Our postgraduate diploma students have been busy creating digital stories again. Their stories are made following a particular format; using still images and audio narration to produce something like an audio slideshow. Its much more than just an audio slideshow though. Its an in-depth story, told by either the interviewee or the journalist.
I find using still images and audio only is a really effective way to introduce the skills of video editing. As the student takes still images they are using a technology (the camera) that is familiar to them. Learning can then be focused on picture taking skills (exposure, framing, focus, depth of field) rather than be distracted by the complications of a video camera and moving images. That next step towards using a video camera then becomes a simpler one as many of the essential skills have already been learnt.
Here are a few examples of the work produced this year with links to the students blogs.
Martha Holeyman – Classical CDF
Will Martin – The MettleWorks
Yasmin Morgan-Griffiths – Cardiff Community Couch
Sophie Jones – Soul About Cardiff
Chris Browning – Get Around Cardiff
The students used WeVideo, an online video editor, to produce their story. Its the second year we’ve used WeVideo and its been a great tool to use. During the first year we used free accounts which had its limitations but that was never an issue with a short term project and the work we were producing.
This year, after our work was seen by WeVideo, we joined their Ambassador Program and have been working in an Education group account. This meant that the students joined as part of a group rather than as individuals. The main advantage of working in a group was the ability to share media and when we used WeVideo for the first time I was able to share my media with all 60 students saving a lot of time.
Working online has also proved popular with the students. In feedback most said that they liked being able to edit on any computer, in class or at home. Later in the year the Magazine and Newspaper students used iMovie for video editing but this tool requires the media to be stored locally meaning the same computer must be used while editing.
Other interesting comments refer to the simplicity of editing in WeVideo. Our Broadcast students were introduced to video editing with Avid Newscutter a few weeks before we started using WeVideo for this project. Some of the less experienced students told me that WeVideo was less scary and complicated than Avid Newscutter.
There were a few negative comments as well though. Students reported freezing, import problems, the timeline playing differently than expected and new video tracks appearing when moving clips to another track. Not having seen these problems I am not able to say if these are user or software errors. The plugins needed updating on some machines too, which, in a managed classroom required technician input. We also had an instance of a published video playing different than on the timeline. To be fair to WeVideo once the problem had been reported it was fixed within a few days.
Overall WeVideo has been a great tool to use; a simple and friendly interface providing lots of flexibility as you video edit in the cloud. Its a great starting point for beginners but still offers enough for the experienced video editor.