Playlist of videos relevant to this week.

Course Goal: Produce an outstanding anthropological video short.  This can be a short documentary, story, video essay, or experimental film

What makes it “anthropological”?   Your final project will include anthropological research (fieldwork, participant observation, conversation analysis, discourse analysis, the comparative method, and/or other forms of anthropological methods) and use the anthropological perspective (seeing your own seeing, seeing big, seeing small, seeing it all) to analyze the material, have an “aha!” moment, and express your insights.

What makes it “outstanding”?  By Tuesday next week you will submit your favorite video on Canvas and break it down shot by shot.  We will also break down some of the videos in class and collectively decide what makes a video short “outstanding.”   Here is my pick:

How will we get there?

1. Together. Encourage each other when times get hard.  Push each other when its time to push.   Cultivate a culture of support and excellence.

Blobs and Lines Ice-breaker

2. Practice.  So let’s get going immediately.

Assignment for Thursday: Introduce yourself to the class with a short and simple video describing 3 things about yourself. Here is one I made for my Online World Religions class:

Post unlisted on YouTube and then post to Discussion on Canvas.

and always look for ways to practice every day.  This is what I did this morning:

15 weeks & 15 challenges.  Each week you will have a challenge to practice your way toward an outstanding final project.  The challenges are setup so that as soon as you have a final project idea you can start producing material for the challenges that should also work for your final project.  The 15 challenges are as follows:

Warm-Up Act: 3 Things About You.

  1. Reverse Engineer your Favorite Video
  2. Boring Room Challenge
  3. Story Hunting
  4. The (RE)Edit
  5. A Day in the Light
  6. Composing a Sequence
  7. A Colorful Event
  8. 48 Hour Film Challenge
  9. Professional Interviews
  10. Soundscape of a Sensual Ethnography
  11. Final Project Trailer
  12. Storyboard and Shotlist
  13. First Final Draft
  14. Second Final Draft
  15. Final Project

3. Learn from Others.  I have put together a  playlist for each week featuring some of the best teachers on YouTube.  We will watch some of these in class.  The rest are recommended.  The more you watch, the more you learn.

A few of the best teachers on YouTube:

Camera Conspiracies

Potato Jet

Darious Britt DRDarious:

Brandon Li:

Christian Mate Grab:

Peter McKinnon:


Our Gear:  3 Options

Any Digital Ethnography Video kit should include:

  • A camera that shoots good 1080p or better video and gives you manual controls
  • General zoom lens for good light
  • Primes for low light (under f2)
  • Tripod & Monopod
  • Image stabilization
  • Good audio

All of our kits have at least a minimal solution for each of these elements.

  1. Canon 70D + 10-18mm, 28mm, 50mm, and 18-55mm lenses.

2. Sony A6000 + 25mm F1.8

3. Sony A6300 + Sigma Lenses


What software do you need?

If you use the labs for editing, you don’t need any software.  We will use Adobe Premiere in this class.  It’s $20/month for students to get access to all of their software products (Creative Cloud).  Or you can use HitFilm though it can be a little sluggish on many computers (as can ANY video software, especially if you are using 4K or other high bitrate files.)

We have a lab in Waters 201 and you can also go to the Media Development Center in the Union:



Coming soon …

Challenge 1: Reverse Engineering

Take your favorite video and analyze the first 100 shots, noticing everything you would need to re-create the video yourself.  Include the following:

  • Shot description
  • Duration of shot
  • Composition: Tight or wide shot, angle, symmetry, focus
  • Movement
  • Lighting (including position of sun, weather, artificial lights)
  • Edit Effects
  • Sound
  • Guess at exactly what equipment was used and where/how it was set up.

Here is an example of an analysis of the first 20 shots of Hong Kong Strong.


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