The post previous is the form that I worked with to create the final presentation. As you can see, a lot of the written parts were incorporated verbally into the artefact (as it’s easier to recite if I read the words in sequence).
The Voice Over
I used a Marantz and a reports mic for the audio – this is a tried and tested formula utilized in my riot documentaries, my poetry videos, and other projects. I wrote up parts of the presentation that would feature vocals, and then recited them, pasting and editing them into the timeline so I had my verbal speech. I tried to narrow down some of the more less-obvious parts (e.g. how much the food for everyone would cost on the day of the shoot), as the presentation seemed more about the direct costs of the FMP, rather than the variable costs to be calculated on the side. Thus, you can see some evidence of editing in the ‘action plan’ and ‘budget’ areas of the presentation.
Me talking alone, however, made for a rather dull-sounding presentation, so I added various musical scores in the background as well. All musical scores were from bands I know and love (and gothic-themed), though I had to edit down parts of the song featuring choirs, as this clashed with my own speech too much. This is the track list in order of appearance:
Emilie Autumn – Syringe
Nightwish – Scaretale
Opeth – The Drapery Falls
Opeth – Silhouette
Epica – Prologue
Indica – Eerie Eden
Nightwish – Last Of The Wilds
The Creative Artefact
This now left the visuals. The first an foremost obvious addition was the creative artefact – keeping in sequence with the form I was using, I incorporated my creative piece just before the conclusion, effectively demonstrating my script and the location I had found. This piece was then graded to make it look better – I was going to start it black and white, and then saturate it as the script continued, but I figured it better to show off the possible locations in colour before being ‘tricksy’. Ultimately, I demonstrated my grading abilities on a photograph instead, positioned earlier in the video.
The filming of the locations as done one weekend – I experimented for the first time using a Canon 5D Mark 2 with a 50mm lens rather than a 105mm lens. The difference? 50mm lenses don’t have a zoom (i.e. a no-go for the final shoot). As I changed my FMP idea drastically at Christmas, this recce had to be done quickly, and there was only really time for one location scout before the CW2 hand-in. It still looked cinematic enough for me to be happy with though, truly demonstrating the ability of the Canon cameras.
I’ve always been useless at titles – I have always considered them an ‘area’ of media for graphic design students. I have no interest in them, and it’s evident here – with the exception of the final slide, every title shot is plain, simple, easy to read text. The purpose of these texts was to stop me from waffling too much – it ultimately allowed me to fit more into a shorter presentation (i.e. it was practical!). I have absolutely no enthusiasm for this area of media production, and this will be a trait I’ll take with me into the outside world after graduation. I will simply use the ‘sample text’ font, and justify the minimalist approach by calling it ‘avant-gard’.
Overall, though, for a presentation which is all about explaining and demonstrating, I think the titles worked well. I am particularly proud of the shot with ‘Distribution’ in it, as I made a little more effort with this shot, trying to make the text move in time with the ‘Ken Burns’ effect applied to the cinema screen in the background (this is something I’ve not done in any projects before). I also applied a drop-shadow effect on the ‘Costume Budget’ shot, which luckily for me worked well, as the photo – although wonderfully representing what I want my fallen angel to look like – was a mixture of black and whites all over, which makes adding black or white titles tricky.
The add-on humour came last, as I put a few subtle jokes in the subtext once I saw that my presentation was finally starting to take shape. This made what could have potentially been a dark and heavy presentation, a little lighter and more amusing for the viewer. Of course, this film is not aimed at fallen angels, and we are not walking to the forest from Coventry city centre.
I got a plethora of photographs for this presentation, and ended up not using most of them. I was unsure of how the quality of the videos would turn out, so photographs were the back-up plan. I used a lot at the start, as I thought this would work well as an introduction to the presentation (as opposed to using videos taken from Youtube straight from the off). It’s A Wonderful Life worked well as a movie poster, as did all the photos regarding the angel costume. I also liked the photos of the relevant transport links to the main location. Once I started using the videos though, it became apparent that a lot of photos were not going to get used, as they only demonstrated that there was a place for gothic themes in modern cinema – something that the videos did anyway!
Sucker Punch – Until this point in my academic career, a presentation of mine would have featured photos like this. As a third year student, I think it became time to show scenes of zombie samurai getting shot in the face, rather than having just constant movie posters throughout the entire artefact running time.
I have never used Youtube videos in any project before this one – and with the exception of a couple of projects in Tenerife, my videos have always been completely my own work (I don’t even use copyright music). For the example presentations shown to be that got a first from last year however, I realised the gloves were off. Many people in previous artefact for 360MC had also used copyrighted media to aid in their own media creations. This presentation was based around selling my idea – demonstrating various gothic cinema examples both past and present as one thing I needed to include, and video was a great way to do it.
I used downloadfever.info to get videos off Yotube. I’d ever done this before, but I made straight for the HD videos. I ended up using all videos par one (The Nightmare Before Christmas). Originally, this classic gothic film was to appear at the end scene, but I switched it for ‘Underworld: Evolution’ to end the presentation of an optimistic theme of gothic romance – something more in tune with my own FMP (and the fact they kiss just as I say ‘passion’ was completely accidental!).
I chose scenes that were both interesting and relevant – The Phantom Of The Opera featured a quick switch from black and white to colour (strangely, the black and white was the present day), and Beetle Juice featured a quirky and comedic character. Sucker Punch was there for to compliment what I was saying about my aspiring visual style, whilst Sleepy Hollow was there to demonstrate Tim Burton’s work in the industry. Constantine featured Tilda Swinton as an angel, whilst Underworld showed gothic romance (as did Twilight). Blade 2 was in some ways there to compliment Twilight (though you may only understand the joke if you know your relevant meme). Blade 2 is the stylized work of Guillermo Del Toro also however – a gothic director whom I didn’t name, but who has equally influenced my work – and indeed this FMP – all the same. All in all, each video was relevant and interesting.
None of the video was graded except for the creative artefact – all the photos and videos are as they were pulled from the internet. As my film does not exist, I could not have made an involving and interesting presentation without them. I put the download site to good use, and I am pleased with the way the final cut turned out (one of my more involving presentations!):
As a finished artefact, there are several pieces which I think could have been better. The first is at 00.48, in terms of music – just as Emilie Autumn’s violin screeches into life. The quiet beginning suited the opening nicely, but the sudden change in volume detracted from my voice over. I thought it would work better than it did. Overall though, I like the way the photo of Tim Burton broke the videos up in the subsequent shot.
It is noticeable that the various changes in aspect ratio between each video mean that the letterbox borders are all over the place at certain parts of the film – usually this is a major issue, but I hardly noticed it until I was looking at it scrutinizingly close. I didn’t consider it a major issue, so I left the videos (including the watermark on Sleepy Hollow) for fear of pixelating the imagery.
The de-saturated photo turning into colour is a part I really like – I’ve experimented with this method last year, but the reason it worked so well here was because most of the photo was black and white to start with (something I could maybe consider in more detail in later development stages).
The Blade 2 clip, for all my defense, can seem a little out of place. The more I watch the presentation back, the more I like it, but perhaps that’s just the child in me. I say The Nightmare Before Christmas had no direct relevance, yet the clip I would have used featured Jack Skellington walking through a graveyard depressed – likely more relevant than Blade 2 at that moment in the presentation. But what can I say – I’m a man, and only human. The clip was high quality and works well with the others clips, so again, this is a small fault.
As mentioned, the ‘Distribution’ shot I like quite well, as I don’t usually pay attention to titles. The static shots of the festival logos separated them from the Ken Burns-effected images that had gone before, which I also liked. The drop-shadow worked well once we got onto the Budget part, where the text saved me having to verbalize a variety of costs. Also as mentioned, I tried to stick to grand totals of direct costs, rather than dwelling on the trivial. One part which I did not like however was at 3:35 – I change topic from costume to transport too quickly. I should have put some ambience in to create a pause between breaths, as it is now more evident that I edited my vocals heavily on this piece (but on the plus side, the presentation was one second quicker without the pause).
The music after the budget worked really well – the epic style emphasized the size of the task I was about to undertake (again accidental – remember, I did the music before I did the visuals!). The ‘Action Plan’ has a lot of information in a very short space of time – ultimately I decided there was no interesting way to show this without help from graphic design so – typically of me – I just used plain text and put the lot up on screen. Anyone who wanted a closer look could simply stop the video, though I think the plan is up long enough for people to get a decent enough idea without doing that.
The creative artefact was an interesting part of the presentation, as I think (despite the minimalist approach), it gave a very good idea of what I am aiming for in the film. My two different vocal types developed during my years in theatre also came through better than expected as well!
The final music tune was loud and brash in the background, signifying we were getting to the end, which worked well. The 3 final points was a conclusion that I felt needed to be reinforced – much like the pitch at the start, I printed the words on the screen, and then vocalized the same point, making it clear what my stance on my FMP is. The ending shot (and text shot) are both optimistic, leaving an optimistic feel at the end of a presentation that could have been much more full of dread. Overall, I think the presentation shows that I am happy with what I am choosing to do for my FMP, that I am enthusiastic about getting it done, and that I genuinely believe that this is a possible and realistic project to accomplish. I couldn’t ask for more than that at this stage!
In case the above link does not work, here is the same presentation on another site: