Digital Video Techniques

Project Descriptions

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Before undertaking any of the projects, spend some time observing what the professionals have done.  Watch some tube!  Notice how long clips last--not very, at least, with television commercials these days.  (I spent an evening observing commercials.  Most 30-second commercials used at least a dozen clips; one clothing commercial used a whopping 38 clips!)  Observe the cuts, the transitions, the special effects, the use of background music and sound effects ... the technical side of video production.  Observation and imitation, yeah ... that's the ticket.

Needless to say, we do not have a professional television studio at our disposal, so you'll each have to find your own location for recording.  You'll simply have to do the best you can with what is at your disposal.  Of course, you are free to record in locations off campus and bring your work to class for editing.

**You must submit a script with any project that requires a script.  Scripts should be submitted with the following projects:  TV Commercial, PSA (Public Service Announcement), Interview (questions only; not the answers ;-), Instructional video, Tour, Drama Segment (if contracted) ... in other words, every project except the Music Video project, should you choose that one.

**You must submit a storyboard hard copy with each of the projects.  Much of your work will be detailed planning before you ever push the record button.  The storyboard is your tool for detailed planning.  Storyboard Pro is your friend.

You are the Producer of each project.  You do not have to appear in any of your videos, but you may.  The choice is yours.  Feel free to team up with someone in class so you can serve as each other's crew.  Or, if you're good with a tripod, you can probably do it yourself.

The majority of your video projects should be footage that you have recorded.  But if a short clip or two recorded from another source (TV, film) will enhance your production, we'll allow those inserts.  Just be mindful that you are responsible for adhering to applicable laws in terms of your use of copyrighted materials if they are longer than fair use permits.  Do be sure to credit anything and everything at the end of your footage, as appropriate.

For each of the three projects you have two choices.  Choose the one that you find most appealing.  Or, if you have a brainstorm for some other project that fits the specified duration, just clear it with the prof.  New ideas are always welcome.

See Video Project Rubric and the Syllabus for further information pertaining to grading.

Fair Use guidelines in brief:

  • Use up to 10% of three minutes, whichever is less, of an individual program (film, video, television) in a multimedia project.

  • Use up to 10% or 30 seconds of music, whichever is less.

  • For a multimedia project, include an opening screen stating that your project contains copyrighted materials which have been used under the Fair Use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you have made alterations, those must be indicated.

  • Ask permission by mail or e-mail if you need to use more of a copyrighted work than fair use allows.

Project One (30-60 seconds) (counts 15% of grade)

Choice No. 1 TELEVISION COMMERCIAL:  We've all seen 'em.  We all love 'em, right?  After all your griping about commercials over the years, now it's your turn to produce one that isn't annoying!  It can be humorous, serious, or somewhere in between.  It can be about an existing product that you like (or hate), or about a fictitious product that you've invented just for the commercial.  We're not limited by reality, here.  Just be sure your commercial uses a minimum of 12 clips.  Transitions and special effects are up to you.
Choice No. 2 PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (PSA):  Likewise, the PSA may be serious or humorous.  The real ones are serious, of course, typically dealing with the prevention of illegal drug use, etc.  Perhaps yours will educate the public on the harmful effects of looking into the sun, eating squirrel brains, or some other culturally relevant subject.  Just be sure your PSA uses a minimum of 12 clips.  Transitions and special effects are up to you.


Project Two (2-3 minutes) (counts 25% of grade)

Choice No. 1 MUSIC VIDEO:  Ah, this is one of the easiest and most fun projects. Start with a favorite tune.  It will have to be in a format that Movie Maker can open:  .aif, .aifc, .aiff, .asf, .au, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .snd, .wav, and .wma. Add the music to the Audio/Music track.  Notice how long the song is; if it's too long, you may wish to have it fade out earlier. Then, that's how much video footage or still images you'll need. This project should have many clips and some transitions. You may wish to observe a number of music videos to get some ideas.
Choice No. 2 INTERVIEW:  This project should have many clips, and also involve a few transitions.  Think of this interview as something one would see on a late-night talk show.  It's really easy for the interview to be boring, so think of ways to keep it lively. You might even want to insert a clip related to the discussion to add interest.  For example, if a move star is being interviewed, a short movie clip is often shown.  The sky is the limit in terms of topics.  The interview may be about a real-life matter, or it may be totally fictitious.  We should see at least a couple over-the-shoulder shots during the course of the interview.


Project Three (4-5 minutes) (counts 30% of grade)

Choice No. 1 INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO:  What is your strongest area of expertise?  That's what you'll want to teach.  And, narrowing things down a bit further, what is one of your favorite topics in that field?  Bingo, you have your show!  Before working on the storyboard, you may first want to spend some time scripting.  What are you going to talk about first?  Next?  It's not that you will necessarily read the script, although you may, but an instructional video should be to the point. After all, you want this to be well organized.  This being the longest project, there should be a plethora of clips, a significant number of transitions, and at least a couple special effects.
Choice No. 2 TOUR of campus, town, home or property:  Well, gosh, you're already on campus, so why not?  Or, feel free to shoot elsewhere. Pretend you're producing a promotional video for the college.  There will be a lot of interesting architectural shots from which to choose.  You might even happen upon a student here and there who can say a word or two and add some interest.  Your video might even get into a bit of the darker side of the campus--a cluster of poison ivy here, a crack in the sidewalk there.  This being the longest project, there should be a plethora of clips, a significant number of transitions, and at least a couple special effects.

Optional, if contracting for an "A":  Drama Segment or Research Paper
(Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory)

Choice No. 1

This should be at least five minutes in length and have many clips, and also a few transitions and maybe a special effect or two.  Tell the truth, you always wanted to be a soap star, right?  Well, here's your chance!  Consider this video project to be an excerpt from a television show--either a soap opera or a made-for-TV movie of some sort.  You'll probably need to have at least two actors--you could be one.  You will also need to come up with a script, naturally.  No doubt you can find something on the web.  Or, for only a several-minute segment, you could simply write something.

Choice No. 2

Research Paper

(Exam counts 30% of grade.)

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