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Lesson two

Page history last edited by Fred Mindlin 10 years, 1 month ago

Watch digital stories and critique them:


check out the media that matters short film festival online for inspiration


click on film #8 “Bad Choices” for an example based on still images.

Here's another example about "Wheat Farming in Oklahoma." Again, this is based entirely on still images.

How did they do that?

While we want to give you an overview of the variety of approaches that have been taken to digital storytelling, our focus is on producing a short film using a prerecorded written script, using primarily still images. There are two main reasons for this approach:

1) Our focus is on the writing process. Films can be crafted around extemporaneous narrative, impromptu dialog, or purely visual elements without speech, but we're only going to deal with written scripts for this short workshop.

2) As Ken Burns points out in an interview, a still image allows the audience to think and reflect on what is being said in the voiceover in a way that moving video does not. Our purpose is to tell a story that will allow for reflection.

We'll be using a streamlined and simplified procedure in this workshop, since we're working together for such a short time. To help you plan if you should decide to undertake a digital storytelling project with a class in school, if you're a teacher, or a group you work with, or your whole family as a summer project, here's an outline of production steps, including actually shooting some moving video as a possibility.


Production Steps from Pre to Post Production

How to Make a digital story:

There are three main steps:




What does this mean?


Brainstorm idea

Write a treatment explaining your idea

Create a storyboard

Write a script (no more than 400 words, approximately one page, double-spaced)

Learn how to use a camera, sound equipment, and editing equipment


For shooting video:

Prepare list of props and camera shots

Get permission to shoot in location

Have actors sign release forms


For using stills:

Collect images to scan, or take your own photos; search for images on the internet.

Be sure you have permission to use the images, and the source to credit.

Have anyone whose photo you are using sign a release form.










Film the video/take or collect pictures

Record narration


For shooting video:

Log raw footage

Digitize raw footage into the editing software

If you are using only stills:

Start creating the video

Add titles, special effects, narration, music and credits

Create a Production Schedule with the class so they know how much time they have to get the project done. Also go over what they need to complete the project and what they will be graded on:




Final Project 

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