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Video essays and digital storytelling

A guide for creating video or multimedia projects for assignments.

Creative Commons (CC)

What is a Creative Commons (CC) License?

 For more information, refer to:


Copyright considerations

If your production includes audio/video/or images created by others, you need to ensure you are adhering to Canadian copyright law.  Refer to the Copyright Basics and Fair Dealing guide from RRU's Copyright Office. 

What media elements will help you tell the story?

What elements will help you tell the story?

Once you have the storyline, think about what media elements would help you tell the story. For example, if you want to introduce yourself and where you live, using a map might be useful.  If you are talking about a specific concept or factual claim, a text-reference that supports or provides evidence for that claim or concept would be warranted.  You might also choose to include specific images that help you tell the story, or a video (say a Ted talk, or a YouTube video) that is relevant to what you are saying.  You might even create your own slides using PowerPoint or some other visual tool. 
All these elements tell your story and will need to "land" somewhere in the narrative. Where and how you insert these depends on the program you are using, the story you are telling, and some sense of how the story will be heard. You don’t want a final story that is so busy with media inserts that the story gets lost! At the same time, you want to tell a compelling story.
Once you have the "script" or framework for your story, and you know the elements you want to insert and where (this is where a storyboard comes in handy), then you can begin building your story.

--Tips and suggstions courtesy of Dr. Robin Cox, Associate Professor, Royal Roads University



  1. Audacity is an open source audio editor software that can run on Windows, OS X or Linux.  Audacity has a large body of dedicated users and it is easy to get help online if you are having problems with the program. The interface is not as polished as commercial products, but Audacity is a very capable program.  Audacity's numerous features can be extended further with plugins. Like other open source software Audacity has a somewhat steeper learning curve, but it can produce professional results. Audacity can be downloaded from Sourceforge: . The Audacity wiki is a goldmine of training material.  It is particularly useful if you want to record your voice into a .mp3 file to import into a project
  2. Wikimedia Commons: a database of 20,550,201 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute
  3. Creative Commons Legal Music for videos: A list of sites that offer works by musicians under a Creative Commons license
  4. Soundcloud Creative Commons stream: where members share CC licensed tracks with download enabled



  1. Openverse: Search engine for open source images, audio, and video
  2. Wikimedia Commons: a database of 20,550,201 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute
  3. YouTube: Do a search, then use the "Filters" button below the search box to further filter your search results to "Creative Commons"
  4. Vimeo: Browse the Creative Commons licensed videos on Vimeo




  1. Openverse: Search engine for open source images, audio, and video.
  2. flickrCC: This section of Flickr offers images that are available under a Creative Commons license and also explains the different types of Creative Commons licenses.
  3. Google Images: Not all images on Google Images are Creative Commons licensed. To find CC-licensed images on Google:
    1. Run your search in the standard Google Image search bar
    2. On the results page, click on the "Tools" button just below the search box
    3. Choose "Usage Rights" > "Creative Commons licenses"
  4. Multicolr Search Lab: This tool from TinEye allows you to search for Creative Commons-licensed images by colour.
  5. MorgueFile: As macabre as this sounds, it's merely a free photo archive.  No dead bodies here!
  6. Everypixel  A great  stock photo search engine online. It’s loaded with search options, totally free to use, and it crawls 50 of the top stock photo sites, bringing you all the best photos in one place.

Shooting your own content

Shooting Basics

How do you make videos that look good?  Take a peek at the video below for an introduction.

Video 101: Shooting Basics from Vimeo Video School on Vimeo.

Like this?  More Vimeo Video School lessons can be found here.