Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Production Update 9 - Initial feedback; plan of action

So... after posting my first draft of the I Am... All of Me video, I asked Mr. N. to give me some feedback on the edited product. And he did. Because of this, I will hold off of tormenting him for at least twenty minutes.

This feedback has prompted me to think about how I'm going to improve the video before presenting the second version. ANALYSIS POWERS, ACTIVATE!
"0:00 -- The opening seems to lack something. It just jumps straight into the middle of the performance. I know the song itself seems to just jump straight in, so arguably the video matches the music… but when I watch it, it just seems awkward. Check out “Heaven's Basement - I Am Electric” – it does nothing special but at least gives an idea of how openings can draw us in a bit more smoothly. You could even just start with a few seconds of noise in the style of your transitions, or perhaps use an establishing shot."
I can appreciate where this comment is coming from - the first thing we see in the video is that mid-shot of me with the guitar; there's no real opening. This can come across as a bit jarring. Let's look at the video Sir referenced:

The first couple of seconds consist of a shot featuring CCTV footage of people walking around. This shot is notable because a) not much is happening in it, yet b) the noise filter they've used over it is reused throughout the video. This soothes the audience into the atmosphere of the video without overwhelming them in the first few seconds, which draws their interest to it more effectively. This is a concept which would benefit my video and make it feel more professional, because in the state it is currently in it feels very incomplete. Whilst this is mainly because it is incomplete, it is also because it just throws everything at you right away without a proper introduction.

To fix this Sir has suggested using a similar effect to the one I've used for the transitions. Whilst this does make sense as it's following the same design concept as that of the I Am Electric video, I worry that throwing a few seconds of strobe light visuals in before we see anything else would be counterproductive to what I'm trying to achieve. What I do have up my sleeve, however, is a few seconds worth of footage of a close-up of my eyes which we filmed as an extra "it might be useful for something" deal. Usually when I produce things through this clause it usually rots away on my hard drive, yet this could actually be useful! Huzzah. I'm thinking I could try using a shot section of this clip over silence to create the somewhat intense atmosphere, then use a rapid flicker clip A/clip B/clip A/clip B etc. style cutting effect to 'warp' us into the main video as the song starts.

"0:15 - 0:18 -- The facial expression looks a bit bland. It just doesn't seem to match the intensity of the song. I think part of the problem is the length of time the shot holds. Close ups generally tend to be a briefer cut than medium/long shots. The two-to-three seconds you have here is perhaps too long, and brevity will help maintain intensity. I think it looks particularly awkward because it coincides with a moment when the music drops, so you should be trying to make the visuals more… can/t think of a word… more… more crazy (you have to love the technical terminology)."


This is something I was a tad conscious of before exporting, so it's nice to know I was right. The problem is particular is when we have close-up shots of my face which seem to go on forever, such as the one at 0:15 which Sir mentioned. Fixing this should be fairly simple; go back to FCP and cut down the close-up shots. Depending on how well it works in practice, I may also experiment with some flicker cuts when using the close-up shots, as this will (in theory) create more of an intense feeling, and make it "more crazy".

"0:00 – 1:00 -- Does there have to be your special transition between every cut? I’m not suggesting you reduce the frequency of the transitions as these seem spaced out really well, but perhaps you could insert a few more cuts, different angles or movements between the transitions. E.g at 0:40 you could cut to a split-second close up as you say the word “evil.”"

From this I can see the transition effect seems to be spaced properly, though it appears that Sir has suggested making some more things happen in between them. This is another thing which is encouraging me to try using the flicker cuts - as it stands I'm wary about using regular cut transitions purely because having regular cuts mixed in with the strobe transitions would look particularly jarring, in a "oh look, he forgot to put the transition in this time!" kind of way.

In terms of using different angles/movement, as it stands I don't have much filmed in the way of moving shots, so I'm going to talk Sir into helping me film tomorrow (TUESDAY 2ND APRIL), using some movement. This could be difficult as the wall we've used to film is quite small, but we'll see what we can do.

"2:21-2:23 -- the lip sync is slightly off."

The lip-sync is indeed off in quite a few spots; this can be fixed using the good old fashioned "left a bit, right a bit" method.

"0:00 – 3:08 – the balance between narrative and performance does not seem right to me. I guess it is a matter of opinion, but on the surface it seems that you just do not have enough narrative footage to sustain the video, and have tried to squeeze as much out of what you’ve got as possible. I would go so far as to say about 90% of the video is performance based. Any chance you can reschedule some narrative scenes?"

This is a very good point; most of what we're looking at here is performance - whilst this does fit the conventions of rock videos, the narrative could be fleshed out a bit more to make the video more interesting. One idea I've been throwing around for a while now is to throw in some conceptual shots showing things being 'harmed' in some way to support the main character's insanity, for example fruit being cut, or something being dug up etc..

"Right, now that I’ve picked holes in your work I feel much better about myself. I’m sure I can find more stuff too, but I’ll save it for the next edit. Until then, adios... and enjoy Paramore in the meantime."
Nitpicking is great, and as we know posting a message on the internet saying that you hate something makes you a better person. You should make a YouTube account; I think you'd fit in well with the community! Also, Paramore are great.


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