#MadeOnAMobile – what’s it all about?

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2018 has been a whirlwind of increased demand for workshops precisely at a time when I decided to demonstrate the power of mobile film making with an hour long documentary – captured, edited and shared from a single iPad.

So I took a few hours recently to put a short film together to encapsulate what I’m up to, explain what #MadeOnAMobile is all about and demonstrate what it can do…

So if you can give me (literally) two minutes, I’ll bring you up to date…

Open Close Movie with @Documentally Live in Newcastle

I’ve been following Documentally (aka Christian Payne) ever since a mobile network provider gave him the challenge of hitching from Lands End to John O’Groats with nothing but a handful of prepaid sim cards.

This would have been 2009-ish and the very early days of social media. However, using Twitter and whatever other social platforms were emerging at the time Christian negotiated the country, taking lifts and accepting offers of couches to sleep on and completed his task.

So, eight or nine years later he very kindly invites me to join him on a digital storytelling workshop to talk about my film, Open Close Movie, made entirely on an iPad.

We did some various bit and bobs but the video below is the live broadcast we did on Periscope.

It was a great afternoon and I met some great people who were attending the Thinking Digital conference at the Sage in Gateshead – I couldn’t stay because I was running a workshop in Glasgow.

So I hope to be back in Newcastle in November with #MadeOnAMobile – it was my first time in Newcastle and I loved it – particularly being a fan of bridges, the place is chock full of them!

Anyway, hope you enjoy the interview…

Open Close Movie is #MadeOnAMobile

Mobile film making is fine for making social media shorts – but what about a full length feature? Sean Baker, Michel Gondry, Steven Soderbergh – all of them Hollywood directors who have made films using an iPhone camera for a cinematic release. None of them, however, edited their films using the same device.

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” – Orson Welles

The schools, museums, public sector organisations I work with don’t always have lots of kit, if any kit at all. Tablets in particular are easier to come by and most have film editing apps. So, the limitation I gave myself was inspired by the people I’ve been training and working with. Capture and edit on a mobile device.

And if it’s okay to edit a minute or two of video on a mobile device then why not 10 minutes, 25 minutes, 45 minutes?

By most standards (British Film Institute, the Academy Awards) is “feature” length and so that was the target.

The subject of the film, Open/Close, is:

“BRINGING STREET ART TO DUNDEE, OPEN/CLOSE IS INJECTING LIFE TO THE ALLEYWAYS AND FORGOTTEN CORNERS OF THE CITY CENTRE. WORKING WITH LOCAL ARTISTS.”

Learn more about the project on the website

Open Close Movie was projected at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre cinema on 19 May 2018. 130 people turned out and generously signed my lobby poster with lots of nice comments.

The plan now is to release the film online later in the year with additional footage of a spin-off Open/Close project (in partnership with Dundee City Council) called Waste of Space; where industrial waste bins are being painted up by local artists.

So watch this space – Open Close Movie is coming to this screen soon!

 

 

 

New #Filmmaking Freebies!!

I just added a new Film Making page under the ‘freebies’ tab above. They are typical of the kinds of resources that I produce for all of my classes and workshops.

Mobile Journalism (#MoJo) is at the forefront of democratised media and content production. And with video consumption going through the roof and consumer mobile devices being amongst the best available for point-and-shoot photography and video, then there’s never been a better time to find out what they’re capable of.

If you are interested in learning about more for your business, organisation or club then please get in touch. Clients so far include, Children and Young Person’s Commissioner Scotland, NESTA, Dundee City Council Leisure and Communities, Perth Council, Fife Council, Fife Youth Arts, The Young Foundation.

 

Festival of Museums 2015

McManus shackleton event

This Saturday sees the return of the Festival of Museums (#FoM2015) across Scotland. Last year was brilliant – recreating Victoriana in the McManus, Dundee’s Museum and Art Gallery. It’s everything that is great about being in a museum late at night with actors bringing historic characters back to life and activities and workshops designed for our guests to learn while having lots of fun.

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My job last year (above) was to recreate the Victorian Photo Booth with a 21st Century digital spin (read about it here). Playing the role of local photographer and lens maker Peter Feathers I captured and shared (very hi-tech) moving pictures by way of Instagram.

audioboom

This year we we have been inspired by Edwardian Britain being the era of the postcard. Again, we wanted to add a ’21st Century’ spin to the proceedings and so we are using AudioBoom – the digital platform that allows you to capture and share audio on the move.

Postcards were quite limiting back in Edwardian times – probably closer to the modern day txt msg, or Tweet. But AudioBoom is so much fun and the prospect of listening back to the recordings over time adds a ‘time capsule’ element to the event.

So, who would you like to send a message to? And what would you tell them? Or imagine sending a message to your older self, 20, 40, 60 years from now – what would you say?

Edwardian Dundee

So join us on Saturday at The McManus, from 7 – 9pm. Send a digital postcard, take in some live old-time music hall, visit the Suffragette print workshop or have a chat with some Edwardian characters…  the evening is FREE but booking through Eventbrite is required – go here for more details and how to book.

And if you’re too far away you can follow the activities from McManus and across Scotland using the hashtag #FoM2015 and follow the progress of our AudioBoom channel (mcmanusdundee) playlist here (login required).

Finally – don’t foget to check out what we got up to last year!

Solar Eclipse 2015 – Dawn Chorus

eclipse 2015 sml

Happy ‘Throwback Thursday’!

A few weeks ago the UK experienced a (near) total solar eclipse. I remembered that in 1999 (the previous one) the birds got a little confused… so this time I recorded them!

So this is my garden, during the eclipse and the birds with there ‘dawn chorus-esque’ performance. Not sure if this is an known understood phenomenon – if you do, please let me know more – but here it is…

solar eclipse 2015

 

House of Cards Timelapse project

House of Cards Title Sequence

I’ve started another movie project. It’s not finished yet, so I wanted to tell you a bit about it but also give you a few tips if you’re interested in doing more mobile movie making yourself.

This project is time consuming – quite literally time consuming.

I love time lapse photography. With analogue photography it was a very time consuming effort and I didn’t do that much. However, with the time lapse apps now available for laptops and phones I’ve been time lapsing all over the place!

I got the bug again in 2010, using time lapse as a way of capturing some of the real world, treasure hunt games I was creating. A game that took a few hours to play could be captured in a few minutes of film and I didn’t always need to be there.

Time lapse is also great if you are documenting events where very little happens. Conferences for example can be very dull to watch – but if all you want to illustrate is the room filling up ahead of the event then time lapse is perfect.

Combine these film making tools with social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) and your phone becomes the perfect documentation device.

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Time lapse on TV
Just over a year ago I noticed a (kind of) trend in the use of time lapse on TV. Breaking Bad often used little time lapse sequences to illustrate the passing of time and the recent Netflix adaptation of House of Cards uses time lapse exclusively in its opening sequence.

The House of Cards title sequence is a series of 2-3 second shots of Washington DC. That was when the idea struck me. In my head, so many of those shots could be replicated in my local city of Dundee. I should recreate a Dundee version of the sequence!

The idea went on the back burner for a while, but with the new series of House of Cards now out on Netflix, and with a bunch of time lapse shot already in the bag from other projects, I’ve decided to give it a go.

Shots of Dundee’s McManus that may well find their way into this new film

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HoC around the world
I didn’t expect to be the first person to think of this and if you go on Youtube you’ll find a few versions – London, and Paris being two. However, most of them use much longer shots (therefore half as many shots required) than in the original and it struck me that I couldn’t find any that were shot-for-shot. So this is the brief I have set myself.

The original sequence is 38 shots. I can’t have every shot set up exactly the same but I am putting thought into what the Dundee equivalent building or location might be. I’m also following the ‘dawn ’til dusk’ pattern of the original.

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Tools
All of the tools I’m using for this project have been reviewed on this blog in the past – so what follows is something of a retrospective of those posts.

Camera – iPhone
Mostly, if not exclusively, I’ll be capturing footage on my iPhone. I’m now on a the iPhone 6 and I have no complaints about the camera at all.

Software – iMotion
For the HoC project I’m using iMotion (formerly iMotionHD). There are other similar apps (as you’ll see next) but for me, iMotion remains the cleanest, most intuitive and effective application for time lapse photography as well as stop frame animation. I have in on my iPhone and on my iPad and use it in lots of different ways as you’ll see in all of the related posts.

Read more: Take Your Time

Software – MagicLapse
I’ve been using iMotion for almost four years, but a new app for me is MagicLapse. I’ve only tested this once so far (see below) but i’m hopeful for what it promises to deliver. Magic Lapse combines time lapse photography with long exposures. Every shot is captured over half a second or so and, as you can imagine, capturing light trails from vehicles as it gets darker could be pretty spectacular.

The test I carried out was in a moving vehicle while it was raining. While I liked the ‘fireworks’ effect I’ll be using this for static shots (hopefully in the dry) to capture the movement of the traffic. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Device – X-Lapse by Muvi
X-Lapse is a little clockwork device that moves a camera or phone one degree every second to help you capture smooth panoramic time-lapse images.

The official House of Cards sequence includes various camera moves which I won’t be able to replicate – they would have used computer motion-controlled camera dollies and cranes). X-lapse will at least help me to achieve some nice pan-shots.

Read more: X-Lapse

Device – GorillaPod by Joby

Finally, for the still shots I will be relying on my trusted Joby GorillaPod with the Joby Grip Tight attachment. Again, a tool that I’ve been using for a few years now and remains very reliable – especially as the equipment that is entrusted to it is not cheap. The feet are magnetic (up to albs in weight) and the GripTight is exactly that.

Again, read more for more examples of the products at work: GorillaPod

House of Cards Project
So, I’m going to drip feed shots (as above) every now and then – you’ll find a few on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #HoC_DNDs4s (which stands for House of Cards, Dundee, Shot for Shot).

Hope you enjoy following the process and the final film should be with you very soon.

Read more about the creation of the House of Cards time lapse sequence by ‘District 7’.