About DougReilly

Astronomy, Digital Storytelling, Study Abroad, Photography, all with a DIY ethos.

Websites we love…

Tom and I are at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, doing a two-day digital storytelling workshop focused on diversity. It’s been a great time and very productive so far, in spite of the beautiful surroundings that one would think might be a bit distracting! We presented quite a few websites to the group that we find ourselves using a lot while making digital stories, so we thought it would be great to archive them here.

www.wevideo.com Wevideo is a “cloud” video editing application. In terms of features and UI it’s in between Imovie and Moviemaker, but the great thing about Wevideo is that, since it exists on the cloud and accessed through a browser, you can use Mac or PC–any computer with a web browser that plays nice with flash. Note that this last fact means you can’t use wevideo on an Ipad. Bad Apple! With the free version of wevideo, you can’t download your completed movie directly, though you can upload it to youtube and then grab it with keepvid, see below.

www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ At current count, there’s something like several hundred million images on flickr that are licensed under the Creative Commons regime. Which means, basically, you can use these images for your digital story (there are some restrictions if you’re altering images or making money off your digital storytelling [yeah, right!], though it depends on the specific CC license). Need a photo of a crowing rooster, a certain street in Berlin (in the rain)? You might just find it here.

An even more massive archive can be accessed through search.creativecommons.org From here, in addition to flickr, you can search through google images specifically for CC-licensed material.

Archive.org is another massive repository of cool public domain stuff, including old newsreels that have been digitized. Treasure!

Freesound.org is a crowd-sourced sound effects library. Need the call of a Magpie flying from one valley to another in Kyoto in the third week of May? Chances are one of freesound’s volunteer audio soldiers has gone out and captured the sound. All of it is CC-licensed. You can find particular noises but also mixes and ambient recordings of things like city streets, fighting seagulls, etc.

ccmixter.org is, like freesound, a crowdsourced, CC-licensed library of music. They have a great search page where you can even run searches for instrumental music that would work perfect with your digital story. It leans towards electronica a bit, but there’s a pretty wide variety of styles represented. If you want to do a 70s style B movie, you’re in luck!

keepvid.com is a website for ripping youtube videos off their serves and onto your hard drive. This can get dicey legally, but we’re proposing you use them for stuff in the public domain and for your own videos that you uploaded in the first place.

Piknik used to be our online photo editor of choice, but it’s no more. One of our participants today had good luck with fotoflexer.com You upload your image, tweak away, and then download the edited version. Works great for little things like cropping, rotation, and basic adjustments.


DSWG: Exploring Multimedia Narrative in the Liberal Arts is a group blog by educators around the country who share expertise and passion in Digital Storytelling, a methodology of creating short video stories rooted in the personal voice of the storyteller. The Digital Storytelling Working Group also provides workshops to teams of educators who want hands-on experience with the methodology. If you’re using Digital Storytelling in higher ed, we want to know what you’re up to. Write us and ask to be a guest contributor, and tell us about your project. No one site or blog can have it all, but we hope this helps Digital Storytelling practitioners around the country share ideas, inspiration and, of course, great stories.

What is digital storytelling?

Probably the best way to begin this blog is to define digital storytelling. Or perhaps, that should be Digital Storytelling. Many blogs are digital stories, and so are some tweets, but in the capital case we mean both a kind of video story as well as the methodology used to produce them. Digital Storytelling has its origins in 1990s San Francisco and is a story best told by them that spun the web originally, the Center for Digital Storytelling.

Here’s my definition:

“Digital stories are short, short films that employ images (still and/or motion) and sounds (spoken words and music) in a multilayered, economical narrative the goal of which is to capture the essence of an experience. Digital storytelling is the practice of making digital stories, usually in a collaborative workshop atmosphere.”

And here’s an example, made by me to use as a teaching story when I work with undergraduates going on a semester abroad: