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Project Pre-Production

Below you can see information regarding everything you need to know to get started on your multimedia project.

Help and Resources

Note that the following help and resources are available as you work on your multimedia project:

  • There are two Mac labs available with large iMacs that are perfect for video editing:
    • OL 1100 is the LTS training lab located near the riverside entrance to McIntyre Library.
    • OL 1108b is attached to the 24-hour lab (OL 1108) and is likewise open 24 hours per day.

  • View the topics covered in the Learning and Technology Services (LTS) video tutorials. Below are some playlists that may be applicable, depending on the software you are using for your project:
  • Assistance is available at the LTS Help Desk, located at OL 1106 (right next to the 24-hour lab). The Help Desk's normal hours when school is in session are as follows:
    • Sunday - 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
    • Monday - Thursday - 7:30 am - 10:00 pm
    • Friday - 7:30 am - 5:00 pm
    • Saturday - 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • If you wish to set up a free one-on-one appointment with a specialist for training in any supported software, visit the BITS training site and fill out the training request form.

Projects Drive Storage Space

Projects drive space is provided for large, multimedia projects. Read the tips below, and watch these video tutorials to learn about Class Projects Drive Folders or how to Create and Use a Folder on the Projects Drive.

  • If you are creating a project for a class, your teacher may mention that he or she has created a class folder on the projects drive. Within this folder, you will find either individual or group folders, depending on the assignment set-up.

  • To create a personal projects drive folder for a project, open a web browser, and go to 

  • Save everything you use for your multimedia project in that projects drive folder: the project itself, video clips, audio files, images, etc. For some software, including PowerPoint and Audacity, it is especially important that all files stay together in one place.

Software Options

Depending on the requirements of your project and what you are comfortable with, there are a variety of options for creating a multimedia project.

  • Audacity is the recommended software for audio editing. Users can record narration in Audacity, edit the audio, control the volume, and so on. A musical background track can be added, and the volume of your narration and the musical background can be minutely adjusted, including setting music to fade in and out when needed. While narration can be recorded in other software programs, Audacity has more fine-tuned editing tools. Audacity is on campus lab computers, but it is also a free download, so it can easily be downloaded by users on personal computers. For more information about Audacity, view the LTS Audacity video tutorial playlist.

  • iMovie is the number one video editing software recommended on campus. It is a software available on all campus Mac computers. It is a fairly user-friendly software that allows for the creation of professional-looking videos. For more information about iMovie, view the LTS iMovie documentation and/or the LTS 30-Second iMovie video tutorial playlist.

  • PowerPoint can, believe or not, be used to create a video. For those who are more comfortable with Microsoft Office products, this might be a good route. You can incorporate video clips, images, text, narration, and so on, set timings on the slides, and export the product as a movie. For more information on this process, view the LTS PowerPoint - Multimedia video tutorial playlist.

  • Windows Live Movie Maker is the Windows video editing software. It is supported by LTS and training is available, but iMovie is generally preferred, as Movie Maker is much less powerful.

Permissions and Release Agreements

When creating multimedia projects for courses, there are certain consent forms that may need to be used:

  • Permission and Release Agreement
    This consent form is for use by instructors on behalf of their students. Instructors may wish to use students' assignments as examples in future classes or at a conference. If students agree to this, signing this form will a) prove that the individual or group retains copyright of the materials, b) gives instructors the permission to use the project for various purposes, and c) guarantees that the individual/group who created the project complied with copyright fair use guidelines.

  • Talent Release
    Students should use this consent form when and if they incorporate an individual via video, audio, or images. If the individual signs this form, they are (among other things) providing permission for these materials to be used and stating that they will not try to claim compensation at a later date.

Renting Equipment from McIntyre Library

McIntyre Library has a wide variety of equipment available for students, staff, and faculty to check out. Some of the equipment that might come in hand for multimedia projects includes the following:

  • Digital cameras
  • Digital camcorders
  • Microphones
  • Blue or green screens
  • Tripods

It is always best to reserve equipment ahead of time to make sure that it will be available to you when you need it. For more information on these items or to make a reservation for equipment, visit Student Equipment Checkout.

Tips for Taking Good Video

Taking good video is more difficult than you might think. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you get started:

  • Plan ahead. Don't start shooting your video without knowing exactly what your purpose is. You could do this by drawing up a storyboard, writing and outline, or creating a shot list of every scene and what is going to happen in each scene.

  • Always use a tripod. It is amazing how big a difference using a tripod can make in the quality of your video. No matter how steady you think your hands are, your video footage will visibly shake. If you don't have a tripod or are shooting video from a location that would make using a tripod difficult, be sure to brace the camera against an object (e.g. tree branch, rock, fence post). Tripods are available to rent at McIntyre Library.

  • Think about audio and lighting. The parts that go into shooting the video are very important: if you audio is poor and the lighting is bad, viewers will be easily distracted from what may otherwise be a great video.
    • When you check out a camera from McIntyre, get a microphone as well. The camera microphone alone may not be enough to give you high-quality audio in your video.
    • Do some tests to find the best lighting. Don't shoot directly into the sunlight or shoot video with a window behind the subject. Doing this will likely throw your subject into shadow, while the rest of the screen is too bright. Instead, turn on as many lights as possible if you are indoors, or try for a cloudy day if you are working outdoors.

  • Don't overuse zoom. If you zoom and pan too much, you audience will be distracted from what is going on in the video itself.

  • Pay attention to your background. When you take video, it is easy to concentrate on the person or object in the foreground and forget to look at what is going on behind them. For example, if shooting video of an individual, make sure there aren't telephone poles or trees behind him or her that look as if they are protruding from the individual's head.

  • Try using the rule of thirds. When taking a picture or shooting video, divide the camera screen into nine equal sections to resemble a tic-tac-toe board, as shown below. Align your main subject matter along these lines and specifically at their intersections.

    Rule Of Thirds

Copyright Information

When creating a multimedia project, you must be very careful about what copyright materials go into your presentation. The Fair Use Act does have guidelines that are specific to students and instructors creating projects for educational use.

The information covered by the Fair Use Act can be slightly confusing. In general, it is simply easiest to avoid using any copyrighted works. This comes most into play with music. To learn more about where to find copyright-free music for use in your project, view the Creative Commons Music documentation.

If it is necessary to use copyrighted materials, you will need to understand the rules and limitations. Some of the main points from the UW-Eau Claire information regarding Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia are summarized below:

  • Students may use sections of lawfully acquired copyrighted works if creating multimedia projects for a specific course. Such projects may also be used as examples of work in portfolios created for job or graduate school interviews.

  • Instructors may use sections of lawfully acquired copyrighted works if creating multimedia projects for use as teaching tools in a course. These projects can be used in face-to-face instruction, as an assignment to students for self-study, in distance education, for peer conferences, and as examples of work in a professional portfolio.

  • There are portion limitations to what students and instructors may use of copyrighted materials, even in educational purposes. These are briefly summarized below:

    • Motion Media: Up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less, of a copyrighted motion media work may be used as part of a multimedia projects created according to the above guidelines.

    • Text Material: Up to 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less, of a copyrighted textual work may be used as part of a multimedia projects created according to the above guidelines.

    • Music, Lyrics, and Music Videos: Up to 10%, but no more than 30 seconds, of the copyrighted music and lyrics from an individual work may be used as part of a multimedia projects created according to the above guidelines. For information regarding where to find copyright-free music, view the Creative Commons Music documentation.

    • Illustrations and Photographs: No more than five copyrighted images by an artist or photographer may be used as part of a multimedia projects created according to the above guidelines.

    • Numerical Data Sets: Up to 10# or 2500 fields or cell entries, whichever is less, from a copyrighted database or data table may be used as part of a multimedia projects created according to the above guidelines.

  • There are a limited number of copies, including the original, may be made of an educator's multimedia project.

  • Copyrighted materials can not be used without permission for non-educational or commercial purposes or for duplication/distribution of projects for reasons not listed above.