Dan Hume's Blog

Work Placement Report
May 29, 2010, 6:51 pm
Filed under: Work Placement

When I chose to do the course, I was aware there was going to be work placement at the end of the first year. Having that thought in my mind throughout the first year, I was determined to absorb as much as knowledge as possible using different software and equipment to prepare me for real life work. This was going to be an opportunity for me to really experience a creative media related job.

As to what sort of work experience I wanted to do I wasn’t really sure at the start. During the year, I had lots of pathways I wanted to explore. Since the course was quite broad I was open to a lot of new areas of digital media. As the year progressed, I started deciding which sort of path I wanted to go down. I feel I am more comfortable working with After Effects, Photoshop and Premier pro rather than working with any 3D software. Knowing this, I wanted to do work placement for a company that would allow me to use any of those software’s to produce work.

I was about to do some work for some third year students who were doing animation. When Jason asked me if I wanted to do some compositing for them, I was really interested. Unfortunately, when I met up with the animation students, they already had someone who was going to do the compositing. They actually wanted me to do some 3D animation. I literally ran for my life after that moment. When it came to choosing work placement during class time, Phil suggested to a group of us that a company called Kaboosh would be of interest to us after reading through our preferred sort of work we would like to undergo.

For my work placement I worked for a company called Kaboosh, which is run by  a brand agency called GTI (George Thomas International). They specialize in music and entertainment brands that mainly focusing on pop promo videos and web design. Now, I was a little bit worried about the web design part as I thought I would be asked to produce some work in Flash for them. The previous group, who did work experience with them, were asked to do some Flash work. I have never used Flash before and hopefully never will, as I’ve heard nothing but bad things about it.

My placement was due to commence on 5th May until the 14th May. To break the ice, as the saying goes, Phil took me to see the company on the Friday before following week when my work experience was due to commence. I met Joe, one of the Kaboosh team and I had a chance to talk to him about what software I have used. He seemed to be ok with the fact that I hadn’t used flash and said there are other bits of work that I can do that are not Flash related. I was feeling much better after that. I also met the two Rob’s, who are also part of the Kaboosh team. One of the Rob’s does all the designs and graphics for the websites. Once the graphics are completed, they are handed over to the other Rob, who works with the finished piece by integrating the design into a website.

For the first week of my work placement, the company was working towards to the launch of their new Kaboosh site. The site is a student portal in connection with the NUS. Its main aim is to give students information about what’s going at university, promotions at bars and restaurants, festivals and many other things. The company is relatively new and has been running since September last year. Eventually GTI want to expand Kaboosh and incorporate an office base at each University around the U.K.

On the first day, I arrived at the Clarendon Enterprise centre, which is where the company is based. I waited at reception to be met by Joe, who I had previously met on the Friday. Steven Foster, director of CGI, arrived at the office that morning, shortly after I had arrived. We walked to the company’s office where I had the opportunity to show him some of my previous work that I had done during my first year at the Arts University College. I was able to explain my idea behind the Post Production video that I showed him as a way of pitching my work to a client. It was clear to Joe that my forte of work was based on working with video, still imagery and motion graphics. Shortly after, Steven also saw my work and said to me, create a video for Kaboosh. That was it, nothing really specific in terms of the brief except link the video to Kaboosh. At first, this was a bit daunting as I wasn’t entirely sure what to do, whether it was to create some motion graphics or record some actual video footage.

After a while of endless deciding, I opened up After Effects and basically started experimenting with new techniques that I hadn’t really had the chance to develop before. The idea for the Kaboosh video kicked in when I started playing around with the puppet pin tool, in After Effects, to animate letters. I remember being shown this technique before and it really animates 2D images effectively. I decided I was going to make the Kaboosh letters, from the logo, animate separately from each other. The idea behind this piece would be that the letters are separated from each other and are trying to find each other so they can form together again. I wanted to do something relevant to the launching of the new Kaboosh website. Since I had a basic concept in mind, I started thinking about how I was going to create an environment for the letters. I began thinking about creating some oval shapes in illustrator for the background of the video. I spent most of the afternoon, trying to put together nice backgrounds for the video. When the first day came to an end, I started thinking about a different way of creating an environment for the letters to be in instead of a plain background with oval shapes.

The next day, I started experimenting with the 3D mode in After Effects and I was able to make a plain surface. The plain surface on it’s own looked a bit dull and you could see all edges where it ends. I then used a spotlight, which basically turns the whole composition into darkness apart from the spot where the light is shining down. I was able to adjust the light settings to make it look quite realistic. I didn’t refer to any tutorials while doing this process; I basically had a clear mind and was thinking logically how to do things. I had never really understood how to create this effect until now and I seem to have a much better understanding of After Effects.

Once I had the surface and light ready, I then had to get the letters from the Kaboosh logo separated from into individual layers. Now, the Kaboosh team didn’t design the logo themselves and so they didn’t know the name of the font. I had to open up an HQ version of the logo in Photoshop and cut around each letter and make them into separate layers. This took a bit of time as the letters in the logo are so close together; I had to cut into some of them. I then had to spend time using the clone tool and pen tool to correct all the edges of letter I cut into.

I was at the point where I was ready to import the Photoshop files into After Effects when I had put on hold the video project and create a banner for Shake Away. Joe sent me an email, with the brief and relevant file attachments. This was quite a straightforward task. The brief was to create a banner that had the slogan ‘Milkshakes are the new Coffee’. The banner had to include the shake away logo, colours and milkshake images. Below is one of the finished banners I produced for the company.

I like that task because it was proper brief for a client and it made me feel like I was properly at work. This Banner was then given to Rob who will then have then integrated this onto a site as a link to the Shake Away website.

Once I had completed the task, I carried on with the video. The video project was an on going project, which I was working on throughout most of the placement. I had to make lots of changes such as, making the whole piece shorter and quicker. I quite enjoyed tweaking the video, because I knew what I was doing so I was determined to deliver what was asked of me.

Once the Kaboosh video project was completed, Steven suggested that I should make a video for the new Scott Mills site, as he really liked what I’d produced. I had very little time to put this video together but I managed to do it using basic animation techniques in After Effects. Below is a screen shot of the video.

I have always been aware of Copyright issues. During this work placement, I did come across some copyright issues to do with the Scott Mills video that I was making. I wanted to include the BBC Radio 1 logo in the video, as that’s the radio station Scott Mills hosts on. The Kaboosh team said it’s best not to use it because they aren’t working directly with the BBC for the new Scott Mills site. This is a site intended for Scott Mills’s personal use. A professional photographer had given GTI a few HQ photos of Scott Mills and I had used one of the photos to be included in the video.

I started using royalty free images for certain things such as the Shake Away banner I made. I used an image taken off a photo stock website for free that had HQ images uploaded to their database for artists/graphics designers to use for their own personal needs. I used an aerial shot of a cup of coffee as a reference to the letter ‘O’.

In conclusion I found the overall work placement a good experience into the world of working in a media related company. I wasn’t really sure what to expect the work placement at Kaboosh to be like. I have to say I liked their work ethic. They’re quite a chilled out company and they are not so strict with how you must work. As you long as you get the work done, they are fine with how you approach the work.

There was one question that I kept asking myself during the two weeks and that was, is this the sort of work I want to do? Well, I’m not sure. I have never really considered myself going into a specific job. I felt at this work placement I was just doing motion graphics. My ideal job would be working in and out of an office/studio environment. Preferably, I’d like to work with video and still images. With that sort of work, half the time would be spent doing practical work outside an office or studio doing filming or a photo shoot. Then the second half of the work would be computer based, doing the post-production. I don’t mind producing some motion graphics, but I don’t want it to be the only thing I do.

I have felt I’ve become more confident since I’ve undergone work experience. I think it is a vital process for anyone wanting work in the creative media industry. It’s the beginning of knowing what people expect of you in the industry and how you continue to develop old and new skills. The whole experience is there to give you an opportunity to put your foot in the door and make contacts. I wanted to make a good impression to the company because they are my first encounter in the media industry and having a good reputation is important. I can back this up after talking to Rob, the graphic designer, about how he started out and ended up for working with Kaboosh. He went from doing sports degree and then deciding he wanted to become a graphic designer. He basically self taught himself the principles and skills to become a graphic designer and did lots of unpaid work experience to get into the field he wanted to work in. Through this process, he ended up having the opportunity to work for Kaboosh as their graphic designer.

At the end of my work placement, GTI offered me the chance to do some extra work for them on future projects and get paid for it. I didn’t expect them to offer me something like this and I couldn’t decline their offer because I know this will help me pursue my career in the media industry.

(2,186 words)


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