|Author||Dr Joslin McKinney||Level||1|
|email@example.com||Scale of activity||module|
|Module||PECI1402 Performance Design Process||Comments||0 (view)|
|Year activity took place||2011 / 2012|
Case study - Embedding the use of PhotoStory
PECI1402 Performance Design Process is a level one module that aims to develop an appreciation of developing design ideas in response to a theatrical text. Photostory 3 has been introduced to help students engage with the performance text that they are designing for. In an amendment based on the learning from the Digitalis workshop enhancements in 2010/2011 (http://www.sddu.leeds.ac.uk/casestudies/casestudy.php?ID=151&tag=233&search=yes), students were asked during the first week to take their own photographs rather than sourcing images from elsewhere, and these photographs were used as the source material for their first photo story.
- To embed the use of PhotoStory/Digital Storytelling in a first year module as 'the way we do things'
- To resolve issues of copyright restriction on images
Joslin used Camtasia to develop an example photostory, and created two video tutorials demonstrating the first activity and how to use the software. The first tutorial was created with the support of the Project Assistant and took about 2 hours. The second tutorial was created by Joslin on her own, again in about 2 hours. http://www.digitalis.leeds.ac.uk/resources/bespoke-resources/performance-design-curriculum-enhancement/ Whilst it was time-consuming, Joslin felt that she would use Camtasia again, mainly when she needs to ‘show’ something to the students that they might need to keep going back to (e.g. how to make a good model). Camtasia is also very space-intensive on the PC and this needs to be taken into consideration.
In the first week, students were asked to go out and take photos around Leeds that they could use as a visual stimulus for their design. In the second week, they spent a morning using Photostory 3 with their own images. They were then asked to go and make their own photostory (using their photos or some other images) as a response to the performance text. These photostories were then brought to the first tutorial session. The brief for the first tutorial was:
"The focus in this tutorial will be on your responses to the play and on the potential for design. You should prepare a Photostory using between 5 and 9 images to show your current ideas key images and key moments in the text and bring it with you to show the rest of your group. You can use any combination of; your own photographs; your own sketches; images from the internet or scanned images (from newpapers, books etc.)".
Students were also encouraged to think about using Photostory 3 to present their final design, as an alternative to PowerPoint. In practice nearly all the students created photo stories for their final presentation.
Observations from the final photo stories:-
• A range of software was used including Photostory 3, iMovie, and PowerPoint
• Some used zoom and pan animation; others used stills more like a slide show
• Some used vocal narration, others used text on the images
• Some incorporated costume designs, although these were included more for pragmatic reasons than design ones.
• One (in PowerPoint) incorporated a photo story with narration, costume design, and critical reflection all in one presentation
• All the software seems flexible enough to do most things (except PowerPoint doesn’t have the ability to animate still images with zoom and pan)
• Animation really does seem to add something to the ability to ‘experience’ the design
• ‘Still’ text (like subtitles) is possibly less disruptive than scrolling text (but this is a subjective view)
• Key quotes can be very effective when used with animation
• One also used music, with key quotes, which really helped to immerse the viewer in the design
Discussion with Students
As part of the module review, students were asked to reflect on their use of Photostory.
What do you remember about the start of the process when you made the first photostories?
• The photo task was a good way to approach it, because we’d all just arrived at Leeds and it enabled us to put our personal slant on it.
Do you think you’ve retained anything from your original photostory in your final design?
• Yes, the idea of a door from a door that I’d found and I kept that for my final design
• I had a picture of an archway which made me think about the lighting of archways which was a huge influence
• Photo of silhouetted figure led to idea of silhouettes
• Rope around a tree
• Learned effects e.g. colouring, which started the whole Victorian thing
• Using effects in PhotoStory enabled me to try out effects e.g. lighting; easy to try out ‘what if?’
What sort of things did using PhotoStory make you think about?
• Helped to break the text down into key moments
• It was easier (quicker) to experiment with than doing drawings
• Opening up your thinking – looking at everything around you – start developing the images that you’re most drawn to
• It’s creating a digital performance in itself
• Looking at images in a performative way – the animation made it more performative than stills
• PhotoStory 3 is a bit simplistic. iMovie can do more.
• Looking at how images can show what a performance could look like
Was anything difficult?
• It can be a bit limited e.g. with costume drawings
• You are limited in where you can put text, which was a problem on an image with areas of extreme light and dark
• iMovie can have other text effects e.g. scrolling
We are also looking at ‘digital reflection’ – standing back from your work. Thinking about the PhotoStory process – where does the thinking come in?
• Putting pictures in order, and looking at them like a strip
• But is that a ‘reflection’, or a way of presenting to show someone?
• I wouldn’t look at it as a reflective process because I hate the sound of my voice. I like looking through my photos.
• You can notice key moments in seeing the images, and which attract most attention – “went WOW! that looks really effective”
Would you use it again?
• Yes – to present
Would any of you use it as a thinking process?
• (Some nods)
• Half an hour gives you some kind of an idea – it’s quick to make something that you can see
Review with Module Leader, Joslin McKinney
What worked well?
Just saying ‘this is how we do this module’, rather than creating a song and dance about it. Saying ‘this is new, it’s a big project’ might make students feel that we are asking them to do something difficult. These first year students just got on with it; even those who were MAC users just used iMovie with no problem. They can now take this into their second year as the way they do things.
Is there anything that you would do differently?
I would like to see this developed into other modules in the school, so that the students use these skills elsewhere, not just in Performance Design.
There was huge variation in the quality of their photos, so we could perhaps do more early on about basic standards in documenting and presenting ideas, seeing them through someone else’s eyes. Maybe we could have early sessions looking at photography outcomes e.g. playing with the lighting booth and some existing models. These could perhaps be integrated into their first photostory exercise.
Other info. / Links / Comments
This is a report of the curriculum development implemented for the module as part of the Digitalis project http://digitalis.leeds.ac.uk
Resources on VLE: http://www.digitalis.leeds.ac.uk/resources/bespoke-resources/performance-design-curriculum-enhancement/
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