Saturday, 11 June 2011

Production Report

Lauren Prior-Smith
‘Yesterday’s Tomorrows’
Production Report 
Aim: My main aim for this project was working in a group to design and produce a title sequence for a fictional television series, called Yesterday’s Tomorrows.  
Inspiration: Throughout this project there have been many influences, but none inspired us more than the visit from Richard Morrison who as well as being a great source of creative knowledge, was able to give us great feedback and encouragement to develop our idea. This dramatically changed the approach we took to the project, getting us to become a lot more involved and excited about the idea we had. Encouraging us to immerse our self in the world that we wanted to create by going on trips to the maritime museum, Truro Museum and even scrounging around in charity shops and peoples garages to find old bits and bobs we could use. Although lots of these props were never used as we developed the project past this idea, it was no doubt a valuable experience that we will always come back to for inspiration.  
The other massive inspiration behind this project was a chance find that I came across while on Vimeo, looking around at videos related to a comic book that I had been reading recently. The film was in fact a fan made title sequence for the “The Walking Dead” made by a guy called Daniel M. Kanemoto, which was all the more interesting to learn as it looked so incredible and hit the criteria of the new television series so well I couldn’t believe it wasn’t the real sequence. The effect that the guy had created was so amazing it totally sucked you into the scene, transporting you into another world. This was the very thing that we had been looking for to give us direction and develop the project into something we could really get excited about, so I suggested it to Kirsti and told her how it could work and then the journey to production began. 
Production: Through out the production I kept I little note book which was practically glued to my side for six weeks, allowing me to constantly jot down ideas and notes as they popped into my head. This sort of thing always seemed a little laborious before, but I can tell you after this project I am thoroughly converted. I found it to be an amazing tool in helping me to work through ideas, scene changes, prop design, camera angles, story boards and anything that jumped into mind about the project, it wasn’t even something I on my blog but just having it there was more help than you can imagine. 
In addition to this I thought it would be a brilliant idea to note down the developments in the production that happened each week, which again proved to be a massive help in one of our last production meetings as we were able to talk over what we had done in depth so we could both go our own ways to write our production reports. Here is what happened in those weeks. 
Week 1: The first week was very much about the presentation we were going to have to give and deciding who we were all going to work with. Who I was going to work with was decided very quickly as me and Kirsti had discussed working together before, but the actual idea and presentation were a whole other matter. We decided the best way to work at this project was to meet up every day, which in retrospect was one of the best decisions we made on this project and its probably one of the reasons we were able to work so well with each other. Anyway the brief that we chose was “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” a fictional based television series based on a series of original science fiction books, which originally we had a very different idea for but after our tutorial we both felt would be a too obvious route. So we both came up with the idea of having the title sequence filmed as if it were a book on a desk and prepared a presentation to show Richard Morrison our idea. 
The presentation it’s self seemed to go very well and we both gained some valuable experience in pitching skills, as well as some critical feedback which really helped us to develop the idea of having a pop up style book to make it more interesting. 
Week 2: Taking on the advice of Richard Morrison we headed to the Maritime Museum for inspiration and began to search for and make props for what we thought at this stage would be a stop motion style animation. This was one of the stages I most enjoyed as you really got to enjoy what we were trying to create, by going to old book shops and places for inspiration all of which is invaluable knowledge for future projects that I am truly grateful to Richard for telling us to go out there and get. 
The second half of the week was about putting our idea into an animatic to present to the class, which was something we found a little tricky as there were a few problems with the timing in flash, but all something we could learn from. The music for the animatic was something that seemed to take hours to find as nothing was really what we were looking for, until Kirsti found this track that just seemed to fit. Everything about it was just perfect and it was one of the things positively commented on in the session that week. 
Week 3: The third week was a bit of a strange week really as everything seemed to change around a lot, which now when I look back was all part of the way our production progressed and worked out well for this project, but it’s not to say that it would always be the case which was dually noted. The animatic was this first thing I toyed around with that week to try and see if I could sort out the timings, while Kristi began to sketch out some styles for the illustrations we wanted to create for inside the book. It was also at this point when we realised that we could fit into separate roles in the production to maximise the time we had, so I went down the route of technology while Kirsti decided that she wanted to do more of the traditional side of the project. 
Then the eureka moment happened, I discovered the video that inspired a style that we were really keen to create. Once I had shown the sequence to Kirsti and explained how it could work I immediately began to look into how we could create the desired effect and just how feasible it would be. 
Week 4: The forth week was a particularly productive week for the project and was used very well in terms of time, as it was so jam packed. We began the week with booking a camera tutorial, so that we would be able to book out the equipment to shoot the live sequences we needed for that week. In the tutorial we were introduced to two cameras one of which was the Panasonic P2 and the other was the JVC 100 and decided upon using the P2 as we would be able to have more control over the focus and lighting settings within the camera. Straight after the session we booked out the camera and I went back to my flat and started to set up the rig to have a play around with settings, while Kirsti carried on with illustrations for the book. 
The next meeting we set up was with Pete Felstead: After Effects master, to discuss how we would be able to construct the look we wanted in multiple Adobe programs. He sat us down and took us through the process with a few demo drawings that Kirsti had created, so we could get an idea of what it would animate like. We found that everything we wanted to achieve would be possible to do as long as we put the effort in, so we knuckled down and got to work. 
Time management was also something that we seemed to control really well that week making sure we both knew what we were doing, before setting off to work. 
With Kirsti drawing I found that sitting down together and planning out the elements that need to be drawn for each scene seemed to helped both parties as we both new the exact process behind what each of us needed to do and were able to iron out problems like sizing of images.
Week 5: The Fifth week was pretty much all guns blazing really, with the production under full swing as it neared the final two weeks. I was busy editing many of the scanned images Kirsti gave me into PSD’s, so that they could be opened and used within the After effects comps I had created for each section of the sequence. Kirsti powered on drawing and scanning all of the elements for each part we needed which caused a few problems as the scanner mucked up quite a bit but we were able to sort through it in the end. 
Week 6: The final week kicked off to a flying start when I placed all of the elements I had constructed in After Effects into Premiere, so that I could build up an idea of what sort of timing we had and show Kirsti how it was looking. At this point I had finished editing all of the live action scenes and the animated ink drop and the two shots that scroll across the page, so it now really began to take shape and we could really see what it would look like in the end. The only major problem we seemed have was with all of the many many many  layers we made After cope with, but Pete again came to the rescue and suggested we used A Mac with 8GB of RAM so we could process the files and be able  preview them with out it crashing. This proved to be a massive help in the efficacy we could work at which allowed us to finish on time and to a standard that we were both happy with. 
Outcome: Over all this project has been a mammoth task but through shire determination and the help of some clever minded helpers, we were able to achieve a project that we were not only happy with but proud to have put our names to. Apart from a few mishaps with rendering, which was to be expected with a project as big as this one. We have really enjoyed the entire process and look forward to using the skills and creativity we have gained to go onto many inspiring future projects. 

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