By Matthew Ragan
Workflow seems to be absent from nearly every conversation about group projects I’ve ever been a part of. Helping students understand how they should work in a group is important, and here’s a template for instructors planning on using Video creation as a group project.
Make a Plan Stan
Envision what you’d like your end project to be like: What do you want to say? What mood to you want it to set What’s the most important part of your message? What imagery is going to be the most moving? Thinking about the big-picture part of your project may seem a little touchy-feely, but it’s going to shape what you record, and the final product that you produce. You might consider making a mind map
, or stroyboarding
your group’s ideas. You might start this process by having everyone in the group brainstorm the outcomes for the project individually, and then share all of your ideas at a preliminary meeting.
Make a Schedule
Group projects are often rough because, lets face it, everyone is busy! That makes a lot of sense, and shouldn’t be surprising. Because of that very fact, make a schedule early on. As important as it will be to schedule time to record content and edit footage, it will also be equally important to have project meetings that allow you to check-in on progress and the creative process.
Not everyone is going to be great in front of the camera, and not everyone is going to be interested in editing the video. Discuss your strengths and weaknesses (be honest yo!), and break up the work. As you do this, be aware that your individual responsibilities might change. In this whole process it’s going to be important to communicate with one another and to be flexible (not like yoga flexible, but like not being-a-jerk-if-you-have-to-do-extra-work flexible).
You might be using still photos, or recording video, or recording voice overs, or about a million other things. It’s going to be important to collect more than you plan to use. What ends up not in the video, in some respects, is as important as what you do use. The process is going to inform your work as much as your final product displays it. What on earth does that mean?! It means that the revision and research portion of any assignment (thinking writing a paper) is always larger than what you produce. You need to have a large pool to draw from as you start the creative process. It’s like baking cookies – the recipe might only call for two cups of flower, but you might need more (what if you need to double the recipe? What if the dough is too sticky?). It’s also going to be helpful to have collected a much video/pictures/media as possible before you start the editing process. There’s nothing worse than starting a paper only to discover that you need to do more research.
Have an Editing Party
Editing can be a long process, and is often one that’s overlooked. Putting your video together is not as simple as just lining the clips up in the right order. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. Your group might find that the editor wants to do a rough cut by themselves first, and that’s a great place to start. It will also be important, however, to have the whole group watch critique, and offer feedback on the final project. I suggest having a “party” (not a rage-er) in the sense that it’s going to be a long process – plan time to meet, talk, have food, and be available to work together. Don’t plan to sit around and watch someone else work for 3 hours, it’ll just make you grouchy and the person doing the editing feel miserable. Bring a book, bring your laptop, make cookies, whatever,but be available to help solve problems and contribute.
Prep Your Video
Check the YouTube Handbook
to find out how you should export your video. The file format you use will make a difference in terms of quality, and ease of uploading. Save your project frequently, and then make sure you export it as the correct file format (YouTube has a variety of file formats that work well).
Create a YouTube account, upload your video, share it with your friends, embed it on the website, put it on Facebook, just show it off – you’ve worked hard.
Take time at the end of the process to celebrate being done. Get coffee, have lunch together, do something. It’s important to recognize each others contributions, and to decompress after a stressful project. This is also a great time for reflection and personal assessment about what worked, what didn’t work, and how you might work better/more efficiently in the future on a similar project. It sounds corny, but you’ll feel better about the work you’ve done if you take time to honor the the work of yourself, others, and reflect on the final product.