Evaluation question 4 How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Planning and Research
Blogger I used www.blogger.com to create a blog, which became an online diary for my research, planning, production and evaluation, documenting all decisions, findings and progressions made along the way. The site allowed me to express this journey through a number of media forms; from video diaries, to annotated websites and still images of our locations, rather than simply text. This made it a much more creative process and a more innovative way of displaying my work. By regularly posting on this blog, I have created a detailed visualisation of the journey my group and I went on to reach the final product. As with all good products, the first draft should not be the same as the final product, as demonstrated through our continuous decision changes. Blogger has allowed me to post draft versions of both my ancillary tasks and music video, visually demonstrating the improvements and changes we decided to make throughout the creative process. For example, our original draft digipak is completely different to our final product, due to us deciding that the branding did not suit the artist, being too dated and not fresh enough to reflect Jose Vanders’ youth. This decision was also influenced by further research into existing products, revealing our cover did not comply by conventions such as the typical use of a close up shot of the artist’s face. Blogger was an easy way of working, as being an internet programme, I was able to paste images alongside my text easily, to support my explanations and allow clearer demonstration of them to readers.
Canon Digital Video Camera/ Tripod After learning from our AS project in which we used a school owned camera with a tape, this year we decided to use a newer camera owned by a member of our group. This stored the footage on a memory card instead, clearly splitting each shot up, rather than all the footage being continuous. This was much easier to work with in the editing process. It was also much faster to upload to the MAC and produced sharper, better quality footage due to the camera being newer and of better quality. We used a zoom numerous times within our filming to avoid static footage. We did find this a challenge at times due to the very high sensitivity of the zoom, worsened by the fact it was a very cold day when filming. A number of unsuccessful takes resulted from the zoom being too sudden or inconsistent, which didn’t achieve the smooth effect we were aiming for. Although, after practice and a number of takes we achieved the desired footage with a professional looking zoom. We used a tripod at all times when filming, to avoid shakiness of the camera, which if not blatantly intentional can look very amateur. Use of a tripod also allowed us to create smooth pan shots, which we used on a number of occasions, such as when following the artist as she sang. The ability to adjust the height of the tripod was also an advantage, allowing us to achieve a range of camera angles.
IMovie We used the program Imovie on a MAC computer to produce our main product of the music video. This program allowed us to create a video with a professional appearance; with a number of different effects, transitions and t00ls being available to enhance our footage and merge it together effectively. We began by uploading the raw footage from our camera to Imovie, which accumulated to over an hour, giving us plenty to choose from and work with. We were then able to select the successful shots, organising them into a “new project” and trimming them to the correct length. Our video encompasses a strong relationship between audio and visuals, through the use of cuts timed to the beat and lip synching throughout, meaning the timing of shots was crucial in order to match the soundtrack. Use of the precision editor allowed us to make this match perfectly, avoiding badly timed and amateur looking lip synching. The effects available on Imovie allowed us to create a “dream” effect to enhance the shot of the boy “thinking about Marie”, which adds to the idea he is daydreaming about a love interest, matching music to visuals. During our video, there is a recurring shot for the chorus where the singer is singing against the same wall. Due to filming the different shots at different times of the day, it was evident after upload that the change in natural lighting ha d a dramatic effect on the colourisation of the footage, creating bad continuity. We resolved this problem by adjusting the colour balance of the shot on Imovie, allowing us to achieve the same colourisation for all of the shots so the change in lighting could not be detected. We had to do the same thing for a number of shots along the path, due to there being snow on the ground one day and not the next. Due to time restraints we resolved this problem through editing the colourisation to give the same ground colour. During the beginning sequence of the video, we wanted blunt cuts between shots to match the jumpy style of the music introduction, however further on the music becomes more flowing, therefore we eased the movement of one shot to the next to suit this through the use of transitions. We tested a number of different ones between the shots, however decided cross dissolve was the most effective, providing a smooth and subtle transition. Imovie proved a successful program for producing our music video, due to the effects it allowed us to create, fulfilling our planned visions for the video. Due to previous experience using the program during AS we were able to operate it with ease, embracing the possibilities it had to offer.
Serif Photo Plus Serif Photo Plus played an important role in our editing of images for our digipak and advertisement. After selecting the still images to use on our digipak, we began experimenting with different editing effects on Serif Photo Plus. After manipulating the same image a number of times, using different filters, we decided upon a filter effect called diffuse glow. I feel this effect highlights the artists’ natural beauty, appearing effortless and fresh due to the bright lighting. Once editing the image for the front cover using this effect, we then had to edit the images for use on the other pages on the digipak in the same way to create coherence throughout. We felt a number of the other filter effects made the image appear dated and old fashioned, which would not match the youthful feel of Jose Vanders’ music. Serif Photo Plus was also useful for erasing unwanted white space around images. For example, when pasting the record label logo over the image on our back cover of the digipak, it was originally surrounded by a white box which looked amateur. Therefore, we opened the image in Photo Plus and was able to erase this unwanted whiteness around the logo, before imposing it onto our digipakas seen to the right.
Serif Page Plus We used Serif Page Plus to construct our digipak and album advert, due to the variety of editing techniques it offered. After editing our images on Serif Photo Plus to achieve the desired effects, we began layering text over the top, such as the album title and artist name on the front cover. We experimented with a number of fonts available on the program before making a final decision. The white colouring complimented the bright image, however was too harsh, therefore we were able to reduce its opacity to render this, giving a more subtle appearance to the colouring. The handwriting font we discovered for the personal message on the inside cover is perfect, as it gives a more personal feel to the words. Also, it would have been difficult to convey a handwriting style without the availability of such a font. We rotated the pictures used on the inside cover, positioning them at random angles in order to give more of a scrapbook feel to the page, seeming more informal and less corporate, allowing the audience to relate to Jose and her life easier. On the back cover, we were able to position the track listing in a staggered form, at an angle. This gives the effect that the songs are going up the path, allowing the image and text to work in synergy, having greater aesthetical appeal than if the text was to simply be horizontal. Page Plus allows easy insertion and manipulation of text onto a page, resulting in us producing our album advert quickly with ease, due to having previously decided upon the typography and house colours during creation of the digipak.
Slideshare Throughout the planning, production and evaluation process, www.slideshare.com has made it easier for me to creatively express my findings, progression and evaluation regarding my media products, such as through annotated images in a word document and through PowerPoint presentations. The ability to instantly upload such a document to Blogger has allowed me more creative ability in the documentation of my journey, leading to clearer and more visual expression, rather than lots of text, which I tended to use during my year at AS, not presenting the same depth of explanation.
Windows Live Movie Maker Since learning to construct videos using Windows Live Movie Maker I have found it a very useful and effective way of conveying my thoughts. This was helpful during the evaluation, as it allowed me to insert still images from the products we had created, intercutting with clips of me explaining about and evaluating them, addressing the question at all times. This has allowed me to clearly display my work in a creative way and I find videoing a more effective and innovative way of expressing myself rather than through lots of text. It also allows me to prove my ownership of the work. I created these videos through recording short clips of myself on my laptop webcam and organising these between a number of screen shots from my music video and still images of my ancillary tasks, as well as titles to make sections of the video clearer. Windows Live Movie Maker also allowed me to visually document the filming stage of our music video, creating a filming video diary to inform of any changes to our shooting schedule and on any progress made.