Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Digital Audio and Video: The Class that Wouldn't End

Hey all! In this post, I'll be talking about my Digital Audio and Video class. Unlike my previous classes, this class required a lot of video and audio manipulation. Rather than try to explain everything in one post (and because the professor was not very clear about what needed to be submitted when, meaning I actually did everything sooner than I'd needed to), I will instead present my final proposal for the class and the finished video.

For our final project, we had to choose an existing tv show, movie, ovideo game and create a promo video or new opening sequence for it, using video clips and audio. I chose to create a new opening to the Britcom "The Vicar of Dibley," because the official opening does not show the characters and I wanted to provide a bit more of an introduction for the characters and the tone of the show. You can find the original opening (as well as a full episode) here.

Here is my project proposal. The purpose of this was to explain what I was creating, what video clips I would use, any video effects I used, the audio I would use, and any audio effects I would use.

Sargent Project Proposal
For my project, I created a new opening sequence for the British comedy The Vicar of Dibley. I showed scenes from the show that highlight the main cast, as well as scenery to help set the stage for the show. These scenes are all taken from the episodes of the show. The episodes include:

  • Season 1, Episode 1: The Arrival
  • Season 1, Episode 2: Songs of Praise
  • Season 2, Episode 1: The Easter Bunny
  • Season 2, Episode 2: The Christmas Lunch Incident
  • Season 2, Episode 3: The Engagement
  • Season 2, Episode 4: Dibley Live
  • Season 2, Episode 5: Celebrity Vicar
  • Season 3, Episode 1: Autumn
  • Season 3, Episode 2: Winter
  • Season 3, Episode 4: Summer

I used keyframed effects to provide a flow to the video, and included the names of the main actors in the scenes in which they are showcased. The effects I added to my video are thus:

  • On the opening scene, I added a Noise effect with roughly 24% noise at the start of the clip. I also added a 100% sepia tint to the start of the video. I gradually decreased both filters to 0% in 2.5 seconds.
  • On clip 2, I added a sharpen effect at 100. I also increased the brightness to 36 and the contrast to 45. I also added a film dissolve effect to the logo text in that clip so that it would fade in and out.
  • On clip 4, I added a dip to white transition, to give the effect of a camera flash.
  • On clip 13, I added a 25% camera blur to the start of the clip, which I then reduced down to 0% within a second. I also set the initial sharpness to 0 and increased it to 65 in the same amount of time.
  • On clip 21, I sharpened the video to 50.
  • On clip 22, I increased the brightness and contrast to 27. I also sharpened the image to 35.
  • On clip 23, I added a Leave Color effect, leaving the color green. I set the amount to decolor at 30%, the tolerance to 30%, and the edge softness to 5%. I also set the contrast to 35 and the sharpness to 10.
  • On clip 24 (final clip), I added a noise effect and set the amount of noise to 15%. I set the clip brightness and contrast to 15 as well. I added a “Dip to Black” transition to the end, to smoothly fade the trailer to black.

To further set the tone, I set the title sequence to the song "The Little Lady Preacher" by Tom Hall. I have enhanced the audio by adding equalizing effects such as Compress and Invert, as well as adding environmental sounds that tie into the events in the sequence (camera shutters, water splashing). The end result will be a short 57-second introductory video that provides the names of the actors, as well as establishes the setting and tone of the show.

After I created my project proposal, I then submitted my camera storyboard. This effectively laid out exactly what would be happening in the clips I was using, as well as any text that would be used.

Vicar of Dibley Title Sequence (Camera Storyboard)

Snippets from Tom T. Hall’s Little Lady Preacher will play as the video clips are shown.

  • Shot #1- An aerial flyover of a small village in Britain.
  • Shot #2- Fade from #1 to a street view exterior of a vicarage. Title text appears.
  • Shot #3- Cut to view of main actress preaching. Text “Starring Dawn French” is visible in lower left corner.
  • Shot #4- Exterior of church, main actress chained in the front entryway. Text is still visible.
  • Shot #5- Black and white still of the main actress’ head and upper body in three-quarter view facing towards the left of the viewer. Text disappears.
  • Shot #6- Black and white still of the main actress head and upper body in three-quarter view facing left, caught as she is talking.
  • Shot #7- Color still of the main actress dressed in provocative clothing looking seductively at the camera.
  • Shot #8- Black and white still of the main actress’ head and upper body as she is seated in a chair, blouse buttons undone slightly and hair askew.
  • Shot #9- Color still of main actress clutching a red fabric-covered cross from behind.
  • Shot #10- Color still of main actress’ upper body facing the camera. She is wearing a leopard-print shawl and is grinning strangely at the camera.
  • Shot #11- Interior of vicarage, set up as a makeshift radio station. The main actress grabs a supporting actor around the neck, stuffs her fist in his mouth, then leans down to speak into the microphone. Camera tilts slightly to follow.
  • Shot #12- Interior scene, camera about chest-height and zoomed out to take in whole scene. Supporting actress sitting at the table gets whacked in the head by a Bible swung by main actress.
  • Shot #13- Night scene, camera zoomed out. Nativity scene, main actress elevated above supporting cast, wearing a white dress. She fiddles with a device behind her back and wings pop out of the back of her dress.
  • Shot #14- Static camera shot as supporting actress runs down a garden path away from the camera. She looks back over her shoulder halfway along the path. Text “Emma Chambers” appears in lower right corner.
  • Shot #15- Static camera shot at head level, interior of vicarage. Supporting actress, main actress, and supporting actor are standing facing each other. Supporting actress is sliding a chocolate stick in and out of her mouth in an unintentionally provocative manner. Supporting actor has pained expression on his face. Text is still visible.
  • Shot #16- Shot of supporting actress in odd costume. Text is still visible.
  • Shot #17- Head-level shot of supporting actress reading from a large bible, as though in a church service.
  • Shot #18- Close-up of main actor’s face looking affronted. Text “Gary Waldhorn” appears in lower left.
  • Shot #19- Panned-out shot of supporting actor reading text from a pulpit. Text is still visible.
  • Shot #20- Shot of actor speaking into radio microphone. Text “James Fleet” appears in lower right. 
  • Shot #21- Camera cuts to view of supporting actor walking, pans to follow. Text is still visible.
  • Shot #22- Camera pans following cast marching comically out a door, hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them.
  • Shot #23- Zoomed out shot of lead actress walking with another character, jumping in puddles. Actress jumps in particularly large puddle and becomes submerged.
  • Shot #24- Cut to panning view of village. Superimposed text “Written by Richard Curtis" appears in middle of shot. Fade to black.

    Now that you've seen the project proposal and the camera storyboard, here is the final product!

    And that was my Digital Audio and Video class! Hopefully you liked the end result. I enjoyed making it, which I hope shows.

    My next class is Cinematic Storytelling, which deals with storyboards and screenwriting. I can't wait!

    Until next time.

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