Dan Hume's Blog


Action Time Plan
October 30, 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Specialist Project

learning agreement

Name: Daniel Hume

 

 Course: Digital Media Production

                                                                                                                 Level: 6

Unit: Specialist Project

Reference number: [Write the unit’s reference code – refer to the unit handbook]

Credit points: 30

Study hours: 300

Tutor(s): Phil Beards, Liam Birtles

 

Synopsis of study

For this unit I plan to make a documentary, which will be shot on an iPhone. I’ve been thinking about how I can make a documentary different. A documentary is primarily a video in which analyzes a person, event or a place. I’d like to expand upon that and make a documentary that involves a website/blog and an iPad Application. However, this is something I’d like to explore for my Extended Major Project. I think my main focus point for the Specialist project is to make a visually interesting video that’s been well edited. I hope to gain some interesting cinematography shots that haven’t been done with professional cameras. There’s a Moby track I like from his collection of music for independent filmmakers called, Wait For Me, which I want to use as the inspiration for this video. I guess the direction I’m going in could be argued as making a music video, but I’m trying work towards something that’s not a conventional documentary.

I’d like to film around London as I find it incredibly photogenic and full of life. There are many stories to be told in London, because it’s such a diverse city with so much going on. The conceptual idea behind this particular video is directly focused at the economic crisis within the UK. I want to capture the natural state of what’s like to be in London at this particular time. I want to shoot people in general to see if I can capture their emotions in any form, as a way to impose the general mood of society. Like the Philip Bloom video, South Bank HD, I’d like to document a particular place like a train station. I want to differ from many documentary videos, which often focus on a particular person. I’m using a small mobile device and I feel I should focus on something more distant, yet personal.

I want to be able to explore the new possibilities of video making by using a very small, compact device and evaluate throughout the entire process, the pros and cons (for example battery life, getting incoming call/texts etc.) Also, for diegetic sound, I’d like to use the Zoom H1 recorder, which again is a small compact device that records stereo sound at a professional quality. I’d like to combine the two small devices together to see how well you can capture sound and video on something small and reasonably cheap. The reason why I’d like to do this is because it’s throwing me out of my comfort zone. I don’t know how well this will turn out, even though I’ve done a test video of the optimum quality and it’s not bad, but there’s still room for improvement.

I also aim to make the video look as professional as I can, deterring it from the fact it’s shot on a mobile device. I’ve worked with DSLR cameras in the past year as my medium tool for projects, but I’m now thinking one step ahead in terms of technology. I remember someone talked to me about a book called ‘The Best Camera Is The One With You’, which contains a montage collection of arty photography taken with an iPhone. I agree with that title as a statement, because a mobile phone is constantly with you at all times and you are more likely to capture unexpected moments with a camera phone than a physical standalone compact camera.

In the documentary, Man with a Movie Camera (1929), the director Dziga Vertov had lots of imitations with the very basic and least technically advanced camera. I’ll be stepping away from all consumer cameras; therefore, like Vertov, I’ll be quite limited to what I can shoot. Cinematography wise, I’m likely to be capturing more long shots than close ups, as there isn’t a zoom feature available in video mode. If I want to do a close up of something, I’m going to have to physically move closer towards that particular subject. One of the main objectives when it comes to the production is the idea of being discreet. I’d like to trick people into thinking that I’m just playing music or a game on my phone; meanwhile I’m actually shooting a video, which in turn results in capturing people in their natural state of mind. I hope; as I get more into the project, to begin to create a new style of filming.

Aims

A1 To confirm and develop my systematic understanding of key aspects of digital media, previously acquired in Level 5.

A2 To encourage the acquisition of detailed knowledge, some of which is at or informed by the forefront of developments within the subject including aspects of current research, or equivalent scholarship.

A3 To develop my critical awareness and understanding of historical, contemporary and personal practice within the broad context of the field.

 Assessment Requirements

A prototype design as defined in your Learning Agreement.

Finished Design 75% (Tutor Assessed)

A written report for one of the projects (Maximum 1500 words) supporting the conceptual, contextual and production issues involved in the completion of practical work. 25% (Tutor Assessed)

 Assessment Criteria

Evidence of knowledge of key contextual and theoretical issues – Knowledge concerned with contemporary practice acquired from Level 5 and applied and developed to a higher level (LO1)

Evidence of critical concepts represented in the breadth and depth of subject knowledge – The contexts of production (LO2, LO3)

Evidence of realisation through the application of technical knowledge and skills – Documentation of the project, its planning and execution (LO1)

Evidence of understanding through critical evaluation and reflection – Relevance of research and relationship of theory to practice (LO3)

 Learning Outcomes

 LO1 that I have transferred your systematic understanding of key aspects of digital media, previously acquired in Level 5.

LO2 the acquisition of detailed knowledge, some of which is at or informed by the forefront of developments within the subject including aspects of current research, or equivalent scholarship.

LO3 Through written work demonstrate that you developed your critical awareness and understanding of historical, contemporary and personal practice within the broad context of the field.

 

References

http://www.iphoneography.com/ (iPhoneography)

http://www.youtube.com/ (YouTube)

http://vimeo.com/ (Vimeo)

http://vimeo.com/channels/iphonehd (Vimeo iPhone Cinema)

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/157223 (Blurb: Multimedia Journal)

http://www.richardkocihernandez.com/Richard_Koci_Hernandez_Multimedia_Journalist/Richard_Koci_Hernandez.html (Richard Koci Hernandez)

http://hgc.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2010-07-04 (LOMO like pictures by iPhone 4)

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/04/08/condition-one-app-combines-ipad-and-photo-journalism/

(Condition ONE app combines iPad and Photojournalism)

17th – 21st October

I plan to do a test shoot at Bournemouth Rail Station, just to get some footage and to get into the documentary mode. I then plan to edit two versions from the exact same footage, one being edited on the iPhone and the other edit on the Mac.

I’m also going to send a request for the Moby Track, Wait For Me, on the Moby Gratis site. (Hopefully should get a response within the week)

22rd – 23rd October

Start planning ideas for locations and start thinking about filming techniques.

25th October

Go up to London for the day and do a mini photo shoot. Start scouting for good locations to film at and experiment with different types of shots/composition.

28th October

There is a trip to London this day. I hope to find some time to do a spot of filming, whenever I get a free opportunity to do so.

31st – 11th November

I’d like to take these two weeks to do some filming around London. I’m possibly going to go home for that period, as I don’t live to far away from London, so it’ll be easier to commute to and from.

15th – 20th November

I’d like to take this period to start the edit. I hope to have a rough cut of the video, for the tutorial on 21st November. This will enable me to get feedback on what I’ve done.

21st – 30 November

I’d like to use this time to do any addition video shoots, if their needs to be any. This time will be used to refine the video in the post-production process.

5th December

The Crit. Hand in day.

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Filming Discreetly on an iPhone
October 29, 2011, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Specialist Project, Video

Yesterday, the course went up to London to see the Postmodernism exhibition. I ended up walking around with a few people who weren’t intending on going to it; therefore I didn’t see it. However, it wasn’t a total loss as we strolled around Camden for a few hours, which was cool. I took this as an opportunity to try out some more filming on my iPhone to see if I could be as discreet as possible. Camden market is very strict on people taking pictures of filming around their stalls and stock etc. I didn’t get stopped or approach at all. The iPhone really does prove to be a misleading video device to people.

From this still image I took, the camera is shot at a low angle, to create this undercover look. I’m kind of reflecting back to the multimedia journalist, where Richard Koci was acting normally, whilst snapping away in public.

Here is a video of what I shot. A lot of the shots are a bit shaky, but I was experimenting with how I was going to film certain stuff. I captured many shots with the back of the iPhone facing outwards, whilst I was holding it by my pocket.

Now that I’ve shot an iPhone video that is entirely handheld, I’ve come to realise that it’s incredibly jerky most of the time. This is one of the clear distinctions between iPhone 4 and 4S, which is that the 4S has built in image stabilisation to reduce shaky video quality. I think this is quite crucial when I come to do more shooting for my documentary, because the audience will want to have a balance between handheld and static shots. A lot of people do find it’s a strain to watch lots of camera movement.

I’m really pleased with how this short video has come out, however, I don’t think I’d like to shoot my entire video from an undercover point of view. For my final video, I think I need to include an array selection of new and conventional camera techniques. One of the aims of my project is to try and create something that looks professional, but using consumer tools. In terms of the editing, I like to add some ‘quirkiness’ to it. In between cuts, I like to add some movement. What I’ve found, when going through footage, there are some shots with lots of movement, which don’t look good enough to use in the final cut. Instead of leaving them to waste, I take out roughly 1 second of that movement and then place it between two shots; therefore it creates a nice, unique transition. There should be some of the cuts present in the video above.



Nice Video Production Work
October 27, 2011, 1:17 am
Filed under: General, Video

I’ve been really enjoying listening to Coldplay’s latest album release, Mylo Xyloto. Visually, I’m a big fan of the colourful street art look, which is being injected into theme of their album artwork and videos.  I’ve got two video examples, which have my two favourite songs from the album; Paradise and Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.

Album Promo video

I like the simplicity of embedding the video footage into the brick wall to create an animated street art styled piece.

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall (Official Music Video)

I find the stop motion technique really works well for this song as it syncs perfectly to the rhythm of the song.



Shooting on an iPhone – Pros and Cons
October 22, 2011, 7:07 pm
Filed under: Specialist Project

Just done some mind mapping to go through all the advantages and disadvantages of shooting on an iPhone, before I start the production.

To conclude, it seems to be a fair balance between the pros and cons. I think I’ll be able to pull off a decent video using an iPhone. The disadvantage points, to me, don’t seem to be that much of an issue. If anything, I feel I could easily work around them. With the advantage points, they seem to suggest that what I could produce could be something that is visually different.

A new video from Digitalrev with Presenter, Kai Wong. In this video he is reviewing the new iPhone 4S and discusses it’s impact it’s having on consumer compact cameras.

The iPhone 4S is pretty much a perfected iPhone 4. The antenna system has been tweaked to resolve the dreaded atennagate, which plagued many iPhone 4 models. Secondly, the new A5 chip, which powers the iPad 2 is now built into the 4S; therefore users get that extra performance boost when using applications. Lastly, the new camera system now allows users to snap up 8 megapixels photos and shoot full 1080p HD video at 30fps accompanied with a nice image stabilisation feature.

Kai nails the crucial key point about the difference between compact cameras and the iPhone 4/4S camera and that is you can share your photos and videos on a global or personal scale on the iPhone. Compact cameras changed the way we take daily photos, but the iPhone will now follow on from that and push people into the way we use photos and videos as a way of communicating.



The Man With A Movie Camera
October 19, 2011, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Specialist Project

I was introduced to this experimental documentary, as it reflects what I’m wanting to do for my documentary in terms of technology and the conceptual idea. This film was made in 1929 when movie cameras were relatively new and even had their limitations. Like what I’m doing, I’m stepping away from all the higher end cameras and downgrading to something that has limited video functions in comparison to what’s available on the market.

The Man With A Movie Camera is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no story and no actors, by Russian director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova.

Vertov’s feature film, produced by the Ukrainian film studio VUFKU, presents urban life in Odessa and other Soviet cities. From dawn to dusk Soviet citizens are shown at work and at play, and interacting with the machinery of modern life. To the extent that it can be said to have “characters,” they are the cameramen of the title, the film editor, and the modern Soviet Union they discover and present in the film.

This film is famous for the range of cinematic techniques Vertov invents, deploys or develops, such as double exposure, fast motion, slow motion, freeze frames, jump cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, stop motion animations and a self-reflexive style (at one point it features a split screen tracking shot; the sides have opposite Dutch angles).



Idea Development
October 17, 2011, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Specialist Project

I’m still muddling my way through the development stage of my idea for this project. I’m trying to think ahead at the same time to see if I can expand what I do for the Specialist Project into the Extended Major Project.

So far I’ve been trying to think of something that I can brand, which instantly suggests there that I’m looking at possibly creating a series a short videos that relate to each other, either visually or narratively. My main distinction from other documentaries is that it will be shot on an iPhone.

I’ve been torring with the use of the ‘i‘ from iPhoneiPodiPadiMac etc. Since I’m specifically using an iPhone to film with, the video outcome will automatically be born into the ‘i‘ category; therefore I could alternatively call this an ‘iDocumentary‘ or ‘iDoc‘ video. For a video to be classed within the iDocumentary category, it would have to be filmed on an IOS device.

For this unit, I’m going to focus on making a video only. In terms of how it’s delivered, that will be more focused in the extended major project. I’m looking to make something that is visually interesting and quite artistic. Music is generally my starting point for when it comes to developing an idea for a video. I want to use a Moby track called, Wait For Me, to have playing throughout the video. There was a competition a while back, which encouraged people to make a music video on a few songs from Moby’s debut album. This particular song that I’m after is available for independent filmmakers to use as part of their videos, so I’m going to request it for my project.

Conceptual Idea for the Documentary

Wait For Me (Lyrics)

Mhmm mhm [x5]

I’m gonna ask you to look away
I love my hands, but it hurts to pray
Life I have isn’t what I’ve seen
The sky is not blue and the field’s not green

[Chorus:]
Wait for me [x4]
Mhmm wait, wait for me…
Wait for me [x4]

I’m gonna ask you to look away
A broken life will never stay
Tried to hard and I always lay (?)
Days are grey
and nights are black

Wait for me…
Mhmmmmm…

I’ve been listening to this song for quite a while now and it’s actually pretty depressing, after you listen to the lyrics again and again. However, I can relate that to what’s going on in the world and in particular, the UK, and it’s economic crisis and how the government are dealing with it in such harsh unfair manner.

I found this image, which contains a collection of newspaper headlines that are all associated with this economic crisis we’re currently facing. For the majority of the people in the UK, who earn the average wage per year, are currently being made to suffer the consequences of it’s government’s actions.

I found this Sky News report that basically gives an overview of the UK’s current economic state.

All I’ve been hearing on the radio lately is people, especially young people, saying how hard it is to live and work with all the cuts being made. There’s are all these questions being posed publicly such as, Is there hope? Does the younger generation have a bright future? etc. I want to avoid being too literal with this video; therefore I’m going to use the music as a way of projecting the idea of the depression that’s looming in the UK. The music will be accompanied by video footage of places around London, showing crowds of people in busy places. I’d also like to capture shots of business e.g. people buying food/coffee from cafe’s. I’d like to see if I can find the booming businesses and the struggling ones.

Equipment 

  • iPhone 4 (Possibly upgrading to iPhone 4S)
  • iPhone tripod Mount
  • Gorilla Tripod
  • Zoom H1 Sound Recorder (Possibly)
Here is a sample of the sound quality of the Zoom H1. As you can see  in the video, it’s clearly a small device that’s easy to take around with you, yet it provides you with professional sound quality.


Topic Inspirations for the Documentary
October 12, 2011, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Specialist Project

I’m still working on developing a topic to document on. I’ve been playing with idea of making a slight review type video, with the subject of shooting on an iPhone as the main focus point. However, I’ve also been thinking of doing a documentary filmed in London, because it’s an incredibly diverse city with so much history.

I’ve partly been inspired by this lovely video, which has been shot using a Sony EX1.

South Bank – Created by Philip Bloom

Now I’d love to shot something like this… well be able to shoot to this professional standard of quality on an iPhone! I think I’ve been a bit broad with my topic choices and not really focused on something specific. I think after watching this video, I think it’s clear that I’m focused on locations and environments. I like the opening to the video at Waterloo station.

The Sartorialist 

http://www.thesartorialist.com

Now the video itself is a nice short documentary on Scott Schuman, but I’m more drawn to how this fashion photographer works. The idea of going up to strangers and asking to take photos of them because of the way they dress is an interesting approach to engaging with fashion. It’s as almost if  public areas are the new catwalks and the general public are possible targets to model and portray what’s fashionable and what’s not. After doing a few hours worth of shooting, Schuman would publish his work to his blog, often accompanied with short comments about why he chose to photograph certain people. This whole blog was set-up in order to help inspire fashion designers to come up with new clothing.

Although I can’t define exactly what it is I want to do just yet, I’m definitely inspired by how this photographer operates.




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