July 2013 Recap


I hope you have been enjoying your summer. For the past few months, I have been working on the documentary as much as I am able to despite my unpredictable work schedule. I now make commercials for a local TV station, and take other video production jobs as the opportunities pop-up. If you care to see what work I do other than the documentary, you can visit my Sparkplug Creations website, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube pages.

Last week I sent donors a private video showing a rough version of the beginning of the film, as well as my workflow. If you didn’t receive the video and are a donor, please contact me.

In the video to donors, I explained how I use software such as Trello to organize my ideas, and have cards that describes what happens in the film, moment-to-moment. I also showed how I organize my video and audio assets in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

What I didn’t tell my donors, but will share with everyone right now, is that I have been prototyping a concept that I believe could be really cool. An interview subject gave a really nice analogy when he said that our gut is like a meadow. He explained how a sick, or healthy meadow is just like a sick, or healthy gut.

It’s common in documentary films, to use animation to further explain what is said. But I still wanted the doctor on screen so people could see him talking. I could have done what’s called a picture-in-picture, where video of the interview is resized to a fraction of the main video size, and tucked into a corner, while the rest of the video background is the animation.

Instead, I decided to cut out the doctor from the background, and put him into the animation background, almost as if he were there in that animation scene. Some of you might know of the term, green-screen, and this is similar, except, I didn’t have a green-screen behind the doctor when I interviewed him, so I used what’s called rotoscoping to remove the background after filming.

In the prototype, I constructed a meadow out of images, and animated effects, such as butterflies, and fireflies. One of the butterflies lands on the interviewer’s shirt, and moves with him as he talks, and then flies away towards the camera, ending the scene.

picture of prototype showing dr. cowan rotoscoped onto an animated background of a meadow
Prototype of Dr. Cowan explaining how our gut is like a meadow.

So much of what we go through during our personal healing journeys is about change, and butterflies are a great metaphor for change because of their life cycle.

The prototype is very rough, and the images don’t even match up exactly with what he talks about, but my goal was to see if I could pull off the technology requirements needed. Now that I believe I can technically do it, I will work on creating storyboards to help me produce the images needed to match up with what the doctor explains.

Other than experimenting with concepts, most of my production work is to follow my story sequences I have written in Trello, and find clips of interviews that fit the needs for the sequence. I am doing this chronologically, from start to end of the film, even though that’s not necessary. From the start of the film, I now have seven minutes and forty-two seconds roughed out. Each day I work on it, my goal is to produce a couple minutes of video for the documentary.

Thank for your continued support.

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