Artifact 3 – Cinema 4D

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For my third and final artifact I chose to use the Cinema 4D software. Of the three that I had chosen overall for Digital Applications, I had the least experience with this. For this project I wanted to re-create the pyramid stage from Glastonbury festival.

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To begin this process, I selected a pyramid from the insert object selection, then resized it to the measurements desired.

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After this I found an image of the stage from google images and used the splice tool to trace around the arch at the front of the pyramid so as to get an accurate shape for my own.

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I then cut and paste the splice at the front of the pyramid object, resizing it so as to fill out the proportions.

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After this I used the knife tool to cut the area inside of the arch. I also divided the pyramid object into separate polygons to add detail to the metal.

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After cutting the inside of the pyramid I placed a platform below it and added a grass texture to a plane underneath. At this stage the texture was unrefined and in experimental stages.

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Because the grass texture on the plane was not cover the right area to be porportionate to the stage, I began to resize it.

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After I felt that the grass texture had been arranged appropriately for this stage in the development I then added four cubes from the insert object option and resized them to the size of a large speaker. Following this I moved them in pairs to each side of the pyramid.

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After this I then worked on making the speaker look more realistic. I chose a doughnut shaped object from the insert object option, resized them appropriately and placed them just outside of the speaker boxes.

Once these were fitted, I then added another texture to the boxes, a simple black finish.

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Following from this I then added another new texture, this time to the pyramid and the platform. This was to give it a closer appearance in colour when the render was applied.

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I then started on creating the second set of speakers that hang higher above the stage, as can be seen in the example picture I placed earlier.

To do this, first I added two cylinders and resized them so they would be thin and tall.

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I then copied the the two previous cylinders and placed them the other sides respectively. After this I then added another set of cylinders and placed them atop the the other four. These were slightly thicker than the other two, so as to give the impression of stability.

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After this I then added the black texture from the speakers and applied it to the supporting cylinders.

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After this I added some line based object via the inset object option, these were used to simulate the wires that the speakers were hung off in the image.

Then I began adding more speakers hanging from the wires. This process was more or less the same as the previous models from the speakers below. The only difference was that these ones were sized differently.

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I continued to add the small speakers to the cylinder structure and added the black texture to them as I went along.

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When I was finished with this process I had five speakers on each side of the pyramid. The three that hung either side were placed slightly out of line with each other so as to give a slightly more realistic impression.

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For a finishing touch to the structure I created a small microphone out of a few objects. A line, a cone and a sphere respectively. I added the same black texture to the microphone as the speakers.

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After I had done the material side of the project I then began focusing on the environment and lighting.

To add more realism I inserted a sky like overhead effect to the project to light up the environment.

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Following from this I then added some render effects to the project. These effects were more or less based in light, ambience and of course realistic render. Although simple options these had a profound effect on the realism of the project. The image above shows the project before the global illumination and ambient occlusion settings were added.

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This was the final stage of the project as I was quite heavily pushed by time constraints to complete this project. Although it was likely the software I had the least experience in, I believe that it realised quite well. It took me sometime to work out some of the intricacies of the program as it is has many tools and effects and methods in which to use them. If I had more time to complete this project I would like to have added more environmental elements but for my first project with the software I think this is a reasonable accomplishment.

Artifact Two – Time-lapse in Premier Pro/Logic Pro X

Youtube link to artifact two

For my second artifact in the Digital Apps module I decided to create a time-lapse using the surrounding environments of Totnes and Harberton. The project was heavily focused on landscapes. As well as using Premier Pro to edit the time-lapse I also made use of Logic Pro X once again to create a short piece of backing music for the piece.

Part One: Premier Pro

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To start this project I added the files into the program, via the import selection, after this I placed the first clip of the project in to Premier.

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Then I made a few different attempts to chose the speed of which I would playback the clips. I did this by editing the speed by using the Clip Speed and Duration tool.

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As certain clips were longer than others, some were sped-up more so than others. The clip subject to this was sped-up by around 4000 percent.

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Much of the process from this stage on was fairly similar. Clips were viewed through the test window and ran at different speeds until I eventually decided upon what was appropriate for the flow of the piece. At this stage I also placed a very brief fade out transition in-between the first and second clips to help the flow of the project.

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After I created the music for the time-lapse (which I will detail later ) I added in file by using the import option and it loaded into the bin.

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After I had imported the music I then placed it onto the timeline and matched it up with the footage. I also then placed a fade to black transition on the video and an exponential fade on the audio to close it.

Part Two: Logic Pro X

In creating the music for my time-lapse I acted quite quickly as at this stage I was limited on the amount of time that I had to do so. This piece was not as comprehensive as the previous artifact I made using the software.

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I started this piece of music by playing three chords on the onscreen keyboard with the Evolving FM chords preset and then placed them onto the the first track. (It is worth noting that these screenshots were taken after I had moved them down in the project so as to arrange the drums).

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After this then added another set of chords in the same structure as the prior with the Bent Synth Strings preset and moved them down in the mix to give them the distant feel in the piece.

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To add a further distance to the sound I then added yet another set of keys to the track, using the Echolocation preset. This preset had a heavy reverbiration effect which lead to very ethereal sound.

Following from this I then added a bass kick with the After Party GB drum kit preset, this was once again done using the onscreen keyboard.

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After I had finished the piece of music in Logic I then ‘bounced’ the file, this being similar to simply exporting. I chose to render the file in the MP3 format due to the relatively simple nature of the composition. Although still rendering it at the highest bitrate possible in the codec 320Kbps.

Developing Research and Practice and End of Year Review

Before joining the FdA Film and Photography, I was previously on a Level Three in Creative Media so I joined this degree with a least some prior knowledge of the two main subjects, because of this I don’t feel that I might have improved as much as some of my peers may themselves be able to reflect upon, although I have indeed improved in various different areas in the time that I have been on the first year of this course.

Most of the shorter term goals I set for myself in the personal development plan span two years, as I would section it that way based on the stages in which I would become a journalist or a writer. Start with the Foundation Degree, then an Hons and finally a Masters.

Certain goals that I set for myself I believe I have achieved as I continue to learn the subjects, via various means including theoretical and practical work. My major goal for the year was to improve upon my writing skills in regards to essays. I feel I have in most ways met this personal goal, the work I have handed in for evaluation over the year has improved over the last by having a more comprehensive and wider subject range as well as overall better literal writing. Although it may seem a small improvement as I want to work more in the theory based side of media, it is essential.

I also stated in my PDP that I wanted to learn more about the theory in film and photography, once again I believed I have achieved this through out the year by taking studies into the theorists of the subjects for use in year modules.

On the practical side of the degree I also think I have improved in areas that I desired, I set a task in the PDP to gain a better understanding of the technology used in film and photography. I believe I done this by working on my own projects. I have become much more proficant with certain softwares such as the Adobe programs, Photoshop and Premier Pro.

Overall I believe the year to have been a successful one and in many ways a continuation of the course that I was previously on. I’m gaining more knowledge in the practical and theory based elements of media. Although I am leaning more towards the writing based work of the degree thus far. As I stated before, because a lot of these subjects aren’t quite as new to me I feel that through researching and learning in both forms, I am now able to look at them on a more detailed level than I was when I started the year.

Bill Nichols Documentary Modes

I have mentioned the modes theory in my previous post in which I made an evaluation of my documentary module. In this post I will be discussing how I applied these to my research and practical work.

Nichols proposed that documentary films could fit into six different categories depending on various factors such as the style that they were shot, the subjects that they contain in their context and structure.

These six modes are as follows…

The Expository Mode. In this mode that narrator comments upon footage and discusses it in a formal manner. The most common form of documentary, presenting facts and information.

The Poetic Mode – In this mode the documentary is presented in rhythmical fashion, some what akin to poetry in the literal form.

The Observational Mode – In this mode, the audience simply sees what is in front of the camera, with no interruption on the part of the crew.

The Participatory Mode – In this mode the crew or leader of the documentary will interact with world that the film is capturing, this will often involve giving interviews.

The Reflexive Mode – In this mode the audience is made aware of the documentaries state. It will challenge the audiences perception of the events within the film. These often involve subjects that are uncommon.

The Performative Mode – In this mode, the leader or narrator of the documentary will place a high emphasis on emotional engaging the audience. (This may also include the use of re-enactments).

I used these modes as a gauge of the documentaries that influenced me in creating my own, as well as to place where mine would fit so it could be analysed afterward.

1. ANDERSON-MOORE, O. Nichols’ 6 Modes of Documentary Might Expand Your Storytelling Strategies (Anderson-Moore, 2015) Anderson-Moore, O. (2015). Nichols’ 6 Modes of Documentary Might Expand Your Storytelling Strategies. [online] No Film School. Available at: http://nofilmschool.com/2015/09/nichols-6-modes-documentary-can-help-expand-your-storytelling [Accessed 1 May 2017].

The Golden Ratio/The Fibonacci Sequence

In thinking about the theory behind photography I have bought myself back to one of my earliest lectures in the year with Tony, although brief, the subject was captured my interest.

Quite a complex subject with claims dating back to 400BC in Ancient Greece, the golden ratio is considered to be a structural form of mathematical beauty with the number sequence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and 34. This can be applied to composition in photography to create what this theory would claim to be a beautiful image. Myself I am interest in what could be considered to be perfect composition as I believe alternately that beauty in images comes more from expression and timing than any technical point.

Although I did attempt to apply this theory to some of my work early on in the year with my Introductory Skills module, I was unable to do so due to time constraints, as setting up the image with the principle of sections of the image relating to the ratio of the mentioned sequence is quite difficult.

I would like to use this theory in some of my photography work next year, this is one of the practices that I want to attempt now that I may be more experienced.

  1. HOM, E. J. What is the Golden Ratio? (Hom, 2013) Hom, E. (2013). What is the Golden Ratio?. [online] Live Science. Available at: http://www.livescience.com/37704-phi-golden-ratio.html [Accessed 1 May 2017].

Propp’s Narrative Theory

For my third and final module of the first year with Buzz we were asked to create a concept for a short script, present it and then write the aforementioned script. As part of this we also had to take note of theorists in narrative.

Because my scripts concept was designed in principle to oppose many of the known behaviours and roles of characters I chose to acknowledge Propp’s narrative theory as it is well known in the film industry as the standard from which most major big budget films are made from.

Propp proposed from the basis of his studies of hundreds of Russian fairytales that all narratives have certain elements. First starting with character roles. Some of the most obvious amongst these are characters such as a ‘hero’, a ‘villain’, a ‘princess’ etc. These characters would all behave in a set way according to their roles, they may have distinct personalities but will likely do certain things within the context of the story. Examples of these could be along the lines of, ‘the princess is saved by the hero, because he is the only one deserving of her’. or ‘the villain creates problems which the hero will eventually overcome’.

The second proposal from Propp was that all narratives also follow certain functions. I have found that these are less foolproof than the character role theory but these are again often seen in most film media. Examples of these that can often be obviously seen in film include. Absentation, when the hero set of on his journey, leaving home. Villainy, the villain commits an act that harms the ‘hero’ in someway or form. Or finally Liquidation in which wrongdoings or problems created earlier on within the story are dissolved or fixed.

I put this theory in context with my own script concept and found that most of the character roles do fit in some form or another. By example, in my script one character represents two people by one of the characters being a creation of his sub-concious in the form of his own writing. Because the character who is writing the path for the other one often makes decisions that lead to negative affects on his fictional counterpart. One can’t strictly define him as a hero, although he is the protagonist, although he would also fit into several of Propp’s other character roles, such as the false hero, villain or guide.

In regards to functions, I found very little that did actually fit my scripts concept. Because it was written to more or less oppose the concept of standard storytelling in the genre of romance, this doesn’t honestly come as much of a surprise. Characters are left in a state of limbo and thus never really have completed functions.

1. PROPP, V. Vladimir Propp (Propp, n.d.) Propp, V. (n.d.). Vladimir Propp. En.wikipedia.org. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Propp [Accessed 1 May 2017].

2. WILSON, K. Mediaknowall AS&A Level Key Concepts — Vladimir Propp (Wilson, 2017) Wilson, K. (2017). Mediaknowall AS&A Level Key Concepts — Vladimir Propp. Mediaknowall.com. Available at: http://www.mediaknowall.com/as_alevel/alevkeyconcepts/alevelkeycon.php?pageID=propp [Accessed 1 May 2017].

Reflection on Visual Culture Presentation

In mid March I was asked to ‘lead a seminar’ by Tony for the Visual Culture module. This has sharply divided my personal opinion on my own work. Mostly due to my struggles in presenting work, this has been one of biggest obstacles of my year thus far.

My chosen topic for the presentation was postmodernism in film, a complex and wildly variable choice. I believe that this idea was again a very individualistic one, the subject matter was also an engaging choice of topic, very few people without an interest in ironically modern philosophy would be aware of the subject. The presentation had a genuine opportunity to be informative.

Although the subject matter was good and I believe the research and background that made the foundation of my presentation was in good form, my nerves and anxious nature let down the experience. My inability to communicate in a clear way to the audience caused information that was already quite complicated and interpretable to be become convoluted.

Overall to improve upon this I need to focus more on my public speaking skills, although this is not quite as easily improved upon as other areas.