Welcome to Class

Dear Students,

I’m happy you are taking this course in video editing. Desiring to learn how, or improve on, your ability to make videos is a fantastic goal, and I am here to help you do that. It’s an exciting challenge to work in video making, and I am committed to doing my best to teach and inspire the best in you.

chinese characters above a Circular gateway in white wall with orchard beyondWith all the ways you have to learn things in this world, Why would you take this course? I can tell you why I still take classes myself: 1. because I procrastinate, and school forces me to take action toward my dreams, 2. because I do better work in a community of other people who want to create, too. and 3. it helps me organize and focus so my improvement is accelerated beyond what I could accomplish alone. Maybe some of these apply to you as well.

This is a project based course, which emphasizes learning by doing. You’ll be presented with the skills and knowledge necessary to edit, and then you’re off making videos to hone your skills.  We will learn from each other as well as professionals in the field who will share their knowledge and experience with you.

The community I mentioned above lives through the sharing of ideas in class and online through discussion boards. This is where you get to know each other through sharing and reflecting on your work and ideas, responding to questions and interesting video topics.

You enrolled in this course, so I know you have courage. You will encounter times in video-making that require a never say die attitude, and I will be there to support and guide you.

The general criteria for grading will be grounded in following directions, technical mastery, and creativity. No matter what level you are at, the expectations for your work will be high. Would you want it any other way?

Every student has different motivations, and I hope one of your’s is to have fun. When you have fun editing you stay up late ’cause you can’t stop. You learn more. And you get the work done. Whether you’re creating movies, animations, realty videos, advertisements, YouTube channels, how-to videos, or home movies, you can find deep enjoyment in the making of these works of art.

This is, technically, an Art course, and the mysterious thing we call “art” will be an ongoing conversation. Anything done well can have an artistic quality, and that’s what we will strive to achieve in our videos. A touchstone for this conversation will be your Show and Tell Art Videos, where you’ll all get the chance to show a video you found on the Internet that you would call artistic.

Now, go into the Canvas course (log into yc.edu, MyCourses>Canvas LMS) and read through the Start Here Module items, respond to the survey, read the syllabus and take the syllabus quiz, Then take a look at Module 1, and Introduce yourself in the discussion board! Ask me questions after going through the material carefully.

Thank you,

Thatcher Bohrman



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January 5, 2019 · 5:08 pm

The 2 Things Central to this Class

There are 2 things we work with in this course: 1. Technology and 2. Content. The Technology is the skill needed to operate the program, Adobe Premiere Pro, and the Content is your creativity.

Each of these has other aspects. The Technology side encompasses not only your ability to use this complex software, but how well it performs on the computers you use, so it includes your general computer skills, troubleshooting, and handling problems that come up. It is also the knowledge you acquire and apply in the course.

The Content is about your Creativity, which in this sense means how you apply your energy and ideas to create, not some divine talent you think you have or don’t have. It’s about how you use your resources to create and collect material to edit with, as well as your habits of work, discipline, and your inspiration.

You all have what it takes to make good work and learn all about video making if you are willing to stick with it.


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January 5, 2019 · 12:56 pm

1 frame makes a difference in our sense of natural motion.

It is very interesting to hear Peter Jackson talk about the speed of film in his 2018 documentary about World War One. Cameras were cranked by hand, making the frame rate highly variable between 14-24 fps, giving the motion of those black and white images the typically strange timing we might be used to when watching the films of those early days. He went to great pains to adjust the timing of those films so they appear as time really passed, and he makes the point that even ONE FRAME makes a difference to our sense of what appears as natural. It is a very interesting ‘making of’.

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January 2, 2019 · 6:26 am

2019, Say What You Mean

You like that? Harder than it sounds. My daughter caught me hedging already, when I said, “Do you want to bring me a towel?”. “Dad, it’s twenty-nineteen, say what you mean.”

Being direct hasn’t always been a strong suit. Some say I missed my calling for the diplomatic core, as my political speech patterns strive to make all parties comforted. Standing for something means standing against something else; saying what I want means speaking commands, at least that’s what my thought. That’s what I was afraid of, as I strove to avoid conflict of any kind. This is my new year’s resolution, to be direct with myself and others. To ask for what I want, and say what I mean. To be truthful.

Yes and no is going to replace “sure.” Maybe’s are going to be the last resort instead of the go-to. Decisions are going to stand in the place of over-thinking, and move me boldly forward. Blogs are going to be published instead of placed on a permanent preview. Let the unmasking begin.

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January 2, 2019 · 5:29 am


Every time I sit to write about my teaching, it feels like a confession. For 5 semesters, I have sinned against better judgement, and based my grading on what must seem to some as pure whimsey. Of course, the syllabus says evaluation will be  “based upon adherence to directions, expression of design principles, technical proficiency, creativity, as well as individual progress.” Clearly stated, ambiguously delivered.

My lack of hard criteria led to some highly subjective grading, led by the senses and sense of the student’s progress, and I was and still am generally generous. There were a few I judged especially harshly that I can still recall, and it is true I don’t know if I was very fair. It’s not a science, video making. Thankfully, it’s an art.

90% of the work is video projects and assignments. I give directions, and I judge if the moving pictures and sound fulfill it. The skills assignments are simpler, as they are fairly straightforward. Judging some of the more free-wheeling creative projects is, well… I know good work when I see it. OR so I think.

THIS semester I have FINALLY crossed the Rubricon.

painting of caesar crossing the rubicon, with letter grades pinned to the each soldier

I managed to come up with consistent criteria for skills assignments, and I am using this one rubric for all of them. It’s pretty general, and it’s working pretty well so far. And wow is grading easier and faster. The lack of specificity that such a generalized rubric offers does make it tricky when a crit sort of describes what happened in the video, but not exactly. And it’s hard to stick to it when I end up grading by the rubric and still feel that it deserves a higher or lower grade. Yes, father, I have fudged at times.

The big plus has been having clarity, especially when a student questions their grade, as they did today. I can point to the directions and the rubric and the points in the box. The downside of this emphasis on measurement is they only do the minimum. I haven’t figured out the motivation to excel yet. Encouragement isn’t enough for the majority of students.

The other downside is this quick click rubric schtick. Boom boom boom, save, and the grading is done and justified. I don’t feel the same necessity to explain my reasoning in  detail,  as when I didn’t have as much to go on, and so I would explain and explain every high and low. Past feedback was lugubrious. Now it’s a bit off the cuff, citing a few things here and there, to assure them I am watching. The speedgrader lives up to its name, but personal feedback from the teacher is the heart of my class, and I mean to keep it deep for projects.

Grading is an art, too?



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October 11, 2018 · 8:31 am

Prepping into the Wind

I just stumbled upon a document called “Weekly Class Action Plan”, which I prepared the week before classes started. It’s week 7, and perhaps I’m ready to use it. I do a hellishly anxiety-ridden month of prep before every semester, and, looking back on some of those lost weekends, hindsight is giving me the thumbs-up to go easy next time. While there were spurts of wildly creative juice, much of what was produced withers on the vine.

Such as my mindmeister map of the progression of learning.

Such as the photo of me holding a tomato with my wife in a hammock in the background.

Such as the hand-drawn style video of how the network connections work.

Such as how I was going to introduce students to seeing things artistically.

And so on.

But THIS! This is coming into play 2-nite. At last.

printed sheet of paper called weekly class action plan

I make weekly notes that pertain to specific lessons for every class, so this document is about the general flow of things (very general!). I consistently wish I used class time more efficiently, and during the outbreath after the sometimes grueling 2.5 hour class period, I wonder what just happened. Will a plan keep it on track?

There are certain things I want to do every time, like the 5-minute share with a partner, watching videos, working together, and the show n tell. Oh, and the “relax” part, and especially the “be prepared” part. What often happens is: I start talking, and pretty soon the class is over. I need the discipline to make sure some of the things on the action plan come in to break up the incessant lessoning I tend to do.

When I first moved to Prescott, I got a temp position at a company that processed Readers Digest Sweepstakes entries (the losing ones). Here’s a plug for the value of education: I was tapped for room supervisor because I was the only one there with a BA. One of my duties was leading everyone in 15 minutes of stretching twice during shifts, and it was the best part of the day.

My students need time to stretch, and it’s my job to keep their bodies, eyes, hands and brains limber during long evening classes. That’s what the action plan is all about: keeping it flowing, listening and inspiring, while we grapple with crazily complex creative editing technology. I created this document after reflecting on what went right. If we follow the plan, will teaching and learning be different?

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October 2, 2018 · 4:34 pm

I’m Not an Artist!

Ok, yes, I hear that. I have that voice in my head, too. And, can you think like an artist, or maybe just SEE like an artist? I would venture you already do that. Have you ever looked at some artwork and thought (and maybe said), “that’s not art!” We have all said that, because for some reason all humans have an opinion about art, whether we “like” art or not. Let’s start there.

Seeing is a skill.

We’re not making art videos, we’re making videos. We want to like them, because we made them, but sometimes we don’t like our work. It’s not uncommon that someone else might actually like the video we made, even when we don’t.  What makes it likable, aka: good? Think of a video that was good. why was it good? Start there.

Speaking about what you see is a skill.

It’s hard to see your own work, to overcome subjectivity. That would theoretically be objectivity, to see objectively, as if you had no attachment to it. Is that even possible? I have opinions on things I haven’t even seen yet. How can I see anything without my own position coloring the view? Right there.

What you speak is from your own unique vantage point.

That’s a beautiful thing. Sharing our unique perspectives helps us see videos more clearly.  This course is all about paying attention to what we’re watching. We will learn to see what qualities are present in the videos we watch, and apply that so as to speak and write skillfully about each other’s work.


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October 2, 2018 · 3:21 pm