Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 4 - Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Navajo Oral History project continues this summer at Diné College on the Navajo Nation.  A group of 12 Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota) students are working in journalism teams with 10 students from Diné College and creating documentaries about the lives of Navajo elders.

On Wednesday, the groups met their elders for the first time and completed their first interviews.  In Thursday's class, the students held a de-briefing session during which they talked about every aspect of the work completed the day before.


They critiqued camera position and lighting, interview questions that worked and some that didn't, audio challenges such as noise in the room or wind, still photos take on the interview subject and his or her surroundings, and just generally how they did as a team.  They commented on their own work and each other's and then began to plan for interview number two next week.  Now they need to think about what questions still need to be asked, what kind of photos do they still need, video angles they'd like to try, and B-roll video they need to add to the documentary.

In past years, blog readers have asked about the term "B-Roll." In general, the main interview with the subject is considered A-roll video.  B-roll is any other video included to help the viewer understand the interview subject or what they are talking about.  When an elder talks about attending school as a child at a boarding school, and how difficult that period of their life was, it might be desirable to change the video to an overview of the school property while the elder is talking about it.  That's B-Roll.

The teams are creating their "B-Roll Wish Lists."  As time permits during the next week, we'll send crews out to gather B-roll as needed.

The students are now transcribing their interviews.  This means they type out every word of the interview.  This provides them with an accurate record of what was said and makes for easy searching later when they are working on their video projects.  The students are also listening to music that might be appropriate for their videos.

For the second part of class, Robbie Christiano, the teaching assistant for the class, taught a workshop on how to use Final Cut Pro software for editing video.  His presentation was very informative as he broke down a very complicated piece of software into a series of simple steps.  Now the students are practicing with the software and beginning work on their documentary videos.


In the afternoon, many of the group members took a little break from the work to play a round of Disc Golf.  There isn't an official disc golf course on the Diné College campus, so the group made up their own course: throw to the third tree, or the hello fire hydrant, etc.  It was a nice recreation break.  


Following dinner, it was back to the common area of the dorm building, and back to work or social relaxation.


The dorm buildings at Diné College are built in the octagonal shape of the traditional Navajo hogan, which serves as both a home and a ceremonial meeting place-- quite appropriate to our group.


On Friday, the group heads into Canyon de Chelly National Monument for a campaign weekend with a Navajo family.  Canyon de Chelly is a U.S. National Monument, but is wholly located within the Navajo Nation.  Non-Navajos must have a Navajo guide to be allowed into the Canyon.

The WSU group is staying with the Lettie and Flemen Nave Family at a sheep camp site that has been in the family for more than a century.  The group will hike into the canyon, camp for two nights with traditional Navajo foods, games and cultural activities. They'll do a five-mile hike on a sheep camp trail on Saturday.  On Sunday morning, they'll break campus and hike back out of the canyon via the White House Ruins trail where they'll see the famous ruins of an Anasazi community that was established about 900 a.d.

Since there will be no internet available in the canyon, the blog won't be updated until sometime later in the day on Sunday.

Thanks for reading the blog and supporting these hard-working students with your thoughts and ideas.  Feel free to add comments to the blog below.

1 comment:

  1. This was the first time many of the women in our class had ever played disc golf. After a few throws they all started getting much better. I think we may have them hooked on the game.

    Check the photos again and notice the awesome throwing form; especially from Kelly, Shannon, Stefani and Robbie!