Tag Archives: CMWP

Review: Creative Suburbs Digital Story

As part of the digital story for CMWP Patrick Rebakis and Karen Young collaborated with Creative Suburbs to make this digital story. The video is really well done. The animations used throughout the video are really effective and put together with some great time-lapse shots and some really interesting photos of people holding up suggestions for creative suburbs in front of a graffiti wall, which is a successful Creative Suburbs project, is really effective in getting the point across. The animation, time-lapse and the photos are nicely coupled with the voice over from Patrick. The voice over was straight to the point, I knew from the first few seconds what the voice over what the video was about and it was able to hold your attention really well. The music also suits the video and what the video is trying to achieve.

One suggestion would be that during the video, where the other person speaks, we are told who he is and what he has to do with Creative Suburbs or the community. His statements are really good and it would benefit the audience if they know who he is because, from what I can tell, he seems to have experience in community work. One other suggestion is, although this is really minor, is that it would have been good to remove the wideo.com logo, but I understand that you have to pay to remove it so I do not blame you for leaving it, I would as well. Both those suggestions are just really minor because the video was really well done.

This video was really well done and Creative Suburbs should be extremely happy with what Patrick Rebakis and Karen Young have done, especially considering three of there group members dropped out really late in the project. I highly recommended having a look at this video and sharing it.

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Digital Story: In Sight

The process of making a digital story was a great introduction into collaborative filmmaking. We decided to make a short film about a blind girls day-to-day life. The idea we were throwing around was make the short film in such a way that the audience did not know the girl was blind until the very end of the piece. This made the film a little tricky, as we could not show the eyes of the blind girl until the very end. This meant a lot of different angles were used to hide her eyes.

We were lucky enough that Bo knew someone who owned a restaurant on St Kilda beach so we were able to film in there which made for some great scenes. When we filmed on the beach the sun was beginning to set so we were able to film some beautiful shots of the sun setting and put it into the piece. The collaboration process went very smoothly, which was really lucky because this was a fairly large and ambitious project for what I was used to doing. My group members Bo Dechphant and Matthew Masyuko were really great group members.  At the beginning of the subject, when we were forming groups Bo and I ended up as a group because we just happened to be sitting near each other which was turned out great and then Matthew came in a little later and he proved to be a great person to have on the team. We each had our job and we were each able to complete it successfully. It was a great learning experience for me Bo and Matthew both knew a lot and I learned a lot about the film making process from both of them.

We did encounter some small problems. One of our biggest issues was that during day two of filming, during the beach and restaurant scenes we did not realize until after the filming was over and the footage had been uploaded there were dust specs on the lens of the camera. This meant that we had to go through all the day two footage and try to remove it in post-production. This was frustrating as it meant we had to spend even more time on editing, which by itself was a relatively lengthy process. The way we went about removing the dust specs was to, in After Effects, create a new solid the same colour as the background and then feather it. This was a great solution to shots where the background colour did not change at all, however for shot where the background colour did change it became really difficult to remove the dust and make it so it did not draw attention to the spec of dust. For the shots we struggled to remove the dust spec on we did a blur effect to try and draw attention away from the problem areas. Overall this issue was a great learning experience to always check your lens before you begin filming. The final problem we encountered was due to just running out of time. We had planned to create a 3d sound scape to try to enhance the project but due to scheduling issues we were unable to do the 3d sound unfortunately but that was not our biggest priority and the 2d sound we have in the final film is still amazing and works really well throughout the digital story.

As far as the distribution process of the digital story we decided the best way to advertise it was to firstly post it on YouTube. YouTube is where most of the views will come from. There are of course other video sharing websites like Vimeo but they do not have anywhere near the same user size as YouTube does. The next part of the distribution process is using social media to get the film out and known. We decided to blog about the film, tweet about it and make a Facebook page for the film.

Digital Story Reviews

Take this lollipop

This digital story is quite clever. The reason it is so clever is that it uses brings you into the story. It makes you apart of the story and that really makes people continue to watch. As soon as it becomes personal, which this digital story uses really effectively, you want to see how it ends. One weakness of this story is that it is rather predictable. As soon as I put in the Facebook page I knew immediately what was going to happen. But otherwise, for people who do not know what is going to happen it can provide a really good ‘shock’ that there Facebook page is in the digital story.

Hurst

This is an interesting digital story. Using twitter over a weeklong event has some advantages but also quite a few disadvantages. The weeklong event of telling this story is somewhat like a television series where you see one episode and then have to wait until the next comes out. This could help the suspense of the story, especially as it is a horror story. However one of the disadvantages is that people can lose interest really quickly. Most people who are not ‘die hard’ fans of the author may lose interest in the story really quickly or they may just forget or because they have to wait they may not even be bothered to follow along. This is one of the problems. From what I can tell the story leads up to a big finally which is in video format. This is problematic because follows of the story could drop quite a lot, especially because it is over one week, before the final piece of the story. Overall it is an interesting idea and I do believe if done right and if it is interesting from the first tweet then it could be a great new platform for story telling.

Bear 71

This is a great digital story that tells the story of nature and human society. It is an interactive digital story where the user can ‘follow’ Bear 71 around the national park while you hear a voice over from the ‘bears point of view’. This digital story begins with just over a minute film which demonstrates what bear traps can do and what happens to the bears after they are caught (given a tracking collar, a number is stuck to the ear and then released back into the wild while fireworks scare the bear off into the opposite direction of the park rangers). The story overall is quite good and in some points can really draw the user in and keep them watching. I did find myself at some points however to get a little bored, particularly when the interactive part started where you chase the bear around the forest. But maybe that is just because you go from an intense first video to the much less intense interactive part.

eBooks

The eBook industry is an interesting research topic. For this post I will be focusing on the self-publishing form of eBooks. There are now quite a few different eBook formats now including Kindle, iBooks, MobiPocket Reader etc. These formats each have different ways of publishing an eBook onto the device.

Apples publishing software is iBook author, which is a free program that allows the users to publish onto the iBook store. It should be noted that when pubishing a book onto the iBook store, if the book is being sold Apple will usually take around 30 percent of each sale. If the book is free then Apple does not take any money from the author.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is a popular form of eBook publishing. It allows you to create your own cover and format your eBook from a Word file. It is important to note Amazons pricing though. Amazon offers 70% royalty rate for its authors, however that only applies to Kindle books priced below $9.99. If an eBook is priced above that then the rate drops to 35%. This is a strategy Amazon uses to keep their eBook cheap so people purchase a Kindle over other eBook readers.

Another way to publish an eBook is through a website called lulu.com. This site is does not charge you for making an eBook however it does offer a fee-based premium service. Lulu, from the research I have conducted takes a ten percent cut of your profit, which is similar to most sites like smashwords.com.

I found an interesting CNET article while conducting my research that gives some tips and tricks for making a successful eBook. Some of these include:

  1. Create an interesting cover – creating an eye catching cover that people actually click into to have a look is half the battle. The saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is not really true. People judge books by their covers all the time so creating an interesting cover that stands out will make life a lot easier.
  2. Pricing your eBook – according to research done by Smashwords.com selling your eBook between $2.99 and $5.99 will get more sales while still having a healthy profit. Selling your eBook for 99c will of course get more sales but the profit margin is really small.
  3. Marketing – it is important to market your eBook and create awareness. There are thousands and thousands of eBook out there now so it is important for people to know about yours.

Which Lens to Buy

While doing research using RSS Feeds, I found an article on a blog I subscribe to all about which lenses to buy for your camera. The article ‘Which…lenses to buy?’ is a great article explaining all about the different lenses what the advantages are for each type as well as the disadvantages. The article goes through a lot but I will focus on what it said about the differences between prime lenses and zoom lenses.

Prime Lenses

Prime lenses, according to the article, are usually higher quality lenses but you lose the ability to zoom. The biggest benefit of prime lenses are they are better in low light conditions, unless you want to spend a lot of money for a zoom lens which has a lower aperture. I was looking around at different lenses and I found a Canon lens with an aperture of 1.8 which is still pretty good and it is priced just over $100. If you are looking for a good cheap lens for low light this is definetly worth checking out.

Zoom Lenses

Zoom lenses are great ‘run and gun’ lenses. The only problem is, the lenses get really expensive really quickly. There are of course the cheap kit lenses but it is important to know that it is usually not worth buying them because they are usually pretty poor quality and really bad in low light. For a decent zoom lens you are probably looking at a minimum $600 to $800. I have a Canon 17-55mm 2.8 and from all the experience I have had with I can say it is a great lens.

People often do not realize that you can spend thousands of dollars on a camera but if you only purchase a low quality lens the money you spent on the camera becomes rather pointless. “It is the glass that is your investment, NOT the camera”

I was searching through YouTube for any videos on lenses and found a great video from Corridor Digitals second channel, Sam and Niko check it out:

Websites for Amateur Filmmakers

While using RSS Feeds to do research, I found an article from a blog I subscribe to that I thought was interesting. The blog entry ‘7 Great Websites for Amateur Filmmakers’ as the title suggests give a description of seven websites amateur filmmakers can use to get royalty free music, video, sound effects and images. Some of the sites are good suggestions while others, in my opinion are not very useful.

Music

The three suggestions the blog entry has for music are all good choices. On each site however not all the music is free. Although not all the music is free, the three sites together should have music, which is free that suits your film.

Sound Effects

Only one site was given for royalty free sound effects, freesound.org. Although only one site was given freesound.org should provide you with just about everything you could need. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.

Video

The blog entry suggests using archive.org for some royalty free video. Archive.org however, in my opinion, is a poor place to get royalty free videos. Whenever I have used this site I have found that all the video is very poor quality and for the most part unusable for short films. I have yet to find any really good sites for royalty free videos.

Images

The blog entry suggests using flickr.com. This is fine but it is important to note that a lot of the images are not Creative Commons licensed. With a bit of looking though you can find great quality images which are do have Creative Commons Licenses.