|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, upload it to YouTube (or a similar video-sharing site) and send the URL. If you are concerned about privacy, please upload it 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 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.
The videos will be graded as follows; please click here for a detailed grading rubric:
Please note that the quality of your camera work/video editing work does not factor into the grade. 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 easily understood.
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.
Important for this part of the grade: you should be performing, not reading your lines ==> know your lines before you shoot each scene. We 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 script in the titles before your video begins. Be sure to proofread this. If you don't include this list in the video, please print it out to be projected onto the doc cam to go through with the class.
- A Kothe-Hildner Prize of $200 is awarded each semester to the group producing the best final video project in 221/231.
- 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
- 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****
CRUCIAL WARNING AND ADVICE RE: SHOOTING VIDEO:
- TAPE IS CHEAP ==> HIT "RECORD" FOR ABOUT 5 SECONDS BEFORE YOU BEGIN RECORDING EACH SCENE, AND STOP RECORDING ABOUT 5 SECONDS AFTER THE SCENE ENDS. THIS GIVES YOU SOME SPACE TO WORK WITH IF YOU END UP EDITING THE VIDEO (E.G. TO CREATE TRANSITIONS BETWEEN SCENES), AND IT MAKES IT LESS LIKELY THAT YOU WILL ACCIDENTALLY DELETE THE END OF ONE SCENE WHEN YOU START SHOOTING THE NEXT ONE.
Advice for editing video in the LRC or at a campus computing site
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.
You can also do simple video editing at stations in the Language Resource Center. If you need to save your work, you can inquire at the LRC Front Desk about borrowing a portable hard drive.
You may be able to do some video editing in the Media Union on North Campus. You are required to get training in using the equipment before you can reserve it. Check out http://www.dc.umich.edu/training.htm for more information.
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.
- 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.
- 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.