Digital Media Production
Friday 15th April 2011 – updated 19/04/2011
Personal Planning Reflection & Development 1 – Digital Media Production AUCB
Looking back at my first year of the FdA Digital Media Production course, my personal achievement’s and development gained over the 2010 to 2011 academic year for the module of Personal Planning Reflection and Development.
‘Principles of Computer Graphics – Digital Media Production’
Introduction to digital imaging – we looked at the work of other artists, both digital and non-digital, the methods for creating digital images and the theory behind them. The initial tutorials’ were a surprise, creating self-portraits from magazine and newspaper articles. My idea of a self-portrait was of a photograph of myself but interestingly my fellow students produced montages showing personal interests or images as representations of their selves. Personally I kept true to the idea of a photograph as a self-portrait but with a twist, adding video clips and added an artistic video representation of myself, something I may not have considered doing previously. My personal achievements included my first use of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and from a personal development perspective I started to think more about the artistic side of digital imaging rather than just the technology behind image design.
‘Computer Graphics for Animation & Film – Digital Media Production’
Running in parallel with the personal portrait project we looked at producing 3D Graphics using the Autodesk Maya application for this unit. This was totally new to me, having had zero 3D design experience and therefore involved a steep learning curve in order to get a working knowledge of both the 3D Graphics design and the Maya application. I looked at a number of possible ideas for my 3D character before settling on one to develop further into my submission for the brief.
Maya proved to be a difficult application to work with, almost no aspect of the software was intuitive and each step in the process required referring to the help pages and viewing online tutorials in addition to the tutorials held in class. Even though I had at the end of the unit produced a final design, a 3D character that I could place on the screen and animate, I was left with the thought that 3D Graphics is not something that I would want to pursue as a career choice. Achievements, learning the basics of 3D Graphics design and animation using Maya and from a personal development viewpoint, probably not something I’d be interested in doing again.
‘Principles of Sound & Video Production – Digital Media Production’
This was our first team based project the brief was to produce a Viral Video. This was also an opportunity for me to realise an idea I’d had for a short film involving the filming of cyclists from the back of a moving car at night. This was a concept I’d had for a music video for some time. This was also our first introduction to the processes involved in making a short film, that is film production from initial concepts, the storyboarding, shot lists, permissions and risk assessments etc.
Being the first Team based project it was difficult to identify the individual skills of the members and where their personal interests lay, but these were soon resolved and the process of producing a Viral Video was soon underway.
I do not remember too many tutorials for this unit apart from an initial introduction to the cameras we would be using and there must have been another on the basic requirements, so I suspect we brought a lot of the knowledge we needed for this unit from previous experience. I know mine came from my previous year doing a similar project at College.
The pre-production processes took up most of the time for this unit with only an evening required to do the actual filming
The end product for this unit was I felt very successful but I also felt it could have been improved upon. For example filming at night we should have used additional lighting to compliment the lighting from street lamps the only lighting source available to us. The final film was effectively too dark and needed extensive work in post-production to produce an acceptable short film.
Achievements: – understanding the processes involved in video production. From a personal development viewpoint I certainly gained an appreciation of the difficulties involved in working in a team of individuals. I also learnt that if anyone on the team failed to complete an allotted task it created additional work for the other team members or in some cases could cause the project to delay or indeed fail. For future projects this would become a major consideration when deciding whom to include in a team. At the same time from this project I learnt something about my own personal skills and how I interact with a team and I will be seeking to address some of these issues in the future.
‘Short Form Video – Digital Media Production’
For this we looked at the professional approach to producing a short film. The idea development section of this unit caused the most anguish and indeed arguments, which I think was entirely due to no one individuals idea being chosen for the project. Instead we all as a team contributed ideas and script elements, which eventually formed the basis of our film. This was another team project, which included members from the previous viral video project and new members.
Our guest lecturer was very knowledgeable and I took every opportunity to take on board his thoughts and experiences gained whilst working in the film industry.
The production of our project had many similarities with the Viral Video project understandably and unfortunately had many of the same difficulties. For example team members failing to turn up or late, disputes, equipment failures and problems outside of our control. The good news is that the team pulled together and worked hard and so the project was completed successfully.
Achievements: – enhanced experience and skills as a film-maker and gained experience of being in front of the camera, something that I have done my best to avoid in previous film projects. From the personal development aspect I am much more familiar now with the pre-production process of film-making and post-production processes that is editing using Adobe Premier Pro CS5.
‘Post Production Techniques – Digital Media Production ’
This unit looked at the various techniques and tools used in post-production with the assignment set of producing a film title sequence.
Tutorials covered the use of Adobe After Effects CS5, which would be the application of choice for this unit. In fact I used it extensively for the first time gaining experience that I had not previously had. Again requiring a steep learning curve, which required use of online tutorials and additional research on the Internet. Unlike Maya however the user interface was much more intuitive and had common features with other applications in the Adobe range and so skills learnt using one Adobe application are transferable to the others.
As this is a personal project that could be controlled and progressed at my own pace I found it easier to produce a title and in fact because of the increased skills gained working with After Effects I decided to work on another film title sequence so that I could practice using these new-found skills.
Soundtrack always a consideration when producing a video was included as a separate tutorial in order that we recognize its importance to a film sequence for example matching elements of the music to editing points in the video or changes in the action seen on screen.
Achievements, the design and the production of two film title sequences using different design techniques and a growing skill level with using After Effects and Premier Pro. Development included increased confidence in using the tools and technology used in the post-production process. Time management, using available time more efficiently and meeting personal and set deadlines.
My first year at University has built upon the knowledge that I gained at college in the previous year. I was surprised by the relaxed format of the tutorials and the assignments. I fully expected a rigid form of instruction similar to my early experience in technical college years ago. I also expected more theoretical content to the course. But I am pleasantly surprised and feel the structure of this course is better suited to the practical aspects of media design and therefore more interesting to me personally. I enjoy going to University, which is reflected, in my levels of attendance. I enjoy the work being set (in the main) and work hard to produce the best media artefact I can, re-working designs again and again to produce a better design.
I sometimes feel that we could have more tutorials and not just in those directly related to the course units, for example I’d like to have some guidance on general photography and using a DSLR for video work, but I suspect this will be forthcoming in Year 2.
One small negative I always personally thought the overall class size is too large and the class could have been separated into two groups (as it was at College in 2009/2010) and this could also explain possibly why resources seem to be too stretched on many occasions. In addition sometimes the noise level in class effects my concentration and for this reason I think I do my best work at home and use my time in class to interact with classmates, swapping ideas, research etc.
My personal goals have changed yet again as I swing even further away from Web Design and towards Video production. I have still to decide on what I’d like to do following the completion of my Degree and considering a role in industry. My main thoughts at this time are to continue in education, funding permitting and look at studying for a Masters Degree. Alternatively I have discussed with good friends working in Education the possibility of Teaching as a career and this still remains an option.
Word Count = 1627 (Essay) 1709 (Blog Entry)