Participate 1 – Joining a DLC

This my 2nd post for my online class.  Although it is a little off topic for me, I hope it offers my readers something they can use.  The product I am creating as part of this class should offer something for my readers. If this article does not interest you skip to the bottom and look for Film and TV webmix and click on it.  I am sure you find this is a valuable resource.

The first thing I immediately did was do a Google search to to find out the difference between a digital learning community and personal learning network.  According to the websites I visited, a digital learning community or dlc for short is socializing with others to share knowledge about a subject.  A personal learning network or pln is personalized to you.   So your pln may be composed of several different subjects.  My pln is composed of journalism, film and technology resources.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.31.09 PM

I was a little surprised to discover I have been doing this for years in my own personalized way.  I have been participating in RTNF Listserv for years.  I have followed several schools that had exemplary video programs via their webpages. I am a member of a Facebook group for Broadcast Video Teachers.  I started a Google plus group for my school and fellow film and video teachers.  Plus I have been participating in a few different twitter chats.

The digital learning community I have learned the most from lately is the Facebook group for Georgia  Broadcast teachers. It is great because I can post a question in the morning and usually by lunch someone has answered my question.  Most of the teachers in this group are the only one in the building and possibly the district who teaches their class.  It is great being able to hear feedback and share answers with others.  The most difficult thing about this group is you need to know someone to join it.  It isn’t really for students but for their teachers.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 4.30.16 PM

I am using the iOS and the desktop version of this Symbaloo.  Using the desktop versions gives me a lot more options.   Using the iOS version gives me the convenience of using the software anywhere.  I think it may be best to set up Symbaloo on a desktop.  Once I have a fully functioning web mix I have created, it  will be able to easily use from my iPad or other mobile device.

I took all of the resources from above and created a WebMix.  This includes tutorials that I use in my class, school websites, youtube channels and professional organizations.  My goal was to create something I would use and other teacher in my subject area could use.  Students might find some of it useful.  I would probably adapt it for student use.

Film and TV Classroom Webmix

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.  Subscribe to my youtube channel for iOS tips.

iBook Production – Camera Composition

I mentioned that I worked on an iBook, a few weeks ago.  I promised to share a copy.  I created a form to download a PDF copy.  Here is the download link:

A few weeks later, I discovered iBook Creator and created a similar book in the EPUB format.

Email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.

Film and Technology in the classroom



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

Using YouTube Playlists in the Flipped Classroom

The Problem

I play a lot of YouTube videos in my class. Luckily, for me I teach film and not math. It is not hard to relate the videos I am playing back to the curriculum. Still I don’t want people to get the wrong impression.  It was this concern that brought me to create YouTube playlists.  A few years ago, I found myself always searching for the correct video to show my class.  I try not to play videos I haven’t previewed before.  Sometimes it would take a second or two to find the right video.   During this time, my students would ask to watch other videos they saw on the screen. I hated not showing them the videos, that would have probably worked.  When searching for behind the scenes examples to show my class, the results would show videos from newer more popular films. Although, I would like to show them the newer examples it was in my best interest not to show them a video that may or may not illustrate the concept I was trying to teach them. This searching took time away from class.

When students are absent they are supposed to check Google Classroom for the daily agenda to see what was covered that day.  Sometimes they are sick, other times they are on a field trip, or out due to testing.  Creating a playlist of videos related to the subject we covered  helps the student to catch up. They may not need to watch everything the class watched to get the concept or they may need watch more because I may have pointed out things to look for in a particular video

The Solution

I discovered that I can create a playlists in YouTube and save them for future use.  I start by finding the videos that are most important. I put the most important videos first in the playlist. I play these first. If the students understand, you can move to the next topic. If not the class can watch more. This gives me the opportunity to include more videos then are needed.  If class is running a little short I have extra material to fill the time.

I  save time, by only showing parts of the videos. One of my favorite video series to use includes an opening and commercials at the end. I just show the students the core of the video. If you have seen the video before it is easy to find these sections.

I try to keep updating my playlists.  I am always finding new videos to use.  You can do this by looking at the suggested videos on the side of the screen.  There are always new videos to find and discover.

Preparation

In the description, I include which standards that are being addressed.  I watch the videos carefully for everything.   I made the mistake of not realizing how boring a tutorial was once. It made perfect sense to me, but it made the students tune out.  Now  I show this video in small parts.  There are some places where you might want to pause the video to explain something or call attention to some details.
For teachers, who are interested in flipping the classroom. You can record videos to put into a playlist.  You can copy existing playlists and modify then to fit your classroom.  Here is some of the playlists I have created.
Examples

School spirit songs

Safety on Set

iPhone Tips in the classroom

Copyright

I hope this helps and email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.


The New Way to Teach Camera Composition: the scavenger hunt revisited

By: C. Holcomb

Photo by C. Bundy

I am not sure if I invented it or saw it somewhere, but I have been teaching camera composition the same way for at least the last twelve years. I know a few others teachers that have a similar lesson to teach camera composition.  The students take still photos for a scavenger hunt, then label the photos, and then create a powerpoint. The technology has evolved to a point where this project is getting easier and the pictures are better quality.
To start this assignment, I show the students a short powerpoint on different shots and provide them with different examples. I explain to the students that everyone has a slightly different definition on shot composition. It important for them to understand this because you can find some resources that explain composition slightly different. This might confuse a student who doesn’t pay careful attention. I rely on my professional experience and my textbooks to define what I require on this assignment.
In the past, I had the students take pictures with the still camera or sometimes with a video camera capable of stills. This project would take a while because I only had a few cameras and I would send the students out two at time to take pictures. Thanks to cell phones most of students do not need to use the school cameras to complete this project. So, a few years ago, I changed this from a partner project to an individual project.

Another benefit of using cell phones is that the students are no longer limited by their location. Most of the pictures were taken in locations just outside my classroom, but now students no longer need to be at school to take the pictures. The results of having a larger location base was that I had students turn in some really good looking pictures. Gone are the days of student taking pictures with a cinder block backdrop and florescent lighting (boring).

Photo by K Cochran

 

The next advantage is, I have been able to decrease the time needed to complete this project.  Not only can the student upload the photos quickly to the computers, but they can also do their entire project on their phone. I no longer require the students to use powerpoint, and now I ask them to use Google Slides. They can work on their project on their phone, on a computer at home, or at school by logging into a Google Account. This semester I will give the students the option to turn in their project in as a Google Photo Album.
In the past, when they they did this assignment, they only took a few photos and many of them were incorrect. They felt rushed to take the pictures because someone was waiting to get the camera, and they had a limited amount of storage space. To overcome this, they had to delete the photos that were left on the card. My assignment only requires fifteen photos to make sure the students have a good grasp on camera composition, but I recommend taking much more than that.

Today, I had one student take only twenty photos, another take ninety-six and one take over two hundred. Now, they can afford to take more pictures until they get the picture they want. I am challenging students to show me something I haven’t seen before by using angles and lighting to their advantage. I have also made this a contest by telling them I would use the best ones in an article I was posting online. The downfall is not every student has a phone.

I know it is hard to believe. I still have a few who have broken their phone, or they refuse to clear up space on it. Others supposedly get grounded from their phone, or run the battery down before class. I started my lesson this year by explaining how to use Google Photos and letting them know it had unlimited storage. Still, I had to pull out some old still cameras to let them use for the projects. A benefit of this is, students working on their own device are finishing their project faster. The last two semesters I have had some talented students finish the assignment in one day!

Photo by C. Gill

Next year, I plan on adding lighting to this assignment. I want the students to experiment with lighting. The students will take photos that are backlit, overexposed, and underexposed. If the student can master this assignment we can make great looking projects all year long! One time, the students caught me experimenting, with lighting, while they were working on their projects, and they began taking their own lighting pictures.
Another thing I am experimenting with, is having the students do this project in a completely different format. When I first started, we were using video cameras with tape. Back then to have the students do this assignment as a video, would take way too long.  It would a lot quicker these days.  I have one student who is doing drawings on a computer. I would like to see someone, who is interested in animation, doing this as one.

 

Students drawing the shots on a computer.

Here is a list of the pictures I have been using for the assignment:

 

  1. XCU of an object
  2. XCU of a person
  3. MS of someone wearing a green or gold shirt
  4. MS of someone near the vending machines/ someone in the stands
  5. LS of someone walking (lead room)
  6. MCU of someone in front the media center/ someone near the gym entrance/ football gates
  7. MCU of someone in the cafeteria/ MCU of someone cheering
  8. XLS of a group of students
  9.  2 shot   
  10. a shot with a canted angle
  11. CU shot of someone in profile
  12. a shot that shows great depth of field
  13. a shot that shows shallow depth of field
  14. a eagle eye shot
  15. a low angle shot

I hope this helps and email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  If you would like to see how I define the shots above, you can download this short ebook to your favorite reader.

Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.

 

Film and Video Book for Classroom Teachers

A few years ago,  I was part of a small video production company.  We were trying to find our niche.  We all enjoyed making films, but we knew we were not going to be the next Warner Brothers Pictures.  We all agreed that running our production company would allow us to make films even if that was not the focus of our business.  We produced some commercials, recorded some live events and made some instructional videos.

Fast forward a few years later

We were all working other demanding jobs.  We had a couple of projects we needed to do but not the time to work on them.  We all agreed it was time to dissolve the business part, although we would try and collaborate on some projects together for fun.  In the end, I asked to keep the website up and in hopes that business would grow and we had an entertainment blog that was getting major traffic until this last summer.

This last year, I have began to revive some of our projects for fun and hopefully for profit.  The first of these projects was our instructional video series Tap That. This was video series to help people use their iOS devices.  So far I have made a few videos and am working on updating the format.

Another project that we worked on was an interactive ebook for film and video production. The goal was to align it to match the state standards for Georgia. Since we were dealing with digital distribution it would be easy to create multiple versions to match each state.  I had a 90 page draft, I was working on when the standards were updated.  I  worked on recreating an outline to match the new standards.  I was primarily in charge of creating the content since I had years of experience teaching.  Before I could get a new draft finished, I had a trip to attend the Student Television Network Convention.  We scrambled and I was able to put together on a chapter on camera composition in a PDF format.

When I attended the convention, I shared a link with the teachers I knew.  I also posted links to social media.  The link was for a form.  If you shared your name and email address, you received a link to download the pdf.  It was our plan to send the teachers an email with a discount code when the full book was released.  Our plan was to keep the book cheap since it was digital media and teacher might be paying for this out of their own pocket.  The last time I looked we had 200+ downloads.

Sometime in the middle of the spring, the website was up for renewal.  I missed this because this because I was not in charge of the website.  It went down and with some help migrated the material to a free site.  I am not sure if the link for the PDF or the form still exist.  I still have all the material and several drafts of the PDF.  I am going to  create a new form and put the PDF back online.

So what is next?

I am working on new outlines and would like to break this down into series of several short ebooks.   The ebooks will be aimed more at teaching video production.   This time it will be in the Kindle format so that it can be read on more devices.  I am going to be looking for a couple people to proofread my material.  I usually write late at night and I type slower then I think.   Since this is going to be a solo effort,  any feedback would be great.  A new website would be great.

If you could subscribe to this blog, share it with others and comment I would appreciate it. This way you can copy of the PDF when it becomes available.

Thanks,  I hope to hear from you soon.

Pre Production

This started as FaceBook post to my group for my film students, but I think it is worth sharing with anyone.  We are participating in the the Ten Day Film Challenge for the next 2 weeks.  I am really looking forward to our production next week. Students from all 3 levels will be collaborating to produce a short film.  Before the first day was over, the students came up with an idea for a script and began to write it.  We now have a script and are planning the production schedule for next week.

This morning, I was previewing some YouTube videos for my class. I have learned my lesson with this.  EVEN IF IT IS DISNEY TRAILER preview it first.  I want to recommend Rocket Jump Film School to everyone involved with the teaching film and video production. They have playlists divided by area everything from breaking down a script and editing to visual effects.

We can all learn from these videos. Some of these you may show in class. Others you will never show in class for a variety of reasons. Some of the content may need a little censoring.  This is no worse then anything they see on TV during prime time, but I try to aim for a PG rating for my class.  I plan on contacting RJFS and Film Riot to beg for more school appropriate content.  That being said I don’t play films in my class for entertainment, unlike some math teachers I have worked with. This is excellent content.  It helps to fill in the holes in areas that are not my speciality.

This is what I posted for my students earlier today.  If you have a few minutes watch 2 or 20 of these videos in an area that interests you.  Remember film making is a team effort. When you get better so does the team. Your role is very important to the film making process. Learn more then one role, there can only be one director, DP or lead actor. Make yourself a MVP by doing multiple jobs when needed. I learned a few things this morning and so can you. GO TEAM!