2012 was a very full year for me. I have worked countless over-time hours to blog and design. I've poured my heart and soul into it..literally. I'm happy to say that I successfully blogged every month for the past year. It's been a great outlet for me to design unrelated to the web, and to practice other mediums. Here are some of the other things I've done this year:
I've seen more of a jump this year in my creative abilities than I have the entire rest of my life combined. Although I don't do any of these other mediums professionally, they help in sharpening and honing in my creativity as a whole which helps with my job at Studio FJ.
2013 is going to be an exciting year! I plan to release a few more videos, do a lot of photography and hopefully pick up some animation work on the side. Thanks everyone who has followed my blog this year.
Here's to 2013!
I had the honor of producing a 30 second TV spot for Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City. Before starting Studio FJ in late 2007, I worked at Francis Tuttle in the Marketing & Communications department as animator and eventually stepped up to manage the website.
I've kept my relationship strong with Francis Tuttle over the years through teaching and a few contract gigs. This year I was asked to produce a fully-animated 30 second TV spot branded based on their Career Training Guide.
With a fully-animated spot, you really want to ensure that the client understands the direction and type of animation before the final spot is produced. There are so many types and feels for animation that it can be tricky to really showcase the direction to the client. To ensure the client's needs were met and that they knew the direction I was headed, I produced the following materials based on the creative brief from the client and scheduled a project storyboard pitch.
2) Storyboard with screenshots of each section in the script containing type or visuals on-screen
4) A sample animation of the first screenshot in the storyboard
I felt very confident in this approach, as it shows the client the look and feel of the commercial, the tone and pace of the audio, the speed of the animation and every visual.
There were only a few, minor text changes to spot once it was fully animated and the client was very pleased! Thanks to Francis Tuttle Technology Center for hiring me to do the work and continuing to provide great education for their students! Now, let's get to the commercial:
The Plaza District is an emerging arts and creative community in Oklahoma City. My company, Studio FJ, has worked out of the Plaza District for many years. In the center of the district, is a wall on the side of Saints Pub displaying a mural painted over a decade ago and the community has come together with a vision to update the mural to reflect the new life of the district. I shot this video to showcase the current mural and direct potential donators to freshpaintforplaza.com for more information.
A quick edit to highlight the footage I shot of the graffiti art show at this year's Oklahoma State Fair. Artists include: DUST, TEEF/VIKING, YANK, BSON, HEK and Entake.
This past month, I was given a great opportunity to work with the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition and the American Heart Association on a video to promote Shared Use at schools and other public facilities. I had a BLAST (and felt very official) interviewing Governor Mary Fallin and Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, amongst several other important individuals.
Now, my main focus is web at Studio FJ. But with any project, workflow is crucial. In this post, I will outline the workflow I created for my video projects. For those of you who are here just to watch the video, it's below all this other gibberish for the video nerds. For those of you interested in my workflow and behind-the-scene details, please see the full post.
My workflow as follows:
1) Meeting. I start with an initial meeting to get as much information as I possibly can from the client. Shared Use Agreements and Senate Bill 1882 were brand new to me, so this project challenged me to document everything to ensure that all my facts were straight. I really got my head on my shoulders for this one.
2) Timeline/Project Kickoff. Following the initial meeting, I provided the client with a bid, timeline and a date for the kickoff meeting. This was to ensure the project was within budget and I provided dates for each submission point in the timeline, so the client knew when things were coming to them, and when they had to have changes/approval to me. This step is crucial in any workflow.
3) Research/Storyboard. I scheduled the kickoff meeting a week out so that I had some time to do research. Through my research, I decide to go with a documentary-style video. Meaning that the video would be fully interview driven and not include a voice over or script. I love the feeling of interview-driven video because it focuses on real people, telling real stories. Not some hired radio voice reading lines from a script. This is my preferred style, but it can be very hard to execute. So I created a storyboard containing the following, to ensure video success and that the client fully understood the direction we were heading:
The project's final due date.
Concept & Goals
This is the bird's eye view of the project and what we want to accomplish.
A list of the subjects I wanted to interview in the video.
List of Broll
This is footage that will be used during the interviews so the interviewees aren't on screen too long.
Potential Shoot Locations
A list of locations for the client to review so that we could start booking shoot dates.
This determines the order at which subjects appear in the video. This can vary slightly once you start editing, but you can see here that I provided the client with a pretty good direction.
This part of the storyboard may be my favorite. By creating key soundbites, you can ask questions in your interviews, that create the responses you are looking for. Now, I'm not trying to force anyone's words or feed lines, but there are key topics I want to hit, and by having sound bites, I ensure that I ask questions based on those topics so that I know the video will tell the story it needs to.
Typography, Color & Inspirational Graphics
This gives the client a look at the type (which I used for the titles of the interviewees), colors if the video contains graphics and a few screen shots from other videos (not produced by me) to showcase the narrow depth of field and bright color that I want to shoot.
When presented to the client, the storyboard lays out in three pages that look like this.
4) Contact Interviewees. Upon approval of the storyboard, I contacted all potential interviewees with a date/time for their shoot, a brief rundown of the video (taken from the concept & goals in the storyboard) and a list of the questions I would be asking them. This ensured that the interviewees understood what the video was about and were confortable with the question I would be asking of them.
5) Shoot. Then I shot like a mad man. I shot 5 interviews, school yards, the State Capital, etc, etc. The main thing to remember here, is that I ensured I got the sound bites I wanted in the interviews, and that I filmed tons of broll. You can never have too much broll.
6) Paper Edit. Once all footage had been shot, I didn't just dive into the edit. I started on paper, and mapped out specific sound bites from each of the interviews by listing the clip number and timecode. This is a very tedious process, as I had to review all footage shot, but it allows me to get my story on paper before I go into the edit. I do this with the interview footage, as well as the broll. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it took me about 4-5 hours to watch all footage and lay it out on paper, but it makes the edit ridiculously easy.
7) Edit. I started my edit with just the interviews. When all is said and done, the story the video tells is most important. So I used the timecodes from the paper in step 6, and constructed my story. When this was done, I turned the volume up, spun my chair around and listened. Just listened. I did this with no visuals to make sure that audio portion was perfect. I loved the story just listening to it!
8) Edit more. Next I selected broll clips from my timecodes in step 6 that corresponded with what the interviewees were saying. I tried to use enough broll to keep thing interesting and use several styles of shot. Close ups, wide shots, panning, zooming, mattes etc.
I have to make an honorable mention to my skateboard which served as a dolly for some great shots of Senate Bill 1882.
9) Colorize. This is crucial, so I am going to go into a lot of detail here. Once the video is complete, it needs to be colorized to look it's best. The colorization in this video isn't as drastic as what I've done in the past. Partially due to the fact that the video isn't artsy, and my natural shooting skills are improving. I color treated each and every clip in this video. To get the "mood" for my color established, I took a screen shot from each of the interviews and a few favorites from the broll, opened them in Photoshop and added adjustment layers (levels/hue & saturation). Then imported those PSDs into Premiere which brings over the color settings, which I used to edit.
I know, I know. Premiere, sheesh. You think Final Cut is better, but you'd of never know the difference if I hadn't told you. Heck, I could have done this video in iMovie or Windows Movie maker and if it looked the same, who cares. My point is, I don't give a damn what software you use to edit. It's about visuals and a good story...period.
9) The Reveal. Once the edit was complete, I brought the client in for the reveal. Much like my edit process, I started by just having them listen to the video. I want them to hear the story it tells without visuals. If I've done my job, they will love it and the story will make perfect sense without seeing the video...and it did just that. During the review process I had the client proof the titles and we watched the video 3-4 times through. Fortunately, there were no changes and the video was approved on the spot! This doesn't alway happen, but with a good workflow, my edits are generally very light.
So far, the video has been a great success. The Governors even gave us a shout out on Twitter by posting our work!
Now after all that, I encourage you to watch the video and you'll see how it all came together. I'm very happy with the result and you can see that based on the workflow, its success was no accident. Thanks to the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition and the America Heart Association for the great opportunity. I had so much fun! Feel free to leave your comments below.
Earlier this year I posted the 2012 Oklahoma Hunting Seasons for January through May info graphic, so I wanted to follow that post up with a May through December Oklahoma Hunting Season info graphic. As always, this information was pulled from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation website.
(Spring & Fall)
Francis Tuttle Technology Center puts on a middle school program each summer called Summer Quest. Summer Quest runs 2-4 weeks in June/July and features everything from babysitter bootcamp, to cooking classes, to web design and 3D animation.
This year I had the pleasure of teaching Creative Web Design to a group of awesome kids! This post is to showcase their work so that they can show their family and friends. My students went through the full process of:
1) Collecting and writing content
2) Designing their website
3) Coding their website and putting it online
Not bad for a week's work! Here is this year's class and their websites. Great job, guys and gals!
Howdy! I'm James Harber, a southpaw'd Okie. My passion and expertise lie in building websites, but I also do videos and animation.