Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Breaking down my approach to Assignment 1

My approach to the video collage assignment was quite flexible – the whole way through it I was chopping and changing my ideas – I'm pretty sure I must have changed the concept outline like 5-6 times. Because of this I chose to approach this assignment from the motion graphics portion of the work first. I knew that it would be the overall audio narration which would give meaning to the graphics so this seemed an appropriate place to start that would still give me opportunity later on to change the overall meaning of the piece by changing the audio. I quickly did a very rough sketch of what I wanted the HUD to look like and wrote up a sequence of things I wanted to take place from the loading screens and the television turning on effect to the cycling of numbers. I'd had some previous experience in after effects so I had some clue as to the direction I needed to take. Once I knew what I wanted I did some googling to see how I would go about getting these effects - found some quite good resources on creative cow and a few other independent sites. I quickly created the elements I would need for the HUD in illustrator while also shooting some footage with the help of a friend who also features in the piece. It took me about a day to cut the footage to what I would need and exported this also out to Aftereffects. In the meantime I was doing some tests on the effects I wanted such as the scrolling text and some cool looking background animation – some plug ins like text anarchy and trap code came in quite handy in creating these elements. Once I had all the pieces of the puzzle together – it was just a matter of putting in the time and grunt work required to bring it all together. This portion of the work took the majority of the time I invested in the project. The audio section came next – and I have to admit I used sound booth very sparingly in this project – only to get rid of some background noise and add a very few selected effects such as flanging. The audio was predominantly a Adobe Premiere piece of work - I found sound booth very limited in that it lacks the ability to mix several audio channels – I looked into other programs such as Sony cine score but also found the same shortcoming. Finally I found two packages which would give me the flexibility I needed – this was Premiere and Sony Sound Forge – but by this time I didn't have time to invest in leaning the sound forge user interface so just used Premiere – which worked out quite well. This section of the work must have taken about 3 days of just animating audio channels and effects and mixing them to the motion graphics. I'm quite happy with the result of the piece – the few improvements I probably would make if I had to do it again are too add a deeper sound to my own voice as the narrator – as I sound like a chipmunk general at the moment. Also I would probably spend more time on making the HUD clearer and easier to read and using the animation of the piece to lead the eye to what I want the audience to look at. Nevertheless I'm quite happy I took such a flexible approach to the work – it allowed me to undertake a lot of experimenting with all the software packages I used – and I learnt quite a lot this way. - link to youtube

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