On Reflection: Week 2, Module Three

Appropriation and misappropriation! No, not the title of a lost script from Blackadder the Third, as much as it may sound like one.

Instead a cautionary tale for every artist.

‘Molotov Man’ illustrates the worst way to appropriate another artist’s work. When did it become anything other than best practice, common courtesy, and common sense to credit another artist when using their work. I find it incredible that one artist could source another artists work, and then use that work as a basis for her own project, without giving any credit whatsoever to the original artist (‘Appropriation and Misappropriation’)

The main event this week, however, the production of a movie style teaser trailer for my project. Quite a task and certainly new territory for me – this is an area in which I have absolutely no experience whatsoever.

Straightaway I can see the advantages of developing a skillset in this area – significant advantages. Ideas start popping off in my mind like firecrackers at Chinese New Year. My internal dialogue is running through scenarios of where and how the ability to skilfully produce and edit videos would be useful.

And so research began …

One thing which immediately became apparent, and it’s something I touched on when looking at the use of interactive ebooks, is the disparity between the Mac operating system and Windows based systems.

Mac PCs and laptops come with iMovie included. Windows Movie Maker ceased being included with new Windows based machines some time ago.

I’ve seen some amazing trailers produced by my fellow students over the past few days – all using iMovies. And not only do my fellow students eulogise about iMovies, the software also comes with trailer templates for anyone wishing to somewhat automate the process.

So, what are the options for Windows based machines?

Well, there are a number of options, including Windows Movie Maker, which is still available to download via a link.

These software packages, though, are far from being equal. Some are extremely limited, whilst others could prove to be exceptionally powerful – provided you have a significant amount of time to invest in learning how to use the software. Of course, you then have to assess the risk of investing this time only to arrive at a point where you realise that the software really isn’t that good after all, or that it won’t do what you want.

I intend to carry out some significant research in this area, and have the go ahead from teaching staff to take my time making the trailer in order to do so, and so I don’t wish to write extensively about my findings to date here. But what I will say is that the two software packages that really stand out are Camtasia and Adobe Premiere Pro – these are both very powerful applications, packed with features, and – importantly – are easy to pick up and run with because of their intuitive user interfaces, many features are ‘drag and drop’. Additionally, for those inclined, Adobe Premiere Pro is supported by a wealth of textbooks providing instruction in its use, notably for me the official ‘Adobe Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book’. Finally, Premiere can be used not only in conjunction with all other Adobe products but notably After Effects – a dedicated film and special effects application.

This week, during my research into video production, I heard a fantastic piece of music. I contacted the composer with a view to discovering the title of the work, and instead ended up in negotiations (ongoing) to have the music licensed to me.

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