Video Tools

The Genre(s) of Electronic and Video Productions


What are our choices when it comes to composing electronically?  What options for shooting, for composing, do we have?

I’ve put together this page to give you some ideas.

The digital compositions we watch today are great examples of how putting diverse elements of text, images, music, and words can create something bigger and more interesting than the sum of its parts.  All those elements work together in new and unexpected ways.

As in the following:

But practically, how do we start to do that?  Here are some options as you get started with this assignment:

1. Do a screencast.  One really easy and powerful way do this is to screencast it: to create a video of you using your computer.

TOOLS: Jing; Screecast-o-matic;

2. Do a drawing.  Another great thing to do would be to video yourself drawing on a whiteboard or piece of onion paper, then talk underneath it.

Notice that in the two “Tales of Mere Existence” videos below, he’s drawing backwards, on onion paper, filming from underneath by suspending the camera below a glass table.  Very simple!:

TOOLS: your digital camera, a whiteboard and/or onion paper.  Speed up the time in video editing software.

3. Do a Stop Motion Piece.  These are harder, solely because of the time involved.  But several people in other classes have already done stop motion videos, so it can be done!

TOOLS: Digital camera or phone; a canvas or piece of paper; clay or paper; time

4. Do a video using stick figures and crude but effective drawings.  Fun ways to incorporate a bunch of diverse elements, and with audio you don’t lose the chance to make arguments about what these elements might mean rhetorically.

Here’s a fun rhetorical video: (these take serious time)

TOOLS: Keynote, Audacity, iMovie, time.

5. Do a full-on film. Not really recommended unless you have some experience or significant desire.  They’re not hard to do!  But they do take a bunch of time.

TOOLS: your phone camera, some editing software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker

6. Do a multimedia animation.  Use a particular tool to embed documents, text, pictures, and other content into an animated video with voice-overs.

TOOLS: Explain Everything (for iPad), Collaj, Mozilla Popcorn Maker, others.  Explore!


If doing some kind of video, one thing seems clear:

  • Use a voiceover and write a script for it.  Videos that just play music and show pictures are generally not as effective for academic contexts as those with voiceovers.  There is just something about your voice and your words that really ties a piece together and makes it meaningful.

And these suggestions are just the beginning, really!

If you have a few doubts that these kinds of new media compositions can be done by human beings, here are some texts that my English 130 students built many years ago now:

And here are some great websites to peruse for ideas about form and content:


1 comment for “Video Tools

  1. Karissa
    November 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

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