G325: Section A: Theoretical Perspectives in Media Question 1a
What skills did we learn?
• Adobe Photoshop (image manipulation)
The image manipulation program allowed you to manipulate graphics necessary for the magazine. You used crop tools such as Marquee (magic wand), Lassos, and colour converters such as Red Eye Corrector, Colour Variations, Colour Dropper, Dodge and Burn.
You also used text tools and matched your fonts (such as 28 Days Later) to act as part of the mode of address. You also used Photoshop to aid your house style through picture boxes and other shape tools (arrows, stars etc). The photographs were also manipulated through lighting effects such as brightness and contrast and shadow effects.
The program also uses layers organise work. This is why you were able to construct your front covers – that used a lot of images – on Photoshop.
QuarkXpress (Desk Top Publishing – DTP)
The DTP program allowed you to put text and pictures into boxes. These were edited at post production on the page to be moved and stacked at will. Frames and backgrounds were easily added and pasteboard facility allowed for continual modifications. You developed an understanding of the conventions of print layout (drop caps, columns, headers, gutters, anchorage of text over image).
You made use of the master layout page to ensure layouts (for house style) was the same. This was to ensure your slugs, banners, runners were in the same position on the pages.
You engaged with print conventions – not using more than two fonts – sans serif for titles. You looked at contrasting fonts and juxtaposition of elements on a page.
• You used www.blogger.com to organise your planning materials. Blogger is an example of Web 2.0 technology (O’Reilly, 2004). This means that the technology is interactive – audiences can post and edit content on the blogs – it links to the idea of two-way communication, communication is no longer linear (one way). Web 2.0 software is collaborative.
• In terms of your magazine it means that audience feedback was posted along with tutor comments, and you learned how to do this for others. • You also uploaded planning materials and evaluations to your weblog. You used Windows Movie Maker to edit short videos and audio files that had been recorded on the MP3 digital dictaphones or the Zoom H2 Handy Microphones (Hardware). Movie Maker introduced you to timelines, dissolve and fade transitions, and the layering of audio over images.
Before you began taking any professional photographs you used the digital stills cameras (10 mega pixels) to take photographs for your preliminary college magazine mock up task. You then uploaded the photographs using a USB cable to the desktop computers.
You then used the software discussed to crop these photographs. This initial task helped you learn composition and framing skills in terms of shot types.
You used Canon EOS, Pentax and Nikon Single Lens Reflex cameras. You learned how to focus using a detachable lens and how you could achieve shallow depth of field easily with these cameras.
You also used the lighting equipment. There were two Interfit studio lights and these were to ensure that the subject was not cast in shadow. The photographs were taken against a plain background (black, white, blue) and contrasted with the mise-en-scene (costume) of the actors so they could be effectively edited at post production using digital software (PShop).
Software and Hardware A2 As filmmaker and designer Mark Towse (2002) details
digital video (DV) to be one of the most important advancements in motion picture technology since television. Film and video production is now not only done rich film production companies, but can be done in the home owing to cheap software and hardware. Premiere Pro is the most widely used professional software for DV editing and it can be found in ‘lite’ versions on most computers that have capture functions. You edited footage on a timeline and this enhanced your knowledge of layering various video footage and audio that was far superior to Movie Maker.
To capture the digital video from a mini DV tape, a Firewire cable (IEE1394) is used. The ability to capture footage and audio is also achieved because the computer has a capture card to allow for vast amounts of filmed data to be imported to the edit suite. You did not rewind your tape as this would have wiped the eight digit timecode. This is important as the capture of footage is done by minutes, seconds, frames and can be edited using the timecode. The other main piece of hardware needed to capture footage was the Canon/Samsung mini DV cameras. The mini DV tape was inserted into the mechanism and was captured in Premiere Pro CS3 in real time, but it can be captured up to 4X speed of real time.
The non-linear editing software allowed you to edit footage, and the most popular edits you made were split edits (which split the video and audio footage at different times) and cutaways or cross cuts (which were continuity techniques used to allow audiences to experience parallel action of events or receive more information in order to construct narrative). To cut this footage you most commonly used the Razor tool in Premiere and the in/out points on the Monitor and Source windows. You also used the Jogger ‘dial’ to select footage in/out points more closely and precisely.
To ensure that your separate audio matched the video footage you used a clapperboard to help match the takes and the diegetic audio was then layered over video footage along with non-diegetic audio. To record separate audio you also used the Zoom H2 Handy Microphones. These were versatile and acted, when attached to a boom pole, as a boom microphone. Audio was uploaded to the computer using a USB cable.
Much of the audio was edited in Premiere in the same way as the video footage using split edits and the ‘unlink’ function. However, some of you used Premiere’s Audio Mixer to cross fade audio.
You didn’t have access to special effects package Adobe After Effects, but you heavily utilised the Video Effects and Video Transitions bins in Premiere. Footage was converted to Black and White and you also used effects such as Paint Bucket, Dip to Black/White, Strobe, Grain found in their various bins. You should have kept a record of the exact effects you used and explained why as part of your coursework evaluation.
You used blogs throughout the planning, construction, evaluation of your A2 coursework. For your ancillary products you also used: • Photoshop • Quark • SLRs
Please think of these questions as part of your 750 write up.
• What are the pros and cons of the software and hardware at AS in terms of skills development? • What are the pros and cons of the software and hardware at A2 in terms of skills development? • How did you use your AS DTP and graphic manipulation skills to aid the construction of your ancillary task at A2? • What were the pros and cons of developing skills from AS print to A2 video production?