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.