Friday, January 20, 2012

Collaborative Video Making

OK, so I should have written this blog post sometime ago, but for various reasons, mostly I kept forgetting to write it, I have not.  But here it is now.

A colleague of mine retired in December of last year.   I remembered seeing this post and video on Dean Shareski's blog, So I started this Google doc... and proposed the idea to my colleagues.  Dean created a video for Alec Couros' (who turns out to be a Prof at the U of Regina, I only mention this because I now live in Regina) 40th birthday by asking friends, and colleagues of Alec's, from across North America, to contribute a short video clip of them lip syncing a song. What a brilliant idea!  My colleagues loved it and said "Sounds great!  How soon can we record our bits?  When can you have it done by?"

In all honesty, I was not sure what kind of uptake I was going to get from my colleagues here at work.  I thought we are busy, not a lot of them are really technically savvy (I had visions of ... "How do I use the movie mode on my camera?), and I was not sure how many of them would be willing to "belly up to the bar" and do this. I knew this would not be every one's cup of tea, but I had to give it a try. But I figured I had to try. 

So I set-up a google doc/form just like Dean and sent out a massive email to probably almost all Kathy's colleagues (I figure about 50-75 people) asking them to go to the Google Form and sign-up.  I, of course, checked the results of the form about once an hour for the first day, and was really starting to get scared when by the end of the day I had 5 people signed up.  The number steadily grew until I had over 25 people willing to participate. 

Following Dean's lead, I used a google spreadsheet to identify every one's part and sent out another email asking everyone to record their little piece of video and then send it in.  I set a deadline of two weeks.  At this point, I had several people drop out, deciding that they were not comfortable doing it, and so I had to re-arrange some parts.  That was fine.  I had anticipated that.  I used Dropbox and Dropittome to collect the video and that worked great!   I had never really used either service before, but am a big fan now.  After two weeks I opened my folder on Drop box and discovered exactly 2 videos!   YIKES!   Some frantic emailing and phone calling later, the other videos started to stream in. 

It took me about 3 days to figure out the Premiere Elements software (great deal on Black Friday $50) and put the video together and sync it with the audio.

I was quite happy with the end product.  I know Kathy really likes it as well.

Outside of learning how to use Premiere Elements and Dropbox, I learnt something else that to me was far more valuable. I learnt that:
  • Many of my colleagues are far more tech savvy than I had thought.  I was only asked twice how to get the video off of some one's blackberry (and it was not easy).
  • My colleagues are a creative bunch.  
and it really reinforced something I already kind of knew.  When asked, my colleagues no matter how busy they are, and how different our work is, will step up and help me.  Whether it is for something work related or something completely personal like this project was.    So again, a big thanks to all my colleagues for your participation in this project!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Well its been quite a while since I wrote anything, but hopefully, for 2012, that will change. 

Earlier this week, I joined DS106.  I am really excited about the course.  Storytelling, technology, mixing the two together, how could it get any better?

The course has not officially started yet, but in the mean time, they are offering something called The Daily Create.  Each day a new assignment, either video, audio or photographic in nature that should take no longer than 15-20 minutes to create and post.   So far I have just done the photography assignments, but I am going to try and expand my horizons into the other two areas.  Here are my photography assignments (only three at the time of this post).

Hopefully the first of many posts, as I get back in the learning groove.