Category Archives: Digital Storytelling

R.I.P Flip Video

Flip, you brought video to lots of people and places that wouldn't have had it otherwise. Thanks, and rest in peace. reports: Cisco kills Flip Video – Pocket-lint.

“Stopping the business rather than selling it was the best course of action,” Cisco’s global head of public relations exclusively told Pocket-lint on Tuesday, in response to our query on why the sudden decision.

In the dramatic move, the company will cease all production of Flip Video products globally, but has said that it will support the company’s FlipShare service for existing customers, while it formulates a “transition plan.”

“We are making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy,” said John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO. “As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network’s ability to deliver on those offerings.”

A shame. Flips are inexpensive and easy, so good for schools and teachers and kids and families and non-techies to make fun and useful video, and do it easily. Flip, we’ll miss you. Perhaps it wasn’t making enough money for Cisco; we don’t know, and the quote above, in its PR-rich gobbledygook, doesn’t enlighten. Cisco, please don’t be such a corporate beast.

Aspect Ratios: History and Workflows

Images of frame size comparisons, a framing chart, and Panavision anamorphic lenses from the article

Creative COW is the odd acronym for “Creative Communities of the World,” an online community where established pros in filma and video come to learn, teach, and share information about the ever-changing world of moving image production, post-production, and exhibition. The author of the article linked below, for example, created the trailers for James Cameron’s Avatar. At the proper forum on the same site, you can find basic help regarding iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

The particular article I’m linking here, called Relax, and Quit Bluffing: Aspect Ratios and Workflows, offers a history of the different frame sizes for feature film production and exhibition from the invention of film through the contemporary use of digital SLR still cameras for capturing high-definition video. You don’t have to be deeply into the history of technology to appreciate this; knowing how current standards evolved will only help you better grasp where they may be going.

Digital Multimedia in the Classroom – PubCampGa

We’re talking about video editing, trying to get students to work on storyboards and other pre-production, what teachers are already doing with their students (zombie movies!), and more. We have high school teachers and elementary ed teachers here. Flip cameras are popular; cheap and good enough.

One suggestion: use Legos instead of storyboarding, or do stop action with them.

Photostory is good: for making stories, and for assessment purposes. Example: folder of butterfly images on shared drive. Student puts them in the right order, and they write the narration, record it, export as WMV, and it can be posted for parents to see.
Shaun leads the discussion
A library media specialist explained how no project is ever finished; ask them, as the final part of the project, what they would have done to make it better. If they’re a 4th grader, they conceivably come back the next year to improve it.

Use professional film/video for comparison in class, and then evaluate their own work.

Book trailers: make movie-style trailers for books. Works from high school all the way down to kindergarten; little kids can draw their own version of a picture book, knowing what part of the story to withhold to build interest; scan them in or use a digital camera, and then iMovie or Photostory, even PPT, record narration, and create the movie. The best ones can be posted online.

What about releases, for school and system liability? An issue with no certain resolution in the near term. Too many policy makers, administrators, and parents have too little trust in the schools, teachers, and their students. The kids are more visually, technologically, and culturally literate in this regard than these adults. We may have to wait for them to age themselves out of the situation.

A public awards ceremony can be a great motivator and reward – and one educator also explained how the program for his school’s award ceremony includes the educational standards met by the students’ films. The students have to explain how their work meets the standards. Great idea.

Final points about tools and sites: iSkySoft iMedia converter;;’s Digital Education site, with access to thousands of hours of educational video, a lot of which is available not just for streaming, but download and even editing for projects.

If you need an account there, send email to

Twitter Chat – Conversations on Twitter PubCampGA

What the Hashtag allows direct following of a given hashtag, along with statistics, graphs, and more. The group is now discussing bits of the history of Twitter, the value of asking questions of your network of followers, and how hashtags allow you to get direct answers.

A lively conversation

Other ways to do this: in third party apps like TweetDeck, or on the Twitter site itself. What the Hashtag makes it easy to show others what a Twitter conversation is like.
Now a high school teacher is asking about how to use it – yes, students will need a Twitter account, and they’ll need to know about the hashtag.

This is useful for students to tweet links to each other and to the class, for reporters/editors to follow stories, for parents and teachers to communicate. Students are going to use this technology – it’s damaging to make them outlaws just by banning their phones.

Bring the technology into the classroom and show them how to use it for positive ends! It requires trust and high expectations and patience, and a thick skin sometimes.

[This is all exciting!]

I just got to give a blurb for buying your name as a domain, and for WordPress, too.

The Future of Social Media – PubCampGA

Learning about how social media can increase audience and make the station/media producer more responsive to the audience.

[Moved to this session in the middle.]

They’re talking about a Social Media strategy for public stations. Should a producer do it? What about an audience member? – Yes, if it’s “curated” but not controlled.

What about sponsorship, product placement? It can work.

A church leader describes how Facebook and Google searches brought more new visitors than anything else. (Wow.)

Lots of anecdotes about how a good web presence, and announcements on Facebook, really make a difference now.

“What are you selling?” vs. “What are you saying?” is an important distinction, and another indication of the importance of a well-thought out web/social media strategy. That requires attention a careful response to what others say about you on the social network. If you don’t respond carefully, and model good “service” to your audience/listeners/customers, then it can be a net loss for you.

Schools – if students know they’re going to be in media – television, on the web – they’re interest picks up. And many of them use social media as well, so put it there.

Digital Core Values Session – PubCampGA

Came in a bit late – session members are discussing broadcasting weather forecasts, and how to make sure they provide accurate information that the audience understands.

Michael – he proposed this session – explains what he means by digital core values. He referred us to the Local News Initiative for some details.

Query: have ethics changed because of the technology? Is there more pressure to follow sensational stories, to be reactive? It’s an old pressure, but is there more pressure now?

Thinking in terms of what audience wants, the web guy told us they put the NPR feed on the GPB home page, and got an unprecedented number of hits when Gary Coleman died….

[I left that session to join another on the future of social media.]

Peachpit: Equipment for Video Podcasting Pt 2

Apple's Podcast logo

I’m cheating twice here; bear with me. First cheat, I didn’t link to Part 1. It, and the point of this post, Part 2, have been floating in open tabs in my browser for too many weeks. It’s embarrassing, really. I should have posted these things a long time ago, but “I’ll do it later” is a constant refrain in my head and my life. (Ask my wife, or several of the people I work with.)


(On second thought, please don’t!)

The point, again, of this post: a series on Peachpit about Equipment for Video Podcasting, which covers an extensive amount of information, with pics and links, provides a very good one-stop reference about video podcasting (well, two, really, unless you think of the series as a single thing with separate parts).

And my second cheat? Those links point to the print-ready versions of the articles, because the originals are split into seven or eight shorter chunks requiring reloading the pages and that’s kind of cheating. At least I think it isn’t, so I’m counter-cheating.

Enjoy the articles.

think jose

Jose rocks. And his site does too - he's a busy multimedia man in east Tennessee, and I can recommend him.

I think jose. I do. I met him – only briefly – when he recorded an interview Ellen and I did last weekend at the National Storytelling Festival. The organizers of the festival were collecting peoples’ stories from their own experience in Jonesborough and at the festival over the years. The first time I went, 11 years ago, I had a memorable time and was part of a great onstage story. I’ll tell that tale here another time, but I want here to point to Jose’s site, which documents his many interests, achievements, and areas of expertise.

If you’re i his area, check him out, and if you’re not, check his site – there’s lots he knows about and can help you with.

Think Jose!