*Please note – weeks 7+8 comprised of the same work as both were comprised almost entirely of editing. I have therefore combined the two weeks as one summary.
What work was completed this week?
The work completed over the past two weeks has been almost entirely editing of the documentary. As of now I have completely approximately half of the final project and plan to finish off the editing next week (week 9) giving me a final week to ensure all written documentation of the project is completed and do a final evaluation of the entire project.
The first aspect of the editing process was to go through all the footage and break it all up into separate clips that I felt had a place in the documentary. Once this was done I begun to group all the clips based on subject matter – such as discussions of whether gaming can be an addictions, the affects of gaming addiction etc… This process took upwards of around 7 hours.
Following from having the clips grouped I began creating a short intro cinematic using footage from my gaming social experiment combined with gaming clips before cutting to a title screen. This was following on from the cinematic storyboard as seen in the production log.
The next aspect I focused on after starting to load the clips in order after the opening cinematic was additional editing affects. Due to the documentary being based on gaming I wanted to stylise my documentary effects as such. Therefore I downloaded a font by the name of ‘Press Start’. The font is styled to be retro gaming inspired. I used this font for all the text in the documentary including the title screen.
I then used sony vegas 13 pro’s type writer effect to animate the text to make it appear as if it were being typed out on the screen (YouTube Channel – timetokickit, 2014). This would then make the names of the interviewees appear on the screen in a more stylised way. The interviewee’s relevance to the documentary (such as ‘gaming addict’ or ‘mental health specialist’) would also be typed out in the same way but with a luminescent looking green outline to make it more stylised to gaming and distinguish between the name and there relevance. While the animation is playing I included a sound effect of a futuristic sci-fi esque typing noise. This gives a much more visually stimulating format for the presentation of the introduction of the interviewees.
During the second week I also held a focus group with a group of students aged between 18-20 to gauge interest in the documentary based on the trailer in order to determine if I had successfully created a project that would interest my intended audience. Below is a more in depth analysis of the discussion.
Focus group discussion
The focus group was incredibly successful. I was skeptical that the trailer would be well received by the majority of the group as there was a split of around 50/50 in terms of gamers and non gamers. In this way I was worried I may alienate the audience who were not interested in gaming.
Following watching the trailer everyone in the group expressed interest in the room and said it would be something they would be interested in despite not all being interested in games. Those who were not interested in the gaming element found the idea of the addiction element interesting and were interested in the subject matter.
No one felt that the documentary was not accessible to them based on the content of the trailer.
When asked the length at which they would be interested in the documentary being the general consensus of the room was for 45 minutes was best as many felt 30 minutes would not cover the subject matter enough and an hour would be too long and lose interest.
Many suggestions were made for what to include. Many wanted the shock value of addiction affects and were interested when I mentioned some of the issues mentioned by interviewees and suggested that should be included. Many had a general interest in addiction and the parallels between other more common addictions such as alcoholism and drug addiction to gaming addiction. This is an aspect that is covered through the interview with the mental health specialist and I will make sure to include this element in the final cut.
The final element that many wanted to see more of was actual game footage to include to break up interviews in the final cut. Obviously as the subject is on gaming those who do not play the games in question would like to be given some visual context as to the games in question. Due to this I have been recorded more game footage myself and have reached out to a few friends who play various different genres of competitive games to record footage for me .
This week there were some fairly large problems with the editing process. The biggest of which was the time factor. As I am undertaking the entire editing process myself I have to do all the effect editing, clip editing and audio editing on my own. In total over the past two weeks I have already put over 30 hours of editing in with between 5-7 hour editing sessions non stop in order to ensure the project is completed on time. A lot of this time is playing around with effects and trying to create a more cohesive narrative through matching clips. But the main time consuming aspect has been going through all my stock footage. With around 8 hours worth of interview footage, just going through the footage and cutting relevant clips to use in the project took up an entire day.
One of the biggest problems I faced was trying to find a way to visualise my audio interview as the contact lived in Leeds I was unable to have footage of him for the interview itself. I spent a significant amount of time trying to find a way to visualise the audio but was unable to find anything that didn’t cost money for third party software such as Adobe After Effects.
The last major issue was the of the audio. The audio of the interviews has some background noise in places such as seagulls of just general background buzz.
How were they overcome
With the issue of the amount of time the project is taking to edit I have factored this in. While the initial stage of going through and clipping all the footage and then putting relevant clips together was incredibly time consuming, the more longer I edit the more progress I make in less time. As the project carries on I build momentum knowing where all the footage I need is and already having everything clipped up makes the editing process much more efficient. While this seemed an issue at the time and took a lot of time this week I feel that by the end of week 9 I will have been able to easily finished the final cut with plenty of time to spare. This will allow me to spend week 10 showing the project to people and getting feedback in order to evaluate the project and turn it in as initially planned.
With regards to visualising audio I was able to find a very satisfying work around. While Sony Vegas has no specific way to visualise audio itself it does come with a lot of visual effects that can be applied to clips. Therefore, I rendered out the audio for the clips and played it through Windows Media Player. The software has a setting where you can have it show the audio as a sine wave. I then used screen capture software to record this sine wave with the audio as well. I then synced up the video of the sine wave with the audio in the editor. I then used the chroma key effect to removed the discoloured grey background leaving just the sine wave itself with a pure black background. The sine wave was incredibly thin and difficult to see so I cropped the video to show less of the wave to magnify the effect of it visually. The wave still however looked uninteresting. I then began to experiment with different effects to make the sine wave look more interesting. I found a glow effect which outlined the sine wave (thanks to having chroma keyed out the background). I then set the thickness of the glow and changed the colour to be the same green as the text that had been used with the rest of the project to give a sense of continuity and make it look more gaming related. I also then slightly pixilated the wave to give more of a retro gaming look to the effect. This ended up looking much more visually stimulating than I expected and suited the aesthetic of the project and went from being a weakness to a strength of the interview.
In regards with audio, I have made Audacity (a free audio editing software) linked to Sony Vegas. I am now able to right click on a clip’s audio and it will open in the audacity editor. I have played around with settings and have found it relatively easy to minimise the background audio. I will likely wait until the project is complete and then go through and edit the audio where necessary. With the audio interview as my contact has a professional audio recording software and microphone, his audio was already of professional quality and will not need editing.
Evaluation of work completed this week
These last two weeks are definitely the strongest two weeks in terms of work I have completed. Editing is definitely my strongest area in the project creation process (and the main reason for the creating of the this project). While I feel there are fundamental issues with some of the footage I have filmed looking back through while editing, the majority of the issues with these are things I am capable of mitigating at least to a certain extent.
With editing I feel much more motivated and have a much higher skill level than with the filming and research aspects of the project. Since I have had experience with different Sony Vegas editing softwares since I was 14, I have over 7 years of experience. It is in this project where I am feeling much more confident with my overall creative capabilities. With filming I was limited by space and other people’s organisation, whereas with editing I am giving complete control over my own work.
I am very efficient with editing first cutting files to length and organising clips it ensures a much more streamlined editing process, something I have learnt over time. Saving time allows me to spend more time on other aspects such as effects.
Another aspect I feel I have done well is the stylising of the editing to fit the subject matter without going overboard on the aesthetic so much that it detracts from the serious nature of the documentary.
However, there are still elements of editing that I could have utilised better. I am more used to editing shorter pieces (maximum run time usually consisting of 10 minutes) taking on a 45 minute documentary was a much larger undertaking than I anticipated. So organising of the clips was more difficult with having more footage to work with and I could have utilised elements of the software such as leaving notes on the Sony Vegas project to show what each clip was to save me having to keep going back through the clips to find the correct one.
Another element I could improve on is motivation, after several hours I begin to drag and try to force myself to work through meaning I work at a much slower rate. In this regard I should really taken breaks every so often when feeling like this to ensure as overall it would save me time. Also take breaks would help prevent eye strain and back ache.
If I were to do it again I think I would either set out with a smaller scope of a project focusing on making something around 20 minutes or if I were to do something of a similar size go into it with either a team to work with to break up the workload or a longer timeframe for aspects such as filming and editing (so I would not have to subject myself to 7+ hour editing sessions).
Next week’s itinerary
- Complete editing of documentary
- Begin organising groups to view the final product
- Do any final pieces of written work
- Scan in all consent forms and add them to the appropriate document
Was work completed in reference to plan/am I on track
In regards to completing work on time the original plan was to complete editing by the end of the ninth week giving me a final week for evaluation and to organise group showing of the final project. Considering the progress made this week I believe I will easily complete the editing process by the end of next week ready to begin the evaluation process and any final pieces of written documentation.
YouTube Channel – timetokickit (2014). Sony Vegas 13 ProType Titler Typewriter Effect. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joq3UCMhyOQ [Accessed 8 May 2017].