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Student Productivity 106: Digital Literacy and 5 Steps to Make Viral Video

09 Sep

Student Productivity 106: Digital Literacy and 5 Steps to Make Viral Video

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Mar 31, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Since the beginning of history, we have used stories as a way to communicate with each other. Humans used to sit, hunched over fires, telling stories that explained what they saw, the hunt they'd been on, why they were the way they were. Now, more than ever, we are experiencing a rebirth of a visual storytelling culture through the use of viral video. In personalized learning programs, student learn how to use these digital stoytelling literacies to become master-class storytellers who are able to express important truths and ideas. Expression and communication are key components of any education and these tips will help you to create an awesome video to help you communicate through the lens of our digital culture.

1. Use Appropriate Software

The most difficult part of editing a movie or any piece of visual storytelling for beginners usually lies within wrestling with the interface of whatever editing software they're using. The Big Three of movie editing software is iMovie, AVID Studio, and Adobe Premiere Pro, listed roughly in order of complexity. iMovie is Mac only, but provides tremendous ease-of-use and allows for a very easy user experience while still allowing you to put together high-quality video for any aspect of your personalized learning project. 

It's worth noting that Louis C.K. edits his hit show, Louie, in iMovie. 

AVID is the next step up, and requires a bit more knowledge to use, but does have more professional options available to it. Finally, Adobe Premiere is the suite that the big kids use, and, while the full version has a hefty price tag, it can be worth it for the amazing amount of options and its ability to native-ly support a variety of different video types within its framework. 

2. Keep Transitions Low-Key

Although transitions between scenes, also known as "cuts," offer a lot of opportunities for different styles of cuts, they can quickly become distracting to a film viewer if they are too consistently flashy. Programs like iMovie offer a lot of choices as to what kind of cuts to make, but you're most likely going to have better luck with simple quick cuts. Using fancier cuts is interesting, but can distract from what will get the best results. 

3. Get Extra Footage

Getting a lot of footage for your video is what's referred to as, "coverage". This can be useful if, for whatever reason, your shooting time winds up short and you find that your dialogue goes on for just a bit longer than you anticipated. Getting extra footage allows you to get as much dialogue as you need in your edits while allowing you to create a visual style that is impressive and feels planned, instead of having to go back and pad out your scenes. In your personalized learning courses, try to film something that doesn't have a script: you will still want to film more than you think you'll need, because that is the way to get enough. Sometimes this extra footage is referred to as the "B-Roll."

4.  Remember 45!

When taking different shots of the same scene, try to get shots that are at least 45 degrees apart. This allows for enough of a difference that the audience reads the shots as different and compelling. 

5. Don't Jump!

Although popular on some Youtube channels, it is generally considered bad form to jump cut. A "Jump Cut" is when you have two consecutive shots with the same camera set up, looking at a subject that has changed markedly. An example of this is a shot of a person smiling, then frowning.