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  • Jarom McDonald

    Associate Research Professor and Director, Office of Digital Humanities Brigham Young University


When YouTube launched to the public in 2005, the now-ubiquitous red play-button logo contained a simple yet powerful tagline, “Broadcast Yourself.” Inherent in such an imperative is a concept that’s at the core of this course—in today’s wired world, digital video is a powerful storytelling medium, one that can influence constructions of identity, community, culture, and the nature of narrative itself. In this course, we’ll explore the interactivity and narrative of digital video by positioning it as a tool for seeing, exploring, expressing and critiquing within the digital Humanities.

We will look at the various forms of dynamic storytelling, investigate the history of the video medium and what bearing it plays on the broadcast zeitgeist of today, explore formal techniques of digital storytelling including subjectivity, sequencing and transitioning, rhythm and repetition, interactivity, linearity, and meta-narration, tackle analytic tasks such as video annotation and video data analysis, and grapple with the physics of representing moving images in digital form. We will also emphasize, in addition to understanding the theories and specificities of digital video, how we might start acquiring production skills—including exposure to multimedia editing tools, working with codecs and compression, and, of course, leveraging online video dissemination channels such as YouTube. Ultimately, this class allows for students to begin to develop a critical perspective of engaging with digital video in the Humanities as a way to articulate fundamental, narrative-driven application of these rapidly changing paradigms.

Students will need to bring with them a new-ish laptop and a cell-phone (or other portable device) capable of shooting video, but no other equipment is needed nor knowledge assumed. Before arriving, there are a few things that all course participants will need to do in order to get the most out of the hands-on sections of our course.

1) Download and install Lightworks from—they have a free install which contains all the features we’ll need for our class and which is also lighter-weight than many video editing packages (alternatively, if you have experience with and access to another video editing software package such as Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cut Pro, you could bring that instead).

2) Make sure you have a YouTube account configured and ready to go.

3) Email the instructor ( with the email address you’d like to use for a WeVideo account (we’ve arranged for a 6 month educational license of this cloud-based editing/publishing platform for all participants).

4) For one of the class exercises, we’ll be working with videographic criticism of an existing movie or television show. When you send the email in the previous step, also include the name of one movie or one television episode (don’t just include a series name … indicate which episode in the series) you’d like to work with during this class section. We’ll then arrange for a fair use digital copy of it for the week.


Undergraduate Library Room 1126