FMP: Week 4 Summary

What work was completed this week?

The beginning of this week was much less productive than I would have liked. However, in the last couple of days I made up for it with a series of unexpected developments which have made up for the initial lack of progress.

During this week I initially had two interviews planned, unfortunately both of these have had to be rescheduled to next week. I am also still to hear back from both the university lecturers I contacted the other week, I have therefore sent a follow up e-mail to both.

I was able to interview one of my contacts. I was initially concerned as to how to do the interview due to the fact that he is located in Leeds. The travel distance wasn’t possible (especially considering the lack of a budget) and therefore I had to find another way to conduct the interview. In the end I interviewed him using voice communication software called Discord, I recorded the interview using the same software I had used the previous week to stream, OBS Multi-platform. While I could not get a video of the person themselves I was able to record the software we were speaking over which showed an icon of him which lit up green as he spoke which gives a good visual representation and is reasonably visually pleasing. The interviewee was incredibly open and honest and gave much more in depth answers than some of my previous interviewees and went into different realms of discussion on the topic that had not come up in previous interviews (such as breakdown of social life and health). The interview itself was incredibly effective despite the lack of the usual format of video in person used for the other interviews. I intend to use a lot of B reel while using audio from this particular audio. Due to the interviewee being a voice actor as a hobby the audio quality was clear as he had a professional standard microphone.

The one major development I had this week that I had not initially planned on was the creation of a short 3 minute trailer using the footage I have gained thus far to use as a proof of concept. This will allow me to use it in my official pitch next week when presenting to my lecturers and class my overall idea. The main purpose of this, however, was initially to practice my editing skills and use it as an opportunity to make sure all the footage was of good quality to edit with and what factors I would need to consider for the project post production. Overall I discovered a way to integrate my video editing software (Sony Vegas 13) and my audio editing software (Audacity) to work in conjunction thus saving a lot of time in terms of cleaning up audio. It was also a very effective exercise in finding relevant footage for what was good to include and what could be missed out of the documentary. In a way it acted as a condensed documentary in terms of format which I then put to music trying to emulate the style of the 13th trailer (seen below).

(Netflix, 2016)

Problems faced

This week was the first week where I have experienced a different side of issues with creating a documentary. Previously I had experience several technical and practical issues such as audio recording trouble and how to transport equipment. This week, however, I encountered much more human related issues.

  1. Firstly I had the issue of a lack of availability for interview. The girlfriend of one of my interviewees who I was initially supposed to interview last week had gone back home for the University Easter break and will not return until mid May, by which point I intend to have completed filming. There was also the issue that despite finally having access to all my filming equipment due to having booked out the microphone I have used for the rest of the documentary, everyone was unavailable for interview until college resumes next week. This was frustrating as it gave me very little to do during the week (hence why I created the trailer). Also as discussed above two interviews with a father and son had to be rescheduled to next week at a yet undisclosed date based around their availability.
  2. Another issue was the fact that I had underestimated the effect the 24 hour gaming experience would have on me. I spent a lot of the week very lethargic and too tired to motivate myself to work and therefore lost more days to recovery. On top of this I then became ill (likely as a result of the lack of sleep) which again deteriorated my motivation and ability to work due to an inability to focus and frequent headaches. This again shows the disadvantages of creating a documentary single-handedly as production halted completely during this time.
  3. There was also the problem discussed above of the fact the one interview I was able to conduct during the week was located in Leeds and I was unable to travel to the location to film in person. I, therefore, had use other means of conducting the interview.

How they were overcome

  1. In terms of interviewees being unavailable I had expected this, I have multiple interviews lined up for next week while back at college which will make up for the lack of interviews done this week. In terms of the girlfriend I will likely try and interview her over software such as Skype of over a landline of some sort so I can at least have the audio to use for the project. Failing that I can possibly film the interview upon her return to Kent for University in May during my post production and slot the late interview in where relevant. This would show my versatility and ability to adapt to change. The other two interviews planned for this week have been rescheduled for next week but were last minute additions sparked by a conversation during the gaming social experiment. They are a bonus if I can get them and are not of a detriment to the documentary if not included. I will endeavor to work around their schedules for interviews and hopefully can do both in one visit for efficiency but since the son works night shifts at a supermarket I may need to film the two on separate visits when convenient for each individual.
  2. With the issue of being lethargic and ill I used the time to plan what work I would be able to complete when feeling better. Although I was unable to concentrate on doing specific work such as working on the production log, I was able to continue research into addiction (more so to influence the structure of the documentary than to flesh out my existing research as I feel it is more than satisifactory). I have learnt several more factors about addiction that I will be able to apply to the documentary and pick out of interviews. But for the most part I had to just rest and due to my schedule being fairly lax due to the time and speed at which I have worked to date I had the room to rest without feeling like I was running the risk of missing an specific deadline.
  3. In terms of the interview in Leeds, I have already explained above that I did this interview over Discord and was able to get a very effective interview despite being audio only. In a way I feel like the interviewee felt more comfortable to talk about more personal issues as they did not have a camera in front of them and could therefore feel more relaxed. In a way I feel like this work around actually benefitted the documentary as a whole.

Evaluation of work completed this week

The work that was completed this week I believe to be of a professional standard. My interview technique was of a good standard emulating that of Louie Theroux from my research. I took inspiration from Theroux’s technique by asking as open ended questions as possible with as little input on my part as possible and allowed the interviewee to interpret and answer the question the way they saw fit. This interview technique contributed highly in the more open and in depth answers I received for this interview over some others. The interview itself was incredibly emotive talking about how he has struggled with the addiction and condemning those who use it as a fad due to pop culture making gaming addiction considered less of a serious issue.

I feel like having gotten this perspective of someone who is self identified as an addict and wants to stop but is unable is an angle I had yet to acquire for my documentary and I feel it is one that was sorely needed in order to document the addiction justly. Many who have experienced the addiction in the past or do not identify as an addict view gaming addiction very differently than this interviewee and I feel that contrast being shown in the documentary will hopefully open up a lot more questions and enable a discussion in the audience. One of the core aims of my documentary is to have people talking about it and the topic after having watched it and I feel this is something documentaries such as 13th and Louie and the Nazis both did exceptionally well. I feel with the inclusion of this interview I am approaching this similar standard.

In terms of my trailer I am incredibly happy with the result. While I feel that as a trailer it would have benefited from more footage that I have yet to acquire, it was effective considering what I currently have to work with. As discussed above I created the documentary to partially emulate the style of the ’13th’ trailer. I feel like considering I did it in one sitting with limited footage it was very effective due to the fact it clearly had a structure to give an overall view of the plan I have for the documentary and the video compliments the music transitioning between clips with the music. I feel this gives it flow and gives a good sense of the feel for the documentary and leaves a lot of questions and encourages viewers to watch. I intend to show this trailer during my pitch to see how effective people find it and why, this will also be a good thing to show to my target audience to see if at this stage the way I have gone about the project thus far would appeal to them based on the trailer. In terms of weaknesses it may have been more effective if I had waited until I had access to more footage and the audio had not been adjusted and this comes out in one of the early clips quick obviously. Obviously this will be fixed in the final cut of the documentary but it does lower the overall quality of the trailer. Overall I am very pleased with this as it was never planned to be part of the work for my project and was initially just an editing exercise which I could reflect on in the production log.

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

Last week’s itinerary was slightly off as I worked my dates out incorrectly and was not in college in order to interview the gaming lecturers or gaming students, however due to the setbacks this week it is likely beneficial this was the case. Instead I did equally viable work through the editing practice and I will be conducting these interviews during week 5.

Next week’s itinerary 

  1. Conduct lecturer interviews
  2. Conduct student interviews
  3. Reschedule interviews with father and son
  4. Complete pitch of project to lecturer and class
  5. Update production log accordingly

Evidence of work completed

Bibliography

Netflix (2016). 13TH | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V66F3WU2CKk [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].

FMP: Week 4 Summary

FMP: Week 3 Summary

What work was completed this week?

This week was not as productive as I would have liked, due to the fact I was working a 45 hour working week split between week 2 and this one. I was, therefore, limited with what work I could complete and had to work through the weekend as well as beginning of the week. However, I was able to film another interview with someone who games during the majority of their free time and was able to gain a new perspective on the subject of gaming addiction as someone who wouldn’t identify himself as an addict as he did not feel qualified to discuss the subject. He also went on to discuss the length of play he has put into a game since its release in the past 2 weeks and discussed how he felt about the time he has put into gaming. His perspective was very self aware and was incredible open and honest, it gives a very human element to the documentary and I will definitely be using a lot of this particular interview to guide my documentary.

Following on from this I was also able to film his surroundings in order to get footage of him gaming as well as getting B reel footage for his interview.

The major element that was completed this week was the 24 hour gaming marathon social experiment. During this time I live streamed the entire thing and have uploaded the files to YouTube as evidence (unfortunately only 17 out of the 24 hours was archived correctly on the streaming site, however I feel this should suffice as evidence). I also created a video diary of the experiment recording some B reel from various angles while I played as well as a piece to camera every 3 hours discussing how I’m feeling and anything note worthy. This is a very large element of the documentary completed and I am confident with a few more interviews completed I will be able to begin the editing stages (which will be documented in the production log).

I have been given two more e-mail contacts from the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University of experts on addiction, however I have yet to hear back from them as the Universities are currently on their Easter breaks.

Problems faced

This week the major problems related to time management. Due to the financial implications of going to University I am forced to have to spend a significant amount of my free time, that I would otherwise use for the project, working so I can save to afford university and it’s various costs. Having worked 45 hours from the Monday to Friday I was incredibly limited in terms of what time I had to work and suffered a lack of energy and motivation to work on the project after a full day at work. As such I had to work through the weekend instead.

Another main problem was the fallout from the social experiment. I lost 2 days to the recording of this aspect of the project. The first day was just the completion of the experiment, the second day I slept through entirely while recovering from sleep deprivation having been awake for 26 hours (as the first 2 were used for setup). So having lost the Wednesday-Friday to work and then the Monday and Tuesday to the social experiment I had very little time for the work I would have liked to complete.

In terms of problems with recording I encountered none as all previous audio and video issues have been resolved in the previous two weeks.

How they were overcome

In terms of time management I am planning on making up on any lost time the next week as I have the week off of work and no prior commitments. For example this summary is currently going up a few days late due to this and I am slightly behind on my production log but this will easily be caught up on by the end of next week.

In terms of having lost time due to sleep deprivation I made sure to catch up on sleep by sleeping immediately after the experiment and then had a very calm day the following day to rest up and went to bed early and as of today have effectively caught up on my sleep schedule and returned to normal. If anything this loss of time is something I can reflect on in the documentary and I therefore mark this as a positive rather than an issue.

Evaluation of work completed this week

While this week wasn’t the most productive I’ve had to date I do still feel the quality of work completed was of a high standard.

While I have yet to catch up on the production log and am slightly behind on it, considering I am ahead of schedule due to the completion of both the pitch and research I am still on track currently. However the loss of time has been an issue and I will likely have to take on less work in the future in order to maintain a balance so I can dedicate the time I require for the project. While my motivation was affected by the amount of time I was at work I have been given a lot of information and resources from word of mouth. It was also while at work I was given the two e-mail contacts I mentioned above. As I work for a nursery at the University of Kent, I am frequently in contact with lecturers from the University several of which work in the psychology and sociology department and I have been able to use this to my advantage thus far.

While only one interview was completed this week it was a very important one that I feel gave a very interesting view on the subject of the whole topic as a whole. I got some very honest opinions and I felt the fact that this gamer in particular doesn’t identify himself as he believes its not his place was very interesting and not one I have received thus far. It was also during my 24 hour experiment that I discussed this with another friend of mine I was playing with. He stated that his parents felt he was addicted despite the fact he protested it, this has given me the idea to interview both him and his parents if possible to get this perspective also. This is something I would have not considered without the interview and the social experiment. I therefore classify both as a success.

In regards to the filming quality, the video was framed with the rule of thirds and I shifted focus between the interviewee and the screen on which he was gaming from one perspective, and then purely on him for the interview where he is not gaming. Again I have had him look at me across the camera as is the practice for interviews. This contrasts well with the piece to camera video diaries from the social experiment. I also framed him to the right to contrast the fact I have filmed the majority of interviews framed to the left to give some visual differentiation in order to more appropriately visually stimulate the audience. I also feel the fact that this was filmed in the home of the gamer rather than in college with the majority of the other interviews gives a good differentiation as it gives a more human element and honesty about the person not found in a college environment. The interviewee is also more likely to feel comfortable and give a more relaxed and honest answer because of this.

Next week I plan on being incredibly productive in terms of the interviews I have planned for the week, I have a minimum of two more interviews with game design lecturers and have contact information for several students who I made contact with during the gaming festival. I will also continue to work on my production log and ensure I have done all the appropriate written work to accompany my production to date.

Evidence of work completed

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

As discussed in detail above time was an issue this week. As such I have fallen behind on the production log side of the project, however, I am still overall ahead of schedule. In reference to my original plan I am still on task and working to schedule.

Next week’s itinerary

  1. Interview gaming lecturers
  2. Interview gaming students
  3. Work on logging all work necessary for the production log to date
  4. Load all video files to computer and upload back ups to one drive

 

FMP: Week 3 Summary

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