Journal 4 – Digitization Fundamentals

A study in video compression: one video of red moving balls shown in three different video formats. In this photo, the red ball in the lower left shows fewer artifacts than the other two.
A study in video compression: one video of a red moving ball shown in three different video formats. In this photo, the red ball in the lower left shows fewer artifacts than the other two. However, its higher quality and file size make it a more difficult video to share online.

On the fourth day of class we moved into video editing. This was an interesting class because video editing seems more approachable than working with audio, but its processing and distribution is also more complex. Frame rates, variable screen sizes, color reproduction, and compression of data are just some of the variables that effect video production. Video is also a very powerful medium, in that it captures the mind in a way that other media might not.

Video production is a time-consuming process with many stages of development. The steps of pre-production, production or shooting, and post-production each have their own components and processes to consider. Equipment from cameras and tripods, to computers and video monitors are necessary to ensure a quality film — not to mention actors, scripts, storyboards, as well as financing and distribution. With all of these things in mind, it’s easy to see how producing a short film would mirror many of the project management considerations within DH.

At its most basic level, video is a form of storytelling. Most videos or films are linear, with the author or director of the film taking control of the form and movement of the narrative. There are some new tools for non-linear storytelling with video, such as Korsakov, but unfortunately Korsakov relies on Flash which is rapidly being replaced by HTML5 video on the web. Youtube makes the distribution of video seem easy, but the process is actually quite complicated. Films must be compressed with a codec to bind clips and audio together, and they must also be a small enough file size to be streamed and shared.

Our final class project for the show and tell was a video produced by the entire class. I contributed my audio file, a song titled “Ice Cream Dubstep,” which I made in class. Other students worked on filming the class itself, some filmed students for individual interviews, other students also made audio clips, and two students, Heather and Rachel, worked together to edit all of these disparate artifacts in one final video.