Sunday, March 13, 2011

What have you learnt about the technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Use of technology has made it possible for us to construct a proper and a meaningful opening title. Technology has been used extensively from the beginning when we were doing research for our project and we tried to exploit technology to its full potential. For the research we surfed websites such as Wikipedia, IMDB, and used Google search engine to visit various websites which were helpful to us in planning our final project. The Internet was heavily used from the beginning and we also gained a lot more skill in using the editing software through tutorials available on You tube and other sites.

The website, IMDB had a list of British movies produced by the BBC and from there we could also see them classified into different genres.

Wikipedia had a lot of information about institutions and it was a great resource. A disadvantage of using Wikipedia is that the information found there is not reliable and inaccurate information can be updated by users. Therefore to confirm the authenticity of the information we found, we searched other websites e.g Britannica where there were more chances of obtaining reliable information.

To look at real world examples of opening titles we had online streaming video sites such as Youtube  where we could see examples and get a basic idea for our final project. Also we could easily embed videos and post them on our blog. Youtube helped us with our research as we were able to see the examples of movies and also read the comments made by various viewer under them. My group members and I also made a private group for media studies on Facebook where we could together discuss about the final project and share any useful links. Facebook also accommodated privacy settings and because of that, our group discussion and progress was kept secret from our other class fellows and our posts and comments were saved there. To conduct our survey we used survey monkey and it was easy to reach a bigger audience as more people came online on Skype and Youtube and it was easier to give them links. Plus people find online surveys far easier and more convenient. However a disadvantage of using survey monkey is that we cannot get bar or pie charts automatically generated without any costs and we had to pay in order to obtain proper reports of our survey.

Using blogger is convenient and fun as we were able to update our progress reports and also personalize the blog the way we wanted. In blogger by using stats gadget, I could find out how many people have seen my blog. I can also share useful links and videos on my blog as well.

However there are also negative sides of relying too heavily on the internet for the final research. If the server or connection temporarily goes down, due to some technical fault then the whole of the research comes to a halt. Also while Facebook can be extensively used for communication during media work remaining logged in on Facebook is quite distracting. On blogger if more videos and pictures are posted on a single page then it takes a long time for the page to load. While searching other websites there were also threats of viruses on opening any unknown link. Another disadvantage of using the internet was that  as it allows for fast updating and quicker research, our practical teacher expected us to blog more frequently and research more often which made our lives more hectic.

After using the Internet, the next technology we used was a camera and camcorder. As we had the SD card camcorder it gave us more memory to record the video. The JVC camcorder had a longer battery life and the resolution was sharp and good. Also the camcorder was portable so we easily carried it form one room to another. In the camcorder we could delete any unwanted video right there with a single click and some amount of white light was controlled with some preset options in the camcorder. However while shooting with the camcorder we did not have a good quality sound and there was too much background noise recorded as well. We learnt that in our preliminary exercise that to obtain a good sound for the movie, we should use less or no dialogues and just music and diegetic sound effects. 

For the editing we used Premiere. Premiere was user friendly and compatible with windows XP and vista, which are widely used here and is found in almost every home. In Premiere we were not only able to edit, we also had the option of adding filters to make it look more professional. For example in our preliminary exercise we transformed the color tone of a picture so that the color balance was even throughout the video. Similarly in our final video, some shots were too dark and we applied color correction and brightness effect to improve the quality. Similarly we used Adobe After Effects to make the opening title and the logo of our final movie and different transition and glowing effects were used to make it look more attractive. However we learnt that using such  effect required more RAM  and the computers we use in our homes are not able to facilitate the smooth running of these softwares. They usually crash and a bigger RAM and faster processor is needed to run media software. These software become user friendly once you practice with them and therefore we had to spend a lot of time editing videos to obtain mastery in using them. In Premiere using the sharpness and the fast color corrector effect, we were able to lighten up the shot of the beginning of the sequence as the raw shots were too dark. Using fast color corrector, auto contrast was applied on every video along with 40 sharpness which improved the color and quality of the video.

After experimenting different effects on premiere and After effects, we chose to do most of the editing on the after effects as the quality came out to be even better. On Hammad's shot a blue filter was applied and in all shots, cool filter from After effects was applied where the blue highlights were increased and shadows reduced to make the picture appear more clear. White balance was increased in almost all the shots of Karar. In the split screen shot the lights were exaggerated and Levels effect was applied. 
Adobe Premiere

The fresh user will find the interface very confusing and difficult. Softwares like Audacity and Sound Forge helped us in  sound mixing as we wanted to show the combination of two social groups and so it was possible for us to make a fusion of two different sound tracks.

Xilisoft media converter
Overall technology has been a blessing as it made the whole work relatively easy and convenient. Editing was approximately done in a day or two and with technology it was possible to for us to try and shoot some of the shots to see which idea suited the best. We had a lot of space to store all the data and raw and final shots in our own computers. With the small premiere on projector it gave all the students  a theater like effect while they were watching our movie therefore the could well analyse it. Technology is easy, portable, cheap and convenient. Errors could be easily fixed and  we always had a backup in case we lose any footage.

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