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Concepts, Models, and Experiments

Video

Daniel Anderson and Jason Loan

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The official reviewing period for this keyword has ended, and commenting is closed. You may also wish to read the description of the anthology, guidelines on how to comment, and the list of keywords.

CURATORIAL STATEMENT

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 3 It seems counter intuitive—given the expectations for using cameras, working with sound, and learning editors—but digital video production provides one of the smoothest paths for integrating digital composing into a class. Traditionally, high-quality video production and distribution required both costly equipment and relatively high levels of technical competency. In the last fifteen years, however, the technological barriers to video-making have decreased dramatically. We might trace commercial cinema’s beginning to feel this shift in production with the initiation of such movements as Dogme 95—an attempt to strip motion picture production to its essentials aided by advances in digital tools—and the Dogme films, The Celebration (1998) and The Idiots (1998), each shot entirely with prosumer grade digital video cameras. The broader public arguably experienced production barriers begin to shift with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone 3GS, a cellular phone capable of capturing video, while the introduction in 2005 of the video-sharing website, YouTube, had already opened potentially new avenues of distribution to both professional and amateur moving-image-makers alike. Perhaps, given the availability of YouTube and the smartphone, creating and distributing digital videos presents no more (and sometimes fewer) challenges than developing websites, composing podcasts, or designing visuals with image editors. At the same time, the ubiquity of video only intensifies questions of what competencies and literacies one requires in order to participate as a producer in a culture saturated with digital moving images.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 2 One response to the need to develop competencies with the moving image has been to find a resonance between video production and writing in general. From this perspective, the process(es) of video production and the process(es) of writing largely remediate and support each other. Here we see an embrace of the traditional documentary form and its related genres, such as the cinematic essay. Exemplars of documentary form include such films as Barbara Kopple’s Harlen County, U.S.A. (1976) and Hoop Dreams (1994). The cinematic essay—a form of documentary filmmaking—includes such foundational examples as Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera (1929) and Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (1982) to more recent works such as Morgan Spurlock’s reality-television-esque Super Size Me (2004). We might call this approach to working with video the “audio-visual writing” perspective. Within this perspective, rhetoric comes to the fore and the attendant pedagogies smooth the paths for digital composing through concepts like audience, purpose, genre, and medium—broad concerns that can drive the creation of assignments and the development of projects. Put another way, this perspective tends to embody what John Tinnell calls a “digital tools” approach to working with video through which the video technologies themselves are largely understood as something to be harnessed for the goals of rhetorical intent (123). Here, for example, we might see a concern for a historiographic view of moving-image-making with an explicit pedagogical concern for how filmmakers have appropriated available technologies for rhetorical ends both within and and beyond the dominant narrative or expressive modes of the time. This position, however, generally conflates analog and digital moving image-making processes. The digital simply provides a level of ease and access unavailable to the general public in the age of celluloid motion pictures. In short, this compositional and pedagogical approach focuses more on traditional properties of filmmaking, photography, text, and sound, casting video-making as a series of rhetorical choices instantiated in the specifics of previously analog, multimodal forms.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 1 Another response to the increasing ease of creating and to the ubiquity of video has been to focus experimental attention on the effects of digitization on the moving image, and subsequently on the channels for communication opened by these possibilities. From this perspective, digital video is not necessarily limited to digital tools or to new instantiations of familiar analog forms. Instead, we see an embrace of alternative modes of messaging or the influences of algorithmic processes on composing. We loosely call this perspective on video “post-cinematic.” If what we’ve tentatively tagged as the audio-visual writing perspective holds to a rhetorically grounded view of the relatively stable communicative and representative potential of video, then the post-cinematic perspective orients itself more to possibilities of working beyond the symbolic and even beyond the capacities for human perception. Examples include the creation and distribution of GIFs and web applications like Vine in social media networks. The post-cinematic also includes things such as Florian Thalhofer’s Korsakow System, a computer program for creating algorithmic films, as well as the virtual cameras of digitally rendered game spaces such as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014). While not necessarily free of a digital tools perspective, a pedagogical embrace of the post-cinematic is equally, if not more, concerned with not only how new technologies expand a tool kit for composing but also how the technologies themselves excerpt an agency in the composition and pedagogical scenario. As a result, the image of composers executing their intentions holds less sway in the context of the relations between human and technology.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Ultimately we see audio-visual writing and the post-cinematic less as strict oppositions and more as overlapping pedagogical orientations that both yield a number of important payoffs. Students deal directly with concerns of intellectual property. They experiment with a range of literacies and composing strategies that include the alphabet, sound, visuals, and motion. They also consider human-technology relations. And they find high levels of engagement and motivation in activities as they rise to new intellectual challenges and work in modes that resonate with their daily lives.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Given these familiar and experimental possibilities combined with the increasing ease of creating video projects, it’s somewhat surprising that there is not more widespread adoption of video assignments as part of digital pedagogy. In some ways, this can be explained by technical affordances and the expectations for production values associated with digital video. If we conceive of digital video assignments in terms of film production, then we are confronted with the need for cameras, microphones, lighting, editing, and a good deal of time learning the nuances of these processes. Similarly, if we ignore the concerns of production, then we may find ourselves confronted with digital video projects with poor image quality, unusable sound, and clunky editing. Additionally, as we move away from the relatively stable ground of film production into the realms of smartphone cameras, screen capturing, game space, and algorithms, we risk feeling lost in the more ephemeral, even autopoetic, qualities of a digitally networked society. A more productive approach to video in digital pedagogy is to work somewhere between these two extremes. By lowering the entry difficulties to creating video projects but maintaining reasonable expectations for production quality (something that is easily accomplished with prosumer technologies and basic instruction), we can create more opportunities to use digital video in the classroom. Equally, by embracing a willingness to experiment with video as something more than just a user-friendly form of traditional filmmaking, we can create more opportunities in our classrooms to engage our relations with technology.

CURATED ARTIFACTS

The Digital Writing and Research Lab

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10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 This resource presents a collection of lesson plans filed under “video” in the lesson plan archive of UT-Austin’s Digital Writing and Research Lab (DWRL). The lessons range from doing rhetorical analysis of short videos to disputing YouTube content takedowns to using juxtapositions in video mash-ups. Lessons offer clearly articulated pedagogical goals in a variety of categories including rhetoric, literature, and digital literacy. In addition, the lessons articulate technological requirements, suggestions for evaluation, and even “timeline for optimal use” within a curriculum. The strength of these lesson plans is that they are pitched for both instructors and students who are novice readers and makers of video. In particular, we would direct your attention to the lesson, “Transforming Video with Popcorn Maker,” by Beck Wise. In this lesson students are introduced to visual rhetoric as well as to an example of a web-based tool for remixing existing video content on the web. For more experienced instructors and students, lessons such as these provide a nice starting point for thinking about the goals and technologies for video-making within the context of more recent phenomena in video-making and culture. Beyond the “video” tag, the DWRL’s Lesson Plan archive contains a wealth of starting point lessons related to many other themes relevant to the reception and making of video and moving images.

The JUMP Journal

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13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 The Jump provides a venue for video projects and a space for reflecting on the pedagogical dimensions of those projects. Geared toward student multimedia, The Jump is a great resource for instructors interested in pursuing undergraduate research. Each published project is accompanied by an author’s statement that includes not only details on the technologies used to create projects but also reflections on the composing process. Publications also include a good deal of the pedagogical materials that support the student projects: assignments, details about the course, etc. And each project is accompanied by an instructor reflection, offering more details about the pedagogical dimensions of the projects. Every issue of The Jump contains a variety of projects ranging from webtexts to remix videos, and each is rich with reflections and assignment materials. Of particular interest are projects such as Megan Cross’s “Re-Presentation: Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour.” This project, a video made with PowerPoint, introduces (or reminds) us that when we talk about video we are not simply talking about iMovie or cameras. Many contemporary compositional tools can be appropriated for working with the moving image. This resource can be used as a venue that might provide an end-goal for video assignments. It also provides a wealth of student examples and sample instructional materials.

“North Carolina Stories"

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16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Todd Taylor’s ENGL 318 course site features materials related to the production of student documentaries during the Fall 2014 iteration of the course. Taylor’s work with video focuses primarily on the documentary form. Like the work of Bump Halbritter (see “Big Questions, Small Works, Lots of Layers” below), the strength of Taylor’s pedagogy is that it successfully situates the students within a generative sweet spot of aiming for high-production values, but with an equal emphasis on ease of entry into unfamiliar technological territory. The work that emerges from Taylor’s class provides a real sense of what’s possible for undergraduate video-makers with reasonable access to prosumer technologies and a developing sense rhetorical purpose.

"DV Lab: Documenting Science through Video and New Media"

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19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 An entry to the archive of course materials made available through MIT’s Open Courseware, “DV Lab: Documenting Science through Video and New Media,” outlines an undergraduate level course offering a way into thinking about the intersection of science and technology studies and documentary film practice. This course might be of particular interest to those wishing to integrate video-making and analysis into a curriculum oriented toward knowledge-making within the disciplines. Included in this resource are a collection of both lecture and media lab videos. Lectures cover topics such as “Documentary and Ways of Seeing,” while lab videos address topics such as “Introduction to the Camera” and “Interviewing Techniques.” Additionally, this course contains materials that deal with the ethics and legality of documentary film work, including items on “best practices in fair use” and a piece titled, “The Photographer’s Right.” The site also provides easy navigation to other film and video related courses in the MIT archive via a helpful “Related Content” tab on course home page. We see two potential uses for this site. First, we teach in a writing program that focuses on the exploration of genres in the context of their relation to academic disciplines, so we find the conceptual orientation of this course helpful in designing how we might integrate a video unit focused on composing into the natural sciences. Second, while the lecture and lab videos are long, they do provide ample introduction for the instructor of the kinds of issues that arise when having students do documentary work. Additionally, sample student projects like “Playformed” demonstrate what is possible for student video-makers without relying on strictly professional exemplars.

"MediaComp"

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22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 MediaComp is a website for a course focused on new media composing. As we offered in our curatorial statement, working pedagogically with video involves at least two overlapping perspectives: one, an audio-visual writing approach that scaffolds working with video as an extension of the foundational lessons of writing; the other, a post-cinematic orientation that views video as not simply a more user-friendly tool kit for audio-visual work. This course reflects this overlap. On the one hand, assignments such as the “Video Essay” attempt to support student media projects though the use of familiar academic expectations as “being informed by research” and being “constructed with the aim of providing information and guidance about the topic to viewers.” Here, the more generic goals of academic writing are understood to be applicable for making video essays. On the other hand, the course also attempts to complicate our notions of how video communicates via projects that utilize the social video applications of Vine and Instagram. While the aim of the Vine/Instagram project (i.e., to make “a small collection of videos that make a statement about a topic or create a connection with a group of people”) does not sound too far removed from the goals of writing in general, working with these emerging technologies requires a more overt and explicit experimentation with the constraints and affordances of the software (the agency of technology itself) rather than the assumption that the technology can offer a relatively transparent way of making meaning for an audience. In addition to these projects, the site also collects a number of video reflections where students use screen capture to discuss their composing processes. (More of these kinds of video reflections are captured in the essay, “This is What We Did in Our Class,” listed in the additional resource section below.)

"Filmic Texts and the Rise of the Fifth Estate"

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25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 This online text captures and reports on the work of a class: IML 340: "The Praxis of New Media." The focus is on the intellectual components of digital video, especially the argumentative and rhetorical affordances of video modes and their connections to digital literacy. The entire collection of materials is helpful, but of particular interest is the strand on digital pedagogy. From underlying course philosophies to technical concerns of processing and hosting videos to issues of intellectual property, the piece takes up pedagogical components of working with video in both practical and conceptual ways. Particularly valuable within the Digital Pedagogy thread is Kuhn’s discussion of a digital argument, which she defines as an argument “that is born-digital and uses the various affordances of emergent technologies intentionally.” Additionally, Kuhn challenges the notion that audio-visual media are too ephemeral for sustained analysis, arguing that digitization allows for the "patience that books possess." Overall, for instructors who fear the more whimsical or seemingly disposable nature of digital culture, Kuhn’s commitment to the rigors of reading and writing with media will prove a valuable resource for reflecting on the intellectual benefits and challenges of doing work with video. Finally, Kuhn’s use of the Scalar platform for publication of the work—while itself not taking full advantage of many of the notational features of the Scalar system—does invite speculation towards the role that such platforms might play in video work, in terms of both delivery and analysis.

"Teaching Resources for Video and Emerging Media"

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28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Jennifer Proctor’s “Teaching Resources” page offers a range of materials capturing a variety of moments in video-making and culture. Assignments move from more traditional forms of audio-visual work, such as storyboarding, to more contemporary genres, such as vlogs and mash-ups, toward still in-process materials related to emerging web-based video applications, such as Vine and Zeega. The value of Proctor’s site lies in its offering of the raw materials of her digital pedagogy, but also in that her pedagogy very much looks ahead to web-based, networked video-making. For example, included here are a “Loop Assignment” using GIFs and Vines, and an “Augmented Reality Assignment” using the Aurasma platform. While we have not specifically utilized Proctor’s materials in our own courses, we have found ourselves increasingly beginning to incorporate things such as Vine into course offerings focused on networked and multimodal composing. What makes video-making in Vine intriguing is that, like other acts of video-making, its products can be queried on the grounds of the rhetorical intentionality and the choices of the video-maker; however, the constraints imposed by the Vine application (e.g., videos are limited to seven seconds, and each seven-second video plays back on a loop) complicates attempts to strictly understand Vine within the context of more traditional notions of videography. For example, as students become more proficient in the use of traditional video-making interfaces such as digital cameras and non-linear editors, they tend to experience a sense of expanded possibility in what they might compose, express, or argue with these possibilities. They feel limited only by considerations of a sense of purpose and audience. Indeed, this developed sense of expanded possibility within rhetorical constraints is often a primary goal of pedagogies concerned with multimodality. When students begin working with the constrained loops of Vine, however, the agencies of things like the Vine application itself and the smartphone used to capture the video potentially come as much to the fore as the rhetorical agency of the video-maker. This can be frustrating for the student who has come to understand the software and hardware of video-making as simply a tool to be harnessed in the service of rhetorical goals. Pedagogically, then, the challenge becomes that we not simply dismiss applications like Vine as one more tool in the composer’s toolbox. They might offer a way of thinking about the variety of actors and agencies at work in a given situation.

"Post-Industrial Video 0.5"

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31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 With this site Adrian Miles presents his curriculum for “post-industrial video.” In the broadest sense, post-industrial video designates a video production practice enabled by the digitization of and increased access to the means of audio-visual production. For Miles, however, the notion of post-industrial video also designates an even more profound shift from hardcopy paradigms of media production to what he terms softcopy forms, or those enabled by the development of digital networks. At the heart of this curriculum is Miles’s pedagogical experiment(s) with the interactive video system, Korsakow. However, given that the site both makes available Miles’s teaching philosophy and outlines the specific tasks and forms of assessment for the post-industrial video classroom, this site could prove valuable in developing curricular experiments with any emerging, web-specific video application, such as Zeega, Storyplanet, Kylnt, 3W Doc, et al. In short, Miles glosses his curriculum as “where video is no longer looking backwards to its industrial restrictions of limited access and linear, single broadcast.” As we have previously mentioned, the notion of an expansion of the previously restricted access to video production ungirds almost all discussion of video and digital pedagogy. What makes Miles’s curricular experiments valuable is the additional layer of not simply looking back to the analogue restriction of having to make a video that, despite the potential for structuring content nonlinearly, remains bound to a linear timeline for its delivery. Put another way, Miles’s curricular experiments demand that we ask what it means to make video within the material constraints and affordances of digital networks in which the paradigms of print literacy might be an insufficient guide. The answer to this question is of course complex, but the archive of student Korsakow projects generated via the curriculum begins to generate some paths for possible answers.

"Iterative Progress"

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34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 This resource and the pedagogy it represents fall squarely on the post-cinematic side of our digital video collection. Assignments range from glitching images to processing-based animations to remix video responses. The materials provide an invitation to experiment with the dynamics of signal and noise, using videos to explore the role of machinic processing and social media in composing. By using sites like Tumblr as collection engines for video materials and by teaching students non-traditional methods of composing, Lincoln’s pedagogy enacts a video paradigm built around the shifting relationships between humans and technology. While instructors might cull assignments or examples from the Tumblr, the site (and Lincoln’s Notational Tumblr might best be used as illustrative examples/enactments of how video pedagogy and the New Aesthetic can come together. In describing the New Aesthetic, Bruce Sterling asserts that “[w]e’re surrounded by systems, devices and machineries generating heaps of raw graphic novelty. We built them, we programmed them, we set them loose for a variety of motives, but they do some unexpected and provocative things” (n.p.). With this in mind, the pedagogical outcome(s) for a blending of video pedagogy and the New Aesthetic is an increased awareness of how these systems, devices, and machineries, along with ourselves, might participate in a larger field of relations.

"Introduction to Humanities Physical Computing w/Arduino and Processing"

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37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 If Adrian Miles’s curriculum for post-industrial video and Justin Lincoln’s new genres course Tumblr offer a glimpse towards the future of video under the influence of software and digital networks, then David Reider’s course syllabus for “Introduction to Humanities Physical Computing w/Arduino and Processing” presents an introductory curriculum to the emerging disciplinary orientations from which new processes and conceptions for video might emerge. Reider’s course does not specifically take up video; however, it does offer a map for both a theoretical and a hands-on introduction to “the computational and physical/material bases of electronic media.” We have included it here as a provocation of sorts. For example, while most syllabi frame video projects as “Video Essays” or “Mashups” (both relatively recognizable products), the projects in Reider’s course include such things as a “Sensable Object.” Certainly, films and videos of all stripes operate via affective dimensions, but how many are sensible objects, “interactive sound and light show[s] with sensor, buttons, and switches.” Why not, in an era of drones and facial recognition software, imagine and seek to build a video that could be such a thing? Reider’s pedagogy prompts us to attempt to experiment with a video practice suited as much to the reality of ubiquitous computing as to the legacy of industrialization. Reider has also taught an undergraduate variation of this course.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 Anderson, Daniel, et al., “Issues of New Media.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy 8.1 (2003): n. pag. Web.

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 Anderson, Daniel, Jackclyn Ngo, Sydney Stegall, and Kyle Stevens, “This is What We did in Our Class,” CCC Online 1.1 (2012): n. pag. Web.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 Aston, Judith and Sandra Guadenzi. I-docs.org. Digital Cultures Research Centre at University of the West of England, Bristol. n.d.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 Arroyo, Sarah J. and Geoffrey V. Carter, eds. “Video and Participatory Cultures.” Enculturation: A Journal of Writing Rhetoric and Culture 8 (2010): n. pag. Web

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 Halbritter, Bump. “Big Questions, Small Works, Lots of Layers: Documentary Video Production and the Teaching of Academic Research and Writing.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy 16.1 (2011): n. pag. Web.

WORKS CITED

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 Sterling, Bruce. "An Essay on the New Aesthetic." Wired. 02 Apr. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2014,

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Tinnell, John. "Post-Media Occupations for Writing Theory: From Augmentation to Autopoiesis." Ecology, Writing Theory, and New Media. Ed. Sidney L. Dobrin, New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.

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Source: https://hcommons.org/keywords/video/