- Apple’s Motion Pro X:
AS – Last year, my partner created the an ident on Apple’s Motion so, I didn’t get a chance to use it.
A2 – Since I am working on my own, I am creating idents by myself so, I got to grips with creating animations from scratch, exporting music into the application and creating a professional and realistic looking ident.
AS – I never used this in AS so, I had no experience of Keynote what so ever.
A2 – Since I was completely new to Keynote, I learnt how to use the software from scratch. Very similar to Window’s Powerpoint but, slightly more technical. Have experience with Windows but, needed to get to grips with basic (animation, font, slide setup etc)
- Nikon DSLR Camera:
AS – First had experience during the preliminary task. Learnt basics: zooming in/out, framing and composition. Then worked on it more during my coursework of creating the film opening. My partner focussed more on the camera work whilst I did sound design so, I didn’t learn a great deal more. The new thing I learnt during this task was focussing manually and I also learnt how to do a focus pull.
A2 – Like I previously said, I am working by myself so, I am going to have to work a lot on the camera work unlike last year. I have looked at techniques like crash zoom and focussing on much smaller objects like my armature. The genre of my short film was an animated adventure film but, more specifically, stop motion animation. This resulted in me taking multiple picture where I have to take into account the framing (16:9).
AS – The only time I used Pixelmator in AS was for creating the idents. I had to edit a drawing of a tree to fit into our ident. However, in terms of editing and post production, I didn’t use it at all.
A2 – Like I said earlier, I am creating a stop motion animation film and since some of my sequences involve propping the armature up, I had to edit the object propping it up, out. This meant focussing much more on the “photoshop” aspect of the software and using the editing side to it in a lot more detail. I gained a lot of skill on Pixelmator through doing this.
- Apple’s Final Cut Pro X:
AS – At the start of AS, I began my preliminary task where I only focussed on: exporting footage and editing it to specific times wasn’t too demanding. However, in my next preliminary task of recreating the ‘Reservoir Dogs’ title sequence, I had to focus a lot more on meeting specific times for editing and I also had to focus on exporting the soundtrack from the original title sequence. I also had to recreate the opening credits which meant that I had to get the credits to be animated over the footage which proved quite a challenge at first. In my film opening, the editing wasn’t so demanding, I didn’t have to match up times and clips with one another like the previous preliminary task. However, I also focussed on creating and editing the clips to fit a colour scheme and create more of a “thriller” and “dramatic” effect.
A2 – Carried on most of the skills from AS but, since I am creating a stop motion film with pictures, I had to focus on “frames per second” as well as getting the armature to look like it is actually alive and moving.
Pre-production is a huge aspect and feature of creating a film and this is where I learnt to use different software. One piece of software which I was unfamiliar with in A2 was Apple’s Motion Pro X. Last year in AS, our coursework brief was to create a film opening and with this film opening we had to study the conventions of an opening so features like idents, for example, needed to be included in our film opening too. Because last year I was working with a partner, we each had different responsibilities and my partner’s task was using Apple’s Motion Pro X to create the idents. Therefore, I didn’t use the software myself. In A2 however, we have to create a short five minute film and even though we don’t need to use idents, I felt like they would make the film look more “realistic” and look like a professional film. Unlike AS, I am working by myself so, I had to get to grips with Motion and the tools to create an ident. This consisted of learning how to create animations from scratch to just simply exporting music into the programme. Even though the idents weren’t necessary, Motion allowed me to create an ident which adds more to my film so, it was a very useful piece of software to use in my A2 short film. Another piece of software I used was Keynote. Keynote is very similar to Window’s Powerpoint which I was very familiar with. Like Motion, I had never used Keynote in AS; whether that be for my pre-production research or my evaluation tasks, I had never though to use it. In A2 though, I wanted to use Keynote to present my findings for when I researched what is typically seen in animated family films. I wanted to use Keynote instead of just writing a normal blog post and this meant I could display a range of multi-media platforms in my coursework. Luckily to my advantage, the programme was very similar to Powerpoint so, there wasn’t much to learn apart from the fact that tools were in different places to how Powerpoint would have set it out. Keynote became quite useful in my pre-production for A2 as it allowed me to explore different medias and softwares further.
The actual production of the film is arguably the most important part of the whole process as it is actually where content is made. At the very start of AS Media Studies, we were all set with a preliminary task. This task involved us filming a person walk into a room and talk to another person but, we needed to incorporate different techniques like “match on action”, for example. For this, we had to use a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera and I only really learnt the basics of zooming in/out and simple framing and composition. For the actual AS project of creating a film opening, I said previously that we had different roles between me and my partner and when we did the film opening’s production, my role was to work on the sound. Therefore, I didn’t learn a great deal more. However, we did have a focus pull in our film and I did learn to do that which became quite useful in future projects and task. However, in A2 media studies, I took up many other roles and for production, the main role I had was using the camera. My short film was an animated family film but, instead of using CGI and cartoon animation like many kid’s films do now, I decided to take on the challenge of creating a stop motion animated film. For this, I had to take many pictures of the armature to make it into a flowing object. This meant that I had to take into account what the pictures would look like in the editing process and this meant that I had to learn the framing which became 16:9. The skills of manually focussing which I learnt in AS came in handy because, it meant I already had a head start in focussing on much smaller objects like the armature I used. Using the camera to the best of my ability ensured that I could create a realistic stop motion animated film.
After the production of the film is the post-production which consists of editing and adding on any final touches to the film. For my stop motion pictures, I used Pixelmator which is another piece of Apple software which is very similar to Photoshop. I had very little experience of Pixelmator in AS as I only briefly used it to help with the idents. One of the idents we created in AS featured a drawing of an oak tree and since it was quite difficult to draw a tree from scratch, I used Pixelmator to draw the outline of a pre-drawn tree. This did not take much skill as I did not need to explore the softwares tools very much as the tool I needed was right in front of me. However in A2, some of the sequences I did with the armature involved the figure jumping up and down from different surfaces. Because I needed to take pictures of the character jumping, I had to use a white rod to hold it up. In production, I used Pixelmator to remove the rod and actually make it look like the character is floating. This required a lot more skill as it had a lot more settings as opposed to the simple pen in Pixelmator which was quite straightforward. This was a very useful piece of software as it made my A2 film look even more professional and demonstrated a lot of skill in my final product. The software which really brings everything together however, is Apple’s Final Cut Pro X which is where all the film is collected and edited on the iMacs. I did have some experience of the app at AS as at the start of the course, I began my preliminary task (the one which featured a person walking into a room and exchanging dialogue with another person) where I only focussed on exporting footage and editing it all together to make sure it all flowed. However, in my second preliminary task on recreating the opening credits to Reservoir Dogs, I had to edit the footage to specific times which was a lot more difficult as well as placing the title credits over the footage. However, in my AS film opening, it wasn’t too demanding either. I didn’t have to match up the clips with specific times like my Reservoir Dogs task but, I had to ensure that my clips would all flow together. I also used the colour corrector for the first time because, I wanted to create a more dramatic effect for the film opening which was of the thriller genre and make the colours darker to make it more sinister looking. For A2 on the other hand, I used the same techniques I learnt throughout AS. However, since I had to take into consideration the stop motion genre, I had to focus on “frames per second” which is something I had never looked at before in AS. The frames per second allowed me to make the armature look like it was actually alive and moving. Without the focus on frames per second, I don’t think my armature would have had the same movement.