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End of year Essay

August 16, 2010

As I prepared for my first year doing Digital Media Production I was unsure what sort of thing I would be doing as although I had studied media production before this was something different for me to try as it required me to be a lot more creative and would also be requiring me to use different types of software to what I had previously used. Despite this concern I was excited and ready to start.

After an introduction to our teachers and what the course entailed we were given our first project: The Night Out Project. For this project we had to take experiences from our own past experiences on nights out to make our own short video in what ever form we wanted e.g. video, animation etc. For my idea I chose to work around the fact that most nights end with me not remembering things that have happened the night before. I came up with several different ideas of how to do my project but in the end I came up with the idea of making a stop motion using photographs from a night out. I planned to use pictures with me to the centre of each one starting with the preparation to going out through to returning home at the end of the night. To show the effects of forgetting the night I planned to photoshop each picture from the point I start drinking making my surroundings more and more fuzzy so that it seems like the photos represent my memory of the night out. I came across several problems while working on my project the main one being in the editing process I couldn’t find a suitable way to have each picture dissolve into the next, this was mainly down to the fact that I couldn’t work out how to do it on the software Adobe After Effects and the fact I had left it late to complete my project meaning I was working against the clock to have it finished for the deadline. This was my own fault and I would use it as a mistake I could learn from to make sure I didn’t let it happen again.

The next project was one I wasn’t particularly looking forward to: The 3D animation Project. The reason I wasn’t looking forward to this project was because animation is a serious weak point for me as I have never been a strong drawer or designer by hand or using computers despite this I was ready and prepared to try something new. We were introduced to Maya a piece of 3D animation and the basics of how to use the software. We didn’t have a theme for the project we just had to produce a short animation. As I was unfamiliar with the software and I knew I would have trouble with the software I chose to keep it basic showing what I had learnt over the time during the term. Although what I ended up with was just a basic example of what can be done with Maya I was happy with what I had done as I could easily ended up with something a lot worse, Im also still now playing around with Maya as I would like to be able to use it at a more accomplished level.

Next was the viral video project where we were put into groups but as I was off unwell at the time I was left to work on my own. I didn’t mind this although it did mean I would have a lot more work to do myself. For research on this project I looked into what videos were popular on the internet primarily on Youtube and what I found was is that music video’s and comedy seems to be the biggest things people watch on the internet. From this I chose to take one of the biggest musicians at the moment (Lady Gaga) and thought I would make my own music videos for one of her songs. The only thing I had to worry about was how I would film the project without a crew but I quickly over came this by making places for me to put the camera and to get the desired angles I wanted. The editing process went by without a hitch so once I was finished I put the video on Youtube. I must admit at first I felt like I wouldn’t get many views but in my first night I had received almost 200 views which lead to me being on the Youtube home page for about 30 minutes. Although it doesn’t get as many views now, its view count is still steadily rising. This was one of my favourite projects of the year as I got to work using skills I already had mean I could easily put something together I would be happy with.

The next project was the Post Production Project, for this we were give free reign to do what we wanted as long as we were to work on it in post-production notably in Adobe After Effects. I was particularly looking forward to this project as it meant I would be able to work on my editing something I really enjoy doing. In preparation for this project Jason shown us how to use green-screen technology which was a lot more straight forward to use than I thought but I didn’t want to use it on this project as I already had my idea set out. I got my idea when watching Shaun of the Dead at the part where shaun is getting ready for work and the whole sequence is put together in quick cuts. I thought I would take that and use it in my idea but in a different way, I chose to film myself doing a simple mundane act (in this case making a cup of tea) and make it seem intense and exciting. I made this possible my using quick cuts and at one point in the short a bit of colour correction as well to make my face look red with anger. Also at the last moment I had been playing around with typography and decided to include it in my project at two points when the character is speaking. I really enjoyed working on this project as I got to use editing software which I always really enjoy using, but I also learnt some new skills especially with After Effects which I can improve on over the next few years on the course.

The final project we were given was a group project where we were given the task of making a short form video. To start with we were all looking forward to this project and had started to come up with ideas for what we could do for the project but unfortunately we didn’t have the free range that we thought we did. The idea and script were already planned out so we didn’t get much input and we were also give certain sections of the short to do which also limited how we could shot and edit the project. This did affect the morale of the group leaving us not wanting to put much effort into the project. Nevertheless we put together our piece of the short each of us doing a scene each so we equally did part of the project. I also appeared in the project too as a newsreader (where I sported a fetching moustache). In the end this was one of my least favourite projects down to the lack of freedom we had on the project. I understand that we would have to work to treatments in the professional world but as this was a creative course we kind of hope we would have some more freedom. Despite this we didn’t have any technical problems while making the project the only problem we had was during the term James and myself were both on our work experience so we lost 2 weeks to that.

Also during the year we spent 2 weeks on work experience, I spent mine along with James and Dom at a company called GTI who run a lifestyle portal for the NUS called Kaboosh. When we started here I was excited as well as nervous about what I would be doing as it involved real work for a real company as it felt like there was some pressure for us to do well. All was very relaxed in the Kaboosh office were they gave us some flash and video work to do which was good to start with, as the 2nd week started things seemed to get a little dull as it seemed they ran out of work for us to do. In the end I didn’t feel I learnt much from the work experience on how life works in the industry as it felt we were kind of kept out of the actually runnings of the company but I did manage to get to grips with software like Flash (a program I have never been fond of) and photoshop.

All in all I have been very happy with my first year on the course, I have learnt how to use numerous different types of software I hadn’t used before as well as improving my skills on software I have used before. On things to improve for the next year my main thing is to improve my time keeping skills as I tend to be a little slack in this area. I also plan to try and put 110% into every piece of work I do even if I am not fond of the project as ever piece of work sound have my complete input. One final I want to work on is my online portfolio as at the start of the year i didn’t seem to blog very much and had to make it up towards the end of the year and when I did I actually enjoyed doing it.

Thanks for stopping by

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