Puppetry For Information Literacy Videos?!


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Creating and using effective promotional and educational videos for libraries and information services. Session delivered at the Jan 2010 AOSEC meeting in Portsmouth

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Puppetry For Information Literacy Videos?!

  1. 1. Creating and using effective promotional and educational videos for libraries and information services Gareth J Johnson Weasel Televisual Enterprises (and University of Leicester ) www.twitter.com/llordllama www.youtube.com/llordllama
  2. 2.  Creating effective movies for training, education or promotion  The practicalities of going from idea to script to screen  Where do puppets fit in?!
  3. 3.  Started filming in 2007 for fun  Bought a camera and editing software  Moved on to developing short films  Started using videos to support teaching and training  Made open accessible & now reused by librarians globally  Learned about the practicalities and craft of film production
  4. 4. Repetition Refocus Relax Remote Reinforce Respite Re-usable
  5. 5.  Won’t click for everyone  But neither do other forms of instruction or promotion  Satisfying different customer needs and styles  A hybrid or blended promotional approach  Another weapon in the arsenal  Video production itself can be a PR event  Barriers exist  Organisational ethos or personal resistances  Concerns over skills set or resources
  6. 6.  Why puppets?  Because they are always available to record!  Because they are adaptable to filming requirements  Because humour is a powerful a communication tool  Makes it engaging  A key goal for any education or marketing exercise  Makes it memorable  Audiences will remember serious points made  Makes it digestible  Sugar coating for difficult or complex topics
  7. 7.  Videos are a non-trivial creation exercise  A 3-5 minute movie might well take 1. Plotting, scripting, planning 1-2 hours 2. Set up, shoot and re-shoot 1-2 hours 3. Editing & polishing 2-3 hours  May not be consecutive periods  Helps if are relatively close together  Need for script approval can increase times
  8. 8. Message Release Pre-production Plot Editing Production Dialogue Filming Action
  9. 9.  A video short should contain 1 core concept  Concept encapsulated in 25 words or less  Don’t be tempted to cram multiple ideas in a single film  Start simple with message then plot then dialogue  Choose your artistes with care  Dull inflection/intonation bring death on swift wings  Availability can be a key factor  Block out plenty of time  First time always takes longer than you expect  Get someone else to film it if you can…
  10. 10.  Effective way to conceptualise your idea  What if all reality was a computer game, and only you knew how to use the cheat codes?  Biographical story of the rise and fall of a small time mobster, and the lives he touches  Respected and only possible suspect tries to prove he didn't kill his wife, while fleeing an unstoppable pursuer
  11. 11.  Write for your audience  The opening and closing lines are crucial (hook & exit)  Get someone else to read/review the script  Basic screenwriting techniques will help  Not a simple migration of words to screen  Standard screen writing format means 1 script page = 1 minute on screen  Make use of a visual grammars  Visual shorthand can play an important role in scene setting  Instantly recognisable traits or postures speak volumes ▪ e.g. Smartly dressed character vs a scruffy one  But don’t over rely on cliché ▪ e.g A bookshelf backdrop can be a major turn off to non-librarians!
  12. 12.  Writing effective and engaging dialogue  Dialogue needs brevity, clarity and punch  Two heads can be better than one  An interrogative between two speakers drives a narrative forward  Use naturalistic phrases and phrasing - and speak them aloud once written  Action!  Show don’t tell at the heart of best scripting practice  Helps the economy of words and pacing  Non-verbal cues 4 times the effect of spoken words  Keep thinking message, message, message throughout
  13. 13.  Shooting tips  Consider simple backgrounds for less viewer distraction  Make sure it’s well lit  Shoot once, shoot twice, shoot thrice  Editing it together  The more shots that make up a film, the more editing will be required  Good editing can save weak filming by trimming dead air or gaffs  Rough cuts & polished gem  Screen to a small audience & listen to their feedback or comments  Be prepared to make (minor) changes or reshoots  Output in multiple formats - Lower res for web, higher res for DVD & archive  Make a splash with your premiere
  14. 14.  Don’t have time to make - then reuse someone else's  Freely available high quality videos on YouTube, Jorum Open or Institutional Repositories  Failing that commission someone  For effective information literacy videos  Videos can be a vibrant addition to the IL toolkit  Keep your message uppermost when scripting  Visual grammars more powerful than words alone  Write for your audience’s needs and attention  Be aware of backgrounds and lighting  Make & watch a rough edit as quickly as possible
  15. 15.  Contact  gjj6@le.ac.uk  0116-252-2039  www.twitter.com/llordllama Slides  tinyurl.com/randyweasel  Videos  www.youtube.com/llordllama  Questions?