Year 1 Module BACM101, Year 1 Module BACM102

Radio Play (Task Nine) – BTS

“Radio is the theater of the mind; television is the theater of the mindless”.

– Steve Allen

Introduction:

The risks I took on this task was to attempt to mix field recordings I did with my phone, with sound effects from online and make it seem as if it was one ‘package’. However, this did help me learn how little you need to make something decent; in other words, it helped me learn more about resourcefulness. Moreover, it also helped me learn more about audio mixing. These skills will definitely help me on future projects that need to be done quickly and it will also help me with any future audio projects that have quick turnarounds too. I could learn this futher by doing different courses on audio mixing in Audition, but also by learning (and practicisng) more field recording as it is one of the harder methods for recording audio. The thing I would do differently next time is remember to rent out a proper microphone!

The task:

For this task we had to create a section of a radio play that captured an ‘incident’, and only five words of dialogue was allowed to be in the final piece.

The idea:

Thinking of an idea for this task was actually tougher than I thought it’d be. In the end, I started to think of my daily routine and what sounds I hear. I decided that I would focus on my journey to university as I use the train, and that in the radio play I  would create an ‘incident’ during that journey: forgetting your ticket.

What I did:

To do this, I did some field recording on a few of my train journeys to and from university. I wanted to try record people waiting, and the rush to get on the train. However, you couldn’t really hear other people that well, and I think using a better microphone would of helped here; a mistake on my part but a lesson for the future.

I did focus on other notable things, though. I got recordings of the announcements, the beeping of the train doors, train doors closing and that sudden silence that follows the doors closing, the announcements from within the train, the movements and noises of the train etc. There was a big emphasis on realism and detail during talks with Larry Sider, and that’s what I really aimed for by recording everything.

In the editing software, I combined the sounds I recorded with sounds from online. The sounds I used from online were mostly for accentuating sounds I didn’t get cleary during the field recording, such as the train approaching. All the sounds (personal and from online) mixed really well, and the last step was just to record the incident; me forgetting my ticket. I recorded me going through my bag and getting my headphones out, and then added in some sounds effects of clothes rubbing uo against a microphone to simulate the sound you hear when you put headphones on. I then recorded the little bits of dialogue I needed, and finished off with a train horn sound effect I got from online to cover up the language used!

References:

SACHS, T. (1978). THE REVENGE BY ANDREW SACHS : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive. [online] Internet Archive. Available at: https://archive.org/details/THEREVENGEBYANDREWSACHS [Accessed 19 Dec. 2018].

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Year 1 Module BACM102, Year 1 Module BACM104

SWFTA ‘Attitudes and Platitudes’ Film

SWFTA Project Plan

Use other people’s voices to tell your story.

Layout of video:

In chapters (chapter 1 “we fought for this”; chapter 2 “you fought for this”; chapter 3 “you worked for this”; chapter 4 “we are still fighting for this” etc.)

Freedom of speech definition:

“Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction.”

“Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference”

Freedom of the press definition:

“Freedom of the press is the right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government.”

What is your message?

That freedom of speech is a right every person should have, and freedom of the press is a right everyone deserves. No government should ever interfere with these two basic rights, and we as citizens should never let these rights slip away from us; but even though we have fought for them in the past, we are in fact letting them slip away.

What is my view/thoughts?

That everyone has a right to say what they want within reason. Everyone has a right to debate. Everyone deserves to be told the unbiased truth by the newspapers.

Footage ideas:

  • War – news on war, battle of Britain, troops fighting.
  • Adverts from around 1980: Generic advertisements (Coca Cola?)
  • News idents. (BBC, ITV etc.)
  • Aftermath footage of cleanup from German Blitz on London. (To show resilience of British people)
  • Civil war – IRA news footage.
  • Clips of reporting on war.
    • “We fought for this”
    • Fighting for freedom of speech.
  • Active demonstration.
  • Effort to gain freedom of speech.
  • Movements – Poll tax riots.
    • Victims of both sides
    • “I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It”
    • “We fought for this”
    • CND march 1983
  • Debating clips/political debates
  • Public opinion clips.
  • Miniskirts/high heels controversy
  • Posters; newspaper headlines
    • National secrets in newspapers/TV.
    • Too much freedom?
  • Old movies; old adverts
    • (sexist/racist undertones)
  • Hate crimes
    • Hate preachers footage.
  • Crowd dispersal.

When does freedom of speech become incitement of hatred?

Summary:

I visualise the beginning of my footage showing various scenes of demonstration to introduce the idea of freedom of speech.

To follow on from the introduction, I would like to show: interviews of the public; the public in a studio environment answering questions; and professional people in a studio answering questions as a panel, further showing how everyone is entitled to a difference of opinion.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall was quoted as saying “I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It”. After this I would like to show: tolerance to other people’s views; videos highlighting both sides of the argument or opinion, finishing off/summarising with footage of crowds dispersal.

SWFTA Diary:

05/11/2018

We visited the SWFTA archives today as a class. We were shown around, and met some of the staff including Jilly who we will be corresponding with during this project. The visit helped me work out what direction I wanted to go down with my SWFTA video: freedom of the press.

08/11/2018

We discussed SWFTA during our Thursday afternoon session with Chris, and I now want to widen my video to be about “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” as both go hand-in-hand.

09/11/2018

Today was my first proper visit to the archives where I had a chance to check out some of the footage and get an idea of what is available. I spent a good hour with Jilly, and I learnt that the South West archives do not have footage from the World Wars due to it being under Crown copyright. This meant I had to re-think some of my ideas as I wanted to have a lot of war clips, and clips of soldiers returning from war.

This visit also allowed me to discover some other footage which could fit into the ‘freedom of speech/press’ video, with one being of people’s reactions to women wearing the newly in-fashion mini-skirts and high heels.

I returned to the university with Stephen after the visit, where we organised our ideas onto word documents and lists. I also started to think into how I would edit my video, and at the moment I want to edit mine in the style of Quentin Tarantino – in sections/chapters. For example, chapter one would be “you fought for this”, followed by footage of soldiers and post-war damage. Chapter two would be “we fought for this”, followed by footage of riots etc.

Jilly informed me of this useful site which will help me research footage in my own time –  https://player.bfi.org.uk/search/free?q

16/11/2018

I met up with Tom in college today to discuss the SWFTA project. We sat in the library Mac suite, where Tom gave me his thoughts on what I had written, and added in his own ideas to the Word document I created for the project. It was very useful to hear some of his suggestions as it was things I hadn’t really thought into, and it was also really good to get a second pair of eyes to proof-read what I had written.

At the moment, we are very close to having a finished list of what we want that we can send into Jilly. Tom also thought of a really cool idea of editing the video in a way that makes it look like a news broadcast that is then taken off the air by the TV network, with the sentence “returning to scheduled programming” appearing on the screen. However, as we will have to edit our videos separately I will stick with my chapter idea.

18/11/2018

I have just finalised the list of footage, and sent an email to Jilly and Chris informing them. Tom and I have asked to go down to the archives on Friday at 2:30 PM to collect the footage on a hard drive so we can start editing.

24/11/2018

Tom, Stephen and I visited the Archives today. The trip was for Tom and me, but Stephen joined us so he could get another look at what footage is available. It ended up being useful having Stephen with us as he gave me a few ideas, and we also decided to share each other’s footage for our respective videos.

We sat with Jilly for two hours going through her list, picking out clips that we thought had potential and would fit our SWFTA videos. We kept referring back to the list Tom and I put together as well, but in the end I think it was better just looking at Jilly’s lists and picking out footage.

Overall, it was a fairly successful trip as we came out with 137 GB of footage, but I do think I’ll need to re-think my edit as I couldn’t get a lot of the clips I envisioned originally.

25/11/2018

I finished my soundtrack today for the ‘Sound Piece’ task. It started out as me just wanting to do an atmospheric piece, but as I progressed further with this task I definitely worked out that I’d be using it for my SWFTA video.

26/11/2018

After getting back from university, I decided to look through the BFI website for some more clips, preferably ones that are more specific to my video and to my ideas. I actually found 7-8 really good clips for my video, which I’ve requested off Jilly and should hopefully get them on Monday the 3rd.

The clips I requested are:

  • Bideford Shipbuilding (1978)
  • Textile Factory in Redruth (1975)
  • Pre Fab Chudleigh (1964)
  • The Blessing of the Sea Ceremony (1969)
  • Chipmunk Aerobatics (1950)
  • John Doyle in Torquay (1971)
  • Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier HMS Invincible off Falmouth (1980)

30/11/2018

We listened to each other’s soundtrack projects today during the Friday Crit session. It was really good to get everyone thoughts and feelings on my ‘Freedom’ soundtrack I did, including Larry Sider. I got the responses I was looking for; most comments were that it was eerie, tense and had them feeling uneasy. Jon said it would fit a montage of old war clips, which is perfect! It’s made me think about my video a little more, and how I’ll decide to edit it. At the moment, I’m waiting until I have all my footage before I think any more into the edit.

06/12/2018

I collected the extra footage I wanted from Jilly today, and I’m now ready to start editing.

07/12/2018

My soundtrack I made for the ‘Sound Piece’ task was longer than two minutes, so I spent this evening cutting it down in FL Studio. I also cut down Reagan’s speech, mainly the bits where he mentioned or indirectly mentioned the USA. I then added in a really good speech by Winston Churchill. It took a while to do as cutting it down and keeping it sounding ‘right’ wasn’t easy, but it turned out great I think.

Arguably, the last time Britain was truly united was under Winston Churchill and that is why I decided to add him in. Using Reagan stirred up some interesting responses and leaving him in adds to the video in my opinion.

09/12/2018

I’ve now started the editing process. I spent today going through all the footage I have and cut out the bits that would fit my video. This was a big task as I have around 50 clips, but I managed it and I was then left with 17 minutes of footage on my timeline. I finished off the day by cutting those 17 minutes down to 10 minutes, and will continue editing on Tuesday.

10/12/2018

Some notes from my phone:

  • Get footage of someone talking to camera, and then put Reagan’s speech as text at the bottom. Guy slowly walks towards camera.
  • For each part of the speech, such as “we must defend it”, intercut with footage of protesters etc.
  • “I’ve been John Smith with the BBC News at 10”.

11/12/2018

I’ve done a lot more editing today. The video is now the required two minutes, and I’ve edited the footage to match the music. There isn’t much more to do now, just more tweaks, plus the starting and ending DMP/SWFTA cards we’re required to add to the video.

I didn’t go for the chapter idea in the end as I felt it didn’t match up with the music. However, the video was structured mostly in the chapter style, with war clips at the start, followed by post-war clips, followed by police and protester clips etc.

12/12/2018

The video is now finally done. I made a few more tweaks which were:

  • Matching clips to Reagan’s and Churchill’s speeches.
  • Added in the DMP/SWFTA cards.
  • Intro effected to match start of music.
  • Crop effect to make video look like it was all shot on old film.

The video also ended up being more about freedom as whole. It was hard to be specific to freedom of the press and freedom of speech with the footage I had available to me, but I think the video worked out better in the end.

Year 1 Module BACM101, Year 1 Module BACM102

‘Do What You Do’ (Task Eight) – BTS

“The beginning of purpose is found in creating something that only you understand.”
Tyler Joseph

Introduction:

The risks I took were to create a video that attempted to draw on everything we’ve learnt during the last two months, making After Effects the backbone of this video and recording live footage, something I’ve not done much before. These helped me to develop my skills in After Effects and helped me to further memorise the skills we have been taught in areas such as Sound Design. In the future, I can apply the new effects I’ve learnt in After Effects to a wide range of projects, but more importantly it’s a stepping stone to learning a whole lot more about the program. Moreover, it is also a stepping stone to learning more about using cameras and recording live footage as well. I can research this further by doing short courses on After Effects on sites like Udemy.com and Lynda.com, and by also learning off people who do know a lot more about After Effects. As for cameras, I can do Wednesday workshops, and also just start using my camera more and learning off the internet. The one thing I would do differently next time is film from different camera angles.

The task:

For this task, we could do anything we want… as long as it has a connection, however tenuous, to an Aesop’s Fable. However, we were encouraged to explore areas we aren’t so comfortable with, or haven’t done at all, as opposed to stick to our strengths.

The idea:

Originally, I wanted to look at the meaning behind one of the Fables as this is the kind of video I’ve been wanting to do for a year or so now, and I thought that this task could kick-start my own ‘informational’ videos. However, upon reading some of the Fables I soon found out that this idea wouldn’t work in this particular case because of how short and to the point the fables are.

I went back to the drawing board. I knew the area I wanted to brush up on specifically was After Effects as I haven’t used it in a few months and it is the one program I’ve always told myself I want to master, but at the same time I wanted to try apply as many of the skills we’ve learnt the last few weeks as possible.

The idea I came up with in the end, with the help of my brother, was applying a Fable to a modern day situation. I decided on ‘The Old Hound’ and applying this Fable to a usually reliable journalist who is for once late on filing in his section of a newspaper. As I couldn’t draw on any actors, I decided that telling the story using text messages on screen, in a Sherlock Holme’s esque style, would be really cool and help me cover the After Effects side of things.

What I did:

Filming:

To start with, I got my brother’s friend (who once worked in theater) to narrate the ‘The Old Hound’ Fable so I could use this in the video. The next day, with my brother’s equipment still out from his podcast recording with his friend the previous day, I got him to help me set up a camera and his Zoom H6 microphone opposite where the subject (me) would be sitting. We actually changed rooms to get better lighting after a few takes, so the room in the BTS video wasn’t actually where we recorded.

We rehearsed what I’d do a couple times in a few takes, then did it for real with my brother directing so we didn’t get any timings wrong.

Post-production

With the narration and footage now done, I could finally start editing.

I started off with adding in the text effects with After Effects. Cut short, I found the iPhone speech bubbles online, put them inside After Effects, animated them, added in the text, animated the text and then added in some motion tracking so the text moved with the phone.

For the phone music player effect: I found all the icons used online, put it together using Photoshop, put that mockup into After Effects and animated it so it looked like it was actually playing something. The slide and touch gestures you see were made using shape layers in After Effects.

20181201_170509

The last thing to do in After Effects was the Sherlock Holmes sketchbook effect you see just before the narration kicks in, very basically again: this was done by drawing a random mask using the pen tool, adding the ‘roughen edges’ effect, fiddling around with the settings of that effect, and animating the mask expansion so the mask animates in. Then it was just a matter of downloading a paper texture and applying this, plus the mask effect, to the part of the video I wanted to apply it to.

I then went to Premiere Pro where I started to assemble everything together, with the clips I edited in After Effects replacing the original footage. I also had to work on the sound as I had my brother directing me what to do in the original footage. I cut out all the times he spoke, only leaving in the parts where I put my phone down for example, and then download a room ambience sound effect to go underneath the parts I left in so it could fill the gaps. I also recorded some wind noises for the narration part of the video. Really, Premiere Pro was just used to assemble everything together so I can’t go into much detail.

One mistake I made during the making of this was to do the effects in After Effects first. This meant that when I came to colour correct the footage, it was also changing the colour of the text boxes. This obviously creates more work as it means I’ll have to colour correct the footage inside Premiere Pro, re-load that footage back in After Effects and then re-export the footage from After Effects.

EDIT (Colour Correction):

I found some time to colour correct the footage after my mistake.

Before:

Untitled.jpg

After:

Untitled2.jpg

Feedback:

  • Cinematic black bars can still be seen under the sketch effect.
  • The font looks very stock.
  • Eyes drawn to the bright spot in the video. The bright spot (due to the lighting) combined with the lines on table that seem to lead towards the bright spot cause this.
  • Think more about composition when doing short films.
  • Very powerful.

References:

ExpertPhotography. (2018). Photography for Beginners: A Complete Guide (Updated 2018). [online] Available at: https://expertphotography.com/a-beginners-guide-to-photography/ [Accessed 11 Dec. 2018].

Year 1 Module BACM101, Year 1 Module BACM102

Produce a Soundtrack (Task Seven) – BTS

“You’re going to fail a few times, because that is the only time you actually learn something.”

Hans Zimmer

Introduction:

I took a huge risk challenging myself to create an atmospheric soundtrack as opposed to putting Foley sounds together, and to also do that inside FL Studio; a very complicated program. I would also say I took the risk using the MIDI keyboard to come up with my own piano pattern, seeing as I don’t know much about music at the moment. However, I feel like I was successful in the end and taking these risks really helped me develop new skills with FL Studio. It also developed my listening and musicality skills, and I would even say it developed me slightly more as a person as I felt a huge sense of achievement at the end of this task, not only with actually coming up with a good piece I was happy with, but with doing something I’ve always wanted to do which is create music. In future projects I would apply these to creating my own music for my videos. This may be instrumental or atmospheric music, but music I can use free of copyright nonetheless. I would also love to apply it to creating chilled out remixes of some of my favourite songs. I think the best way to research this further would be to learn basic piano, and therefore music theory, and study FL Studio. I could look into getting piano lessons, and for learning FL Studio it really just comes down to watching videos on YouTube, such as ones made by Chuki Beats. I’ve put some examples of the work I want to produce below in the ‘Task’ and ‘Idea’ section. The one thing I would do differently next time would be to possible add some more instruments to create more of an atmospheric effects, and play around the left and right channels.

The task:

For this task, we had to create either a movie soundtrack, or an atmosphere using Foley sounds imported into the software as samples. The program we were inducted on was Logic Pro, but since this was an Apple-only piece of software, I used FL Studio.

This was a great task for me personally as I have been interested in remixing, and creating atmospheric music for a long time. I have never got around to actually playing with these different programs, such as Logic and FL Studio, mainly because they are quite daunting and I don’t know a whole lot about music. But this task has definitely given me a kick, and because of it I will be looking at music theory, playing piano and learning a program like FL Studio in my free time.

Example of the kind of remixing I want to do one day:

The idea:

From the start I knew I wanted to create everything from within the program (FL Studio). I also knew I wanted to do something atmospheric, and I wanted to try relate this task to the SWFTA project. To relate it back to SWFTA, I wanted to find a famous speech on freedom. I couldn’t help but choose Reagan’s. I also looked back at some of the atmospheric music I’ve listened to in the past, and also searched up some new stuff. Some of the examples are below:

Chris’ example in his lecture about soundtracks in the Thursday afternoon session helped a lot too:

What I did:

So, to start with I looked up a lot of FL Studio tutorials. Not knowing much about music really held me back here unfortunately (but it also gives me something I want to learn about). Therefore, I searched up the C Major scale on piano and put that into FL Studio. I then played around with it’s arrangement.

This was just the beginning of playing around, and after Chris’ lecture on Thursday, I rented out a MIDI keyboard on the Friday and came home to start my second attempt. I began by learning a fairly easy version of ‘Neon Gravestones’ by twenty one pilots on the keyboard, and then began playing around with it until I came up with my own tune, something I was quite proud of! I added some lower bass notes on the piano, and also added in an actual bassline for when this little tune starts in the second part of the soundtrack. The tune ended up being kind of eerie. I then spent ages exploring FL Studio to find the atmospheric droning noises I was looking for, and found a lot of atmospheric sound effects and instruments. Again, I played around with the MIDI keyboard on a few of the sounds until I came up with something.

I knew I wanted a flat humming noise in the background to continue throughout the whole duration, which I found and played on one of the low Cs. And then I wanted to fill out the beginning section of the song with atmospheric noises that rose to a peak, and then dropped out. Again, I found these and just came up with a simple pattern with the keyboard. I also played a simple note progression using the normal grand piano instrument in FL Studio for the first half of the song.

The second half of the song was made up of that tune I came up with, a long with more of the atmospheric noises and a speech on freedom by Ronald Reagan, which I imported into the program and edited. I also found a cool static radio sound effect in FL Studio which I added in just before Reagan speaks.

Really, it was just a lot of playing around, failing a lot and occasionally stumbling onto something. Not knowing anything about music did hinder me a lot, especially when looking up tutorials on FL Studio, but I’m happy I’ve been giving some motivation to perhaps learn piano, some music theory and FL Studio.

With a few small tweaks, I am definitely considering using it for my SWFTA video. I love working with music, and I’ve already had a better envisionment of the video just from creating this soundtrack. I also couldn’t help but create a quick poster using Photoshop for this soundtrack as well:

Freedom - Poster

References:

MusicRadar. (2008). The quick guide to creating a soundtrack. [online] Available at: https://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/the-quick-guide-to-creating-a-soundtrack-156113 [Accessed 11 Dec. 2018].