Category Archives: 080801 – Pilot

Category for an episode.

Lesson Resources – Pilot

While most of the resources in this case study are intended to help you train students, the resources listed below aim to help you think about what is important when you teach media literacy. They can also help your students think about their own perspectives on the media.

When we talk about media literacy, questions arise. Should media literacy train students to appreciate media, or to deconstruct where they come from critically? Does media literacy require students to produce media to understand them? Is production training enough to encourage critical thinking? Are students already learning enough about the media outside of class? Do students just take on the attitudes teachers want them to about television, movies, and the Internet in class, then leave those attitudes at the door when they leave?
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Production: Faking a webcam

One of the original ideas for the show was that Weena and Erna would be filming it on their webcam, at least part of the time. In a bunch of early episodes — the pilot, early responses, Yell and Sell, Hot Gossip, and the first version of the Snopes video — there are sections with this “webcam” effect. Sometimes we filmed it with a lower-quality camera, at a different angle; sometimes we didn’t. Sometimes we forgot to! Even when we did film it with a lower-quality camera, it still sometimes was not different enough from the main camera angle to look like a real webcam. When that happened, we added in effects in post-production to try to make it more webcam-like. Did it work? How do these clips look the same as or different from real webcam footage?

We used this effect to make a difference between the parts where the puppets prompt viewers to respond and the rest of the show; also, to film shorter episodes. Over time, as you can see, we changed how we did this. Some versions only have a grainy “webcam” look. Others have writing onscreen to describe what is going on. Some use a different camera angle, and some did not.

Which do you think was more effective — making the viewer prompt parts different, or leaving them the same as the rest of the show? Of the times when we did use the webcam effect, which do you think works best? Describe particular visual elements to make your case.