Wire 106: Week 10 – “Let’s Go to the Videotape”


Actually, it’s not really tape, it’s all digital these days.

So now it’s time to start putting all the different digital media we’ve been exploring this semester—photography, design, and audio—into motion. Video is a magical medium in that it combines so many powerful elements into one, but that’s also why it can be difficult to do well. We’ll be working on just that these next two weeks.

Reading Movies
Take a look at the Reading Movies unit for the open ds106 course, there are a ton of great resources there. And while we’ve been reading The Wire closely all semester, this week serves as reinforcement. It’s high time we start formalizing the things we’ve been talking about. This should raise the quality bar going forward. But also since we’ve been analyzing all along, this week’s concepts should be easy for everyone.

For a quick overview and some inspiration watch the short Ken Burns clip on storytelling with video:

Read the late movie critic Roger Ebert’s article “How to Read a Movie,” you’ll be coming back to this for the “Look, Listen, Analyze” assignment explained below.

Finally, watch the first seven minute’s of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece M and reflect on how he is providing exposition and creating narrative tension cinematically in this opening sequence. How does he get across such a huge amount of information, simply, subtly and naturally?

Look, Listen, Analyze

This week you need to do the “Look, Listen, Analyze” exercise outlined here, the only difference is you should use a scene of your choice from this week’s episodes of The Wire.

Tag: readingmovies

Tools of the Trade

For the work over the next few weeks, you will need to be using software that allows you to combine, edit, augment, re-sequence video, as well as being able to add or even replace the soundtrack within a video.

Reference the Tools for the Trade for links to software you might want to use as well as our new Video Guide for video resources and tutorials.

We most strongly recommend you use the applications that come with your computer- either Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie, these are generally the easiest to get started with and should be available on your computer.

Note that students often face challenges in Movie Maker and importing MP4 type videos (the most common format you will download videos in), you may have to install extra video codec software or find converters that will translate MP4 videos into AVI or WMV formats (try http://www.online-convert.com/ or http://zamzar.com).

But for this unit’s work, you will only do basic editing. If you don’t have a machine that can handle editing videos, the Media Editing Lab on the first floor of the Convergence Center is open and available, as are the Macs on the first floor of the library.

For making small clips from downloaded videos, get a copy of the free MPEG StreamClip, an application for Mac OSX and Windows that makes it easy to mark and export the exact portion of a video – see our tutorial that shows you how this is done.

Basic Editing

We recommend using video editing software that allows you to cut and re-arrange clips on a timeline, and to add, and layer audio tracks. Most typically this is the software that came with your operating system- iMovie on Macs and MovieMaker on Windows PCs (but feel free to look at some of the other options in the ds106 Handbook).

Many of the assignments will require downloading of clips form YouTube (we have a tutorial if you need it). PC users may have challenges in importing the downloaded mp4 video files into MovieMaker (We have been told that the Windows Movie Maker Live can import MP4)- you will either have to install codecs to read mp4 videos, or use a converter to change mp4 into AVI or WMV file formats. See the ds106 Handbook for some video converter options.

Other resources that may help include:

Digital Knowledge Center

The Digital Knowledge Center (on the 4th floor of the ITCC) is open for business between 10 Am and 6 PM Monday through Thursday, and from 10 Am to 3 PM on Fridays. They are awesome, schedule an appointment to get focused help with using these video tools—you might even meet a fellow classmate 🙂

Video Assignments

Do ten stars, involve The Wire in at least one assignment.

Season 3, episodes 8, 9 & 10

Video Discussions

  • Episode 8 on Tuesday, 10/28 at 7:30 PM
  • Episode 9 on Thursday, 10/30 at 7:30 PM
  • Episode 10 on Friday, 10/31 at 1:30 PM

Sign-up here.

Daily Creates: 2

Inspires: 2 Building on last week, keep inspiring one another.

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One Response to Wire 106: Week 10 – “Let’s Go to the Videotape”

  1. Pingback: Diverse Literacies and Thinking Like the Web | bavatuesdays

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