Following are the assignments I give my high school students so they can learn the terminology of video production/news and how to shoot & edit. This is for first year/semester students. There is/will be more for advanced students.
Basic Shots – Shoot a wide shot, medium snot, close up, extreme close up, pan, tilt, zoom. Capture to computer and edit in the above order. Place an opening title slide at the beginning and a credits slide at the end. Place a strip title over each clip which has the title of the clip (zoom, e.g.) and a definition of the term (a lens move in/out).
Animation – Shoot 300 still shots that follow a storyboard concept pre-approved by the teacher. Capture to computer and speed up until you have approximately 10 seconds of video. Add title slide, credits, and music. (This is a team assignment)
Autobiography – Create a two to five minute script using the two column script format. Use still photos, video, graphics, one interview, one on-camera segment in which you appear and talk, and music. Final edited video must have music under narration and use transitions. Must include title slide and credits slide.
Seasonal poem – Write or choose a poem that is appropriate to the current season (summer, winter, spring, autumn). Narrate (or have a friend narrate) the poem. Shoot visuals and edit with appropriate music and transitions to create a mood video. Include title and credits.
Data collection – Read a newspaper, watch a TV news program, listen to a news radio program for five days and collect data (I specify usually tracking the top stories, how many blocks in broadcast programs, how many sections in the newspaper, etc.). This is a team assignment…students create a poster or do a presentation at the end which explains what they learned.
Each of these assignments has a purpose. Basic Shots teaches what the most commonly used shots are – students learn them by shooting and editing them/seeing how they relate to each other. At the same time they are learning basic nonlinear editing/the basic functions of the editing program. Animation is a team project and teaches teamwork, patience, planning (storyboard plus they have to bring the right props and have music). Autobiography adds learning how to use the levels for audio, writing a somewhat complex script, planning, etc. Seasonal Poem is a bit of a repeat of Autobiography, but it allows some real creativity. Students must learn to create a mood using words, music and visuals. The Data Collection assignment makes students look at three very different mass media and see similarities and differences. I may add the Internet to that next year…still trying to find a way to make it fit into the mix.
The final (this year) will be to create a DVD using the four assignments they produced on iDVD, complete with menus which they will burn, and then create a label, which they will print onto the DVD.