Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cool videos: Fall 2015

I am so proud and impressed with my students' work this year. It is amazing to look back at how far they have come in production: filming, editing, writing, promoting.

Here is a sampling of their work from this quarter:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Video Challenge: Printing procedure

Challenge overview: This is an introductory lesson to shooting and editing video. I wanted to develop a project that taught the basics of composition, the six-shot system and video editing in FCPX.

Level: Beginning video students.

  1. Students will follow and execute the video storytelling process.
  2. Students will implement the six-shot system.
  3. Students will edit a sequence.
  4. Students will use shortcut keys in FCPX.
Frontloading: This presentation taught the basics of composition, the rule-of-thirds, and the six-shot system.
Here is the "creative brief" we are providing with students as the instructions/parameters of the assignment:
Client: Anne Teak - ONW Language Arts teacher Job name: ONW computer procedures
Target audience: Incoming ONW freshmen.

Description: The goal of this project is to produce a video that demonstrates how to create a document and send it to the printer, implementing the 6-shot system and 180 degree rule. We will deliver a sequence with a beginning, middle and end. The music will fit ONW’s professional culture. Specifications for production and delivery: The video will be exactly 30 seconds long. It will be exported as an Apple Devices 720p file, placed in the Challenge #1 folder in Google Classroom, and uploaded to the student’s YouTube channel.
This project will be completed by: August 27th. Competitor samples:

Student work from this challenge:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Student work: Miracle League game

This summer we held our inaugural journalism camp at Olathe Northwest High School.

The camp was based around the Miracle League game. Our students planned, filmed and edited stories about the game.

We talked a great deal about the video storytelling process discussed in this post.

Here are their stories!

Ryley DeMaro:

Val Cartwright:

Sean McPartland:

Alex Gabel:

Brooke Biasella:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Student Work: Creative Stand-ups

How you begin your news package is one of the most important decisions you will make. Viewers will tune out within seconds if they aren't hooked.

Previously I wrote about creative stand-ups from professional reporters.

For a quick challenge, I gave my students a fake news story about our school and asked students to create a stand-up for the news piece. Here are examples of their work:

Pig Latin added as a new foreign language:

Our principal will tryout for American Idol:

Jedi training added as a sport:

Super hero gang revealed at school:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Process for video storytelling

My favorite show on TV right now is The Profit. 

In this show, investor Marcus Lemonis helps struggling businesses become successful. Lemonis stresses his 3Ps of business success: People, Product and Process.

This year I want to stress the process of video storytelling.

Lemonis often tells business owners to "Trust the process." This will become my motto as I often see students who want to skip or rush steps along the way. I want my students to tell engaging and compelling stories, but they must learn to follow the steps of the process in order to do so.


Students will follow and execute the storytelling process.


1. Plan: Students must develop a plan before they can begin filming or editing. That means storyboarding. Developing a shot list. Pitching their idea. Researching. They can't just show up and "spray and pray" that they will film a great story. They must first develop a plan.

2. Film: Students now have a plan for what they are going to film:
3. Organize: Next, they should organize their footage after importing it into FCPX. Create In & Out points, favorite/reject clips, and keyword clips. This should all be done before anything is placed on the timeline.

4. Write: Once the clips are organized, it is time to write the script. This is a step that is often rushed by students, but is extremely important to the process. They often want to start editing their story without a plan.

I created a news story template that combines elements of a STORYBOARD and NEWS SCRIPT so students can write a script of what the viewer will HEAR and SEE.

5. Edit: If all steps in the process have been followed, editing should be easy and quick. It should be easy to find the clips needed if they are organized. The script should lay out the entire story. Everything should come together easily.

6. Feedback: This is an important and often scary step of the process. Showing your unfinished work to other people can be intimidating. We have class feedback time where we go around to each work station and review the work - and the class provides feedback to the unfinished story. This is an important part of the process - much like receiving peer feedback on an English paper.

7. Publish: This is simple. Once you have completed your story, publish your work.

8. Promote: However, you are not finished once you publish your work. You must now promote it. We create these stories in order for people to view them, so they should be promoted through various mediums: Twitter, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, websites. Multiple methods of promotion should be used, and it shouldn't just happen once. Promote your story several times to reach the most viewers possible.


I want to assess that students are following this process and not skipping steps along the way. Here is the rubric I am going to use this year for assessing process:

4 (A): Above and beyond in following the process. Meticulous attention is paid to each step.
3 (B): 100% of the process is followed.
2 (C): 50-75% of the process is followed.
1 (D): Less than 50% of the process is followed.


This is the plan I am going to execute this year. What do you do to teach process? Any feedback on what I have developed? I welcome your comments below!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Creative stand-ups

Stand-ups are an important part of reporting a news story. A good stand-up accomplishes a couple of things:
  1. It draws in the audience with a unique hook.
  2. It sets the stage for what is to come in the package.
  3. It give the reporter face time.
This year we are going to concentrate on three types of stand-ups.
  1. Demonstration
  2. Information
  3. Participation
Here are great videos that describe how to do a stand-up. Watch them and take notes:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ONW...NOW! year in review

My Convergence Journalism and Sports Information students just finished the 2014-2015 school year.

This year brought many new changes - from a new green screen studio to an updated tricaster. We also expanded from a weekly show on Wednesday to three shows a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In all, we produced 39 editions of ONW...NOW!

However, the biggest change had to be the quality of the students' work. We made huge leaps this year from a year ago. Storytelling and shot composition/sequencing were the things we focused on the most - and it paid off. I believe we had more visually compelling and interesting stories than ever. It is a huge celebration.

Here is our 2014-2015 year in review show with five of our top stories:

Our sophomore A/V class also came a long way this year. As freshmen, they used flip cams and edited stories on iMovie. This year, they moved to professional-grade Panasonic cameras and edited on Final Cut Pro X. Here is the final show that they produced:

I am already making plans for next year. We are going to have a "boot camp" this summer to get a head start on the year, and I am excited about the work we will produce.