Your first project focused primarily on visual communication, while your second emphasized audio. For your third and final project in this course, I’d like you to put the two together in the form of what’s called a “screencast.” Screencasts can take a variety of forms, and there are several ways to go about producing them. At the very least, they involve some kind of audio track and a series of still images (or slides). They may also involve video, screen captures, animation, etc. This page will provide you with some examples and suggestions, but ultimately, determining the form and content of this project (and the tools you use to execute it) will be part of the project itself. As you watch these different examples, think about how you could execute them yourself.
You’ve probably seen this commercial, which has been running recently. Think about the different elements (each scene, the background music, audio, screen captures, etc.), and how it tells a story in a short amount of time. Obviously, I’m not expecting this level of sophistication, but you might be surprised at just how much of this is within your grasp as a digital writer.
Resource: Screen Captures
The commercial makes use of several “screen captures,” videos of something happening on a screen. There’s a great explanation of how exactly to do this on a Mac using QuickTime Player. It was so easy, in fact, that I made a screen capture of myself finding the site: Video Screen Captures
I used QuickTime, imported the results into iMovie, and then added a song track, editing it down a touch for size. I’m going to recommend that you use iMovie for these projects. There are other tools you can use–for example, Keynote and PowerPoint both let you record audio over slides as well as embedding video–but neither will give you the same level of editorial control that iMovie will. Keynote’s recording function, for example, is a one-take process. If you decide later to change the order of a couple of slides, you have to re-record the entire thing, as opposed to splitting your audio track and switching a couple of pieces around.
We’ll spend some time in class with iMovie, but a good place to start is Apple’s own tutorial page. I don’t use iMovie often enough myself to always remember every function, so I use these tutorials myself on occasion.
This is a nice example, from several years ago, of what can be done with a fairly simple combination of video and screen captures:
One genre that you might consider for your screencast is the PechaKucha, which is a model for speaking that uses 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. Here’s an example (about PechaKucha, partly) that illustrates it:
Genre: Book Trailer
There are a lot of presses, both academic and popular, that are now doing screencast trailers for their books. Here are a couple of them, one from a few years ago that’s particularly text-heavy, and a more recent one on infographics:
Genre: The Screencasted Narrative or Argument
It might be helpful to think in terms of a core text that you wish to adapt to this genre. This is from several years ago, but here’s an example of a screencast that I created to illustrate the virtues of platforms like Delicious and Diigo. I used Keynote at the time, and had to do several (long!) takes to get it to the point where I wanted it: social bookmarking 101.
Another popular form of this genre is the screencast tutorial, which combines instructions with video capture to show an audience how to do something. For example, here’s a page with several such tutorials, including a bunch on how to use iMovie.
In addition to the project itself, you should prepare a 1-2 page outline, storyboard, and.or proposal that details what you’ll be doing for the project. You should write these up and bring them to class on the 21st, to share and receive feedback from classmates.
There is no set length for the project itself, as it will depend heavily on what you choose for an option. For example, a carefully edited and timed commercial-style trailer might only be a minute or 2, while a pechakucha style screencast should probably run about 5-6 minutes. Be creative in your choice of topic–you are welcome to do an academic topic, but you are also free to try other styles.
Here are some key dates:
Thursday, November 14 – iMovie Tutorial/Workshop
Tuesday, November 19 – iMovie Tutorial/Workshop continued; rough draft of Storyboard/outline due
Thursday, November 21 – More developed draft of Storyboard/outline due (peer review)
Tuesday/Thursday, November 26/28 — No Class, Thanksgiving Break
Tuesday, December 3 – Submit final draft of storyboard/outline/proposal for feedback, work on projects
Thursday, December 5 – Work on projects
Friday, December 6 – Last Day of Classes
Project #3 Due no later than Saturday, December 14