February 28: Video Stories

To Do This Week

Blog Assignment: Using your smartphone, record video of your experience of one day in short video shots. This is an assignment to use a variety of framed shots (close-up, medium and long) to create a montage portrait of one day in your life – morning to night.  

  • This is to be “first person” shooting, what you see around you, where you are. No direct selfies, please. And shoot horizontally!
  • Shoot at least 10-seconds of video and audio for each shot. These will be edited down to shorter 1-4 second shots in the final work.
  • Ideally, your camera should be set to HD 720p, which is good for YouTube.
  • Shoot at least 10 shots throughout the day – in your home, with friends, on your commute, at a job, doing errands, on campus. You can set a timer every hour or so to remind you.
  • Think about what it is you are capturing and frame appropriately. Don’t just turn on the camera at anything. Capture the details of life passing by. Find a variety of moods, visual rhythms and sounds. What is the shot that starts your day? What closes the day?
  • In Premiere, edit these sequential shots into a 30-second video.
  • Please keep the original sound of each shot and don’t add music – a day is made of both quiet and loud moments.
  • Export to the format .H264 and a Vimeo or YouTube preset for 720p.
  • Upload to YouTube or Vimeo and post to the blog. 



  • Diagrammatic Narratives…
  • One-on-one Zoom meeting 5%
  • View One-Day videos
  • View examples of video storytelling
  • Premiere intro, questions, voice-overs


Video Stories:

  • framing
  • continuity editing
  • montage (discontinuous editing)
  • sound and image
  • text with image

Story elements:

  • characterization – actions, reveals
  • pov – restricted or omniscient narration?
  • setting – the world of the story
  • plot – liner sequence of events, cause and effect chain
  • editing – the presented order of temporal events
  • voice-over narration – thread trough the sequence of images, clarity 
  • dialogue – move plot and reveal character
  • description/exposition – the information important to the story but not in the plot, the backstory
  • style -in the look and in the telling 


Student Projects:

In-Class Exercise:

  1. On a sheet of paper, diagram your ideas for the Video/Audio Narrative project. Make connections between thoughts, images and sounds, etc.
  2. Turn the page over, and write quickly a few paragraphs about your idea.
  3. Then write a paragraph about the style or approach you will take. Will use video that you shoot, archived videos or photos, public domain images/videos? Will use montage and/or continuity editing? How will you use sound: voice-over narration, music, sound effects, asynchronous sounds. 

Video/Audio Narrative (10%)
DUE March 21st

For this project, you are to make a 1 minute video using continuity and/or montage techniques. Edit together video clips, animation and/or still images, recorded audio, voice over and/ or sound effects to tell the story. It is up to you how you “narrate” the story – through just images with sound effects, your own voice-over, text on the screen or an interview with the subject. The images do not have to illustrate the spoken narration, but should relate and help reinforce the story. This project is about using multiple types of media to tell a time-based story.


  • a personal story or an anecdote: You probably will need to use voice-over (or text-over image) and either images from your archive or shoot video that stands in for the past events. How might you add sound effects?
  • a story about an object: Similar to the above, but the story or anecdote is about an object. Show the object in various angles/framings. 
  • a sound-driven story:  Create a story with sound effects over video or still images. No language. Scary stories are good with this form. 
  • an episodic video essay: tell a series of mini-stories organized alphabetically.

Brainstorm Final Project ideas 

Final Project:  30%

The final project is to be a digital story that incorporates at least two of the modules covered in this class: diagrammatic, visual, cinematic, hyperlinked/interactive, game-like storytelling. The work may be a significant reworking of a previous project or a new idea and direction.

The final project will have required stages and deadlines and each of these will be graded separately for a certain percentage of the final grade. It is important that you do not leave everything to the last minute. There should be progress each week until it is due. Our class time will be focused on building these stories so that you can help from me and your classmates. You are not to use this time for other class projects.

Project Summary 5% -DUE April 18th After our in-class brainstorming sessions and a required Zoom meeting with me to work out your story idea and approach, you are to write a summary in a blog post. What is the story in 3-5 lines? What form will it take – Twine, HTML, video, comic slides? What are your inspirations – what are the works in this class or elsewhere that are models for what you want to do? 

Project Critique 10% – DUE 25th : We will have an in-class critique of your digital stories. The grading will be based on how much of the work you have completed. I will also be giving you my feedback.

Final Project 85% – DUE May 2nd : Based on the critiques, you are to address the issues raised and complete the final version of your work for grading. Make a post with a link to the work and give a brief summary or artist statement about what you set out to do and describe the process of how you made it.



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