Post Production Time Lapse

Time lapse of me working on my specialist project ūüôā

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Bonus Material

I originally wrote this for my evaluation. however it did not fit the brief of the essay and used too many words, i shall include it here in any case.

 

 

 

 

 

After my first two years of study I thought I had a pretty well formed idea of what to expect from my specialist project, however this project instead had plenty of surprises in store for me. Often why writing a learning agreement our outlining a new piece of work the time tested method of; How? What? Why? is used in order organize thoughts and plan/review a project. For my specialist project this method was turned on its head, I considered Why? How? What? The beginning of this process was to ponder why? Why did I want to create a piece if creative digital media. The answer was my dislike of the current capitalist culture of bombarding consumers with advertising. Now I wish to make very clear from the start that I respect the current westernized system of living, people need to put food on the table, employees need work both at home and abroad. Advertising is an invaluable tool and is an industry that in future I may even see myself placed in, however I do find the current model of business/advertising extremely irritating and unsettling, and I want to strike back at it. I am not a Russel Brand-esque figure who wants the dissolution of parliament, revolution and riots, but I do want to jab greed-ridden corporations right in the kidneys!

 

The beginning of this process was to look into some examples of how corporations have been irresponsible and indeed the effect that it has had on the general public. I looked into stories such as the clothes manufacturer Abercrombie and Fitch deciding to burn leftover stocks of clothing as opposed to burning them. Why might they do such a thing? In order to ensure that the high-gloss image of the brand was not tainted by homeless or disadvantaged people wearing their brand. This is the same company that also refuses to manufacture extra large clothing because they do not want fat people to wear their clothes and again ruin this image of perfection they have associated with their clothing. My next point is at the core of why I wanted to focus my project on this topic. As well as performing the poor and in my opinion quite heartless business practice, Abercrombie then come in with an advertising campaign that unashamedly and unapologetically uses sexualisation and body image to sell clothing. I think it is this attitude that irritates me, the idea they have elements of their business that they should not be proud of but then have the bare faced cheek to throw it in the face of the consumer with a wide spread of multimedia advertising.

 

Many adverts for banks draw my attention in a similar manner. An advertising campaign by Halifax that ran on television for some time was of a group of bak staff dressed in Halifax garb formed into a large choir and singing Blackmoor‚Äôs ‚ÄúJust call my name‚ÄĚ. Lyrics include ‚ÄúI‚Äôll be there, I‚Äôll be there, Just call my name and I‚Äôll be there‚ÄĚ. The song is sung at a slow, church-choir tempo different to the original pop electro-guitar release. The shots include doe-eyes bank employeed looking smug and hopeful interspersed with shots of people doing charity runs, an man helping an old lady get a tin of beans off a high supermarket shelf and two mums lifting a pram up some stairs. I have seen this advert many times and each viewing has succeeded to infuriate me further. In October 2008 Gordon Brown‚Äôs Labour government announced it would bail out major banks (Including HBOS) to the tune of ¬£37 Billion in order to stabilize them after years of wreck less and greedy banking. Public money has been used to prop up this bank on account of their selfishness, and now they have the bare faced check to organize themselves into a choir and sing a comforting pop hit to me? All the while interspersing scenes of genuine acts of kindness from strangers!

 

I realize my description of these events has been both very detailed and highly animated on my part. I do however feel this is important as it is at the core of my campaign. To target out companies who practice immoral business practice behind closed doors and then attempt to give a smiley, warm and manipulative message to our faces via advertising and PR campaigns.

Evaluation

Andy Berryman: Specialist Project Evaluation

 

 

 When deciding what to base my project on I wanted a subject that would be both fun to work on and also satisfying to produce. With this in mind I chose a topic that I have found of intrigue before. That topic was the attitudes of capitalism with regard to advertising campaigns and more specifically the anti-branding movements against them. Further analysis on why I chose this can be found on my blog.

 

 The first thing I considered was how I would go about conveying my message. In early brainstorming sessions I considered how great it would be to simply block these adverts out of your life entirely with the flip of a switch. Although this would be unfeasible in reality, it did draw my attention towards a plugin for web browsers called AdBlock plus. This plugin stops adverts from popping up ahead of YouTube videos or on web pages. I had to consider how I might take the idea of blocking or obscuring adverts and applying it to my own project. My initial gut reaction was to make a more conventional short film relating to this subject.

 

 Part of deciding the direction of the project was to first evaluate my own skills, strengths and weaknesses. I had completed a piece of freelance work over the summer unrelated to my university studies, this work was quite heavily dependant on the use of adobe after effects. With this in mind I decided to create a short film featuring the use of an ad blocking plugin that would work in reality as opposed to virtually. As explained in my blog the main storyrtelling device was to be a fictional version of Google Glass. I chose this because I think it’s important for my films to be relevant, and Google Glass is a hot new technology.

 

 My initial idea had two main stumbling blocks. The first problem is one that I actually discussed with Phil Bears at a relatively early stage of the process. I intended to create a short film heavy in post production but that also included several characters, locations and props. Being that this was a solo project it was going to be difficult to maintain a high production value throughout the film. This was partly due to the limits of resources available but also because from day one I knew I was going to have an extremely time and labour intensive postproduction phase.

 

I contacted a student on the Acting course at AUB called Mianga whom I had worked with on a previous project. I did not commit to asking him to come on board as I know plans can often change, however I did confirm that he was in town and that he was available for my window of filming. One prop I had to think about sourcing was my Google Glass equivalent; I decided that safety specs may be a cheap and easy option. Having looked at some costing I decided that I could buy a large quantity of these glasses and ask multiple actors to wear them. Some issues persisted, issues such as the lack of suitable locations and the fact it would be difficult to source a crew.

 

 

 The second issue facing me was one that was far harder to overcome. My project was based on a brandalism and culture jamming campaign. In these kind of campaigns people have experimented with billboards and artistry outside to grab the attention of the public. Even if I made a relative success of my film, how would I get my message out to my target audience? There was a real danger that I would complete the project only for it to then sit in my YouTube account with minimal views. I considered ways to overcome this, such as creating social networks to back up my ideas. I even considered entering the film in festivals and competitions however this did not really fit with the theme of brandalism that I was so keen on from the start. To speak critically of myself I think that one of my weaknesses when working tends to be that I become too emotionally attached and dedicated to either my first idea or a relatively early idea. In past this tendency to stubbornly hold myself to one idea has negatively affected my final work.

 

 Reflecting upon all of these factors I decided that action was needed and my plan for this project would have to become far more adaptable and fluid regarding the shape that my final piece would take.

 

 Discussion with Phil prompted me to take a more forward role with my activism. Research I had done featured all kinds of interesting projects being displayed in the public domain. With this in mind the next idea I considered was to take my idea of playing around with the adverts and parodying them (originally within my google glass equivalent) and apply it to a different medium. The new plan was to find billboards to map and project my animations onto. This idea again presented more challenges and problems, which are outlined in further detail on my blog. However it have the bonus of being out in the public domain and therefore better fit the culture jamming style of work I was aiming for.

 

 The problem with projection was my lack of expertise in the area and mainly the logistics of setting up a projector on a busy street and the permissions surrounding that. Permissions would especially difficult as the projections would be very critical of the billboards they were displayed on. I after talking with Tony and Bob the idea changed to filming the billboards and animating them in after effects, then posting the film on YouTube with a rough storyline of an energy ball that would give life to the animation.

 

 This idea did not fill me with confidence and trying to move forward from it was difficult. One problem was that I had the exact same distribution and exposure issues that I highlighted with my original film. In addition to this I felt the idea was convoluted and weaker than my original film idea, although admittedly more achievable.

 

 After more meetings with lecturers I finally reached a stage where I was happy with the direction of the project.

 

 The development after I chose to abandon the film idea was I feel simultaneously this projects greatest strength and greatest weakness. The idea gained strength through developing naturally over time, indeed I feel the reason why my final idea is quite unique and original is because it was born out of so many failed ideas that I pursued before. I also said however that this development process was this projects greatest weakness, changing the idea so many times had really limited the amount of time I had available to produce my final body of work.

 

 I had decided upon basing my idea around QR codes, the whole nature of my project changed which left me with a new set of challenges to face. I had to think carefully about how I would present this idea to my audience. The beauty of this new plan is that members of the public can interact with the videos I have created. However I still had to keep in mind how I would present my work to the class during the final crit. I decided the best way of doing this would be to first set up my digital vandalism campaign out on the streets and then film it in action. The result would be a video just under 3 minutes in length with a soundtrack and a mix of stop-motion GoPro and DSLR footage. I chose to make this video the centre showpiece for the campaign. This video can be used to quickly and efficiently show people what my work is all about in a slick, stylish medium.

 

 The technical side of this project was quite complicated however I feel I rose to the challenge well. Firstly the filming had to be carefully planned. I had rough sketches of how I wanted the finished animations to look and many of them involved text or particles moving outside of the confines of the billboard itself. With this in mind it was of great importance that I filmed nice wide shots, being careful not to clip the edges of the advertisement or obscuring the poster itself. I had learned in past that a good lens can make all the difference so I chose to hire a 24-105mm canon lens from the store. I filmed both static shots with a tripod and also shots with movement, reason being if my tracking failed I had the option of reverting to a clip without movement.

 

 I took short clips of about 10 to 15 seconds to animate on to, I was very aware that the people watching these videos may well be walking along the street or waiting for a bus, and would not have a huge amount of time to invest.  I used tracking, 3d particle effects, element 3d, masking and a variety of other techniques to achieve my desired effect. The postproduction was a relatively smooth process however it was rather labour and time intensive. This led to the unfortunate side effect of all the bus stop posters having changed by the time I came to my final video. This is a great shame as it would have been nice to film the phone playing the video next to an actual relevant poster. The combination of the time spent in post production and also my lack of knowledge regarding how often they change the posters ultimately led to this unfortunate mishap, the posters being changed 2 days before I finished post production.

 

 On a more optimistic note the change of posters was inevitable and therefore the stickers would not have matched perfectly at one point in future regardless. I still feel the project is successful and very powerful, I think scanning the code to be met with a video of your actual surroundings is very unique and has a great future. Upon reflection of the poster-changing incident I have pondered basing my animations on for more permanent structures, therefore increasing the time at which the media is most powerful.

 

 Choosing what to actually animate and what message to push reflected my research. I was very much at the mercy of what posters were available so my technique was to scout the area and then choose the posters that best lent themselves to my purposes. After choosing my posters it really was a case of researching around the company, finding an element that was somewhat shady or unpalatable and then highlighting that fact.

 

 Although perhaps not the most technically challenging my favourite animation was the one cantered around TSB. This bank was previously a part of Lloyds but is attempting to create a friendly local image with the community in mind. My animation shows that this bank is in fact stemmed from the same bank that had to be bailed out by the government due to reckless attitudes and business practice. TSB does in fact operate out of the exact same branches that Lloyds TSB used to it simply has a new sign on the door and has fielded a new advertising campaign.

 

 

 I leave this project feeling happy with what I have achieved, however also realising that I have made many mistakes along the way that I need to learn from. I regret not doing more research into how long the posters would be available on the particular bus stops as it would have been nice to immortalise the concept working as envisaged originally on film. Regardless of this I still think my film communicates the function of the technology to the viewer. This project has taught me more than any other how working through a creative process with several different ideas creates a much richer understanding and also a far more original final project.

 

 

Word count: 2000

Post Production: Additional Info

Right from the start of my post production i knew that i wanted to present a varied scope of animation. I feel that my final pieces of video reflect this. Due to the large amount of referencing to my project file i need to do in this section i feel it is best to present my ideas to you in the form of a video blog. Screen recordings with commentary on my post production phase can be found on above posts.

 

One element that I forgot to cover in my voice recording and would like to briefly describe is the reasoning behind my stylistic choices. I used a variety of techniques and colour ranges but most important to me was consider the functionality of my designs. You will notice that the text I use on animations is quite large and oversized compared to the size i would normally use. The reasoning behind this is that I am aware my animations are likely to be viewed on a smartphone screen. The relatively small dimensions of this screen mean that i wanted to ensure my message could both be easily read and quickly understood by the audience. This is the reason i tried to make my animations quite visual with very few words. An example of this is my Lloyds TSB advert in which the hearts and smiley faces appear. Although they do not look overly aesthetically pleasing they do put across the message that i want to convey extremely quickly.

The music i used was from a producer i am friends with called kaiben. The track is available for free download here:

 

 

Additional stills taken during production: http://imgur.com/a/zpYRn

 

Bibliography

 

Naomi Klein, 2009. No Logo: 10th Anniversary Edition with a New Introduction by the Author. 10th Anniversary Edition Edition. Picador.

 

Lev Manovich, 2002. The Language of New Media (Leonardo Books). First Edition Edition. The MIT Press.

 

Super Size Me, 2004. Film. Directed by: Morgan Spurlock. USAK Kathbur Pictures.

 

Hollenbeck and Zinkman, 2006. Consumer Activism on the Internet: The Role of Anti-brand Communities. University of Georgia, USA.  Available at: http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/v33/v33_10337.pdf

The Guardian . 2013. Internet overtakes television to become biggest advertising sector in the UK. Media. The Guardian . Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/sep/30/internet-biggest-uk-advertising-sector.

Post 8: Post Production

Right from the start of my post production i knew that i wanted to present a varied scope of animation. I feel that my final pieces of video reflect this. Due to the large amount of referencing to my project file i need to do in this section i feel it is best to present my ideas to you in the form of a video blog. Screen recordings with commentary on my post production phase can be found on above posts.

Post 7: Bus stop filming

Once i was happy with exactly how i wanted my final piece to look and what i went along the locations i needed to shoot i went about preparing my shoot. I needed the footage to be nice and crisp for several reasons. Firstly I do pride myself on the quality of my video work and if members of the public were going to be scanning my digital vandalism stickers then i wanted them to feel they were viewing a quality piece of work when it loads up on screen. High quality footage was also going to important as i knew my videos would feature an awful lot of tracking, this effect works best with nice sharp footage and clear tracking points.

 

I chose to film using my CanonD600 and also a 24-105mm lens that i borrow from the store. I was careful to set up my shots carefully for each location using a white balance and lowest F-stop possible on the camera. Due to the outdoor filming conditions i was able to film at ISO100 which gave me clear, crisp 1080p footage with minimal graining. I decided to film shots with movement and static shots. I did this so that if i could not apply the tracking to my shots with movement then i could instead revert back o my static shots.

 

Filming in public is always an interesting challenge in itself. Over the duration of the course i have found that when filming in public it does tend to draw an awful lot of attention. The amount of attention drawn does tend to  increase with the size of the rig one is using to film. For example a Large DSLR setup with tripod will draw a lot more attention that filming with a phone or ipod. This may seem a very obvious and unusual thing to blog about however i have found that keeping focused on ones objectives and shot list can be very important. Often the pressure of the public staring at you can result in a compromise of quality on the filming. The filming for this shoot was i feel a good example as when taking shome shots of the bus stops people were wanting to use them, resulting in me cutting my shot short and giving me postproduction issues further down the line.

 

I was using a very lightweight and quick style of filming. With my locations being sread quite far apart I actually travelled round on my trusty bicycle. By doing this I managed to film all of my various bus stop locations within the time span of a few hours.

 

post 6: Beginning Production

When moving on to production the first thing i had to consider was the loctions that i may wish to use. The earlier stages of my project focusing on billboards meant that i had already done some quite extensive reconnaissance on areas of bournemouth that had bus stops with posters attached. My choice of bus stop for use in the final piece was influenced by a variety of factors. Firstly i wanted to make sure my QR codes would be placed on either frequently used bus stops or areas of high pedestrian traffic. Reason being there is little point in creating  campaign such as this if it is situated in a place where t will not see any use. For example setting this up in the village where i was raised would have been quite a massive waste of time, one bus every three hours would not have let getting my digital vandalism page many views!

 

Another thing to keep in mind whilst choosing bus stops was the kind of adverts i would have liked to parody and animate over. There wasn’t a huge selection of different companies displaying so it was not a case of choosing the most evil corporation from a line up however i did make the decision early that i would steer clear of posters with films, plays ect as they did not ft the theme of my campaign.

 

You can never tell what may happen in post production. I knew i wanted three of 4 working locations and keeping this in mind i filmed 7 different bus stops with a variety of shots. This enabled me to choose the shots that would work best n after effects in the edit. One small mistake a made during filming was that since i knew my animations would be about 10-15 seconds long most of my shots really only held position for about 15 ¬†or so second. Speaking evaluatively i should have filmed at least 30 or so seconds in order to leave plenty of space to fade the clips in and out and gve me some leeway to remove anomalies. This lack of foresight became apparent on the ‚ÄúPug‚ÄĚ animation, shown second in the final film. In reaction to not having enough footage i had to create a freeze frame at the end of the animation to ensure the viewer had enough time to take in the image. This looked fine in the final cut but not ideal. Once I had decided exactly which billboards i wanted to film i was really able to focus on attention on the technicalities of creating my animations.