The University of Minnesota Immigrant Stories video creation tool was the focus of this weeks practicum. The assignment- to create a short video of an immigration story- seemed simple. And, the tools provided by the UMN Immigrant Stories were great, with on caveat: it appears my internet is not fast enough to keep up with some of the stages. This resulted in frustrations with my laptop, my router, and the Firefox browser. Although this problem was out of the control of the UMN Immigrant Stories tool, it created a less pleasant experience in making the short movie. I am frustrated as I write this blog post that I am unable to embed my video directly into this post, and that even connecting the URL is unsupported. Thus, here is the hyperlink to my video.
In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday and family gatherings, I chose to make a very short video about my grandfather, Brooks Ramsey. At the offset, I was set back by not being able to use my preferred browser, Safari. I was forced to download Firefox in order to use the video creation tool. This was not a huge problem, but I would like to see the platform supported by Safari! The next steps were relatively simple- I was clearly guided through the account creation, and after a snafu with remembering my password, I successfully logged into the video creation tool on Firefox.
I was not sure what to expect when making my story–how much I would have to have prepared going in, what skills I would need, how fast my internet would need to be… I was impressed, and relieved, that there were prompts for writing a script, that later could be pulled up as a transcript for the audio portion of the video. I answered some of the questions about my Family Story, like what or who influenced my family, what are some notable events. These prompts were open ended enough to allow for some creativity, should the user go that route. I was, through this process, haunted by my slow internet connection and at one point lost a paragraph of text that I had written when I was forced to reload the page.
Adding media was a frustrating experience in the beginning. My goal was to use video saved on my laptop, and include it into the WeVideo platform. However, after many minutes, I gave up on incorporating the audio of my grandfather speaking.The movie file I was trying to add to the “my media” section was never successfully downloaded. I would like liked to have this file format, and I am still unsure if it is not supported by the WeVideo, or if it simply was too large of a file be downloaded. Photos, however, downloaded in a relatively reasonable amount of time. Using the editing tools became intuitive after a few trial errors: very loud theme music playing over my voice; a minute long silence over the initial photo of my grandparents before I figured out how to move the voiceover file to the left-to align with the beginning of the slideshow; and finally transitions-I removed them from the video because I grew frustrated at misplacing them along the video timeline. With more time and perhaps better photos and audio, I am confident that a subsequent video would be smoother and more attractive.
I have created one movie, in college, and with a group. THIs was my first solo venture using this type of editing tool, and I know that it will not be the last time I use it. I am excited to know of a relatively easy and straightforward (for the next time) tool that will allow me to download my content for free as a Quicktime file. This type of open access software is so important for the public to share their stories and contribute to a broader dialogue on community, change, and self expression.