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.


Wellderly – collaborative participation

wellderly figures

My wife is currently studying on the Design for Services Masters programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (Dundee University). Along with two colleagues from the course she has been working on a submission for the Young Innovators Challenge (YIC) – entitled Wellderly.

“The Young Innovators Challenge returns with a new focus on social innovation. This is a great opportunity to develop ideas and new ways of tackling real issues that can make a difference in Scotland and beyond.” Scottish Institute for Enterprise website

wellderly set

Above: The stage is set. The whole film was captured and edited on an iPad with the models set out on a ‘lazy-susan’ to reduce the need for moving the camera. 

My involvement was purely digital – in that I helped create the movie. The script and models were all Keerthana, Jenni and Moyra. I took the pieces and the audio and put them into what you see below. We were tight for time which meant about three hours preparing the various elements and then four hours the following evening to animate the 90 second film – submitting in time for the midnight deadline with (literally) seconds to spare!

wellderly animation stuff

I hope you like…

I would consider this a prototype. At some point in the future I would hope to tidy it up a little – maybe add some sound effects – but I’m pleased to say that Moyra, Jenni and Keerthana have been announced amongst the finalists for YIC 2014, so, along with a very good idea, our little film did the job.

wellderly timing sheets

Above: Timing is everything – key points in the audio are mapped to two, three, second chunks which allowed me to work out how many frames I needed to capture for each segment.

Incidentally, in reference to my previous post on ‘social innovation’, the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (who organise YIC) offer their own interpretation of social innovation as “Social innovation is an emerging global phenomenon that brings together enterprising and entrepreneurial thinking with creative innovative skills to deliver solutions with a social impact. Done well, it changes people’s lives and communities for the better.” – again, it’s quite broad, but worth a read I thought.

wellderly title

Please let us know what you think of Wellderly by leaving a comment here or by contacting  Moy, Keerthana or Jenni.

Mock the Taskbar

Mock the TaskbarA new infographic inspired by a variety of slow PCs I’ve had to use over the last few years.

This is not scientific research!
It’s an easy hit and a bad pun (partly borrowed from Adam and Joe)… so, Windows users, please do not take it personally ;)


Joby iPhone GorillaPod

Just in case you haven’t found anything useful to do with your iPhone and you’re looking to give it a new lease of life then you might find this little gizmo interesting. [UPDATE] Please read this review by all means but it has been superseded by a review of the latest Joby products! While this review covers how I use the tripods the newer review looks at the improved functionality of Joby Gorilla Grip Tight and Gorilla Video.


I’ve no idea how long this has been around (so this post may be very old hat!) but I do know that over the past few weeks several iPhone wielding friends have been suitably impressed that I thought it was worth sharing further afield…

The Joby GorillaPod is well known in photography circles and has been produced in various sizes to cope with the most sturdy of cameras for many years. I came close to getting one for my SLR many times… however, they can be pricey. However, this one I couldn’t resist. Firstly, it was less than a tenner (£10) on Amazon. Secondly, I use the iPhone ‘a lot’ in workshops and general day-to-day photography, film/animation so I knew I was going to get a lot of mileage out of it.

The things is, apart from all the creative stuff, the time-lapse and having somewhere safe to prop my phone for outdoor camera stuff, I’m using the GorillaPod as a stand for when I’m Skyping/Facetime, watching the iPlayer or listening to Podcasts… and the thing that I was most paranoid about… leaving the phone lying around in the kitchen while cooking or washing up! ‘Now’ it’s wrapped around a cupboard door handle out of harms way!

I even tried wrapping it around the handlebars of my bike this week – it was pretty secure but given the wind I didn’t trust the frame to hold (see below) – otherwise it’d be a great way of capturing time-lapse or video on the bike.

Te GorillaPod legs are very light-weight yet incredibly sturdy and I have no fear of losing or damaging my phone while wrapping it around the branch of a tree! The stand also comes with the necessary (screw fitting) attachment that would allow you to use the tripod with a (Phone sized/weighted) digital camera. The frame that fits around the phone is detachable from the legs so you can very quickly set up for shots with out having to walk around with a tripod in your pocket! It feels less substantial than the legs but appears to be made of very flexible plastic, fits very snug and I’ve no reason to doubt its durability as yet.

So, heartily recommended by me… but what about you?! Have you used a Joby or anything similar? What’s your gizmo of choice for doing the same job? Let me know below…

Show and Tell – Add Value with Video

Using video to Document a workshop on my iPad

Hey, it’s another blog post… I’ll pass thanks!

No, but wait… this one has a video… maybe I’ll stick around..!

We’re all a little bit impatient when it comes to finding the information we’re after – any yet how often have you ‘happily/accidentally’ lost an afternoon on YouTube? Just me? I doubt it! So, without question, if you want to deliver short chunks of information, quickly, and in an engaging manner then you can’t go far wrong with a video clip.

Tip 1) Video can be hosted free of charge at YouTube, Vimeo and others, and if you have a site hosted by the likes of WordPress then it’s a cinch to embed the video into a web page or blog post.

Video is a great way of visually getting a message across. I for one should use it more often to support my blogging activity but I do use video a lot in my work (see image above) in Service Design capturing user-journeys, for documenting workshops or illustrating a project – as I did here for Totally Dundee:

Video can also be great for sharing your working process. What better way give your audience insight into your daily routines than putting it in front of them! Imagine you work for ‘Carvers – The Pumpkin Carvers‘ – The average pumpkin takes around 30 minutes to sculpt into something scary – not an Oscar winner to be fair – however, get a little creative and you can achieve all sorts of wonders – like this:

or, how about this:

For more on Time-Lapse have a read of this.

The video below is for a project that I’ve been helping out on for a while.
Dementia Diary is about to begin the process of being piloted in Scotland. I created this video to bring the social services professionals who are less familiar with the concept up to speed. Given that time/money is precious, this video negates the need for an someone to visit various teams and explain the concept – we just send them the video.

UPDATE: Another aspect of this project was creating storyboards to tell why a Dementia Diary might be used, how it might come together or how it might look when it was finished. There are two ideas below which were illustrated by two key workers from Alzheimer Scotland, ie not illustrators. But with some very basic FREE software I made a slide show of their storyboard panels and added the audio from the feedback session of the workshop to tell the story.

In film-making (the Hollywood kind) this is similar to a process called Animatics – it’s a quick and inexpensive (but effective) way of telling a story using lo-fi techniques. And of course, if merited, a more polished version could be done afterwards.

Tip 2) If you want to get even more technical about your traffic then there are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plugins like this one which has the video show up as ‘on your site’ in Google listings (as opposed to its host destination on YouTube, etc…). It carries a cost but clearly a lot of people think it’s worth it.

And you don’t have to be a multi-media whizz. This video and the one directly before it were both created using Keynote (similar to Microsoft Powerpoint) – they’re essentially slide presentations exported to a movie clip and music added.
Again, if you get creative (and not too ‘bells and whistles’ with the effects), you can do a decent job.
There are also a range of simple tools available for mobile devices. I use iPhone and iPad so the apps I have are simply iMotionHD for time-lapse and animation and iMovie for editing. There are other apps too such as ToonCamera for a real-time comic-book effects – Video magic for photo-booth like distortion and colorisation. Also , and  – my final film below was captured, edited and exported to YouTube entirely on an iPad. (The Apps used would all work on iPad, and iPod touch.)

So it’s worth thinking about how you can use video to attract an audience to you blog, business or ideas – you don’t have to be a Steven Spielberg behind the camera or have a James Cameron budget – with a little creativity even the phone you already own can bump-start your movie career!


Take Your Time

My last post illustrated how you can use an iPhone or iPad to make simple animations.

iMotionHD is the App that I’ve used for these kinds of projects and workshops. It’s amazingly intuitive, powerful frame editing and great options for sharing your completed movie.

This morning my little boy needed to make a card for his young cousin – to make the exercise a little more interesting for them both I used the ‘time-lapse’ feature in iMotionHD to capture the process of making the card.

The iMotionHD time-lapse option takes a picture a regular intervals (e.g. 1 frame every sec, 1 frame every 3 seconds, etc) and then plays them back as a continuous movie. This can make a long or less interesting process instantly accessible. So my niece will get to witness 90mins of (not too interesting) craft in a very manageable 43 seconds – and my son enjoyed watching the movie too.

Of course, this is not just for kids. This is the same idea regularly used in nature programmes to show the passing of time/seasons, etc. But if your work consists of laborious processes then this might be a way of sharing that experience with your customers or audience.

So, here it is, have a watch. Let me know what you think. Better still, give it a go yourself and let me know how you get on!

Post-it Motion

Designers using Post-its is nothing new. It’s actually a bit of a cliché. Some would say passé. Presumable those people would be French. Or a tad pretentious.

However, I digress.

I have, in fact, this past week, been having ‘fun’ with Post-its.
This is what it’s all about…

What do you think – Extreme Cubism or simply a waste of pre-gummed coloured paper? Have your say below!

P.S. On a technical note the results above were achieved with an iPhone 4S and an iPad2, both using iMotionHD (stop-frame App) and iMovie (for iOS) to edit and export to YouTube. The iPhone was assisted in standing up through the use of a Joby Gorilla tripod.