ENG 123 Digital Video Workshop (Take 2)

Today’s Plan

  • Brief Introduction (2 minutes)
  • Upload Video (5 minutes)
  • Principles of Video Composition (5 minutes)
  • Quick Tutorial: Using Moviemaker (5 minutes)
  • Edit Videos (20 minutes)
  • Save, Compress, Share (5 minutes)
  • Quick Favor: Take a Survey (3 minutes)
  • Watch Videos (5 minutes)
  • Contact (2 minutes)

Brief Introduction

Hi! I’m Marc. This workshop aims to show you how easy it is to shoot and edit videos with a smart phone.

If you like what you learn today, then I highly encourage you to minor in Writing. The writing minor will equip you with the composing and technology skills you need to apply for a wide range of jobs, including technical writer or social media manager. I’m teaching ENG 229 Introduction to Professional Writing and Document Design in the fall.

Principles of Video Composition

I’m going to (very quickly) present 3 principles of video composition, and then 3 tricks for improving the quality of your videography.

By composition, I mean what you are looking at when you point the camera. Here’s what I want you thinking about:

Additionally, I want to cover a few things that can dramatically improve your video quality:

  • Shot Length
  • Find the light (always shoot with the light behind you, illuminating the subject)
  • Shaky cameras ruin everything. Buy a tripod, or better yet, check one out of the library!
  • Don’t move the camera while it is filming
  • Don’t zoom the camera

Upload Videos and Quick Tutorial

I want to go over some of the features of Moviemaker and familiarize you with the interface. Then I’ll ask you to spend about 15-20 minutes editing your commercial

  • Step One: Populating the timeline
  • Step Two: Trimming clips
  • Step Three: Adding a title screen
  • Step Four: Making a still image (great way to end the commercial), adjusting image time
  • Step Five: Adjusting Volume
  • Step Six: Transitions
  • Step Seven: Adding Background music. Bonus points if you can adjust the volume

Anything else? You’ve got about 10 minutes to edit your videos!


For today’s class, I think the easiest way to share the videos is for you to upload them to Youtube. Because they are short, they shouldn’t take very long to upload. Have someone in your group log into a gmail account and upload the videos to YouTube (via File > Publish).

Send an email with a link to your movie to: insignificantwrangler@gmail.com

Saving: Don’t Lose Your Work

Finally, when working with video, it is extremely important to stress file saving and storage. While programs like MovieMaker claim to “import” files, they are actually only creating paths to other media. This means that when you save a movie file, you are saving paths to other files. If you then move the movie file, you have invalidated all the paths (the dreaded Microsoft Red X’s of death). In plainer language, you’ve lost your whole movie.

This is especially an issue for students working in computer labs and saving files on a flash drive. The easiest way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to create a folder when you start a movie project and save all image, audio, and video files in the movie in that folder. That way, all the files move at once.

Saving: Formats and Venues

When you are working in an editing software like Moviemaker or iMovie, the file you save will be a “raw,” working file (the .wlmp in Moviemaker). When you *publish/export* your movie, you will need to select a file type (called codecs). While there are a lot of choices, I recommend MP4, if only because it is the most widely supported file type.

If you are planning on working with video projects, then you should plan ahead for how you will receive the projects. As I said above, file sizes for video files can be very large (in the multiple GB). One possibility is to share the work publicly via YouTube, Vimeo, or another video sharing site.

  • YouTube; Vimeo
    • Pros: Public, Free, Easy to use
    • Cons: Public (though videos can be made private), Severely Limited File Sizes will degrade video quality
  • Dropbox
    • Pros: Private, Freemium, Relatively easy to use
    • Cons: Limited server space (so it is temporary storage at best)
  • Zip and Email
    • Pros: Private, Free, Relatively easy to use
    • Cons: Email clients (e.g., gmail) increasingly limit file uploads to 25mb, .zip files can be disorienting to some less tech-savvy students
  • CD-Rom
    • Pros: Private, Virtually unlimited file size
    • Cons: Increasingly, laptops no longer come with CD-R/DVD-R drives, CD-Roms cost money
  • Google Drive / One Drive
    • Pros:Free. Private. Efficient
    • Cons: You only get 15gb of free storage space. That can fill quickly.


    Take one of these surveys:

    1. Catie on life / school / work balance: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TG5T3Z9

    2. Cassie on undergraduate intellectual life: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YD8XPQ2

    3. Kelly on the “best class” question: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/27R7LPM

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