First of all, for anyone that knows me, they know that I’m not a fan of punctuation. But in this case, in the title of this post it’s needed. Not that this post is serious at all, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love Grey’s Anatomy, and Meredith Grey has a habit of saying “seriously, seriously” which I seem to have picked up. Due to the tone that she (and now I) say in it, a full stop is definitely needed.
Sometimes when you work for long hours in front of the computer, you start to lose sight of what you’re working on; or you just plain lose your sight. In my case, I was working on an animation of a bunny eating a rock. This is something that Taura and I wanted as an obstacle in our AR environment. If you ate a rock, you couldn’t move. This doesn’t actually happen in Choom‘s animation, so I had to figure out how to animate it myself. I don’t generally put the stop(); tag in when I start animating, so if I test the movie, its loops continuously. I didn’t yet have it all together, when I tested it, and what you see above is what came out. It made me laugh out loud a couple of time as I sent it off to friend’s for their reactions. I had to share it with the world and post it to my blog. It reminded me not to take myself or this project too seriously, and to always have fun. I hope you get as big of a kick out of the animation as I did.
The excitement has been rising since Taura and I have been making decisions and inching towards actually opening up Flash. We’ve finally arrived at the point where we can start putting together assets and animating them. You can see a trial of our main character eating above. It’s hard to believe, but between tracing this little guy in Illustrator and animating him in Flash, it took me a total of 4 hours. I’d call them all productive hours, I definitely needed a refresher in timeline animation, and after fiddling with shape tweens and motion tweens, and jumping back and froth between Illustrator and Flash, I’d say I accomplished everything I had hoped for. I started tracing out the first image in Adobe Illustrator, and then took it into Flash to animate. Right away, I realized I needed to separate each of the moving objects onto it’s own layer. Back to Illustrator I went.
Pretty soon into Flash, I decided it was better to paste in a raster png (a file format with a transparent background) sequence of images that Choom exported for us, so that I could overlay my vector tracings easier. I moved and made some minor alterations to the pieces for a little while and ran into another roadblock. I needed to make some new assets, so again, back to Illustrator. Originally I had played with the live trace tool, but now only needing bits and pieces of the png sequence, I traced them with the pen tool. I imported the new objects into Flash and continued to animate. Four hours later, you can see the finished product above.
The music video is done, thank you cards have been mailed, and we’ve all seen it on the big screen at VFS. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here. You can also check out the case study documenting our process and see some extra photos on my Flickr page.
Luckily the supporting actors arrived a little late – just as the rain was letting up. We bagged and taped up the feet of those who didn’t have rubber boots and had them all change into their white t-shirts. The crew got them all set up out in a marshy area along the side of the road and we began filming. A half hour later, we began to realize that we had miscalculated high tide. We moved the gang in with a few rubber boots coming close to filling up with water and still with high spirits. They were set up again closer to the dyke, by this time freezing in barely over 0 temperatures, and continued to film. The water kept rising. They kept up the great job. Shivering in between takes and running through water with wet pants and boots filled with water, while we watched and directed with winter jackets and mittens. Warm beneath their jackets in one arm, I snapped photos with my iphone with the other. They persevered and stuck it out to the very end without much complaint. They all did an amazing job.
It began to sprinkle on and off later on during the shoot and we covered the cameras with umbrellas. Then the real fun started. The mystic powder fight. I don’t want to spoil it too much, so I won’t give you any details. But it was a beautiful sight from the dyke where I took the photo above.
Most of my involvement in the project was the production of it. I contacted the City of Pitt Meadows and the Ministry of the Environment to get appropriate permission to film in the location. Being the only member of the group with a car, I also played taxi a few times throughout the early phase. I put up ads for the actors and organized release forms and rides for them all. I bought supplies and snacks for the actors and tried my best to keep everyone as comfortable as I could on the day of the shoot. I’ve never been more glad to have heated seats in my Jetta as I was that day. Now it’s my turn to take a step back and let the Christopher, Juan, and Stu edit the footage. Check back in a couple of weeks for the final product.
We’re already into week four of term four, and it doesn’t seem nearly as stressful as term three. One of the projects I’m involved with this term is a music video. Other group members include Christopher Harrell, Stuart Amos, and Juan Carlos Arenas. We’re creating a video for a Philadelphia band by the name of Me Without You for a song entitled Allah, Allah, Allah. I’m in charge of most of the preproduction and I’m having a great time organizing the actors, release forms and the roadtrips out to the shoot location.
Originally we drove out to Pitt Meadows to check out the surrounding area of the farm where I filmed my title sequence. Upon wandering down the nearby dyke, we ran into a few locals who directed us further down the road to a beautiful scene where the mountains meet one of the few tidal rivers in BC. Even though it was raining, we knew we had found the perfect spot.
Two weeks, 8 contacts and a few dozen phone calls later, we finally have permission to film. It was well worth it.
Originally we thought we’d get back to refining our 24 hour film festival submission, Violet , before we could all post it to our sites. In the very small chance that it does, I’ll repost, but for now, here is a link on a friend’s (who also happened to be the director of the film) Vimeo page. I should warn you in advance: We had a blast making it, but in our sleep deprived states of being, and our excitement about creating digital assets, that our storyline fell a little flat. But it was a great learning and bonding experience for all those involved. And really, at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all here for?
Well, we did it. 24 hours, or more for those of us who didn’t get a nap in after school, and we made a movie. It’s not the best movie ever, but we’ll chalk it up to beginner’s unluck, inexperience and tight deadlines, and be thankful that we can still get along afterwards.
I can’t post it until after the screening on Wednesday, but for anybody in the Vancouver area who’s interested in seeing the other entrants, come check out the premiere of the films this Wednesday, July 22nd at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas (2110 Burrard Street) and vote for your favorites! There are two screenings, one at 7PM and another at 9:30PM, with different films playing in each show. The screenings are open to the public and anyone may buy tickets. Tickets are $9 (cash only) and can be purchased at the door on the night of the screening. Please try to arrive at least 20 minutes early to avoid the line. More info is available at http://www.filmracing.com/Cities/vancouver.htm.
We were nicely eased into week 1 of term 2 with a holiday to celebrate Canada right in the middle. Nonetheless, most of the major projects this term have been introduced. “The Talking Head” is one of them. Like last term, we have three classes centered around this motion design project: video production, audio production, and storyboarding. This term, we’ve been assigned the task of filming a talking head (basically a talking person for most of my peers, kind of like the news) on the green screen and creating supporting elements for our topic.
In honouring one of the first good rules of design, design something you’re passionate about (you have to like it to want to sell it) I chose to base my talking head project on educating any and all of the perusers of internet world on the perils of spec work. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, spec is work done for little compensation, by many designers, where one submission is chosen at the end by the client. If 200 designers compete for a prize of $100 for a logo, that for the sake of easy math would cost $1000, the client actually gets $200, 000 worth of work for $100. It devalues the creative industry. At the same time, without being able to sit down with the client to ask questions and clarify the creative brief, the designer doesn’t have a clear direction. They may spend more time on a project, and end up with a less precise design, which is where the client suffers. It’s a lose-lose situation for everybody.
I’ve confirmed a recorded interview with Mark Busse, MGDC, Partner / Design Director at The Industrial Brand Team, on Wednesday and hand in my one-sheet by Monday morning. I’m brainstorming all kinds of great ideas on how to communicate all of the information surrounding spec work and it’s effects on the design industry, designer’s, clients, and the final product. I hope to post my process on this motion piece over the duration of the term. I look forward to your comments.
Friday July 17th, at 10 pm an important email will be sent. This email will have two details in it. It will contain a theme and an item or action and each will have to be incorporated into a film that will take 24 hours to produce, pre-production straight through to final project. I can’t wait. I get to work with a team of great people at VFS, mostly from the digital design program, with talents from all spectrums. It’s called the Film Racing Tour, and it takes place in cities across Canada and the United States. Last year, a group from VFS won, will the tradition continue on this year? Stay tuned to find out!
By the title of this post, you might be wondering what you’ll be reading underneath it. Why title a post on a digital design blog the name of a shoe brand locally designed in Vancouver. It’s relevancy to my experience at VFS this term is exponential.
I decided early on in the semester that I wanted to base my short story on shoes. Somehow, I would manage to get one of the major loves of my life into my career at VFS. I hit the nail right on the head and developed a script based on a woman’s obsession with shoes. It addresses how it seems that a woman can never have enough and lightheartedly compares them to finding the perfect man. After failed attempts at contacting major chain store stores to film inside their buildings, my roommate suggested that I try Fluevog Shoes downtown.
What a wonderful suggestion. Filming at Fluevog Shoes has by far been the best experience that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing since I arrived in Vancouver, and pretty much everything I’ve experienced has been great, so that’s really saying something. I’m sure my main actress in the film, Desiree Williams, would agree. The sales staff were amazing to work with, they both had great fun-loving, easy going personalities, and their suggestions and willingness to participate in the film itself has doubly made it better that what I had originally sketched out in my storyboard. They willingly brought out twenty plus pairs of designer shoes to try on, and our half hour adventure quickly turned into over two hours.
Aaron played the part (although he was a natural) of a willing sales person, succumbing to the needs of an excited customer, who just couldn’t get enough shoes. He carried out many a box in Desiree’s size 9 and gave a great story for each one on it’s history of name and design. Rayna, the store manager, was more than accommodating to let us have pretty much free reign of the glass ceilinged store, and even outside on the sidewalk for a shot or two with the authentic Fluevog shoes on Desiree’s feet. Right from the initial conversation with the Stephen in marketing, I felt like I was a valued customer, even though I wasn’t purchasing their product, yet. And that’s a big yet.
Between the friendly sales staff, detail that you won’t find anywhere else, manufacturing their shoes by hand in family owned and operated factories. I highly suggest a trip to a Fluevog store, you won’t be disappointed with the selection, friendly service, and craftsmanship of their product. I know I’ll be back.