Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Zen of Filmmaking

Today’s class reminded me of why I love teaching filmmaking so much. I was inspired to forego the usual written post and instead I made a short reflective film. I have to thank my daughter, Willa, for helping me shoot – she was the second unit and was busy shooting her treehouse and the door knobs while I had already started the bulk of the editing. She also composed the original music in Garageband. The entire film was shot using a Flip camera and was edited in iMovie.

I had adventures uploading this ( iMovie +the Flip camera + YouTube = frustration and low quality video). Final Cut Pro came to the rescue and I was able to do better (using H.264 for compression)… I’ve left up both (for now) as a comparison.


FinalCut Pro 

For those of you who were interested in the Spanish filmmaker I talked about in class today his name is Nacho Vigalondo. I particularly like his two films ‘7.35 de la mañana’ and Choque.

•A great place for alternative music or spoken word poetry is


To be continued…

from Jimmy_Joe

from Jimmy_Joe

Aloha! My journey through a world of endless possibilities continued today with visits to Cooliris, Jing, Ning, Skitch, Picnik, Glogster, Big Huge Labs, and other points west (and east, north, and south!) I appreciated the time to be able to sightsee and explore and have definitely planned some returned visits.

The first big idea for me today was the end of the end or, what I’m referring to as to be continued… When Alec Couros mentioned that with texting the “conversation doesn’t really end” (it’s not like a phone call where you hang-up) I realized that a fundamental shift in thinking is underfoot, and it extends far beyond mobile devices. With endless possibilities, the days of someone being able to figure things out and have it stay figured out are over. Things simply change too fast. I have to learn to be satisfied with today’s journey and realize it’s part of a much bigger evolving process.

The second big idea for me today came in thinking about a personal learning network (PLN) compared to my experiences with a professional learning community (PLC). One of my concerns with PLCs has been that they tend to feel slightly forced and created from the top down – they just don’t feel authentic to me. In concept, I thing they’re a great idea, but in practice I haven’t been as eager to spend what little valuable time I have on them. When I began to build my PLN, I immediately noticed a difference as I felt the process was both organic and meaningful to me. Now I was connecting with people that had similar interests or experiences as me. Not only was advice offered, but I was challenged to refine my ideas, and even asked to reply to some of their concerns. Instead of it simply being school or district based I now have access to a collective wisdom I could only dream about before. Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post for your sage advice and thought provoking questions.

I’m aware that my comments on PLCs are only one point-of-view and only represent my particular experiences at a point in time. As a filmmaker I know the importance of point of view. This led me to consider how do we come to know young people’s points-of-view? If we give them cameras they get to choose what is important to them – powerful stuff I think!

To be continued…

from rosaamarilla

from rosaamarilla

from muha...

from muha...

The Cloud


My mind is in the clouds right now. I’m on information overload after taking a whirlwind tour of wikis,blogs,docs,forms,readers, and social bookmarks. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed something, but thanks to my delicious bookmarklet (which I had to find and install because I use Camino) I’m okay and can return and spend more time with things when I’m ready. Many questions arose during and after class today…

I was very interested in Dean Shareski’s skype visit to our class, although I’m still not sure what educators can do to ensure parents understand this new open, on-line social world. Any ideas on how to involve parents (particularly at high school)?

Another issue that came up for me today is that with so many choices how do you know which on-line tool or website is best used for a particular task? The example that comes to mind is when we looked at Google Docs and at Blogs. My understanding (at least for this course) is that the Google Doc reflection is really a more private communication, while the blog is for all. I’m not sure if it would help to have some specific examples of “use” first to help provide context. I felt a little bit like I was rushing to learn something, but really didn’t fully understand why.

Lastly, I really do want to know how people manage the amount of time spent on computers or similar mobile devices. Right now, it seems that to keep up you have to keep on (the computer). What’s an educator to do?

They all speak video

Like many people I’ve watched viral videos on YouTube. I’ve also stumbled across a range of other types of videos – usually while searching for something else or simply poking around YouTube for a break from some other more pressing work. I watch the videos for their entertainment value, to figure our how they’re made and edited and, to learn things – like fixing my daughter’s iPod after it crashed (it worked!). But Michael Wesch’s words really caught my attention. I’ve always known that filmmaking is like learning another language, but this takes it a whole step further. The idea of the universality of video is, I think, its ability to reflect the common human experience. YouTube does this massively in ways that (I don’t think) we could have predicted. The very distance Wesch talks about gives us the freedom to expose much more of ourselves (depending on the website!) without constraints. I did notice that a number of his examples were people by themselves, looking into a web camera. Making a film is normally a collaborative experience – its just in this case the collaboration comes after the fact, after each filmmaker has shot their raw footage and offered it to the global production house.


Conveniently, I’m writing this blog instead of working on my lit review for my grad course in education. I’m justifying this by convincing myself that this diversion constitutes new media – the topic of my lit review.

Watching 30 Rock on TV also is new media…