Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Live At Five Review
In our second term of the Digital Animation course, we were given a challenging and exciting new project that would encourage creativity and enhance our ability to work to tight deadlines. The brief that we were given stated that we had to spend a day working with students who were specialising in journalism, and produce unique graphics for their weekly news programme called ‘Live at Five.’ We were put into small groups of about 6, and it was with these people that we would have to work together with on our chosen day of practise. On our Live at Five day we would be assessed on the graphics that we produced throughout the duration of the day, and also on how we worked together as a whole group. I was admittedly quite apprehensive about the project when I first heard about it, because we had to use an Adobe programme called After Effects and previously I had had some trouble getting to grips with the programme. Despite attending tutorials and attempting to practise using the programme on a number of occasions, for some reason I really struggled to get used to using After Effects, so when my Live at Five day came around I was generally not feeling particularly confident about it at all.
On Monday the 22nd of February it was my day to attend the Live at Five project, and my group had to all meet in the animation studio at half past nine in the morning. I was pretty nervous about the day ahead of us since it felt like I would be completely useless in contributing to the graphics made on that day. But my entire group were very friendly, helpful and easy to get along with so I relaxed quite a bit when we settled in. After waiting for about half an hour, one of the journalist members arrived in the studio and handed us all of the graphics requests that were required for the evening screening of ‘Live at Five.’ It seemed pretty complicated written down on paper and I admit I did panic quite a bit! But Peter, our tutor who ran the After Effects tutorials, was present and talked us through what the journalists required from us. I partnered up with one of my group members, Grethe, and together we managed to construct a variety of title straps for the journalists to use in their news report to document the names of any guests on the show. First of all we constructed the basic shapes on Photoshop then put them all together in a composition that was suitable for a title strap, and then added text and colour to the design. The other members of the group also paired up and were given different graphics to construct, which included some animated weather maps and sports tables.
Once we had completed the title straps, Grethe and I went up to the film suite to check that the dimensions of our graphics were suitable to fit on the screen, and unfortunately parts of some of the title straps seemed to be missing when we viewed them on the main monitor. But we fixed the problem back at the studio by changing a couple of things, and in the end the title straps looked really good on screen. We then took a quick lunch break to get away from staring at the computer screens.
When we returned to the studio, we found that we had been given a new stack of graphics requests... for the following day! This made us all panic quite a bit since some of the graphics for the current day were not completed yet. But we all worked well as a team and set certain tasks for individual team members.
My next task was to produce an animated map of Britain that showed different county names appearing in a sequence. At first I went into panic mode once again seeing as I had no idea where to start, but luckily Pete sat down with me and talked me through what to do. Admittedly the process in After Effects seemed pretty complicated, and I didn’t follow a lot of what Pete was talking about! But it was really helpful to have someone talk me through the programme step by step, and in the end I was really happy with the map that we produced. We managed to animate the typing so that it appeared on the map at certain times, and also added in spotlights to highlight important information.
By this point it was nearly five o’clock and all of our graphics were finally completed. So we all headed down to the film studio to watch the live recording of the ‘Live at Five’ programme. It was quite exciting seeing our graphics being used in a professional way, and they did look really good on screen. There were a couple of humorous moments during the screening since a few mistakes occurred with the timing of the broadcasting! But overall the screening looked really good and flowed well. After the screening we went to a quick feedback session of one of the team members, and despite a couple of small criticisms, the feedback on our graphics was generally positive.
I was surprised that I enjoyed the day quite a lot; previously I thought that it would be hell! But it was actually really interesting to be placed in a professional scenario, and it provided really valuable experience in being able to meet with deadlines, which of course is vital in animation. Our team worked really well together, there was great communication and we all worked hard to contribute towards the graphics. Therefore the work that we produced looked really good together, and we got good feedback on our graphics from the journalist team. I think that this project has been a really good idea; because it has given us a taste of what it is like to work under strict deadlines, and has provided really good experience in perfecting the time it takes us to complete the work that is required from our future careers.