Now at the end of the module, it’s time to wrap it all up and get some conclusions on the go about the artefacts, my future development, and the module as a whole. We’re doing this in order of appearance, so I’ll present in the order they were made (note: all videos are now uploaded in compressed versions on the Vimeo Group):
Spectacle Artefact – ‘Mr Nice Guy’
He Aint No Mr Nice Guy – Or is he?
Well, what can be said about this? A lecturer told me not to do an artefact based on the ‘power of love’, yet having never really explored the stereotypical ‘romantic’ poetry in my own creativity, I decided to write a love poem of sorts, about a man losing a girl because she thinks he’s too nice and too boring. A sequel to my previous poetry video Two Minutes had long been in wait, so this seemed like a good time to make a ‘spectacle’ of myself, as there were certain parallels with my own life (and most others I’d imagine), and the content within the words.
Overall, the piece was met with high acclaim. Personally, I like it better than Two Minutes, ironically because of the audio (my first poem video was filmed using an internal mic – this was filmed using a reporter’s mic). The simple lay out allowed people to focus on the words, which was my intention. I’ve already cited John Cooper Clarke as an inspiration, yet perhaps should also credit this other ‘Cooper’, who has no doubt also influenced this production in some way or another:
As feedback was so positive, nobody really seemed to know how I could improve it. The only criticism was in the audio, which was the only major improvement from last time! Unless I shot the whole poem again, the audio was slightly off, but the feedback was good enough to confirm that this probably didn’t need to be altered, and was ready to head straight for the hand-in.
Power Artefact – ‘Another Revolution Artefact’
What Does It Take? – A glimpse of modern day revolutionaries.
With a chance encounter with a BBC radio host, I landed the creation of power artefact. Much lime the first post, it was a long anticipated sequel to a sloppier precursor created last year. The object was simple – film the protest march that occurs one year on from Millbank. Everybody expected violence – especially the government. What I got on film was a peaceful demonstration that showed the vantage points of both lines as the events unfolded. My neutral-yet-proletariat response in the interview showed my natural approach to the film, and developed my understanding of where I stood in proceedings. Without further interviews and footage, there was no final artefact to create, so this little experimental piece of film became my power artefact.
The problem with the feedback was in similar vein to the first one – simply, there wasn’t much of it. A few people here and there said it was ‘good’, but hardly enough to call it ‘positive feedback’. The main reason for this is due to a late design on my part – it was handed in two weeks after it should have been. This was due to me waiting for the riots – I couldn’t make my power artefact until the riots occurred. Sure, I could have made something easy and simple that didn’t really develop me, but… why would I? As I say, this had been a long awaited project. Two weeks was not a lot of time on the grander scale of things.
Regardless, the white balance was off throughout the whole film – technical error or creative error. I failed to obtain interviews from any long-time revolutionaries, which would have no doubt added to the piece. The slow motion footage worked well in some parts, and not so well in others. The audio was quite well done again I think (all artefacts concerned on this module are massive improvements on the audio faults of last year), and the music fitted the beat and rhythm of the march being portrayed.
The text was boring and uninteresting. It was the easy option, and although I argue that it was sort of the point to use bland, ‘capitalist’ text, indeed it was just down to laziness on my part at the end of the day. I’ve always considered text to be a ‘graphic design’ area of media, so I’m not too concerned about my lack of skills in title development – I’m opting to be a cameraman and / or director in my later career, so I believe developing title design skills will be of little benefit to me. Of course learn all you can – but I still have things to perfect on the camera side of things yet!
The BBC interview made it another artefact focused around myself (I’m not narcissistic, I swear!). I am usually a hermit when it comes to media production – it is strange (and in this case, entirely accidental) that I’ve become the central topic of all three pieces. I think people found the interview’s little window into my insight on things quite interesting, and it would be good, if possible, to use it in the final FMP project. Overall, it gave structure to this artefact, and made it something more than just a collection of clips from a protest (which is sort of what a lot of the film last year was).
Some said it could have been edited down a bit further – possibly true. I liked the slow beginning, showing what was happening at the rally point before the march began. I also liked a lot of the shots I’d chosen. In the first film, it took me twenty minutes to show what happened on the march. This time, it took just over five. As long as I don’t use much more footage in the final piece, my FMP should culminate in a highlight of all the marches I’ve been on (as indeed this artefact does show the highlights of the day’s events). Further structure for my FMP needs to be developed, but in terms as a further experiment into narrative, this artefact was a step in the right direction for me, and I couldn’t hope for more than that at this stage.
Memory Artefact – ‘Shooting The Sunrise’ (Film + Trailer)
I made a film of thirty minutes, which doesn’t really fit the ‘short artefacts’ mentioned in the brief, so I also made a trailer for it as well. Only the trailer is on the Vimeo group due to file size problems. The trailer is the one to be marked for this module, though if you have lots of spare time to kill, the longer film was equally a part of the production process, and the feedback was quite positive:
The Short Version:
The Long Version:
A Long Way Up – Another long-awaited project arrives at 360MC…
Originally designed as another of my FMP ideas, ‘Shooting The Sunrise’ first made it into 360MC as the ‘spectacle of nature’, before there was a little shift-around. It ultimately became my artefact around memories (specifically, my own), and compensated for me not taking part in ‘Britain In A Day’ like most others. Much like the previous two artefacts, this was an advancement upon past projects – specifically utilizing the archive footage I captured during my ascents on my mission to stop-motion a sunrise atop the third highest volcano in the world.
Of all three projects, this one got the most constructive feedback. A lot of people watched the thirty minute film (which I was quite surprised at actually!), with the audio again coming through loud and clear. The music at the end added emotion which some said even brought a tear to their eye. However music could have benefitted the film in other stages as well – something I can only agree with, as almost all of the film is without a soundtrack. The idea was similar to ‘Mr Nice Guy’ – no music allows the audience to focus on the words, and the camera footage from my handi-cam appears more realistic and genuine without music. But this was not a poem – it was, for all intensive purposes, a documentary. I quoted ‘Touching The Void’ and ‘Man On Wire’ as inspirations – they used music. I don’t think the final piece of music would suite any other parts of the film though, so perhaps the soundtrack I used for the trailer could be incorporated into it (all music regarding these artefacts were downloaded from online platforms, rights-free by the way!).
Again, the film could have done with further editing down. Things said about it mirrored what was also mentioned about my trailer – less shots of me, and more shots of the handi-cam footage with voice overs would tighten the structure a bit more. Definitely something to consider when I develop it further, and in other projects as well. Shots of me are boring anyway, so indeed – less of me, more of the volcano ‘stuff’. Some people also said the lighting was bad during my interview, which is odd because considering the lengths I went to to get the lighting right, I thought the lighting was okay. Bland perhaps, yes. But my face was well-lit enough to see my emotions as I recalled the events, which was the purpose of the three-point lighting. Perhaps I could make them brighter next time, but generally this part of the feedback was lost on me (I guess I’m no lighting engineer).
In terms of the music for the trailer, some feedback suggested the edit needed to be faster to fit the rhythm. However, upon trying this, I realised that the way I spoke was quite slow (throughout the film really), and thus making the cuts faster would not have worked. The way I tried to get around this issue was the slow the music down, which did in turn make it quieter as well. Unfortunately, upon comparing the two side by side, a lot was lost when the fast paced music disappeared. No doubt, the trailer worked better with it, so perhaps a re-edit, or a different soundtrack, will be needed.
Grading was done on both pieces of this artefact – again with the interviews mostly, as the archive footage looked most realistic just the way it had been recoded. The film definitely needs touching up in various places, which I intend to do next term. The trailer on the other hand – despite the mixed reviews – I quite liked. Perhaps upon developing the actual film further, I will get better ideas of how to adapt the trailer to suit the cinematic style of the finished piece. I am ‘comfortable’ with both artefacts – I do certainly agree though that there is further work to be done on Shooting The Sunrise yet (i.e. I think it’s not a bad for a first attempt).
Overall, I have successfully made three long-awaited films that have all been vast improvements on my previous works. Whether I am operating at ‘final year’ standard in terms of media production is not for me to decide, but this has been a module that has definitely developed my skills further towards becoming a fully-formed professional. I have demonstrated the abilities I already had, and have shown development in new abilities as well (particularly on the audio front). I have done plenty of research, but due to the nature of my ‘sequel’ projects, only the power artefact seemed to have any direct relevance to all the left-wing research I was conducting. This was a conscious decision though – once I start on my Final Major Projects in the upcoming modules, it is unlikely any poetry videos or the like will get produced until after the hand-ins.
It has certainly been a political module, and all the research will no doubt benefit my FMPs later in the year. It’s been interesting being shown the structure of society and how it operates and functions – it helps you to understand where abouts you’re aiming to fit into it when you leave. A successful module, which has been at both times academic and practical!