Intro to Adobe Premiere Pro: The Basics


Looking for a quick tutorial on the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro?

Well, whadya know?!  I have one below!

This video covers the very basics of Adobe Premiere Pro, yet everything you would need to make a video just like the one you will watch.

  • Setting up a new project.
  • Scratch disks
  • Importing footage
  • Basic Tools
  • Adding music
  • Adding transitions
  • Adding Titles
  • Exporting as a YouTube ready movie.

Better than Nootropics – Maxwell Smart Vlog #2: Using Time-Compression To Make Multimedia Learning More Efficient



Video Blog #1 : Multimedia Learning


5, 4, 3, 2, 2, 1


5 great tools. 4 are free. 3 are production based. 2 are audio. 2 are video. 1 is not like the others.

I teach multi-media production at CSU Fresno, and while many of the tools we use at CSU Fresno are based in Adobe, when it comes to doing my own video production work, these are many of the tools I use.  While they may not be the most full featured or most polished, they are reliable and always get the job done right.  Audacity is a fantastic audio editor that comes with features that many of the expensive ‘pro’ software lacks.  Soundcloud is best summed up as YouTube for audio.  It is a fantastic source for original music and audio hosting (many podcasters use it as a hosting platform).  Final Cut Pro X!  While many in the professional video industry ditched Final Cut when Apple completely re-wrote the program, I was one of the few who held on and continued to use and learn through the many (and honestly, frustrating changes).  A few years in and Final Cut X is the most polished, simple, and full featured post production video programs available.  Every good video needs pre-production and a story board is usually a must!  Storyboard generator has been put together by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and is an amazing tool to teach storyboarding techniques.  Last but not least is Flipboard.  What may be called an advanced RSS reader, Flipboard is much more!  The magazine sharing feature is a great way to share info with fellow educators and students.

Links to all these tools and more can be found HERE

Mr. Microchip Dishes on VR: A Guest Post by @mrmicrochip90

Virtual Reality has finally hit the mainstream market, this tech that once only occupied the realms of science fiction is finally cheap enough to be accessible to consumers. One of the least expensive VR solutions is Google Cardboard, which is literally a piece of cardboard with some lenses attached to it. There is plenty of content to explore on the Cardboard platform, but the equipment needed for the creation of VR content has largely been cost prohibitive to the average VR Connoisseur.

Maxwell I know you touched on both the cardboard and the Theta 360 Cam but LG just came out with their own recently and it’s pretty sweet!

The LG 360 camera is priced at 200 bucks, its capable of capturing 2k 360 video that can be uploaded to YouTube and then viewed through Cardboard. The camera works with both android and iOS and couldn’t be easier to operate! Just hit record and the software handles the rest stitching the images captured by the dual lenses into an interactive 360 video.

What use does an educator have for such a device in the classroom?  Teachers can record their lectures and then upload it for a virtual classroom experience. Another use case for a 360 camera is capturing school plays and productions, so that family members that can’t be there physically can still watch the magic of a child’s first performance.

Have some of your own ideas for what VR in the classroom looks like? Book a flight over to Kansas City and check out the Virtual Reality Hackathon that is being put on by Oculus, the Pulse Design Group, and Google. This event is challenging developers to create Virtual/ Augmented Reality experiences that can benefit educators and students.

Below are the links for the LG 360 Cam and the event being held in Kansas



Make sure check out @mrmicrochip90 HERE and on his blog Teaching with Microchips

Classroom Filmmaking

Classroom Filmmaking

I am a big big fan of the work that Amy Erin Borovoy @VideoAmy does on I am especially glad when she shares educational tips for the classroom!  I teach multimedia production at Fresno State, and I am always open to resources (specifically ones from trustworthy individuals who have an interest in education!).


Amy has a great list of videos for a Video 101 course listed below, as well as further resources. (EVERYTHING BELOW THIS LINE IS AMY’S WORK.  SOURCE AT END OF PAGE).

  1. 10 Tips for Beginner Filmmakers (10:37) Young filmmaker Simon Cade‘s channel, DSLRGuide, is one of the most popular for filmmaking tutorials. He’s got hundreds of tips to share and started making videos when he was just 11.
  2. No-Budget Filmmaking Gear – The DIY Filmmaker (05:02) Getting your filmmaking kit together is one of the hardest things to do on a budget, but you can’t begin until you have the basics. There are links to some of the DIY projects to build your own gear on the YouTube page for this video.
  3. Adapt Your Script to a Storyboard (09:19) One great resource is the YouTube Creator Academy channel, which has a variety of tip videos made by YouTube’s most successful creators. This video by Mary Doodles and Whitney Lee Milam is one of the best intros to storyboarding I’ve seen.
  4. Telling Your Story Through Video (04:00) It’s less glossy than the other tutorials here, but I love that this video uses footage from student work to illustrate camera angles. It’s produced by ChildFund Connect, an Australian organization that provides an online space for kids to post videos they’ve made.
  5. Top 5 Tips to Shoot Incredible Video with a Smartphone! (08:34) Nashville video producer and tech reviewer Danny Winget gives excellent advice for filming with smartphones, which is probably the most accessible way to get started. He covers both gear and technique in this short video.
  6. 5 Quick Math Tricks for Filmmakers (06:02) IndyMogul stopped posting new videos two years ago, but their YouTube channel is still a treasure trove of tutorials on every aspect of low-budget filmmaking, from visual effects to lighting. This video shows the math behind some essential filmmaking rules.
  7. Sophia Dagher Offers Tips & Tricks in Filmmaking (02:14) ProjectED was an Amplify program that hosted open video contests for students and teachers. Although they seem to have stopped running these, they still offer some great resources, like this fun advice video from filmmaker Sophia Dagher.
  8. Top 15 Mistakes Beginner Filmmakers Make (02:34) This is long (17 minutes) but fortunately filmmaker Darious Britt is really engaging. His advice is geared towards people trying to break into the film industry, but his tips are sound. Heads up for a little language that may not be appropriate for younger kids.
  9. How I Edit My YouTube Videos (13:23) While there are hundreds of more informative and concise tutorials on video editing basics, I chose this one because it features Jennifer Zhang, a teen YouTube creator, sharing how she taught herself to edit video using free tools. She posted a Part Two here.

More Resources on Student Filmmaking



Media Literacy: An Infographic and explanation


EdTech Media Literacy Infographic


My infographic on Media Literacy begins by giving a definition of media literacy that is derived from the definition that was defined by participants at the 1992 Aspen Media Literacy Leadership Institute.  They concluded, media literacy was “The ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.” (Aufderheide,1992).  I then give a simplified definition that is a summation of the definition provided by the Media Literacy Project.  Media literacy is not only about protecting children from the messages of the media, in fact, that is an improbable mission.  Media is surrounds our culture and is inescapable.  Instead of protecting children from the media, media literacy is about teaching competencies, critical thinking, and basics of literacies in all forms of media so they can begin to analyze the media and interpret the messages on their own.  In order to help make this point clearer, I follow the definitions with two more fundamental ideas regarding media literacy, “It is about developing the public’s critical and creative abilities when it comes to the media,” and a quote from the Kaiser Family Foundation, “a media literate person can think critically about what they see, hear and read in books, newspapers, magazines, television, radio, movies, music, advertising, video games, the Internet, and new emerging technology. For many proponents, it also includes learning how to create messages using print, audio, video, and multimedia (2003).”

The second part of my infographic covers the core concepts of media literacy as set forth by media literacy pioneer Barry Duncan and the Association for Media Literacy in Ontario.  While these core concepts are from Canadian teachings, I believe they summarize the theoretical base and framework for media literacy curriculum and discussion (Jolls & Wilson, 2014).  The Association for Media Literacy has 8 key concepts for media literacy:

  1. All media are constructions.
  2. The media construct reality.
  3. Audiences negotiate meaning in media.
  4. Media have commercial implications.
  5. Media contain ideological and value messages.
  6. Media have social and political implications.
  7. Form and content are closely related in the media.
  8. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form.

For my infographic, I have condensed these 8 concepts into 5 that I believe make for a simpler connection to the infographic viewer.  My first core concept is that Media are constructions. This means that all media, whether it be a movie, magazine, news, or advertisement are made by individuals to create a message.  These messages contain the creator’s personal beliefs, biases, opinions, and assumptions. My second core concept is that media has commercial implications.  All media are businesses whose primary goal is to make money.  Businesses, corporations, investors, all influence the content and distribution media.  A story can be told; however, it can be framed in whatever light the media would like.   The third core concept is that media has its own aesthetic form.  Media is an art, and various techniques are taught and used to grab consumers’ attention.  Everything from the use of certain words, to colors, to music, are all utilized to “hook” the viewers’ attention. The fourth core concept is that media is social and political.  This sums up the fact that media convey values, power, and authority.  The media are powerful entities that have a massive influence over social norms, acceptance, personal values, societal values, and political leadership.  My last core concept is that audiences negotiate meaning.  This is a large category of information, that covers factors that may influence the meaning of a media message. However, to summarize the large amount of information into a small idea I state that, “consumers have varying learned meanings from the same media” (Kubey & Baker, 1999).

My infographic then gives some examples as to why media literacy is important.  I begin with a graphic emphasizing the power of television and how media can help form an individual’s personal opinions and beliefs (Manzaria & Bruck, 2012).  In order to emphasize the importance of analyzing the messages that media present, I use a graphic showing a fake example of how various media sources may interpret a scenario.  In the graphic I use, I show a photo of President Obama drinking a Pepsi and four different news sources with varying takes on this “news story.”  I then present info on research that indicates that incorporating media lessons into standard curriculum can help reduce potentially harmful effects of TV and Film violence on young viewers.  Research by Renee Hobbs and Richard Frost (1999) show that learning to deconstruct media messages can help juvenile offenders think critically about the consequences of risky behaviors. I present this information with text as well as a few simple icons to represent media.

In order to represent how media is currently adopted in education, I use graphics and information from various research sources.  The first graphic is a is a representation of research published by Renee Hobbs and Richard Frost in “Instructional Practices in Media Literacy and Their Impact on Students’ Learning,” that was published in the New Jersey Journal of Communication.  They show that all 50 states that are now implementing media literacy as part of the educational framework.  Using graphic icons, I also show that most schools incorporate media literacy as a component in major subject areas such as English, language and communication arts, social studies, civics or health

The last section of my infographic lists a few ideas on how to integrate media literacy into curriculum by using media projects such as videos, audio stories, and photo essays.  I show an idea for a history class to produce a news show in which they act as two separate media corporations and give two sides to the story.  I also give basic ideas for a math class to produce a video in which the students “prove” a false formula.  This helps the students realize how easy it is for the media to give false information.  English classes could produce a radio who about a Shakespeare play, science classes could create magazine covers, and so on.  I end the infographic with text, “Integrating media projects into curriculum will enhance students learning about the subject at hand, as well as teach media literacy” (Ashley, 2015).







Jolls, T., & Wilson, C. (2014). The Core Concepts: Fundamental to Media Literacy Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Journal Of Media Literacy Education, 6(2), 68-77.

Ashley, S. (2015). Media Literacy in Action? What Are We Teaching in Introductory College Media Studies Courses?. Journalism And Mass Communication Educator, 70(2), 161-173.

Aufderheide, P. (1992) Media Literacy. A Report of the National Leadership Conference on Media Literacy. Aspen Media Literacy Leadership Institute

Hobbs, R., & Frost, R. (1999) Instructional Practices in Media Literacy and Their Impact on Students’ Learning. New Jersey Journal of Communication 6(1999)2:123-148

Kubey, R. & Baker, F. (1999) Has Media Literacy Found a Curricular Foothold?. Education Week (October 27, 1999)

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2003). Key Facts: Media Literacy. Fall 2003, 4.

Manzaria, J., &  Bruck, J. (2012) Media’s Use of Propaganda to Persuade People’s Attitude, Beliefs and Behaviors

Jolls, T. (2015). The New Curricula: How Media Literacy Education Transforms Teaching and Learning. Journal Of Media Literacy Education, 7(1), 65-71.

Ciurel, D. (2016). MEDIA LITERACY: CONCEPTS, APPROACHES AND COMPETENCIES. PCTS Proceedings (Professional Communication & Translation Studies), 913-20.

CRAMER, L. M. (2015). Teaching the Foundations of Media Literacy in the Basic Communication Course. Forensic, 100(1), 13-32.

Weisgrau, J. (April 28, 2015). Empowering Student Relationships with Media. Edutopia Blog Retrieved from

Mind Over Media: Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda






3fr to X3f = EZ

There is a fundamental problem with digital media.  That problem is file formats!

I spend a good amount of time working with videos, photographs, audio, vectors, website development, as well as too much time with presentation software, ebooks, fonts, spreadsheets etc etc.  Each of these applications requires multiple programs and various computing platforms, none of which play well together.  I don’t care if you teach higher education multi-media production or 1st grade english, you have without a doubt seen this message or one like it.



The typical workflow would go something like this:  Google both file formats, open the original file in some obscure software that will read it, try to export it into a different file format, upload new exported file into the correct software, hope it works.

Until Cloud Convert ( Cloud Convert allows you to ‘convert anything to anything’. It supports over 200 formats, everything from 3fr to vsd.  Change ebook formats, PC files to Mac, image formats from brand to brand, and pretty much anything else you can throw at it.

There is a free version, as well as a paid version, however the free version is enough for most small daily tasks.


definitely a tool to keep in your bookmarks!

Media Literacy Instruction for Media Production courses

Two of my courses at Fresno State are media centered. One of my courses is a discussion/lecture course where I teach the history of various media milestones as well as discuss whatever new media technology is up and coming, and the second course is a media production course where we go over photography, audio, video, and web design. In both of these classes media literacy is a big part of the curriculum. In the New Media Technology course we go over the theories of media literacy, and in the Media Production course we focus primarily on how Media is created and the skills to persuade audiences. In order to improve media literacy there are a few actions I am planning on incorporating into my courses.

In my Media Production course I would like to set more strict rules on my video project. By limiting the project with various requirements it creates a need for more research on my students part into the media industry.

As an example, a video project may state:

This assignment involves shooting video and audio of an event that visualizes a theme and editing a video montage that tells the story with video, natural sound and music.


  • Length: 45 seconds to 90 seconds
  • Minimum 15 different video shots (likely much more.)
  • Edited to a music track so that the shots go with the music.
  • Includes at least one natural sound element (Sound occurring when you are shooting.)
  • Export as a YouTube HD file
  • Music must be Royalty Free (Download and follow Attribution Requirements)
  • Must be uploaded to your own YouTube channel.
  • Video must have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Choose a theme before you start the project and visualize the theme with this video montage.


When students first see this assignment they think that 15 shots is too many, however if I require them to view commercials and track how many shots are in each commercial they will begin to understand that 15 shots is actually too few. By having my students choose and theme and visualize it throughout the video, it will also help them understand how media convey messages. I would also like to have them dissect the commercials and write down the message that each commercial is conveying.

Another project that I would like to implement would be a photography assignment in which students find and place these photos into 4 categories: Journalism, Fine Art, Commercial, Snapshot. After they categorize each of these I would also want them to dissect the story that each photo is telling.

The main learning objectives of these assignments:


  1. How well is the theme expressed? Is there a clear and engaging storyline? Does the beginning establish the setting, characters, subject and theme and engage the viewer? Does the body of the story provide details about the subject and keep the viewer’s interest? Does the ending clearly resolve the story?

Impact and Creativity

  1. How well do the photos engage the viewer? Do the photos have emotional impact? Is the first image sufficiently interesting to make the viewer want to see more?
  2. Does the portrayal of the subject provide an unusual or unique insight into the theme?


  1. How effectively are compositional techniques (rule-of-thirds, simplicity, lines, framing) used to draw the eye into the image and focus attention?

Technical Quality

  1. Is the lighting and exposure appropriate for the subject of each photo? How effectively are they used to enhance the impact of the photos?
  2. Have brightness, contrast, color balance and sharpness been controlled and adjusted to achieve the highest quality appearance of the photographs?

I believe that overall, these changes to my classes would increase the literacy of my students, teach them to explore the true meaning of media messages, and help them in creating meaningful media.

View-Master: The future of Education and Journalism

Bear with me. I know I have touched on this before. In fact, I touched on this not too long ago, but I now things have changed. Now, the big guys have shown the world (or at least a good chunk of the United States) how VR can change the face of journalism. If you don’t know what I am talking about you can begin to read about it here ( or here ( or just search “New York Times Google Cardboard” and view any of the top 20 results. I will sum it up for you: The New York Times included a Google Cardboard VR viewer with the November 7th weekend paper. A Google Cardboard VR viewer is a fold out device that turns your smartphone into a basic virtual reality viewer, letting you see 3D and 360-degree videos. The times also debuted an app that works with Google Cardboard as well as a new journalism film that is fully immersive, or at least its 360 degree video.vm-360[1].gif


The future of students learning via 360 degree VR films is not far away. Its now! No longer must you purchase a thousand dollar VR headset, or even a hundred dollar VR set, you can get one free in the newspaper! If you were not lucky enough to get one you build one with instructions from here ( What really gets me excited is this: The View-Master. Yes, that View-master. The red plastic goggles with the circular disks. You remember those right? You would insert the disc into the red goggles, pull down the trigger and you would see a grainy photo?   View-Master has released an updated version, one that works with Google Cardboard. You still get the plastic goggles, but now you slip your phone inside and that operates as the VR screen. You still get the little discs with photos. But now you look at those discs and they become 3D images of landmarks. Click on one of those landmarks and you get inserted into a 360 Degree VR experience of that location. Amazing. The View-Master also works with all Google Cardboard apps.

You want to make a 360 VR experience for your students? Simple. Use the Theta 360 Camera that I talked about in my earlier post, load it into Youtube as a Cardboard Video, then students only need to visit that video using the View-Master (or any Google Cardboard). You want to step up your journalism game? Take the Theta along on your next assignment, get footage of each location. Let viewers visit the locations while your story is played on top.