Q4. How did you use new mediatechnologies in the constructionand research, planning andevaluation stages? Evaluation
Web 2.0 • The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatoryinformation sharing, interoperability, user-centereddesign, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. A Web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social mediadialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to websites where users (consumers) are limited to the passive viewing of content that was created for them. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, hosted services, web applications.
Blogger• We were required to use a blogging website called Blogger for the research and planning side of the coursework and also for uploading hyperlinks to videos of the various scenes of the film and also images showing all of the various stages of the production of the ancillary texts. Before this I had never had any experience with any blogging websites of any kind and so this entire process has been a learning experience for me. The first draft task of creating trailer was also very useful in regards to this side of the coursework as it not only helped us to prepare for creating the actual final trailer and ancillary texts, but also gave us some much needed time to grow accustomed to using the blog on a regular basis to record and document the progression of our research and planning. Overall I think that my experience in using this website has increased more than with any of the other programs or equipment used during this project, even if only because of the fact that I had no previous experience at all. I have learnt to keep my work up-to-date with regular updates to the blog and also to make sure that I do all of my work in the correct order so that everything flows together better and is uploaded to the blog in the correct linear fashion. Using this blog as opposed to a more traditional method such as a simple portfolio or coursework folder has also provided a great advantage because of the fact that it is accessible from any computer I may be working on and which has an internet connection, which prevents the risk of any forgotten or lost work.• Finally it also means that I was able to include videos or other such influences which I would not have been able to use at all otherwise, and seeing as the main task this year has been to create a trailer - this has been the most important part of the blogging process. Blogger also allows each of its users to customise their blogs and this has been another thing which my partner and I have used extensively and we have adjusted the layout of our blogs to conform to the genre of our trailer.
YouTube• YouTube is a well known video sharing website which is used all over the world by millions of people every day. It allows you to create a free account and then upload videos up to 10 minutes long and so was the perfect choice for us to upload our trailer. It then allowed us to embed these video clips into blogposts on Blogger by using HTML coding. We also used the site to upload a first draft, so that we would be able to embed this in individual post on the Blogger blog and then write about it and thus show how the trailer was progressing. We decided to use YouTube over any other video sharing website as this is by far the most famous and has the highest amount of online user traffic meaning that the possibility for our video to be seen by a wider audience was much higher. For this project we decided to create a new account which we would use to upload all of the video clips to, instead of using already existing accounts, despite the fact the both my partner and I had one, as this new account would make it easier for us to organise the videos, and could be specifically customised to advertise our media work. We were also able to use this website in numerous different ways to collect audience feedback as other users are able to vote the videos either positively or negatively and also leave comments. As this was all online we were also able to post a hyperlink of the video to the social networking website Facebook and receive audience feedback in that way. One issue which we did find with using YouTube however was the fact that the videos did take a long time to upload, around one hour and this combined with the time taken to export the videos from the editing program we were using brought the total time up to around three hours, meaning that we had to devote a lot of our own time to this as we did not have this much time during lessons at school.
Facebook• Another website which I have used extensively over the course of this project is the widely famous social networking site Facebook. I think that out of the key websites which I have used during this project - this is actually the only one with which I have any previous experience, and this was of course very useful considering the way in which I used the site in relation to my project. I used this website mainly as an easy way to receive audience feedback in a relatively short space of time and without having to actually go out and ask lot and lots of people in turn. Doing this also made the process of gathering my results to be able to analyse them a lot easier, as with a questionnaire I found that a lot of time was spent collating the results and manually typing them up to be able to use them on the blog or into tables to create graphs. However by using an online social networking website such as Facebook I was able to simply copy and paste the information into a Microsoft Word or Excel document in a matter of minutes.
Other websites• Prezi - Another website which I used during the process of creating the evaluation was a website called Prezi. Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them. The answer for the second question of my evaluation was done with the use of this service.• SlideShare – This is a Web 2.0 based slide hosting service. Users can upload files privately or publicly in the following file formats: PowerPoint, PDF or OpenOffice presentations. This presentation was uploaded with the use of SlideShare.• Gmail – Through Gmail I used to communicate with my teacher and with other members of my group in order to get information about the whole project.• Google – To do my research etc.
Apple iMovie• The first program which we decided to use to edit together the clips which we had filmed into scenes which could be comprised into a finished trailer was a program created by Apple Inc. called iMovie. As this is an Apple program it was available to us only at school when we had access to the Apple Macs there. This software contains all of the necessary basic tools which we needed to cut down and adjust the clips to place them in the right order, as well as other features such as adding titles and transition and fading in and out or cutting out sound completely which allowed us to make the film seem more professional, it was also linked to Apples sound editing program GarageBand as well as a readily installed library of basic background music tracks and sound effects. We were originally planning on making our whole film on iMovie as this was at the time the only program available to us (Final Cut was not working), however due to the fact that we became constantly frustrated with how well the program was running we decided to discontinue use of it after we had produced the first draft of a trailer. We also encountered other much more pressing issues such as the fact that were only actually able to access the program for a few short hours each week as it was installed only on very few Apple Macs which were located at school and we only had access to these during lesson time.
Final Cut Pro• After iMovie we decided that we were going to try and find a different, and a better program for editing our video clips and so we decided to try out Final Cut Pro. We instantly found that the program was of a much higher quality than iMovie. There were initially a few problems in getting Final Cut Pro open, but after few lessons our school technicians have finally fixed the problem.
Adobe Photoshop• The main piece of editing software which we used in the construction of our ancillary production pieces was an image editing program called Adobe Photoshop. This program allows you to do an extremely wide range of things to multiple image sat once and can even be configured to perform certain processes on a large amount of images automatically without the user actually having to do anything. I was already at quite a significant advantage when we started the project in this respect as I had already been teaching myself in the use of this program for the past couple of years and I also had a lot of experience from my AS Level Media the previous year. I decided to use this particular program as opposed to others which were available at the time for a number of reasons, first of all and the main reason why I chose Photoshop was because I had a large amount of previous experience with this particular program and have not actually ever used any others. It was also extremely useful that the both school computers (Macs and normal computers) which were available for us to use at school during lesson time, and also my own computer, had the same software installed and so I was able to quickly and easily transfer files between the two via my USB stick. The only difference was the fact that at home I had newer version – CS5 (in school – CS3), which I have downloaded through Adobe website for free (30 days trial version). Since the beginning of the project my skills in using Photoshop have again improved even further and I enjoyed being able to use the program for a much wider variety of processes, as I did in fact use the one program for the production of my entire film poster and magazine front cover, as opposed to using it for only the film poster and then using another program, Adobe InDesign, for the magazine front cover as few other people have done.
Adobe After Effects CS4• Adobe After Effects CS4 - is a digital motion graphics and compositing software published by Adobe Systems, used in the post-production process of filmmaking and television production. It is primarily used for creating motion graphics and visual effects. I have downloaded a free trial version at home of this software, because I needed to create a good company logo effect at the start of the trailer. With the use of few tutorials available on the Internet, I was able to create really good company logo intro for my trailer. I also used this software to create any text that I was going to put on my trailer. For example, I created a text between the scenes telling the storyline with the use of this software. I also created a title, credits, date shot in this software. I think it is really hard to use and because I never have actually used it before – it took me about 6 hours just to get used to what the basics are.
Apple Garage Band• Another additional program which we decided to use during the production of our short film was a piece of Audio software available to us on the Apple Macs which allowed us to create our own music tracks by combining various different premade audio loops of varying lengths. We decided to use this to create a series of basic soundtracks to some of the scenes in our trailer. In the end we only used the program to create two different audio tracks, one which was used at the end of the film and another calmer background music which was used throughout the whole trailer, each version differing slightly in background sounds and length. The program also allowed us to add in sound effects such as the ones which we had used in iMovie and the finished tracks were also able to be exported directly into Final Cut Pro. When we did switch over to using Final Cut Pro instead, this did make the process slightly more complicated as it meant we now had to export the tracks to .mp3 or .wav format, but this could all still be done very quickly and was merely a minor inconvenience. I myself did have some minimal experience in using this particular program before we decided to use it for this project, although I had only used it in the past for messing around in ICT and creating experimental music tracks by trying out each of the different instruments. Whilst this did not really give me much experience in creating technically professional sounding audio tracks even what little prior experience I had proved to be very useful as I did indeed already know my way around all of the unique features of the program and its layout.
Other software• Windows Movie Maker – In order to create our first draft, we had to use this software. It was really easy to use, but it only had basic features.• Internet Explorer – In order to do some research and access our blogs, we had to use this internet browser.• Microsoft PowerPoint – This presentation was created in Microsoft PowerPoint software, which enabled me to use different layouts, transitions and animations.• iDVD – With software you can create and burn professional-looking DVDs to share your movies and photo slideshows. We used this software to burn our final project on a DVD.
Camera• For this project we were given the option of using video cameras available to us through the school by means of loaning them out whenever we needed to film scenes. Because we didn’t have any good video cameras at home, we decided to use school equipment. At the start of the course, we only had an option to loan normal cameras, which had in comparison to HD cameras really bad quality. However, it was still enough to film our first draft. Then, for our final draft we had a chance to use small HD Cameras and a huge HD Camera which all the equipment attached to it. Because of the lack of organisation from our actors, we only had one lesson to use a huge HD Camera in order to get our footage sorted. Therefore, we didn’t have enough time to film all of the scenes required. This is why, we decided to film the scenes, where a good quality was really important, e.g. the last scene of our trailer. As well as the extremely high quality the camera had a extremely good microphone which was more than good enough for our film as only a few of the scenes required us to record sound. As well as this it also had 10x optical zoom which allowed us to film the same scenes from a number of distances, whichever was practical for the location, as well as shooting a few shots which actually included the zoom within them, although we did try to limit the use of this. As I mentioned before, we only had one lesson to use really professional HD Camera due to lack of organisation from our actors and for other main scenes – we have used small HD Cameras. They were really good as well and the only problem was the fact that it didn’t record sound as well as the huge HD Camera. This is why we focused on the scenes where the sound was not as important. Unfortunately, for our last lesson, where we suppose to get the rest of our footage done – the small HD Cameras were already taken. We didn’t want to waste anymore and that’s why decided to use small bad quality cameras. The only other equipment which we did make sure that we always used was a basic tripod to hold the camera in place and to stop any movement which would occur if the camera was hand held during filming. We also used digital cameras in order to get few pictures that we needed for our research and planning stage.