Muddling through the blogosphere

April 29, 2008
by blogwalker

The Importance of Storyboarding in Digital Storytelling – A Student Perspective

Over the next few weeks, I will be uploading and showcasing some of the amazing student projects that have come out of the DOLCHE project. Right now we are gathering input from students on their tips for future filmmakers. If your students are questioning the value of storyboarding as part of pre-production, I think Florin High School student Xavier Carillo (from Bob LeVin’s 12 grade English class) explains it well.


Many thanks to SECC cameraman Doug Niva for sharing the interview clip…with more to come:-).

March 21, 2008
by blogwalker

Tips for Future Filmmakers – and Their Teachers

films.gifFollowing on the heels of my trip to the CUE Conference, last Wednesday I headed over to our Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC) to help judge the SEVAs (Students Educational Video Awards). As I sat with a team of teacher reviewers scoring middle school entries, I kept thinking about Mathew Needleman‘s second graders’ amazing going-beyond-Open Court productions , such as as Camouflage Jones – Private Investigator. Making an award-winning film requires more than a well-designed storyline and storyboard. A bit of background in basic camera shots can make all the difference in grabbing and keeping an audience’s attention (and scoring judges points)!

As part of my district’s DOLCHE project, we provided participating teachers with a copy of Niko Theodosakis’s The Director in the Classroom. As engaging and comprehensive as this resource is, it does not include a section on basic shots. Fortunately, to complement Nikos’s book and videoconferencing trainings, my talented DOLCHE partner Krishnakrishna2.jpg Harrison-Munoz jumped in with both a teacher workshop and a student workshop on basic shoots, much of which is included in her Roadmap for the New Video Producer and her Roadmap for the Student Video Producer.* Combine this handout with Mathew’s Kinds of Shots Tutorial, and even I (Queen of Bad Photography) feel confident about taking digital storytelling to the next level.

*Note: This was my first time using the K12HSN’s edZone to upload a document. Very easy! And I love having all that free space for uploading!

December 31, 2007
by blogwalker

Tools for Becoming a Better Digital Storyteller

Even higher on the New Year’s resolutions list than weight loss is my wish to improve my photography skills. In a nutshell, I suck at taking both stills and video. The more I watch well crafted digital stories, the more I recognize the need for some major video tips and tricks! I am therefore very glad to have access to the three resources in particular:

1. doggie.jpgKodak’s site boils it down to 10 tips, with an accompanying animated visual for each tip. I wonder if anyone else needed Tip 6’s simple explanation on how to lock down a shot as much as I did!? A very kid-friendly approach – perfect for me :-). The interactive demos are great too (although it took me five attempts to master the rule of thirds tutorial).

2. Atomic Learning also comes to the rescue of the camera challenged with their Video Storytelling Guide. Although a fee-based program, for those who want to sample before committing, you can have a 15-day free trial, during which you could walk your students through the video tutorials that cover everything from basic shots to basic and/or more sophisticated lighting techniques – and after which, you will probably want to become an Atomic Learning member! Tons of great tutorials including many freebies, such as the online storyboard.

3. krishna2.jpgI hope during the New Year to share more tips and tricks from the wonderful Krishna Harrison-Munoz, the videographer I have the privilege to work with in the DOLCHE project. As soon as she thinks through some copyright issues on how to best make available parts of her original Roadmap for the New Video Producer materials, I will post some sample tutorials, including my favorite: How to make a video that stars a talking dog.

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