Idea and Inspiration
For this project, I felt it would be helpful to produce a video case study of one of my past projects that could show how all the elements of a website design fell into place because I was focused on properly balancing my interests with those of my client. It was about the narrative website I designed in DTC 355 (multimedia authoring) in the CMDC program here at WSUV for my most recent employer, A to Z Blinds, where I worked for about three years prior to returning to school to try and finish my degree.
I feel like a major theme of this blog has been not just things you can do to get ahead in the digital media industry, but also the kinds of attitudes necessary to do well in anything in life. My personal belief is that you can’t really do very well on anything if you don’t consider the train of thought that accompanies the things you do. So, the same paradigm I apply to life in general is the same paradigm I apply to professional digital media and content creation, just as I did for this video project.
Since this video is about one case of excellent digital work, I felt it would be fitting to show me coming home and doing some work. This is an example of shooting shots of something of concern. My audience should be mostly coming to my blog out of concerns about their work, so it seems to fit pretty well. Furthermore, the clips consisting of screen recordings that show up after I sit down on the couch are sort of an extension of what I was just doing, opening the laptop to showcase some work. It’s really important, after all, to have a logical sequence flow that doesn’t confuse the viewer.
The only research I did for this project was to do the assigned readings. There were several great articles and videos to check out, a couple of which I’ve linked to above. I really appreciated the advice I gained from ABC Open, an Australian Vimeo channel that seemingly educates their nation on how to do DIY film-making and news reporting. They make it pretty clear that you don’t need to have the story of the year just to do a video people will want to watch, especially if it’s done well.
I made sure to include the most significant aspects of the project so that people would be able to get an idea of what was involved without going into a super in-depth show and tell. The problem in this case is the time constraint. It’s not easy to tell a big story with lots of detail in a short period of time, like one to two minutes. So, even though I had lots of footage to work with, I had to really narrow it down quite a bit.
One of the readings was a video on YouTube about digital video editing and it included some methods of editing that apply in different situations. As mentioned above, I had way more footage than I could use, so I would say I used the “sifting” method, which I would actually call filtering. I started with the good stuff, then narrowed it down to the better stuff, then whittled it down further to only keep that which was absolutely the best and most necessary footage and audio.
First, to collect footage I asked my wife who is my partner in virtually everything I do to help me by filming me pulling my car into my spot at my house. Then I told her a few spots to stand and angles to film, making sure she knew to exclude my face (I’m not trying to become an actor 😉 ) and to avoid shaking or moving too much. We used her iPhone 7 to record the footage, at which point I uploaded it to my laptop for safe keeping. Lastly, I started looking for free screen recording software and eventually stumbled upon a really excellent program called OBS (Open Broadcast Software) Studio, which happens to have a free, 64 bit version for the Microsoft Windows operating system (as well as others). I used it to record almost too high of quality video (more on that later) straight from my browser.
While it is really easy to work in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and the tutorials helped me a lot to prepare for this project, I found myself regretting trying to use it on my computer. My laptop is old, like from 2013, and so it only has 6 GB of RAM. While it has done well handling all the other work I’ve done thus far in creating this blog, it struggled to process the high speed scrubbing (moving the play head back and forth) that is required in replaying and editing at a normal rate. In the middle of trying to edit my project, I wound up starting over by leaving my house and going to school to work in the library. Thankfully, this turned out great, since they had headphones I could check out and Premiere Pro on the Macs in the lab.
In the process of editing, I actually tried using another excellent free program called OpenShot Video Editor, which I believe would probably replace Premiere Pro for me in most cases that I would need to work on video except for something that I know I can only do in Premiere (I have no idea what that would be at this point). The reason I stuck with Premiere in this case was because I am so familiar with it and I know exactly how to do what I needed to, which would’ve required too high a learning curve at the last minute. Thankfully, last minutes obstacles can often surprise us with interesting opportunities.
My biggest challenges were trying to edit high quality video in Premiere (which handles it nicely if you have the right hardware) with only 6 GB of RAM (recommended is 16 GB) and recording and editing the audio. Strangely enough, I actually got a rough idea of what footage I’d use and the lengths of the clips before recording the audio. I did this by timing what I would say then adjusting the video clips. After that, I recorded the audio and adjusted the video again to match up the transitions at appropriate points.
Sources and Materials
For this video I used all of my own material except for the background music, which is “Santa Harmonica” by Strong Suit. It’s the same song I used for my audio project, although I think I got to use more of the song in this case. Also, I did screen recordings at the following websites, although I don’t think they’d care that I did so: CMDC department of WSUV, A to Z Blinds, and Tigertech.
It’s my genuine desire that this post would prove helpful to you today in your quest to produce more excellent digital media content. I really believe that the main thing is to consider your client’s and their customers’ interests as important if not more so than your own, in which case you should be able to make really great content, since your own ambitions won’t be getting in the way of doing well for the good of all. As always, feel free to share questions and suggestions in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!