Deutsch 101-326 an der Universität Michigan

German on the Web
Learning Strategies

German Dept.
Max Kade House
German Club

PONS online dict.
L.E.O. online dict.
Wortschatz Deutsch



Information über das Videoprojekt
Instead of you cramming for a final exam, you will do a final video project, in order to bring the course to a creative and enjoyable end.

Content, Length and Logistics

  • In order to submit your completed video project to your instructor, you should upload it to YouTube (or a similar video-sharing site) and send her/him the URL. If you are concerned about privacy, please upload the video as an "Unlisted Video" so that only people with the URL can find the video (instructions here).
  • The specific topic/content of your video is entirely up to you, as long as you follow the Guidelines (see below). If you want to portray a conflict of some sort, this can be quite interesting as long as it is meaningful, i.e. more than just an avenue for a fight/argument scene that ends in, "Ich hasse dich!" Your video must RELATE to ideas/content covered in the course and should include grammar and vocabulary you learned this semester.
  • Your video should be roughly 5-7 minutes: longer is not necessarily better.
  • You should work in groups of 3 or 4.
    • For groups of 5 (not recommended), the video needs to be minimum 8-10 minutes
  • Your third essay will be the script of your video.
    • Your grade for the essay will be an "E" if you do not contribute to your group's essay, or a "C-" if you do contribute, but not in a timely manner.
    • Your grade for the video will be an "E" if you do not participate in your group's work on the video, or a "C-" if you do participate, but not reliably.
    • The above grades will be given based on the consensus of your group.
    • If you anticipate a problem, please notify your group and your instructor promptly!
  • It is important for you to demonstrate your ability to speak freely (as opposed to reading from a script or from props like books or letters) when you film the video.

Grading Scheme

The videos will be graded as follows; please click here for a detailed grading rubric:

Content/Creativity 1/3
Pronunciation/Comprehensibility 1/3
Linguistic Complexity/Accuracy 1/3

Please note that the quality of your camera work/video editing work does not factor into the grade. We arrange workshops on shooting and editing video for interested students, and many students enjoy practicing their filmmaking skills, but you are not required to produce a professional-looking video. What is required is that you edit the video sufficiently to create a coherent sequence of scenes, and that you ensure sufficient sound quality so that your German can be clearly and easily understood.

Guidelines for Content of Role-Plays and Videos:

These are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Please click on the link above and read these guidelines carefully.  Ask your instructor if you're in doubt as to whether something you're planning to do is appropriate.  Otherwise s/he may have to ask you to rethink your video or to come up with an entirely new video.

  • Dialogue: you should hand in a video in which there are at least 5 minutes of actual dialogue/speaking.


An important component of this part of the grade is that you should be performing, not reading your lines in the video ==> know your lines before you shoot each scene. We highly recommend that you schedule an appointment with your instructor where your whole group can run through the script once to get feedback on pronunciation.

  • The above applies all the more if you are doing an animation or a puppet show, or you are using text read by a narrator, because then the audience does not have the advantage of seeing your lips move as you speak. ==> If you use such a format, write your script in such a way that you really can memorize your lines and then perform them as fluently and naturally as possible. If it sounds like you are reading a script, the pronunciation/comprehensibility component of your grade will be at best a "B" or a "C," even if we love what you have done.

Please include a short list of words you had to look up for your video script in the titles before your video begins.  Be sure to have your instructor proofread this. If you don't include this list in the video, please print it out to be projected onto the doc cam and go through them for the class prior to your screening.

Kothe-Hildner Prize

  • A Kothe-Hildner Prize of $200 is awarded each semester to the group producing the best final video project in 221/231. 
  • In order to make the competition fair, there is a length limit: videos nominated for the prize competition cannot be longer than 15 minutes.

Here are a number of prize-winning videos from previous semesters.

Cameras/Video Editing Equipment

You can borrow video cameras from either of the two locations of the LS&A Media Equipment Loan Service:

  • ISS Mason Hall Loan Center, G340 Mason Hall, 763-5158
    • Be sure to get a camera that records to MiniDV tapes. If you use cameras that record to capture cards, you won't be able to do any editing!
  • ISS Media Center Sound & Motion, 2001 MLB, 763-1104

****If you think you will need to borrow a camera from one of these facilities, make reservations well ahead of time****

A Video Editing Facility IS available to students, but you must make reservations well ahead of time, as there are few machines and demand is great.  You must be able to demonstrate that you are experienced with the equipment. For students lacking experience, workshops are also provided by the facility. Go to the ISS Media Center Sound & Motion, 2001 MLB, or call them at 763-1104.

You can also do simple video editing at the Language Resource Center. There are 7 editing stations in the LRC. If you need to save your work, you can inquire at the LRC Front Desk about borrowing a portable hard drive. [This is the best option for saving editing projects--see below!]

You may be able to do some video editing in the Media Union on North Campus. Like the ISS Media Center in the MLB, the Media Union requires you to get training in using the equipment before you can reserve it. Check out for more information.


  • In Fall and Winter, you will receive an email in the course of the semester on a workshop on shooting video for German 221/231 students. Highly recommended!


  • If you are planning to do any significant editing, we strongly recommend that you attend a workshop on editing video in the ISS Media Center in the MLB, or in the LRC (watch for announcements about this in the Fall and Winter).
  • If you want to use the editing equipment at the ISS Media Center, you must attend this workshop. If you cannot attend this workshop, contact to ask about alternatives, which will involve an introduction to their facilities and you teaching yourself to use the equipment with a tutorial disk.
    • Alternatively, you could arrange to take an editing workshop at the Media Union, which would allow you to use their editing facilities. Check out for more information.
    • In Spring and Summer, the ISS Media Center in the MLB may be closed, and there are no specific editing workshops for German 221/231 or 230. ==> If you plan to do extensive editing, you should take a workshop at the Media Union well in advance, so you can use their facilities and so you'll know what you're doing!

Advice for editing video in the LRC or at a campus computing site

  • One more time: if you plan to do substantial amounts of editing, we really recommend taking a workshop in the ISS Media Center in the MLB, or the LRC (or the Media Union), so you can use their sites, which are set up for video editing and in particular for saving the huge files that are involved--and also so you'll know what you're doing, work more efficiently, and not run the risk of losing many hours of work.

OK, no more warnings--let's assume you're doing your editing in the LRC or at a campus computing site:

  • If at all possible, come early and try to get all your editing done in one session so you don't have to save your work and come back to it. While they're being edited, media projects are generally too big to fit in your IFS space, and all information is erased from LRC and campus computing site computers when you log out.
  • If you do need to save your work and come back later, here are your options:
    • The best option for saving editing projects is a portable hard drive. You can inquire at the LRC Front Desk about borrowing one of these. The LRC only has a limited quantity of these ==> please don't count on one of them being available at short notice!
    • Note that your project is likely to be up to 10 or 12 GB in size while you're working on it ===> too big to fit all the data on a DVD (which holds about 4 GB) or your IFS space (which holds about 1-2 GB). The project becomes much smaller when you finish it. In other words, while you're working on editing the video, you need a TON of space (and time) to save all the files and data involved. Your FINISHED project should fit onto a regular DVD.
    • Note that a DVD holds about 4 GB and takes up to 40 mins to burn ==> you'd need up to 2 or 3 hours to save an unfinished project on to 3 or 4 DVDs. In short: don't do this!!
    • The easiest option if you have to save your work and come back to it is to put all your clips on the timeline in your editing program in a logical sequence, and then re-export them to a new tape (don't overwrite your original tape!) on your camera. Then you can reimport the video the next day, cut it back up into clips and resume work.
    • If you're working in a computer classroom, check the reservation schedule so you know when you'll have to leave with enough time to properly save your work.
    • If you try to save your work to your IFS space from a computer in the LRC or a campus computing site, please be very sure you're really saving it to your IFS space and not to the computer desktop: the icons for these often look very similar on university computers (they will both be labeled by your uniqname!).
    • Some other options for saving your work:
      • Bring your own external firewire hard drive and save the project to it--these are the best option for saving media projects, as mentioned above.
      • Bring your laptop, and save to that
        • For Macs, if you connect your laptop to another computer with a firewire cable, then hold down T while booting, it boots into firewire target disk mode, which basically means that it acts like an external hard drive, and you copy files back and forth very quickly (10 GB would take 15 min maybe)
    • **If you try to save your project and the computer finishes saving it relatively quickly, chances are it only saved the aliases for your clips and not the clips themselves** (This has happened to some students!)
    • Before you shut down the computer, check and double check and triple check that you really saved your work and will be able to access it again!

Useful Links re: Shooting and Editing Video

  • IMovie This is the program you're most likely to use to edit your video. Very user-friendly, even if you're a PC-person. In particular, the video editing stations in the LSA Media facility in the Michigan Square Building, and in the LRC, are all Macs.
  • Lights, Camera, Language Website for an advanced level German course at Northwestern University in which students' main task was to produce a high quality video. The end products are most impressive, and the site includes lots of valuable how-to information.


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