Spoon Fed

Wow.  What a ride the past 8 weeks have been.  And all that hard work has culminated here, in the DS 106 Final Project.  It took me a long time to decide on my project idea.  It’s funny – each idea I had I tried to frame it in terms of the weekly topics of the course.  I first thought about the story spine structure.  Who was my character? What happened to them? And then what? And then finally…..   Then I would think about the different media I could use to tell the story, and how I would use it.  This exercise was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but probably because I have a tendency to over-think things.  Once I made my decision – I ran with it, using the frameworks we built over the last few weeks and I think the overall result is pretty decent!

As you can probably tell from some of my previous posts, I’m staying busy these days juggling work, school, and a sweet baby girl.  Like most new parents, I’m having an absolute blast watching my child learn and grow.  Also, like most new parents, I constantly worry that I’m doing the right things; providing my child with adequate stimulation, helping her get the sleep she needs, and feeding her the right foods.  That last part gives me the most concern.  I guess everyone has their thing and this one’s mine.  I’m always doing research about what I should be feeding my child, and how much, and when.  The first few months are easy; breast milk or formula every couple of hours – check! But once your child starts sitting up and moving around, they’re ready to practice eating real foods and need a more nutrients in their diet. When I spoke with my pediatrician at my daughter’s four month appointment she quickly told me that I could start my daughter on solid foods and handed me a piece of paper.  The piece of paper had a table on it with information about what foods to try each month.  It had 2-3 tips about introducing solids, 2-3 foods to try each month and that was it.  I left the office feeling a little lost – like, that’s it?  Something as big as nutrition and all I have to guide me is a one pager?  It simply wasn’t enough.  I think that this information could be better dispensed using an interactive website/tool, built on a foundation of stories of what babies do at different stages.

Here’s the story of how this tool could be used:

A new parent has spent every day of the last 4-6 months feeding their child breast milk or baby formula.  Seemingly overnight, their child starts to show signs that they might be ready to eat solid foods (interest in foods, grabbing at food, sitting up, etc.)   Their baby appears to be more dexterous, is rolling over, and seems to be thinking about moving more. Finally, they head to the pediatrician for a check-up and advice.  In the office they’ll see a poster on the wall, directing them to the site which we’ll call Food 101 for the purposes of this project.  The Food 101 site lets parents choose the baby story that best matches their own baby at that particular moment.  For example, if the parent has a baby that’s rolling over, they would choose “The Roller”.  They could then watch a video about what the child is doing at the point in their development and then they can access information about what foods they need to eat, how much, and when.

So basically, I have several stories taking place here – there’s the parent who can benefit from the Food 101 site, and then all the stories of the babies at different developmental stages on the website.  For this project, I decided to focus on just one of the baby stories, to show you a sample of what would be on the Food 101 site. This video highlights how the information is enhanced by a storified approach.

***Disclaimer****

The information shown in the video and on my webpage is NOT actual recommendations for babies.  I’m not a pediatrician and I don’t even play one on TV! This is a sample, with very general, placeholder information.

I created my poster first.  It pretty well frames up the information that would be available for parents through Food 101.  Next, I created the Food 101 page as a page on my blog.  I repurposed a lot of the images for consistency and I linked my YouTube video to the “crawler” icon.  If nothing else, I think all the peices of my final project have a pretty good flow.

Next I got to work on my video element.  As you may have noticed, I can’t operate without a list and a plan.  So, I created a storyboard of the shots I wanted to include and the script.  Here’s a sample of my storyboard:

Shot Shot Notes Audio script
“The Crawler” Write in details about crawler “The Crawler”Babies typically start crawling around 7 or 8 months.The crawler’s world is getting bigger by the day! She loves to grab things, move her body, and experiment with making sounds!
Baby crawling, rolling over, playing, etc.  3-4 shots cut together. Crawling towards cameraRolling over, shot looking down.Playing with toys – shot at eye level. 
Baby reaching for food Dad holding baby, she reaches for his food. (2) She’s already started solid foods by eating simple, pureed grains, but recently, her appetite has increased as has her interest in foods.
Baby eating solid food In high chair, food all over faceAlso eating rice crackers.
Shot of bottles At this age, most of The Crawler’s nutrition still comes from mother’s milk or formula. She drinks that first, before filling up on solid foods.
Serving amounts Display information about serving sizes and frequency of feedings She eats 2-3 tbsp. Of solids, three times per day.
Food schedule Display a schedule on the screenHighlight the solid food feedings.Image of  a clock in the background? Here’s her feeding schedule:One serving of food after her morning feeding,Another serving after her afternoon feeding and a third serving around dinner time.
Foods to try AvocadosBananasSweet potatoesRice crackers (add images of these foods.) The crawler is an adventurous eater! She eats avocados, bananas, apples, pears, sweet potatoes and more.  For a full menu of the foods she’s trying, see the Food 101 site.
Baby holding dad’s hands and trying to walk Shot at baby eye level. Because of her healthy and wholesome nutrition, the crawler is well fed and happy.  Before you know you’ll be visiting the next chapter “The Walker”.

I got most of the shots I wanted, but I stuck to the script and that seemed to help.

Once I had my storyboard together, I made a list of the shots I needed to take.  Working with inexperienced talent meant that I needed to be very organized and able to work quickly.  I made the decision to take all the shots of my daughter without showing her face.  I chose to do this because I’d like the viewer (the parent) to be able to identify with the story of the baby and picture their own child doing the things highlighted in the video.  I wanted it to have a bit of an ‘any baby’ sort of feel.

So I wanted to use iMovie to create my video since I finally figured it out but in a near 11th hour panic, my videos would not upload to my mac because I’m out of memory! Thank goodness for my work laptop and the old Google.  I found an easy to use site called WeVideo.  Turns out most video editing software works on the same principles so it was really easy to figure out.  Here’s a screen shot of my WeVideo editor:

WeVideo Screen Capture

WeVideo doesn’t have an internal recording option so I recorded my audio on SoundCloud, downloaded it to my machine, uploaded it to WeVideo and dropped it into my video. Oh but wait — WeVideo only allows for one audio track and I needed music too! Here’s where it got really interesting.  I uploaded the WeVideo to YouTube, downloaded it to my mac, added audio found from, and re-uploaded it to YouTube. Did you catch all that? Take notes.  I found some audio I liked on Incompetech called “Montauk Point” and it seemed pretty appropriate for my simple little video.  There was a whole ‘nother upload-download scenario which I won’t describe but ultimately my work made it to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.  I did find two glaring mistakes in the midst of that process but with all those steps I couldn’t bring myself to go back and fix them. (Ugh!) I don’t want to call myself out, but don’t try to go to the website listed at the end of the video.  And, here it is:

So there you have it! The DS 106 story is coming to a close and it’s really sad!  I’ve enjoyed this course not just for it’s content but also it’s method.  Like I titled my post, I feel like over the last 8 weeks we’ve been spoon fed the information and tools that we need to be able to tell a story, digitally.  This skill is going to be SO useful in so many aspects of my career and life.  I plan to use the concepts learned here when I create Web-based training and I also plan on using it to create some better-than-average home movies that will last a lifetime.  I hope you’ll enjoy my work as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Weeks 6 and 7 Summary

When I started this week’s content and assignments for DS106, while I really enjoyed the content, it was overshadowed by the fact that I was really nervous about having to edit video.  It seems like such a daunting, overwhelming task that requires a high attention to detail – not always my strong suit. I’d never used the software on my computer and I was really concerned that my Mac was going to quit on me.  It’s seen better days and I’ve really pushed to to it’s limits uploading enormous photo files from my DSLR camera.  It might be time to start storing my media in the cloud (anyone have suggestions?)

In the beginning of the week we spent time learning and thinking about the techniques of film making that impact film stories.  I dissected two film clips by “reading” them in the way that Roger Ebert describes.  This helped me better understand that the craft of film making is really incredibly purposeful and the tiniest of angles can have a big impact on a scene.

Next, I did the “Look, Listen, Analyze” assignment using a Dumb and Dumber clip.  I never knew Dumb and Dumber was so smart!  I analyzed the scene and audio techniques used in the film.  Separating the audio and the visual made me realize how critical it was to put the two together to make the comedy work.

Up next, the real deal of editing audio and video.  I locked myself in the home office for a few hours, watched a bunch of YouTube tutorials and was able to come up with a decent product for the Foley assignment.

Once I was in the groove of iMovie, the next two assignments were a snap. (Well, that’s an exaggeration, but they sure went a lot more smoothly.)  I chose to do the video assignments, “The Music-less Music Video” and “Play by Play“.   You can view my music-less music video here (although, fair warning, I couldn’t help adding some music back in.) And for the Play by Play video, you’ll get to see some sweet baby cute-ness here.

Whew! It was a whirlwind!  I learned a lot and now feel prepared to create my final project.  I’ve now got some techniques and tools up my sleeve that will help me tell the story of — well, I’ve got to figure that part out.