Lights, camera, action! Learn to make videos for free!

Whether you fancy yourself as the next Steven Spielberg or simply enjoy capturing your experiences, making videos is an extraordinarily useful skill. It’s also featuring on University courses more often and even crops up in certain job applications. As I hope to have a career in science communication, knowing how to put together a decent video could give me a valuable edge in an interview. But I simply didn’t know where to start or which software to go for. Thankfully, someone made me aware of the Creative Media Workshops run by the Corporate Information and Computing Services (CiCS) here at the University of Sheffield. Located on Level 4 in the Diamond, this facility boasts a huge range of equipment that students can borrow to make videos, photographs, animations and audio recordings. Even better, they run a regular series of workshops to give you the skills to make the best use of it. And best of all – it’s free!

In my first session, Video Production, we were given a masterclass in how using different shots effectively can capture the audience’s attention and draw them in to the scene. It made me realise how much thought goes into producing a film – it really is a craft, rather than just pointing a camera! After brainstorming our ideas onto a storyboard, we were then let loose to make a video about the Diamond building with cameras that looked far too expensive for students to play with. The vast array of buttons and functions was intimidating at first, but I soon began to relax and become more fluent in honing my shots…. despite some quizzical looks from studying students as we lugged our tripods and cameras around! We were having so much fun that the minutes flew by and it was soon time to reconvene and get some expert feedback on our footage.

Filming on location in the Diamond

Filming on location in the Diamond

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The following week, I returned for the workshop on Video Editing – the part I was really looking forward to getting my teeth into. This took place in the dedicated Editing Suite; a facility I wasn’t even aware of before. Any student that needs to make a video as part of their course can register for a CCM Account to use the computers here. Not only does this give access to a suite of sophisticated video editing programmes, but you get an enhanced storage capacity for your creations – otherwise the size of your video files could easily overwhelm your data allowance on the University network!

Making my masterpiece on How to make the Perfect Cup of Tea

Making my masterpiece on How to make the Perfect Cup of Tea

Our task for today was to compile a series of pre-shot footage and sounds into a video that explained “How to make the perfect cup of tea”. The software we were using was Abode Premiere; apparently, this has been used in Hollywood Blockbusters such as Avatar and Monsters. I would have been content just to put the shots into a logical order but as our instructor demonstrated the different functions, I soon became more ambitious – cutting out errors, introducing transitions, altering the brightness, inserting images and icons, etc. Again, the 2 hours simply flew by. Even if no one ends up watching my video, I felt quite proud of it at the end!

So if ‘develop media skills’ has been on your to-do list for a while – don’t wait any longer! Click here and grab a place on a CiCS Creative Media Workshop today!

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