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Assignment: A Video Composition


Visual literacy is basically the ability to interpret and communicate with images. Today we are going to explore a tool familiar to all of us as a means of communication: moving images or video. The goal of our activity today is more than simply learning the mechanics of producing desktop video on our computers; to echo the concern of Nikos Theodosakis (The Director in the Classroom) we must do more than teach

students how to 'do' a spreadsheet, a web page, or how to edit a video. What is needed is the continual asking of the question, "How can these new technologies empower our students to be better communicators of their ideas?" Learning the technology is not enough. What is really required is learning how to use that technology to solve problems, to answer questions, to present ideas, and to communicate.

To encourage your creativity, the requirements of this assignment are deliberately loose. Your task is to:

  • Create a video that is 1 to 3 minutes in length by putting together a sequence of still images that tell a story, illustrate an idea, express an emotion or point of view. Use the Ken Burns effect to add motion and interest by panning across and zooming in and out. (Alternate: Create a stop-motion ("claymation") video or animation sequence that is about 1 minute in length by putting together a sequence of still images that tell a story, illustrate an idea, etc.)
  • Add a sound track consisting of some combination of music, sound effects and narration that does not violate copyright law

Genre-wise, your video could be based on a poem, or look like an ad or public service announcement, or a music video from MTV. The end result should be an engaging message or experience, something that goes beyond what is possible with just the printed page.

Your video piece will be evaluated along these dimensions:

  • grammar and spelling (the expectation is that there will be zero errors)
  • technical aspects
  • aesthetics (typographic variations are used appropriately, colors of background and text are legible and attractive)
  • emotional/intellectual impact: the extent to which your piece moves us to think and feel
  • attribution (i.e., credits screen).

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