Make a Mini-Documentary with Adobe Premiere Rush

Students create a mini-documentary about a specific topic
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About This Strategy

In this 5+ hour strategy, students will create a mini-documentary covering a topic based on the needs of the class. Students will use video, voice over, and custom titles using Adobe Premiere Rush to produce a sharable, informative story. This can be done as an individual or group project.

Premiere Rush enables students to quickly turn their ideas into videos that impress. You can adapt this strategy to your desired field of study, and this strategy can stand on its own or be paired with additional video/multimedia strategies to further investigate any desired topic. This strategy can be adapted for use with other Adobe products, such as Adobe Premiere Pro.

Supporting Tools and Resources

  • Student Sample
  • Adobe Premiere Rush

  • Adobe Premiere Pro

  • Editable Resource Bundle

  • PDF Resource Bundle

Outline for Teachers

300 minutes

Learn.

Introduce students  to the mini-documentary assignment and inform them about the event, idea or topic they will cover in their mini-documentary/informational video. (30 minutes)

Evaluate.

Students plan out, and shoot video for, their documentary following these steps. Students can reference the example here. (3+hrs)

Create.

Students bring their footage, ideas, and message together to edit their mini-documentary using Premiere Rush. Students follow these steps and can watch this tutorial tutorial series. (2+ hrs)

Share.

Students share and publish their videos for review per the instructor's directions.

Steps for Students

You will create a mini-documentary covering a topic based on the needs of the class using Adobe Premiere Rush. You will utilize video, voice over, and custom titles to produce a sharable, informative story.

With its combination of powerful editing tools and it’s easy to use interface, Premiere Rush enables anyone to quickly turn their ideas into videos that impress.

Steps:

1. Your instructor will introduce you to the mini-documentary assignment and inform you about the event, idea, or topic you will cover in your mini-documentary/informational video. (30 minutes)

2. With your documentary topic identified, prepare to shoot your documentary by identifying the things you would like to cover. There are many ways to format a documentary, but you can think of your documentary as a video version of an essay. Check out the example here to get an idea of one way to approach this project. (3+ hrs)

  • Do some preliminary research on your subject: look up the place or event you are covering, and jot down the things you will want to film there. (A list of footage you need is always helpful with these types of assignments.)

  • Decide how you are going to film your mini-documentary. You will probably be filming footage for this project. It can wind up being a lot of filming even if it is just filming in your living space. When you need to do a lot of filming, consider the following:

    • Are you using a phone or a dedicated camera?

    • How will you shoot this mini-documentary? Portrait? Landscape?

    • Does the camera have enough storage to shoot all the footage you will need to collect for the mini-documentary?

    • Do you have spare batteries or a charging solution if you need it?

    • What do you want people to walk away from this mini-doc with?

      • Is there a primary message you want to convey?

      • Is there a call to action you want to share?

By thinking about these steps, you will be prepared with what you want to film should anything not go 100% as planned when you go to shoot video, and you will have a map with your initial ideas to help guide you. 

Remember to have fun! If you are recording on someone else’s property, ask for permission and  follow the rules of any establishment where you will be filming!

3. Edit the footage you shot for your mini-documentary. Keep the following in mind when editing your project: (90 minutes)

  • Documentaries are meant to convey information, but they should also be entertaining. It is okay if they are not perfect or you want to include a funny moment. Sometimes these little deviations  are the best parts!

  • Choose a soundtrack to put underneath your mini-documentary; this will help things feel cohesive. Rush has quite a few music tracks built in to choose from, or you can find royalty free soundtracks at Incompetech and Bensound.

  • If you learned some fun facts during the creation process, include them as fun titles! 

    • Rush has a lot of different title options that are fully customizable.

  • Consider what supplemental visual aids would be useful in editing your mini-documentary.

    • Are there diagrams, pictures, or other visuals that will help illustrate your points?

    • What on-screen text could help support your ideas?

  • You can use pre-produced video and photos to supplement recorded footage. 

    • Penn State has put together the Free Media Library, an amazing list of places where you can source creative commons licensed and other free media resources that you should use for this or any other project!

  • If you are recording a voice-over after the fact, be sure to record your voice-over in a relatively quiet space if at all possible. If for whatever reason that is not possible, the audio panel can be a great tool to help you clean up your audio.

  • You are able to record your voice-over multiple times and in small pieces, so take your time.

  • Remember that the content is the most important thing… not visual perfection.

  • Go easy on yourself, and have fun!

You can examine a lot of these points in action by watching the example mini-documentary  here and reviewing this tutorial series on Premiere Rush here.

4. Share and publish your videos for the class to review per your instructor's directions.

Rubric for Successful Analysis

Consult the attached rubric in order to evaluate students' videos.