Click here to play video
The Boston Media Makers meeting on Sunday was inspiring. I met a lot of fantastic videobloggers as well as learned a lot through the discussion on production values facilitated by David Tames. I made a mini-documentary of what I learned. Some techniques that I learned about that I want to put into practice in future work:
- Capturing secondary audio with an external mic and recorder and then synching them during the editing process. Requires a mic, recorder, and some more skills with editing.
- Shooting to edit, particularly conversations. Remember to capture both the speaker and people listening. Thinking like a cinemagrapher.
- Be able to capture "b" roll that I can actually use.
- Editing between cuts/transitions. How to make the transitions smoother without that annoying burp sound or without it abrupting stopping midstream.
With these goals, I think that I'm beginning to feel limited by MovieMaker. Yet, on the other hand, it offer some creative challenges.
For example, I figured out a way to silence the audio in a "b" roll and replace it with a -over narrative. Because there are only two audio tracks and the volume control adjusts the audio on both for the entire movie, this was hard to do. (I put the clip into another project, turned off the sound, saved it as AVI and brought into the original project.) Now that I know how to incorporate this technique into the editing, I need to keep this in the back of mind when in the field shooting.
With moviemaker, it is a pain to move around the little bits of audio, pictures and video in the timeline without the program crashing or completely messing things up. I don't know if this a problem with moviemaker or whether I'm doing it correctly.
I'm going to quote the notes from David verbaitem because he has summarized the key points much better than I could ever articulate at this moment and my text notes suffered because I was attempting to incorporate video capture:
All techniques (whether intentional or not) are part of our vocabulary as visual storytellers and communicators. When is it best to “shot and get whatever” and when might we want to worry about “production values” like “good” lighting, sound, framing, etc.? There are aesthetic and moral issues at stake in this issue. When should we use the aesthetic conventions and tools of industry professionals and and when should we “do our own thing”?
It’s often a question of what is appropriate vs. what is inappropriate for a given message. Much videoblogging is intimate vs “professional” media which is often “detached.” We spoke about low quality vs high quality, and discussed the examples of the “mistakes” in Jean-Luc Godard’s Dreathless in the form of jump cuts were actually an excellent aesthetic technique for creating a particular mood or feel.
Phillipe Lejeune remided us that what’s most important is passion, the desire to do what you’re doing. I have to say this is one reason I find this particular group (which has a mix of everything from novices to professional media makers) more interesting that most, everyone here, regardless of their skill level in media making, is driven by something that’s important to them. Phillipe’s words really resonate, especially in the current context.
Beth suggested we come up with a priority list in terms of what components of production values are most important for effective communication/sharing/conveying what we want to say, we came up with something like this:
- 1. Story, message, passion, you have something to say;
- 2. Record good sound (this is the basis of your viewer’s emotional response to your piece;
- 3. composition and camera work (some rules of thumb that make expression more efficient includes: the rule of thirds, which is based on the golden triangle/mean/spiral;
- 4. Editing, including basic rules about eye-line and eye-level match (related to rule of thirds), making cuts seamless or noticeable, depending on your intent; and
- 5. Shoot for the edit, shot in a way that makes it easy to cut things together, for example, get coverage (alternative angles) of what you’re shooting. Now cutting makes things less “truthful” so how you cut involves a moral dimension. Uncut footage subliminally feels like you were there and can sense the “truthiness” but on the other hand, seamless cutting does the same thing. This goes back to the old argument in film theory between Andre Bazin (who favored little cutting and wide shots) and the more formalist filmmakers who were really into expression, form, and editing.
In the end, “technical resolution” is not what is really important, what’s important is “emotional resolution”. Most of what you need to do to communciate effectively is not expensive.
The meeting also included Steve Garfield's demo of video editing on the cell phone. That's his still I used in the cover of the video blog piece. The video also uses some excellent stills by Bryan Person as well as by David Tames. There's some additional photos from Chris Brogan (discovered after I finished editing ... he he )
What makes a gathering of media makers very interesting is the multiple moment capture can be shared via blogs, flickr, and other places. It makes going back and reconstructing a story, incorporating the varous bits and pieces, an intersting way to construct your own knowledge. This makes me think about how to incorporate this technique into my live blogging practice. One lesson already is to be more thorough with your search for captured content - like is there tag being used .. and try to hunt down their flickr accounts. Gives some more motivation to card exchange and networking at face-to-face gatherings.