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Personal Historian: Video Techniques
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This course is designed to introduce the basics of audio-video production for personal historians and genealogists, that is, people who want to use current digital audio and video tools to record, edit and share life stories. Audio-video productions encompass four phases of work: pre-production, production, post-production and delivery. This course is structured along these four phases.

Students with any level of audio-video experience, including those who are beginners, can learn from this course. There is great depth and variety to the practice of video biography. This course will help you build your skills and savvy.

Course Content

Module 1
Audio/Video Techniques, Tools & Tips
• Note about Web Addresses
• Websites
Glossary of Terms
• Crew and Gearing Up
• Match your decisions to your goals!
• Managing time & money: budgets, schedules & expectations
• Crew: will you work alone or with others?
The right tools for you
• Camera, tripod and lights
• Audio gear
Post-production tools
• Editing systems
Packaging and delivery
• How to choose the best formats for you
Learning opportunities
Suggested Exercises
Suggested Reading & Resources
• Books
• Websites

Module 2
Pre-Production ... Continued
• Prepare for Your Shoot
• Gearing up - A brief review
• Contracting with clients in general
Planning and organizing a specific shoot
• Excellent pre-production will save you time and money
• Checklist for each individual shoot
Budgeting: money matters
• Managing expenses vs. income
• Pre-interview and budget
• Matching gear and editing time to budget
• Low- and no-budget options
Scheduling: managing your time per project
• Scheduling impacts budget (time is money)
• Be realistic about time
• Setting priorities to organize your time
Location scouting
• Planning for light
• Planning for visuals
• Planning for sound
Story skills: Thinking visually
• Collaborate with your client and subject to best prepare for the shoot
Suggested Exercises
Suggested Reading & Resources

Module 3
Your Field Recording, Your Shoot
• Gear set up & break down - The well-mannered crew
• Lighting - Essential skills
• Camera work - Essential skills
• Field audio - essential skills
• Listening skills
• Interviewing couples or groups
• Using story skills to shape the interview
• Ideas to spark your subject’s stories
• Craft the interview to keep control of project costs
B-roll explained
• What is B-roll and why is it important?
• What makes good B-roll?
• Creative ideas to see your subject in action
How to choose and use the subject’s personal archive
• Scanning stills
• Converting home movies and video
• Creative use of additional client artifacts
• Use available elements
Suggested Exercises
Suggested Reading & Resources
• Websites

Module 4
Post-Production - Part 1
• Websites
Organizing Your Materials After the Shoot
• Prepare your material for post-production
• Troubleshooting resources
Understanding narrative structure in brief
• Hero stories
• Three-act structure
• Myth and symbol
Practical options for preparing your materials for edit
• Using transcripts
• Using logs for B-roll
Practical options for organizing your story
• Using scripts
• Using storyboards
Suggested Exercises
Suggested Reading & Resources
• Websites

Module 5
Post-Production - Part 2
• Websites
Editing & Composing Your Materials After the Shoot
Editing video
• Cutting your interview
• Develop your story structure
• Make best use of your visual elements
• Gathering additional elements
• Editing for a professional look
• Low- and no-budget options
Editing audio
• Essentials of sound design
• Cleaning up your audio
• Using text and other graphics
• Using credits, titles, acknowledgements
Rights and permissions - your legal responsibilities
Rough cuts & fine cuts
• Client relationships
• Responding to critique
Suggested Exercises
Suggested Reading & Resources
• Website

Module 6
• Websites
Outputting Your Story & Reaching Your Audience
Client as audience
• Choosing delivery formats
• Packaging
Additional audiences, or use your work to generate more work
• Communities
• Speaking opportunities
• Organize client-centered screening events
• Create a web presence
• Encourage word of mouth
• Leverage local media
In Conclusion
Suggested Exercises
Suggested Reading & Resources
• Websites

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