Unit 9: Reading Movies

Not technically a course this is another experiment in offering a full ds106 experience to open participants based on previous syllabi taught at the University of Mary Washington (UMW). The first was August-December 2013 as a “Headless ds106”. This Open ds106 is a re-organization of that experience, but without references to date or time- this could be something individuals or groups could do at any time, at any pace. See the full index to learn more.

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Frans Persoon

This unit we enter the topic most students find both the most challenging and/or rewarding portion of ds106: video.

It presents challenges with file formats, creating more complex narratives, and dealing with more complicated software.

But it is also one of the most engaging forms of media — hence the current statistic that in the span of one minute, more than 72 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.

Before jumping into video editing, we want you to spend some time first looking critically at the video form itself. Read the rest of this post for details about the work for this unit as we learn to “read” movies. We are not trying to turn you into movie critics, the goal is just to practice noticing the details and techniques used in cinema.


Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.

Ken Burns is much more than an overused editing effect in iMovie- hear him talk about what makes a good story in video, how he looks for 1 + 1 equaling 3.

Ready Your Tools
Reading Movies
Look, Listen, Analyze
Exploring the Movie Even More
Genres of YouTube?
A Wee bit of Pre-Production
Daily Creates
Unit Summary

More Inspiration?

The Apple 1984 Commercial that introduced the Macintosh is one of the most famous of its kind, for its style and message (If somehow you missed it, watch the commercial now, it will take you 60 seconds).

In the interview below, Director Ridley Scott described it as a full film story in a 60 second container. Footage includes shots on the set, props, storyboards, and gives fascinating insight into what production includes.


Add a comment

  1. Wire 106: Week 10 – “Let’s Go to the Videotape” | bavatuesdays10-27-14
  2. Week Five: We’re Moving Now! (Video) | Prisoner10607-28-15