FC: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? | Evaluation Question Six
1: INTRODUCTION During the course of making our film I have encountered various different forms of technologies that have been a necessity, and although they haven't always run smoothly, we couldn't have achieved what we have without using them. The main areas that I came into contact with technology were filming, editing, sound and uploading the completed edit.
2: FILMING The most obvious pieces of technology to mention are the cameras. We predominantly used the 'standard' camera available to us at college which is the Panasonic SDR T50 (as shown to the left). It is a pretty nifty piece of technology that does everything it needs to do, and although the picture quality isn't amazing, it was a lot better than I was expecting it to be. Generally speaking, it performs better in situations with good lighting as you can see from the difference in the shots we did outside compared to those we did inside using standard indoor lighting. It fared quite well while shooting the footage from the gambling scene when the camera was close to the light source we had, however as we only had one central light, shadows occurred often. Thankfully, these added to the effect a lot as it helped to build upon our theme of obscuring faces to connote mystery and mistrust. | OUTSIDE INSIDE LIGHTING
3: The other camera we used was the HD camera which was a Panasonic AVC HD CAM. We used this for one shot as we needed to use the manual focus which was not a feature available to us with the Panasonic. The shot we used it for didn't work out particularly well as we found it difficult to keep in focus with the movement present in the shot, but other than that it is a good camera. I actually felt that the quality of the images was lower than how I had expected them to be, but other than that it was very user friendly which was great for beginners such as ourselves. | Left: Panasonic AVC HD CAM Right: Panasonic SDR T50 | Footage from the HD camera to show the lack of difference in quality of this and the standard camera.
4: EDITING The second most obvious piece of technology to talk about is the editing software we used - Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. We had huge issues with this software all through our editing process. The program would crash frequently when trying to import our footage, even when adding it one clip at a time, and when we finally managed to get all of our footage imported, the project file became corrupt and would not allow us to open it. Because of this, we became very set back in terms of time, as we had to start all over again by creating a whole new project file and importing all the footage again. Once this process was complete, we were able to start editing properly. However, our issues did not stop there - it then would take us approximately three to four attempts of opening our file on Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 before it will open, which often ate up around half an hour to an hour of our time putting us behind schedule even more.
5: The majority of these issues stem from the fact that ordinarily Premiere Pro is a program that will be used by one person/computer at a time but this is impractical for college so we have multiple computers running it simultaneously resulting in the program freezing and crashing. Once you get past this though, it is a fantastic editing tool as it is simple and easy to use, producing good, professional looking results. It offers a range of options including 'straight forward' editing of footage and sound, colour correction facilities and title creators - all of which we have used with relative ease and success. | Right: Screenshot of us adding titles to our footage. | Left: Screenshot of Adobe Premiere [Pro CS4 crashing.
6: SOUND For our sound, we originally wanted to use 'Gil Scott Heron - Me And The Devil' which we downloaded from YouTube but we did not think that the vocals fit so we wanted to remove them. It was at this point that I downloaded the Audacity 1.3 Beta software as I was aware it had a vocal remover feature. However, it removed too much of the track along with the music, rendering it unusable. | We then decided to look for something else, which is when we went on to the website www.audionetwork.com which is a fantastic tool that enables you to buy copyright free tracks for 1. We searched through its very user friendly interface and found and bought a song in literally minutes which we were really pleased with. Collection of the song was also simple as it was e-mailed to us and we had it imported into our Premiere Pro project file very quickly. | Left: Audacity before vocal remover. | Right: Audacity after vocal remover.
7: After this task was completed, we then had the task of sound effects to tackle. We went onto another copyright free website called www.sounddogs.com which lets you download sound effects for free, however after trawling through the website we felt that the quality of the recordings wasn't great and that none of them fit particularly well with our footage, so we decided to use Foley - a process whereby sounds are recorded separately from filming and added to the footage afterwards. We recorded our Foley sounds with a Dictaphone from college that was simple and easy to use and picked up the sound really well. The only issue we had with this particular piece of technology was when it came to recording ambience tracks. The sounds it recorded at that time were very 'fuzzy' which made it hard to hear anything. As a result we had to get rid of it, but other than this incident, the Dictaphone proved to be a handy piece of kit that we couldn't have made our film without. | Right: audionetwork.com | Left: sounddogs.com
8: UPLOADING The most obvious online video sharing platform is YouTube which we used to upload many different pieces of footage leading up to and during the main task such as the 'Jerry Maguire' scene recreation activity we did as a class, the preliminary task and some cam studio recordings showing how we went about the editing process. We had a mainly good experience with YouTube as it often did the job with no trouble, however on occasion it did convert our footage back to small screen despite the face that we had converted it to widescreen on Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. | Above: a screenshot of my media YouTube account and all the things I uploaded to it.
9: This happened to us on a few occasions, but most annoyingly when we were trying to upload our completed final product. Because of this, we decided to try out Vimeo which is a similar site to YouTube but that is less widely used. Thankfully, we had no problems with the uploading process here, however there was a slightly annoying wait between uploading the footage and it processing. Other than this, though, Vimeo proved to be a good alternative. | Left: vimeo account uploading video. | Right: uploaded video on my tumblr.
10: WHAT HAVE I LEARNT? One of the most important things I have learnt during the process of planning, filming and editing our film is that although technology is sometimes a necessity, we shouldn't always rely on it as much as we do. This is something that has stuck with me as we faced many set backs with our work, all because of technology failing us. However having said that, I also have learnt that technology can open up a whole new world of possibilities as without taking this course and creating the film I may never had had the experiences I have had with learning how to use different technologies such as Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. But I would have to say that the biggest thing I have learnt from using the multiple different pieces of technology available to me is how they can converse to create something you can be proud of - without the collaboration between the different cameras, the editing software, the websites used and the sound equipment, we wouldn't have been able to create a film that works in the way it does to create a realistic film universe which is a huge achievement to me.