Digital storytelling with WeVideo

Over the past weeks our postgraduate journalism students have been creating photo stories for the Digital Journalism module. We followed the digital storytelling model of still pictures and audio narration to keep the creation process relatively simple. This process tested a range of practical skills from script writing, audio recording and editing, photography and picture editing and video editing. 

We wanted to introduce the students to tools that are freely available online (where possible) to illustrate how the online environment makes so much more possible and reduces the need for purchased and installed software. The free online tools used included WeVideo for video editing and Audacity for audio editing. 

Photoshop was used for picture editing, which is not a free tool but was installed on all the computers. Perhaps next time we may use something like Pixlr or Gimp to keep the “free” theme going.

This was the first time we had used WeVideo in class and was a little skeptical about using online video editing on mass. I was encouraged by my own tests and positive reviews. In previous years we would have used iMovie or Premiere Elements but with the availability of WeVideo we had to try video editing in the cloud. It has not disappointed.

In class the teaching time of WeVideo was limited to about 30 minutes but in a group where the majority had no or limited video editing experience they all got the hang of it really quickly.

We were using the free account which has limitations of file storage and resolution. We used this to our advantage by using still images instead of video and re-sizing the images to the export size. The smaller file sizes means the storage space become less of a limitation.

My only criticism of WeVideo is the inability to alter the effects. I would like to be able to start the Ken Burns zoom out a few seconds into the still or somewhere other than the middle. I would also like to be able to get the Ken Burns to stop the still for a few seconds. A work around for the is to repeat a photo and add the Ken Burns to the first one.

Each student writes for their own themed blog to engage with a community and so the photo story needed to relate to their blog theme in some way.

Below are a few examples of the work produced. I am really impressed with the creativity and imaginative way some of these stories are told.

Nicholas Pritchard – Postcards from the Past

Alice Thompson – Are Poets Real People?

Betsan Jones – Canton, in just over a minute


About shazmagill

I work as a Senior Technical Demonstrator and Lecturer in digital storytelling at Cardiff School of Journalism, Cardiff University. I teach and support any tools necessary for our students to function as journalists or media practitioners. This means anything from audio recording techniques, video editing, photography and print and mobile publishing. I have recently completed MA in Arts Practice (Fine Art) at the University of South Wales exploring the subjective and objective view and community storytelling through art of the Rhondda valley.
This entry was posted in Audio, Digital Storytelling, e-Learning, Learning and Teaching, Photoshop, Social Media, Video and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Digital storytelling with WeVideo

  1. Interesting work! Thanks for sharing. I’ve just taught my first workshop using WeVideo, and really appreciated your tip about repeating a photo to gain a little control of Ken Burns.
    We’re planning to use WeVideo with middle school students in an after-school program. it will be interesting…

    Cheers, Fred

  2. wevideo says:

    Hello Shazmagill,

    Thanks for using WeVideo! We are so happy to see the work that your students made and especially interested in hearing your thoughts on WeVideo and the process of implementing it in your course.

    We would very much like to showcase your student’s work in our channels. Could you email me back when you get a chance?


  3. Pingback: WeVideo at Cardiff School of Journalism | How do I…? You can do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s