Reflections on media making

I’d do absolutely anything to avoid being on film, and if you had told me a few years ago that I would one day choose to enrol in a unit where there was even the slightest chance I’d have to make a video of myself, I would not have believed you.

Yet here I am, standing on the other side of my final assessment piece and I’m a little proud of what I’ve achieved. My digital media skills have a lot of room for improvement (as you can see), but I took the leap, got a little creative and learned a whole lot. I’ve gained so many practical skills, but I’ve also found a surprising amount of joy in the process of creating.

To make this video, I spent some time researching the topic, put together a rough script, filmed it and then added in photos, sounds and title screens where it felt appropriate. In some cases, I went back and re-filmed or rearranged parts of the footage.

Creating content
As you can see, I decided to film myself talking for this video. I really felt that it would be the most engaging format and, despite my apprehension, that there was no way around it.

A lot. The inconsistent lighting in my study. Not being able to just go and change a word here or there, like I can in an essay. Remembering what I want to say without reading off notes. Running out of memory on my computer. Learning a new software.

What I learned
Again, a lot. The main thing I will change next time is the planning. I tried to plan everything on paper, but I think that creating a ‘draft video’ would be more helpful. Then, once all of my ideas are finalised, and I know where the titles, graphics, sounds etc. will go (as well as having listened to my own voice 1000 times in the process, which I’ve found to be the most effective way to learn a script), I will sit down and film the lot in one session. This will ensure consistency of lighting and angles. This time around and with a looming deadline, I was forced to accept that near enough is sometimes good enough.

Creative Commons
I created some graphics myself, but I also used photos and music to enhance the video.

I found music particularly time-consuming to search because it’s harder to ‘browse’ than a page of photos. Also, I wanted to include animations, but I didn’t have the software or the skills.

What I learned
Before this unit, I never realised how incredibly valuable creative commons material is,nor that it is free and open to anyone.

Using scholarly sources
I’m a seasoned university student, and my current degree requires a LOT of research, so I’m pretty comfortable using a library.

I wanted to take a philosophical approach, but much of the material I found was very practical, such as debates on government policies. There is lot of discussion about whether being online helps us engage in real-world politics, but less recent material about the internet as a democratic space in itself. I also found that actually producing the video took up time I would have liked to spend reading.

What I learned
A lot about democracy! There are many more topics I would love to explore in this area. I enjoyed being able to use the tone of my voice or facial expressions to signal the way a scholar’s ideas fit into my own argument, rather than having to put everything in words.


I chose to enrol in this unit dreading this final video, knowing that it would take me far out of my comfort zone. But you know what?

It wasn’t so bad.

View from the top - Monte Grappa

View from the top – Monte Grappa by Sachitha Obeysekara
Flickr (CC BY 2.0)



Thanks Adam, Emma and Claire for all that you’ve done for us.

Video references

There it is by Kevin McLeod (CC BY 3.0)

Café Love by Carl Black (CC BY SA 2.0)
Caribbean Beach series Cuba by Nick Kennrick (CC BY 2.0)
Lisa’s Kittens by Laura D’Alessandro (CC BY 2.0)

Made with

Tada! By jimhancock (CC0 1.0)
Correct by LittleRainySeasons (CC0 1.0)


Fishkin, JS 2009, When the people speak : deliberative democracy and public consultation, Oxford University Press, Oxford; New York.

Fleming, L & Sorenson, O 2016, ‘Financing by and for the Masses’, California Management Review, vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 5-19.

Mossberger, K, Tolbert, CJ & McNeal, RS 2008, Digital citizenship : the internet, society, and participation, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, USA.

Wroldsen, JS 2014, ‘The Crowdfund Act’s Strange Bedfellows: Democracy and Start-Up Company Investing’, Kansas Law Review, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 357-401.

Broader engagement in the unit:

Please see the tiffit tally.



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