Kate’s process folio

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Critical evaluation of site

Filed under: inspiration — simpsonk at 11:12 pm on Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The dome - inspiration for site

Summer colours. Exotic locations. Princesses. Mysticism. Lost palaces. Dreamy and poetic. All thoughts, themes, and feelings evoked for me by the nineteenth century photographs of Sydney’s Garden Palace. This is what I have tried to represent in the Garden Palace website.

What stands out the most from the many existing photographs of the Garden Palace is the Palace’s dome, giving Sydney Harbour an oriental atmosphere for a short period in the late nineteenth century – hence the choice of the above frame from the short film, shot inside Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building Dome. The animated rotating dome on the home page was an effect that suits the dome’s shape and stained-glass pattern and colours. It gives the site a dreamlike kaleidoscope feel right from the first page. This is also achieved by the choice of the three colours, which to me are calming and mystical, sunny and the colour of pink and green summer flowers in Sydney.

At the bottom of each section of the site, four green squares animate from left to right one after each other, a reminder of the dome’s stained glass pieces. The dome is a recurrent theme throughout the site. Once in ‘The fair’ section, an almost transparent outline of the dome shape from the top of Palace Garden gates appears, drawing our eyes away from the image banner along the bottom of the page to the centre panel of the screen, with the headings fading in and following the shape of the dome down the page, drawing our eyes finally to the text. The Palace Garden Plaque, found today on the Palace Garden sandstone gateposts, is also repeated across all five screens – symbolising its time in history, with a design that inspired Australia’s coat of arms.

The font type, such as the main heading consistent, across all pages was chosen as to me it seems quite royal, and from a time past. All text and headings attempt to give this feel, particularly the poem found in ‘The fire’ section. The straight lines across the screen consistent on each page give the design a balance, breaking the screen up into different sections for each of the elements. Gradient fills and low opacity settings add to the softness of the site. Some areas of improvement could be in the animated slideshow within ‘The Fire’ section.

It would have more effective to have a couple more photographs here and smoother transitions between the photographs, with perhaps a masked animation over the top. Additionally, in the ‘Map’ section the hotspot activity would have been more engaging and educational with some type of comparison between nineteenth century Sydney and today.

I believe, however, the site has achieved its aim of an engaging online resource for a museum or educational site, and more specific objectives of:

- unearthing the Garden Palace and the International exhibition of 1879. – portraying a lost slice of Sydney’s history.

- exploring what the garden palace was and hypothesise on how Sydney or the Royal botanical gardens may be different now.

It could be a useful and stimulating resource for educators, students, librarians and the general public. As most people do not know that the Garden Palace even existed, it hopes to inform and educate people about the garden palace.


Filed under: inspiration — simpsonk at 9:30 am on Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Really didn’t want to have to reedit my short film to make it fit into the WebSite but yes – unfortunatley I did – it was too large in file size and simply cutting bits from the beginning and end just didn’t make sense.

Compression is a tricky thing. This is why it is so important to know what you are filming for before you run out there and do it.

I enjoy playing with flash so this part was fun. Take a look at the final product here.

Sites that inspired me include:

Powerhouse museum

Artists of Brucke

The Museum of Modern Arts flash banner on the homepage

and clearly The chateau versailles site

Inspiration for style of doco

Filed under: inspiration,pre-production — simpsonk at 3:32 am on Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This short film I found while researching my idea has influenced the chosen syle of my documentary.

The eye of god

I liked its poetic nature, and also its rhythm, both of which I thought would be suitable for using the Garden Palace story as one of Sydney’s secrets.

A little cheesy but perhaps the main attraction was its simplicity, voice-over, script, and seemingly easy to produce.

Voice over narration

Filed under: audio,production — simpsonk at 12:47 am on Monday, November 7, 2005

Found this a little problematic. Besides the fact that I hate my own voice – it was really quite hard to get my narration smooth and clear. Again very time consuming.

Ended up borrowing a friends USB headphone/mic set and the quality was much clearer. Still hate my voice. Also very time consuming to get all to match up with the video. Any edits to the video affect the narration audio track and the background audio track.

Then when compressing into flash I found that my audio track slowed right down while the video sped up. Also I had suddenly developed a very strong lisp.

I suppose what I learnt most here is why the film project are so team based with experts from each area – animation, audio, editing, director, camera operator etc. Each area has its own complications – and each is time consuming when you are not an expert in any. Being a little bit of a generalist I thought it would be fine – but no …

Photos taken

Filed under: filming,production — simpsonk at 10:30 am on Saturday, November 5, 2005


A link to photos taken during filming from my flickr account photo set for MA in Media Production: Filming photos


Filed under: animation,production — simpsonk at 4:25 am on Wednesday, November 2, 2005

This idea was probably a bad one as it took up a lot of time – and in its final format as part of a 20 sec clip is really grainy and jagged.

What I learnt:

- I prefer developing different frames on paper, or perhaps I did think that it would be faster using flash

- Using Flash takes just as long or even longer when you’re not used to it.

- think about what your final delivery format is and base your animation on shapes and movements that would suit this.

- think about the differences in frame compression for animation and film and find a solution – and base your characters, shapes, backgrounds on this.


Filed under: post-production — simpsonk at 12:39 am on Monday, October 31, 2005

I really didn’t expect this to take so long. I thought it would be quite a simple task as I had quite a old photos already in electronic form that were going to form part of my short doco.

However, I soon realised each of these photos I used had to be retouched and edited – which takes a long time. My computer at home was running slow too … nearly full and not enough ram. This slowness also affected the editing of the footage etc and general running of iMovie.

Now I really understand why it is recommended to have a dedicated workstation for film. Tracked down some spare ram, and bought a portable hard drive, and my life changed overnight – my computer was reborn :).

Getting my stills into iMovie took a bit of playing around with – trying to get them sharp enough, the right size etc. At first I was getting this black border around my images after importing and it was really annoying – had to zoom in on each photo a little which was making them slightly blurry. Worked out that you need to resize your image to 788 x 576 and it imports nicely …

The editing of the video footage when quite smoothly but I had far too much for a 1 minute film … to cut it down i hardly had any video footage in the final version – oh well ….

Also – a lot of my footage as mentioned previously was too dark – or a little shaky! I was using the tripod – but I think the wind may have been blowing it ever so slightly.

importance of pre-production for all phases of video production

Filed under: pre-production — simpsonk at 10:17 am on Sunday, September 18, 2005

What I learnt from the production and post-prodcution stages is how important pre-production is. I would say it makes or breaks a film project.

Some pointers for next time:

- have a well developed storyboard – helps you get the shots you need. Specifying camera angle another important aspect of this so that you get what you want.
- have a shot list so you don’t miss anything.
- go location scouting with camera before shooting – saves time and eliminates unecessary footage. I have to admit I hardly used any of my footage.
- obtain clearance for public spaces (I got in trouble for filming with tripod in Queen Victoria Building).

Also – need to have a fully worked out idea of what and why you are filming before you start filming. If you don’t, you will get into trouble in the production phases. If I had known the problems with compression for the online medium and how it affects your audio and movement in shots, or wide shots of landscapes, I would have planned my filming and framing differently.

Lighting is important as well. I sort of misjudged this. A lot of my morning footage was unusable as it was too dark. I did check the whitebalance etc – but I think it was more that the sun hadn’t completely risen yet.

Anyway I learnt so much from this exercise – and the point is to learn from your mistakes. Although I thought I was quite organised I still think I rushed off to film thinking I’ll know what I want when I see it :). Now that I’ve been through the whole process, I’ll know better next time. It is really while you’re in postproduction that you learn what you have done wrong – and will do differently next time.

Trying to get the right angle

Filed under: filming,production — simpsonk at 9:48 pm on Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I actually didn’t know this was photo was being taken so it’s not posed – unfortunately the shot didn’t work as it was Saturday afternoon. Luckily I took some stills with my digital camera.

Filming nothing

Filed under: filming,flickr — simpsonk at 9:43 pm on Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 That’s me looking professional! – Unfortunately this footage did not work.

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