multimodal communication.
The medium of video is a strong choice for communication because it is:
Video production usually follows three phases:
Pre-production is the work done before recording begins. It includes activities like organizing the project, clarifying the message, preparing locations, scheduling, finding people, and gathering equipment. Investing time at this stage makes future steps easier.
Decide what equipment you want to use and practice with it. You have several options:
Imagine that you have pressed the record button on a video camera; a shot is what gets saved when you press stop at the end. A shot list is a way to plan the shots you need for a video. It contains the location, the type of shot, a description of the content, and when you plan to shoot. The shot list can become the agenda for an efficient day of shooting.
Three enemies of good video are noise, poor lighting and shake. With proper planning, you can reduce or eliminate all of them.
Noise is any sound you don’t want to record. Be aware of the surroundings at the locations where you plan to shoot. When you need to capture a subject’s voice at a noisy location, consider using a lavalier mic that you can pin to clothing, close to their mouth. There are times when you want to capture the sounds of your location - in a restaurant, perhaps. Note that after shooting it’s easy to add background sound and hard to remove unwanted noise.
Lighting is a key element in videos. In general, you want to shoot with the light behind you. As you plan outdoor shots, remember that the sun’s light comes from different directions at different times of day. Indoors there can be strong overhead lighting, resulting in subjects with shadows on their faces. Closing shades or moving lamps may help, but it may be helpful to bring along a reflector or portable lighting.
Usually, we like to see steady video, but it can be hard to keep a camera from wobbling. There are several techniques for holding a camera steady with your hands. Another option is to borrow a tripod from the OIT in 115 DeBartolo.
Line up people who can help. If you’re doing a class assignment, find out if it’s okay to recruit “talent” with a smooth speaking voice. You may want someone to hold a microphone boom or monitor the volume on a camera.
This is when the raw video files are produced. After arriving at the location the tripod is set up, the camera is checked, talent is miked, and shots are recorded. In major projects, production is considered “the point of no return.”
There are at least three ways to think of different types of video shots:
Besides the material you shoot to directly tell your story (A-roll), you will also want to gather B-roll footage that can add interest, show related action, clarify a location, etc. When your main content is an interview, B-roll will give viewers a break from “talking head” shots.
After capturing an important shot for your project, record a minute or two of ambient sound at the location with a video camera or an audio recorder. This can be very useful later on in fixing the video or if you are going to have a narration.
Your video can have a narrator who does not appear on the screen. This is called voice-over and it can be recorded ahead of time or after video shooting is done. You can. For the best quality, record in a sound studio or the Library's Sound Booth.
There’s no copyright issue with simply recording your own video and posting it online. It gets interesting after you add third-party music, visuals, or sound effects.
There are very specific conditions under which you can apply “fair use” principles to a school project. For the sake of simplicity use only media that has a Creative Commons (CC) license. “Royalty free” refers to media that you purchase up front and don’t pay a royalty fee later.
At this stage, raw media are selected, sequenced, corrected, and edited. Credits, effects, and music are also added. First a rough cut is produced, then a final cut. Finally the product is posted online or distributed in another way.
Adobe Premiere Pro and similar software use time-based editing, where all of the elements are laid out on a timeline. Premiere also uses nondestructive editing, where raw media are not actually copied into the project file. Instead, the software saves markers and references to the original files. It’s critical to gather all of the necessary files in one place and keep them there.
After all of your media is assembled there are several things you can do with editing software.
Adobe Premiere creates a .pproj file while editing, but the standard format for sharing online is an MP4. With your Premiere Pro project time line selected, go to the File menu and choose Export Media. Pick the H.264 format and one of the YouTube presets.
YouTube is owned by Google, so you can log in with your ND account. Another popular site for sharing videos is Vimeo.
Notre Dame has many helpful resources, including our Media Corps coaching staff, located in the Hesburgh Library.
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