RedShark: Day 3

I started today by simply going over and refining the IATE videos, trimming the ends, making sure the audio levels were consistent and that sort of riveting stuff! whilst I was doing this we were discussing the plans for Sunday when we would be filming the English Speaking Unions Debate competition finals. They also realised that they required a few things such as boxes and tape so sent me on a little errand to obtain these. Unfortunately the moment I stepped outside the heavens opened soaking me! but nevertheless I was successful in my mission and found a box that would fit all the radio mics in it and all the other bits and bobs needed. When I got back I got the fun task of cutting the foam so everything would sit in the box nice and securely which I probably had far too much fun doing!

 

RedShark: Day 2

Today I used another new programme, Adobe After Effects, I have had a little mess around with it before but nothing serious so this was definitely a good experience. The task was to create a title for each of the IATE videos using children’s building blocks to spell out the titles. First of all I had to find a picture of some toy blocks to use as a base, to do this I went on the stock photo website, iStock, where I found the perfect picture of every letter as a building block meaning I wouldn’t have to make every single letter individually. I then used After Effects  to separate each letter and make it its own composition so that I could simply create any word I wanted to. This took sometime as I had to draw around each block for each letter of the alphabet and sometimes the mouse could be a little temperamental about where I needed to click to do what I wanted but I eventually got there.

Once I had a composition for every letter I then had to use them to spell out the title of each video by putting them on a still from one of videos. At first this was simply a matter of spelling out then words which even as a media student I have the ability to do! but then too make it look a bit more interesting i added some camera movement. This is done by moving a a camera and the objects within 3D space to give the still image the appearance of being in a 3D space and the illusion of an actual camera. I had a lot of fun being creative with this putting letters further back and bringing them forward into the foreground to give the image depth. After I had finished all of the titles I simply had to export them all and add some music from a free music website and put them on their respective videos.

I learnt a lot more about after effects which will be useful during future projects to make them look and feel a lot more professional. I also know the usefulness of websites that provide stock images for a small fee and royalty free music which is very useful especially for a poor student such as myself!

RedShark: Day 1

RedShark are a London based production company that have been running for 10 years and produce mostly corprate videos for clients all around the world. Here is a link to their website with some examples of the work they have done:  http://redshark.tv/

So today I began my two weeks of work with them and was straight on with some editing for a client, the IATE (the Institute for Art in Therapy and Education). The videos were of two child psychologists, Denise and Margot, demonstrating different techniques to use when playing with small children to help their development. Some of the videos had been partly edited already so my job was to finish these and start editing the rest of them, overall there was 17 2-3 minute videos to be made. With each one I had to intercut the video of one of the psychologists talking about a technique with videos of them demonstrating the techniques with the children. This was a very good start to the experience for me as I am quite comfortable with editing software although I had never really used Final Cut that much as I have only ever owned Adobe Premiere Pro. This was quite a simple task of essentially cutting and moving of the clips with the challenge being in the selection of the clips to use and when.

I feel developed my editing skills well and got a good experience of using Final Cut which is much more widely used within the professional media world than other programmes I have used before. When people ask me what I want to be when I leave uni I often say an editor because it is something that I have enjoyed quite a lot during my various projects, this experience showed me what it would actually be like to be a professional editor, long and tedious! When it comes to editing videos of the less exciting type the editing process can become very long and repetitive meaning your interest can fade during the day but nevertheless I still enjoyed it and it definitely hasn’t deterred me from considering it as a career option.

Creating An Impact On The World One Smile At A Time

So I finally got round to creating an impact on the world with my joke idea, however due to time and other factors I had to try a much more anonymous project. My original idea is out lined here and as you will see what I did is not far off it. I still used jokes and I still wanted to spread happiness and smiles throughout the city of Coventry but instead of telling the jokes to people I simply left them stuck to walls around town for them to stumble upon. I thought that people would be more likely to read them if they were left there for them to read rather than someone coming up to them with a camera asking them if they wanted to hear a joke. Unfortunately in this world we live in if someone in the street comes up to you to ask you something you instantly assume that they want to sell you something or want your money for charity (annoyingly true). My aim was just to bring a smile to someone’s day, even it was just one person, smiles are infectious. The problem with this method of distribution is that I can’t see the effect my posters are having, I can just  hope that they are.

The jokes I used were very simple ones that are not particularly clever or intellectual making them accessible to everyone from young to old. Here are the Four I used:

As you can see I went for very childish simple jokes with bold writing to entice people towards them. I think that, although it is a very simple idea, it will have a brilliant effect on the public and make a few people giggle at least.

Before I produced this project I did a bit of research into happiness and what it means for different people. Wikipedia defines it like this:

Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.[1] A variety of biological,psychologicalreligious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.

Every religion seems to have some kind of answer for it, and even science thinks it knows, but at the end of the day it cannot be measured or tested so its up to those affected. Its an objective emotion that can be brought on by many different things ranging from watching a baby making funny faces or by just doing something for someone else. Who knows, all I know is that you would have to be inhuman to not give a smile for at least one of these jokes so I am comfortable that I brought a bit of what I would call happiness to someone. There you go impact created!

 

Empathy Documentary – My Day Without Food

So the other day I decided (stupidly) to go an entire 24 hours without food to see how it made me feel and to see if I could show empathy towards those who have less than we do. Here’s how I got on:

https://vimeo.com/38980157

As you can see from that it was quite hard. It almost seems ridiculous that even at only 2:00 I was absolutely starving but I think because I consciously knew that I wasn’t allowed to eat this made me even more hungry. Throughout the day I felt sick, annoyed and generally grumpy, it wasn’t a nice experience and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone! But obviously it did make me think about those less fortunate than us (I know a little cliché but its true), the moment I wake up I get something to eat, I don’t really think about it I just do it I mean I’m hungry so I eat, it seems so simple. But what if I didn’t have that option? What if when I woke up my first priority was simply to find some water that wouldn’t kill me, or to go to work so that I can earn enough for the rest of my family to eat a simply one thing that week.

Even after a matter of hours I felt sick and and stomach pains and I couldn’t help but think how pathetic that was, that I couldn’t go a few hours without food! When I was doing a lot of my friends kept saying to me, “oh I could do that!” and things like “I do that all the time!” but I don’t think any of them really think about going an entire 24 hours without a single thing to eat. It was so much harder than I first thought it was going to be, I don’t think I really looked at it properly and imagined what it would it would be like. I guess I thought id be really hungry but I actually spent a lot of time in physical pain, not helped by the copious amounts of food around me throughout the day.

Just looking at this graph you cans see how many people have to deal with that type of pain every day of their lives, 642 million people in Asia and the pacific alone. We really have to think about how lucky we are in this country and in this society where we are surrounded by food and have the opportunity to food pretty much whenever we want. Even as students we are constantly moaning we don’t have enough money for food and that were always hungry but I guess we just have to think, are we actually hungry? Next time you say your starving, actually think about it your not, your just a little peckish to be honest.

Short Film Evaluation – FOR ASSESSMENT

After 10 long weeks we have finally finished our short film and I am very happy with the final edit. I think it is a testament too how much we, as media producers, have developed, technically and organisationally. We almost done everything without a hitch from planning to filming. This is of course ignoring the beginning where we had to scrap our original idea for a simpler one. This was a decision we are all glad we made and not one I feel we would have had the confidence to make last year, to scrap everything we had done and start again considering the research and development I personally had out towards it as you can read here. But anyway here is the rough cut and final cut so you can see the “polished turd”.

38498131 – Rough Cut

38917297 – Final Cut

As you can see not a huge amount was changed but I feel the things that were changed made a massive impact. The sound is a lot more consistent throughout, keeping it looking and sounding professional. Some shot were taken out on the basis that I believe less is sometimes more, some of the shots were unnecessary  such as the close-up of the cigarette tapping on the table, as all it did was momentarily distract from the script which only tore the audience out from the film. Through some meticulous sound editing I managed to lip-sync most of the sound from one shot to other clips so that the levels were consistent all the way through which gave it a much more professional feel than before where the sound levels were jumping all over the place and the speech was not as consistent.

As well as the film being better than anything I produced last year I think as a group we demonstrated clearly how much we have learnt over the last year. The organisation was so much better, last year we would never have thought of using a shooting schedule, detailed storyboards, monitor, etc. Things like using professional actors was never even considered last year and it made such a big impact this time around, one of our actors is even in a recently aired Visa Olympic advert with Usian Bolt!

I think I have developed as a person during this process as well, it has helped me be more organised and more constructive with my time. I believe I gave everything I could towards this project all of the way through from the initial planning stages to the final bits of editing. Although I was pinpointed as the editor at the start of the project I gave myself various roles at the planning and shooting stages such as assistant director, director of photography as well helping with the lighting and getting one of the actors. When it came to the editing I learnt quite a lot such as using Adobe After Effects, which I had never used in a production before, and extended my knowledge of sound mixing further.

I believe this film could go further, with a few more tweaks here and there we will definitely be looking at entering it for a festival. I would have to say this is my proudest piece of work, I have spent hours overall editing it, looking for any little imperfections, I must have seen the entire film at least 50 times and there will always be little things I wanted to change but couldn’t due to time or the inability to re-shoot. Overall the reception from our peers about our film was good, because of the way we changed the end we got a much better laugh out of them and overall came second in a vote of the best film out of the 10, which I am very proud of.

KONY 2012: Charity or War Profiteering?

There probably isn’t anyone left in the world who hasn’t seen the KONY 2012 video, a video spreading awareness about the ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony and his use of child soldiers. In case you’ve been living under in a sound proof bunker for the last month heres the 30 minute video

As you can see there is a clear problem that something has to be done about, I mean theres no question of it. Did you see that video? Were all awful people for ignoring this terrible crime. But its okay because thankfully Jason Russell is giving us the means to force change by, as he put it “Covering the night” on april 22nd with posters and stickers of Joseph Kony so that the american government knows that we are still interested in bringing him to justice. As most people did I watched the video and immediately afterwards posted it to spread the word as I thought I was doing my bit, however not long afterwards I began to question what I had just done. I had watched a video and accepted its facts, figures and claims at face value without any more knowledge than had just been presented to me.

Most people, as far as I could tell on facebook, stopped at this point and looked no further into it they had seen a video telling them they need to spread the word about this terrible man and so they had done this, as far as they were concerned they had done their bit. But then something else started to spread around the internet, almost as quickly as the original video, was the suggestion that maybe invisible children wasn’t doing as much good as we first thought. Statistics and figures about their profit through campaigns such as this starting flying around everywhere. The first article I read on the subject can be seen here, it tells how the organisation spent $8,676,614 with only 31% going to the actual charity. It also details how Jason Russell is looking for a military solution and not a peaceful one, apparently invisible children is directly funding the Ugandan government who themselves are not the most morally right military.

 

So here we are presented with an alternative point of view, and once again I feel inclined to spread this as its awful that through clever film making I have been manipulated into believing whatever facts are thrown my way! But then again is that not just what this article is doing as well? Have I not just been presented with some facts that I am to just believe? The honest truth is that when it comes to seeing and reading things on the internet we can never be sure if something is true or accurate unless we have collected the data itself. This is why I have chosen to not take one extreme or another’s point of view.

I think People are being far to quick to make a decision, whether it is that Jason Russell is a brilliant man who deserves to be praised for the amazing work he is doing or wether he should be ridiculed for his manipulation of the public with his use of social media. Whatever is to be said no one can deny he has done what he has incredibly, the video was put on vimeo 4 weeks ago and currently has 17.5 million views, on youtube where it was out up 2 weeks ago it has over 84 million. The current power of social media sites such as facebook and twitter, I believe, have more power than any tv channel, newspaper or advertiser.

It is now getting to the point where people are on social media sites and the internet in general more than watching tv or listening to the radio than ever before . This has been perfectly been taken advantage of the filmmakers of KONY 2012 with them encouraging to share on facebook or twitter the video directly after watching it (which can now be done in literally one click of a button). Even in this very post where I am claiming to not take a side I myself have shared the video because the moment I post this blog it links to my facebook and shows every one the link at the beginning of this post. We can’t even escape it,most of the time this is a good thing when it comes to awareness and the spread of ideas but perhaps when it comes to KONY 2012 it has been misused? As I have said its up to you and your interpretation of the facts.

WHODUNIT? Rough Cut Feedback

Today we showed our rough cut to the rest of the year and received some feedback on it.

Some positive points included:

  • Good use of tension
  • Good humour
  • The actors portrayed the characters well and believable
  • The camera work was done well

Most of the suggested improvements were very shot specific such as shots being to long or unnecessary. A lot of people commented on the audio, that it had varying levels and could do with some more background noise to add to the tension in the silent. Basically it could do with polishing off, hopefully enough to win the coveted Steve Dawkins golden turd prize!

I don’t think any major changes need to be made to the rough cut that will drastically change the film, just fiddly bits like changing levels and the length of clips. Overall I am happy with the feedback that we received and it was expected. The negative points were almost all things I had already thought about and knew need to be adjusted.

Empathy Documentary Ideas

I’ve already had some ideas for this task which you you can have a look at here but for several reasons these ideas are not able to materialize so I’ve had to come up with something else. I’ve kept along with the theme of what I couldn’t live without but gone for something a little bit more extreme, a whole day WITHOUT EATING!

As a student I’m sure you think that I’m used to just not eating but unlike a lot of other students I like to try and make sure I have 3 solid meals a day including a little thing called breakfast which I’m sure a lot of students have never heard of. When I wake up my first thought is food,  I wake up and I’m starving and will go looking for any food I can find. Due to a recent lack of money I have even been eating Austerity sandwiches (a sandwich with the filling of toast, made popular by the student beans website in this article) which shows that I will do anything to get a substantial meal in me.

I believe that this project will help me understand the plight of hundreds of people, in this country and others around the world. Obviously only very very marginally but still I think it will help me reflect on the luxuries I take for granted everyday. Even though I dot eat a large amount of food and still sort of struggle to get enough food in me everyday, I have food all around me that I can have access to if I really need it whereas in other less developed countries they don’t even have the option to steal food let alone own it.

I will make a few rules for myself over the course of the 24 hours:

  • It will start at 00:00am Saturday morning and end on 11:59 Saturday evening
  • I will only be able to consume water throughout the day
  • I cannot deviate from my normal daily plans to avoid food or temptation

 

I believe that with these rules I will accurately be able to experience an entire day without food. It will be very interesting to see if I can even do it because the more I think about it the more implausible it seems, I get hungry quite often, probably more often than a normal person (considering my size).

Creating An Impact: Idea

I have thought about this a lot and have a few ideas for what I could do for this task. Most people are trying to find ways they can help a charity or make people aware of a world problem but I thought I would try something a little different, like simply making more people smile. People spend a lot of their time annoyed or upset or telling other people why they should be annoyed or upset or why the world is fucked up and were terrible people for not doing anything about it. There are some problems with the world that make it pretty fucked up but we won’t ever be able to even start solving these problems until we solve our problems right here at home and that problem is the lack of happiness. The impact I want to have on the world is to make it a happier place for everyone and just put a few similes on a few people’s faces which hopefully will spread all around.

The reason I feel this world be a good idea is that ever since I have come to Coventry all people seem to do is moan about it as a city. They say it’s a concrete jungle full of weirdos, teenage mums, crime around every corner and streets as dangerous as Compton. This is of course a bit of an exaggeration but you can see the point I’m trying to make, I’m not saying there isn’t crime and problems in Coventry In fact I was mugged at knife-point within my first week of being here and just the other day I saw a drunk girl racially then physically abuse a group of young black people just trying to enjoy their Mcdonalds but I think we need to focus on the positives.

My plan is simply to set up a stall offering free jokes for anyone who wants them, I might even bring some face paint and draw little smiley faces on peoples cheeks possibly spreading a few more smiles. Its a simple plan that I think could be very effective in spreading a little joy in the city of Coventry, all I need is a table and a couple of friends its very doable and will take less than a day to film and edit . Another thing I may do on the day is do some vox pops of people telling me what makes them happy and good things about Coventry and put them together with some happy music and I think I’ll have a nice happy film to share around.