The digital media environment has enabled the digital message designer to utilize a variety of digital equipment in the streamlined compatibility.
Preproduction in the digital media environment consists of the preparation of digital video message proposals, synopses, treatments, scripts, production schedules, budgets, and storyboards. A proposal is a market summary of the project theme. A synopsis is a paragraph describing the theme of the video story line. A treatment is a longer detail of the synopsis.
The digital media environment has facilitated production more than any other time. HD cameras, hard disk drives installed in the HD camera, fire wire or USB cables connect the camera to the computer to directly capture the scenes for edits.
Postproduction with digital technologies is the culmination of digital video message creation process. Powerful computer programs such as Final Cut Pro or After Effects enable the digital video message designer to complete a video story in a digital format.
A producer is generally in charge of preproduction. The producer carries out research, writing, law, budgets, scheduling, and other production issues that may occur.
During the production phase, the director plans, specifies, and implements the production idea. The digital video message designer can take responsible for the director position by handling video shooting, visual/sound integration, lighting, casting, and rehearsing. The editor is in charge of postproduction. The editor integrates the pieces into a work that consists of visual effects, narration, and sound effects.
Digital video production needs five elements that characterize the particular communication: production organization, message design, video medium as a channel of communication, the audience, and audience feedback.
A realism based digital video message creates a reflection of reality. The stylistic conventions behind realism are concerned with the audience’s acceptance of the video message as real.
Modernism in digital video message creation can be defined as a liberal style of realism. While a modernist video message emphasizes the message designer’s self- expression, a postmodernist video message goes beyond self-expression and focuses on human subjectivity.
The digital video message designer first sets goals and objectives for a project. Goals are general statements of the purpose. Objectives are concrete anticipated results of the message project.
The next job of the digital video message designer in the preproduction phase is audience analysis. Audience demographics generally consist of age, gender, income, education, religion, culture, and language.
Based on the goals and information obtained from the audience analysis, the digital video message designer can create a proposal. A proposal is a written document designed to explain the digital video message production.
ProposalTITLE: Charity CampaignWRITER: Seok KangCLIENT: UTSAPAGE: 1LENGTH: 30 secondsDATE: 02-12-12The digital video message team in the department of communication will produce a 30-second HD digital video message to be used as a charity campaign promotion for UTSAemployees. The digital video will target the importance and worthiness of charitablecontribution to the fund for people in need. The digital video message will emphasizewhy the charity campaign participation is important and how the UTSA staff canparticipate.The digital video message production schedule will last for three days, weather and otheracts of nature notwithstanding. Postproduction will last for one week following theproduction period. Research and preparing of the treatment will last a week following theacceptance of this digital video message proposal. The final script and storyboard will beprepared within two weeks in connection with the treatment.The production will be implemented by volunteering actors. Therefore, no separatebudget will be needed. The format will be a public service announcement with captionsand graphics. An HD video camera and tripod will be the equipment for the production.The production crew will consist of four members who will research the productiontopic, schedule the meeting of actors, shoot the scenes, and edit the scenes in a nonlinearvideo-editing program.
As introduced in the proposal, there is treatment writing. The differences between a proposal and a treatment are as follows. A proposal includes summary statement, purpose and objectives, budget, shooting schedule, and equipment list. A treatment, meanwhile, contains a description of the video message in specific in third person and present tense. Further, it describes action sequences, main characters, and the storyline from the beginning to the end.
TreatmentTITLE: Charity CampaignWRITER: Seok KangCLIENT: UTSAPAGE: 1LENGTH: 30 secondsDATE: 02-12-12This one minute digital video message will start with several video segments of smilingfaces of the university employees. Examples of such scenes are:A professor expresses his/her happiness about helping others with a smiling face.A school cafeteria staff member smiles with coworkers.An administrative staff member smiles sitting at his/her desk.These scenes will be enhanced with captions introducing their names and their charityexperiences. Cheerful music will be added to the scenes.Following the scenes, the narrator will walk into the scene and describe how the charityparticipations can make a difference in the lives of those in need.
The audio writer must: (a) write the story conversationally (b) write to be understood on the first listening (c) write concisely (d) write visually meaning as if the listener can imagine vivid images as he listens to the story (e) use appropriate sound effects going together with the story (f) use words and phrases that appeal to other sense, such as smell, touch, and taste.
Building the story rather than writing it. Exposition. Characterization. Conflict. Climax. Resolution.
The first is the theme-based structure. Themes are generally derived from the values, beliefs, and goals of the digital video message. The second type of script writing structure can be presented in adaptation. An adaptation is an altered translation of a play, a novel, or a comic strip into a film or digital video message.
The third type of script writing structure is the short fiction form. Some digital video message designers may plan to create short situation comedies or episode-based video messages. The fourth and most digital-related script writing structure is the interactive story. The interactive story format in the digital setting is represented in video or online games.
Nonfiction scriptwriters rely on the expository structure of cause-solution or theme-counter- theme in the message. The digital message designer for nonfiction scriptwriting can use the dramatic structure as well.
The second format is talk shows. Talks shows mostly consist of interviews.
The third short nonfiction format is commercials. Commercials are messages aiming at selling products, brands, or services. The digital message designer decides if the product needs a hard-sell strategy or soft-sell one. For a hard-sell strategy, a commercial uses aggressive or real-life dramatization script structure. Automobiles are an example of hard-sell products. In the case of soft-sell strategy, the digital message designer uses the strategy of less direct appeal and soft touch on the product. Clothing or beauty aids are examples of soft-sell products.
Scene Script Format (30 sec)Fade in:1. Interior/Exterior: Campus Day/Night 1Brief scene or shot description, camera angle, musicProfessor (John) (5 sec)Smiling face; caption (sociology professor; donated to a local animal shelter)Cafeteria staff member (Jane) (5 sec)Smiling with her coworkers and doing a high five with the coworkers; caption (cafeteriacashier: previous donor to the charity campaign)1. Interior/Exterior: Campus Day/Night 2Administrative staff member (Michael) (5 sec)Smiling with a thumb up (registrar’s office staff member: previous donor to the charitycampaign)(Dissolve to)1. Interior/Exterior: Campus Day/Night 3The narrator (Emily) (15 sec)“Your participation in the charity campaign will make you as well as those who needhelp happy. For more information, call at 123-4567 or visit our website at -------------------.”Caption (the phone number and website address).
A public service announcement (PSA) is identical with commercials in the processes of creation except for the nature of the message goal.
The last format of short nonfiction is instructional videos. Instructional videos are commonplace in the digital environment because website users can easily become a digital message designer and quickly create an instructional video using website services.
Focal length means the distance from the optical center of the lens to the point where the image is in focus. It consists of wide-angle lenses (zoom out) and telephoto lenses (zoom in).
An iris determines the amount of light in the camera so that the object is shown either bright or dark. The size of iris ranges from f-1.4 wide open— extremely bright, to f-2.8 medium, to f-22 tiny open—extremely dark.
Another concept is depth of field. It is defined as the portion of the scene that is in focus in front of the camera. Long Depth Short Depth
The digital message designer should decide if the video will be displayed in aspect ratio—4:3 or aspect ratio—16:9. Television system standards use either 30 frames per second or 525 lines per frame (horizontal) in the U.S. or 25 frames per second or 625 lines per frame in Europe.
Dolly in or out a camera means the movement of the entire camera and its support such as a dolly toward or away from the scene. Truck left or right a camera indicates the horizontal movement of the camera with the support of a dolly or a wheeled tripod in front of the scene.
Panning left and right a camera is used to turn the camera to the left or right to take a shot of a location such as a room, a hotel lobby, and others. Tilting up and down a camera is used for the purpose of taking the shot of an object from top to bottom or the opposite. The camera crews tilt up or down the camera with or without a tripod for a scanning shot of an object.
A-roll is an interview shot of a person appropriate to visual sequences. B-roll is widely used in news production or documentary to describe the visual footage (e.g., concert scenes) with a narration.
A typical scene creation involves first an establishing shot-the scene of where they are. The establishing shot is also called as exterior shot (e.g., a city skyline, the entrance of a park). The establishing shot can be an interior shot (e.g., the entrance of a concert hall).
The second step is to make a master shot. A master shot refers to the entire range of action in the scene (e.g., the shot of both the orchestra and the audience in a concert hall). This master shot can be an over-the-stage-shot of the orchestra.
The best video shot consists of several key shot elements (Compesi, 2000). Those shots include an extreme long shot (XLS)-an overview of the large scene, a long shot (LS)-the positional relationship between the actors and the setting, a medium shot (MS)-tighter (closer) than the long shot but not as tight as a close-up shot
A medium close-up (MCU), a close-up (CU) is an extremely powerful shot that vies an extremely tight shot of the subject’s head, and an extreme close-up or tight close-up (ECU)- the tightest shot possible for your subject. A medium 2-shot is a medium shot that includes two people and a long 3-shot is a long shot that includes three people.
A point-of-view shot (POV shot) places the camera in the approximate special positioning of a character in a direction. It is also possibly called over-the-shoulder shot.
A low-angle shot places the camera lower than the object and the camera lens looks up toward the object. This shot is used when the digital video message designer wants to exaggerate the importance of the object.
A high-angle shot places the camera from the top and directs toward the object. The camera looks down the object. This shot is used when the digital video message designer wants to downgrade the importance of the object.
An overhead shot places the camera overhead and creates a unique angle as a scene in action. In this case of shot, a camera is attached to an airplane or crane.
Continuity refers to the consistent and logical connection of shots. This is also called logical montage. The second element is spatial continuity. For an organized scene structure, a digital storyteller should set a real or imaginary line in a shot.
White balance is defined as an adjustment of the amount of the color white in the lens. Most HD video cameras have automatic settings of exposure and white balance.
In the production phase, either built-in microphones in the video camera or separate microphones can be used to for audio.
These days, the digital video message designers use a digital audio recorder that allows a digitized audio file (e.g., .mp3, .mp4, .wav).
A typical audio message consists of three types of sounds: track, actuality, and ambience. The track is the voice of the reporter. The actuality is an interview segment for the story. The ambience is any other supporting audio segment for the story (e.g., train passing sound on railroad, airplane take-off sound, animal sound).
If there is a narration, it should be edited in a nonlinear audio editing program (e.g., Garageband, Audacity).
The video needs to be sequentially edited using video editing programs (e.g., Final Cut, Avid, Premier Pro). All of these details are covered in the instruction chapters of audio and video editing.