Create & Explore

Try one of the film lessons, find a place to shoot or explore, and watch, read, or listen to something.

START CREATING

Stuck at home? Want to make a video about the environment?

We've put together resources to help you create films on your own or with friends. Each assignment contains student examples, technical instructions and ideas to work as a group or on your own. Additionally, see if you can come up with an idea for one of these assignments that fits into one of the following categories:

Ocean Life
Ocean Pollution
Ocean Stories

SHARE YOUR WORK

We would love to see what you make! Upload your videos to youtube or vimeo and send us a link. We have many events and we may include your work!

Learning

Assignment 1

Create a Digital
Sketchbook

ABOUT

The majority of the media environment is fast paced and attention grabbing, it’s part of our consumer driven culture. This assignment is to help you slow down and see what is right in front of you. Explore your environment with your camera like an artist with a sketchbook. Things that seemed boring become fascinating as you look longer and in more detail.

STEPS

  1. Find a view that you want to observe quietly.
  2. Close your eyes for a minute and focus on your breath.
  3. Open your eyes and use your camera to shoot for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 five times
  5. Assemble your shots. It will be a one minute video “meditation”!

TIPS & HINTS

  1. Look for shadows, reflections, emptiness, density, color, and light.

  2. Always keep an eye on where the light is coming from and adapt to it.

  3. Experiment with camera angles. Get close, hold your camera low to the ground or climb up to gaze down, don’t be afraid to move around to get the right angle. If using a phone, shoot horizontally whenever you can. Zoom with your body, not with the zoom function on your camera (when possible)

Learn more by watching this Lens on Climate Change video.

SHARE YOUR WORK!

We would love to see what you make! Upload your videos to youtube or vimeo and send us a link. We have many events and we may include your work!

STUDENT EXAMPLES

Assignment 2

Collaborate with friends by
creating an online image bank.

ABOUT

Gather footage from a group of your friends into a shared online folder. Each of you makes a 1 minute film from the shared footage, or one person volunteers to be the editor of your collaborative film. Watch your movies together!

Tips and Hints: You can use Google Drive if you have access to that.

STEPS

  1. Get in touch with your fellow filmmakers. 

  2. There are many ways to start collecting footage. It helps if your group agrees on something in common. Feel free to come up with your own connections. 

    Here is one way: Start with a question. For example: What washes up on the shores near you? Where did it come from? How does the water you drink get to your glass? Where does the water you wash in go? Are there any legends about the sea where you live? What calms you down? (you can use footage shot in assignment #1). Tell me about your community? What does water mean in your community? What is outside your window? What would change if there was 50 percent more water? How would it change if there was 50 percent less water?

  3. Each of you responds to the question with footage you shoot and drop it into the shared folder.

  4. Edit! Will your film be poetic or informative?
    How will it flow? Think about it having a beginning, middle and an end. Consider sound and text.

    Tips and Hints: Look at Walter Murch’s 6 Rules. Have fun but break the rules whenever you want!

  5. Watch your films together either online, or set up a screening. 

    Reflect afterwards: What is surprising? How would you do it differently next time? Hatch a new plan!

A great example of an ongoing collaborative film: https://yourviewsfilm.com/

SHARE YOUR WORK!

We would love to see what you make! Upload your videos to youtube or vimeo and send us a link. We have many events and we may include your work!

STUDENT EXAMPLE

Assignment 3

Create a stop motion animation.

ABOUT

Stop Motion Animation involves taking a photograph of objects or characters, moving them slightly, and taking another photograph. When you play back the images, the objects or characters appear to move on their own. You can literally animate anything! The most common examples are paper cut outs, objects, people or clay.

If you work as a group find a way to create visual or thematic connections between your group members. This can be a video version of an “exquisite corpse”. The connections you find could be a common object, technique, or location, it is up to you! Stop motion is time intensive, so aim for 30 seconds each.

Assemble your videos into a timeline in an editing app and watch your movie!

“Exquisite corpse”....a game where each player takes turns writing or drawing on a sheet of paper, folding it to hide their contribution, and then passing it to the next player for the next contribution.

STEPS

  1. Come up with a plan. How will the object or character move through the space?
    Here is one way: a cut out circle bounces through the frame or a goldfish cracker swims in S shapes as if swimming in a pond being observed from above.

  2. Gather or make your objects and props.
    Tips and Hints: You can use found objects that in shape or texture allude to something else than what they are. For example, sandpaper as the background for a beach; a plastic bottle cap for bubbles.

  3. Set up a backdrop. This could be a wall or piece of cardboard. Decide if you will shoot above or straight on. Feel free to decorate your background as well, give your objects an environment. 

  4. Shoot! You can use your phone, a camera or an ipad. 

    Tips and Hints
    — Generally you need to take 10 to 12 photos for each second of finished video.
    — It’s very important that your camera does not move. If you have a tripod, use it! 
    — If you don’t have a tripod, check out this video to learn how to make anything into a phone tripod.
    — Use a Stop Motion Animation App-we used the FREE version of Stop Motion Studio.

  5. Watch your footage and edit out any mistakes. 
    If you are working with a group, assemble your animations together! Watch your films together either online, or set up a screening. 

    Reflect afterwards:
    — What is surprising? 
    — How would you do it differently next time?
    — Hatch a new plan!

TIPS & HINTS

  1. Stop Motion can take a long time, if possible set up your animation stand in a spot that you can leave for a while, in case you need to take a break.

  2. The volume buttons on corded iPhone earbuds might operate the shutter in some apps

  3. Here is a great tip on animating water.

ANIMATION EXAMPLES

SHARE YOUR WORK!

We would love to see what you make! Upload your videos to youtube or vimeo and send us a link. We have many events and we may include your work!

STUDENT EXAMPLE

Assignment 4

Create a film through poetry using Emerge

ABOUT

Experiment with making a “cinema stanza” or a poem-film. Many avant garde filmmakers explore the connection between film and poetry; finding systems to juxtapose words and images that generate entirely new associations, metaphors and ideas.

To start you will first create a found poem. Expanding on the centuries old technique of erasure poetry, Emerge is a playful tool for creating found poetry out of articles, speeches, quotes, books, and more. Emerge was created by the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University.

STEPS

  1. Go to Emerge and make a poem by clicking the button above.

  2. Record yourself or someone else reading your poem.

  3. Visualize your poem.
    Tips and Hints: How did you choose the words for your poem? Did you choose based on the meaning, the sound, the way the word looked on the screen, or did it just pop out at you? 

  4. Gather footage, think about the reasons you chose the words for your poem. Can you find a system for choosing images? Think about relationships like sound, color, meaning, contrasts, similarities.
    Tips and Hints: shoot new footage or use some video from other assignments.

  5. Add the audio of the recorded poem to your footage in an editing app. Experiment with where the words and images line up. Do the images change the meaning of the words? Do the words change the images? 

  6. Share your video either online, or set up a screening. 
    Reflect afterwards:
    What is surprising? 
    How would you do it differently next time? 
    Hatch a new plan.

SHARE YOUR WORK!

We would love to see what you make! Upload your videos to youtube or vimeo and send us a link. We have many events and we may include your work!

TRAVELING STANZAS EMERGE APP

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Visit a
Location

Take a trip to explore what scientists have discovered about the waters near you.

New York City

NYC

Dead Horse Bay
Brooklyn, NY

NYC

Manhattan Virtual Tours
New York Times

NYC

Gowanus Dredgers
Brooklyn, NY

NYC

Valentino Pier
NYC Parks

NYC

Marine Park Salt Marsh
Brookyln, NY

NYC

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Audubon Society

London

LONDON

Thames Festival Trust
Meet The Modern Mudlarkers

LONDON

Mudlarking on the Thames
London, England

LONDON

Execution Dock
London, England

LONDON

The Lost River Fleet
London, England

LONDON

Fantastical Fleet
Self-Guided Digital Tour

LONDON

Discover Ship Wrecks and London’s Maritime History

LONDON

Longplayer
London, England

LONDON

Houseboats of Regents Canal
London, England

Taiwan

TAIWAN

Nan-fang-ao
Fishing Harbor

TAIWAN

Donggang in
Pingtung

TAIWAN

Kinmen County Fisheries
Research Institute

TAIWAN

Beishan Broadcast
Station

Links

Watch works by artists engaged with environmental issues.

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