- My BA Blog

Ian F. Hunt

By

EMP – Project Evaluation

project evaluation

Synopsis

Having previously worked with the voluntary organisation RELAYS (Regional Educational Legacy in Arts and Youth Sport) we were asked to work with them to film and produce a series of short videos recording the Sport activities organised for the ‘Free Your Fitness’ project.

Sports Edge Video Productions

‘Free You Fitness’ project is a Lottery funded project to enable Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth students to get involved in a Sport. The videos would be used by sportBU for presentations to Sport England and would also be used by BU Sports Management students in their final year projects.

Objectives and Approach.

I worked in a team with Aleksandra Leontyeva for this module, with each of us working  in clearly defined roles, although these could and have been interchangeable as required, but in the main my personal key responsibilities have been first the capture of the visuals and then the editing and post production.

In addition to my key responsibilities I have also been involved in the marketing of our work on the Internet. One of my ideas was to create a separate website dedicated to showcase the videos we have produced to help promote our YouTube Channel and in particular with the aim of improving our listing position in the Google search results.

Marketing in the MomentWebsite Links to our videos – help promote and improve our listing positions in Google search results and therefore increase traffic to our videos and increasing the views.

This project can be broken down into three parts.

  • Part one was to work with an external client, in this case SportBU to produce videos from the Sports Activities organised for the “Free Your Fitness” project for their presentation to Sport England and the project stakeholders.
  • Part Two was the creation of a YouTube Channel for the submission of our work for this unit and to showcase our work to the general public.
  • Part Three involved the marketing of the videos and the YouTube Channel using Social Networks including Facebook and Twitter.

Pre-production, organisation and planning

After three years at University, Aleksandra and myself have acquired excellent film making skills, the experience we have gained from working on many Film projects mean that we are very well organised as a team. We quickly created a detailed plan for each of the sport activities we intended to film, allocated time for editing and methods for delivering the content to the client. Including saving to memory sticks and uploading to the YouTube Channel, which we created specifically for this project and titled Sports Edge Video Productions.

Cycling-1-15

We set ourselves three key deadlines:-

  1. The first was to deliver a range of sports videos for a group of Sports Management Bournemouth University students to use in their final projects by the end of February but this was rescheduled by the students to March.
  2. The second deadline was to deliver video content suitable for sportBU to use for the Sport England presentation scheduled for Friday 19th April 2013.
  3. The final deadline was for our personal hand in and critique for May 2nd 2013, which would include the content created for the YouTube Channel and of the marketing of the channel/videos using Social Networks.

I’ve created individual Blog entries for each of the filming sessions and what we did for each sport in order to film and decide on editing choices, but in general we split the filming duties.

Bournemouth Velodrome 1Filming Sports Creatively – ‘You need to get the camera low and follow the action’

For example I tended to concentrate on capturing the sports action and look for opportunities to use new camera angles including the use of the GoPro to create an alternative perspective POV. Aleksandra complimented this by filming close ups and the social aspect of the sport. However we swapped roles as necessary to make sure that we captured as much footage as we could. One of the key points we learned when filming live sports is that you have to be in the right place at the right time to get the shot and there’s little opportunity to re-shoot.

Pre-production – Time Management and Project Management

For time management in particular we made use of Social Networks by creating Facebook Events for each of the filming sessions, which reminded us when we were online what, where and when we had to be to film.

EMP EventsTime Management – ‘It’s about being organised, having a plan and sticking to it’ using Facebooks Events service was the perfect solution for organising/planning filming sessions at multiple venues over a period of weeks/months.

I started off by using an online Gantter Chart for project planning, which can be shared with other team members as I’ve used for my previous projects and then added Facebook Events, which turned out to be much more successful for planning the Filming sessions and organising as I’ve already mentioned what we needed to do, at what location and when. I’ve posted a dedicated Blog entry for this which can be found click here.

Athletics Track - On Your MarksBetween filming sessions we allocated editing time immediately after each event so that we would have videos completed at each stage of the project, which could then be presented to the client who we arranged to meet with on several occasions during the project. At  these meetings we also agreed any changes in the order of the events, the dates/times and at the same time the client may have asked us for something specific to be included in our videos. This for example could have included getting video of the organising staff or photographs/screengrabs for presentations.

Links to individual Blog postings for each sport

Pre-production Planning – Storyboards and Shot Lists

In the early stages of this project I started off creating detailed storyboards (Slide shows for an example click here) and shots lists in the usual manner as for any previous short film project, an example of which was the detailed shot list and outline I created for the Boxing session, which can be found in this Blog post click here.

Boxing Shot ListFor filming Sports we had to be more adaptable have an open mind rather than work to detailed shot lists and storyboards

Following a tutorial with Liam I was advised to instead film the sports without a preconceived plan or detailed shot shot and be more spontaneous and adaptable to events as they unfolded. The idea behind this was that as I have on many previous projects carry out intensive planning and I tend to like to control all aspects of a production and in live sports this is just not possible. With this in mind for the majority of sports activities we filmed there was a basic outline of what we were looking for, an idea of the type of shots we wanted for example I wanted shots of the surfers taken into the Sun, so I made sure that I got those but other than these generalities I kept an open mind and just recorded as much footage as possible with as much variation in shots as possible.

Post Production

I created several edits for each of the sports activities that we filmed giving each of them a unique quality. For some I focused on the visual qualities, the narrative or for some it was the soundtrack that was important to the final edit. In all, between us we created 35 videos for sports including:- Surfing, Volleyball, Track Cycling, Golf, Athletics and Judo.

Athletics Track Coaching SessionIn all, between us we created 35 videos for sports including:- Surfing, Volleyball, Track Cycling, Golf, Athletics and Judo

Some of the experimentation was created in Camera, by this I mean I selected a picture style (see this Blog post for  details click here) or a method of moving the camera that was new to me.  I experimented with Lens Whacking a method where the lens is removed from the camera mount and by changing the angle/focal plane you can change/introduce exposure changes while at the same time moving the focus point. I also tried several new camera angles and shot the majority of the footage handheld intentionally using a camera rig, details of which can be found in this dedicated Blog post click here.

I also used several post production techniques to simulate camera movements which could not be created at the time of filming, for example using scaling to simulate a zoom in or out, or to key in a tracking movement in Premiere Pro to simulate the use of a camera slide/dolly movement. I would combine several video transformations to stablelise an image or to follow or centralise the movement of the action on screen. A good example of this is tracking the cyclists as they cycled around the Velodrome, even though I tried my best to follow the movement as steadily as possible using the camera handheld it was still very difficult to keep the cyclist central in the frame. Screen Grab of Premier Pro

I solved this issue in post production by keying in horizontal and vertical points to help centralise the cyclist in the centre of the screen. In most cases I limited my modifications in post production to those that enhance the quality of or the movement of the image rather than to add special effects just for the sake of adding them, but they do have their place and I’m happy to have made use of them when required. Certainly my knowledge and skills with Premiere Pro and After Effects have grown even in the last few months working on this project working on the editing of over 30 videos for the YouTube Channel.

GolfCreativity in Post Production – ‘Using Video Transformations and Colour Grading to add interest’ – changing the duration of the video clips – speeding them up or slowing them down.

My video edits are colour graded or use an effect to add interest to the visuals, one example would be the Girls Cycling Event (for Blog post click here) where I layered videos changing opacity and blending modes to create the visual effects. I also used After Effects to colour tone and create a Triptych effect, which can be seen in the video below.

I also made the decision to create Movie style Trailers using iMovies, I’ve not used this editing program much over the last 3 years but I decided to make use of it in this project to create these short trailers. The reason behind this was introduce a different style to some of the edits, it’s very quick to use and the results can be very effective when for example you want to make an impact from just a few video clips. The feedback on these edits was mixed but generally most people liked them. In fact one of my recent iMovie trailers is getting a hit rate of 2 to 1 compared to any other edit.

Music and Soundtrack

I’ve used music that is Royalty Free or Creative Commons adding artist information in the end credits when required. This means that the videos can be monetised on YouTube without any limitations. The soundtrack for the Golf edit is particularly interesting as I created this from the sounds made as the golf club hits the ball, changing the pitch by changing the video speed and editing clips together to create a soundtrack. See my separate Blog for more details on this click here.

Effects & Post Production Examples

Cycling – Narrative Example

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=tHaVlrDwRWU&w=560&h=315]

I created this video to show the build up to the start of a cycle race, beginning with showing the details of the cycles, the riders and the coach’s last minute talk to the riders. Then it’s the race itself, three riders racing around the track, one drops out after a few laps leaving just two to battle to the end. Then finally just the one rider crossing the finish line. This is really a difficult story to tell when there are only three riders on the day but I think it works well.

Magazine-00039thBeing Creative – ‘Is creating a video about a Cycle Race with only 3 cyclists’

Cycling Triptych – Editing Technique

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=0oU7C6MNDG8&w=560&h=315]

This video I think personally works well however I would like to make another version of this at some point which does not use the current visuals in the left panel. Possibly replacing them with some new footage of a group of cyclists chasing a leading cyclist. But the numbers were not available on the day of filming so I will have to go back and shoot some more footage in the Summer. My research and ideas behind this video can be found in this Blog entry click here.

Surfing – Narrative Example

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=j3m7PaVf4MQ&w=560&h=315]

I created this video to show the build up, the emotions and anticipation of the students as they exercise and are taught the guidelines before carrying their boards to the edge of the sea for many what would be their first time Surfing. I ended the video at the surfs edge as this ties in nicely with the opening ident sequence, which if you notice is virtually identical as this was scene from where the photograph was taken that we used to create the ident.

I also wanted to include some of the visual styles that I had identified in my research for this project in this surfing video, which in some ways had also influenced some of my camera work, which again came from my research for this unit click here for details. My research included the Guinness Advert ‘Horse Surfer’. In this video you will notice some of the similarities, the use of monochrome and music choice. I did think about adding a narration but in the end I felt the video worked on it’s own with just the music soundtrack.

The feedback on this video has been very positive.

Guinness Horse SurferBeing creative can mean looking back as well as forward for inspiration

Video Idents

We decided that as we were creating a YouTube Channel that we would design our own ident and use this for the opening for all newly created video edits. I created a selection of idents in After Effects using screengrabs from the Surfing Videos. Some were over elaborate in their design and in the end the final version was almost the simplest that I had designed. It was based on a photograph, which I modified in Photoshop first to create a silhouette effect and some colour tone changes and then processed again in Lightroom 4.3, which I have described in detail in this dedicated Blog post, which includes the research we carried out before picking this final design click here. Additional research on ident design and my preceding designs can be found in this Blog post click here.

Sports Edge Video ProductionsIdents – Creating a Logo/Identity for your video and services – ‘Branding’

Cycling-1-19Aleksandra agreed to concentrate more on the Branding and Marketing side of our project and so in many cases I deferred to what she said would work for the best for our project while I concentrated on the physical design, which as I mentioned was created using a range of applications including Photoshop, Lightroom and After Effects.

Creating the YouTube Channel

Sports edge Video Productions YouTube ChannelWe decided early on in this project to create a YouTube Channel to which we could both upload our videos and that also had the benefit of providing the client/clients a single online resource for their projects and presentations. For example one of the clients planned to embed the YouTube video links into a Powerpoint presentation and having them all in one place made it much more easier for them to achieve this. Creating a YouTube Channel is very easy all you need to do is open an account with a valid email account. However more recently the channel setup has been changed to allow for customisation, which includes header images, colour choices/backgrounds and some layout design controls.

Cycling-1-22The range and diversity of the video edits we’ve created should appeal to both the Sportsman and to those just wanting to be entertained

I’ve made changes to our channel over time in particular to include playlists. The idea behind playlists is that you can set them up to automatically play each video automatically in sequence. This has the benefit of increasing video views for chances are if a viewer likes the first video they see they may carry on viewing the next video in sequence adding to the view counts for all videos in the playlist. I also went back through our videos to add annotations, adding links to Subscribe embedded at the end of the videos.

I also created a YouTube Channel widget which allows you to embed the channel and play videos directly within the widget, I’ve added this to all the pages on this Blog in anticipation that this will also increase views for out videos. I’ve gone into more detail on this in a dedicated Blog entry click here.

  • YouTube Channel

Another benefit to using a YouTube Channel is that this provides the client and audience an easy way to view and share the video footage we have created. The other option we had was to produce the content for delivery on DVD but this had its own problems as the client was not certain that all venues had access to DVD players. Fortunately the majority of the venues were expected to Internet access and those that did not had computer facilities (Laptop) that could support playback of the videos from a USB memory stick. With this in mind we also copied our videos onto a memory stick as a back up to the YouTube Channel and supplied this to the client for their presentations.

Website – MarketingSport Edge Video Web Landing Page

My responsibilities initially was for video creation rather than marketing and promotion but I decided in the latter stages of the project that a website would be a useful addition to our marketing processes. So I decided to create a website to showcase some of our videos and create links back to our Facebook Pages and YouTube Channel. As I am the most skilled at website design this job fell to me and so I created this website using a customised WordPress installation on my personal server. The website has no pages just Blog postings and it makes use of SEO scripts to generate web traffic through the use of keywords, which makes it easier for Google search robots to find and index our videos.

The website can be viewed here Sports Edge Video click here

Ethical, Social & Cultural IssuesCycling-1-27

As we were generally filming students who had been asked and had given us permission to film many of the potential issues for example how we portrayed people on screen were resolved at the beginning of the project. That is not say that we did not also take into consideration how people would be portrayed in our videos for example we would not use the footage produced to embarrass or denigrate those people on screen.

We did however cancel the filming of the Boxing when we learned that minors would be present as would youths who were participating as part of a rehabilitation program. Although permission could be granted to film these groups we felt that it would not add to the project and may cause future issues. For example minors filmed boxing and uploaded onto YouTube could have created major issues based on the public interpretation of what they were viewing and indeed for some moral issues may have raised.

Athletics Track depth of fieldOur videos help to promote the idea of sports for all by portraying sports and their participants positively.

Both genders were equally represented in our work, the Sports Activities were open to all participants regardless of gender, age and race and our work clearly shows this aspect. In fact our work helps to promote the idea of sports for all.

Final Thoughts and Project Evaluation at the Projects Conclusion

After a stumbling start to this unit with several filming/sports sessions cancelled for a number of sporting events, usually at the last minute mainly due to poor weather and also by low participant numbers, we soon got back on track, following the pre-production project planning and filming everything that we wanted to film. However with a caveat in that, it was a little bit unexpected and certainly when considering the subject, Sports activities at this level is basically just not that exciting.

Cycling-1-5Being Creative – Filming first time Sports participants is just not that exciting so we looked for the underlying narrative or created a unique selling point in our videos in post production.

I’m certain that if we were filming sport professionals or even experienced amateurs the action on screen would have been so much more interesting. But the team worked around this as much as we could, by making low participant numbers, low speeds and low activity levels appear interesting if not exciting on screen through our creativity.

Cycling-1-24

Free Your Fitness project – enabling Bournemouth Students to participate in Sports

It has been a positive learning process I personally have a better feel for filming live action sequences in general and a clearer idea of what now makes for good Sports footage. I’ve also used the Sports footage to convey different meanings, one example would be one of the JUDO videos, which feels more like a dance video than a Sports video.

I’m generally happy with what we’ve produced for this project. The client was pleased with the videos that we produced and has passed back to us their positive feedback having used the videos in their presentations and a successful meeting with Sport England. We have gone onto to produce more video edits for the client to use in their ongoing presentations to future stakeholders in the project, which continues into 2014.

In the final weeks of the project created a series of videos for entertainment purposes with the idea that it may attract viewers not specifically interested in Sports genre videos. I suspect we were our most creative while making these videos and the client agreed, for example asking me to put back into early videos the trips and the falls.

What would I do differently? I think in the circumstances we did a reasonably good and professional job given the limitations, but when I do this type of filming again I’d prefer to start work in the Summer months, when participant numbers would be higher. I’d also aim for a higher level of ability in the participants, who were more skilled at their sport and therefore performing at a higher level.

I’ve written a dedicated Blog entry, which is a summary of what we hoped to have achieved for our Learning Outcomes, which can be found here click here

By

EMP – Sports Filming Golf

sports filming

Sports Filming – Golf

Myself and Aleksandra are in a good position now with several Sports activities filmed and short edits created and uploaded to the YouTube Channel, which has now been officially renamed as ‘Sport Edge Video Productions’. But this was most definitely not the case just a few short weeks ago with every Sport activity we had scheduled to film either being cancelled because of lack of participants or permissions not granted to film even though we had been assured they had been.vlc-00044th

Filming Sport is something we’ve not really covered specifically at University and so this has become a learning process, developing techniques and creative ideas for shots as we film. The filming techniques and processes that we have developed over the years at University have definitely prepared us for this type of work. Although the usual in depth pre-production processes that we go through to create short films and documentaries, that is scripts, storyboarding and shots lists do not really work for this type of project. We managed to put together some ideas of the sort of shots we wanted to capture based on Sports coverage from the London Olympics 2012 and some recent research gained from on-line videos. Essentially though it’s a case of trying to identify key images and being in the right place to capture the action as it happens.

As we have progressed it has become easier, our recent filming experience helps us to decide where to position ourselves to film and indeed we have begun to take greater control of the sequences that we capture by directing the action. We are now in the position to say that we have learnt how to direct live action sequences, quite a good thing to be able to put on your CV.

Filming – Most recent first

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=EimtF-RIW_E&h=315&w=560]

Golf – Filming

The most recent planned filming session was Golf instruction at the Iford Golf Center in Christchurch. The Golf professionals were on hand to give instruction to a large group of Bournemouth University students who were being taught at the driving range the basics of addressing the ball and driving using a 6 iron.Golf

Being a lapsed golfer myself I had a good idea of what to expect and so I already had several ideas of what I wanted to film and what I didn’t. What I wanted was close-ups of the ball being hit and mid-shots of the students swinging the club. The camera rig has become my essential tool for these projects and it was this, which I turned to again, using it for the majority of the shots. For health and safety reasons as much as for creative reasons I used my 50mm to 250mm zoom lens for the close up shots, this way I could get close to the action without putting myself in a position where I could be hit by a club or a randomly directed ball.Canon 60D Camera Rig

Over the weeks I’ve come to realise that in order to get good sports shots you need to get the camera position as low as possible, aesthetically the footage obtained is more pleasing and appears to have the benefit of being able to position the viewer more into the action.  Why does this have this effect? Personally I think by getting the camera low we add to the sportsman’s significance on the screen, they appear to dominate the screen and therefore focus the viewer’s attention on them and the action, for example the impact of club on ball.

With the close-ups completed I turned to the mid shots and for this I reverted back to the faithful 50mm prime lens. I’ve mentioned before how good this lens is the quality of image is excellent. I encountered no real difficulties getting these shots but I also realised they were not that interesting so I didn’t spend too much time on these, capturing just a few minutes of footage from a number of positions and of different students. Remembering the principle that people like to see themselves on screen and so these people would therefore be potential subscribers to the YouTube Channel and sharing the videos via Social Networking.

Golf – Editing the footage

I went in a totally different direction with what I had originally intended to do for this edit. I noticed when using Time Remapping to produce a slow motion sequence that the sound of the club hitting the ball changed in pitch and became almost musical in tone. From this I had the idea to create a sound driven edit in effect a music video. To get the sounds I changed the duration of each clip and added several cuts together until I had a 40 second video of sounds to which I added a base music soundtrack. I then colour graded the video footage to balance out the jarring visual changes caused by the rapidly changing short edits and the changes in exposure to the visuals by first de-saturating and then by adding a sepia tint.

I’m quite pleased by the outcome of this edit and the response it gets, which have generally been positive and one of surprise as this is not the sort of video people generally expect from me.

Problems and solutions

Apart from the obvious Health and Safety issues by filming in a location with people swinging steel golf clubs and the odd errant ball there were not too many problems for this sessions filming. However without the Zoom lenses getting the shots would have not been possible as would not having the camera rig. We could have got the low level shots hand held but not with the stability of having the camera securely mounted. For example a tripod would not have been as successful in this application, although we had tripods with us, as they do not go down to the low levels required.

Word Count 982