Saturday, 19 January 2013

Assignment Three – Progress Update

Looking to fulfil the suggestion that I stretch myself technically with this assignment, I’ve been doing further work on the idea of a video that represents my interpretation of Paris Photo 2012.  As I had already concluded, it needs to have a soundtrack, otherwise it will just be a slideshow, which neither tests my technical capability nor captures the attention of the viewer.  Frankly, I don’t think my images from the show are good enough for that – not in any volume anyway.  I had explored the possibility of using a piece of music, maybe something totally original – but that is not going to happen.  However, the way I’m now thinking might turn out to be even better, and certainly offer more scope for some creativity.

The principle theme is to present Paris Photo as a market for the rich.  So I came up with the idea to blend images and sound from a market in the UK (Leeds Market being an ideal choice – traditional building and environment, with the sounds of stallholders “Sirloin Steak, three for a tenner!” etc) with my images of Paris Photo, and also with some short music clips e.g. ‘Money, money, money’ from the film Cabaret.  I was also thinking about some spoken background e.g. a news article about Paris Photo.  Blending all of these into an interesting audio visual presentation would, potentially, be an effective way to communicate what I want to say, but also provide the technical challenge.  And it doesn’t have to be a long piece.  I did consider the idea of ‘Paris Photo in 60 seconds’, but that might be a bit too short. However, I don’t anticipate anything much longer that, say, 2 minutes.  That gives enough scope for some change of pace and mood whilst retaining the viewers’ attention.  I recall the very clear message from our Duckrabbit presenter at the Leeds Workshop, that you need to get the viewers’ attention very quickly and that most Internet viewers have a short attention span.  (He didn’t quite say that!)

Of course, this soundtrack would need to be of a good enough quality; and I would need to have some means of editing and mixing to a reasonable enough standard for it not to appear too naff and amateurish.  Exploring these issues further, I have acquired a small digital voice recorder; downloaded a free sound editing/mixing ‘suite’; and ensured that I can record, edit and mix.  I do have previous experience of editing video – both moving digital images and stills – using Microsoft Movie-Maker.  So I’ve also trialled combining the sound files from the digital recorder with images from Paris Photo; and have taken that one stage further and uploaded to You Tube.  These were very rough examples, but I now know what format from Movie Maker works on You Tube, and have also learned how to ‘normalise’ the sound into a reasonable consistent level and quality.

In fact, I’ve then taken things a stage further and had a go at what the opening part of my video might be like.  I don’t have any Leeds Market recording or images to work with yet, but I’ve combined music (two different sources), spoken word, some of the Paris Photo images, and a couple of specially shot images, to produce a 50 second piece that tests out the concept, which I’ve then uploaded to YouTube.  It isn’t perfect by a long way but my feeling is that it does certainly work in principle.  The pace changes and builds through the fifty seconds to something of a climax (and I would aim to then slow it again, with the Leeds Market sounds, but I have an idea as to how I want to finish it with a punch).  Now, apart from the need to go out and get my additional images and sound, I’m also wondering whether to test the concept with my fellow students.  I’m thinking that I will do another blog post on here, shortly, with the video embedded (another ‘first’ to be tried), and that I might publicise it on Flickr as well ...

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