Persuasion: A post- mortem of Dementia Friends

I don’t fully believe that my Dementia Friends project was as completely successful as I would have liked it to have been. I think I made some mistakes on a technical level which made the outcome, in regards to the video, slightly more crude than I would have liked. The problem was that I had never really done stop motion before, and because of that I made a few key mistakes that I didn’t foresee during production. Principally, I should have taken a lot more care with the lighting levels whilst capturing the images. the camera was automatically making changes to the white balance depending on how much of the black background was on the screen.  I will be attempting to make changes to this in Premier Pro, although I fear it will be a frame- by- frame job.

The client was kind enough to email us individual feedback for us to work on;

Billy Barnes – Enjoyed the video, very good clear message, you took on board what Pat our resident said how she felt about living with dementia. Could it be more colourful? I’m no graphic designer so I’ll leave this with you to decide.

I am glad that it was obvious I had taken on information from our discussions. As for colour, I understand the issue. the posters themselves being mainly dark grey. I think that its important that the background isn’t colourful itself as it allows the colours of the paper- people to pop. Perhaps I could improve it by increasing the vibrancy of the colours involved? Similarly, I may see if i can decrease the darkness of the background just a hair, as I had multiple printing issues with the shadow of the paper- chain not showing up against the background after print.

I also reviewed the feedback gained from my tutor:

Your presentation slides are well constructed with a consistent, thoughtful connection with the colours of the Dementia Friends flower. The embedded animations all worked without any hiccups. You worked well as a team in setting this up and in delivering it to your clients and general audience. You should have introduced yourselves at the beginning however.

You introduced the presentation clearly and with confidence. When presenting your own work you were suitably animated with good positive body language. You need to try to reduce the number of times you say “sort of like” when presenting in future however. Your idea is simple and clearly communicates working together. The images on the poster and Facebook post square work well but the social media banner does not have the nice shadow like the others. The shadow gives it depth and makes it more interesting. Some items need more information on them to make it clear what the viewer can do to become a friend.

The animation has a charm despite its unsophisticated production standards but needs to have a consistent, dense black background. Some shots reveal a textured, lighter background which interrupts the narrative – it should be the same background all through. Some of the transitions are a little crude and need refinement I feel. The hand across the image happens so quick it doesn’t communicate your intentions. The character in what looks like bandages also is a little confusing. The lines that appear when the character disappears is too playful and is not needed. The audio is also a little too playful and light for the subject matter. Perhaps it would be better without the backing track altogether but with the voice over being a bit louder. The voice over is well written and clearly delivered and communicates the narrative well. Despite all these comments I feel that with further refinement, this could be a very successful outcome.

In regards to the presentation: Im glad for the feedback on us not introducing ourselves; I didn’t even realise! I think I was so nervous it completely passed me by. I am encouraged by the fact I was perceived as being confident however, because I most certainly did not feel that way. I have learned however that its never a case of feeling confident as much as acting confident. I will likely always hate presentations and speaking in front of any number of people, but as long as I can literally do it well its no massive deal. If I don’t find myself with every presentation I do more confident, I most certainly find myself more functional and thats progress.

Attention is called to the changing background which I have already talked about here, and is something I’m going to try my best to fix. Ideally, I would capture the whole thing once more under improved conditions, perhaps with the camera set to have a fixed white balance to ensure the background stays dark. As to the “pop” lines when the central figure disappears, looking back I’m not sure exactly what I was going for. I feel like the whole thing in my head was inspired in part by the Change4Life campaign, and the lines were a direct result of that influence. Of course, this animation doesn’t have any of the same kind of cheerfulness as the Change4Life initiative so just seems out of place here. They will go.  Lots of the feedback seems to stem from the fact I was recording it at about 8 frames per second; the transitions would have likely seemed a lot less clumsy and something like the hand would have been in frame for longer should I have stuck with 12 or even 24 frames. I was trying to find a happy medium where the animation didn’t seem to janky whilst not ending up having to spend too many weeks getting it captured. What little experience I have with animation, doing a rotoscoped piece last year, I did myself a disservice by trying to animate in too many frames per second and ending up spending far, far too long on what ended up being a fairly low quality and incomplete one minute of footage.

I have a feeling the whole concept could be pared back to its core components to make a higher quality final outcome. A friend working on their persuasion piece recently showed me a gif they had created to improve on an animation they had originally submitted. It stripped the whole concept down to its core, and worked so so much better for it. I think thats the problem with my idea here; it was just a little bit too bloated. It could have been a much more simple solution if some extraneous elements were to be removed. Just like in the S4C brief, I learn once again that it is always best to Keep It Simple (Stupid). I think thats the biggest take away from this project: I need to learn to not add more than I need to, and focus on doing what is needed to a high, high quality. It would have also helped if I didn’t try to create a final outcome in a completely new medium I had never tried before first time around in a short time span, haha.




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