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The culmination of Com 210 is complete -I have finished my video story, using Adobe Premiere. Entitled Digging for Bear Butter, this video illustrates the survey method my graduate research uses to count-collect army cutworm moths (aka bear butter) at select high-elevation talus slopes in the Glacier National Park area.

The process began roughly two weeks ago with instructional tutorials. For one of these I had to do film a topic of my choice, but edited according to directions. I opted to film the making of my morning coffee, using a stove top espresso maker, as shown below:

With a basic understanding of how to work the program, I then initiated the process for developing a video story from start to finish. Given this website is dedicated to my graduate research, I decided to showcase a survey method I’m using. Out of several possibilities, I chose my project’s count and collection survey method for army cutworm moths. I chose this topic for three reasons: 1) it’s a novel method, 2) it would allow me to feature this unique predator-prey interaction, and 3) I possessed sufficient video footage and photos illustrating it. The next step then, was developing a story board for the the project:

Timestamp Visuals Audio
0:00Close up intro video of grizzly foraging for mothsAudio of rocks being turned over from the clip or music
0:10Detailed, up-close Army cutworm moth photos (2)Narration -army cutworm moth migration to mtns
0:15Remote camera video footage of moths flying @ nightNarration -moth aggregations at night
0:20Remote camera video footage of grizzlies digging for moths by dayNarration -moth aggregations at day
0:40Show two wide clips of techs hiking up mountainsNarration -hiking into sites
1:00Show 2-3 wide videos/photos of techs diggingNarration -dig like bears to count moths
1:15Show up-close shot of moth in handNarration-find and collect moths
1:20show up-close video of tech vacuuming up mothsNarration -find and collect moths II
1:30Show 1 up-close video of moths in vacuumNarration -find and collect moths III
1:35Show video of moths transferred to ziploc bagNarration -transfer moths to a collection bag
1:40Show photo of moths in a bagDitto
1:43Wrap up with video and photos of bears at moth sitesWrap-up narration & music
1:55Creditsmusic or nothing

With an outline developed, I started putting a rough draft together. Given this is a class assignment, I wanted to work with as many techniques as possible for learning purposes. So, I used video footage and photos, and I used an assortment of audio types layered together -narration, Creative Commons music, and ambient sound. As far as steps in the video story development process go, putting together the rough draft was the most time-consuming step. But, it was also a heck of a lot of fun, and I became far more comfortable using the program in doing so! You may view the rough draft below:

Overall, I was really satisfied with the draft version. During classmate review, I only received one critique, and that person thought the draft was fine as-is. However, I identified seven ways I could improve the video:

  1. Use a different font in my title and credit page. Just because you love a font doesn’t make it appropriate for the video.
  2. Re-record the narration; relax, be more animated…be more yourself.
  3. Add some pan and zoom effects to a selection of the photos
  4. Refine transitions between clips
  5. Add logos of the Glacier National Park Conservancy & Washington State University
  6. Remove one photo from each of the two segments containing four consecutive photographs, so each photo in the string is shown for a longer time.
  7. Decrease the volume of the narration a notch.

I made the above changes and then adjusted the timings of audio and video to maintain a well-synced video. I think my final video is a nice progression from its draft form. It is a video I am proud of, one I’d be happy to share with others. In fact, I’ve already done so with my project’s funding source, and they responded asking for permission to broadcast the video across their social media platforms and put it up on their website. In the future, I foresee scenarios where I will use this video in presentations to communicate my project’s work to a group of scientists or the public. My final version of Digging for Bear Butter can be viewed below:

This entry was posted in Com 210.
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