I’ll be honest right off the bat here, and say that I didn’t spend nearly as much time on the video as we had discussed people spending in class. I was lucky that I basically had a script ready to go from an oral history-type interview my mother did with my great-grandmother in 1997, and I decided not to use any family photographs (mostly since I knew we didn’t have any that would really be useful), so I didn’t have to locate or scan them. I was really mostly interested in how useful the site was to people jumping in. On the whole, I was pretty impressed, but there were a few frustrating things to me.
The number one most annoying thing to me was that the button to move you to the next step was at the bottom of the page, and not up with the progress meter. I continually looked for it up there, since that’s where my eye was drawn to monitor my place in the steps, and since that’s where the other action button is. This might be one of those things where it’s just going to have to be how it is now, but it really bothered me. Another technical annoyance was that I had trouble scrolling in WeVideo. I had to refresh the page one or two times to be able to be able to get to the lowest part of the screen. One final technical item that might be helpful is providing a link to the videos on how to make the video at the top of the screen when you’re editing. I got overzealous and jumped in too early, and then had to figure out how to get back.
I found it pretty easy to move through the video making process on the whole, though. I didn’t have trouble recording my audio, even on my laptop with no special equipment. It was easy to upload visuals, as well. I couldn’t figure out how to do the Ken Burns effect, but I’m sure if I had spent more than three minutes looking for it I would have found it. I think the site could easily be used in a number of classes, too. The bulk of the time I think would be spent on writing a script and deciding what images to use. If, for example, the students were working on an oral history project, this could be less time consuming. The students could use an editing tool like Audacity to cut a section or sections of their interview, and upload that to the video editor. Images could potentially be provided by their narrator or by the project. I know the project we’re working on in my oral history class right now is contributing to a database of sorts on a certain subject, and the project coordinators have some audio and visual resources. If students were in a similar situation, they could use the provided images with their narration, and maybe lay over some music. Issues of copyright become murkier in that situation, though.
I could also see myself using the video editor in a community setting. I work at a university right now, and the alumni often suggest that we do oral histories for them at reunions. Ignoring the fact that every time we set up an oral history station, no one wants to make one, this could be a fun way to represent their experiences in college. They could record their stories, maybe responding to a prompt found in their reunion weekend packet so they have a little bit to reflect on it. Then we could set up a station that just records their responses into WeVideo. It looks like you can build folders with different items, so maybe each person could have a folder with their name and their recording. Those folders could get beefed out later with relevant images. Since we have a fair number of images digitized, and an organizational system for all of them, we could fairly easily find photographs to represent a lot of situations, even if they don’t show the exact moment the alumna or alumnus is describing. We even have old yearbooks, and could start off with their graduation photo.
Overall, I really liked the Immigrant Stories site and video function. I thought it was easy to use, and pretty easy to navigate. I could definitely see myself using it in another setting, like the two described above. Before using it, though, I would want to return to it and play with it to make sure I’m really getting all the functionalities. If I was working in a classroom, too, I’d leave one computer up with the videos or send the students a link to the YouTube versions. Even people who think they’re pretty tech-savvy (ahem) might want to return to them for reference or to avoid wasting time.
Here’s the link to my video: https://www.wevideo.com/view/795798004. I couldn’t get it to display any sharing options for me, which was weird…