Dan Hume's Blog


Professional Development & Vimeo Pro
February 23, 2012, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Professional Development

As I’m now reaching the end of my time at uni, I’ve just been introduced to my last unit of my course called, professional development.

This unit is designed to get us to reflect and focus on our specific knowledge and skills that we’ve embraced throughout the course and using that to direct us towards our chosen path of employment. This unit will help prepare us to start planing how we will enter our field of work in the media industry. The EMP is our final practical project where we have the opportunity to take all our skills learnt in the previous project and develop them to be acquired to our desired jobs. The majority of reflection in terms of our work will be focused on the EMP.

As part of this unit, I’ve started looking into creating a unique approach to my portfolio. Since the majority of my work is video based, it makes sense to research this new way of marketing yourself to clients.

‘Vimeo PRO is a simple and extremely affordable video solution for businesses. We’ve been hearing from companies for years about how they would love to use Vimeo for commercial purposes (something our current platform prohibits) so we’ve built a service and added some tools that we think small businesses and organizations will find very useful.’

Portfolios allow PRO members to create unique, stand alone, fully customizable websites, without any Vimeo branding, to promote and showcase their videos and service. Need a website? With Portfolios you can create one in minutes without having to type a line of code.’
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iPad Design Layout
February 23, 2012, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Extended Major Project

I’ll be using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to execute the task of turing my documentary into something more post-digital. I’ve discovered you can create a slide show for photographs in the new sprint 18 update, which I think is pretty cool. With this new feature, there is potential for me to create a nice little narrative within the slideshow. I originally was going to have a series of pages that you swipe but you go round in a loop direction until you reach back to the main page. But  after some thought, I wasn’t so sure how well it would work by looking at my initial rough sketches. I think using creating a slideshow will be more dynamic, especially as you are now able to integrate buttons.

Adobe Digital Publishing Sprint 18

Sprint 18 has now enabled me to simplify the layout of my publication.

I needed to create something more visual today so I went into to photoshop and made what could possibly be the photography gallery page. I want to go for a grungy and slight retro look with the whole publication. I’ve thought about using the 8mm video app for some shots in the documentary and I’ve already used the Hipstamatic photo app for when I was planning the shots in London.

Photography Page Layout Design

I created a new custom page, specifically designed to be viewed on the iPad. Then I took one of my images that I took when I was doing the shoot for the shots for my video. I then went to deviantart and downloaded a grungy texture background. I then dragged both images onto the blank iPad page with the photo being on the top layer.

I then went to blending modes, which is located on the bottom right hand corner, under the layers tab. I went through a selection of different blend modes until I came across one that combined subtly both the image and texture. I ended up choosing, difference, because it brought out a strong contrast of the ropes and the two pillars over the texture.

I think the background design works quite well considering, I was just playing around with photoshop with no real idea of how I wanted it to look, except quite grungy. The typography is another aspect that I took into consideration.

This page will be the layout of the photo gallery page, where the user will be able to play the slide show or manually scroll through the images.

I’m currently reading a poem written by someone I know and have spoken to about this project. He says he can relate a lot of what he’s written in the poem to the context of my documentary. As you can see in the image I’ve chosen in the page layout, there is some text, which is actually a short extract from his poem. I want to take extracts of his poem and connect them to visual image that co-incides with my contextual idea of isolation.



Contextual Development
February 21, 2012, 11:50 pm
Filed under: Extended Major Project

I’ve been developing the context of my documentary further. After Speaking with Tony Chance today, he came to the conclusion that my idea still needs to be more defined. I’m currently looking at these two ideas; connection and disconnection. This all got triggered by the Moby song I’m wanting to use called, Isolate, and I thought it would be interesting to explore this particular context. I, myself, enjoy moments of isolation to relax and listen to music.

However, after going up to London to take some photos for my project, I developed this idea of ‘connection’ as opposed to just ‘isolation’ and ‘disconnection’. I thought I could merge the two contexts to generate this concept of attachment to certain objects that ultimately have an affect on us, such as a mobile phone, coffee or a bike etc.

Finalised Idea:

Title:  The Invisible Camera – iSolation

  • People unaware of their surroundings on the move (Texting, on the phone, listening to music)
  • People living in an imaginary world (Not paying attention to what’s going on around them)

One of my images of the person texting on his is phone is apparently quite a strong visual to convey this idea of technology causing people to disconnect from their surroundings and giving their full concentration on a mobile device.

How dangerous is it to walk, talk and listen?

I actually thought that it was just my own imagination that people listening to music on the go aren’t really paying attention. I to some degree am aware of my surroundings when I’m walking and listening to music or on the phone to someone, but sometimes I can completely cut myself off.

However, it turns out that it’s quite a mass issue that people are cut off when they interacting with a mobile or mp3 device as discussed in this BBC News article. (Click on Image below)

Psychologists call it “divided attention” or “inattentional blindness,” and it is increasingly becoming the focus of road safety awareness campaigns around the world. Nick Bryant, BBC News.

Interesting stats

  • Nearly half (47%) of all texting adults say they have sent or read a text message while driving
  • 75% of mobile-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving
  • one in six mobile-owning adults say they have bumped into another person or an object because they were distracted by talking or texting on their phone

The Gadget Show: Noise Cancelling Headphones

Jon goes to Pisa, one of Europes’ noisiest cities, and tries to find a quiet place to eat his Italian dish but ends up by a busy, loud road junction all in his quest to bring you the best Noise Cancelling Headphones.  It’s one of his more challenging tests but he is determined to find the best.

I find this concept of noise- cancellation very interesting, because the aim is to try and completely wipe out external sound. I’ve tried using noise-cancellng headphones myself and I find them quite uncomfortable in the sense that I’m unable to hear what’s going on around me. With normal headphones at least you have the ability to hear external noise as well to keep you aware of what’s going on around you. One of the experiences Jon describes in the video is that he feels ‘the whole world has retreated streets away’, which I found to be quite an interesting thing to say. It just seems to me that people not only want to have the ability to listen to music on the move, but to also have that option of escaping to an invisible remote  environment to fully appreciate the music without any distractions.

Shot Ideas

I did a couple of mock-ups of certain shots I’ll use in my video. I just googled some images that  I think these will help convey the message further in my documentary about this idea of isolation.

In the first shot, I wanted to coney the idea of someone day dreaming or being in an imaginary world, which is why I have an image of the clouds on the top half of the screen. As you can see in the image, the woman is busy concentrating on her mobile phone; therefore unaware of what’s going on around her. Ideally I’d like to do a time-lapse video of the clouds because they create fantastic movement and will exemplify the idea of the imagination formulating.

The second shot, again is trying to convey this isolation by showing a person walking whilst listening to their music; therefore not paying much attention to their surroundings.

Update!

Just thought I’d post a quick test of the split screen shot in action. I took a time-lapse video of clouds, which I did a while ago and then I took a shot of someone passing through the shot when I was filming in London. I took these clips into after effects and basically just masked around them, leaving a thin black strip to divide them neatly. 

I’m quite pleased with how this has turned out. I think this technique works well to help carry the meaning throughout the entire piece. The clouds represent the dreamworld that the people are isolated in when they’re connecting with their mobile devices. Tony Chance said that these shots could be a juxtaposition of showing the tranquilness of the natural environment and the unpleasantness of the industrial environment.



Planning/Pre-production
February 17, 2012, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Extended Major Project

Today I went up to London as starting point to help plan what things I could in relation to my project. I didn’t have a lot of time to get everything that I wanted, because one, the battery on my phone ran out quicker than I expected. Secondly, Bournemouth rail station failed to issue me with a correct travel card EVEN with the high price they charged for a return ticket. I must be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for to shoot, even though I wanted to try and capture the idea of isolation and disconnection from the world. But then I also thought about as I was taking some photographs that I could also document the idea of connection between a human and another human, object or environment. Although I wasn’t able to capture much today, it made me realise I still need to refine my idea more.

One of the first photos I took was at Bournemouth Rail station, with this man reading a newspaper. From this image he appears to be on his own and immersed in what he’s reading to by pass time. I think this shot typically conveys the idea of isolation and disconnection.

Here are a selected few photos I took whilst in London using the Hipstamtic camera app. I tried to look for things that had connotations towards to the idea of ‘isolation’ or ‘disconnection’. As I mentioned before, I started to think about the opposite of disconnection, which is connection. It triggered this other alternative focus for my documentary.

The telephone box really associates itself with connection and disconnection. A person can make a phone to another person; connection. Putting the phone down; disconnection.

The next shot, I was focusing on the no right turn sign because with the red line going through, it could easily represent this idea of disconnection. Surprising the woman in shot adds a nice touch the shot because she herself is on the phone so she connecting to someone.

Pigeons are everywhere in London and if you’re lucky, you can often spot one of them on their own, just like the one in the photo. They’re often huddled together in a group, but they have their moments of separation (isolation), like we all do.

The next photo has someone texting on a phone. To me this will be the classic representation of disconnection (isolation). I see it as technology disconnecting people from their environment around them, but connecting to a virtual world. Quite an ironic image.

Business is another good example of creating this connection and disconnection between people. The service they provide and the location are all factors of this.

An abandoned plastic cup is an obscure twist of this idea of disconnection. Many people have a certain connection to their daily drinks. It in some cases may help them function better to get through the day. The fact that it’s left unnoticed, gives a negative impression on the environment; therefore who ever left it doesn’t see the bigger picture.

Here are a couple of establishing shots of London. Considering I took these photos during the half-term, I’m surprised at how quiet they look in comparison to how busy it really was.

Both the London Eye and Houses of Parliament are iconic to attract tourism to the city. They are symbolic landmarks in the UK that people around the world will see lots of photos of; therefore inviting people to come and visit the UK.

I was walking along the backstreets of South Bank and I came across this unused piece of Land. It’s interesting to come across these odd plots of land that are located in nice areas, but never get used and just end up making the area look a bit ugly. Again, I see this as a form of disconnection 0f the environment. This isolated piece of land could, if placed in the right hand, be used to build housing or some small businesses. This would also link in nicely to the ‘sustainability’ subject that I’ve been previously researching.

I took some shots of these nice garden grounds in the heart of residential area as a contrast to the previous shots of a wasted plot of land.

In the next photo I was drawn specifically to the sign. Signs are visual enforcements created by people in authority to control how we do things. For example, this traffic sign means two way traffic straight ahead. Now I interpret this to be a form of a parallel connection, like two cycles of electricity running beside each other in opposite directions and never meeting.

The shot of the rubbish is another form of disconnection. The way I look at it is from the consumption point of view. We as people consume way too much, resulting in endless rubbish being produced and therefore; having a big negative impact on the environment. In the documentary I’d use this as an example of problem we can’t avoid but people are so distracted by their technology, they’re forgetting all about it.

The next photo is a close up of a metal barrier around a tree. I took this image because it got me thinking, why? Why do we have to have this ugly barrier around a natural attribute in a city? It’s obviously there to protect the tree from being damaged from vandalism, which is a good thing but at the same time it’s a shame it has to be preserved in such a way. The message in this image is not being able to trust people. People who cause damage to public property result in being locked up, which is ironic in this instance, as the tree is imprisoned itself. The next image is conveying a more positive message in which that it’s displaying a street full bikes lined up that are meant to encourage people to travel more eco-friendly.

In the next image I was focusing on the post box. I photographed this because it suggested a few messages that I could explore further. One of the messages was the fact that it’s a form of communication, but it’s becoming old fashioned in the sense people are communicating through digital technology. Letter boxes are often used for non-social purposes. I could possibly contrast this image with a modern for of communication such as someone texting on a mobile phone. I think there is a lot I could generate from this one image.

This next image of the pedestrian sign was another symbolism that caught my eye. As I mentioned before, signs are visual enforcements created by people in authority to control how we do things. Now I interpret this sign to be a form of going in opposite directions. I see this as a way of conveying the idea of people not interacting with each other anymore. This could link well with the post box image of communication between changing.

The media is another example I’ve chosen to use a representation for disconnecting from the real and connecting to something more superficial.

iPhone 8mm App

Like the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone, the 8mm app is designed to capture video to the quality of old film. To me the quality is incredibly organic in terms of digital recreation of the traditional old film look.

My short 8mm video test

I think this particular film look really suites the music I’m using for my documentary. The Moby track has that subtle rough vinyl scratching sound I wouldn’t film the documentary entirely in this style, but I think it would be nice to throw in the occasional old film look.



More iPhoneography work
February 16, 2012, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Extended Major Project

Just been on the iPhoneography to see what new work has been published. One person has made a video using a series of photographs that they took whilst walking around London. It’s interesting to see this trend develop of taking a photograph of absolutely anything without being to obvious. The iPhone is definitely breaking through the restrictions of photography and video that are enforced by public authorities.

It’s very reminiscent of my approach of using the iPhone’s camera. The photos aren’t exactly perfect composition, but they’re unique because they’ve been shot in a way that the subject is unaware of the camera. Here is a link to the photographers flickr profile Wilder Biral.

Subject Colour Photography

This weeks top iPhone picks were really good, but this shot really stood out for me.

Apps: ColorSplash and PhotoToaster (Contrast, Deeper focus) and TouchRetouch.

This is probably one of the best best photographs taken on an iPhone that I’ve seen in a while. I really like the snooker balls in colour and the surroundings in black and white. This is an effect I used to try out when I did A level Photography. I think I could re-discover this technique and apply it to the concept of Isolation. I think this will help make the visuals stronger about the context of the documentary.

Test Using ColorSplash

I was curious to see how good the ColorSplash app really is and I have to say it executes the job well. It’s relatively easy to use, you just need to highlight with your finger over the subject of an image that you want to remain in colour. I feel this technique could be used in a way that will help me convey the subject isolation or disconnection in the photography gallery I’m going to include in the app. One of the criticisms about my last project was that in some cases the images weren’t strong enough to sustain the narrative all the way through. I’ve got to take that on board and try to find alternative ways to make an image stronger.

With this affect, the image is much more than what it was before. It now has a solid ground for interpretation with the fact that the train is in colour and the platform and the person are in black and white. It will make the audience question it, e.g. What’s the significance of the train?

The image below is one that I took using the revolutionary camera app, Hipstamatic. I like the fact you never really know what your going to capture when using this app. It’s very much like using a film camera in that respect.

Last night I was thinking about how can I develop this concept of discretion and have it reflected in the visuals whether it’s video or photography. It kind of dawned on my that visually the camera has to appear to be hiding behind something; the composition has to be done in specific way. Fortunately, I found this image which basically exemplifies what I’ve been explaining. The composition of this shot shows a close of a sandwich box with the background slightly out of focus. I’m going to explore this a little with some more photographs composed in this way.



Filming in Public Places
February 16, 2012, 12:53 am
Filed under: Extended Major Project

This is an issue I feel I neglected in the last project as it’s quite relevant to the fact I’m filming in public places without people knowing. I was under the impression that what I shot wasn’t technically legal because I didn’t ask for permission from public people about filming them or people in authority about particular locations.

Filming in Public Places by Philip Bloom

I’ve just read an interesting article from film director Philip Bloom, who gives a good analysis of this particular issue. He says that people have this misconception that you are required to have a special pass that gives you the right to film in London. This is clearly not true, especially if it’s just you and a couple of other people and you’re on public grounds, then you are free to do so.

I like the fact he makes a dig at two types of people who would normally bother a photographer or filmmaker, which are Security guards and Community Support Officers. This is true from my own experience. As it goes, they are considered uneducated individuals about the law of this sort of act.

Although I’m not a freelance photographer/filmmaker, I am considering getting a card from the Bureau of Freelance Photographers. They are a leading photography body and have launched a card, to be carried by its members, outlining photographers’ legal rights in response to the ongoing photography in public campaign.

Will the card make a different?

BFP chief executive John Tracy says: “With the increasing number of photographers – both amateur and professional – being stopped by police officers from legitimately taking pictures, we felt we had to do something. We have written to the police, we have lobbied MPs, but ultimately, whether a photographer is prevented from taking pictures, is down to the individual officer on the ground. We feel that the card, if used with tact and discretion, may have the desired effect of emphasising to an officer the fact that photography in public places is a legitimate and, in 99 cases out of 100, legal activity.”

Philip Bloom goes on to say that filming people is in fact completely legal, but you have to respect their decision if they wish not to be filmed, which is fair enough. If you intend to film something that will be for more commercial purposes then it is required to get a release form signed, by the individuals who appear in shot. However general filming for yourself you don’t need anything signed.

A major place where you cannot film is London’s South Bank. It’s a nightmare area. There are almost as many security guards as there are tourists. You can be guerilla and try it and sometimes you can get lucky like I did when filming my South Bank short film. Now I had permission for Waterloo station but not the South Bank. The South Bank is owned by various different people. For example the land by the London Eye is owned by one company but the land just next to that is owned by the company that owns county hall so you need permission from two different companies. Further down East it’s owned by more companies. it’s a nightmare. If filming “guerilla” style with minimal gear you often can get away with it. On Thursday I am taking the new JVC HM100 to all the private places I can’t film and will film as I have what looks like a consumer camera that shoots pro pictures. Just me, the camera and my baby cinesaddle!

And here is the video Philip Bloom shot using the JVC HM100.

DSLR cameras since the time of this video have become the primary tool for filmmaking, especially in Philip Bloom’s case. They are even more compact in size in comparison to the JVC, but unfortunately there are going to be unfortunate individuals who will be at the wrong place at the wrong time who will be approached and stopped by security.

 Innocent Photographer or a Terrorist?

‘Misplaced fears about terror, privacy and child protection are preventing amateur photographers from enjoying their hobby, say campaigners.’ 

The BBC News Magazine also makes an interesting read about a photographers experience with the police and not knowing his rights about taking photographs in public places. He makes an interesting quote about people with compacts cameras not being penalised.

People were still taking photos with mobile phones and pocket cameras, so maybe it was because mine looked like a professional camera with a flash on top,

Again, with the bigger and more obtrusive camera, you as an individual are more prone to draw attention by local authorities. I have noticed that from personal experience as well.

It’s a sad state of affairs today if an amateur photographer can’t stand in the street taking photographs.

Austin Mitchell MP has tabled a motion in the Commons that has drawn on cross-party support from 150 other MPs, calling on the Home Office and the police to educate officers about photographers’ rights.

There’s a general alarm about terrorism and about paedophiles, two heady cocktails, and police and PCSOs [police community support officers] and wardens and authorities generally seem to be worried about this.” Austin Mitchell MP.

The way society is, which I believe is in constant paranoia, there is issue with terrorism and Pedophilia causing this rift with amateur and professional photographs going about their daily business. No-one in authority trusts anyone taking a photograph. Today, cameras are practically built into every device imaginable, whether it’s a phone, mp3 player or even a tablet device. I feel this attitude towards  photography and filming in public places has definitely got to change otherwise, what’s the point in having cameras in the first place!?!

 



Draft App Design
February 15, 2012, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Extended Major Project

Now that I’ve been looking into the software of how to make an application, I’ve needed to think about the design of the app and all it’s functions. The Most important bit of the app will be the layout of the page for main video. From this page the user can then pause the video and go on to explore other things within the app, such as a gallery of photographs.

I’m approaching this design in a very simplistic way, because I’m primarily making an app for the iphone, which has a relatively small screen. I’ve been looking at various examples of jQuery mobile web designs, one of which was Twitter. I took a screencapture off my iPhone to show the mobile version of twitters website.

I liked this approach because it’s simplistic. But it needs to because the content is being viewed on a relatively small screen; making it user friendly. This got me thinking about the sort of design I’d like to create for my app, so I’ve drawn up a rough version of how I want it to look.

I decided it would be worthwhile having a go at designing a draft version in Photoshop as well, to give a clearer Idea of what the final outcome could possibly look like. The image I’ve used for the background is a photo I took and manipulated straight from the phone. I don’t think it will be used in the final version, but I’m wanting to use an image that’s quite abstract and creates an enigma. I want it to reference the concept of the application, which is about being discreet as a filmmaker and documenting life in a subtle way, which doesn’t require me to standout from the crowd.

I would like to elaborate a little bit on the draft design. At the bottom of the screen, there will be three buttons, one of which will be a link to a photography gallery, which has various photographs reflecting on the topic of the documentary. The Second button will take you to an abstract video gallery, which will have videos created in the style of David Hockney and will also reference the topic. All this media content will be captured on the iPhone. The third button will be a called ‘Back’ or ‘Menu’ which will revert the user back to the first page.




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