Week Five ; Reflection


Introduce your video work in relation to responding to the conceptual brief and the guidelines on form. 


So for this week, we had to explore using text along with moving images in the video.

I had originally planned to use a random word generator (potentially a random colour generator like this), and have that on screen, and use the colours or words as a prompt for the video. So if the generator spat out green, I would then take my phone and try to film a scene “hero-ing” a green item, grass or a tree or something. But while I found this to be a fun idea in regards to blending text with video, it ignored the actual prompt in regards to contemplative & beyond our everyday lives.

I also tried using a mood generator, so I was going to play around with maybe having a 30 second film that explores 3 different moods for 10 seconds each – using the text on screen to emphasise this. But again, maybe wasn’t 100% the idea for me.

So eventually I landed on “Shit Magic”. Thanks to Covid, I’ve been stuck inside like everyone I guess, but I pretty much fill all my time with hobbies, skills and learning new ones. One thing I’ve picked up is doing little card tricks and what not – it’s called Cardistry, yeah right? It’s a thing!

I’ve spoken plenty about how my hobbies relate to the way I contemplate, and use my space and time to basically keep myself active, so I’ll spare those details. But I thought magic would be a bit of a humourous take on this existing beyond our every lives. But alas, i’m not very good at magic, hence the charming adjective for my new series – Shit Magic!


What did you learn from the authoring and publishing process? 


This was my first video utilising portrait video. I initially filmed in HD (1920 * 1080) and then edited on a 720 timeline in portrait (720 * 1280). Look, it’s not my favourite form for videos – but it does fit in with the form of Instagram. But Instagram has now implented the use of 1:1 and 16:9 videos, so I guess in the end they found it quite restricting as a platform themselves.

Usually filming in vertical is quite an easy task using your mobile phone, but I decided to do it on my DSLR for this particular video. So I had to set up my tripod, turn the tripod head 90 degrees – level it. Then for every single video I took I had to rotate the video to actually fit vertical, because even though I filmed it for vertical, the camera still assumes your filming for the usual accepted aspect ratio of 16:9.

That’s how the footage is interpreted. So it’s not a huge deal, but for every single video I used within premiere pro I had to go and rotate each one individually – just an extra constraint on workflow. There may be an easier way to rotate them all at once, but I couldn’t work it out.



What went well? 


I’m really happy with the concept overall.

I really like the slow motion dropping of the cards after I fan my face.

The music was perfect for what I wanted (Patriotic March by Max Surla [CC0])

I liked the use of the hand drawn text prompts – the “wow” and “oooh”. I do love blending typography into videos, but it’s something that I do with my own videos anyways – so this was something new and explorative for me.


What did not go well? 


I shot this one with my DSLR in full manual, so I had to really play around and do sooo many takes to make sure the focus was correct. There were that many shots we’re I would be just slightly out of focus (I was shooting around f2.8). My apartment is really dark so I couldn’t afford to widen the DoF because the footage would end up grainy if I pumped up the ISO.

Also playing Pickup 52 like 20 times wasn’t overly enjoyable. But I was dedicated to the video!

There were a couple of shots where I put autofocus on because I just keep missing it, and they would work but I don’t like the “focus hunting” that it was doing.

I’m happy with the concept overall, but just the above technical issues – I would have preferred to just use my phone to get the ease of use from it, but again with the poor lighting my phone videos end up quite grainy.


What could you do better? 


Better lighting would really help me out, whether that means filming outside or obtaining lighting. Unfortunately the weather hasn’t permitted me to go outside and throw cards on the ground without any repercussions.

I was contemplating playing around with doing some typography/motion graphic sort of stuff over the video. Like comic book-esque “whoosh” when I fanned out the cards or something, but I wasn’t 100% on the skill to animate it, and I didn’t want to just stick a .png graphic over the top and leave it.

With one of the prompts being using text, I should have made a bit more effort to explore using text within the video – but I thought that the “title-cards” drawn on paper was a bit different, but still to the same effect.


How do the affordances of Instagram affect the way video content is authored?


I guess as I explained above, also in relation to last weeks task where I wanted to specifically film a portrait video – to explore this form of Instagram. I found it quite a hinderance on workflow and if you want it to be easier, you should probably just a phone from the start – but then your losing video quality. Not that that matters all that much – but if we have these DSLR cameras and have purchased prime lens to use low aperture, it can be done, it’s just not the most streamlined process.

But, Instagram has thought of this I guess now that we can use media in all sorts of aspect ratios.


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