The assignment that led to this short video asks for 90 seconds— no more, no less, and including a title screen and credits. The goal of the video (quoted material from the DMAC “Concept in 90” assignment sheet) is to “take a critical, reflective, and /or interpretive approach to the subject matter,” which needs to illustrate “the concept and/or power of multimodality.” That covers a lot of ground. Many people will choose to use this as a call for action video, one that shows why multimodality is integral to 21st literacy, and thus an important part of courses that aim for learning rhetorical moves, such as academic writing, creative writing, or art/design classes. Others will literally tell by showing: they will create a video that integrates different modalities (voiced language, music, images, videos, text) seamlessly and thus the piece convinces by becoming much more that the individual parts.

I chose to do a digital poem. It could just as easily been an essay, and I will write about the differences between a narrative poem and an essay in a later post. In fact, just for fun, I may try doing a different version of this project that uses the same visuals and is an essay rather than a poem. I had a poem though, and I had files full of images that I hoped would fit the poem. At first I thought I would do a voiceover of the poem and make that my starting point. I could then snip or add, or even change cadences to make that all-important 90 second goal. In the end, I knew that I would be revising the poem anyway to take out the purely imagistic text and let the visual images do their work. So, I started with the images.

day 1 screenshotSince I had the concept, my first task was to scour my three photo and video folders for the files I wanted. I could have then dragged the files straight into iMovie, and in a perfect world, that would have worked fine. However, I know that building projects that take multiple files such as this one means that you need an easily accessible file structure that is specific to the project. For example, I always start website projects with separate folders for pages and images. That is why even though all of the files were already on my computers and also backed up to the cloud, I saved them once again in a new folder called “concept in 90.” Within that main folder, I plan to keep the (at least daily) versions of the work in progress and the screenshots of pivotal points in the project. Within the concepts in 90 folder, there is also a folder called ingredients. That is where all the “assets” are housed–every photo, video clip, and text file. A transcript of any spoken dialogue will also be included. From the screenshot above, you can see that the ingredients folder has subfolders, some based on image category, some not. These folders were named azalea, birds, Cadle, shadows, weather, videos, and poems drafts. Yes, I will have multiple drafts of the poem and I will keep the drafts in the file in case I need to go back to an earlier version.

Once I had the folders set up and filled, I started placing the photos and clips in iMovie. Once again, I learned how easy it is to forget the simplest things when it’s been awhile since using the software, and how forgiving the program is. I finally learned what the difference is between an event and an project, something I have floundered around on for years while still managing to make videos. The difference is hierarchical: The project is the whole thing and events are categories that you set up to sort your assets in a way that seems logical to you. Events can be used in many projects.

At this point the clips and the main track of photos are in place. I plan to add many more photos as cutaways, but feel good to have a foundation for adding them now. The time is 1:59 seconds. The first order of business tomorrow should be to trim the photos’ time duration that iMove automatically set to 4 seconds each to a much shorter time. Some of the video clips could be snipped also without any harm being done— in fact, it should tighten the narrative and make it a stronger visual narrative.

Here is my draft at the end of day one: