FLOW – Reflection

FLOWBrief

For this final assignment, we were required to create an edited sequence using videos, photos, and audio clips gathered from our previous tasks. Additional stock footage and images were allowed to be included. We were given the choice between two themes – Impact or Flow.

Interpretation of Theme

The theme that I have chosen is FLOW. Water, rivers, soothing, and graceful are examples of words and imagery that we tend to associated with the word flow. To create a sense of flow in the edit, most of the clips were spliced together with a “fade into black” transition. Cutting between actions while following the direction of the movement also helped to improve the smoothness of the edit.

Transitioning from video to photo can be awkward so key frames were placed on the photos’ scales to help create movement. Audio files were overlapped and dragged across multiple clips to create an illusion of seamless audio editing. This technique is commonly known as L or J-cuts because of the shapes formed by the audio files on the timeline.

What is the narrative?

Creating a narrative for this video proved to be challenging. I initially collected stock footages, such as clouds, rain, and cityscape shots but felt that they were too detached and didn’t fit the story. The clip that I ended up using was the extra single shot video that my team filmed during the extensive earlier this semester.

The video features two different plotlines. We are introduced to the same characters in both plotlines. These clips were edited to run parallel with each other. The photos and audio files played a role in setting the scene and location – urban city on a rainy day. By the end of the video, the female character is “victorious” in both scenes.

The message that I wanted to convey is that we are all connected. Both characters are unknowingly connected and have crossed paths at different times. Whether it’s through fate or a greater force, the male character always ends up getting the short end of the stick – embarrassing himself and losing the race.

Final thoughts

The final edit sequence would have been more coherent if all the material had tied in with one another. A photo of “children holding umbrellas” juxtaposed with a video of “a man struggling to open a door” is jarring and doesn’t make for a sensible story. The challenge was to take these different elements and create a story out of it.

Is a story necessary? For this exercise, probably not, but I do believe that it is skill we should all improve on as content creators.

Watch FLOW:

Camera Tricks For The Indies

Original post found on Devour: http://devour.com/video/7-tricks-everyone-with-a-camera-should-know/

Filmmaking used to be accessible only to the “elites” who were able to afford expensive film equipment. But now, everyone has a camera kept handy inside their own pockets (read smartphone). This evolution in technology has opened up opportunities for the average user to create and publish their own films. Filmmaking is no longer limited to big budget Hollywood studios. Hence, we are now able to emulate Hollywood techniques using styrofoam cups and furniture movers.

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 1.47.42 AMFurniture movers? What ever should I do with them?

7 Tricks Everyone With A Camera Should Know teaches us simple how-to techniques that you can pull off with your DSLR or iPhone. The video shows us the process behind the trick followed by the results. A healthy dose of text were superimposed to guide the viewers. The content varied from in-camera tricks to DIY builds. Examples include light painting, bokeh photography, and how to build a light box.

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 1.50.19 AMThese are not the lens flare you’re looking for. JJ Abrams would be ashamed.

Do keep in mind that these tricks were done with household items and might not reap the quality that you yearn for. An example of this would be the LENS FLARE technique. Instead of tape, using a fishing line would have been more effective. Also, it may have been simpler to add the lens flare in post. However, the goal of the video was to show what could be achieved with a bit of creativity and little to no budget. Filmmaking can be a very expensive hobby but as a wise man once said:

“The best camera is the one you have with you.” – Chase Jarvis

So let’s not get caught up with the latest gear although the Panasonic GH4 does looks super sexy but focus on improving our storytelling and cinematography. Steward what you have to the best of your abilities and most importantly, keep shooting!

For more filmmaking tips and tricks, check out these YouTube channels:

Audio Project – Reflection

Brief

The theme for this audio assignment is catalyst. We were required to record and collect seven sounds in response to the theme. At least four of these sounds must be recorded. We were allowed to source the remaining sounds online as long as they were copyright free. Our sounds must be a collection of ambient noises, short sounds, and one copyright free music track. The audio files must not be edited for submission.

Interpretation of Theme

Working towards the editing assignment, I’ve decided to build upon the photo assignment to give it a sense of continuity. Since the photo assignment was shot during a rainy day, I decided to use rain as a catalyst.

Rain is an agent of change. It supplements the earth with fresh water, cools down the temperature, and even changes a person’s mood. In extreme cases, it can cause panic and destruction. The pitter-patter of raindrop adds an extra layer to everyday sound. The sound it creates is rhythmic and can be calm and soothing.

Process

Audio has never been my strongest suit and I do have the tendency of clipping my audio. Because of that, I decided to play it safe by setting my mic recording level to 40%. Turns out, the level was too low and the end results were rather soft. The audios were recording directly from the Zoom H4n without the use of external microphones.

The audios were captured with the intention of layering them over photos of pedestrians walking around the CBD on a rainy day. “Melbourne CBD” was recorded while walking down a pedestrian crossing and this would serve as my ambient noise. Four short sounds which I’ve recorded are, “footsteps in the rain”, “umbrella rustling”, “pitter-patter from pipes”, and “pitter-patter on umbrella”.

On the day that I was recording, the rainfall wasn’t heavy.  Therefore, I decided to source the sound of rain online. I was able to source an appropriate sound from freesounds.org – “rain_near_smooth”. For the music track, I wanted something that was mellow, subtle – almost minimal like the sound of rain. I managed to find an appropriate track entitled “Rain” by Delenda on jamendo.com.

Challenges

I had difficulties recording a clean audio for “footsteps in rain”. Although boots are able to produce crisp footstep noises, it is unable to give us the sound of rubber soles hitting a wet pavement. To produce the sound, I recorded the sound of my own footsteps walking through a shallow puddle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t isolate the sound of the footsteps from the noisy environment. This could have been overcome by recording in a quiet alley instead of a sidewalk.

Tips

Always monitor volume with headphones when possible. It is also important to record the levels as high as possible but before clipping. This would ensure that your audio would not have to be brought up in post, which tends to increase noise.

“Rain_near_smooth” by loopbasedmusic is available at freesong.org, under Creative Common 0 license; <http://www.freesound.org/people/loopbasedmusic/sounds/157487>

“Rain” by Delenda is available at jamendo.com, under Creative Common Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported;< http://www.jamendo.com/en/track/1011488/rain>

Photo Project – Reflection

Catalyst 1BRIEF

For this assignment, we were required to produce five still photographs based on the theme – catalyst. These photographs must demonstrate technical proficiency in camera work and showcase an imaginative response to the given theme. No photo-editing software is allowed to be used for the submitted photographs.

Catalyst 2INTERPRETATION OF THEME

A catalyst refers to a substance that causes a chemical reaction. The word that resonated with me was reaction. I wanted to produce a photo series that features a human subject reacting to a situation, object or person. In this case, I have chosen to use ‘traffic lights’ as a catalyst.

Pedestrians react according to the light sequence. For example, they would cross when they see a “green man” and stop at the “red man”. When a “flashing red man” is shown, people tend to quicken their pace and some may even break into an abrupt jog. The images that I’ve taken reflect the pedestrians at every light sequence.

Catalyst 3THE PROCESS

Swanston Street was the perfect choice for this project as it is usually brimming with pedestrians, especially at the intersections of Flinders Station and Melbourne Central. I began my photo-walk from the intersections of Flinders and Swanston Streets and slowly made my way up to RMIT city campus.

I would usually position myself in front of an intersection and snap photos of the passing or waiting pedestrians between each light sequence. I also experimented with taking wider shots and diagonal shots. Taking photos while crossing the intersections didn’t prove effective, as pedestrians were aware of my presence and would steer clear of the direction the camera was pointing. This was overcome by snapping photos from the waist instead of the viewfinder.

Despite the rainy weather, the overcast day made it easier to expose the shots. In addition, the reflections bouncing off the wet pavement gave the photos more visual depth. The umbrellas also drew more attention towards the pedestrians.

Catalyst 4REFLECTION ON PHOTOGRAPHS

The five selected photographs were taken candidly and feature a strong human element. Most of the pedestrians were captured in mid-stride as I wanted the portray movement and how they were reacting to the light signals. Rick Wester photo-series “Run” was the inspiration for the photograph “Catalyst 3 – Woman Running with Umbrella”.

Upon closer review, I’ve noticed that each photograph has a vibrant colour in them, for example, pink umbrellas or red scarf. Subconsciously, I may have been drawn towards the bright object which propelled me to document that moment.

Taking photos from the viewfinder (Catalyst 1, 2 & 3) reaped more accurate results compared to those taken from the hip (Catalyst 4 & 5). Shooting from the hip requires luck. Most of the time, photographs taken from the hip ends up poorly framed and skewed.

Catalyst 5INSPIRATION

For this photo-series, I’ve chosen to reflect the aesthetics and approach of street photography. There are plenty of debates on the definition of street photography. These ranges from whether it is posed versus candid or in a public space versus indoors. Personally, I have taken a liking to Eric Kim’s definition.

“However at the end of the day, I personally define street photography to myself as: Proof of humanity.” – Eric Kim, 2013.