Monday, 12 June 2017

Unit 62 & 5: Digital Video & Working to a Brief - Report

Unit 62 & 5:

Digital Video & Working to a Brief

River Tees Rediscovered
Matthew James Taylor

Contents Page:

  • Page 1-2 – Introduction: Description, Issues & Type of Brief
  • Page 3-5 – Team Roles & My Role within the Team
  • Page 6- Feedback & Comparison

Introduction – Description, Issues & Type of Brief:

In order to complete both Unit 62: Digital Video and Unit 5: Working to a Brief we accepted a brief issued to us by a local organisation named River Tees Rediscovered.
The brief requested that we create a promotional video with a total duration from 2-4 minutes. We were informed that the video should highlight a variety of different services that are available on the River Tees and should encourage other parties to utilise said services. 
Furthermore it was explained to us that the content would be featured on their new site which would be accessible on a variety of platforms, meaning that the content created would also have to be accessed on those platforms (a list was featured within the brief). The finished product would also be shown at presentations and other sources/events and they expressed the importance of the quality.

The brief informed us of the services/roles they required of us (storyboards/creative team, camera operator(s), director(s) and an editing department) as well as estimated times for which ideally each stage of production would take.
Upon reading the brief we were overall happy with the task but a factor which proved to make the request more difficult was the number of events/services that were listed to be featured within the promotional video, in total there were 21. This would prove to be an issue as attempting to highlight all 21 services within the 2-4 minute duration range would leave each service with a tiny 5.7 seconds each using the lower end of the duration scale given – even using the larger, the amount of time given to each service was still only 11.4 seconds.  
We did not feel that we would be able to give a suitable focus to all of these services within the small timeslots they would have and also had to account for the travel restraints we may face as many of these events occurred much further than any of us could easily access with public transport (which to most was our only available mode of transport)
To resolve these issues we scheduled a meeting with our contact from River Tees Rediscovered, Jenyfer Owen. We decided on a meeting date of 6th October 2016 and as a group prepared any questions we may have about the brief, most of which orientated around the distance and amount of events/services.
During the meeting we agreed on lowering the amount of services included from the original amount of 21 to a much more manageable and in-depth exploration of 4 (with the possibility of more depending on if the content was needed). This also resolved any distance issues as all remaining projects fell well within our designated catchment area of which we could travel. Another topic discussed and prepared for was the style of the piece, including the visions of River Tees Rediscovered as well as any consistencies they may want to maintain with colour schemes/music.
When discussing music with the client we explained the issues of using music by an artist without permission and that it could result in many sources forbidding the use of the promotional video on copyright grounds. To avoid such we explained we would only be using appropriate royalty free music which we felt matched the tone that River Tees Rediscovered were hoping to achieve.
Jenyfer was pleased by all of this and we all agreed on the above mentioned terms.  With all the potential problems resolved we could go on to follow the brief and create the content as agreed upon.
Before continuing to speak about the creative process, I first must cover the type of brief that we were provided with. Firstly to understand a variety of different briefs, you must first understand what a brief is.
A brief is a meeting of two parties or (and) a legal document which is a lawful agreement and can be taken to court if breached. A brief includes what the party is requesting and expects of the other party involved as well as numerous factors including; time periods, contact information, terms and conditions and other essential information.
The type of brief we received was a formal brief as it was a detailed document which explained to us what the employer, River Tees Rediscovered, wanted of us but it was not a legally binding contract. As with a formal brief, our client was still open to ideas and discussing issues as we did.

Team Roles & My Role within the Team:

When looking at the large workload as a team, we decided to work as a large group to organize, plan and prepare for the individual shoots, completing pre-production paperwork together and then later breaking down to sub-groups to capture the footage as we decided teams larger than three would have members of the crew on-location without purpose. 

When looking at my role in the team individually, I served a variety of different positions within the main crew and worked on a number of the individual filming projects including Tees Barrage and Bat Box Building with the smaller sub-groups we created.

I worked heavily on the contacting of clients and the preparing of essential paperwork for shoots such as appropriately worded release forms, storyboards, shot-lists and other forms of research and planning.  

On the Tees Barrage shoot I worked alongside Kane Smith and Jess Bramfitt in order to capture some footage of the services and activities Tees Barrage has to offer for our River Tees Rediscovered clients.
The day began with Jess and I travelling into college to collect the equipment needed to shoot the content, we then walked to the designated meeting point beside the location to meet Kane.
Once the group was together we went to the main barrage building and explained who we were, from there we were greeted by the client we had been corresponding with through email prior, Lee Butler.
We all explained the project and the content we needed to shoot and Lee was very enthusiastic and happy to help, making several suggestions of locations to shoot at, giving us our own 'meeting room' for planning and to store any bags, coats or unneeded equipment.
We also spoke to Lee about future opportunities for other projects, covering our work experience, and he took my email and has said he will put me in touch with their media organizers.
Shooting began with Kane taking the role of camera operator, he really excelled in this role and the content he captured looked fantastic. He communicated with myself and Jess well throughout the entire process and always took suggestions on-board, attempting a variety of creative different techniques and overcoming issues he faced when shooting, for example content being blocked by obstacles and the such.
He also ensured that we overshot to make sure we have enough footage, capturing some stock footage (i.e. of the buildings, offices, displays they have, statues, etc.) as well as the main focuses of the Tees Barrage including the barrage in action, their water course, biker trails, etc.
Myself and Jess worked together, sharing the responsibilities of both director and production manager between ourselves.
Jess took the role really well, remaining professional throughout the shoot and ensuring that everything was running smoothly; she displayed fantastic communication skills when speaking to clients and worked brilliantly alongside Kane and I.
We also both filled the different sections of the production form in together; double checking each other’s added information to avoid errors.
Similarly to Jess, I also worked alongside the clients and communicated information to them (and maybe doing so further if/when contacted by the media team that Lee forwarded my email too) as well as with Kane, directing some of the shots and giving advice on what to capture and believe that I completed my role to the best of my ability.
We captured all footage we intended to capture with no issue and I exported and logged the footage for editing.
Due to a scheduling error on the Bat Box Building shoot I was asked the day before shooting began to also work on this shoot alongside Rhys Collins and Adam Mclean in order to capture some footage of the activities Preston Park has to offer for our River Tees Rediscovered clients, this particular shoot focused around the museum and the bat box building lessons run by volunteers of the park.
Rhys, Adam and I travelled to the park and met outside of the museum (We had collected the equipment previously to ensure that this did not cause time delays and all paperwork such as release forms of those participating had been prepared also).
Once at the park we met with our contact, Sarah Barry. She guided us to the room in which the lesson would be taking place and allowed us to set-up beforehand. I organised where would be best to position the camera, working with the class' leader to decide where would be best. I then suggested that we focus upon one table as to allow those from the general public who do not want to be captured on camera to work on another freely, she agreed that this may be the best course of action.
Rhys and Adam set-up the equipment whilst I took the opportunity before the lesson began to get the teacher of the class' release form signed, to avoid interrupting her for the permission during the lesson itself.
Soon after, the lesson began and members of the general public began to enter and started making the boxes. As soon as a new person would enter the area I would explain who we are and what we were filming, I would ask if they would mind taking part and if so if they would sign the release forms to agree such. Those involved were very pleasant and happy to help, I also ensured that they signed on behalf of their children as they would instead require the permission of their legal guardians; again everyone was happy to help and no-one questioned or opposed it.
During the intervals of new arrivals I would work alongside the camera operator, Adam Mclean. I would give him advice or suggestions on particular shots and guide him around to occurrences that he may have otherwise failed to capture. Adam excelled in this position and remained on task throughout. He was very professional and showed a clear understanding of all elements of his role, capturing some great footage. He was also very determined to get particular shots that he thought would look good and we would work together to complete such, whether that be me moving certain obstacles or politely asking if someone could avoid standing in front of the camera or a certain ongoing event that we wanted to capture.
When we had captured enough footage I made sure we thanked the teacher for allowing us to record her and her lesson before departing.
Wanting to make the most of the time at the Preston Park location we captured some stock-footage of the museum and other parts of the Preston Park area which we may have decided to showcase in our production for the River Tees Rediscovered clients.
Again I would guide and advise Adam as he operated the camera, assuring that he did not capture anybody directly without having their written consent and giving my opinion/suggestions on particular shots.
After all the footage was captured we had to decide the best way to handle the post-production stage as the team of eleven would not be able to all edit around a single monitor. At first we considered each editing a scene or segment of the video, each taking a different location to focus upon however we quickly realised that all our editing styles were different so when the content was brought together for the final piece each scene would look disjointed and different.
Ultimately we decided to all individually create a thirty second clip focusing solely on the location we worked on during the filming stage – As I worked on extra, completing two, I could select either of my projects and ultimately decided to go with the Tees Barrage footage due to it being more varied than the Bat Boxing class.
When everyone completed their own thirty second edits we watched them all back as a group and decided which aspects we believed were best from each, noting down aspects we would like to include in the overall final edit. When the notes were taken a final piece was edited, incorporating aspects from everyone’s different videos.   

Feedback & Comparison:

When the final product was completed we had representatives from River Tees Rediscovered come and visit us on the 7th December to give some feedback on the promotional piece we had created, the feedback was mostly positive with comments on the professionalism, the slickness, the good pacing/vibe and the appropriate use of music.
There was however some issues that they did point out to be amend including the logo we had been given had been updated and changed so was no longer associated to the brand, statistics featured within the video has also changed.
Another issue found was that there was a shot featured of the entrance of Preston Park however the transition was rather sharp to the next scene and the entrance was only featured for a very short time giving a bit of a “jerky” look to it.
Ultimately these problems were addressed after the meeting and a final edit was created to a good standard for our clients which they were pleased to show as part of their brand.
To ensure our quality was to a high standard and consistent with other promotional content shown by our client, we looked at many similar videos posted both by the clients themselves in the past and other similar external content in order to get inspiration and an idea of a format.
Firstly when looking at the opening of the video, it is important to show the branding of the company. As you can see from the comparison below, this was the same with River Tees Rediscovered’s previous content;
The logo itself has some sort of movement on both videos to remain engaging and set a pace to the content; In River Tees Rediscovered’s original video the green circular logo slowly zoomed in, whereas our River Tees Rediscovered logo the River/Arrow travels through the text before transitioning to the first scene.
The transitions were different in pace as were the videos, this movement as well as the speed and tune of the song featured set this up – We, and the clients that viewed our content, felt that the fast and cheery pace was much more engaging and exciting to the viewer than the previously featured slow, sombre tune in River Tees Rediscovered’s other video.
Another difference that went down very well with our clients in regards to pacing was to embed the statistics into the video to keep the upbeat pace and to hold the interest of the audience rather than cutting away solely to a screen of text as the previous video did.
Overall our clients were very happy with the quality, a lady from the media team described the content as “much more appropriate and engaging” to the audience they were targeting and hopefully getting engaged in the services available on the River Tees.
Another of the clients discussed how they were eager to get the video onto their site and social media pages as well as YouTube, again showing the quality and that they were overall very pleased with the finished product, she commented that "It would definitely get a high reach" on their Facebook Page. 
I believe I played a crucial role within the team and its overall success with the production of this promotional video. My contribution came heavily with  the filming and post-production as I was involved in capturing half of the events that were featured within the final video and I worked on my own 30 second edit sample in order to gain some ideas from the group for the overall edit.
This by no means should undermine the role I played in, or the overall importance, of pre-production.
As I said previously, I was the liaison between my team and many of the external contacts we had to work within in order to capture the content.
I also prepared many risk assessments to ensure crew would remain safe on-location, release forms and research. 
After the assignment I discovered that I enjoyed pre-production the most and believe I excelled in the area. Although I worked much more in other areas and expanded my skills further in them, gaining much more experience, I believe being the liaison between parties is an area I could work within in the future. 

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