James at Lloud

Works and thoughts about digital communication & education

Job Application Video

I was very excited about a job opportunity in June of 2012.  So much so that I decided to create a video and include a link in the application.  Though the video is made exclusively for one position, I think it is interesting mostly because it was completely self-produced.


How it Was Done

As I wrote above I made this completely by myself using an in-expensive HD camcorder, a lavalier microphone and micro mixer, and edited with Adobe Premiere Elements on a Windows 7 desktop computer.

The Canon camcorder has two features that were critical to this production. First is that the camcorder has an external microphone connection.  I used a micro mixer set levels from the lavalier microphone to better control the audio.  Second, the camcorder has a flip-out viewscreen so that I could see the composition of the frame from my location in front of the camera.  The camera was mounted on an in-expensive but sturdy tripod and the lighting was completely ambient in a very sunny room.

The camcorder records to a standard SD memory card and I transferred the files to the computer.  I made six ‘takes’ of the script I had written and then edited the piece in Adobe Premiere Elements adding still and motion graphics to the final production.

One tip that I can share about Adobe Premiere Elements is that I create a new catalog file for each project.  The catalog file is intended for home video enthusiasts and typically contains all the video in the users video library, but this becomes just to large to be workable.  It is a bit of a workaround, but it makes a big difference for complex projects.

Professional Objectives video

This project emerged from a re-design of my resume which included a clarification of my professional objectives.  Professional objectives have fallen a bit from favor in the modern job hunt but this was something that was very useful in my job hunt and I wanted to create a project that was both a statement and an example.

I wanted to use a variety of tools and include work with virtual learning environments so I chose to perform this as an avatar in Second Life.


How it Was Done

For this project I even made a video describing how it was done:


Good Morning English City

I had a great opportunity to work in a virtual learning environment known as “English City” for the UK company Language Lab.  English City was a place for anyone who wanted to improve their English language skills.  It is a for-profit business and in this capacity I helped to create some of the most dramatic learning experiences I have ever encountered.

Most of these programs are published on the Language Lab Youtube channel, but I do have this example in my own channel.


How it Was Done

My role was that of event host which provided an experiential aspect to the learning of English – a place for learners to make use of the language.  I hosted events such as ‘Emergency’ and ‘Adventure’ but my favorite event was “Good Morning English City” – a television talk show.  In this 2 hour event learners would play the part of talk show hosts and guests, improvising the topics and performing with invented personalities & backgrounds.  We would run the talk show at least three times so that new learners could observe the process before jumping in.

In addition to guiding the learners through the event, I wanted to create artifacts for both the learners and for Language Lab so I developed a workflow and methodology to record and present the talk show on Youtube.

My production tools included a version of the Second Life virtual world viewer customized by Language Lab.  To capture the sessions I used a screen recorder named “BSR – Best Screen Recorder” which allowed me to capture fluid motion and audio on a custom screen area.  BSR would record into an uncompressed format which allowed for a very high frame rate but created an enormous video file.  Recording to a compressed file was too demanding for my computer even though it was well-configured with a dual-core processor and high speed graphics card.

Several configuration issues were quite challenging.  One was to capture the session while hiding the SecondLife viewer controls & mouse cursor.  Next was mixing the audio coming from the viewer with the audio from my microphone.  BSR had very good options in selecting audio source and mixing form the audio resources in the Windows 7.

Once the session was recorded I created an Adobe Premiere Elements project and assembled the program into one long program.  I created three ‘bump’ animations and an opening animation of a logo provided by the Language Lab staff using motion controls in Adobe Premiere Elements.  Then I broke the big program back into pieces to be uploaded to Youtube where it was re-assembled as a Playlist of videos.  I did this so that learners could view and share just the segments in which they participated.

Molbio in Second Life

As part of initiative to understand how we might use virtual environments, my colleague and friend Sam Jackson and I prototyped a region name “Molbio” in Second Life. Molbio is a contraction of the term “Molecular Biology”. This region was hoped to serve both training for and promotion of the Promega brand.

This video is an un-narrated tour of the region that I made just prior to our shutting it down.

It is vernacular in Second Life to use the term “build” as a noun to describe the virtual objects and landscapes created there. Sam made several ‘builds’ to be used as gathering places for meeting those interested in general molecular biology topics. Sam also created a ‘build’ of a laboratory where we had hoped to create ‘virtual videos’ – more typically known as ‘machinima’. Machinma has several advantages over real-life media creation and is becoming a significant product of virtual environments.

I created a replica of a building from Promega’s corporate campus to orient new arrivals to the region. I also created a ‘walking tour’ of the basic concepts of molecular biology. These walking tours are another typical use of virtual learning environments which reflects the real-world concept of the poster show – a common practice in the communities of academic and research science.

We could not generate the traction we needed within the organization to continue with the prototype. While Sam and I both had great enthusiasm for the possibilities, we just could not make that connection for our colleagues. It was a very valuable lesson in just how challenging it can be to move people from their comfort zones to explore something new.

Video Protocol

This project was used in conjunction with a classroom event known as PromeTech where global employee scientists convened in Madison to experience hands-on laboratories and lectures about the products. While the goal is to gain experience handling the product, many protocols simply take too much time to fit into an in-person agenda. This video was produced to show all of the steps involved up to the point where the learners in the classroom would begin. In actuality, the lab trainers did all of the steps presented in the video and had the prepared plates ready for the learners to finish the protocol.

Flash video
Click to play, but know that it is a VERY large file (50mb)

If you have time to watch this to the end, look for the smiley in the lower right corner and click it to see some scientistical humor.

About The Author

James Chris Lloyd

 
 Learning Technologist
 - Instructional Design
 - Media Production
 - Curricular Analysis
 - Communities of Practice
 - Virtual Environments
 
Innovative
Creative
Accomplished

 
"I can make it work."

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