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I Missed My Own Mark (and it’s not about the tools)…

Blogging (for me) is a stream of consciousness, not a definitive final answer, but something evolving. In my recent playing with screencasts I leaped to pitching it as another flavor of digital storytelling… but driving in today I was thinking it was a wrong leap… what Jon Udell has done so brilliantly with his screencasts is to provide a low intensive way (audio narrated over streaming flash screen captured activity) of doing guided tours of software, web sites, etc… and in a way much more effective than writing about it or creating FAQs, etc.

Screencasts, in his vein, are really just that- a broadcast of some screen action. I am not trying to hammer out or argue over defintiions, but in my attempts to use the same/similar tools for telling a story , it sort of works, but bleeds into other terrains beyond screen action.

Hey it was just a play with the tools, not much more. So from the comments, as Brian noted:

Have you ruled out iMovie? Last week Bryan Alexander did a session on multimedia storytelling and described iMovie as a great tool”¦ the “Ken Burns effect” was particularly good at providing a bit of motion to still images. Or is it a bandwidth issue?

Not ruled our iMovie at all- it is likely the most fantabulous tool for doing this. It is what our faculty leaders use in our LearnShops on Digital Storytelling. But I was not after creating a movie per se, more to see if it could be done easily in a web friendly format.

And Paul did prove that ViewletBuilder is as much as an effective tool:

you’ll be pleased to know) can do both the traditional annotated screencasts, as well as a screencast of imported (all at once no less) pictures. Check this out, which I threw together for you this afternoon in about 20 minutes…

Again, I am less advocatiing the tools and trying to get more at the messages we can create. I like what Paul aimed at- assembling a voice over image narration in a little amount of time. And my method cited was definitely the wrong way to go. It was awful and not recommended.

I am a major, major fan of the methods and outcomes of the digital storytelling movement, especially the approach by the Center for Digital Storytelling, where many of our active faculty got their training. It is done so effectively teaching the process of finding voice and finding a story to tell, and generating the message that everyone can do that (and not being about the technology first and foremost).

What I do see however, that the voice over images plus Ken Burns Ken Burns Ken Burns digital video is the only way to do this. I think there is much much more we can do , be it podcasts synched to slide shows, or the wildly fantastic multimedia net narratives uncovered by Bryan Alexander (where I steal examples all the time). These were examples I labeled as “Other Variants” of digital stories, like:

* Flickton – a use of the digital photo site [flickr] to compose stories about digital images
* Found Floppy a multimedia story told through bits and fragments on a found floppy disk
* Random Access Memory “a collection focused on the September 11 tragedies”
* i love bees: a hypermedia story told and demonstrated via a “hacked” web site
* I found a Digital Camera in the Woods

And more… there is much much more to creating compelling stories than just DV movies. Like the ten-year-old we watched last weekend use a simple digital camera to record audio over the captured digital images…. simple tools for creating complex messages. That is where my interest was aimed.

But technology is quite often stuff we play with out of which something unexpected emerges… that is the exciting part of this work.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.