Teaching Examples

Help improve this blog
April 27, 2007, 12:38 pm
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I’ve been running a survey since last Saturday. Tomorrow is the one-week mark, and I’ll be taking it offline about noon (-04:00 GMT). The survey’s goal is to show what this blog’s readers like, dislike, and want more of.

Please fill out my survey.

There are ONLY eight (8) questions! Please help!

Update (April 29): The survey is finished. To see the questions I asked, look here.


A small favor
April 24, 2007, 1:41 pm
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Please fill out my survey of this blog’s readers.

There are ONLY eight (8) questions! Come on, help me out!

Update (April 29): The survey is finished. To see the questions I asked, look here.

Comparing WordPress and Blogger
February 17, 2007, 5:47 am
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I think that it’s a bit harder to start from scratch at WordPress.com than it is at Blogger. The folks atBlogger have really simplified the startup process down to the bare basics.

Getting the Web (at the BBC)
January 30, 2007, 2:04 pm
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Read the BBC’s 15 Web Principles.

My faves:

1. Build web products that meet audience needs

7. Any website is only as good as its worst page

8. Make sure all your content can be linked to, forever

12. Accessibility is not an optional extra

15. Personalisation should be unobtrusive, elegant and transparent

Then you can see what “clueless” really means in the Top 20 Confessed Web Design Sins. I liked these:

2. We’ve designed our site to meet our organization’s needs (more sales/contributions) rather than meeting the needs of our visitors.

4. It takes longer than four seconds for the man from Mars to understand what our site is about.

7. Our home page — or any page — takes more than four seconds to load.

If your boss is wondering how to increase traffic to the Web site, these two lists provide a great way to begin answering that question.

(BBC list found via Megan Taylor’s del.icio.us bookmarks. Web sins via Journerdism.)

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Light dawns, and a journalist sees it
January 15, 2007, 4:03 pm
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Home delivery of The New York Times in Gainesville, Florida: $6.20 per week (introductory offer).

One-year subscription to TimesSelect if you’re not a subscriber: $49.95.

Seeing The New York Times beginning to “get” the Internet:


Web analytics — that ugly term of art — is changing newspapers … Here at The Times, the Most E-Mailed list on our Web site has gone from being an in-house curiosity to a measure of salience, as much as getting an article on the front page. The list can be wonderfully idiosyncratic — last Friday, a six-month-old goof on using animal training on husbands (“What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage”) reappeared alongside Thomas Friedman’s meditation on the president’s plan to send more troops to Iraq.

I realize I may sound snarky, but I don’t mean to be (unlike Cory Bergman, hee hee). The column is really enjoyable. I recommend it! It’s the Media Equation column, by David Carr, published today (just in case you’d like to look it up in your dead-trees version).

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Some useful words for video newbies
January 11, 2007, 1:32 pm
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Chuck Fadely’s post that I linked to yesterday reminded me of the vocabulary I learned back when I was an undergrad with a minor in film history and criticism. Ah, those long afternoons in the dark, watching the French New Wave and samurai movies by Akira Kurosawa …

For everyone who studied more sensible subjects, some of that vocabulary is bound to cause a bit of head-scratching. So here is a short word list.

See also the Good Shooting Guide from the BBC. It’s wonderful!

Types of Shots

Wide shot (WS): “Reveals where the scene is taking place. Also referred to as a long shot or master shot, a wide shot helps orient the audience. A wide shot also gives the actors room to move within a shot, without the camera having to follow them. Medium shots and close-ups are often cut into a wide shot for variation.” (source)

Establishing shot: “A type of wide shot that can [for example] establish a building before the camera cuts to an interior office.” (source)

Medium shot (MS): Basically people from waist to top of head — that’s the distance we’re looking at here.

Close-up: A person’s face fills the screen. While you’d use these less often than medium shots in a lot of TV video or other filmmaking, the intimacy of the computer screen (you are only 12 inches away) makes the close-up preferrable for most talking-people shots. You’ll also be getting in super-close for detail shots of objects, as well as hands and feet.

Always remember to vary your shots.

Don’t underestimate the difference between TV viewing (12 feet away) and computer use (12 inches away). Visually you should exploit the medium for which you are shooting.

Other Common Terms

B-roll: “Stock footage acquired for miscellaneous needs.” (source) You need to shoot lots of B-roll so that your video is not just some boring talking head for three minutes.

Logging: Before you edit — or hand off the tape to an editor — you should log your footage. There’s a good explanation here, as well as a log sheet you can copy.

Pan (verb): Moving the camera horizontally. Do not do this for Web video. Really. And if you ever do it, never do it fast. Slowly, slowly. It is far better never to move the camera.

Post-production, or “post”: “Any production activity that occurs after the production but before the completion of a project.” (source) That would include the video editing.

Production: “The actual activities in which an event is recorded and/or televised.” (source) If you’re shooting, you’re in production.

Time code: “Found on most digital video formats, it stores frame-accurate timing information on the tape.” (source) Your video capture program wants to have this.

Zoom: Don’t do it. Well, if you do it, know that you are going to cut it out in the editing. It will look like hell in Web video. And if you start a zoom, hold your steady shot for 10 full seconds before you zoom. Then after you finish zooming, hold that shot for an additional 10 seconds. Otherwise, you’ll have nothing you can use (spoken from experience, believe me).

Do you have any additions? Add a comment!

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APAD’s best of 2006
January 2, 2007, 5:46 pm
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A Soundslides slideshow of the 103 best pictures from A Photo a Day. Sweet.

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