5-Minute Film Festival: Video Boot Camp
Have you thought about using video in your teaching, but don’t know where to start? Video enthusiast Bill Selak has some tips and tricks for creating new videos and curating existing ones for the classroom.
The rapid adoption of devices in the classroom has fundamentally changed the way we can create video. Every part of the creation process -- writing, recording, editing, and distributing -- is possible on the devices that can fit in our pocket. Vision is the most dominant of the five senses. Research shows that concepts are better remembered if they are taught visually. This is called the pictorial superiority effect, and it’s why video is such a powerful learning tool.
A video is created three times: when you write it, when you shoot it, and when you edit it. There are several formats that can be used to write a script for the classroom: a Google Doc, a dedicated app (ex: Storyboards), a Google Form, or a production organization document. Whichever format is used, emphasis should be placed on how it will be used in the classroom, and what the goal of the video is. When recording, it is important to incorporate basic rules of composition, such as the rule of thirds, into your video. Being aware of the environment (basic concepts like lighting and room tone) makes it easier to edit.
Curating content is another significant way to incorporate video into your classroom. If you don’t have the time or software to make a fancy video, odds are someone has already made it and shared it on YouTube. This Film Festival is equal parts curation and creation.
Video Playlist: Video Bootcamp for Teachers
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- The Rule of Thirds by Mike Browne (3:02)
When composing a shot (photo or video), divide the frame into thirds. Imagine a tic-tac-toe board, and align important subjects with the lines. Watch the video to learn more.
- The Robert Rodriguez 10 Minute Film School by intheframe123 (6:42)
Robert Rodriguez (director of El Mariachi and Spy Kids fame) gives this introduction to making videos. He shot the feature film El Mariachi for $6,000 with one camera, and shares his tricks for making one camera feel like an entire film crew.
- Hitchcock Explains About Cutting by narik332008 (7:01)
The master himself, Alfred Hitchcock, discusses how editing changes the mood and storyline of a video. He analyzes the movie Psycho and describes how the arrangement of clips affects the feel of a scene.
- King Kong Sound Design by suatrilha (4:06)
This behind the scenes look of King Kong (2005) shows you what goes into creating sounds from scratch for videos. While your videos probably won’t be this complicated, it’s useful to know what goes into creating sounds for a feature-length movie. If your entire class is working on a movie together, creating a sound design team is a great way to not only create more jobs for the movie, but also make a more robust video.
- How to Use Playlists in Your Classroom by James Sanders (0:47)
James Sanders provides a brief introduction to creating and using playlists in your classroom. If you or a colleague are new to using YouTube as an educator, this shows what’s possible with creating, sharing, and using playlists with students.
- Wringing out Water on the ISS - for Science! by the Canadian Space Agency (3:17)
The first thing that will blow your mind in this video is that you don’t need a microphone stand in place. The second thing that will blow your mind is how surface tension works in space. This video will extend science lessons, as well as be an eduawesome writing/discussion prompt for any grade level.
- Your Family Tree Explained by CGP Grey (4:00)
Complex topics are better explained with video, not text. At big family events, the topic of cousins often arises. This video explains the difference between a first cousin, a cousin once removed, etc. If you’re not convinced of the power of video to teach, this clip will change your mind.
- Mr. W by Guillaume Raffi (2:03)
How do you personify wind? This example shows the power of creating videos in a language arts class. Hard-to-grasp concepts like personification, hyperbole, or juxtaposition can come alive through both student-created videos and curated videos like this.
- Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut by Casey Pugh (2:03:52)
The Star Wars Uncut videos are crowdsourced, collaborative video. Each participant re-enacts 15 seconds of the movie, and all the clips are compiled into an epic mashup. This is not only a great example of collaboration, but also a great idea for students to emulate in their own class.
- Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel by Stargate Studios (3:58)
This reel is intended to attract new customers, but Stargate Studios provides a rare perspective on what’s real in media. As consumers of video, students tend to accept what is presented to them. This video challenges all of that. It also gives some cool examples of what’s possible with a green screen at school.
- 1968 King Assassination Report by CBS News (3:12)
YouTube isn’t just cat videos. Important historical videos are also on YouTube. CBS News uploaded the footage when Walter Cronkite received word of Martin Luther King's assassination. As CBS shares, “His report detailed the shooting and the nation's reaction to the tragedy.”
- The Year in Search by Google (1:32)
Google asks us, “What do these searches say about us?” Take a look at the biggest trends from 2014, and use this video to reflect with students on both what we searched and why we searched.
More Resources for Using Video in the Classroom
Ready to dive in and begin curating and creating videos for your classroom? Here are some resources to dive deeper into the world of video in the classroom.
- "50 ways to Use Music and Song in the Classroom"
- Next Vista For Learning provides a library of free videos made by and for teachers and students everywhere
- Enter your class video into a student media festival - get ideas at the California Student Media Festival website
- Royalty-free soundtracks at Incompetech
- Royalty-free soundtracks by Moby at Moby Gratis
- SoundFX Now, a free online sound effects library
- Digital Storytelling by Michael Hernandez
- Discussions on filmmaking at Filmmaker IQ
- iBook The Shooting Gallery: Film Foundations for the Classroom by Jon Corippo
- Lighting kit for more professional lighting at Tubetape
- The Birth of Film: 11 Firsts in Cinema from Open Culture