Sunday, December 16, 2012

John tries comedy stylings! Doritos ran a competition in the UK (which they still run yearly in the US) to make an ad - I entered a few figuring it was worth throwing a few at it. Talking product is a well used trope but I dunno, it never fails to disappoint. Except in this case. Still, this was the first time I used my voice to do some actual acting and it was fun! Absent of any lights, microphones or even essentials as getting the horizon straight. It wasn't wonky for a quirky 'effect'. But! Look at that depth of field. Wow. I suppose this was the first thing I actively used depth of field in.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A match shot! I used a match shot! Guys and girls this is cinematography for real! Roger Deacon, WATCH YOUR BACK!

This was a competition run by Dorset Cereals that alas I did not win. But I progressed onto a match shot, which I think as you will agree, is immense.  I really liked this. The sound levels were all wrong so it's quite hard to hear what's being said:

Eating breakfast clinks and cold milk sinks down morning parched throats
In the garden next door the green grass is mowed and the bank holiday man 
gets sweet scent up his nose

Satisfying metal clangs go round and round while hard heels  dig into freshly cut soft ground. Fleeting touches of secret crushes, with hand placed on back, back on hand forever into eternity
kept as tender shared memories while children work quietly and low backgroud murmurs drone sweetly

Paper thrown expertly dismisses lack of confidence in work quite curtly while evening cereal clinks and cold milk sinks down full time throats.

Ana and I spent a lot of time colouring in all the backgrounds and moving it bit by bit, it was also novel having a 3d set. 

The microphone I recorded the guitar and vocals on was this one:

It was quite handy because it would plug into the USB port - but sometimes windows didn't like that and I never found it hugely user friendly trying to get my levels right.

You may also notice the popping stopped ! We found tights over wire hanger pop shield! Hurrah! 

And I busted out after effects and made the little memory sequence, which was awesome and I'm not sure I could do again as well now if I wanted to, I can't remember the tutorial I followed unfortunately.

I think, having started a new job, I must have bought the Canon 500D around this time:

You can see there's a cheeky pull focus at the start - this was the extent of that particular aspect of filming. I remember being blown away by the quality of the video out of this thing - I had made an error buying this particularly version and not the 550d but I'll explain that when I get that one. I mainly bought it for its live view facilities for the stop motion but I soon realised it was capable of a lot, lot more. I think this film and this camera in particular, marked a quite significant step up.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

This was for an entry for PCGamer Magazine. They run a competition every month to win a great PC and I figured a great PC would be useful for editing videos on. And in fairness I had read PCGamer quite religiously as a child so I didn't feel too much like I was competition whoring.

Having done a couple of stop motion things, I thought it was time to move into full, Aardman studios levels and started using some modelling clay. As you can see, the quality was not quite up to that level.

The brief was to design a hoody - so I thought a hoody for an old lady that made them blend in with the hoodlums then that'd be...positive. And maybe if it had extra robocop esque features - designing the hood kinda felt like when we used to do PCT classes in school and got to invent new things, so it was good fun.

I did the voices and can you hear that ..... pop pop. I had yet to discover the glory of the coat hanger pop mic. The voices were both me and I thought it'd be cool to have a QVC vibe going on with slightly different bickering presenters.

It didn't win - but I was very pleased with SATC parody that appears half way through with one of the writer's from the magazine appearing on a bus....

This put the nail in the coffin of my modelling clay career.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I've got to admit - I was pretty impressed with the speed at which I sold out. Second crowd-sourcing ad and BOOM. Somehow, someway, another company got hold of our details and asked us to make them a video for....£500! Imagine that! As I was currently at the University of Southampton studying for my MSc in Audiology, this seemed like all the money in the world.

Now, the company that was offering this was a pay-day loan company and the way we were initially sold the company was that they were helping the little guy get loans where no one else would. I'm not going to mention them by name but it doesn't take much searching to find them. What quickly became apparent was the insane APR - we even had a look around their offices and said to them directly - 'Don't you think this is unfair on people?' and they kept the company line of it being a service for the consumer. We should have stopped there, I don't really know why we didn't. Greed I suppose is the flat answer and the thrill of doing something vaguely creative and getting paid for it. The ad was okay, it didn't have quite the same charm as the first one and was a fairly tenuous link to actual product. We shot it on a webcam again and used some of the money to get a printer to help print some backgrounds out. The most fun bit was probably doing the sound editing, as we made lots of the sounds ourselves with our mouths.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Hello, this is going to be a retrospective blog of every crowd sourcing ad I ever made. So first, who am I? I work for the NHS in the UK as an Audiologis.. I make ads in my spare time, I started because my mum sent me a link to a competition to make a video - I had previously done A-level Media studies (and shot a shit short on vhs), dabbled in photoshop and indesign - I was 25. My only facilities at the time, were a £10 640x480 webcam. I'm now 28.

I'm going to talk about the things I've learnt on each shoot and reflect on the crowd sourcing industry in general, ideally I'm going to get up to present day and discuss shoots as I go but we'll see.

So here's my first ever, crowd source competition entry:

Brief: Explain Zopa to the masses. Zopa is a social lending site where you can lend from other people. 

And you know what, I still love this entry. My girlfriend at the time Ana helped me work on it and our setup was a couple of desk lights with the webcam perched on 2 planks of word above a desk. Ana kindly did the illustrations . I coloured some in. We knew we wanted to give it that 'DIY' feel so we kept the desk in view. This owes a lot to the classic kids TV show 'Button Moon'. Whether or not we hit the brief... I think not. I'm not sure you could watch this and have any idea what the hell it was about, even if you enjoyed it. This would mark a long line of 'not thinking about the brief enough' type problems.

We put it together in an old version of stop motion pro.

The music was me on guitar with a time warp pedal and me doing the guys voice and Ana chucking in a few 'hiyas' all recorded on the webcam.

We didn't win, but we won the people's vote and a bottle of champage! Imagine! Someone was going to send us a bottle of champage for doing something we'd both found a bunch of fun! Incredible!. And weirdly, as a consequence, got some more work, which I'll talk about in the next post.