Documentary In A Day – Home

When thinking about a documentary based on moving from one home to another there is so many different directions to take it in. During our pre-production discussion, we came up with so many ideas that we really needed to knuckle down and decide on one and pursue it. The theme of our documentary was making a new home and the main question that we put to our interviewees was what makes you feel at home at a new place. We decided to put together a documentary plan showcasing what we wanted to finish at the end of shooting so we could go into the editing suites knowing that we had crossed all our T’s and dotted all the I’s. We wanted to do two main interviews and then a series of vox pops and each of us would decide on a certain documentary mode, I chose to do a participatory mode based documentary.

Reflect on the process of shooting and the edit. Look at the technical attributes of your footage: framing, focus, movement, exposure, lighting etc. Analyse the performance of your participants (interviewees). How could you illicit better performances next time?

On the day of shooting, when we rocked up to uni there was a massive trolley full of gear to set up. Firstly, we got divided into groups which would either do sit down interviews or go out and do the vox pops. Our group decided to do the interview first but we had to go downstairs and set up around the editing suites. We found it very difficult to set up as the lights were being reflected and showed up in the shot so the interviewee had to move around to try and block out as much of that as possible. We also got the idea from Paul that we would make the interviewee stand as it would be easier in the space. However when you get a group of small girls and try to frame up the face it proved to be a bit hard and not the most flattering angles were accomplished. Given all the stuff that went wrong that we had to work out, I believe that we got quite a nice shot, the lighting was nice but not too harsh, the focus was clear and muddled in the background so that helped with the reflective surfaces. As I was one of the main interviewees I felt that I could’ve done a better job, after watching I just kept thinking to myself ‘Rachel why on earth did you say that’. Therefore, the phrasing of the questions could have been better to get more detailed responses, as I felt that our reposes were too open ended, thus made it harder to edit together for the final product.

Then came time to go out on the street and bug some people so we could find out what the general population feels about making a new house feel like home and if there was any specific item that would help the most in the transition. We set up our camera opposite Bowen street so we had a nice backdrop of an old building, that didn’t take away from the interviewees, the light was nice, the only thing that didn’t work in our favour was the sound as there was a tram that went past every now and again that really altered the recording as well as one interview with a couple and all you could hear was a large Harley Davidson roaring up the street so that couldn’t be used at all. As everything that had to be done with vox pops had to be quick, we set up an initial shot and then just made minor adjustments as each of the interviewees entered the frame so we didn’t waste anybody’s time. I feel that all of our interviewees did a really great job as we asked them a broad question and then followed with a more direct question that really got a good performance out of them.

Towards the end of your edit reflect on the following: how was your project organised, could you find the footage you needed easily; did the layering of vision and audio add to your work; it would be good to be conscious of timing in your edit and then reflect upon it – was it cut too quickly or slowly or just right, did it need more gaps, more silence, more time to ponder.

When it came time to start to edit together this documentary. I decided to thoroughly go through all of the footage, name it, add markers with comments so that when it really came time to put it all together I could easily find what I was looking for. In my documentary plan, I mentioned that I wanted to add some music, so I got in touch with a friend of mine and asked him if I could use one of his songs which he allowed. Once I added in the layer of music, in my opinion it completely raised the mood of the film, which I really enjoyed. When I went into editing, I thought that I would have one main interview and a few different vox pops sprinkled though. When I went through the footage, I found that the vox pops and the interview footage didn’t really blend in the best. So I made a decision just to use the vox pops, I found that editing them all together worked really well, I went with the interviewees time and cut off when was appropriate and moved on. As I had already landed on a participatory mode I really needed to try and edit in that fashion also, but the filmmaker in the case of my documentary is Kate but I feel that I made it work even though I wasn’t the one asking the questions. I feel that the length of this film is probably a bit long and I could’ve probably skipped a few of the interviews that I put in, but with the music selection everything finishes at a similar point so ultimately I am happy with it although like I mentioned before when we were shooting the vox pops some of the audio peaked and I just had to work with it and try and make it the best I could.


Then reflect on the whole process. Consider: the quality and usability of your recordings; the effect of layering and juxtaposition of both the audio and the video and; the things you learnt from working with this kind of audio and video.

During this assessment, I really struggled as I was absent from the tutorial when the abstract videos were shot and didn’t really know what I would be aiming to accomplish. I had been present for the audio recording and had some ideas about a possible storyline using the audio that I had recorded during that class as I feel more comfortable using audio to tell a story over a visual medium.

I feel that the quality of the audio recordings are a bit of a mixed bag as there are tracks that clipped and distorted that I could no longer use the final product. While others were really nice. So I decided to use the best audio as that would be given the spotlight for most of the video. I wanted to create a person’s bizarre day through the use of sound with conflicting images that don’t represent the audio.

With the video, I had to use what had been given so this made it hard for me. As I didn’t know their process when they had gone out to shoot made it harder for me to put the random shots into a sequence. I decided to use a sequence of shots in 5,10 and 15-second pieces so it is consistent in that way as there is no linearity to the way the shots have been put together.

I feel that personally, I am not an extremely creative person and have more of a logical head so I really struggled with this. I felt the layering and juxtaposition both the audio and video a really difficult concept to wrap my head around. But I thought back to the reading that we had had a look at at the beginning of the semester about sight and hearing specifically the quote when a sound can replace an image, cut the image or neutralise it. The ear goes more towards the within, the eye towards the outer. I felt that this really helped me to finish this task.

Peer Feedback

Celestial City 3 – Peer Feedback

I have decided to do the peer feedback task on A Taste of India by Kaitlyn, Kate and Jie Jian. It is a lovely story about a girl named Naan and a guy name Rolls and how they discover different things about their respective cultures and how they ultimately fall for each other.. Spoiler sorry. In the spirit of peer feedback, I will be looking at strengths, weaknesses, possible improvements that could’ve been made and in-depth analysis of the things that worked.

What I really enjoyed about this digital story is that it was a truly lovely story and it was really easy to engage with. It talked a great deal about the differences between India and Australia. I feel that it can be enjoyed by a very large audience as I think kids would enjoy it as it is fun and a little bit silly but the underlying message is really lovely. I liked the fact that they went with having the main characters as food, that was a great idea.

The weaknesses of this project proved to be very few, they were very small and could easily be fixed. One that I found was that some of the images could have been edited better, for example, there was some white background showing in some of the pictures with the sausage rolls that hadn’t been completely edited out. But knowing from first-hand experience how hard it is to do, they were very well done. Also, within the story there are a few little errors like spelling and tense changes but that is really nitpicking.

If I could put my two cents into this project, I would’ve added some different media into the project. For example, they put screenshots of the photos on Facebook then the respective character in front of it, another way that could’ve worked is to create Facebook pages for Naan and Rolls and then tell part of the story that way on their walls and direct the people to each of their sites. That way it could be more interactive.

In my opinion, what Kaitlyn, Kate, and Jie Jian did particularly well is blending the story with the images, everything was clear and the story was put across very well. Everything was complimentary and worked together really well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I hope there is a sequel where Naan and Rolls continue to fall in love and Rolls goes over to India to continue to learn about the differences about Australia and India.

Thinking About Stuff..

Celestial City 2 – Produce A Digital Story

‘Critically reflect on the project with reference to content, aesthetics and technology, and about processes and collaboration.’

Instead, of producing a digital story, I was a part of the Loboc Children’s Choir Social Media Campaign with Isobel, Tim, Michael, Francisco, and Ailee. When we first got told that we had been picked we were able to come together and work out roles and responsibilities. Everyone was really eager to get to work on it as, it was such a great opportunity to get real world experience. In terms of content, it took a while for us to get all of the information that we needed so that we could launch the site, as we didn’t want to be giving out false information. Although, once we had gathered all the information from the correct sources we were free to go off on our own and work on our selected jobs. But, we would meet each week with how everything was going; if we felt that it was up to par to put online and the time and date we would put it on.

We proposed two different logos to the powers that be, but, they decided to go with the original Loboc Children’s Choir logo so that the brand could be recognised and known around the community. So, aesthetically speaking we wanted to keep it simple using similar colours in the original logo and the lovely pictures taken from the RMIT trip to the Philippines. With technology, we used multiple social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Website, Vimeo and Email. This has proved to be the hardest part, getting followers and getting to people that would want to go to the event. But, we have incorporated a communications strategy that we will be following, to get as many people as possible to this event.

Processes and collaboration have been the easiest part of this group project, thanks to all of my fellow group members. Each one of us has done our part in our selected role and then got in touch and all agreed on the work going out to the public. Can’t wait to keep going and see how well we did and how many tickets we collectively sold.

Electronic Books

Bridge-Less River 1

Through the course of this blog, we will be looking into the ever-expanding phenomenon of ebooks. An ebook is a book-length publication in digital form with text, images or both, they are readable on computers or other readable devices like tablets and smartphones. There has been a massive escalation in the use of e-books as the devices to use them are becoming very easy to obtain. There are a few different formats for reading ebooks, the main ones are PDF, HTML, LIT and KML.The Internet is a wide-open medium. Excellent, talented authors can take their books to the Net, market/promote and sell those books themselves. Others are coming to the growing e-publishing houses and taking that route. Will e-books replace printed books? I sure hope not, at least not in my lifetime. Being a writer and avid reader for years, I am one who finds the feel and smell of a book part of the whole experience of reading. Everything I write is still with pen and paper initially and although double the work (almost) to type it into the computer, I can create only with that pen in hand. Yet I also embrace progress and anticipate the future with excitement. Our children are the ones who will comfortably slide into this world. Already they are at ease working on computers, doing research for homework, writing papers, let alone just surfing the Internet. Imagine a child having just one e-reader to carry to school where all the text books they need are stored within that one unit.

Looking through the web on how to make ebooks there are many different ways you can go about it. But first things first, you need to pick your topic for the book and indeed write the book. The next step is to make an ebook copy, this means that using keywords in the title, using a consistent format and when appropriate using formatting to your advantage. The next step is to design your ebook, this incorporates colour, visuals and highlighting poignant quotes and statistics. Once you have finished with the ebook, you need to optimise ebooks for lead generation, reconversions and promotion. This means making a dedicated page for your ebook, this would promote and describe your offers and also tracking the e-books success. Launching your ebook, is the final step.

Digital Image Editing

Doubting Castle 1

When you have a digital image and you need to change it in some way, you will need to use a digital image editing software. In the flipped lectures, we are introduced to GIMP and some aspects of Photoshop. When going through any new software, to be able to open, save and export is a necessity to know. When I was learning about these image editing software, I had no idea just how many file types for pictures there actually is, the list seems endless and it is very important that you know the file type that you will need and save and export it that way otherwise you may need to go back and do it all again. Another big aspect to image editing is the use of layers, this took me a long time to get the hang of as I didn’t think that it took that many things to make a lovely image I was just completely naïve about the whole process.

I have only used Photoshop to resize images to put into the videos so that it can remain consistent and the logos can be easily recognisable with all of the different media platforms. I also needed to make the credits list and did that in Photoshop as the size for the video was already pre-made in the program.

Digital Drawing

Doubting Castle 2

When doing digital drawings there are two main types that you can choose from they are bitmap or vector. Vector drawing is using algorithms to join two points together to create an image, whilst bitmap uses the pressure in which you use your mouse stylus or finger into a series of little dots also known as pixels. I decided to look around at some different programs that are out there for the digital drawing and I came across a company called Wacom and they have set up a system that uses a pen and tablet then through a USB connection you can start creating through many existing programs. Earlier in the year, I got a subscription to Adobe so that I did have the opportunity to learn how to make images using Illustrator and how to edit images better in Photoshop.

I personally didn’t have to incorporate any digital drawing into our social media campaign. Although, I did get my friend who is a graphic designer to make up a logo and I sat there with her while she used Illustrator to make said logo and she taught me a lot about the program and I got a better understanding of the program watching her make all of the changes.

Basic Audio Editing

Doubting Castle 3 

In media, audio often gets overlooked and the primary focus is on the video. But, if the audio is bad, even the best video would be greatly diminished in quality. Audio editing is a big part of making anything for the media. Within the flipped lectures, Audacity and Garageband were brought to the forefront. Both of these are great programs and can be used easily and can get the job done well. Audacity is a great program for making smaller productions and has many great tools to get the job done. Garageband is a great program that I love to play with and try to make songs. There are many other programs out there that are used for audio editing, I personally use Pro Tools and that is widely considered the industry standard for most things including recording bands, recording live shows and in post production. In a lecture that I had with Tom, we discussed that Adobe Audition is primarily used to edit together podcasts.

As I have been in the group working on the social media campaign for the Loboc Childrens Choir, I got appointed to do the video and audio editing for the group. So I have been using Pro Tools to edit the audio from the footage to get rid of some of the crackles and pops in the recording and even adding some reverb to make the voices sound angelic.

No Direction Home

An opening scene can sometimes be seen as a precursor to the rest of the film. Describe all of the information released in this beautifully constructed 2 min sequence edited by Thelma Schoonmaker that opens Martin Scorsese’s 2005 film, No Direction Home. What do you think Scorsese and Schoonmaker have told us about the rest of the film?

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer. He has been extremely influential to popular music and culture since he came onto the scene in 1960’s. He has 36 studio albums and many hits, including my personal favourite ‘Don’t Think Twice Its Alright’. No Direction Home is a documentary by Martin Scorsese about Bob Dylan, it gets the title from a lyric in his song ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. In this 2 minute sequence, we get a look at the movie to come so let’s break it down.

It opens to a live performance of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ starting with the lyric No Direction Home. It then does a hard cut to an image of fog covered trees, they do four transitions to different tree settings after the second Bob Dylan’s interview comes in discussing time and how one can’t make it stand still. After Dylan makes these points Monroe Brothers song Drifting Too Far From The Shore begins to play as the image of a house with the caption ‘Many Years Earlier’, dialogue with Dylan comes in and he is discussing his childhood, playing first guitar, the first time that he heard music on the big mahogany radio that had the 78” turntable and the song that was playing is the music in the background, ‘Drifting Too Far From The Shore’, the last thing he says in this section is that he sometimes felt that he was born to the wrong parents. While, discussing these topics, different photographs of what we can imagine is Bob Dylan as a young boy go through, also a video of a turntable and then the footage from Dylan’s interview. It then goes to a main street with a banner above with the sign ‘See The Iron Mines 1 Mile North’ with marching band music in the background. The Dylan commentary comes in and we assume he is talking about his hometown as he makes the comment what happens to a town after its livelihood is gone…it decays and blows away. We then begin to see footage from the mines and lovely brass music is playing in the background. Dylan talks about farmland and mining, the weather, the ‘pit’ and the lack of philosophy, idiom to go against. Photographs of the town and his father’s electrical store were shown in this section of the piece as well as the interview footage whilst Dylan discusses his father’s store and how sweeping up the store that was his first job and he learnt the ‘discipline of hard work and the merits of employment’.

I believe that every part of this two-minute sequence has been thought out by Scorsese and Schoonmaker as each part paints a picture into what you will see in the upcoming movie. The performance of Like a Rolling Stone, openings on the lyric ‘no direction home’ the movie title and we find out in the two minute that he is discussing his childhood and how he feels that he was born to the wrong parents. We feel that we can expect views about his family and town, his life before music and his personal philosophy of life through song.

Search Engine Optimisation

Enchanted Ground 2

Throughout the course of this blog, I will be discussing and implementing ways in which to improve the hits on my blog through the use of search engine optimisation also known as SEO. The purpose of SEO is to create a great, seamless user experience and communicate to the search engines your intentions so that they can recommend your website for relevant searches. When making your website you should be thinking about all of the aspects that a search engine looks for and they are:

  • Content – This is based on the theme, titles and descriptions.
  • Performance – This is based on how fast the site is and if it works properly.
  • Authority – This is showing if the information is true and referenced correctly.
  • User Experience – This is based on the appearance of the site and if it is easy to navigate through.

One thing that I have started to do in my quest to get more people onto my blog is through multi-channel platforms. I have made my facebook page, a twitter page, a LinkedIn and my e-mail. But I need to keep posting thing to keep the hype around the page, especially being consistent with key phrases to help with branding. Also, I have been keeping the domain names quite similar to my freelance business Rachel Wilson Sound.

Some things I really need to work on is optimising for different results and different devices. As it has been proven that videos tend to get on the first page rather than just a text rich page. Also, I need to start using meta-data to your advantage even though search engines tend to filter out most of it, having good title tags and meta descriptions prove to work well to catch the readers.

If I really want to keep this going, I would probably make my own proper website and register for a domain name and then can use the Google Analytics or Yoast in association with my WordPress blog, then those websites can really go through 18 different SEO factors and ranks them on a simple street light system.