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:

Simple Logo Animation

My objective for this project was to use the simplest of tools to create a logo animation video as a demonstration for non-profit clients.

How it Was Done

I started with a logo I had designed for my consulting work which I re-created using the drawing tools in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.  I then used the animation features of PowerPoint to ‘build’ the logo from its drawing components while displaying descriptive words related to the organization.  This was probably the most difficult part as working with PowerPoint animation can be very frustrating.  Why is PowerPoint animation frustrating?  I believe the single biggest improvement Microsoft could make to PowerPoint animation would be to add layer controls – most importantly to be able to hide and show layers.  The program already uses layers as evidence by the ‘sent to back’ and ‘send to front’ options. Unfortunately everything is on screen at the same time which makes it very difficult to modify any individual component of the animation.  Other tools do have this ability, but my objective was to remain in a tool that is commonly already in use in most non-profit organizations.

After completing the visual components I added two subtle sound effects.  Then I used the option in PowerPoint to save as a video – in this case a .wmv file.  This file can now be imported into other video projects, even to Microsoft Movie Maker which is a free download for Windows computers.  I uploaded the .wmv file to Youtube where it is easily shared and displayed.

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.

About The Author

James Chris Lloyd

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

"I can make it work."


Favored Quotes

"Early adopters are like indian scouts - they often return with arrows in their backs - just don't take it personally."

"If you can't be handsome you'd better be handy."

"Life is a journey."