A whirlwind workshop: 13 participants. 3 days. 13 short documentaries or narratives.
I was asked by my old Skidmore College design professor to teach a three-day, GoPro Visual Storytelling Workshop for students, faculty and staff. The workshop was part of The Visual Literacy Forum, which is “a Skidmore College initiative to advance strategic, pedagogical, and liberal learning goals in visual literacy and communication.”
As the first Skidmore alum to return to campus to teach a workshop of this kind, I was able to define the curriculum, and decided the challenge would be for all 13 participants to create a 2-3 minute documentary or narrative using only a GoPro camera and Adobe Premiere software by the end of the three days. The purpose of the workshop was to strip down the technological process of visual storytelling to focus on creative elements such movement, color, pace and rhythm. By limiting each participant to only one GoPro camera and sound recorder, the three days were spent focusing not on complicated tools but instead on the basics of how to structure and design a story.
The workshop started out by reviewing the technical aspects of video making, including how to use the GoPro cameras and sound recorders, as well as important artistic considerations such as composition, lighting, and sound. The importance of pre-production, story boarding, constructing a narrative and story arch was discussed, and participants left with an idea of how they wanted the final piece to look and flow in order to plan what content to gather.
Participants spent the day shooting their assignments in the field. The amount of creativity that went into the videos was impressive: one student captured a glimpse of life in the horse stables where she spent her afternoons riding; one woman silently relived her wedding—the only audio being her footsteps echoing in the empty chapel.
The final session was spent in the lab downloading and editing the footage and audio, and finally sharing and critiquing the videos with the group. People were a little intimidated by the amount of work required to meet the deadline, but at the same time totally psyched to see something come to life in a very short amount of time.
Being able to teach in a fast and furious forum was exciting and inspirational, and we're looking for more opportunities to share knowledge and work with young (in age or at heart) creative minds. Are there any creative workshops you'd like us to offer at your school or organization? Let us know in the comments below.
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“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” -Disraeli