Stream of Consciousness : Short Video Composite
35% of Semester Grade
Quick Links on this Page:
- Concepts, Tools, and Techniques Covered
- Project Management Outline
- Concept Development (Timeline, Goals, Requirements)
- Prototype Design Phase
- Content Development
- Prototype Development
- Delivery (what’s due and when)
- Example Work
- How this will be graded
Each student will select a unique word from a list provided by the instructor and then write unedited stream of consciousness prose for at least fifteen minutes to record a train of thoughts that the chosen words evokes. Based on the content each person writes, s/he will storyboard a short video concept and then collect (or create) image, video, and audio resources to use in the composite project. There will be a focus in this assignment on project management, adhering to progressive deadlines for grading, and collaborative participation. Students will create their own individual work (50-120 second clip), but these will later be used in a separate follow-up collaborative assignment where your work will be used in an interface with several other student works.
This assignment will focus on the layering of sound, video, and still imagery to create a media-rich audio-visual composite using Audacity, Adobe Premier, Adobe Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.
This is just the overview! You must read this entire page to be sure you are doing everything necessary to succeed in this project.
Tools, Techniques, and Concepts Covered
As part of the overview section, you can see at a glance which tools, techniques, and concepts will be addressed in this assignment:
Tools and Techniques
- Video editing
- Audio editing
- Blend Modes
- Applying Filters to video segments
- Making simple audio adjustments in the timeline
- Layering audio and video clips to apply seamless transitions
- Introduction to audio formats, bit depth, and waveforms
- Introduction to video formats, codecs, and resolution
- Introduction to interactive interface design
- Audacity sound editor, Adobe Premier, and Photoshop
- Chroma Keying
- Key framing / Tweening
- Audio waveform
- Elements of Art: Line | Space | Shape | Value | Color
- Principles of Art: Harmony | Balance | Proportion | Dominance/Emphasis | Variety | Movement | Rhythm
For this project we will use a standard professional Project Management Outline so that you can become familiar with the stages of larger scale professional projects.
Following is the outline at a glance. After this summary, you will find all of these sections broken down and detailed with specific information to help you complete your assignment successfully.
Project Management Outline (summary):
- Concept Development Phase
- Define Project Scope
- Set Goals and Parameters (Requirements)
- Prototype Design Phase
- Develop Project Outline
- Content Development
- Step 1 : Creating the Stream-of-Consciousness copy
- Step 2: Individual storyboarding (how to approach getting started and generating creative ideas)
- Step 3 : Collecting media resources
- Prototype Development
- Create a draft of your composite using appropriate tools demonstrated in lessons.
- Focus Group Feedback (Peer Review)
- Rework Prototype and Collaborate
- What to turn in and how to turn it in
Project Management Outline (detailed)
Concept Development Phase
Define Project Scope
“Analyze the need for the project and define the media scope. Include the reality of budget, time, and resource limitations (if any).”
For this assignment, you will have 6 weeks to complete the entire project in the following phases:
- Week 01 : Intro and writing portion
- Week 02: Learn about images, collect image resources, and turn in.
- Week 03: Learn about audio, capturing audio, editing audio, collect and record audio resources, and turn in.
- Week 04: Learn about video, modern formats and codecs, capturing and finding video, CC and PD licenses, shoot and collect video resources, and turn in.
- Week 05: Learn how to use Adobe Premier, storyboard, and create a rough draft video.
- Week 06: Get peer review feedback and complete assignment.
You will need to use audio, video, and still imagery with Audacity, Adobe Premier, and Photoshop to edit and composite files, as well as build an interface deliverable for the class. The written copy must be produced exclusively by the student without outside help.
Additionally, you can collect and use media source files from the web following the Fair Use Guidelines. To avoid copyright issues, you can use Public Domain or Creative Commons licensed media. You can also create your own media resources by shooting video, recording audio, and taking photographs. Most smart phones will work great for this, but you can also check out handheld cameras for short periods when available at school.
Set Goals and Parameters (Requirements)
Each student will successfully make an original video composite that communicates a predefined idea creatively and uniquely. All media sources MUST be used in a transformative way so that the new work becomes an original piece taking on a distinct life of its own.
Additional goals met within this process are a majority of the Student Learning Outcomes for this course, with exception to 3D design.
Each individual’s composited video must meet the following:
- time range: 50-120 seconds
- resolution: minimum 720p (1280px x 720px) AND maximum 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
- concept: must be based on the word you chose in class and must include the stream of consciousness prose you wrote (audibly, visually, or a combination of the two).
- video resources: must collect 5 videos and use minimum of two video resources in the final work (or two if also using multiple still images)
- audio resources: must collect 10 audio files and use minimum of three separate audio resources in the final work. If you are shooting your own video, you can count the sound from one video as one audio resource only. Also, if you are displaying your text visually on screen instead speaking out loud, you can elect to only include as few as two audio files.
- MUTE: You are required to MUTE audio that is attached to found video resources. You need instructor approval if you feel the audio is really important to keep from a video that you did not shoot yourself.
- Still imagery resources are optional to use, but you need to collect at least 10 images as part of your research. Good uses for stills would be to create a non-moving masked area, or as keyframed sequences of images appearing in rapid succession.
- Filters, blends, opacity: Must use at least two video filters, two blend modes, and video two opacity changes.
- Titles and transitions: Must create introductory title with a fade or crossfade transition.
- Audio adjustments: Must create audio fades, volume adjustments, and transitions where appropriate.
- Attributions/credits: You are required to include your resource attributions at the end of your clip in a credit roll, crawl, or screen.
Prototype Design Phase
Develop Project Outline
Students will get a chance to select a word from the following list based on random numerical assignment:
Step 1 : Creating the Stream-of-Consciousness copy
Based on your chosen word, you will write a stream of consciousness piece of prose that embodies the meaning and feeling of the word. Stream of consciousness writing is literally writing whatever comes to your head, regardless of whether or not it is nonsensical (and whether or not it is painful or embarrassing). It can meander into kooky places, be serious, funny, sad, or any other mood, but the idea is that you first write down what comes to mind in an unedited fashion. For the sake of this assignment, any profanity or obscenity that you write will likely need to be edited out later, but if it comes to mind and you need to write it down at first to keep the flow of your thoughts uninterrupted, that’s okay. Just get it out of your head and record on paper or in a text file — whichever format is the most immediate to you. If typing on a computer tempts you to edit, then use pen and paper.
If you would like an example of what that MIGHT look like (this is not prescribed!), let’s say that the first words of the list that students chose happened to be: “doubt” and “inspiration.” Here’s what was written, in that order:
I don’t doubt anything. I doubt everything. Or do I? It’s in the not-knowing, the knowing, the fear of too much knowledge, or not having enough of it. It’s not this side of the coin; it’s the other side, isn’t it? I always wonder what’s on the other side and can’t be satisfied that knowing what is in my own yard is good enough, correct, complete. I guess doubt is a dissatisfaction with acceptance, a refusal to know a truth and stick to it, a questioning of words uttered into the universe (or feelings that lurk in your gut).
Inspiration is something I find in everything. I can find it in looking at a bird on a wire because I know that it will fly away at some point (or drop dead but we all do eventually), or in a stop sign (graphically speaking, they are succinct and fundamentally beautiful in their elemental graphic nature, and, well, they inspire change: to STOP). I’d like to think I am inspired by happiness, but the reality is that I feel a lot less creative when I’m happy than when I’m lonely. Loneliness is one of the greatest inspirations for creativity ever. It’s like hot air that really needs to move into a cooler place. No matter, it needs to move…it’s not content staying the same. I think that’s what inspiration is: the motivation to move, to make, to do something. Anything.
Notice that the second one immediately attempts to explain the word (“Inspiration is….”). The first one starts off in a conversational, topical way (“I don’t doubt….”). Either one is okay. But notice that neither one is a mere list of brainstorming words. Avoid only brainstorming single, separate words as complete concepts. Instead, write in complete sentences as if you are speaking out loud or in your head.
Step 2: Individual storyboarding (how to approach getting started and generating creative ideas)
Think about ways that you might want to depict this prose. There are a lot ways to express it; here are just some of the ideas you can consider:
Clear Voiceover: read the words in a meaningful, conversational way, layered over sound and video (you can also use image sequences or stills integrated into the work). You can have someone else do the voiceover if you feel they can be more effective than you, but remember that you need to direct the pauses, cadence, emphases, etc. to achieve the feel that you are going for.
Whisper Voiceover: if your word lends itself to prose that evokes secrecy, fear, or quietness, you might consider whispering your prose over sound, video, and imagery in a meaningful way. Again, you can have someone else do the voiceover if you feel they can be more effective than you, but remember that you need to direct the pauses, cadence, emphases, etc. to achieve the feel that you are going for.
Visual text: if you feel that a voiceover isn’t what your piece needs, you can elect to have the text appear progressively, released appropriately in a time-based manner. Do not simply put your paragraph(s) up there all at once. Also, avoid using a ‘running credits’ method to produce the text to screen (disengaging and boring!). Consider curating text on the screen by:
- using transitions like fades and blurs
- changing the font when appropriate
- releasing individual words one at a time for emphasis
- releasing sentences one at a time for emphasis
- leaving the previous words on the screen and overlapping with the new to create a typographical collage over video and imagery
- changing the scale of text
- editing the text so that it reads like stanzas in poetry
- and so on.
Any combination of the above.
Based on your ideas, create a rough outline of thumbnails that will walk us through the phases of your project, including notes that explain what happens in the the scenes and transitions.
Step 3 : Collecting media resources
In this collection phase, you must collect more than you are actually required to use. This prevents you from settling on the first assets you are able to snag. Produce (create) and/or collect all of the media resources that you think you might want to use. You MUST collect and/or create the following at a minimum:
- collect 10 still images
- collect 10 audio files
- collect 5 video files
Where and how to collect video footage
You can use the following resources:
- Original video that you shoot from a digital device that can easily share video via email, cloud storage, or download via syncing cable to your computer. You can also check out hand-held cameras from the school onsite, but you need to buy your own SD video card to record and store footage. Many smart phones take pretty decent video and have simple sharing options built into their interfaces. Furthermore, there are a lot of free video filter apps you can download to your smart phone to directly apply color affects while shooting video.
- Copyright-free, Public Domain, or Creative Commons video footage available on Youtube, Vimeo Creative Commons, Internet Archive, or other resources of copyright-free material. Note: “copyright-free” is not the same as “royalty-free.” You typically still have to pay for “royalty-free” media. “Public Domain” media is defined by lacking a current copyright and is open to the public for reuse. “Creative Commons” licensed media is typically free to reuse, but you should look at the licensing notes. To search Youtube for Creative Commons licensed videos, type your desired search term followed by “,creativecommons” on the Youtube search bar. See screenshot below:
- You can also request permission to use people’s work. It’s surprising how easy it can be to get permission to reuse someone’s work as long as you explain that it is for educational use only and that you will give the author credit.
- You can use copyrighted material for educational use only. The use of copyrighted sources is not encouraged for this assignment. Using copyrighted materials as part of your assignment will prohibit you from using it for commercial uses. There are still restrictions about how much of someone’s copyrighted work you can use even for education. Read the Fair Use Guidelines for details.
“How do I download video from Youtube, Vimeo, or other video websites?”
First, you can use an app called ClipGrab. ClipGrab is a free downloader and converter for YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, Dailymotion and many other online video sites.
It converts downloaded videos to MPEG4, MP3 or other formats in one step. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.
There are also several free browser plugins available that allow you to download directly from Youtube, Vimeo, and other sites. YouTube has started prohibiting the use of some download tools, however, including a very popular one called, “Video Downloader Professional.” If any of the ones below make it to Google’s prohibited list after the time of this assignment posting, please let the instructor know. The one below worked well at the time of this post:
- -extensions available for all browsers
- –do not install or fill out data for the 3rd party add-on that pops up with Fasttube called “Adlesse.” It is a data tracker and might not be safe to use. When prompted to try it, instead choose to permanently disable it.
Although the “Video Downloader Professional” extension for Firefox (download) and Chrome (download) won’t work on YouTube, it still works very well for a lot of other websites. It adds a simple drop-down menu to a selected Firefox’s or Chrome’s toolbar:
How do I convert video formats if they aren’t showing up properly in Adobe Premier?
You can try using Adobe Media Encoder, but chances are that if one Adobe product can’t read it, then another probably can’t either. So you can try a free online converter tool like onlineconvert.com. Works great. You can also download and use free video software called VLC (by Video LAN group). It will often view and convert from and to file types that many other encoder apps don’t work with.
Where and how to collect audio files
- Original audio: You are encouraged to record your own audio as much as possible. You can grab environmental sounds (nature, busy public places, crowds chattering, car engines, etc.) very easily with a smart phone, digital tablet, or even portable computer. You can share, sync, or download them depending on your device. You can also use a microphone with a computer in a quiet place to read your stream of consciousness prose into a digital format,
- Copyright-free: The following are terrific sites for collecting copyright free, creative commons, or public domain audio resources:
- MusOpen (classical music recordings)
- YouTube Audio Library (must log into Gmail first)
- Internet Archive
- You can also make your own sound loops from a large selection of sound samples at http://www.ambient-mixer.com/ and record very short segments for loops. This has a lot of non-music samples, too.
- Copyrighted material: Not encouraged. Because there is so much out there, go explore. Don’t just go to what you know.
Where and how to collect still imagery
- Miracosta College’s Stock Photography subscription (only available via on-campus network)
Things to watch out for
When using audio files, be certain that songs and clips with spoken/sung words will not compete for the viewer’s attention in your voiceover or visual text. Either avoid using songs with words or be sure that you adjust the volume in Premier to avoid conflicts.
Create a draft
Create a draft of your composite using appropriate tools that you have been shown how to use in demonstrations.
To see a tutorial of how to approach this assignment using Adobe Premier Pro CC, you can watch the following playlist of video tutorials:
If you want to take the time to download the audio and video resources used in this demo, you can navigate to the MAT-120 student resources directory to individually download them.
Something that is NOT in the video demos above is how to save your entire project out for use on a different computer. To avoid needing to relink your project assets each time you move from one computer to the next, you ned to transcode the work. Do the following:
- Go to File > Project Manager
- Select the “Consolidate and Transcode” radio button
- Be sure that you are saving the files in the place you intend under “Destination Path”.
- You can leave other settings at their software default. Then click the “OK” button in the bottom left of the window.
Need Help Correcting Poor Audio Quality?
You can do inline Adobe Audition audio editing while editing your clips in Premiere. See the demo example below:
Focus Group Feedback (Peer Review)
We will have a peer review of your work so that you can get feedback from the class.
- Finalize your project component and create final rendered files.
- Test to see that your full project files will work when transferred to another computer before uploading to the server. This will help you immediately see if asset links are broken in Premier before turning in files. This is important because I will look at your original files to see what you did to them prior to issuing a grade.
- Be sure that the work you turn in has used the resources in a very transformative way if you didn’t shoot the footage yourself. You will lose significant points if it does not set itself apart from the original resources a new and unique work.
Due BEFORE the Critique
Please see Canvas’s calendar to find out when components are due. You will be graded not only on the final outcome of the project but you will also be assigned points at benchmarks of the project phases to ensure that you are keeping up. This will include separate dates for:
- written prose piece
- collected still imagery
- collected video resources
- collected audio resources
- draft due for class peer review
Due at the Critique
- Upload the following to the server in your student directory (see Canvas for server connecting info):
- project1_lastname (FOLDER)
- audio (FOLDER)
- place all of your collected audio files here
- images (FOLDER)
- place all of your collected image stills here
- place all of your collected video files here
- project1_lastname (FOLDER)
- BE SURE that all supporting linked files have functional linked pathways.
- Upload your final lastname_p1_video.mp4 file to Youtube or other free streaming service of your choice. You can also get a free streaming account with http://screencast.com as well. Note that Vimeo only allows ONE HD video per month on free accounts.
- Post your streaming video link to to the assignment’s discussion forum in Canvas, along with your artist statement.
The following examples below are only intended to give you some ideas of how this project could be approached; these are not prescriptions for how to do your project. They are based on the prose examples above (“doubt” and “inspiration”).
The above work uses a total of three video clips, no still images, and three audio clips. Two of the audio files are separate, while the third is embedded audio track in one of the videos. Using ambient sound native to a video is permitted when it is from work you shot yourself or with special permission. The text is created in Premier using the Title text feature, and multiple transitions were applied to it.
Based on the duality of the prose (doubt being discussed as being on one side or another), care was taken to shoot video that would create a visual partition of the screen. The left side is of an open door while the right is blocked by a drape blowing in the wind. This video clip was duplicated and processed several times with filters in Premier’s layers so that they could also use blend modes to create a making effect on the drapes and in the leaves with the moving sky in the background. You will also notice that the opacities and blends change gradually as the words progress.
To get a sense of the process, you can look at the original visual resources below:
Video Resources for Work Above:
- “Window” – original footage shot with iPhone5C (no tripod)
- “Sky” – original footage shot with Samsung Galaxy S6 using a time hyper lapse setting
Audio Resources for Work Above
- Original track embedded in the original window footage
- “nature.mp3” recorded compositing sample sounds together
- Third sample substituted for creating visual prose on screen
This work is composed of the following:
- Spoken word by Leigh Cotnoir
- “Going Under” by Dexter Britain (from Creative Commons vol.5)
- “Rain Scope Down” by Leggysalad
- “Underwater Breathing” by Ryan Conway
- “Radar Scanner Deepsea Hydrogen Skyline” by Loremonger
- “Slides Curtain” by Leigh Cotnoir
- “Wilting flower time lapse” by Halodine
- “Barn Swallow Preening” by Edward Plumer
- “Free City Footage Stop Sign”
If you read the original “inspritation” stream of consciousness text above for this word, you will notice that it was edited down to fit the time frame and the visual narrative to be succinct in meaning. That is completely acceptable and will likely be necessary.
Example Student Work
For a full list, go to the instructor’s Vimeo Playlist.
Design, Concept, Participation
- audio and visual consistency coherence, and cohesion
- successful communication/ impact
- color harmony
- image quality
- inventiveness/ creativity
- Did you meet all of your progressive deadlines?
- GET A FREE VIMEO ACCOUNT: Go to http://vimeo.com/ to set up a free account for yourself. This will allow you to upload your final mp4 for streaming for the critique. The free account only allows ONE HD upload per month, so make sure that the mp4 you upload is really your final, good version. Alternatively, you can upload to a Youtube channel if you have one, but Youtube might flag your work if it detects any copyrights embedded in the music files. You can also get a free streaming account with http://screencast.com as well.
- Technical Setup: …Mode: RGB, …Minimum size: 1280px X 720px at 72ppi, …Max 1920 x 1080
- Acceptable runtime range: 50-120 seconds (+ credits). You will be deducted points if your clip is shorter than 50 seconds.
- Resource file requirements:
- minimum 2 video clips
- your external video clips can have their own talking sounds and ambient noise if you want to keep it, but you MAY NOT use overlaid music that comes with many of the downloadable free videos out there.
- minimum 3 audio clips
- still images are optional but likely desireable
- Video trimming, syncing, and transitions
- Audio transitions where necessary (fades, volume control, trimming)
- File and asset link management: Be sure that all links are functional in your original Premier project file. Also keep your files organized in folders as shown in class. Remember to transcode your work before saving projects out from one computer to another (or to portable drives).
- Timeline Layers: Clearly organize and label your layers for the file.
- Layer Styles, Blend Modes, and Filters: Use at least two of these techniques to create effects in color, transparency, or filtering effects on clips in the timeline.
- Keyframing: Successfully keyframe transitions such as fades, effects, and audio adjustments.
- Color, Lighting, and Contrast Balance: You will also be graded on the overall successful manipulation of color, lighting, and contrast balance in the work. Be sure that your effects are suitable to the work (appropriately harmonious, which can also include properly applied discordant colors).