FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT OF MACHINIMA PRODUCT
I focus formative assessment of Steve’s video on the following particular criteria of video composing: transitions, camera angle, and multimodal combinations (image/narration). Here, I relate each criterion to an equivalent found in assessing traditional, print-linguistic texts as well as visuals within technical writing pedagogy.
Steve’s machinima video product is just over 9 minutes long (9:25 with closing credits). It integrates print-linguistic text associated with the SL interface, multiple video images and voice-over. The opening 1:30 of it was real life video of Steve introducing the SL environment generally to the viewer, followed by a shift to an image of his avatar in SL. The voice-over provides instructional narrative, while the video-images show the narrator’s avatar as the narrator performs various tasks.
Consistent with Jones’ (2007) observation above regarding the connection between video composition and written composition is the need for transitions to maintain cohesion from one segment to another. Steve integrates different kinds of transitions between each video segment; using a checkered transition from the real-life segment to the initial SL segment, wheel transitions, and a couple of screen rotation transitions within the SL-segments. Each is effective because it applies the principle of transitioning the viewer from the experience from the previous scene to the new scene integrating the visual effect, which acts like a signpost. More
Screen Design and Camera Angles
Wysocki (2003) encourages students producing video products to consider camera angles and backgrounds relative to elements of visual rhetoric (p. 183). In print-linguistic document terms, this is similar to careful consideration of the type of graphics used and their placement in a document or PowerPoint slideshow. Particular kinds of graphics are better suited for certain rhetorical purposes. For example, a line graph is most effective for calling attention to a trend over a period of time than a table is. Also, if one wishes to emphasize a particular section of a pie chart, he can explode that section out of the pie. Further, one can place a graphic in a document near the text that describes it so the reader can look back at the graphic as she reads the print-linguistic textual information about the graphic.
Generally, designers can use camera angles to create impact and provide information in a certain way. A long shot of a subject (subject some distance from the camera) shows more contextual elements of the setting, while closer shots of the subject emphasize the appearance of the subject. Camera angle also affect one’s perspective of a scene; a particular camera angle can hide certain attributes of a scene (Cozic, Boyd Davis and Jones, 2004). Further, camera angle can effect a certain perception from the viewer. Steve uses several camera angles throughout the video. Generally, these are effective because he limits the image shown in the screen to relevant material, avoiding inundating the viewer with information while moving the discussion to new information. However, at times, he shows large amounts of space that are irrelevant. More
Multimodal Instructional Theory
The video also integrates several attributes of visual/verbal multimodal instructional rhetorical theory, including integration of narration and image consecutively and in conjunction with each other to reinforce each other (Kress, 2003; and Mayer, 2001). Generally, the narration Steve includes is easy to follow as he manipulates his avatar and cursor controls. However, in some places, the narration is too fast to follow well. The viewer has to absorb too much information at one time in these instances. More