Digital Storytelling:
Is this a story?

The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling

The Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling
The Center for Digital Storytelling has defined seven elements for creating effective and interesting multimedia stories. Constructing a story is not a simple process that follows a recipe or prescribed formula. These elements require consideration for every story and determining the balance each element occupies in the story can take a lot of thinking and re-thinking.

A Point of View
Stories are told to make a point and should not be presented as a recitation of mere facts. Define the premise of your story so that all parts can serve to make the point. Consider your audience and direct the point to them.

A Dramatic Question
You want to capture your audience’s attention at the beginning of the piece and hold their interest throughout. Typically you want to pose the dramatic question in the opening lines and resolve it in the closing lines.

Emotional Content
Emotional content can help hold your audiences attention. The images, effects, music and tone of voice all lend to contributing emotion to the piece. Try to keep the elements consistent with the emotion of the moment.

Most likely the first time you heard your recorded voice you couldn’t stand the way it sounded. And you still can’t. Suggestion....get over it! Your voice is a great gift and even thought you don’t like to hear it, others do. If you “read” your script your audience will not know how to react. Take time to learn and practice your script so you can speak in a conversational voice. Record several takes and select the best one. Trust that your audience will think it is perfect.

The Soundtrack
Music is a big plus to a digital story. The right music can set the story in time and can convey emotion. Play music behind an image and a specific emotion is generated. Change the music behind the same image and an entirely different emotion is experienced. Sound effects can add tension and excitement to a piece, but be careful, they can be a distraction too.

Plan to leave some of your work on the “cutting room floor”. A compact, fast moving digital story will contain only those elements necessary to move the audience from beginning to end. We know that our brains are constantly filling in (from our own experiences) details from suggestions made by sights and sounds. Don’t give every minute detail to clarify your story, let your audience fill in some of the blanks.

The rhythm of the piece is what keeps your audience’s interest in the story. Changing pace within the story can facilitate moving the audience from one emotion to another. Music tempo, speech rate, image duration, and panning and zooming speed all work to establish pace. Generally pace will be consistent, but one in a while it will pause, accelerate, decelerate, stop or blast-off. Trust your own senses, we all move at our own pace.

Our Process
Download the STLP Camp Storyboard documents here:

Digital Re-enactments and the VideoPad Green Screen Process

Welcome to STLP Camp 2012

We are creating a movie using green screen technology to document a moment in history that you choose. This movie will be edited in VideoPad, a free editing tool available at:
But first, we must employ storyboards to block out your video or multimedia project before you go to the expense and time of creating any of the elements. The storyboard review and approval stage is one of the stages of pre-production that allows all stakeholders to visualize the final project. It provides an opportunity for discussion, and helps you determine your final story. Storyboards also help you save time and money when you put the elements together because you know what shots can be grouped together, taken at the same time, or with the same resources.
Depending on your organization, storyboards can be very informal – just scribbles and stick figures, or more formal – good-looking graphics. Personally, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on storyboards when those resources could be better used during actual production.

Keeps everything simple and focused on the task. Of course, write everything down. As you can see you can already start determining the roles of your students. Writer(s), Composer, and Director will be needed to complete the project.
Our focus is on the elementary and middle school Social Studies History curriculum. We want to take a slice, no more than five minutes, out of history and re-imagine what it would have looked like and sounded like. Using VideoPad’s Green Screen technology we can create a Digital Re-enactment of history.
First Day Process:
  • Learn about Digital Re-enactments and storyboarding
  • Research, research, and research to develop your story
  • WRITE/DRAW your storyboard script
  • Gather photos and videos to use in your story as background to set the scene
  • SAVE all of your materials!
  • CITE CITE CITE ALL of your digital resources (See Video)

  • Learn how to use VideoPad
Second Day Process
  • Review your Storyboard
  • Learn about proper filming technique
  • FILM
  • Edit in VideoPad
  • Save as a MP4
  • Upload to the ULEAP Podcast server