Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Good Examples for Video Projects

It's frustrating to start a video editing project and search YouTube for well-done, creative examples that don't have sex, drugs, violence, nudity or foul language. I recently spent many hours during weekends and snowdays trying to find some. I'll share them with you and would love for you to share your favorites for the classroom as well.

For storytelling style: "Silent Beats", http://youtube.com/watch?v=76BboyrEl48
This wonderful video not only shows us how easily it is to lean on stereotypes, but it is so easy to teach creative camera work, editing and visual storytelling with it. It has no dialog, but we get what it is trying to tell us. When you show it a second time, explaining why the camera is here, why the editor did this, etc. you find even more clues to the story. It is so clear and well-done. It is also a wonderful example for character education.

Stop motion is always fun. Here are some of my favorites, although the first one has a mild violence in it:
"Tony vs. Paul", http://youtube.com/watch?v=AJzU3NjDikY
This one is all about drawing: "Minilogue/hitchhikers choice", http://youtube.com/watch?v=u46eaeAfeqw
"Retro Games in Stop Motion", http://youtube.com/watch?v=nhbt9z4fkWo
"Erbert & Gerbert's: Human Flipbook", http://youtube.com/watch?v=HClNcAvD1AY
and to go with it, the making of it: http://youtube.com/watch?v=AulVwjcnJhI&feature=related

Documenting a performance or other interesting event:
"Parkour Generations:City Gents": http://youtube.com/watch?v=SmVsa1SFgfU
(Notice all the interesting camera angles.)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Not Cheesy

Last week, one of my students was looking through one of the many Photoshop wow-'em books I have in the classroom. We have actually done some of the projects. The student said, "You know Mrs. Pfeiffer, a lot of these examples are really cheesy. They actually aren't very good." She wasn't trying to make herself look superior, she was just giving me her honest opinion. I wanted to say, "Yea, sometimes I think you don't need much actual art training to publish a book on making art on the computer, these days." But, I just said something like, "Yea, I bet you can do better than him..."

So, today I went into Barnes and Noble and just as I was about to give up finding a truly inspiring book, I found this: Creative Photoshop: Digital Illustration and Art Techniques, by Derek Lea. I would say as a whole, it is for advanced students who have taken 2D art classes as well, but you can teach parts of his involved projects to beginners. I find it very inspiring and I suspect it is very appealing to hip young visual culturally literate teens and college students. My 14-year-old has already spied it and said "OH COOL!" and is actually sitting down and really studying it. I haven't shown it to my 20-year-old who is majoring in Communications Design in college. I think he'll say the same thing...or maybe "Awesome". Three-quarters of the book is more appropriate for a computer graphics, or advanced 2D class than for digital photography, because it is mostly illustration, but some of it does involve photography.

Derek Lea is a popular illustrator, not just a computer nerd who likes Photoshop, so this is real eye candy. Here's a link to the book in the Amazon-run bookstore I arranged for us: