Time and location often challenges collaboration and rich communication. We often struggle to convey the details of our work when people are not present. A short, rough video can capture what is already “on the table” without the need for extra notes. Get others close to your thoughts and progress by sharing content and thinking in a One-Shot Video.
This recipe comes from working with video in design research, participatory design and education for many years. While video is a powerful medium for documentation and communication of material practices of design, it can be extremely time-consuming to work with and the editing process gives the editor the last word on the content, rather than people in the video.
The one-shot video format changes the role of video-making and its productive value in collaborative activities, as well as when working collaboratively over distance. The technique has become an excellent medium for tutoring over a distance, allowing a student or student team to present their tutor an up close look at their work-in-progress, whether rough sketches, physical materials or a combination.
One-Shot Video is a technique where participants use a smartphone to create a short video that illustrates their work in detail. The participant(s) are challenged to present their thinking as the video rolls over the supporting content in a limited time frame. One-Shot Video not only captures scripted performances, but it can also push participants to produce their best thinking constrained by a specific timeframe.
Students and teachers needing to communicate a complex topic quickly
Low (using smart phone)
Easy (once you get used to it)
- A subject you need to communicate over distance
- Material you wish to show
- A cameraphone or digital camera (quality doesn’t matter)
- A video hosting service or site
- (Optional) A learning or assessment activity that would benefit from a dialogic presentation
You can watch and One Shot Video of the method here: One-Shot Video. There’s an example One-Shot Video and further support materials at the end of this recipe.
- Prepare: Choose your material, identify who will speak about what, and what path the camera should take.
- Have an outline script or core message
- Have something you will film as you talk about it
- Think about where the camera will go
- Film in one shot while describing what you are showing:
- Overview: Outline the topic and the purpose of the video
- The details: Talk through the specifics you wish to share. Give examples! Point to the material!
- Conclude: Repeat the most important point(s) to remember. Describe what happens next?
- As you film:
- Hold the camera horizontally for best viewing
- Get close to the content
- Point at what you are talking about
- Keep it rough
- Dare to rehearse
- Upload & send: Upload as an “unlisted” file on Youtube or similar platform or to your online learning system and share the link.
Notes on ingredients:
1) Material + voice path: Works great for messy notes and chaotic work spaces, since the path of combination of video and your voice creates the structure. Try to choose a path before recording.
2) No talking heads: No need to show the person talking, other than during the introduction and/or finish, the visual material and your thoughts are the focus.
As a teacher, try making a one-shot video in response to a student’s work.
Additional background & uses
When I worked at Interactive Institute in Sweden, I finally developed some support material for introducing one-shot video for practical purposes, both a video introduction and print material. This technique has been introduced and used by hundreds of students (Umeå Institute of Design, Konstfack, KADK, University of Southern Denmark), and professionals in a variety of projects and daily work practices over the years.
And finally, here’s an example One-Shot Video:
Clark, Brendon. “Generating Publics through Design Activity.” In Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice, edited by Wendy Gunn, Ton Otto, and Rachel Charlotte Smith, 199–215. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013.
Clark, Brendon, and Melissa Caldwell L. “Design Anthropology On the Fly: Performative Spontaneity in Commercial Ethnographic Research.” In Design Anthropological Futures, 169–82. London ; New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Lilja, Niina, Arja Piirainen-Marsh, Brendon Clark, and Nicholas B. Torretta. “The Rally Course: Learners as Co-Designers of Out-of-Classroom Language Learning Tasks.” In Conversation Analytic Research on Learning-in-Action, edited by John Hellermann, Søren W. Eskildsen, Simona Pekarek Doehler, and Arja Piirainen-Marsh, 38:219–48. Educational Linguistics.
Lawrence, Jill, and Brendon Clark. “Building Alignment and Sparking Momentum with Tangible Future Scenarios – Dimensions.” Design Management Review 29, no. 2 (2018): 20–25.