This is the 1st submission for the “5-in-5” Major Studio.

The moment arrived. I finally began my formal education at Design School. After a month-long-grueling Bootcamp, the fall semester started last week, and my professor asked us to introduce ourselves in a unique way. He gave us an opportunity to teach the class something that they might not know, within 5 minutes. For the “multipotentialite” that I am or like to be, I decided to make clear the 7 wonders of the ancient and the new world, which I have seen many people assuming their own.

I made a quick rough-up of post-it notes and somehow managed to put my thoughts across. Well, the class thought I was ‘most efficient’ with it and the board ended up looking pretty colorful. You can take a look at the image and try to analyze what I might have explained to the class, about the 7 wonders.

  

For the week after, I had to make 5 design projects in 5 days! Yes, time was the super constraint here, but assuming more constraints, I think, could and should help. Here’s my first among the five, which is an extension from my intro above.

Idea

I wasn’t satisfied with my semester introduction, even though it was a simple five minutes, and I wanted to make something of it. I did get good feedback from some of my peers who told me that they never thought or looked at the 7 wonders in a way that I explained to them. The first thought that struck me was to do the same but in the form of an upgraded version with Motion Graphics so that it appeals better to a wider audience. However, later when my professor told us about the 5-in-5 assignment, this definitely wasn’t a good idea for single day project and so I chucked it. When I sat to brainstorm to start my first 5-in-5, the one thing that he said struck me… that ‘we need to try and explore something we haven’t done before.’ Stop Motion was the idea that I landed, especially with the colorful post-it notes flashing in my mind! I already had reserved my tripod for a photography project, but I had to let go off that since it was not a good ‘one-day’ project nor I could use a pre-planned idea for this assignment. I did about half to one hour of “youtube-study” on stop-motion videos. I never thought that a tripod would be so vital here, and I really underestimated the idea of stop-motion videos and thought I could pass it off easily with my phone, with a tad bit of human-noise in the video quality.

Constraints

  • Sprint through the day and finish the project. All work stops by 11 pm and only documentation is allowed after.
  • Do not spend more than 2 hours in research/ study. Spend at least 1 hour on plan.
  • Focus on the essential output only, and add details if time allows.
  • Take photos/screenshots whenever possible as you may lose proof of concepts during the one-day sprint. This will help faster documentation.
  • If the best option cannot be decided, go raw, go brute force.
  • Resist new softwares / code / assistance / suggestions. Go totally solo.

Goal

  • Project completion is divided into 3 sections: Main output, sound/narration, details and jazz!
  • Target: Main output in stop-motion.

Process

  • I started off with a 1.5 hour skimming of youtube. I was praising the heavens when I reserved the tripod for this Friday for my photography, from the school equipment center, because without that there was no stop-motion at all, and I never understood its importance before this.
  • There were no good tutorials for post-it stop-motion that I could find, especially with the notes against a wall, but there were others that did inspire me, like clay doll fights, opening up a logo with gems or skittles, etc.
  • I was growing more and more impatient with each passing video because I was beginning to realize that is this is not going to be an easy day! Time is tight!
  • I spent an hour more on my iPad and drew out the chart, and numbered each of the actions for my direction of the entire video.

  • I clearly wanted the video to be a teaching one, where the viewer is being carefully taught with the moving post-it notes so his/her attention is caught and listening to my voice to understand the specifics of the 7wonders. I wanted to throw in some extra-fancy stop-motion animations for my own satisfaction and also to entertain the viewer a little bit. What’s animation without a little fun?!
  • The sound, narration, and music are an important part of this project, however, time was too tight for this in the middle of my debut in stop-motion, and hence the narration recordings had to take the back seat.
  • The iPad sketch was my main direction for the entire project that helped me understand the events, sync, animations to be added and proceeding to completion.
  • I planned to type down a script before I began recording my narration so that I save up on mistakes and prevent re-recordings. However, I could not reach the narration part coz the earth rotated pretty fast in 24 hours! :/
  • I kept the animation at 15 fames per second.
  • My focus on the output were the pictures in serial order and to get their high quality. I did not plan on deciding what after that because I thought I would need to decide that later if there was time left. I was going to use Photoshop or iMovie for this as I was proficient in both.

Success

  • I did reach the ‘main output’ and I captured the essence of visual that I wanted in stop-motion. I felt god-like to give powers to a post-it note and make it wiggle on its own! “On the 11th hour, I saw what I had created, and I saw that it was good!”
  • I was also glad that although it may look like post-it notes, I actually used colored paper since they were lighter, thinner, easy to manipulate and the font was more visible on them. I used stick glue on-and-off to keep moving their positions, and that was so convenient!
  • I had all the supplies that I needed instantly available at the “D12 Studio” floor. Also, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, and when life gives you a tripod for photography you do stop-motion!
  • Invaluable confidence that I did this for the first time ever, and I did it in a day! This was as much fun as much patience you need to animate a single note!
  • I am very happy about my concept and its execution because of the placing of the post-it notes and showing a visual comparison of the old and new wonders is what I intended to achieve… and from this, it seems to work well! The keywords also help memorize the wonders.
  • I am happy with my debut with stop-motion and a tripod!

Improvement

  • I could have trusted my camera less and paid attention while capturing images. Some had tiny marker ink within the frame that I could not notice earlier, and I used up a good time to clean up the photographs.
  • I should have stepped away from the camera area when clicking, as I later saw in the finished product that there was my shadow lurking around in the corner. You may notice this faintly in the output video. However, in the sprint of time, this was hard to manage.
  • I could have borrowed lighting equipment but I could not manage that in the constraint of a single-day. I had to use more time to brighten photos and its contrast for the font with photoshop.
  • I could have spent a half hour more before beginning the image captures, to decide on the editing method, plan, and software for the animation. I swapped between Photoshop and iMovie several times because my Mac and these softwares were unwilling to sprint along with me! Photoshop crashed my machine because I did not realize that I am dealing with high-quality images and I forgot to compress them in the rush!

Future Iterations

  • I will have to complete the narration because without it some portions of the visuals would not make perfect sense to the viewer or they would misunderstand (for example, the Cross coming from the bottom and destroying two wonders).
  • Add background music, sound effects and also the beginning and end animation before starting off with the main topic.
  • I would like to take interviews of users immediately after they watch the completed video as to what they understood from the video.
  • With another iteration, I would probably refine my direction to more granularity and have a run through first and then go ahead with live capturing.
  • Use better equipment, lighting, camera, larger tripod.