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Thursday, 7 April 2011

EVALUATION - Question 7

What have you learned about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
Technology has played a key role in the creation of our thriller opening...

Early on we used the website Blogger and YouTube to view different examples of scenes from thrillers, including their openings, which were uploaded to a separate teaching blog. These worked together as Blogger has the ability to embed YouTube clips into the blog; below you can see an example of how this looks. This allowed us to browse through a selection of relevant clips from one source. We also found additional inspiration by browsing sites such as YouTube. We have been using Blogger to document our project from the very beginning, blogging about what we learned in class and eventually, all about what we got up to when creating the thriller opening.

Besides this, Blogger also supports the ability to upload videos straight to the blog. However, these have to be of a certain format and have to be compressed beforehand, or the video may be too big or could take too long to upload. To compress our clips we used the open-source program HandBrake which allows us to convert the video files to a more manageable size, while retaining a decent quality that's optimized for the internet. Below you can see a screen recording I created to show an example of how to do this (I chose the source file to convert, clicked on 'iPod' from the list on the right [as this is an optimized quality suitable for uploading to the blog], and then clicked start! The converted file is then saved to the desktop). The second screen recording below shows how I then uploaded the first clip to this very blog post!

Using the camera to capture the close-ups
One of the key technologies we learned to use was the camera equipment of course! We used a JVC digital tapeless camera (model GY-HM100U), together with a tripod to stabilize some of our shots (hand-held filming was required for those pesky close-ups, see photo on the left), and two SDHC memory cards to store all our footage. This was all then transferred to an external hard drive that we used as a group to store all our rushes, Final Cut project files, etc. This made things easier for us as all our files were accessible from one place. Whilst filming, we also utilized Microsoft PowerPoint... To avoid the college internet filtering system, I created a simulation of the Facebook chat at home via edited screenshots that I put into a Powerpoint presentation (this was quite a tedious process but worth it!) Whilst I filmed, the presentation was set to full screen with Wala controlling the slides. Effective, right?

 This brings us to the various programs we used to edit our thriller opening into a final product... The main piece of software we used was Final Cut Pro, which allowed us to edit together all our clips. We also used LiveType to add titles, and Soundtrack Pro for the music and sound effects. We were able to use these three programs together efficiently as Final Cut Pro allows you to easily export the project for use with either of the two other programs, and then import the titles or sound back into Final Cut Pro.

Final Cut Pro can also be used for more simple tasks such as putting together a sequence of images. This is exactly what we did to create the jelly baby animatic from the preliminary task. And that concludes the technologies we used during this project...

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