Welcome to my blog that details my studies on 21st Century Media Practice MA that I am undertaking on a part-time basis at Coventry University, along side my full-time employment at a technician and practitioner in photography & media.
Since I found out about the YouTube 360 app, I have been researching into documentaries that use 360 video to tell their story. There are several major media outlets that have produced films, including National Geographic, Discovery Channel and the New York Times. One of my favorites so far comes from the NYT magazine, who have a dedicated channel to 360 videos including daily stories. The film, called ‘Walking New York’, is about the French artist JR who uses large scale images posted onto the urban landscape, in this case the square in front of the flat iron building in Manhattan. He uses an image of a immigrant mid-stride to reflect that 40% of the population of New York are immigrants. The film documents how the piece was produced.
It was interesting to see techniques used and how the artist was addressing camera or the viewer. I’m not sure if I would use this idea, as I am filming my interviews as part of normal film and documenting elements of the artist working in their environments with both the 360 and normal cameras.
I have had some success with arranging filming sessions with two artists, one I shot yesterday, and one is booked in for next Saturday. I have also had a response from a third who is interested and I am trying to work out a date with.
I have rendered one of the 8K 360 videos of Alan Dyer out over night. I think I may look at editing this video with the second camera I was using for a different view point. I changed the camera height in this film from my first attempt with John Yeadon as I had feedback that the point of view seemed to be a little low. I had set it to John’s head height when he was kneeling on the floor working. For the film of Alan Dyer, I set the camera height to my head height. I think it works better this way, although I haven’t tested it on the VR headsets to see how it comes across on that viewing platform. These films take around ten hours to render approximately six minutes of footage on my laptop. I may have to see if I can access a more powerful computer.
Over the past month I have not be able to arrange any more filming sessions. This is because of peoples schedules and the lead up to the Christmas holidays where a lot of the artists close down for a few weeks. I hope to remedy this in the next few weeks.
I have been researching the VR/360 video presentation options. I have found a new beta application from YouTube, that now allows you to view 360 and normal videos direct on to the HTC Vive VR headset. This was something I was only previously able to do on a mobile phone app, so I may be able to use this option as a presentation option for a exhibition. You are immersed in the 360 video, whereas the normal videos float in a window in the virtual space. The app is downloaded via the Steam software that the Vive uses to operate its headset. You can then navigate to your own YouTube channel to play your uploaded videos.
Over the past few weeks I have been working on testing 360 video capture settings using the Insta360 Pro camera. This process has been incredibly time consuming as the video rendering has taken up to 11 hours to complete.
In the meantime I have been working on arranging shoots for my project. One of the first responses I had from my email was from John Yeadon. I arranged to film John, who is a trustee of the Canal Basin Trust, on Tuesday 7th November at his home studio. Although not a current resident of the warehouse, John was one of the first group of artists who had a studio in the space.
I spent around three hours with John, interviewing him, filming him working on a painting of the Sellafield nuclear power plant in the 1950’s and also capturing him in his studio with the 360 camera. He is a very interesting person and has been both an academic at Coventry University and a practicing artist in Coventry for a number of years.
YouTube allows you to view 360 videos in different ways. You can use your computer to view the video online, using your keyboard or mouse to move the point of view of the video around. Alternatively, if you use your smart phone, you can move your phone round and the video responds as if you looking in the actual studio. This is a very interesting point of view.
Today I had the opportunity to use the same video clip with a set of HTC Vive VR goggles. After some research into how to view 360 footage with VR headsets, I managed to play back the video. The experience was incredible, it was so immersive, just like you were stood in the room watching John in his element. This has got me thinking about what proportion of my documentary should be 360 video? My feelings are that it is more experimental than a ‘traditional’ film and therefore ’21st century’, but I have my reservations on how dynamic the footage is. I only captured one position in John’s studio and it seems a little static, but I can’t move the camera about whilst filming without appearing in the footage. I am booking a tutorial with Ken to discuss the idea before proceeding with more filming. In the meantime, I will look into testing the 360 files with Klynt and editing my interview and documentary footage of John.
I sent John a link to the video and he is very interested in me filming his up and coming exhibition using the 360 camera.
M104MC – Final Project
Subject: Coventry Canal Warehouse Artists.
For my final project I propose to make a Klynt documentary about the artists who are based in the different studios located in the Canal Warehouse in Coventry. My initial idea is to expand upon the film I made for the Zero project and to produce several films for the different artists who work in the studios. There are painters, sculptors, fashion designers and various craftspeople that I hope to document. As part of the project, I hope to include a film about the trust and the building, including a short history of its recent development in the last thirty years.
This project will only work if I get multiple subjects on board, so I am approaching the trustees who run the warehouse, and who are some of the main artists I hope to work with, to contact the community who reside in the building.
Canal warehouse visuals and environmental audio for menus and archival elements.
Artists films – Experimental documentary. Audio/video interviews. 360 studio interior photo/maps – node for each documentary.
Building History/Trust documentary
I am looking into the use of VR/360-degree media to navigate website and videos? Klynt can use 360 videos, so I will start testing to see how they work with the software.
This is subject to confirming willing participants. I have started the project now as I have limited availability for the project due to working full time. The project will be filmed in Coventry at the Canal Warehouse. I am arranging an initial meeting with Alan Dyer next week at the warehouse. I have spoken to him on the phone and sent him the email below with a little more detail of the project and to circulate as an initial call for participants.
Email to Alan:
Further to our conversation about my proposed Final Major Project for my MA in 21st Century Media Practice, could I ask you to forward my proposal to the other artists in the Canal Warehouse to see if they would be interested in being part of it?
As a development of the short documentary I made of Alison Lambert earlier in my course, I wish to produce a series of short experimental films of the Artists located in the Canal Warehouse. I’m interested in working with visual artists and designers, as this would translate best into the films. These could include fine artists, sculptors, fashion designers and craftspeople.
These short films would be of each artist at work, in their studio filmed in an observational style, without interaction from myself. In addition, I would also like to produce a short audio or visual interview with each artist to accompany each of the experimental films talking about their work/inspirations/methodology. For Alison’s film, I spent around 3-4 hours one morning with her, so I would hope that this would be similar for each artist.
All the films would all be collated using a program called Klynt, to produce an online interactive documentary. I would be happy for the Canal Trust or any of the individual artists to use the documentary to promote their work, with the relevant credit.
I would like to include a separate interview with yourself about why you set up the warehouse and the history/ethos of the Trust. This would be included in a short film of the warehouse. Do you have any archival footage/images I could use?
The project will run from now until July 2018, with the hope to start filming in next few weeks.
I can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone/text on 07881784685 by yourself and/or by the artists for more information.
I hope that this project interests the artists as it can only be made with their help!