How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
The most prominent piece of software we used in our group was definitely the use of Google office suites. Google Docs, Slides and Forms were all incredibly important to us during the planning, production and post-production stages, and enabled us to collaborate ideas through word processing, tables, and the general sharing of knowledge and concepts of what we might do for our production. On Docs, we started sharing basic concepts of what we could base our music video on, and combined ideas together to reach our final plan. We created a crucial table which compiled our lyrics, relevant information, storyboarding and any other important details in one place, easy to find. On Slides, we created our pitch presentation, and all other presentations we needed throughout the production process. We also used it to create a basic draft of our printwork digipak, and eventually it is what we used to produce our answer to Question 3 of the evaluation. The mobile apps for both of these programs helped me complete work whilst on the go. Google Forms was our primary means of gathering audience research during early stages of planning and production, and was our main means of gathering feedback and critique after production and post was complete.
The WordPress blog easily replaced the Blogger system we had used at AS Level, and was intuitive to learn and collaborate with. All of our planning, production and evaluation work was posted there, and it allowed Jon and myself to easily compare each other’s work, and give feedback and critique to raise our marks. Group posts could easily be drafted and collaborated on. A mobile app was also available for WordPress, and again it was incredibly helpful in productivity, for example, I could start an evaluation post in class, and then
finish and upload it on mobile.
We made use of several cameras, as we wanted to have the best quality footage for our music video, and the best stills for printwork. The Canon 5D Mk III was only used on two of the shoots as it was loaned from an associate, however it garnered some incredible shots. The optical zoom feature on the lens proved useful at the time to produce shots that were later perfected in Premiere. Much of our final printwork was shot on this camera which
gave them incredible fidelity, detail and high resolution. It was used to capture the all-important panorama that formed the interior of our pack. Even so, we could have been better equipped to use it had we had more time to practice using it. The Canon 700D was our primary shooting camera for all of our other dates, and although it captured in slightly less detail, our greater deal of experience in using it made us more familiar with how powerful it could be. Jon’s array of lenses meant that this camera was rather versatile and suited a lot of the various shots we needed to capture. On our preliminary in Brighton, we experimented with another loaner camera, the DJI Osmo, with an auto-stabilising feature. We did not end up utilising it for the final production, however it was useful in determining that we should not shoot our video in 4K due to the issues it would bring up in post concerning file sizes, and the Osmo’s battery life was awfully inefficient, at only around 45 minutes maximum. We briefly also used an iPhone 6s to capture a slow motion shot at 120 frames per second, to replace a 50 fps shot recorded initially on the 700D at only 720p.
We used a tripod throughout our principal photography for steady shooting and well framed shots. It proved vital in the outdoor and Calverly shoot to position shots higher than we could physically reach, for the sake of the visual style we were attempting to emulate. The track and dolly were used sparingly, and most prominently in the indoor house shoot where the shots needed to be steady, smooth and well focused.
A lot of Adobe products were our main methods of post-production in all areas. Premiere Pro CC2016/17 was our tool for editing and cutting together our video. Since we had greater experience using it, we opted to continue with Premiere rather than switching to DaVinci Resolve, as it was something we were personally more comfortable using. We used it to perfect the slow gradual zooming shots using the software scaling tools, and reduce the playback speed of 120 fps footage to achieve the slow motion effect we wanted. We used Lumetri grading to darken several shots to appear darker, and as if they took place in the evening and Lumetri was also what we used to give our music video the tinted red grading. Photoshop CC2017 was what we used to make edits to our printwork and digipak panes. All of the final printwork was put through here to experiment with colouring and layout, using enhancement layers to make major gradient changes, and colour curves to make fine tuning adjustments to the shades and pigments we were using. Late into production, we purchased and downloaded some online templates into Photoshop, which enabled us to see exactly how our final digipak would look in a physical format. Adobe Lightroom 2015.8 allowed us to collate all of our static shots together in one place for comparison and review after shooting dates. We could overlay enhancement layers over multiple shots and compare their merits side by side, making it much easier for us to decide which shots would best suit our printwork. After Effects CC2017 was used sparingly in the final products. It was used to digitally perfect a select few shots, one for example was the final shot, where the pole centered mid-frame had an outlying shape removed in order to make the framing even more appealing to the eyes. Finally, Audition CC2017 was briefly used after the Brighton shoot, shortening our song choice to two minutes in order to better fit the footage we captured.
“How did you use media technologies in the construction, research, planning and evaluation stages?”
One of the most important services we used was WordPress.com. This served to us as a collaborative e-portfolio site, through which we could regularly post updates alongside more formal set tasks on planning, construction and evaluation tasks. Alongside our integration with Google Docs, we were able to effectively publish content to our blog within seconds and provide an accurate log of how we were progressing with our project.
Google’s collaborative services (as an example of ‘Web 2.0’) proved vital for us in maintaining a high standard of work, without having to worry about copying files between ourselves when working together. For example, our Pitch presentation was completed between us both inside and outside of lesson time. Since we could work on the document collaboratively, we could each see the changes being made by each other in real time – ensuring the pitch covered all the required content. Embedding the Pitch into the blog took very little time, and presenting it only required a web browser – substantially simpler than both trying to use MS PowerPoint.
Audience research was also undertaken using a Google product, in this case ‘Google Forms’. This tied in well with our other use of their services and allowed quick analysis of results both graphically and as raw data through Google Sheets, which we could’ve exported to another file should it have been necessary to do so.
Adobe’s Creative Cloud service was used extensively throughout the project, with us utilising Premiere Pro for all our video editing alongside Photoshop, Lightroom and InDesign for our print work and photos. As I had a subscription to the service, we continually received updates from Adobe to the software which in some cases made our workflow easier, though also hindered us in others. In the future, I’d refrain from completing a substantial software upgrade (here being CC 2016 to CC 2017) mid-way through a project, as this caused technical issues we weren’t expecting.
For our Brighton test shoot, we shot with a loaned DJI Osmo camera, shooting most our footage in 4K (with a few lower resolution shots to utilise higher frame rates). This proved to be problematic as a whole and we were quick to determine we wouldn’t use it for our final video production. The camera sensor and lack of depth of field was more suited to aerial quadcopter footage (with is using a similar sensor to DJI’s Inspire 1 Drone), yet the more important issue was the battery life of the camera – with our two batteries being drained within 40 minutes of use for each. Since the camera relied on a WiFi connection to my iPhone, it was often hard to get the shots we wanted when required without us having to reconnect the two devices.
Our animatic was constructed by scanning Taran’s storyboard frames, cropping these in Photoshop and importing them into our Premiere Pro project. These were then placed alongside the audio track in a sequence, with minimal keyframedmovements accompanying the images to show some camera techniques.
When shooting, we used either my Canon 700D or a Canon 5D mk III that I borrowed for our shoots at Botany/Herne Bay and in London, with a Canon 24-70mm f4 L lens, a Canon 70-200 f2.8 L lens, a Canon 50mm f1.8 lens and a Canon 24mm f2.8 lens. To accompany these, we made use of a tripod, monopod and handheld stabiliser. We were most pleased with the shots at the end of the day at Herne Bay as we reached sunset, and in Knole Park – with graded footage bringing out the detail in the surrounding forestry. Although the stabiliser was anticipated to be beneficial to us, it ended up not being so – with the weight of the lens on the 5D shoots being too large for the counterweights (which we didn’t have room for more of!), designed more for small camcorders.
On location, we experienced a few technical issues with the cameras. I would’ve benefited from more practice time with the 5D, as its controls were substantially different to those of the 700D and as a result our footage did not have quite the desired appearance. Many of these issues were rectified before London, though again having more experience would’ve been beneficial!
One issue I later realised after our first shoot day was that we shot on the 5D with ALL-I
(intraframe) compression rather than IPB (interframe) compression – with IPB being not suited to short bursts of footage (and occasionally causing us dropped frames). For the other days with the 5D, we shot with ALL-I due to its greater suitability to ‘tight editing’. This would likely have not been an issue if we had shot on CF (CompactFlash) media rather than standard SD Cards, even though mine was one of SanDisk’s top transfer speed rated cards as a UHS-3 class 10 card.
A lot of the shooting was done by myself as Taran played a lead role in the music video,
so couldn’t be behind the camera – we as a pair decided on shot framing, camera movement and composed the photos we’d use for our Digipak/Advertisement together. Most scenes were shot multiple times, with us reviewing the footage after each (or immediately realising we needed to reshoot). This helped us ensure that when we came to editing, we had all the shots we wanted.
To edit the video, we again utilised Adobe Creative Cloud – with our work centred in Premiere Pro. After each shoot, all footage was copied onto two drives (one as a backup) and imported into our project.
I was expecting to have to transcode some of the 5D’s footage for smooth playback on my laptop when we were editing, though to my surprise Premiere handled it surprisingly well. We would then watch through all the footage, and decide on the best shots from each location – grouping these in labelled folders.
As we had already created our extensive GoogleDoc beforehand, it was easy to match the corresponding footage with the track – making the process far easier than we were expecting. It was easy for us to then highlight areas that we hadn’t shot footage for where we’d have to try and find alternative clips in our library.
Some sections, such as Taran’s lip-sync on the Pier for the final verse of the song were filmed from multiple angles, and so I synced the 5 clips using the built in AudioSync tool – which lined the video clips up with the main audio by recognising the song which we played as we shot. Our colour grading took place inside Premiere also, with us utilising
Lumetri Color to achieve the cinematic look we wanted (though at points we had to edit without the colour grade, as the files ended up being too taxing on the laptop) – primarily increasing the contrast, decreasing the highlights and applying a LUT to each location and adjusting each clip as required. When combining the grade with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio ‘black bar’ effect, I believe the cinematicfeel we were after was achieved.
At our set submission points for the project, we’d export through Adobe Media Encoder the required files for upload to YouTube (for embedding onto our blog) – with the standard H.264 format being used in all cases. Uploading at lower bitrates when in school prevented us causing performance issues for other people in the school, yet our final music video was uploaded at a much higher bitrate to ensure it looked as good as it could when factoring in YouTube’s compression.
For our Digipak and Magazine advert, we shot photos using both the 5D mk III and the 700D on location in RAW, providing us with the best colour, detail and scale-ability in our images. After our shoots, we followed a largely similar process to with the video footage. Photos were copied from the cameras to the two drives, though imported into a LightroomCatalogue rather than a Premiere project. Photos were then edited and exported as JPEG’s to be used in the print work.
Although I was hoping to use InDesign for the print, Photoshop was more suitable – as both of us had access to the software at home (and could therefore open our .PSD files). I decided to purchase a “mockup” design for our Digipak, which allowed us to visualise easily how our six panes would work when in a printed design, rather than just focusing on each frame individually. This proved highly beneficial, and helped us grasp the feel of how our Digipak would look if it were a real product.
Through a combination of Smart Objects and Linked Layers, each image could be individually edited and almost automatically update on the relevant design, usually with only a few steps to be taken each time to commit all the changes. The company logo for ‘Fueled by Ramen’ (their record label) was sourced from their Press website as a vector image, though as this utilised a black logo and accompanying text, Adobe Illustrator was used to alter the colour before importing back into Photoshop (as a Smart Object). Twitter’s logo was sourced from their Branding “Starter Kit” and used with the correct spacing around the logo (as required through their conditions).
inside three panes of the Digipak using the lyrics that Taran formatted for the inside cover. Our intention is to have the lyrics for the three key tracks on the left pane, formatted with forward slashes to separate lines (as is common in the Digipak’s for many albums). Following our link to the red and blue of the American flag, the inside of the digipak follows a strong blue colour scheme, in contrast to the outside of the digipak which is largely red. The CD provides a direct contrast to this blue, and will mimic to a large extent the back cover of the Digipak.
Taran also suggested we include a quote from Franz Kafka, writer of the novel Amerika and so a suitable quote that could be applied to all the songs was chosen.
As we approach our deadline of this Friday, Taran and I have spent the start of the week working on all three products. Since Taran has his Art Mock from Wednesday to Friday (not being present in any lessons), we finalised our shot selections for the music video on Tuesday during time outside of our lessons. I then used the rest of Tuesday to work on the colour grading, resetting many of our clips back to their original settings in Lumetri Color, applying a new overall style (Kodak 5218 Kodak 2383 by Adobe) to give the music video a more professional feel before regrading shots individually to be similar to how they were originally before this change.
During Tuesday evening, Taran and I collaborated on Print Work – focusing on the print advertisement in particular, with ours featuring in Alt Press magazine. We devised a design that was similar to the album cover (with this similarity being beneficial if a consumer were to try and purchase the mentioned EP Album) but also provided additional information. In this case, this was North/South America tour dates for the band, and a feature for the album on Spotify.
In order to maintain the professional aspect of the design, I was keen to follow the Spotify Brand/Design Guidelines, published on their Developer Website. This involved ensuring the background was relatively simple and that there was adequate spacing around the logo.