Immersive Course | Multimedia Microhistories

Immersive Course | 4 days full-day

Gertrude (WePlayers Hamlet) at the Ruins of Alcatraz (photo:Ruth Tringham)

CoDA’s immersive four day courses are intended to provide a first degree fluency in digital tools and technologies for archaeology and cultural heritage. Training is limited to small groups with low student-instructor ratios, limited to 12 participants.

Multimedia/Microhistory Production provides an in-depth investigation of storytelling frameworks, as well as hands-on training in the production tools needed to develop content. Microhistories comprise creating history from the bottom up, showing that ordinary people have agency—that their lives are not completely determined for them, that they have space to make their own choices. Projects can be about the history of individual places, of the social practice of small groups or individuals, and/or of individual events and practice of the everyday. Participants will learn how to document, interpret, and represent their histories and place them in a broader historical context with a variety of formats, but emphasizing creative and documentary storytelling.

The essentials of multimedia narrative, voice, gaze, representation, and critical framework will be considered in light of today’s highly adaptive media.  Documentation will involve video and audio recording as well as textual narrative and still photography. Inscribing visual and audio elements with meaning by ordering, juxtapositioning, and linking them (using Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Photoshop, etc.) will simultaneously teach editing skills and fluency with audio-visual documentation.  The final product may be a linear movie, an image, a podcast, or a website. The production training and investigation into multimedia forms are designed to provide the know-how, storytelling model, and inspiration for anyone interested in creating their own multimedia or documentary project.  Participants will be provided with example content, will gather new content, and also be challenged to think about and dig deeper into their own projects.

Prerequisites: None. A strong interest in video, storytelling, and a basic familiarity with computers (Mac or PC) are recommended. Participants may be asked to complete readings pre-training tutorials online in advance depending on our skills assessment questionnaire.

Equipment: We provide everything you need, but also encourage you to bring laptops, cameras, external hard drives, and other documentation gear.

Outcomes: We strive to produce first degree fluency in the skills we teach in the immersives. We focus on building core capabilities through active learning by doing. For multimedia and microhistory production, this means ‘ask questions first, and shoot later.’ You will spend a lot of time determining your goals and perspective as a multimedia creator, carrying out research, planning your field productions, capturing content, articulating it in a digital medium, and all the while periodically reconsidering the web of narratives throughout the process. By the end of the four days, you will be proficient and self-reliant in multimedia production, and ready to do your own microhistory documentary.



DAY 1 – Introduction to Microhistories and the production process

  • Microhistories investigation.  An introduction to documentary as a storytelling model, including microhistories.
  • Focus your ideas. Remember the emphasis: microhistories. Whittling down your ideas into a single, specific narrative is critical to creating a compelling story.  Our pre-production materials and exercises will allow you to discover the individuality and uniqueness that will make your project stand on its own.
  • Articulate your project. It’s not enough to say ‘documentary.’ There are many models within (as well as alternatives to) documentary to choose from.  We’ll use examples to help you find out which one (or which combinations) will be of greatest service to your story.
  • Field training, part 1. Learn the contents of a professional grade camera kit, practice different camera functions and adjustments.  Learn camera movements, shot designations, hand-held techniques and tripod uses.
  • Composition. We’ll cover the rule of thirds, depth of field, 180 degree axis, and other rules of thumb for creating beautiful, and/or practical footage. What makes a shot work, and what makes it unusable?

DAY 2 – Into the field.

  • Microhistories investigation. A second round on microhistories and how they have been used.
  • Field training, part 2. Take your video camera into the field to put your production kit into practice.  A scavenger hunt of different sights and sounds will need to be captured.
  • Raw footage review. Watch your recordings and get feedback based on composition, techniques, and alternatives.
  • The pitch. Throw your project idea at the class and see if it sticks.

DAY 3 -From the field to post-production.

  • Additional field shoots. Take another trip into the field to gather more footage.  Learn and experience the different positions of a crew.
  • Capture workflow. You will learn each step of the media capture process, from hitting record to getting footage onto your computer screen.  Media management, organization, and visualization tools will not only keep you sane but impart an appreciation for the complexity of the digital workflow.
  • Editing, part 1. Dive into post-production by learning the language of sequences, juxtapositions, movement, transitions, and cuts.  Hands-on training in editing your footage will be provided using free and professional programs, including Final Cut Pro.
  • Context. When focusing on the micro, it’s easy to lose track of the contexts in which your story exists.  What are the connections, themes, and social institutions that your project sheds light on?  What does it say about the world?  About you?

DAY 4 - “Just fix it in post.”

  • Raw footage review. Take a look at footage from the second field shoots.  Discuss composition, experiences, lessons learned.
  • Editing, part 2. Moving your project toward the rough cut stage.  The abilities and limitations of editing to fix errors.
  • Applications. Find out your options for distribution, fund-raising, preserving, or expanding your project in a society where media is thriving.  It’s a jungle out there.

Approach: The immersive training is results driven by design. At the end of each day, you will have solid skills in hand that we can build on for the next work package. We will play with several scenarios and draw on your experiences and needs to build an engaging program that is rewarding, challenging, and enjoyable.


This is an item of CoDA catalog of immersive courses.

To know dates and details about our upcoming Immersive Courses contact us .

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