Video Assignments

Mini Documentary

Create a mini-documentary about someone who is fascinating. Don’t pick your best friend or a close family member. Find someone from your community with a great story to tell. Make this your BEST POSSIBLE work; we’re talking broadcast quality (ok, maybe only broadcast on public access TV, but still you get the idea.)

Use the video medium to show us the essence of who that person is. Preferably, depict this person in their natural surroundings. Use an establishing shot to give us a sense of place. Use cutaway shots so we can get more information about how that person works and/or lives. Use good camera composition techniques to frame your shots. Use tight editing to keep things moving. The video should only be 2-3 minutes long, no more or no less. Your finished video should be compelling to watch from beginning to end, with no slow spots or down times. Use sound, type and transition effects wisely. Use appropriate music from a source like to help set the mood and tell the story. If possible, record audio separately from the video camera’s microphone. You can use a lavalier microphone, or an audio app on your phone strategically placed out of sight, but near the subject speaking for recording high quality audio. If you use a second recording device for audio, clap your hands to help synch your sound file to your video file. Take your time, and be thoughtful about how your story should unfold for the greatest dramatic impact.

For an example of what an excellent Mini Documentary looks like watch The Story of Gerald Hersch on YouTube. It is less than 2 minutes long, but it takes us through a complete story arc that makes us want to know the person being depicted, as well as experience strong feelings as we view the film. Your film should do the same.

DIY product commercial

Create a comercial for a product you have made your self. the video should be 45 seconds to 1 minute long and contain LIVE acting. no copy and past clips. submit it to you tube and tag it #ds106 

A Scene We Didn’t Get To See

Create a short video that shows a scene from your favorite TV show or movie that we didn’t get to see, probably because it wound up on the cutting room floor. My example is from Star Trek TOS and depicts a red shirted crew member getting ready to beam down for the first time. Good luck getting home today, buddy!

Create an intro to a movie

Find a video, it can be anything you want, that would work well at the beginning of a movie. Narrate the beginning of a story you choose to the video you picked. Basically create our own movie intro, it can be any type of movie, try to keep it between 1 min and 1min 30 sec long

Signing Words

This assignment requires you to take a video of yourself or someone else and finger spell a word or a phrase in Sign Language alphabet and let others guess what you have spelled. Make sure you do a word that is bigger then 5 letters so you can learn some of the letters.

Compilation Video!

Pick a theme and download multiple videos from Youtube that fit the theme. Cut them up and create a compilation video by putting the clips to music. 

Ebert’s Analysis

After reading Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie”, find a clip or picture from a movie and record a video of yourself analyzing your choice.  Pay attention to the details about where the characters are, and what role they play in the scene.  Look at how the characters are portrayed, and if their positions fit their portrayal.  Use an Ebert eye to look at it.

DS106ers React!

So reaction videos seem to be all the rage these days. Just go on YouTube, search reaction videos and hundreds of results will show up. Now it’s your turn to add to the growing list. Find or have a friend send you a video you’ve never seen before and film your reaction! It’s not necessary to have the video you watched layered into your reaction video, but do at least link the video you watched.

Paying homage to what you care about


Step 1. Find something you care about and gather pictures and videos about it). It could be your parents or panda bears, anything you think about often.

Step 2. Create a short film, using i movie or any program you feel comfortable with. No restrictions no limitations on how to piece together your short film.

Step 3. Place music that encompasses your thoughts on the subject matter.

Step 4. Place credits at the end letting the audience know who or what you paid homage to.

I wanted to keep this open and with as little parameters as possible. I found that overtly restricting instructions on how to do these assignments kill creativity and force most people to reject the challenge.

Lip-Sync Along

Lip-syncing has become increasing popular and this is shown in the media. What was once frowned upon has now become a popular and fun way to sing along with your favorite song. Now’s your time to shine! Grab your brush mic and record yourself lip syncing along with your favorite song. You can record the video with the music playing in the background or silence the video and add the music to it in a movie maker program. Upload it to youtube or a similiar website. (If youtube gives you problems you can use a clip as long as it’s the chorus and at least 1min long). Most importantly, have fun with it!