Category Archives: Digital Video 2017-18

Semester Ending Super Easy Video Project!

Otherwise known as the “GET YOUR MARK UP NOW” project! If you need easy marks before the end of the semester, this one’s for you!

I’ve been working on this online video course. The first assignment was to make a 15 second video about a colour. Here’s what I came up with:

Pretty boring, huh?

While I was thinking of a colour and finding pictures, all I could think of was this song:

So I want to add my pictures to the song to make a super cool RED video.

You will do something similar. You’ll need a topic that you can find a bunch of pictures of. Choose a colour if you really want to, but you could do something like hockey, cars, dogs, food, etc.

You’ll also need some music which will help set the mood. Your pictures will help to build that mood/feeling in your video.

I got all of my photos from this great site:

But this one is great as well:

Both sites are full of Creatice Commons images that you already have permission to use. You don’t even have to give credit for them, but I WANT YOU TO. Each time you grab a photo, copy down the Attribution (source/creator) info and paste it into a document.

For music, I really like:

But the folks running my video course have some recommendations that you might want to check out:

  • – You can download royalty free music at no charge for Youtube and your multimedia projects.
  • – A great free MP3 resource from Adobe. You simply need to download and unzip the files, then import them into Adobe Audition, Premiere Pro, After Effects. There are thousands of well recorded and specific sound effects. One of our favourites is “Human Chew Banana”.
  • – An archive of jazz and classic recordings (most in the public domain but clearly labelled if not). Not the most user friendly site to navigate but some amazing stuff if you are keen to search.
  • – This one is great for drones and beeps and other sounds, not as musical as the others but certainly a very useful bank of free to use sounds.

Movie Trailers

Movie Trailers are probably the most important aspect of a tv show or movie’s promotional campaign. They can be hugely influential in shaping the success of the release. An effective trailer is designed to get people interested in your project and make them want to watch it.

So what kinds of things do the editors/creators of those trailers have to include or do to make sure that the trailer works? That’s your first job, to figure out what goes into a successful trailer.

Look at a few trailers for different types of projects and see if you can figure out what the editor/creator was trying to do. Whether you like the actual movie or tv show that’s being advertised or not, hopefully you can see the artistry that went into making the trailer.

Your job is to view a few different types of trailers and see if you can spot the tools that the creator used to try and get your attention. Pay attention to which clips are chosen, how many clips, how long are they, etc. Pay attention to things like music, titles/graphics, and that all important voice over.

We’ll discuss the clips below tomorrow, so watch each one and come up with some ideas to add to our discussion about what makes a good movie trailer.

You’re also responsible for choosing AT LEAST one trailer of your own and letting me know what you like about THE TRAILER. I don’t really care about the actual movie or tv show, just the trailer, so you’ll be looking for things that work IN THE TRAILER, NOT NECESSARILY IN THE MOVIE OR SHOW.

Blockbuster dramatic movie:

Family comedy:

Documentary tv series:

What are your favourite trailers? What makes them effective? Be ready to explain!

The Hour of Code 2017

This week is Computer Science Education Week, and there’s a huge worldwide activity going on this week called The Hour of Code, where millions of people will learn how fun and easy it can be to learn to write computer code. Whether you’re trying to build or fix your own website, animate your designs, write an app for your phone or tablet, or just see what you can teach computers to do, learning code is really important and fun. You have no idea how much you’re capable of doing right now, until you try.

These skills will help make you part of a growing workforce of people who require computer science skills. These skills are becoming more important in almost every area of society, and sadly, there aren’t nearly enough people with those skills to fill important positions. By increasing your skills, you give yourself a far greater chance of landing a good job in the future, and unlock worlds of new possibilities now.

Please Join our class:

OR you can try it out at CodeHS (a bit more challenging):

OR you can try it out at CodeHS (a bit more challenging):

St. James Collegiate Program/Club Video

Your next major video project will combine a few skills into one interesting project.

This time, you’ll be making a documentary-style video about a program or club here at St. James Collegiate. You’ll find out more about a class/program/club and then tell everyone about it. Assume that your viewer knows nothing about the program. What do they need to know in order to fully understand what goes on there?

We often use these kinds of videos to promote programs at our school when people are considering coming here. Here’s a technology video that has been shown (too) many times at our annual open house in February:

  • The first and probably most important step is to choose a good topic. Make sure that you have a topic that you are interested in. You don’t need to know a thing about it, because you’re assuming that your viewer won’t either.
  • Next you have to figure out who you’re going to talk to about your topic. Come up with a list of questions that will help your expert to give you information explaining your topic.
  • As always, you’ll need a STORYBOARD when it comes to putting everything together. This time you’re not so much planning out each shot as you are ensuring that you have the right kind of footage, and enough of it.
  • Shoot your interview using different camera angles and/or ensure that you have enough coverage video of people participating. You DO NOT want to use your interview in its entirety, so you want to make sure that you can cut clips together without creating jump cuts.
  • You’ll need to come up with a voice-over script based on the information that you gather.
  • You’ll need to conduct an interview with a teacher and/or student involved in the program, so you’ll need to shoot that well and ensure that you have high-quality audio recorded.
  • You’ll need some kind of interesting animated introduction at the start.
  • You’ll need to use LEGAL creative commons music. I really like this site. Make sure you keep the creator info for your credits.
  • You need to include credits at the end, explaining who did what for this project, and you’ll have to give credit for your music and any other images/video clips that you used.

Here’s one about THIS CLASS! It’s pretty well done, but there are some things I’d definitely change

Here’s a GREAT example of what I’m looking for. It’s a bit long, but really well done:

Here’s one about English class that’s quite good.

Here’s one that is pretty good (although not quite as informative as I’d like. It kind of assumes that the viewer knows what the Jimmie Midnighter is all about:

Here’s one that’s pretty good (although parts, like the beginning, are a bit boring)

News Report

Your next assignment is to write and produce a news report that is 30-60 seconds or so long. Your video can be real news or satirical. You don’t have to star in your video, so if you’re shy, you can write it and get someone else to appear on screen. You DO NOT have to show your video to the class (although I sure hope that lots of you do!)

As with every other video, this one needs a detailed script/storyboard BEFORE you shoot anything! If your video is fictional, it’s obviously easy to plan out every part. If you are doing a real news story, you’ll still need to plan out the kinds of shots and locations that you’ll need to include, but some of your video will depend on your interview.

Each video needs:

  • A reporter “standup” where the reporter stands on location and gives a brief summary of the event/topic before going into detail with visuals and interview footage.
  • You may wish to interview someone about the event/topic (someone involved or affected by the event you are covering)
  • You will need footage appropriate to the event/topic
  • The ending of the video is usually just a voice over, but you can record another “standup” for the end if you wish. The ending contains a “sign off” at the end. e.g. “This is Clark Kent reporting from Metropolis City Hall.”

Be creative and have fun! Good planning makes for a good video, so take your time and make sure that it makes sense and will look good!

For this, you may want to try out the green screen, perhaps. It doesn’t always give great results, but can help you make it look like you’re live on location somewhere.

You may need to download images and video clips. These NEED to be HIGH QUALITY and preferably legal for us to use. Go to my Links page and look for Copyright Free Content. These are great sources for content for your video.

Important Video Concept – Continuity

Continuity is one of the most common problems for people making videos & movies. When you’re not shooting a movie in order (which generally you are NOT) or you can’t get it done in one day (which is almost ALWAYS the case) it’s hard to get everything right from shot to shot.

On a movie set, there will almost always be someone specifically tasked with maintaining continuity. That person’s sole job is to make sure that errors don’t happen, but still, they regularly do!

Your job today is to come up with a video that demonstrates continuity by making AT LEAST 5 mistakes, and then show me THE SAME video WITHOUT any of those errors! Your movie will likely have to be at least 1-2 minutes long. It does not have to be anything fancy. As you’ll see from the example, it could just be people sitting at a table, but they could also be working or walking down the hall or something. In order to do this, you’ll need to shoot DIFFERENT ANGLES/SHOTS, possibly using more than one camera, but since you’re going to be making mistakes, you could easily do this with one camera.

You can plan and shoot in a group of 2-3, but each person edits his/her own version of the movie. Put it together with some music and some credits. You should include a list somewhere that explains your mistakes. It would be neat to put titles on-screen to show where things go wrong after we see the messed up video and the corrected one (ie show the messed up one again with the errors pointed out.)

Basic Video Camera Shots

A good video is made up of different camera shots. Sure, the acting/action on the screen is important, but you can do so much more with that acting/action by using the camera to help tell the story. Your camera can be as important an actor as the people/things on screen (often it can tell more!) The way you do that is by varying the look of your shots and adding some basic movement.

Here’s a great example, and it tells a story by using the different camera shots that you will demonstrate:


When it comes time to put together your video, you want to have as much VARIETY as possible. This will make your video much more appealing than just leaving the viewer watching the same shot for long periods of time. This will also allow you to shift the importance on screen (ie sometimes it’s more important to show the detail of what someone is doing, and sometimes it’s more important to see them in action or talking or whatever.)

Here is a great site with examples of each type of shot/move.

Pay attention to how these shots/moves are used in just about every video you see. Here’s one example of a variety of shots combined into one short film. See if you can count how many shots, keep track of which types of shots, and time each shot.

Today you will demonstrate some of those basic types of shots and movements.

Your first video will include demonstrations of:

Extreme long
Long Shot
Medium long
Close up
Extreme close up

First tip: DON’T ZOOM while recording (except when you are demonstrating a zoom, of course) if you can help it. In fact, in general, you want to keep any movements to a minimum. Instead, we’ll add variety and emphasis through editing. We’ll take different shots of the same thing and cut them together to tell a story.

You will need to come up with some kind of story/flow to your shots! You need to PLAN a scene that makes sense, and use the camera shots & moves to help tell your story!

Since you might not have talking in your video (we haven’t yet discussed how to properly record audio), you will probably want/need to remove the camera audio from each shot.

And while you’re at it, why not add some soundtrack music? Videos are mighty boring without music. Go to a source for free music that is legal to use in your video. I highly recommend You can find other sources of creative commons content, including music, on my Links page under Copyright Free Content.

Before you start shooting any video, remember that you need to PLAN and create a fully detailed STORYBOARD!

Video Pre-Production

The quality of your video is usually determined long before you start shooting. If you are willing to do the work and take your time BEFORE you shoot, your video is far more likely to turn out well.

Good videos ALWAYS come from good plans. Good planning/preparation will save you a lot of time and will allow you to come up with a much more organized, interesting, professional video every time.

The most important step in your planning is to come up with a detailed StoryBoard:


Templates: StoryboardTemplate (Word) Storyboard (pdf)

OR, to work together, try a Google Document! Google Doc template / Microsoft Word version: VideoPlanningTemplate

BEFORE I even consider letting you shoot something, you NEED a DETAILED, COMPLETE PLAN! No exceptions!

Your first assignment will be to create a storyboard for a video. You don’t actually have to make this video, although if you have an idea for a video that you want to make later, this might be a good time to get started on it.

We will come up with an idea together and you can choose to use it for your first storyboard OR come up with your own idea.


Animated Intro

Of course it goes without saying that once you complete this course, you will surely become the world’s most popular YouTuber, right? No doubt! So once you are poised to take over the video streaming world, you’ll want to build your “brand.” You’ll need a way for people to identify your brilliant videos right away.

That’s where a fancy video introduction comes in handy!

Here’s a popular channel that has an effective video intro. It’s effective, because I always know IMMEDIATELY when it’s time for me to run screaming out of the room. My son watches this channel all the time, and I HATE IT. (Save yourself! Only watch 6-7 seconds! Any longer could be damaging to your mental health.)

Here’s an example that I use when creating school videos (you only really need to watch the first 5 seconds)

You can find many student examples here:

So, using your newfound Premiere Pro skills (wait… you did do the tutorial and learn how to use the program, right? If not, you’ve got some work to do!)

First, many people like to start off by creating something in Photoshop. The tutorial I’ve got for you assumes that you want to bring something in from Photoshop. It’s really neat and effective if you do. However, it’s not entirely necessary! You can do the same thing by just bringing in different images, logos, blocks of text, etc. if you’re not a Photoshop pro.

If you’re NOT using Photoshop, you can skip the first 5 minutes of the tutorial below.

Here’s how to create the animation:

Everyone is responsible for coming up with an animated title sequence. It should only be 5-10 seconds long. Consider using the school logo and school colours. Add some music! Be creative! Make it fun! If you’re using Photoshop, make your Photoshop file 1920 x 1080 pixels with a resolution of 300 dpi and a transparent background.

Video Editing Intro

Online video creation tools like Biteable and Powtoon are fun and easy, but VERY limited in what you can do. Using one is a good way to be creative and have fun, but if you want control over your project and want a much wider variety of tools & possibilities, you’re going to need to use a different tool.

You may be familiar with applications like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, but again, those are pretty limited. We’ll jump right to one of the most widely used and respected video editors in the world, Adobe Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro probably isn’t in your taskbar at the bottom of the screen yet. You’ll have to go to the search bar and type in Premiere (or look inside the Windows menu and find the app.

Once Premiere is in your task bar at the bottom of the screen, right click on it and choose “Pin to taskbar” so that it’s there for you next time. You’ll need this program a lot!

We’ll start off with a great online video tutorial provided by Adobe. You can find it by clicking this link.

In order to complete the tutorial, you’ll need to DOWNLOAD SOME FILES before you begin. Click this link and save the files to your computer.

If you were lucky enough to be in my class last year and already tried this tutorial, DO IT AGAIN! You think you’re some kind of expert or something? it’s a good refresher and you might even pick up on some things that you missed last time.

Work through the videos a bit at a time. Watch a minute or two of the video, pause it, and then go do what it shows you. Once you’ve completed the action, come back and watch a little more and so on. DO NOT WATCH THE WHOLE VIDEO AT ONCE! You’ll never remember anything!

You DO NOT need to drop off the finished product, just show it to me when you’re done!