Our task was to analyze the work of a Social Media Artist. The biggest problem I encountered was choosing who to focus upon. I brainstormed a list of ten or more subjects settling upon filmmaker Darious Britt. My two other finalists were Barron Ryan on Tik Tok and DigiURI’s own Renee Hobbs.
Baron Ryan is described on his Linked In Account as an aspiring Screenwriter and Boston Area Comedian. He has over 900,000 followers on Tik Tok @AmericanBaron . I liked his short-form storytelling skills. He creates characters and plays multiple parts himself. A change of clothes, a wig, or an accent transforms him and takes the audience to interesting places. I see possibilities in having my students emulate those techniques during Covid Learning.
Our professor Renee Hobbs was an early thought. One of the reasons I wanted to take this class was because of her ability to positively virtually hypnotize learners in a digital environment. I wanted to study her technics that are rooted in personalization and care for the individual. She has the remarkable ability to break through the glass of a computer screen and thrust her personality into viewer's homes. I wanted to try to decipher the secret sauce of her success. It seemed a bit sycophantic in the context of her teaching this course, so I moved onto an individual whom I have long admired.
Darius Britt describes himself as a director, producer screenwriter, and actor. Aside from his solid skill base, I like the fact he is a person of color that adds diversity of speakers to my classroom. He has extensive knowledge and is able to effectively convey it to emerging filmmakers. He has a rapid-fire humorous tone that effectively builds skill sets. He is a good match for my students who are either brand new to video or seek to build upon existing skills.
For the screencast, I decided to use Final Cut Pro’s camera as my acquisition device. After teaching for a year on iMovie it was like reuniting with an old friend. I appreciated the ability to go through my VoiceOver and surgically remove my awkward vocal pauses. It made it easier to add B-Roll and adjust audio levels.
To provide options for background locations I used an old green screen and strung the sheet behind my workstation. It needed ironing as the wrinkle could be seen in the lower left of some shots. The cramped office didn’t allow for enough depth but proved workable. I record it in spurts on the computer's camera. This caused jump cuts that were hidden by B-Roll easily added in editing.
I always enjoy the search for B-Roll that effectively illustrates concepts. In this case, filming original sequences was not possible. I relied instead on web searches to re-purpose images. At one point I failed to set my image search to high resolution so the studio background image that I used was of low quality. Other than bump I was able to effectively hide jump cuts and provide illustrative information.
In filming my monologue I had intended to look directly at the camera for an audience connection. Instead, I tended to look more at the center of the screen. As a result, my eye line at times was off. Acting on a computer screen camera as opposed to one on a tripod provided an experiential challenge for me.
Despite these obstacles, I was able to turn around an effective review. I see the value of applying screencasts to my own teaching. A real value when one considers the time needed to do repetitive presentations. A teacher can craft one effective video on a topic and it becomes accessible to all. Very helpful for absent students or those who struggle. Think however it is a production marathon, not a sprint. Identify the skill sets that are of the highest need at first and add to them over time creating a stock of well-targeted teaching videos.