July 21, 2010

Digital storytelling from soup to nuts

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“Angie,” from Canada’s National Youth In Care Network.

Storytelling can be used to showcase a cause & bring about change

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, change-makers, media organizations, journalists, educators, students. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

Editor’s note: Digital storytelling is an amazing resource for change that’s too seldom used in the nonprofit sector. This lengthy tutorial consists of four parts:


By Denise Atchley
Co-founder, Digital Storytelling Festival

Digital storytelling can be used by nonprofits and cause organizations as a wonderful resource for social change.

While many digital stories are personal narratives used for sharing with friends and family, others can be created to offer insight and knowledge about a cause, a topic or a memorable figure. Communicating a message through story can be a powerful way to educate, encourage thought and initiate change. Digital stories offer people a chance to respond to world events or personal experiences, to process the event, interpret its significance and offer insight about how to bring about change.

A digital story about a cause can compel others to become involved, make a difference, effect change.

Consider a cause you care about or a life-altering experience. Then realize how stories told about this subject may compel others to become involved, make a difference, effect a change. Storytelling can be used as a resource for community and peace-building efforts, personal reflection and affirmation. Stories can be used as an archive or reference for historical events.

You should consider integrating digital storytelling into your organizations’ outreach efforts by self-publishing and distributing stories on your website or by authoring your own DVDs. Include your story in public presentations or speeches and screen it at meetings and gatherings. New media and independent publishing have enabled innovative and effective ways to get your message heard.

Please share compelling cause-related stories you’ve come across in the comments below!

Getting started

The Digital Storytelling Initiative from KQED in San Francisco (see the site for workshop schedule) suggests several types of story styles you can use to create your digital story. Your instructor will show examples of each style to familiarize you with its format and be there to provide insight when you begin to conceptualize your project.

A story narrated with your voice

Stories created in a narrative style are the most personal in topic and tone. Written in first person, narrative stories are narrated with your own voice. Narrative digital stories are often the source of personal discovery and introspection, where we generally find out something personal about the author. The story “drives” — or takes precedence over — the images; the meaning is expressed through the narrative and supported visually by the images. We will examine some useful methods to identify and focus a narrative story later in this article.

A story with music

Most commonly recognized as music videos, this type of production is a story without words, although captions, titles and the blending of lyrics and visual imagery can personalize the piece.

A story with interviews

Different people (including yourself) tell a story with interviews and the author provides supplemental images to support what is being spoken about. A common technique is to weave an entire story through the voice and reflections of others; this method is enhanced through multimedia technology, which allows voices to be heard while different images are seen. A story using interviews can also be mixed with a story including narrative. We will explore tips for effective interviewing later in this article.

The KQED Digital Storytelling Initiative: one of best workshops in the nation.

Story styles

A well-crafted digital story is a seamless blend of multimedia technology and the inherent ability to find meaning in our experiences and tell that story. While technical skills are easily taught and usually just as easily learned, identifying a compelling personal story and translating it into narrative can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. Some people who are completely capable of sharing a story in casual conversation become apprehensive at having to prepare a story in script form for their digital story. Perhaps there is an element of fear in the notion of creating something tangible or permanent and “getting the story right.”

It’s helpful to remember that these are your stories. How they are told and supported through visuals is a unique and individual process; there is no one correct approach. However, to help identify your story and tell it effectively, the KQED/DSI recommends these key processes in eliciting stories that have proved successful with a broad range of students.

About stories

Our identities are filled with stories, which provide insight into who we are. Stories mined from our lives are a direct connection to what our experience on the human journey is. Stories can explain and illuminate:

  • Who we are
  • Where we came from
  • Where we are going
  • What we care about
  • What is important to us
Make the beginning captivate your viewer. It should compel us to continue to watch; we want to see how the problem is resolved.

A good story has a beginning, middle and end. Make the beginning captivate your viewer. Perhaps frame it with a question, dilemma or controversy. It should compel us to continue to watch; we want to see how the problem is resolved. The middle describes the course of events: What happened? The end of a story reveals a conclusion: How did the situation turn out? The story’s end is also a good place to present your meaning or point. The experience of watching and hearing the story should leave us changed or wanting to learn more.

Story ideas and themes

Ideas and inspiration for personal stories can come from many sources. Your KQED Digital Storytelling Initiative workshop instructor will show examples of digital stories created by former students, then lead a discussion of classic story themes. She will also assist with memory trigger and brainstorming exercises to help you identify a story you feel is meaningful to tell. Here is a small selection of common story themes. Yours need not fit into one or any of these categories. Once you begin to think about stories using common themes or memory triggers, you will find the possibility for a story worth digitizing is endless!

It’s Not the Destination, about Barbara Grannell’s nonprofit A Promise of Health in Yucatan, produced by Daniel Weinshenker

Finding your story

Part 1Some common personal story themes include:

Remembrance or memorial stories

Stories that acknowledge, honor or reflect on the life of one who has died.

Relationship stories

Stories of significant relationships in your life. Common subjects are immediate relations, including parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse or partner. Other meaningful relationships may include a business or creative partner, a teacher or mentor, childhood or lifelong friends, even pets. Who are these subjects and what impact have they made on your life? Consider including stories of love, admiration, longing or loss, disappointment or a poignant reflection of a person.

The genesis story

Almost all people, groups or businesses can point to a significant moment or event in the past that was a determining factor in how things are today, e.g., “If my mother had not taken a ceramics class, she would not have met my father….” The genesis story is an essential part of almost all family histories, examining the question, “Where do we come from?”

Stories of challenge

Stories in which you have experienced challenge and how (or whether) you overcame it. They can be physical as well as mental challenges, i.e., the challenge of climbing a 15,000-foot mountain, conquering the fear of changing careers or returning to school after an extended absence.

Objects and artifacts

All of us have owned or known of a possession that held tremendous value in our lives and the compelling stories that accompany them. Objects or artifacts can be as varied as a lucky charm, a rock found on a memorable hike or a precious family heirloom handed down through many generations. What are these objects, how do they exist in your life and what value do you place on them?

Hurt and healing

Sadly, it is guaranteed that human beings will experience at least some element of emotional suffering. Stories about pain and the healing process are ultimately about resurrection and finding a way to continue. These types of stories can be about hurt and how that changed you.

Stories about a place

Stories about locations, specific or vast, capture memories. Geographical places hold intense memories and emotional significance in our lives. Whether you have a fond memory of spending childhood summers on a grandparent’s farm or the painful recollection of a war combat zone in a distant country, reconciling stories and emotions of these places is a useful exercise in understanding ourselves — we might refer to it as narrative archaeology: What’s buried in this place?

Adventure, journey or travel

This theme is an abundant source of stories, for we have all had some sort of journey or travel experience that can be told as an adventure.

The shoebox of stories

Countless stories can be found in the well-worn shoebox or photo album filled with our treasured photographs. Each photo preserves a moment in time and each moment has a corresponding story: “Where was I when this photo was taken? Who took it? Who is in the photo with me? What was I thinking when this was taken?”

Conceptualize your story: Narrow the focus

Once you have decided on a particular theme or topic for your story, you begin the process of planning how the story will be told. At this point, it is often necessary to narrow your focus. Telling the entire history of a beloved grandfather in a single short story could be an overly ambitious task. It is often hard to know where to start a story with a broad topic, and usually harder to know when to end it. By thinking about a particular aspect of the relationship that was important to you or a specific event you shared—perhaps relating a bit of wisdom or transformation that occurred—you conceptualize a core story.

Questions to consider in this order narrow the focus of your story:

  • What is the main question or problem this story will explore?
  • What events or experiences occurred that will help to tell this story?
  • How did it end?
  • How did I feel (in the beginning and at the end)?
  • How was my perspective or viewpoint changed?
Conceptualize your story: A point of view

Having and expressing a point of view is critical to any good story. All stories are told to make a point from a particular perspective. Without a point of view, a story is reduced to a mere recitation of facts. If the point is to tell something about yourself, it will be helpful to incorporate something emotionally engaging, something you care deeply about. A point of view allows others to understand how you feel about your story and what compelled you to tell it in the first place. Emotional points of view can be derived from:

  • A dream
  • A wish
  • A disappointment
  • A fear
  • A belief
  • A loss
  • A discovery
  • A success
  • Something exciting
Conceptualize your story: Voice

The sound of your voice is unique and special. In digital storytelling, we talk of the voice, both as what it means in audible terms as well as in its narrative and storytelling terms. For digital stories that are created in a narrative style, we recommend using your own voice for several reasons. First, if the story is a personal one, who better to narrate it than you? Your voice, your manner of speaking, your inflections and tone all identify you, which will add authenticity and a sense of identity to your story. When writing your script, we recommend you include elements of your unique phrasing style and sentence structure.

Narrative writing has a different cadence and rhythm than business or other formal forms of writing. More organic, it resembles the manner in which you naturally speak. By embracing your voice both in writing the script and for the narration, the ownership and authorship of your story become wholly yours.

Conceptualize your story: Audience

In any created piece, you must take the audience into account. In broad strokes, the audience for every piece is a general audience, but on closer inspection, we often have a specific person or group of people in mind. Answering these two questions will help to define your audience:

  • What do I really want to say?
  • To whom do I want to say it?


The first question will lead you to better communicate the meaning behind your story; the second will aid you in discovering the embedded audience. To discover your real audience, ask yourself who really needs to hear it. Understanding who your audience is will lend insight into appropriate tone and diction. You could relate the same experience to three different people and, depending on who they are, the story will be different even though the experience is the same. The way you tell a story to your mother is very different from how you tell it to your best friend. Knowing your audience will help determine how to best to tell this story.

Telling stories is one of the most powerful methods humans have for sharing meaning and understanding.

Telling stories is one of the most powerful methods humans have for sharing meaning and understanding with one another. Human stories are unique in that each individual’s account will be different than another person’s, even if the exact same experience happened to both people at the same time. The process of examining a story, reconstructing it through narrative and ultimately releasing it in a tangible form alters the experience from one person’s internal account into one available for internalization and interpretation by others. By this act of conscious release, a story is transformed.

The restorying process can be used as an agent for personal change and the transformation of a negative experience into a positive one. As a therapeutic application, storytelling is a technique that encourages people to analyze events and relationships clearly and put them into perspective. This process grants permission for a negative or stressful situation to be developed into a positive or resurrective narrative. The concept is simple: you can’t change what happened, but you can change where you stand in relation to that story. That is, you don’t need to stand in the victim’s place. If you retell the story, you become the author. Through that reauthoring process, the story gets rewritten according to your version of it.

The restorying process

Telling stories is one of the most powerful methods humans have for sharing meaning and understanding with one another. Human stories are unique in that each individual’s account will be different than another person’s, even if the exact same experience happened to both people at the same time. People have different perspectives and thus story their lives unique to their interpretation and identity. The process of examining a story, reconstructing it through narrative and ultimately releasing it in a tangible form alters the experience from one person’s internal account into one available for internalization and interpretation by others. By this act of conscious release, a story is transformed.

The restorying process can be used as an agent for personal change and the transformation of a negative experience into a positive one. As a therapeutic application, storytelling is a technique that encourages people to analyze events and relationships clearly and put them into perspective. This process grants permission for a negative or stressful situation to be developed into a positive or resurrective narrative. The concept is simple: you can’t change what happened, but you can change where you stand in relation to that story. That is, you don’t need to stand in the victim’s place. If you retell the story, you become the author. Through that reauthoring process, the story gets rewritten according to your version of it.

Teach English in Korea: a digital story by Jayne Crawford.

Telling your story

Part 2Up to this point, we’ve focused on defining digital storytelling. We’ve also suggested how to think about a story you would like to tell and the various story styles you can use to visually express your story. In this section your story will begin to take shape. You’ll learn how to create a storyboard, then begin working on the computer to organize and digitize your materials in preparation for the video edit.

Creating a storyboard for your digital story is an important and necessary process for visualizing what your story will look like in its completed form. The digital stories made in this workshop are time based — they progress across time in a linear format. A storyboard is a visual road map that allows you to organize what you will be seeing and hearing as your story moves from beginning to end. Creating a detailed storyboard in advance of the editing process helps you to think about what images (photographs, video, other types of artwork) your story will need and provides a guide for you to follow during the edit. Having a well-thought-out storyboard in advance of production reduces the likelihood that you will end up frantically searching for visuals as you go along.

The storyboard template

Here’s a blank storyboard template for you to create your storyboard. Starting in the upper left corner of the page, use the square boxes for simple sketches or drawings to represent what visuals will be shown. The space beneath the boxes is used to indicate the audio that accompanies the visual. It’s not necessary for you to include the entire text of your script in this space, but it may be helpful to include the beginning and end of the audio portion for each panel so you are clear on exactly what will be said in that section of the story.

Progress in a left-to-right pattern, filling the panels with script and key images as you go. The final panel should be the end of the story, and don’t forget a panel for credits! How finely detailed you make your storyboard is up to you. If this is your first digital story, you may want to organize your storyboard so each scene change is a new panel. You may prefer to create your storyboard based on the audio portion, creating a new panel for each sentence. The main thing is for your story script to be complete, for you to be familiar with all the images needed to support it and know exactly where they will be used. This roadmap is paper, not stone, and it will likely change as you start to create your piece. As you move into the next sections of this tutorial and begin working on the computer, keep your completed storyboard handy for reference.

Creating a storyboard

As explained at the outset, digital storytelling uses digital media and digital technology to create media-rich stories. It’s important to understand that all the media or assets you’ll be using to create your digital story must be encoded from its original, i.e., analog format into digital format. We call this process digitization.

Some of your media may already exist in digital form: a song from a music CD or .mp3 file (for use on your soundtrack), photos or video on your computer, etc.

Ownership of materials

Before we move on to the details of digitizing your materials, we’ll briefly address the issue of ownership of materials and the use of materials you haven’t created or don’t own. When you’re gathering images and music for your digital story, remember who owns or created the images and sounds you plan to include. By using materials that are exclusively owned by you — meaning you took the photograph, created the artwork or wrote the soundtrack — it ensures there are no copyright infringement implications. However, as a beginner, it is very likely you may not have all of the materials necessary and will need to supplement your story with images or sounds created by others.

Fair use under the U.S. Copyright Act traditionally allows you to use pieces of someone else’s work of art to create a new work of art. However, record and entertainment lawyers have contested this approach, so the legal landscape remains muddied if you plan to upload your work to a public site. In the meantime, if you choose to use images or music in your digital story that are not your own, make sure you acknowledge and credit the author of the material.

Digitizing assets

Visuals are essential to a good digital story. Images used for the video portion of your digital story reinforce the audio as well as help move the story forward and provide context. Visuals can be photographs, video, scanned memorabilia (newspaper clippings or other flat art) or artifacts. Following are processes for digitizing various forms of visuals.

Capturing still photos from a digital camera

Photographs taken using a digital camera are ideal for digital storytelling purposes since they do not require resizing or alteration of the pixel resolution before use. We suggest organizing all of your digital storytelling project files, including photo files, in a separate folder on the desktop. For simplicity, name a folder with your name followed by the word Materials. Create subfolders to hold materials such as Scans and Photographs. Move your desired photos from the digital device folder into your photograph folder by selecting and moving them.

Create the following folder structure on your desktop to contain your materials:

  • Folder: My Materials
  • Subfolder: Scans
  • Subfolder: Photographs
Scanning non-digital materials

While preparing digital photographs for your digital story is relatively straightforward, some of the images you want to use may not have been created digitally and need to be digitized before they can be included. To digitize hard-copy materials such as photographs, memorabilia, articles or artifacts, use a scanner. Scanning is an easily learned skill but requires some additional time and perhaps expense compared to merely downloading images from a digital camera. (As an alternative, you may be able to get a comparable result by photographing the materials with a digital camera.)

To scan materials, be sure you have a scanner that is compatible with your computer and the necessary scanning software installed. (Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements both have the ability to import scans. Check their Help sections for information regarding installation of the necessary plug-ins.) A flatbed scanner will accommodate almost all still photographs and hard-copy materials, and may include an adapter for scanning slides.

Scan your material at 300 dpi resolution. Save all of your scans in your Scans subfolder and title each scan file as clearly as possible so you can identify the content by its name. For the purposes of digital storytelling, save your scans to your computer in jpg (pronounced j-peg) format. An example of a correctly titled and saved scan would look like this: redflower.jpg.

If you have lots of photos or memorabilia, you may want to scan several items at once, saving the group scan as a single file. You can reopen this file at a later time and use the cut and paste functions in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to separate single images into new individual files. Use the following process to select, copy and paste images from a group scan into separate files.

  • Launch Photoshop or Photoshop Elements; use the File Browser to navigate to your group scan file.
  • Select the rectangular marquee tool from the toolbar and use it to draw a selection (you will see “marching ants”) on the area you want to separate from the group scan.
  • Copy the selection by choosing Edit > Copy.
  • Create a new file by choosing File > New, then click OK.
  • Paste the selection into the new file by choosing Edit > Paste.
  • Name and save the new file in your Photographs subfolder by choosing File > Save.
Enhance photos using Adobe Photoshop Elements

Very few photos are perfect. When you critically examine yours, you may note they are faded or colored with age, over- or underexposed, crooked or even out of focus. Depending on the context of how these images are to be used, these imperfections can add authenticity to your story, but they can also be distracting.

One of the wondrous features of working with digital imagery is the ability to color correct, enhance or edit the images using software created specifically for this purpose. The KQED Digital Storytelling Initiative recommends software by Adobe Systems.

For the beginner, Adobe Photoshop Elements is an affordably priced, consumer-level photo-enhancement application designed for anyone wishing to make improvements or changes to their photographs. For the more ambitious and experienced user, Adobe Photoshop is the professional-level version of this software. A much more in-depth application capable of advanced digital image enhancement as well as graphic and Web design functions, it costs significantly more than the consumer version.

Before your photos are imported into iMovie, we recommend improving your photos through the use of rotate, straighten, crop, color correction and the clone stamp tool. Take a few minutes to apply these easy steps and you will see a dramatic improvement in your photos!

The KQED Digital Storytelling Initiative uses software created by Apple Computer to edit digital stories. The iLife suite is a collection of software applications designed by Apple Computer to work seamlessly with each other to manage, enhance and help you create your multimedia collections and projects. iLife contains:

  • iMovie, a video editing application and the primary tool we suggesting using to edit your digital story
  • iPhoto, a photograph organization tool
  • iDVD, for creating and burning DVDs
  • iTunes, for managing and playing your music collection
  • GarageBand, a sound production application.

iMovie is an attractive solution because of its low cost: It’s included free with all new Apple computer purchases and is an intuitive, easy-to-learn program that is fun to use and provides results with very high production value. (Note that iMovie and the other iLife applications run only on Mac computers; there are other options for PC users, which we list at the bottom.)

Using iMovie

For our purpose, we’ll assume you’ve used iMovie a few times before beginning a digital story project.

When you’ve digitized and made Photoshop corrections and improvements to all of your photographs and scans, you are ready to import these assets into iMovie. Import individual photographs into iMovie by choosing File > Import, navigate to your Photographs subfolder on the desktop, select your desired photo and click Open. Select a contiguous grouping of photos by choosing File > Import, then hold down the Shift key, click on files located contiguous to each other and click Open. iMovie does not provide a function to import an entire folder; only files can be imported into iMovie.

Tip on importing

Although iMovie is an excellent tool for editing video, the software has some frustrating aspects to importing, editing and viewing still photographs (note: your mileage may vary depending on which version of iMovie you’re using.) To get the most flexibility with your still photos during the editing process, we recommend taking the following steps before importing into iMovie:

  • Open, name and save your iMovie project, or open a project you have already begun.
  • Choose Photos from the submenu. At the top of the dialogue box for Photos, uncheck the box titled Ken Burns Effect.
  • Import your desired photo by choosing File > Import. Your photo will now appear in the Shelf and be available for use in editing.

By unchecking the Ken Burns Effect box, your photo will import into iMovie with the correct default Zoom setting of 1.00 or 1.16. This will allow you to use the full range of Zoom settings on the photo when you create a Ken Burns Effect later in the editing process.

Recording the script using Sound Studio

When you have finished writing your script, you’re ready to record it for use in the video editing portion of the workshop. As we mentioned earlier, your voice is unique, so we encourage you to record your own narration to add authenticity and ownership to your story. Before you record, mark areas of the script where you wish to pause, speed up or emphasize a word or phrase. Practice reading the material several times to get comfortable with how your voice sounds and to perfect your phrasing and pacing.

We recommend using Sound Studio for your narration. SoundStudio3 costs $80; you can try it out with the demo version. Sound Studio is an inexpensive but powerful piece of software with a very intuitive interface that integrates seamlessly with iMovie. We recommend using Sound Studio instead of either GarageBand or the onboard iMovie audio recording capabilities because of its ability to view a waveform and its rich toolbox of filters. There are other very good audio capture software programs available and we encourage you to experiment. The free and open source Audacity is another option.

Launch Sound Studio. To record a segment of audio, click once on the re Record button, then speak directly into the microphone of your computer. When you have completed speaking your segment (usually a sentence or phrase), stop recording by clicking the Stop button.

Now look at the waveform. A waveform is important to view to determine whether recorded volume is adequate and there is sufficient pause space between words. When you record your script, try to keep the look of the waveform consistent from segment to segment. If the volume of your recording is too low, try recording the segment again speaking more loudly. If the volume is still too low, check the input setting on your computer. To check the input setting, choose System Preferences under the Apple icon or the Finder. From the System Preferences window, click on the Sound icon on the top row of icons. The Sound window will open.

Input volume

Click once on the Input tab and move the slider to increase the input volume setting. Close the Sound window by clicking on the red Close button in the upper left corner. To playback or hear a segment you have recorded, move your cursor to the beginning of the segment and click on the center line separating the left (L) and right (R) channels. Press Play, or your keyboard spacebar, to begin playing the segment. Click Stop or press your spacebar again to stop the playhead. You can also press your spacebar to return to the very beginning of the recording (the first segment).

If you are not happy with your recording, use the cursor to select (highlight) both the left and right channels of the segment, then press the keyboard Delete key. Rerecord the segment until you are satisfied with the results. Then name and save your file in your Materials folder.

Record and review each segment until you are happy with the way it sounds. Be sure to save your work following each successful recorded segment before moving on to the next segment and recording again. Record one segment at a time and keep the reading of your script segments contiguous. When you have successfully recorded your entire script in segments, import the files into iMovie by choosing File > Import and navigate to your saved Sound Studio file. The audio file will import directly into one of two available audio tracks. Be sure the beginning of the audio clip is positioned at the beginning of the timeline or in correct relationship to where your want it to begin.

Capturing video from a digital camera

More and more people own digital video cameras. Using clips — portions of a video — in a digital story is a perfect way to incorporate some impact and motion. Digital storytelling offers an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the footage you’ve shot through the years by incorporating judicious bits of it to hone a well-crafted story.

To get the best possible results when using video in your story, think very carefully about what and how much footage you want to use. Take notes or create a log of your videotape. Start at the beginning of the tape and write down details of what is happening and who is on camera. Continue to make notes throughout the tape. A good rule of thumb is to make a new notation for each scene change. If a scene is particularly interesting or special, say so in your notes. It may seem like a lot of effort, but in the long run, making a log of your videos will make a huge difference in the likelihood of video being useful for editing.

We’ll discuss some of the technical details and specifications of the computers we recommend for digital storytelling later on. However, it’s important to know that your computer requires memory, processing power and hard-drive space for creating video projects such as digital stories. Digital video requires 238 MB/minute of hard-drive space. This means that about 5 minutes of digital video will use 1 GB of hard-drive space, at least temporarily. Check your hard drive to make sure you have room.

After you have reviewed your tapes and are familiar with the clips that you plan to use in your digital story, you are ready to digitize the video. To begin, be sure the tape with your video footage is in the camera and the camera is connected to the computer using a 4- to 6-pin Firewire cable. Be sure your camera is turned on and in VTR or VCR mode. Next, in iMovie, click the camera/editing mode switch to Camera.

Playback controls

Use the playback controls to view the tape in the iMovie monitor. Find the clip you want to capture and rewind the tape a few seconds prior to this point. By capturing a few seconds of footage before your desired footage, you’ll have “handles” to work with in the editing process. When you are ready to capture, click Play, then Import. To stop capturing video, click Import again. You’ll see the segment of captured video position itself in the iMovie shelf, where it is now ready to be used in editing. To capture additional video, repeat the process with each segment of your choice. (If you want to use footage from a DVD, it is possible but somewhat complicated. Look online for assistance.)

Molly’s Nicaragua Digital Story by Molly Halstenson

Creating the piece

Part 3By this point, you should have completed digitizing all of the still photographs, artwork and video you plan to use in your piece. You should also have completed all image enhancements on your photographs and artwork, the final draft of your story as well as recorded your script in Sound Studio. All of these assets, still images, video clips and voiceover narration should be imported into iMovie. We will now move to the next phase of production — creating the final story — by editing the video and audio together in iMovie.

Using a digital (nonlinear) editing program allows you to access your material instantly, and repeatedly if desired. The video editing process calls for a number of decision-making factors that are aesthetic, including clip length and timing, transitions from one clip to another, special effects, titles, and audio and voiceover balance. The next time you watch a movie, commercial or TV program, pay attention to the length of a clip or scene before a change is made. Watch how the transition from one image to the next was made — was it a straight "cut" or a dissolve from one clip into the next? By observing how various transitions are utilized, you will become aware how different aesthetics contribute to a particular mood or feel. Also pay attention to the effect that music has on the piece, and how a change of music can often elicit an emotion as you watch the accompanying video.

Editing in iMovie

Whenever you begin to work with a new piece of software, it’s good practice to review all of the pull-down menus to see what functions are available as well as review the layout or interface. iMovie has a simple interface structure comprised of three elements: the Shelf, the Timeline and the Monitor. You will work with these three areas to create your digital story.

Tip: Working in iMovie will require as much available space on your computer screen as possible. Move the operating system dock to the left-hand side of your screen for maximum working space.

Editing video

The Clips Pane is the location where all of your images (photos, artwork and video clips) are stored for use in your movie. Each image you import into iMovie drops into a square, and you can scroll up and down through the clips to locate a desired image. Think of this area like you would a shelf in your kitchen cabinet; each time you need an ingredient, you return to the shelf to access the material.

The Timeline is the location where you arrange your material in a desired order, add the music and narration as well as transitions and special effects to create your movie. The Timeline has three tracks available in which to work. The top track is where the visual clips are assembled; the lower two are for audio. For our needs, we will use one audio track for the voiceover and a second for soundtrack and sound effects.

The Timeline has two "views" available in which to work. The Clip view (represented by a film clip located just above the Timeline) allows you to see your movie as it is arranged clip by clip; the Timeline view (located next to the film clip, represented by a small clock image) allows you to see the duration times for each of your placed media and transitions. You can adjust the Zoom setting in the Timeline view to visualize your work in more or less detail. Both the Clip and Timeline views are useful; once you begin working in iMovie, you will find it is necessary to toggle back and forth between them to build your piece.

The Monitor is where you view the playback of the movie. It operates with the same controls as a video tape player and television set. Click the Play button (forward arrow) to view the material assembled in the Timeline. Click the double-left arrow to return to the beginning of the Timeline. Click the arrow within a box to view your movie full-screen on your computer screen. You will notice that as your movie plays, a vertical line will progress from left to right through the Timeline. Called a Playhead, its position correlates with the video and audio located in the Timeline.

iMovie also contains a Submenu area where buttons allow you to access other functions essential to creating your movie. The Submenu buttons moving left to right are: Clips, Photos, Audio, Titles, Trans (Transitions), Effects and iDVD. Take a moment to click on each button to see what the interface for each function looks like. As mentioned previously, Apple has taken great strides to integrate its multimedia suite of products. You will be able to access other parts of the iLife Suite through these Submenu choices, including iPhoto (from the Photos button), iTunes (from the Audio button) and iDVD (from the iDVD button).

Let’s look more closely at each of the Submenu functions:


When you click on the Clip button, you see the Shelf window. Use the Clip button when you are working in another submenu window and need to return to the items located in the Shelf. iMovie works with a single-track video editing format, so begin building your story by selecting each clip from the Shelf and placing them next to each other in your desired order in the top track of the Timeline. Repeat the process to place still photograph clips and video clips. Once placed into the Timeline, still photographs are considered video—and you can adjust the length of time (called duration) each still photograph will play.

A note about reading time in video:

When we begin editing with images and video clips, it is necessary to understand how video is measured in terms of time. Video is measured in a unit of time called a frame. There are 30 frames of video processed for each second of video; conversely, each frame is one-thirtieth of a second. Video time is read with the following structure: hours:minutes:seconds:frames. A timecode reading of 01:30:12:10 translates as one hour, 30 minutes, 12 seconds and 10 frames. Familiarize yourself with how to read time in video terms because all indicators of time in video editing, including iMovie, are read in this format.

You can change the duration of still images by double clicking on the image in the Timeline and changing the Duration setting. Remember that video editing operates using the measurement of 30 frames per second. Thus, a three- second duration would read 03:00.


Next is the Photos option. Many students choose to use only still photographs to tell their story. A few thoughtfully chosen photos can bring tremendous emotional impact to a story.

Click on the Photos button on the Submenu and the Photos window will appear. Note how the Photos window is divided into two areas. The lower area provides access to photographs stored in iPhoto; the upper area has settings that allow the effect of motion to be added to still photos. This area is called the Ken Burns Effect.

It’s worth noting that Ken Burns relied heavily on the effects of pans and zooms in his inspired documentary film projects to add a sense of motion to still photographs. Much of his subject matter was created prior to the availability of motion pictures. By creating the effect of pushing in or out (zooming) or panning across a subject in a still photograph, Burns could indicate an area of focus or importance and make the photo feel as if it had motion.

To add a zoom or pan to an image, select an image from the Timeline by clicking on it. This will activate the Ken Burns area of the Photos window and your photo will appear in the small window at the top of the Ken Burns Effect area. (Be sure the box titled Ken Burns Effect is checked.) To get used to the controls available in the Ken Burns Effect, first place your cursor over the small screen and notice how it turns into a hand icon, which allows you to move the image around in the screen. Next, have a look at the Zoom slider located beneath the preview screen; this control allows you to set the amount of zoom (push in or out) to an image. Practice moving the slider and see the effect it has on the image. Do the same with the Duration slider. The Duration slider adjusts the numbers of seconds of the zoom or pan and moves from fast to slow (represented by a rabbit for fast and a turtle for slow). Once you feel comfortable using these controls, you are ready to create a Ken Burns Effect!

To create a setting in the Ken Burns Effect, click the Start button and move the Zoom slider to the position where you want the Zoom to begin. For example, if you’d like the move to start with the entire image as it is in the default view, the Zoom setting should be at 1.00 (iMovie sometimes defaults to 1.16). Next, click the Finish button and use the hand tool to locate the destination point for the zoom. You can now change the duration time it takes to complete this zoom. Adjust the Duration of the move until you are satisfied with the results. Setting the duration time of a zoom or pan is a somewhat subjective process, so experiment with various duration settings until you get a sense of what works and feels correct for the pacing of your story.

Look at the results of your setting by clicking the Preview button. If you’d like to see how the move looks in reverse—starting at the ending point—click on the Reverse button.

Click Apply when you are ready to apply the effect in your Timeline. iMovie will render the effect, which may take a little time, so be patient. You can follow the progress of the render by watching the red bar beneath the targeted clip in the Timeline.

Tip: If during the editing process you find the need to import additional images into iMovie, remember to uncheck the Ken Burns box and move the Zoom slider to the far left, at a setting of 1.00 before importing a photograph. This will ensure that it imports with the correct default zoom setting in place.


As mentioned earlier, the Audio functionality built into iMovie ties directly into the iTunes portion of iLife. This feature makes it particularly easy to add music to your story from your iTunes collection. When you click on the Audio button on the iMovie submenu, the window
opens and takes you directly to your iTunes Library. You can search for a specific song and when you have located it, drag the title directly into the Timeline. iMovie will then import the music track, and place it where the Playhead is located. When the music has been successfully imported, a purple audio track will be visible directly beneath the video Timeline. You can now move the audio track forward or back within the Timeline to align it with your movie. As you will soon see, having a soundtrack in place may require adjusting the duration of transitions and titles in order to synchronize them with the music.


Using text in your story by creating titles and/or credits is an ideal way to add information and dimension. Text can punctuate your script or, in the absence of a spoken reference, serve as supplemental or aside information. For example, if you are telling a story about your parents’ wedding and your script reads, "My parents were married in 1959 on a hot summer day in Biloxi, Mississippi," and the image we see is of a young couple in wedding attire, the addition of text reading "Mom’s dress was pale pink" adds subtle information and texture to the story.

The use of credits, particularly crediting yourself as creator of the production, is also very important. You worked hard on this story—be sure to give yourself credit! Also credit any materials you used within your story that you did not create, such as photographs, video or music.

To create titles, click on Titles in the Submenu. The Titles window will appear. Note the style selector in the center of the window and take time to review samples of what each style looks like (samples will play in the small preview screen at the top of the window). There are lots of fun possibilities, but we recommend using them sparingly! Opt instead for titles that are readable and add interest to (not distract from)your story. Some Title styles have the word Multiple included in their description. This means that additional lines of type are available to be added or subtracted using the + or – buttons that are activated when this option is available. A few of the title styles we recommend are: Centered Multiple, Centered Title, Rolling Centered Credits, Rolling Credits, Scrolling Block, Stripe Subtitle, Subtitle and Music Video.

Titles tend to work best when they are added over a solid background (such as black or white) or a still photograph. You can also add titles over video, but keep in mind that while the video is moving, it may seem as if the title is competing for visual attention. Remember, you want titles to add to your story, not distract from it!

To add a title over a black background, be sure to check Over Black in the Titles window. Next, select a Title style—an elegant favorite is Centered Title. Type in your desired text in the fields provided. Change the color of your text by clicking on the color picker and selecting a color. You can also select a typeface from the pull-down menu and increase or decrease the font size by moving the slider from small to large A.

Adjust the speed at which the title moves into place by using the Speed slider. Adjust the amount of time the Title remains in place—its duration—by adjusting the Pause slider. Note that the amount of time your title will play is the sum total of the Speed plus the Pause settings, and the maximum amount of time available is based on the duration of the clip as set in the Timeline. Preview your settings by clicking the Preview button. If the total amount of time of the effect is less than the duration of the clip, the clip will be displayed in two parts in the Timeline, the part where the title effect is applied and the part where no title is in effect.

To add a title over a still image, uncheck the Over Black box and select your desired image by clicking on it in the Timeline. Your selected image will appear in the Preview screen, allowing you to visualize how the title settings will look. When you are satisfied with the title settings you have created, apply them by dragging the title of the effect onto the image in the Timeline. If you created a title over black, drag the name of the title effect into the position you want it to be on the Timeline. iMovie will then render the title into place. Once your title is situated, you may realize you need to shorten or lengthen the amount of time or the color is not quite right. Go back and make changes from the Titles window and update the change in the Timeline by first selecting the target clip to change, then clicking on Update in the Titles window.


The next function available on the Submenu bar is Transitions. They are the visual effects that occur as one clip or image ends and another begins. In television programming, transitions go mostly unnoticed, with a straight "cut" being the standard. Feature films use transitions more artfully, often with fade-ins (transitioning from black to image or video) and fade-outs (moving from image or video to black). Feature films use transitions to establish feel and emotion. Some action films use the radial or clock wipe effect to indicate action occurring at a secondary location. We lightheartedly refer to this as the "meanwhile…back at the ranch" transition.

A cross-dissolve is a transition where one image slowly fades away as the next image fades in over a set duration of time. The cross-dissolve, when used in television, primarily indicates a passage of time. The cross-dissolve is visually a very pretty transition and particularly elegant when dissolving between still photographs. In digital storytelling, the cross-dissolve is likely the most frequently used transition.

The process of adding transitions to your digital story is a satisfying and enjoyable part of the production process. Finally, the emotional attitude of your story begins to reveal itself and you can see how the arrangement of music, narration, images and transitions all come together with powerful results.

Click on the Trans button on the Submenu and examine the contents of the transitions window. iMovie has again provided a nice selection of transitions you can use in your story. Spend time previewing the options. We recommend the use of Fade In, Fade Out, Cross-Dissolve, Overlap, Wash In and Wash Out. Also note the slider for adjusting the duration of time a transition takes to complete. Once again, the time duration of a transition is a subjective topic. If you are using a straight-cut transition, there is no time duration; it is instant. If you use cross-dissolve or fade-in and fade-out transitions, you will want to time the duration in accordance with the overall tone or pacing of your story. When you have chosen a transition effect and set the time duration, you are ready to add the transition into place.

Working in the Clip view, drag your desired transition from the Trans window to your desired location between clips on the Timeline. Note that when the transition takes its place and is successfully rendered, it acquires its time duration from the clip before or after, depending on where it is placed. Yes, the transition actually steals time from the clip. This can be a very frustrating aspect of editing in iMovie. You will likely spend time not only placing the transition, but resetting the time duration of the clip. (Reset the time duration by double clicking on the clip and adjusting the time duration field.)


You’ve created the order of your story, built the transitions and added motion to still photographs using the Ken Burns Effect. The titles, narration and soundtrack are all in place—your story is almost finished! Now, add a little more visual interest by inserting some special effects.

Upon hearing the words "special effect," what often comes to mind are explosions or high-tech animation. This may not be what you want in your story. Once again, iMovie has created some interesting and useful effects that can add texture and ambience to your story.

Click on the Effects button to open the Effects window. You should begin to recognize the interface by now, as it is similar to all of the other Submenu windows. A preview screen is located at the top along with two duration control sliders, one for Effect In and one for Effect Out. The Preview and Apply buttons are also located in this area. In the middle of the window are the Effects; even some of the names sound enticing!

Click once to select a clip from the Timeline, then click through each of them to see what the effect looks like in the preview screen. Note that each effect may have additional controls and settings available. These extra settings are located in the lower part of the Effects window. When you find an effect you’d like to add to your story, set the duration settings of Effect In and Effect Out to indicate where during the time duration of the clip the effect begins and ends. When ready, add the Effect to your movie by clicking Apply. The Special Effect will render (and may take a minute or so); watch its development on the red progress bar.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with special video effects. Sometimes even the most unlikely looking effect can have a surprisingly effective result!

Now that you’ve learned about the concept and the tools of editing video using iMovie, let’s consider the role audio plays in your digital story. Audio, of course, is a primary component of any digital story. Being able to hear the words clearly—without static, distortion or interference—is key to others engaging in your story. Adding a soundtrack to a digital story is one of the really fun and easy-to-do parts of creating your piece. Thoughtfully chosen music can add so much texture and emotion. Knowing how to adjust the volume for best sounding levels is also essential. If your soundtrack is too loud, the narration may be drowned out; if it’s too low, little is added but distraction.

Now we’ll address the various software available for recording audio plus how to add a soundtrack and sound effects to your piece. We’ll also offer direction on how to adjust the levels of soundtrack, effects and narration.

Editing audio


A second option for recording an audio narration for your digital story is to record directly into iMovie, which has a simple interface for this task. Click on the Audio button of the Submenu and note an area with the word Microphone located in the bottom section of the window. A green levels indicator flickers from ambient sound and shows the microphone is working. Test the microphone further by speaking a few words and watching the green levels rise and fall with your voice.

To record a narration, click the red button to the right of the microphone indicator and speak the desired portion of your script. Record small sections at a time per your script sections. Click the red button again to stop recording. See how iMovie automatically numbers the voice clip and drops it into available space in an audio track. Place the Playhead at the start of the clip and listen to the track. If you like the way it sounds, move it to another area of the track. If you don’t like the take, select the clip and press the Delete key. Repeat this process for the remaining audio segments; iMovie will number each clip consecutively.

The ability to record narration in iMovie is adequate for some uses, but it generally does not provide the control necessary for achieving consistent recording results. iMovie allows you to view the audio waveform (a graphical representation of sound) by checking this option under iMovie preferences. iMovie will not allow you to view the waveform and the name of the clip at the same time. We stress the importance of having a consistent-looking waveform throughout the duration of the narration. For this reason, we recommend a third option for audio software: Sound Studio.

Sound Studio

We’ve discussed Sound Studio — a shareware application that interfaces well with iMovie — above. The controls are easy to use and the software offers a viable waveform graphic for you to visualize volume of your narration. Allowing for volume variations that are story driven (the sound of another voice), we recommend keeping the waveform of your narration consistent throughout. Sound Studio allows you to create a new file and record all of your narration in segments consecutively. It lets you build your entire narration in one file, which can then be easily imported by iMovie. We recommend using Sound Studio for its ability to easily edit your audio narration, its waveform feature and integrate seamlessly with iMovie.

Adding a soundtrack to iMovie

Earlier in this section, we discussed how to add a music track to your movie using the Audio submenu button and selecting a track from your iTunes Library. That is one way to add a music track, but what if you don’t have an iTunes Library? Like many applications, iMovie offers multiple ways to achieve the same result. In this case, we’ll talk about how to add a music track to your story from a CD.

First, insert the CD into the CD drive of the computer. You will see the CD appear on your desktop and iTunes will automatically launch. If you don’t know exactly which cut of music to select, use iTunes to listen to the tracks and make your decision. When you have determined which cut to use in your story, import it into iMovie.

To import a track into iMovie, first activate iMovie and choose File > Import. Navigate to the CD located on the desktop. Choose the desired track by double clicking on its name. iMovie will import the track. (Follow the progress by watching the progress bar.) By default, iMovie will place the beginning of the music track at the location where the Playhead is positioned. You can easily move the track forward or back once it has been imported to align with the beginning of your movie.

Adding sound effects

Sound effects can enhance a digital story in much the same way that special video effects do. When sound effects are added in a well-integrated manner, they can be very subtle and natural sounding. By now, your digital story should have an audio track with narration and an audio track with a soundtrack. Try adding some special effects to enhance the audio portion of your piece even further.

To add a special sound effect using iMovie, click on the Audio button located in the Submenu. At the top of the Audio tools window, click on the pull-down menu and choose iMovie Sound Effects.

iMovie has provided two built-in packages of Sound Effects: Skywalker Sound Effects and Standard Sound Effects. Toggle each arrow to view the sound effects associated with each package and the maximum duration time available for each one. To hear what an individual sound effect sounds like, double click on its name. To stop the effect before its maximum duration times out, click once on the name.

Add a sound effect to your Timeline by clicking on the name of the sound effect and dragging it to one of the two audio tracks. Place the sound effect close to the location you wish to hear it play in the piece. When the sound effect is placed in an audio track, it will appear with its name and the entire available time duration. Adjust the amount of time you really want to use the effect by selecting the clip, then placing your mouse either at the beginning or end of the clip. Your cursor will change to a bar with a double arrow. Shorten or expand the duration of the clip by moving the cursor inward or outward. To hear the sound effect, set the Playhead at the location of the effect and press the spacebar. Note that if you placed the sound effect into the same audio track as your soundtrack, you will hear both!

Mixing and adjusting levels

iMovie works with two audio tracks. When we suggest dragging a sound effect into a track that is already occupied by either a soundtrack or voiceover narration, the first question often asked is, "How can one track hold more than one thing?" iMovie audio tracks are capable of layering up to 99 effects or music per track. The challenge is to adjust the volume levels of each effect, music and narration so they can all be heard in correct balance.

To adjust the levels of volume, check the Edit Volume box in the lower section of the Timeline. Clicking on Edit Volume creates a purple rubber-band style volume control in each audio track that is present, including sound effects. Click on any point of the purple line to create an adjustment point. The point will turn yellow and permit you to raise (increase volume) or lower (lower volume) within the track. Working somewhat like a connect-the-dot premise, just raise and lower the point until you are satisfied with volume settings.

On the far right side of the Timeline are three audio-shy track check boxes. Check a box and the corresponding track will have muted audio. This feature can be very useful if you would like to work on the volume settings in the soundtrack and sound effect track without hearing the narration and vice-versa.

Adjust the levels so when played all together, volume is correctly balanced between narration, soundtrack and sound effects. Voice narration should have priority, and the soundtrack should be set lower with sound effects balanced according to intended impact. Editing audio is really fun and you can spend lots of time with many, many nuances. Learn to hear what is playing, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different volume settings in order to detect the differences they can make in the way the story is heard.

Our recommended workflow

Now that we’ve reviewed the components of editing in iMovie, it’s time to get to work! There is a method to the madness and a preferable order to putting your story together in iMovie. From experience, we recommend you work in the following order:

  1. Place voiceover narration in an audio track.
  2. Begin ordering clips from the Shelf into Timeline.
  3. Create titles cards, scrolling text and credits; place in correct position in Timeline.
  4. Add transitions between clips, titles and credits.
  5. Add Ken Burns Effect on still photographs.
  6. Add a soundtrack.
  7. Add special effects.
  8. Add sound effects.
  9. Adjust volume levels of narration, soundtrack and sound effects.

After all this, your piece is essentially finished — now you have to output the final version.

Unexpected Paths, a digital story by Alicia Mueller

Sharing the work

Part 4

The exporting process

Exporting a movie is the process of rendering the production from the project state (the state you have been working in) to the compressed, stand-alone state where playback is possible without use of the software used to create the piece—in our case, without iMovie. Before you export your story, it’s good practice to do a final Save to update your project file. Next, choose File > Share.

The dialogue box that appears will provide a number of options for how your finished movie can be used. Select a use for your movie from the choices of Email, HomePage, Videocamera, iDVD, QuickTime or Bluetooth. For this workshop, we will export, or Share, using QuickTime. Select the QuickTime icon from the top of the dialogue box.

A secondary dialogue box will appear with prompts for exporting your movie to QuickTime. In the center of the window is a pull-down menu with the QuickTime pre-set compression settings. Compress Movie For: Email, Web, Web Streaming, CD-ROM, Full Quality DV and Expert Settings. Since we want to be able to watch our movie from the computer, select Full Quality DV.

A message will appear in the dialogue box with specific details of how your movie will be processed. You will probably agree with these details so press Share. iMovie will then ask you to name the movie and choose a location to save it in. Your movie will begin to render and may take a few minutes or longer depending on the size of your project file. When the movie has finished rendering, you can view it by double clicking on the file and using the Player controls.

Export the finished story for others

Distributing your story using other forms of media

iMovie’s Share function provides very useful pre-set output choices for your digital story. Output specifications should be considered for whatever your intended distribution use or sharing purpose may be. Output specifications you should consider are:

  • Frame rate: Full-frame video runs at a rate of 30 frames per second. Anything significantly less than this will have some visible loss in quality.
  • Screen size: Full-frame (full-size) digital video is sized at 720 pixels (horizontal) by 520 pixels (vertical) — unless you’re using a widescreen 16:9 format.
  • Sound: Sound can be in full two-channel stereo or mono. Stereo is best if the original source (including music) was in stereo.

File size: One of the most important considerations is file size. The file size correlates with the frame rate and screen size—the lower the frame rate and smaller the screen size, the smaller the file size will be. Moving large-size files across the Internet is only possible for people with very large and fast connections, so a smaller file is preferable for uses such as e-mail and Websites. Other storage media like CD-ROMs or DVDs can handle larger file sizes. CDs can hold approximately 700 MB of data and DVDs can hold approximately 4.3 GB of data.

iMovie offers pre-set compression settings for these uses, among others:

iDVD: A discussion of iDVD requires an entire manual on its own, thus is beyond the scope of this lesson. Among other cool capabilities, iMovie integrates seamlessly with iDVD to add chapter markers within your movie.

QuickTime: QuickTime compresses video for various uses. QuickTime will process video for streaming Web at various sizes, depending on your settings and version of iMovie. If you choose to process your movie in Full Quality DV creates a single DV movie file with no loss of quality. Your movie will play full-size: 720 x 540 pixels, 30 frames per second with no loss of compression. These files will be larger in size than compressed files.

Expert settings: Expert settings allow you to choose your own compression rates. The exported size will depend on which options you select. If you wish to experiment with Expert Settings, we recommend independently researching the various codec (compression/decompression) options available.

Archiving suggestions

If you are not using your own computer to create your digital story, you probably would like to save all of your digital materials to work on again at another time, or even reuse some of the materials you created for this story in a different story. We highly recommend archiving all your digital media, including working assets, iMovie project file and your completed movie. Because digital video uses tremendous amounts of hard-drive space (remember, five minutes of digital video takes up 1 GB of hard-drive space), all of your material combined is likely to take up a large amount of space. One suggestion for archiving your material is to invest in an extra hard drive.

Another option is to archive your material to other forms of storage media, including DVD and CD-ROM. DVDs can hold approximately 4.3 GB of data and CDs hold approximately 700 MB of data. Try to assess the amount of material you will need to archive before deciding which storage device may work best for you.

We suggest archiving:

  • Digital media assets
  • Original photograph and artwork scans
  • Images that have been enhanced using Photoshop
  • Voiceover narration files
  • iMovie project files
  • Completed .mov files.

If you have original video footage recorded on a recent format of tape, you can save space on a hard drive or other storage device by not archiving video clips digitized for use in your project. Digitizing video is a very easy procedure using iMovie, and we suggest digitizing video on an as-needed basis. However, as a conscientious producer, you should check the condition of your original footage regularly. If you notice signs of distress — either on the tape itself or with the content — archive it to another format immediately.

Publishing your story

Depending on your objectives and the content of the story, you may want to share it with the larger world. Certainly, if your goal is to raise awareness or mobilize people on behalf of a cause, you’ll likely want to upload the work to a video hosting site and embed it on your site or blog.

Some of your options include:

Ourmedia and others.

Be sure to let us know of compelling stories you create or come across!

Denise Atchley is the co-founder of the Digital Storytelling Festival. Article published with the author’s permission.

• The KQED Digital Storytelling Initiative offers workshops throughout the year

• The Center for Digital Storytelling also offers an excellent series of workshops

Digital storytelling: A tutorial in 10 easy steps

Visual storytelling checklist

Discovering digital stories: a 2 1/2-minute primer on YouTube

Educational uses of digital storytelling — University of Houston

Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of Hope — MediaStorm

• PC users can trying digital storytelling with:

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