Digital Media Design


Short Form Video – The KT Tunstall Project

Wednesday 12th January 2011 updated with final video Tuesday 25th see bottom of Blog

or CLICK HERE and go direct to YouTube

The Task

The class were set the task to produce their own film to represent a music sequence taken from the ‘KT Tunstall music track ‘Black Horse and a Cherry Tree’. With the class divided up into teams of 5 we each had a few lines taken from the lyrics to work with. We approached this task the same as we would be expected to take when producing any film project. That is come up with a Treatment/Synopsis, Storyboard, shot list, call sheet etc. etc. We began by looking at the lyrics and tried out ideas to see what we thought would work and could be achieved with the resources available to us (Synopsis). For example the footage would be produced using Mobile Phones only and of course no budget.

The team. we would be working in for this project would also be the same for the final short form video. So for this current project this allowed the members of the team to assume roles and try them on for size.

Black Horse and a Cherry Tree – Soundtrack swapped for copyright reasons

The Team

For this project the team was made up:-

1. Director – Euan

2. Creative Director – Lee

3. Producer – Alex

4. Camera/Sound – Michael

5. Camera/Sound – Ian

After coming up with a number of ideas we produced a storyboard and shot list, we considered a number of locations and even though the weather was somewhat inclement we decided to film outside.

Thanks to the time spent in planning we knew exactly the shots we required and therefore the actual time spent on filming was short, although we did have additional ideas whilst filming which we then incorporated into the final film. One of these was to produce a short Stop Frame Animation for the chorus. This was produced from the arrangement of a popular snack food (Hula Hoops) to form the words ‘Woo Hoo’ which we lighted using a torch to give a moving shadow under the words.

We also added another shot not in the list showing Alex looking over her shoulder at the horse in the distance, we did this as the horse just happened to be in the right place and so this was too good an opportunity to miss. We also added in the idea that Lee was kneeling as if to propose as this tied in well with the Lyrics.

I think we learn from this that even though it is important to plan everything as much as possible in advance, if opportunity presents itself or a good idea comes up during a shoot, be flexible and include it in the production schedule after all it can always be edited out or not used at all in post production, but if you never made the shot then you do not have the option.

With the footage safely in the Mobile Phone the next task was to import this into a Mac for editing which seemed to be problematic at first as the card reader did not support the Micro SD card but turned out to be easy in the end by using a the phones Bluetooth connection.

Editing was carried out using Adobe Premiere CS5.

Our completed edit was exported as a Quicktime movie and uploaded ready for inclusion into the final edit, where all the individual projects would be edited together to produce the final sequence.

Storyboard and Shot List


Shot List

  1. Alex walking with Lee following and just visible over her right shoulder. (Mid Shot)
  2. Alex half turns to see who follows – Lee takes a step to the left to avoid being seen. (Mid Shot)
  3. A Low level shot just showing the legs of Alex and Lee as they walk past the camera. (Mid Shot)
  4. Shot of the horse in the Field (Wide Shot).
  5. Try and get a shot of the Horse shaking its head (Close Up)
  6. For the Chorus we film each member of the cast and crew shaking their heads that is ‘ No No No’ (Close Up)
  7. Alex turns 180 Degrees away from Lee sitting or kneeling leaving him alone (Wide Shot), Also take from another angle as we need this twice for the sequence

The final task

– including our sequence along with the footage shot by the other groups into a completed edit for the whole song:-

Thanks to Lee for the original edit  – this is my inverted, colourised version

The inverted version


Principles of Sound and Video Production – Fairytale of New York

Fairytale of New York

Tuesday 21st December 2010

The Fairytale of New York Version

What worked and what didn’t – Fairytale of New York

That’s Lucky

Unlike so many previous filming projects we were extremely lucky, we had an excellent and committed team who worked very hard to make sure that we put together a good short film.

People that we had invited to come on the night actually turned up, in fact we got more people to come than had been expected because of the poor weather condition’s.

We were lucky that the Council refused us permission to cycle through the Bournemouth Pier approach as this helped to produce a surprisingly good film sequence of the cyclists dismounting their cycles and carrying them across the Pier Approach Although we were expecting this and had storyboarded them pushing their cycles past the camera the effect was much better than we’d envisaged..

We were also lucky that I’d made the last minute change to have a camera operated from the back of the car as the footage from this camera by far produced the best shots.

We were lucky in my purchase of the Flip camera just the previous weekend with which the final Flag waving sequence was shot as the Z5 footage was too dark.

Finally we were lucky with the weather, it rained continuously right up until just a few hours before filming was to commence and then suddenly it stopped and remained dry throughout filming.

That’s Unlucky

Ok maybe not unlucky as better preparation might have avoided some of these.

The ambient light was less than anticipated along our planned route for the cameras. In particular the GoPro was unable to work with the available light and produced little footage that was useful. This was a particular disappointment as we had the perfect camera position situated at the top of the cars open tailgate giving a very high viewpoint above the cyclists which would have given the opportunity for cutaways in the final sequence.

The Sony Z5’s were equally poor in low light conditions but this footage was able to be enhanced in Post Production although with the loss of some clarity.

The Glow bracelets although visible in the dark conditions they were not as effective as we’d hoped as they really needed darker conditions in order to show up and of course this would have been too dark for the cameras.

What would I change next time?

Whenever I have to film in the dark again some form of artificial lighting will be required, even if its just torches.

More preparation time and in particular more time with the equipment before filming just in order to familiarise yourself with what can and what cannot be done.

Cover the bases – I think this time around we had just enough people in the team but I think in retrospect another pair of hands to operate a camera would have been very useful.

More time – we were running up against a tight deadline throughout the filming and this meant effectively everything had to be done in a single take. With road barriers about to be closed there just was no time to reset the cyclists for another run with cameras located in locations for high angle and side angle shots which we had planned.

Research the market to see what the most popular keywords are being entered into Google’s search relating to Video’s and Music. Having done some research recently on Google’s Trends pages it appears that the highest number of searches are for Comedy Videos, Celebrities and the Economy.

What’s Next for Fairytale of New York?

Marketing, Marketing and yet more Marketing a Viral Video can only be considered a success if in fact it becomes a Viral Video that is shared by people on the Internet and on other forms of Media. Many company’s use some form of paid for Advertising  to promote their Video but this is outside of the brief for this project.

There is a considerable amount of footage including several minutes on the preparation of the cycles and setting up of the cameras etc. and so it is possible to produce a film of the filming off the Video Viral. Of course there are various alternative edits to explore, the adding of effects etc. If you look at my previous Blog entries there are examples of alternatives including a 30 second version and others with effects added. Also the Team members are also working with the footage and developing their own versions which when uploaded will also have the opportunity to become Viral Videos and will also have the benefit of testing the market to see what works best just by comparing the numbers that have viewed the video.

Fairytale of New York – YouTube general licensing allows me to use this music track (non profit) for this project and so in terms of marketing I thought lets try promoting this video as a music video and see how well it performs against the other edits.

This is a video for Google’s search terms for 2010

Google’s search terms for 2010
%d bloggers like this: