At the start of unit four, it was clear that the process of filming and producing a video story would bring about some very unique challenges. I knew that any preparations or ideas I was considering would have to be completed within the guidelines of “social-distancing”. These limitations made for a challenging, but uniquely fun assignment.
With the objective of my course theme being centered around “art” and “non-profit”, it was an easy decision to focus my video around art. However, there were a few limitations in regards to selecting a story-format. Taking into consideration the social restrictions, I decided on a promotional/inspirational genre style. I wanted to produce something uplifting and optimistic with a core focus around art, but also something that could be watched and enjoyed by anyone.
The basic storyline would open on the studio-art desk in my apartment. The scene would consist of shots of the main character, from the neck down, sitting at the desk and painting. I made the decision to portray the main character as an anonymous figure so that the viewer could potentially imagine themselves in the story. The narration would start after a few seconds of the establishing shot and begin describing how “art” is a part of everything in our lives. The narration would continue throughout the entire video as a sort-of philosophical and poetic monologue. The video would then progress into a series of clips that represented the ways in which art is all around us. These would be sequenced in between shots of the main character sitting at the desk creating and making art. The scenes in the video would change every few seconds in a montage-style that loosely correlates with the narration. At the end, the video would finish back at the original desk, coming full circle, and then fade to credits.
Considering that I wouldn’t be shooting all of the video footage at one time, I made sure to take a “scene reference photo” so that I could accurately remake the set, and ensure continuity for the next time I filmed.
I made the decision to utilize old video clips along with a “point-of-view” format for a few reasons. I would be able to avoid copyright issues by using my own footage that I had personally shot (or that had been shot by a friend). I would be able to incorporate a wider range of video than what was available in my apartment, and I would be able to safely utilize multiple “sets” and “characters” without breaking any health-guidelines.
Once I had established a storyboard, I began the task of writing and recording an audio-narrative. I pulled inspiration from quotes written by my favorite artists, a few famous poems and some of my own writings. To record the narration, I copied the same technique that I used during the creation of my audio story for unit three. I went into my bedroom closet, closed the door to block out any external noise, and used the Voice Memo App on my laptop.
Next, I collected the existing video footage I wanted to use, and and made sure to reach out to the necessary friends in order to get official copyright permission for any clips that had not been filmed by me.
My next step was to create the “establishing shot” and main film set for the video. In order to utilize a stable surface to shoot from and reduce any movement in the video, I had to Google and create a “diy” phone-stand. Luckily, the only materials I needed to make one were; some tape, a small plate and a cardboard toilet-paper roll.
(I’ve attached a photo for anyone who wants a good laugh)
Once I had my phone-stand, I shot the footage of my establishing shot, and also collected footage of the scenes I wanted from a few various angles. I made sure to use the tips and suggestions from the Week-11 Readings; “Basic Shooting Principles“.
After collecting all the raw video footage, I organized it into the project’s folder and imported it into Premier Pro.
Using the techniques we learned from the tutorials, I was able to select specific clips to arrange, and customized them with the tools in “Effect-Controls”. For the establishing-shot I added a key frame to adjust the position & scale so the clip would slowly zoom inwards. For the last clip I added a “fade-to-black” so the ending would smoothly blend into the credits. I also chose certain video segments to add a “dissolve-film” effect so the transition would appear smoother.
The feedback and suggestions I received from my group members were a big help in editing and establishing the final story. Their ideas and different perspectives provided a great addition to my video.
Following the feedback assignment, I made several adjustments and changes. I began by re-recording the audio narration in order to slow it down slightly. After reviewing the draft video several times I concluded that I may have rushed through reading the script.
Next, I took the suggestion of one of my group members and added background ambient music. By using the WaveBeats profile on Sound-Cloud, I was able to find the perfect copyright-free track to layer into the background of my video. I used the audio-editing tools in Premier Pro to adjust the decibel and make sure the volume wouldn’t over power the story narration.
The final adjustments I made were to add a few additional video-transition effects as well as an introduction title at the beginning of the video.
Making this video and adapting to the creative limitations of the pandemic was a delightful challenge, and a great way to end the semester. I’m very happy with my final video story, and I look forward to the chance to use Premier Pro again in the future.