Discussion with David Smith – App Furnace and Klynt

Discussion with David Smith – App Furnace and Klynt

I had a meeting today with David Smith to primarily gain access to the App Furnace and Klynt software so i could prototype at home but also to discuss the feasibility of my new project idea. The last time I spoke with David we discussed my St Fagans project so this was another good time to pitch my idea briefly to get some feedback.

David used App Furnace to create his own location based app in Victoria Park Bristol so he is good person to talk to to get advise and point out some of the apps potential limits. He also created an app that worked across both Mobile and web with the Bristol ‘Arts on the hill’ project and ‘Park Hive’ so could advise on how to create an ongoing application.

Through talking to David I discovered a couple of big issues that I have to consider when building both my App and online project. One of the main problems is the amount of data used to power the app. App furnace downloads all the data needed to run the app to the phone on installation, this has both benefits and disadvantages, one of the benefits is that having all the data already accessible on the handset means that users won’t incur any additional data costs when using the app, the initial download will need data but this could be dealt with by providing a wifi hotpots at installation or making users aware of the data needed at installation so they can decide themselves if they wish to use the service. The disadvantage of having all the data downloaded in the App is that it could create a very large file, this could cause problems with users having used up a lot of their phones storage. Most Mobile apps are around 50mb – 200mb, they are more substantial for Games applications but users are willing to justify this extra storage because of the return (a game), we need to consider if making a large app will be acceptable to the end user.

There is a way to create a smaller app that would solve the data/storage size on the handset but this will involve adjusting the content of the app. Originally I wanted the app to contain images, video and audio. We can compress all of these to lower the size but by using video we will still be creating large file sizes. I need to weigh up if sacrificing the video element of the app and keeping this just for the online version will benefit the popularity with more users willing to download a simplified app that takes up less storage space, I also need to consider how this will impact on our proposed story.

The second issue that David highlighted was the AppFurnce software itself. When imagining the app I wanted to create something that would last after my University project, Much like Charlotte Crofts ‘Curzon’ project. I wanted to be able to modify it further and create a real something that can be developed further. The AppFurnce licence will only work until June, this means we have to either accept that it will disappear in the future or lok at ways at preserving it through another platform.

David suggested three options:

  1. Contact Calvium (the makers of AppFurnce) and commission them to re-produce the application to a professional standard and upload it to the app store. This could cost between £400 and £10,000 to create and would require funding from partners/local council.
  2. Employ a programmer to recreate the app and publish it to the app store.
  3. Use a software called AppMachine to re-create the app and publish it to the app store (approx £500.) This option is limited in it’s design.

Speaking With David has helped while planing the app and thinking about these limitations while planning with save us wasting time on concepts that may not be future proof. it will also meant that we will have to think more creatively about how we design a simple yet attractive and entertaining app. I’m also in a position now to start prototyping the app at the proposed location and finding out how it is received with my contributors.

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Abigails Producing Workshop

Abigail Producing Workshop

Today I attended a workshop with Abigail where we went into detail some of the tasks that are generally completed by a Producer in a project. The producers role in pre-production is vital to the project being completed on time.

This session focused on the process of making a viable production using softeware such as movie magics to create schedules and budgets as well as using traditional techniques to complete the process. One of the most important things to focus on was that the project is constantly evolving and the producers role is to balance three key areas in order to create a viable product.

Script – The script is the main blueprint for the production, all decisions are initial based around the script and what the writer/director want to achieve. The first step of scheduling and budgeting is to go through the script and highlight all areas that will have an impact on the schedule and budget. These will include Scene length, Location, characters, Props, Special effects set dressing and camera moves at the very least. Having an idea of all of these elements will enable the producer to budget effectively and schedule efficiently.

Schedule – The schedule is important in ensuring a project is delivered on time, there is an overall schedule for the project which should be started from the delivery date and work backwards, this will include post production, production and pre-production. Abigail noted that post production is often overlooked particularly in student films and it can take a lot longer than we imagine, she also reminded us that post-production elements such as sound, soundtrack and particularly titles play very important roles in the final look and feel of a film so they should be given enough time for completion just as the main filming element is.

Budget – With an idea of the script and schedule budgeting can now take shape, budgeting is a balancing act between saving as much money as possible while ensuring all the HoD creative ideas can be realised. The budget sets out how much a production is going to cost and takes into account talent and crew costs, travel accommodation, equipment and grip hire along with many post production elements such as copyright, soundtrack, marketing and distribution. Abigail noted that not all of the money will come at once and that backers will often pay in installments so this is an important to remember when budgeting,

All three of the elements above are working together to create a project, if any one changes then the other two will need adjusting and there should be constant checks and adjustments to the script, budget and schedule throughout the process to keep the project running on time for delivery and within the agreed budget.

For my role as Producer on Sineads drama ‘Behind closed Doors’ I have begun using a free software called Celtx. The software allows the imputing of a script in an industry format and allows the producer to highlight all areas relevant to scheduling and from this i can create strip schedules, scene schedules and effectually plan the overall production phase of the project. using the information from celtx I can also then include this in the budget and get an overall cost for the creation of the project.

I’ve used Celtx successfully in the past and have found it very useful for scheduling. It requires a lot of work initially ensuring all items are cataloged and in the correct format but the initial work pays off in the production phase as you are able to schedule days with ease and ensure that all the team are aware of what needs to be done on a particular day.

Testimony Films – Independent Documentary Producers

Testimony Films

Testimony Films are a Bristol based life story documentary production company. They have won a number of awards, most notably for their documentaries that focus on the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.  ‘9/11 Firehouse’ Won the International Documentary award at the RTS Awards and was the 2013 Winner of the Gold World Medal for History & Society at the New York Film Festival.

Testimony films make documentaries that tell real life stories of past events, they rely heavily on well researched interviews with contributors mixed with archive footage, re-enactments and present day observational images.

Testimony films create a large number of their films through self research and they they hold a vast amount of recorded interviews with contributors that are ready to be used for stories that they may not have been commissioned yet; They also produce a number of documentaries that have been commissioned to briefs sent out by television companies such as the BBC.

I like the approach to documentary film making that Testimony has, they have a team of researcher who are skilled at finding stories. The actual technicalities of making the documentary really come second to finding a great story which they can tell passionately.

 

 

 

Guest Speaker – Dilseh Korya (editor)

Guest Speaker – Dilseh Korya (editor)

Dilseh Korya is a Freelance editor based in Bristol, he came in to give as a talk on how the industry works in general and how he manages his workflow when editing. I was really interested in this talk because I’m a keen editor and am interested in the job as a whole but more importantly as I imagine myself setting up a small company that takes on a number of jobs witch involve both filming and editing footage i’m interested in any ways I can be more efficient when editing footage.

Timescales for Edits and cost

Dilseh works mainly on Documentary and Factual programmes, he explained to us the normal turnaround times for different to give an example of how long you might work and how it differs between genres. Dileshs’ projects are typically 1 hour factual television programmes which include a mix of interviews and observational footage. The timescales for these projects are around 6 weeks for a prime time TV show and 4 Weeks for a daytime TV show, this is actual full editing days where the rushes and sequences have already been setup by an assistant. Wildlife factual television gets a lot longer editing time due to the complexity of the story and these editors generally get 16 weeks to complete a 1 hour edit. The rates for a 1 hour television edit will vary from between £1000 to £1500 per week (5 days) and a ball park figure for a typical prime time factual TV programme is £1300 per week.

Although the rates sound attractive it’s important to note that working freelance does not guarantee you a constant flow of work so when working we should consider how this money will have to tie over periods when you might be out of work for a while.

The Editing Process

Dilsehs’ editing workflow is something i’ll really take away from the talk, traditionally when editing I will go through all my footage in the ‘bins’ and select nice shots I want to use. Dilsehs’ approach to editing approach allows for a much faster workflow.

Dilseh doesn’t browse through the footage in bins, instead he makes sequences on his timeline and drags all of the relevant footage into them. Once the footage is all in the timeline it can then be scrubbed through very quickly and shots that are bad or not relevant can be culled. This process goes on, refining the shots and sequence interview, timing clips and organising them so they relate to audio. Dilseh is skimming the shots, thinking of beginning, middle and end images that are conventional with the audience.

Once all the sequences are complete then they are transferred into a new timeline where they can be moved about to create the story. Dilseh uses post it notes and colour tags for relevant threads of interview. Using these tags Dilseh can then shuffle the content around to create a basic narrative. The new time line is the first proper assembled edit.

Once the basic assembly is complete Dilseh duplicates the timeline and creates a new one, further trimming is completed and the structure is refined. This process happens another 4 or 5 times, each time further refining and adding different elements such as voice over commentary and a sample audio track. Voice overs are generally simple recordings made by the editor directly into the edit, this helps with image placement and storytelling and the script decision is a collaboration between the editor and the director/producer. Using sample music and voice over saves costs at this stage and makes things more efficient. Once the edit is complete a professional voice over can be recorded as well as a suitable soundtrack.

By week 5 There will now be a fine cut, with the project now trimmed to the correct overall length. It is then sent onto to the offline edit where the titles can be added, commentary re-recorded and the soundtrack replaced.

I found Dilsehs approach to be much more efficient and effective than my own, he is working through the project methodically and trying not to waste any time. He added some valuable lessons including the need to duplicate timelines before changing them (so that you have a back up copy) and the need to take criticism on the chin and not get to attached to what you’re working on. The idea of recording your own commentary was very interesting to me and I think doing this would enable me to structure my work a lot easier rather than writing down and imagining what will be in the final cut.