Multimodal Composition: Yeats and Penguins

For Parallel Octave’s Anthology I, I adapted Yeats’s “The Second Coming” into a video commentary on the War on Terror.  No one is entirely sure what the video truly means, but it is clear that “the widening gyre” is still (and will forever be) “slouching toward Bethlehem / waiting to be born.”

Although I don’t teach with this video very often, it is a helpful tool for illustrating multimodality.  The entire sequence was filmed using stop-motion animation – using an old 3 megapixel camera and props that happened to be on-hand, I was able to arrange an HD-quality video to the poetry soundtrack provided by the Parallel Octave Chorus.  Although subtle, there is clear narrative in this short film.  I used a mix of storyboarding and “inspiration while filming” to build these scenes.

The video itself is not professional by any means, but it’s a manageable project for students who are interested in multimodal composition.    It took approximately three days to shoot the photos, and then perhaps a week to edit everything – and this was while working as an adjunct instructor, so I was not working on this video full-time.

A key component for student assignments like this would be written proof-of-learning.  Are students able to describe how they made their video?  Were there reasons for their choices of setting and props and story line?  Can they describe whether or not the video is effective?

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