FMP: Week 2 Summary

What work was completed this week?

This week was incredibly productive in terms of filming. I filmed three interviews this week with various different archetypes that give voices to various viewpoints on gaming addiction.

This week I interviewed a contact from my class who has experienced gaming addiction and discussed aspects of time being distorted while playing (something that was brought up in a chapter in the book “Death by Video Game” under the title of “Chronoslip”  (Parkin, 2015)). This idea of time going by faster due to gaming is something I intend to be covering in my piece and is something a number of people have mentioned during conversations on the topics over the previous weeks. I will be included this aspect of the interview in the final piece as well as it being a key component to consider while filming the social experiment portion of the documentary.

Following on from this I was approached by a member of my class who wished to discuss a previous relationship of hers which she feel was negatively impacted by her boyfriend’s excessive gaming. The interview, while shorter than some of the others, covered a key element of how addiction can impact relationships with those the gamer cares about. This emotive and honest response was very insightful and will work well with the other interview I have planned with a contact of mine’s girlfriend who has also been impacted by her boyfriend’s gaming habit. Most importantly this gives a voice outside of the gamer from the viewpoint of someone who experiences the persons addiction but secondhand. This is also a good interview to include as it balanced out the male to female ratio as the documentary so far has been predominantly male despite the fairly even split of male to female demographic who took part in my survey.

The final interview was from a member of the safeguarding team at the college. Having had training to combat addiction in the college this gave a good insight into the way in which gaming addiction (and moreover addiction itself) impacts a students education. The lecturer in question goes into detail about the issues with addiction and the personality types of those who are more susceptible to addiction from his experience. The interviewee in question has worked with the AA in the past and therefore makes some very apt comparisons to alcoholism (something I touch on in my research work). Being able to represent this information without having to force a narration will allow for information to be given without it feeling forced and will allow for a better flow and including factual information.

Also this week aside from interviewing I also made sure to make contacts. The college was holding a gaming festival and I took advantage of this to go around and speak to several of the students running the event and got their details in order to contact them after the Easter break in order to interview them. All of those I approached were happy to talk about addiction and most of which were surprisingly quick to diagnose themselves as gaming addicts. This is something I would like to reflect on in my documentary as I feel (and was covered in the interview with the safeguarding officer) some people wear this label as a badge of honour rather than a detrimental addiction.  I intend to e-mail several of these students in the coming weeks.

During the gaming festival I also used the opportunity to film plenty of B reel footage of students playing games. This will be very useful for those who appear in the footage if I use their interview or simply for filler background footage to overlay audio over later on. Currently I now have over an hour of footage for the documentary, I am hoping for around 3-4 hours by the time of editing to ensure I have enough footage.

Also as specified last week prior to the festival I purchased a new SD card of 64GB capacity in order to have more room for recording footage. I also now have access to a SD card reader to make the transferring of files quicker and simpler. I have since moved all existing footage to my computer and to one drive ready for use in the editing phase of the project.

Problems faced

This week I ran into a few minor problems. Firstly there were issues with the recording of sound as I forgot to switch the microphone on during the first few recordings of filler footage. This was quickly realised an rectified but means some B reel with have no sound which could take away some of the aesthetic of it.

There were further issues with sound due to the fact the festival was busy and therefore more than one game could be heard at once. Also due to the busy nature of the festival there were times where people would walk through a shot taking away some of the professionalism.

Following on from this in a less production related sense I was given access to the college’s FMP portfolio this week. Initially this was a very daunting document as I normally prefer to work in several smaller documents and upload them to my blog as and when completed while keeping the blog updated each week with these summary posts. I found the document very concerning as there were areas I wanted to cover in the document that were not present and also sections I felt were not necessary or I had covered in various other areas of my work. This began to make me doubt my existing work thinking I had not covered the criteria as I had initially thought, there were also several areas which I have to write about in the document which I had not accounted for and therefore caused me some concern. In one respect I discovered I had misunderstood one part of the pitch section of the document and therefore redid the piece.

How they were overcome

In terms of audio issues I quickly realised the audio had not been recording when it came to playback. I made sure the light was on on the microphone prior to recording each section, however this was not a major issue as with interviews I did the usual soundcheck prior to recording. With this B reel if I wish to use it as overlay I will likely not need the background noise of the event as, as mentioned before, it was quick loud and had a lot of various games’ sounds clearly audible. I will likely use either music or perhaps edit in background noise if I decide to use the clips without. Also I made sure to film extra footage just in case this later proved to be an issue.

With the issues of the festival being busy I made sure to come back and film as quieter periods of the day when people were heading back to class or when there was a lull. I would check about every hour to see how busy it was and then move my equipment down to film once it wasn’t too hectic for filming. In the case someone walked into shot I filmed for a longer period of time so I had more usable footage.

Finally, after being initially thrown by the portfolio I decided to e-mail my lecturer with my concerns and carry on as usual with my planned work schedule in the mean time. As I have raised concerns before and my lecturer has assured me I will likely just have to copy and paste my work into the final document and can upload the pieces of work to my blog once completed so they can be looked at individually before being added to the portfolio. This week I made sure to alter my initial proposal (to the initial one uploaded this week) in the main document. I will be endeavoring to work through any sections  of the document I haven’t covered in my existing documents in my own time as part of independent study outside of college hours. While I believe some areas of the document aren’t relevant for my project in particular I may add some headings in and remove others. While I do not find the idea of a chaptered portfolio particularly appealing I do see the merits in terms of marking for those marking my work. I will therefore be uploading the portfolio along with my other work in separate documents to the same final blog post at the end of the project in order to cover all bases.

Evaluation of work completed this week

This week was very successful in terms of productivity. All the footage shot this week was of a professional standard adhering to industry expected skills for filming and content.

With regards to skills this week I was able to film all the interviews over the course of one day which ensured efficiency for filming (and made easier due to the purchasing of the new high capacity SD card). I filmed each shot taking into account the rule of thirds and made adjustments to the white balance accordingly to have a good visual interview. All my interview questions were carefully prepared prior to the interview and this allowed for the interview to flow very effectively with the interviewees never losing their train of thought.

There was a minor issue with one interviewee continually looking around nervously, however for the most part they looked at me to the side of the camera and this seemed to stop this from happening as often, in regards to this I can easily fix this issue in post by overlaying footage of just using the voice over in certain sections or perhaps cutting certain sections out depending on how much of the interview I use. Overall this was only a minor issue.

With regards to filming there were no issues, having now had a lot of practice setting up I am able to have all equipment ready within a couple of minutes with another minute or two for sound check. This efficiency will greatly benefit me in the long run as it will give me more time to complete more interviews in locations such as college where many of the gamers I am contacting will be located.

One aspect I am slightly wary of at the moment is my limited range of locations having filmed at thus far. While this makes life simpler for recces and health and safety in my production log this may make for less interesting footage if everyone is set in front of the same backdrop. Therefore next week I plan to interview a contact of mine in his house and get some B reel of him playing games as he would be on a normal day as well as his girlfriend. It will give a bit more variety to the overall piece.

The filming of the festival was incredibly useful and quite a stroke of luck, one aspect I have found during this project is to always be looking for more contacts and opportunities for footage. Had I not spoken to the games department last week I wouldn’t have known to bring in my camera for the festival on the Wednesday and would have lost and entire day’s worth of footage. I also found a very good shot of a game screen with the words ‘Quit game?’ highlighted and felt this could be a great opening or end shot for my piece or perhaps a title screen. This skill of being resourceful and always open and thinking about the project is something that has served me well in previous projects and has been just as useful during my FMP in the last two weeks.

One area I feel I could be working more efficiently in is the written side. Having spent most of my work time dedicated for the academic side of the project so far being on reformatting research and my proposal for the portfolio. Although I am ahead due to work from Unit 12 I could be more productive in this area and it is something I will be keeping in mind going forward.

Was work completed in reference to plan/ am  I on track?

This week I was able to complete all work in reference to my plan as well as more. As discussed above I have completed a lot on the production side this week and have begun my production log a week earlier to my original schedule. One scheduling change I will be making however is moving the social experiment one week back due to having to work 8:30-5:45 each day for the next week. This will likely put a lot of pressure on to complete the work I have scheduled for myself and obviously will make it impossible for me to do the 24 hour gaming session until the following week where I will have the time. Other than this minor setback everything else is moving forward as expected even accounting for the new FMP portfolio and the redoing of the proposal.

Next week’s itinerary

  1. Film interview with contact who identifies as a gaming addict
  2. Complete production log work for the week
  3. Begin working through work portfolio created by the college
  4. Complete 24 hour gaming social experiment
FMP: Week 2 Summary

FMP: Week 1 summary

What work was completed this week?

This week was predominantly centered around planning. Firstly I filled out my official proposal comprising of my plan for the project. Following on from this I wrote out an asset/planning file in which I outline specific criteria for the project (such as target audience, contingency plans and health and safety and legal issues to consider).

I also created my research file, due to having completed the majority of this for my unit 12 project I was able to do this fairly quickly and has put me fairly far ahead in terms of the project as a whole. This allows me to focus more on the production log as well as the filming and editing of the documentary itself. Considering the length of time I have for the project and the fact that for the most part I am undertaking this documentary on my own I am very pleased to have gotten ahead of schedule early.

A lot of this involved making contacts and using existing contacts to book interviews. So far I have managed to book two interviews for filming next week with a safeguarding lecturer at the college as well as a member of my class who has personally experienced gaming addiction.

Following on from this I was able to get in touch with two of the college’s games design lecturers in order to organise an interview with them regarding the teaching of students who have been addicted to gaming and how it has affected their classwork. While discussing this with the lecturers I was informed of a gaming festival being held at the college next week and given the opportunity to shadow the lecturer heading up the event giving me an opportunity to film some B reel. This will also give me the opportunity to get more contact with gamers who I can either interview during the event or at a later date. I have also arranged an interview with one of the gaming lecturers for the Friday after the Easter break.

I have also been in contact over e-mail with a psychology professor at the University of Kent and have arranged an interview for April 26th at 3pm. This will provide some valued insight for my project, while he has stated he doesn’t have much knowledge into addiction himself he does has some “controversial” opinions on the matter that may be of use for the documentary.

Finally I filmed an interview with the mental health specialist with a homelessness charity. His understanding of the kind of people who are addicted and are likely to become addicted will be of great value for the documentary. This will be perfect for voice over as well as interview segments. His input was incredibly valuable and something I will definitely be using in the final documentary. Also due to having had mental health training, it gives my documentary a voice of authority on the subject

Following beginning reading the book “Death by Video Game” I have had more thoughts as to how to structure my documentary. I now have access to so much more fact checked information relating to gaming addiction that could be included in sections of pieces to camera in order to break up the interviews so the viewer doesn’t get fatigued by it and lose interest.

I also had a conversation with a professional musician who has previously created music for documentaries. I will be outlining this conversation and more from the discussion regarding the music in my pre-production portfolio.

Problems faced

The main problems faced this week were related to audio. Due to not owning an external microphone audio quality from recordings on my camera are not of as good a standard as I would have liked.

Other problems faced was the fact that, in order to film of a good quality, I had a lot of equipment. The main issue with this was transporting the equipment to the location for filming.

Other than these two since there was little recording done this week there were no more issues. In terms of planning and research this was all done easily and took relatively little time.

How they were overcome

In terms of audio I was able to borrow a rode microphone from the college that was compatible with my camera. This allowed for me to record sound from a direction and therefore cut out background noise. Following this I did several sound checks prior to getting to the filming location and on site, this allowed me to prevent audio levels peaking and ensure the auto setting was a viable option. Unfortunately the microphone was slightly worn and the attachment to mount it to the camera was broken, to solve this I also borrowed an extension cable for the microphone and was then able to position the microphone on the table in the office.

In terms of having a lot of equipment I was able to borrow a large equipment bag to carry all my recording devices and tripod. This allowed me to easily carry all my equipment to the filming location simply and safely.

Evaluation of work completed this week

The work completed this week was completed, to what I would deem, a professional standard. The interview I filmed was with a mental health specialist and therefore this will give credibility to my piece as well as adding a more knowledgeable voice of the mentality of addicts from a professionals perspective. By having this voice I have given my word a lot more credibility.

In terms of the shooting of the piece I found that it was easy to frame and focus the camera to create a professional looking documentary shot, inspired by the cinematography work seen in interviews from work such as “Making a Murderer” and “13th”. However, in terms of framing I did have to remind the interviewee to look at me and not the camera to ensure he was looking across the camera rather than speaking to it. This was quickly resolves through a reminder with a few hand gestures to get his attention without breaking his train of thought or interrupting recording. Also the interviewee’s office was in front of several windows that let in a lot of nature light which allowed for a well lit piece of footage making it again look more professional. This also meant I did not have to worry about adjusting white balance or going through any other prerecording checks relating to this.

In terms of filming there were certain aspects that could have gone better, due to the fact the audio mount wasn’t functional I had to put it on the table, while this isn’t noticeable in the footage it does not appear professional and nor would me holding the microphone myself. While there is little to do to resolve this issue for this project due to it being the only equipment I can get hold of, it is something to bear in mind in future endeavors.

Another aspect to consider is the lack of B reel footage and different angles for the interview. Again, I am limited based on the camera equipment and what I can on my own and in general I don’t really feel it necessary to have B reel footage for these particular interviews in terms of what I have in mind for the interview. In terms of B reel I plan to use gaming footage of people playing as well as footage from the games themselves.

In terms of improvement I think a lot it comes down to have more audio equipment and having more people available to use to help me with the work such as recording from different angles and shots. This also extends to the idea of having other insight into the process and could generate different ideas. In this sense I will be looking to recruit a contact or two of mine who I could have help me with the filming.

Overall this week has been incredibly successful due to the fact I have finalised a lot of the planning elements of the project and made a lot of contacts who I have organised interviews with in coming weeks. This essentially makes filming and creating the documentary the main focus along with the production log, which I will be working on beginning next week. It has been a very successful week in terms of learning about the work going into recording interviews and everything I have learnt will be applied to my future interview recordings.

Evidence of filming

Was work completed in reference to plan/ am  I on track?

As this was the first week and therefore a lot of the work produced this week was in regards to planning and time management I had no issues working to the deadlines set for the end of this week. In some ways I am also ahead based on the fact I have already done the majority of the project research as well as planning.


Next weeks itinerary

  1. Film the games festival during the Wednesday and Thursday
  2. Interview contact about his gaming addiction
  3. Interview safe guarding lecturer
  4. Begin work on pre-production portfolio
  5. Ensure all work from SD card is uploaded to One Drive
  6. Purchase higher capacity SD card
  7. Begin work on production log.
FMP: Week 1 summary