Dan Hume's Blog


Learning Agreement
January 31, 2011, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Professional Project

learning agreement

Name: Daniel Hume

Course: Digital Media Production Level: 5

Unit: Professional Project

Reference number: IMD513

Credit points: 45

Study hours: 450 hours

Tutor(s): Phil Beards, Liam Birtles.

Synopsis of Study

For this project I aim to make a short viral video/advert for the campaign, Don’t Lose The Music, which is run by the charity RNID. This is the largest charity in the UK that is devoted to changing the lives of deaf/hard of hearing people. Its Don’t Lose The Music is specifically aimed at young people to try and make them more aware about the effects of going clubbing on a regular basis and going to concerts/festivals, without any hearing protection. I’m the victim of Tinnitus, which is why I’m supporting this campaign and I want to make a contribution to the charity to help encourage young people to protect their hearing.

For the video, I don’t want to create something depressing, because the campaigns attitude towards clubs and festivals isn’t negative, otherwise I wouldn’t be in support of it. They’re saying you can enjoy being at live music events, but at the same time you can do yourself justice by wearing earplugs. It’s been proven that gradually over time our hearing degrades due to exposure of loud noise from when you’re younger and therefore people as they get older struggle to hear. This campaign is all about extending your ability to hear well when you’re older to enjoy music, hence the title of the campaign.

This will be an opportunity for me to create content that I can relate to and use the technology and skills I enjoy using to make one big project. This is probably going to be the most challenging unit I’ve yet encountered. I am going to be in full control of what is going to be produced in the production and post-production fields. I’m not really confident with producing video content and doing post-production work, but I feel that this will boost my confidence and hopefully give me a better idea of what I want to do in my third year. I’m used to making little videos and editing them for my own personal use, but to produce something for a client is going to be a step up from everything I’ve done so far.

Although the whole process of making a short video/advert will be challenging, I also want to discuss further with the client, how we can push the campaign strategies, to make it bigger. I feel that the message of the campaign is not being heard enough, which is why I want to take into consideration what the content of the video will be and how it will presented.

The message of the video will be to raise awareness of young people listening to mp3 players in noisy places, for example high street. The consequence of listening to music in noisy places compensates you having to turn up the volume on mp3 player, to cancel out the background noise. This continual habit can lead to future problems such as hearing loss and tinnitus, which aren’t curable conditions. The beginning of video will inform young people of the consequences and will finish off with solutions.

For some extra work, I also intend to do some Post-production work for some Bournemouth and Poole College students. They need to use After Effects but aren’t really familiar with the software. I’ll be doing Colour Grading and compositing visual effects.

Aims

A1 To develop my creativity and my knowledge and understanding of professional practice.

A2 To develop and produce a professional standard of creative work in response to a ‘live’ or simulated brief.

A3 To prepare myself for employment, freelance work or further study.

A4 To develop my understanding of costing and invoicing in preparation for business.

A5 To encourage students to see critical reflection as a key element of creative thinking and practice.

Learning outcomes:

On completion of this unit I’ll be able to:

LO1 Demonstrate a professional standard of creativity and practical ability, including:

  • Work that is technically comparable to that made within a specified genre.
  • Work that shows an awareness of contemporary trends, styles and subject matter, within commercial contexts.
  • Work that shows a high degree of creativity and aesthetic judgement.

LO2 Respond appropriately to the demands of a professional/self initiated brief, including:

  • Appropriate creative outcomes to industry/work related briefs.

LO3 Demonstrate readiness for employment, freelance work or further study with confidence in the level of your creative, practical and professional knowledge and skills. LO4 Demonstrate understanding of relevant costing and invoicing procedures, including:

  • The various costing and pricing scales and structures within relevant commercial contexts.
  • Timescales for payment.
  • Legal requirements, copyright and syndication rights.
  • VAT, National Insurance etc.

LO5 Reflect critically upon work and to use this as a springboard for the further development of ideas and creative practice.

Assessment Requirements

For this project I’ll be producing daily entries on my blog to show the development of my work. This will lead to a final entry of a short video/advert to which I’ll show pre-production, production and post-production documentation throughout this unit.

Assessment Criteria (specific criteria related to the learning outcomes and linked to the statement of generic assessment criteria matrix):

Evidence of knowledge of concepts and contexts (a) – Project work that shows creative maturity and direction within a commercial context (LO1,LO2)
Evidence of understanding through research and analysis. (c) – Extensive research, and the application of it, used for the underpinning and final conclusion of project work (LO1,LO2,LO4)
Evidence of realisation through presentation (f)- Work is placed within a commercial context and appropriate methods of presentation used. (LO3)
Evidence of understanding through critical evaluation and reflection (e) – The objectives of the research have clearly been identified and used to inform project work. (LO5)
Evidence of realisation through technical application and skills (g) – A synthesis of creativity and professionalism is demonstrated in the conclusion of the project work (LO1)

References

http://www.youtube.co.uk/ (Youtube)

http://www.vimeo.com/ (Vimeo)

http://www.dontlosethemusic.com/home/ (Don’t Lose The Music)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (BBC)

http://philipbloom.net/ (Philip Bloom – Filmmaker)

Action plan/time plan

14th – 20th February

Go to up to London. Plan shots and locations. Storyboard.

21st – 27th February

Sort out equipment list. Do some test shots for time-lapse video.

1st – 13th March

Production.

14th – 3rd April

Post-Production.

4th – 17th April

This gap of time is for any additional shooting that I might need to do.

30th April

Completion deadline.




Professional Project
January 31, 2011, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Professional Project

This is the campaign I’m hoping to work for, for this Professional Project unit. This is a campaign run by RNID, who are the largest charity working to change the world for the UK’s 9 million people who are deaf or hard of hearing. They run the Don’t Lose The Music campaign, which aims to make sure people know how and why to protect their hearing while enjoying music.

I am a tinnitus sufferer, which is a condition associated with our (hearing) auditory system. Tinnitus is a condition where an individual hears specific sounds such as, buzzing, whistling, hissing, ringing. This is often associated with some sort of exposure to loud noise. Everyone experiences tinnitus at some point in their lives, especially after clubbing or going to a concert where you are being exposed to 90-100 decibels of loud music. That loud buzzing sound when you go back to quiet environment is Tinnitus, but for most people this usually disappears by the next day. Unfortunately for some people the noise won’t disappear and this is where the campaign kicks in.

Campaign strategies

Don’t Lose The Music has successfully introduced the issue of hearing protection to young people in a positive, fun and relevant way. As the campaign aims to raise awareness amongst young people we try to reach them wherever we can. Our activities include:

  • development of a specific ‘Don’t Lose The Music’ brand
  • a ‘Don’t Lose The Music’ website with relevant information and advice
  • persuading well known musicians and DJs to support the campaign
  • going to events such as music festivals, trade shows and club nights
  • doing research with young people who are at risk
  • distribution of materials such as flyers, stickers and posters
  • promotional partnerships with companies such as Richer Sounds and Sensorcom
  • communication of our stories through the media
  • running Don’t Lose The Music Week

Here is a video produced by the campaign that is promoting hearing protection for young people going off to festivals.

I am hoping to produce a viral video for the campaign, which promotes the same message.

 



Is Cinema Dead?
January 28, 2011, 5:08 pm
Filed under: New Perspectives for New Contexts

For the debate next week we’re discussing, is Cinema dead? I’ll be arguing that cinema is dead, even though I believe cinema isn’t dead. Here is a collection of sources about this case.

Highest Grossing Films

This is actually an interesting chart. From the chart it is evident that cinema has been majorly affected by the internet. Titanic for a long time was the highest grossing film in the world. It was released in 1997 and as far as I can remember, the internet hadn’t even taken off by then. 1998-1999 the internet started developing and since then no major blockbuster film has over taken Titanic, until recently.

Avatar has been a true cinematic phenomenon. This all comes down to the 3D experience, which Avatar has fully taken on board. People have said that to truly appreciate the film, you need to watch it at the cinema. I do agree in some way with Peter Greenaway in the fact that TV’s being brought into the home has affected cinema. As time has gone on, technology has become more advanced which is allowing people to bring the cinematic experience into their homes, such as HD TV’s and surround sound. Also with the internet giving people access to films before they are released in the cinema, there is this issue of people realising they can watch new releases for free, in the comfort of their own home. 3D is slowly being integrated into homes, so at the moment the real 3D experiences lies at the cinema. This is why Avatar did extremely well, because cinema was offering an experience that you can’t replicate in the home…at the moment.

A brief account of someone’s experience of Cinema:

Zinzel: The Cinema Experience

A couple of guardian articles discussing  the issue:

Destruction of Cinema since the 50’s

Piracy DVD Hollywood

BBC Articles

New Tactics in Film Piracy

Cinema Is Dead (Peter Greenaway)

Front Row

Fin De Cinema

Is Independent Cinema Dead? – Vincenzo Natali, Director of Splice

Is Independent Cinema Dead? – Nicolas Winding Refn, Director of Bronson & Valhalla Rising

Ezine Articles: Is Cinema Dead?

James Cameron: The Future of Cinema



Dream Job
January 19, 2011, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Personal Planning Reflection and Development 2

What would my ideal dream job be? Well I’d like to have a job that involves some travelling but to also have a solid foundation in central London. The reason I say London is because it’s where everything is happening. I can’t pinpoint a specific job description, because there are many things I’d like to do and some of those things I’ll only be able to do once I’ve established myself in the media industry… and that may take a while.

How would I start off my career in the media industry? I guess I’d start by being an assistant/runner for a design production company. Ideally I’d like to work for a company that has a range of different types of projects going on, so I can get a sense of where I’d be most comfortable working. Also it’s the best opportunity to meet people who work in different areas of productions, so the contact list can slowly emerge.

I’ve been a keen photographer for a while and I’d like to pursue a career in that field. However, photography is a very specific and, like most jobs, competitive field to get into as there are many great photographers out there. There are many types of photographers in the creative media industries, which makes it an even more focused field. I’ve always been fascinated with Journalism, so the idea of being a photojournalist is quite appealing to me. There’s the travelling aspect of being photojournalist, which I find enticing and also the idea of capturing and being apart of something that could be a defining moment of history. Photography isn’t the only thing I want to do with my life. I do have other aspirations.

Since the introduction of Video integrated into DSLR cameras, it’s opened up a new opportunity for photographers to venture down an extended route of photography. Although people may argue that they are both different, to me, there are certainly skills from photography that are applied in filmmaking e.g. Cinematography. I am excited by this convergence of technology because I like the idea of using a smaller camera to make professional looking videos rather than big hench cameras. I’ve kind of been slightly put off doing actual filming because it involves using lots of big equipment, time and it’s quite a hands on job. I discovered this from last year after filming the Acting Course at the Pavilion and the Fashion Show at the O2 academy. It was overall a good experience, but since then I’ve been drawn more to the post-production field, like editing and colour grading, effects etc.

However, the future of DSLR in the video production side is growing and I’m hopeful that they will be used more dominant in production companies. I’ve been looking at filmmaker and director, Philip Bloom, who has had a lot of experience working in film and using lots of different types of cameras etc.

All in all I hope to be able to become flexible with different kinds of work and be apart of all the aspects of work on a project.

Below is a video that was a collaboration between two people, Tom Munro (Photographer) and Nathan Rissman ( Relatively new Filmmaker). Although this video isn’t anything ground breaking or amazing, it’s just got a cool artistic look to it. I would have liked to have worked on all the stages of this video from the production to post-production. I think music videos would be great to work on!

 



Performance Video Final Piece
January 11, 2011, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Abelton Live 8, Modul8, Performance Video

Synopsis

For this project I decided to focus on the observation of daily life in the city. Like the music I’ve put together, everything builds up to a climax, e.g. daytime. Using the fader controls on the iPhone, every time a faders value is increased a piece of audio and imagery appears at the same time. I started the video off slowly with some ambient music that is accompanied by a image of canary wharf, showing the awakening of the scene. Then using the middle rotary control, at the bottom of the iPhone’s interface, movement begins to develop. As all the fader controls are increased, the whole scene comes to life.

Evaluation

The above video is a pre-recording of a live performance I did at home. I used my iPhone to control Modul8 and Ableton Live together to make a live audio and visual performance. Due to having lots of trial version software, doing a live performance at the crit most definitely wouldn’t have gone to plan. I was using this application called Osculator, which sends out MIDI signals from the TouchOSC on the iPhone to any audio software. The trial version of  Osculator has a limited time until it gets interrupted by a message saying that it needs to be activated. I have tried purchasing a serial from the company to activate it, but the activation codes didn’t seem to work so I was still cursed with same issue. However, the pre-crecorded video demonstrates my idea perfectly well.

This project was quite challenging to begin with. When I think back to what my initial ideas were, I feel the final outcome is quite different… Visually that is. The idea of converging both visual performing and audio performing together has been my main focus point of this project, which I feel I’ve achieved.

I started out wanting to make an iPhone application that would allow you to control both audio and visuals at the same time. I later discovered that there was an application called TouchOSC, which allows you to create your own interface, which can then be mapped to any audio software, just like a normal mixer. Before I discovered the TouchOSC application, I found myself looking and making my very own custom made multi-touch trackpad. This was achieved by using a decent sized cardboard box, which was roughly the height and with of an  width of an A4 piece of paper. I used a basic picture frame, which would act as the interface. I used a thin sheet of plain A4 paper to go underneath of the glass of the frame. I then installed a webcam inside the box so any movement made on the frame glass will be picked up from the camera and the data will be sent to this piece of software called Community Core Vision.

The brief entailed that the overall piece should combine both sound and visuals that are generated by a live performance. I’m not a musician and I’ve ever used any professional audio software until now. I thought this project would be the best opportunity to get to learn a bit of the basics of creating a simple track in Abelton Live. Phil gave me a good incite into the overall interface of Ableton and I took from him what I thought would be relevant for my idea. Abelton can be used for two purposes, mixing or recording. For me I was mixing… to a certain extent. I basically gathered 6 audio tracks I bought from a CD containing lots of royalty free liquid drum and bass loops. I think mixed them together to make one piece of music that was on a loop. The reason I did this was because it linked into my idea really well. The building up of the start of a day, links in with the building up to a piece of music.

For the visuals I was introduced to another piece of software called Modul8. From the beginning of my initial idea, I was trying to work out if it was possible to use After Effects and be able to use that as a tool to make a live performance with. The reason I was fixated on using After Effects was because of the flexibility and the varied effects it has to offer. However, I later discovered I could use Modul8 to my advantage. After experimenting with bits of footage I had, I realized Modul8 was quite a flexible piece of software and there were lots of things I could do with video and still images.

One of the difficulties I had was mapping the midi controls from Abelton into Modul8. After doing some quick research into this I found out that the IAC Driver, which is already installed on macs, needs to be enabled live so that the data from Ableton can be sent to Modul8; therefore the two programmes become in sync with each other. It was a very simple solution in the end… like most things.

There are definitely ways in which I could improve this project. The audio is one thing I could improve on upon. Throughout the video I’ve used  a mixture of looped samples, so if I had to do this again I would possibly look at mixing in more detail to get a varied production in the music. The visuals could also be improved upon by experimenting with more layers and mapping each to different obscure sounds, just to make a scene more interesting. I think if I had a bit more time I’d like to have thought more about how the visuals could be displayed as a performance. The initial idea throughout this project is that they would be displayed on a backdrop/screen behind a DJ in a club environment.



Modul8 Visual Development
January 7, 2011, 11:47 pm
Filed under: After Effects, Modul8, Performance Video

After showing Phil my initial video test, he felt the idea I was trying to portray didn’t reflect from the visuals I had used. I could see where he was coming from because the video didn’t really give any connotations about time passing by, which is what I’m exploring in this video.

I’ve now added different visuals that will hopefully give the audience a sense of what the piece about. The image of Canary Wharf  is still going to be included in this, as the main focal point of the visuals, but I’ve enhanced the image with a time-lapse video of clouds sailing through the sky. To do this I used After Effects.

I decided to mask out the sky background of the image to help boost the appearance of backdrop visuals. This was also so I could be in control of that particular area of the image, where I want to embed the time-lapse into.

I imported the video into After Effects and then dragged into composition, on top of the image layer.

Then next thing was to use the Luma Matte effect, which embeds the video into the image like in the screenshot below.

Video Preview

I have got another backdrop for the canary wharf scene. It’s a time-lapse video, which I found in my files, of the clocks by canary wharf… ironically. The whole pice is about time passing and this video fits the description perfectly. Now I wanted to make this backdrop blend well without it spilling too much into city landscape image. I thought if I used the masked layer I used to cut out the city image with in After Effects, it should prevent any of the backdrop video showing through the city image.

I dragged the video into the top half of the composition and since it was a mask, the bottom half where the city image hides the rest of the video showing through.

I like to make the edges smooth when blending two bits of video together, so I used the feather tool to make the edges denser. This made a small proportion of the video spill over into the city image area, but it should work well nonetheless.

Video Preview

I rendered a short clip in After Effects with both layers combined to see what the outcome would look like. I’m pretty happy with how it looks, but it may turn out slightly different in Modul8… but hopefully it will look better!



MIDI Mapping in Modul8
January 7, 2011, 8:11 pm
Filed under: Modul8, Performance Video

I’ve managed to map the TouchOSC controls on my iPhone to Modul8 as well as in Ableton. I did have an issue with mapping some of the channels in Ableton to the channels in Modul8. I was only able to assign one channel in Modul8, until I realised at the top of the screen there were three menu tabs, Focus, Position and Layerset and Position. I was in the focus menu, which only allows you to assign one channel to a MIDI control, but you are able to assign controls to the effects on that particular channel.

I then switched to the Position menu, which gives you more flexibility about what Midi controls you can assign to and access to all the layers in Modul8. After I discovered this, I was able to map all the controls I needed to on my TouchOSC editor.

Test Video

Above is a short extract I did, after mapping TouchOSC to Modul8, of the iPhone controlling Modul8 and Ableton Live at the same time. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out!




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