Developing the one-hour digital storytelling form, with a video example

I’ve been piloting the one-hour digital storytelling form I want to present at the #storycamp get-together in Ludlow on Saturday (1 Oct 2011).

(If the embedded video won’t play, here’s a link to it on

Here are the ingredients:

– one object you can hold in your hand which is related to a place that’s special to you. Two photos are taken: the first is a close-up of the object or photo itself; the second photo is of you holding it.

– a personal story of fewer than 100 words or 45 seconds which you’ll record (tell or read) onto an mp3 file (via phone or voice recorder)

– a closing title: Place; by (name)

The form owes a lot to Capture Wales’ Shoebox Stories, developed mainly by Huw Davies, Lisa Heledd Jones and Carwyn Evans.

I used Windows Movie Maker to edit mine but any other video editing software will be fine.

The small print I want to declare is that it’s reasonable for the storyteller to make such a film in just one hour as long as the person making it has prior media-making experience – can take and upload a photo; has access to and knowledge of audio recording/editing tools; etc. Of course, working solely with people who already have these skills is missing the point of digital storytelling’s inclusiveness and up-skilling capacity. So perhaps it’s fairer if I say that these stories can be made in as little as one hour.

Finding the story in so little time is challenging. With only 100 words to play with, it’s difficult to bring out the personal impact above the factual matter which needs to be conveyed for the story to make sense. I’ll need to keep working on that aspect of the one-hour digital storytelling form…

That aside, making such a simple digital story can be comparatively straightforward, fun and quick.

Digital Storytelling Pod Ep01-How to make a DS on iPad with Barrie Stephenson

This is the first episode of a new monthly audio podcast for digital storytellers: Digital Storytelling Pod with Gareth Morlais.

Podcast feed: Audio RSS (MP3) dspod-ep01.mp3

Barrie Stevenson of Digistories sums up his experiences of using iPad v2 to help people make digital stories. This interview was recorded in Aberystwyth, Wales, June 2011 when the version 2 of the iPad had not long been introduced in the UK.

Shownotes: links
Barrie Stephenson –
. Links to Barrie’s other projects can be found on this site.
DS6 –
iPad –

The next episode will feature Cheryl Colan.

The audio is released under Creative Commons license:
Creative Commons Licence
Digital Storytelling Pod Ep01 by Gareth Morlais is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

One-hour digital storytelling?

Is there a form of digital storytelling that can give people a taste of what’s possible in just one hour? That’s the question Nicky Getgood and I wrestled with when we met earlier today.

Nicky works with Talk About Local and edits the Digbeth is Good hyperlocal online site. The 1 October 2011 #Storycamp in Ludlow is what Nicky was inspired to organise after she attended DS6.

Nicky and I began by looking back at the Capture Wales project, then we wondered about what kinds of video outputs might be produced at the Ludlow #Storycamp. The model we’re considering piloting consists of:
– four images, including titles;
– half a minute of audio, recorded on mobile phone in a quiet room;
– a personal anecdote based on one image or object related to ‘my special place’

We’re confident the technical building of the digital story can be done within the time, as long as not much training is required. But we’re both concerned that there’s not enough time to give the anecdote (mini personal story about a place) time to ‘breathe’.

We’ll continue the discussion and I’ll keep you updated here.

Daniel Meadows – early photographic works (video)

Many readers of this blog will be familiar with the work of Daniel Meadows. He was founder and creative director of BBC Capture Wales and teaches digital storytelling module at Cardiff University. Before this, he was a well-known documentary photographer.

There are retrospective views of his work coming soon:

1. in the form of a new book called “Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s” by Val Williams. Published by Photoworks.

2. in an exhibition at the National Media Museum, Bradford, called “Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works” curated by Val Williams. It runs from 30th September 2011 – 19th February 2012.

Daniel has just published a video setting the scene, where he explains how he became a kind of “mediator for other people’s stories”. He also explains how he was drawn to digital storytelling because it’s “a kind of access-level but nevertheless elegant form that people can learn quickly”.

Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works from National Media Museum on Vimeo.

If you’d like to know more about Daniel and the retrospectives, and you live in the UK, buy the Financial Times on Saturday 3rd September 2011 for an eight-page preview in the FT Magazine.

As someone who’s admired Daniel’s work and ethos for many years, it’s great to see his work getting a wider airing this year.