“Found” Narratives – For XX

Hello! I am back with another assignment today. πŸ˜€
Hoo boy this is going to be a long post… Hope you’re ready!

1 Minute Video:

30 Second Video:

Artist Statement:
A retelling of a true story, of one where I stumble across a crime scene in my neighbourhood… which turned out to be a film set. Whooooooops.

When I first received this project, I did not have the faintest idea of what I wanted to do. Tell a story in one minute? What the hell? And in video?! Oh nooooo.Β But of course, after overcoming all the initial panic, I started to sit down and think about what I want to do.

Since I am not a very ‘deep’ person that can’t exactly tackle all the ‘deep and philosophical’ issues, I decided to do what I do best: Some (bad) comedy. πŸ˜›

I occasionally make little comics about my life shenanigans, and after scrolling through my old works I decided to tell the story of the time I passed by a ‘crime scene’ near my house. And boy was it a wild ride… haha.

After nailing down the story and getting Bryan’s approval, I originally wanted to piece together videos and images of police cars, tents and what not into my video, but either I have bad Google-fu or the images online are really that lacking of the content I need, I was not able to find satisfying footage that I needed. The pictures are usually of low quality or are taken from an awkward angle, and the videos I found would be hard to piece together to form a cohesive narrative. And thus this led me to one other option: telling the whole story by doing everything myself.

The entire process:
At the beginning, I was planning how I would want to portray the story, such that it would not give away the ‘twist’ of the plot. I then decided I would first show elements of a crime scene, such as police tents, police cars and police tapes, to mislead the viewer. Afterwards, when I go to the area for a closeup, I see the other elements, such as the boom mic, cameras and clappers. It then leads to an awkward exit away from the screen by yours truly.

Below is my low-effort attempt at trying to storyboard the story:

Small scribbles

I laid out how I want my story to go, so the next thing is to try to piece it together on Premiere Pro itself. For this, I redrew all the key frames in Photoshop and then transferring them to Premiere. I also recorded the voices I need for my work.

This was the first draft:

Picture by picture

Then to video:

Combining it with my voiceover

After I made sure the story flows cohesively, I started to work on the actual story.

I was in a dilemma about what style I wanted to portray my story in. I originally wanted to go for a more realistic style for my characters, but with the limited time I am working with, the best option would be to go for simplification, which is the style I used in the key frames I made above of the characters. This is a style that I work with quite often too, so I am also aware of the amount of work I need to do to pull this off.

Next thing was the backgrounds. After realising that I clearly don’t have enough time to draw them all out, I decided to take my own pictures instead, since I can decide my own angle and composition and shoot till my heart’s content. As for the actual location, I walked around my neighbourhood until I found a good spot to take my pictures. I snapped at all the locations I needed according to my story until I was satisfied with it.

At this point, my plan was to overlay my characters onto the photos, so I realised that the realistic looking photos against the highly stylised characters would look very jarring, so I applied a Photoshop filter, “palette knife”, to all of my images. This would make the photos look more artistic and “cartooney”, so it would be less distracting from the subject matters. I also did not really apply any colour correction or editing to my images since I felt that they look natural enough to be in the video themselves.

This was the result:


Next thing are my characters. I have never really tried to do anything animated-related so I had to try to find a way to make it look like things are kind of “moving”. After some more trial and error, I decided to draw my character movements one by one and then lining them up in Premiere.

Below is an example from the first scene of the girl walking:

It’s a bit small, apologies!

I drew the girl in a layer above the image and then coloured it in. Afterwards, I made everything transparent except the girl and saved it as one image. This is then transferred to Premiere, where I piece together the movements image by image.

As you can see, there are 2 layers of “videos” on the timeline. “bg” is the background, and the files labelled 1, 2, 3, etc. are the individual movements of the girl walking. And this was basically how I did my entire video…

There were also some parts of the video where I had to draw what was going on.

The line work was a bit too shabby for my liking… but I was running out of time ):

After some sleepless nights, Premiere crashing, Photoshop lagging, files going missing, pen stylus not responding and just all around bad luck when it comes to doing any video related assignment, I finally pieced together everything, and all that’s left was for me to add some sound effects to make the video more dramatic.

Sound effects are the only media files that I Googled for, credits at the bottom of the post! As for the sound effects themselves, as I was doing my project I kind of already had in mind what sound effect will go where, so that part was relatively simple, thankfully. And with that, more or less, my video is completed!

This is how my final timeline looks like:

I tried.

…or so I wish lol. Now the real challenge is to cut down my video to half of the original length while still maintaining the same wit and retaining all of the voiceover audio. So naturally, I shortened a lot of the parts that were voiceless, and even cutting out one scene entirely. It certainly wasn’t an easy task, but somehow I managed, millisecond by millisecond. Phew. I thinkΒ I barely made it. Woohoo!

Artist references:
I’ll admit, I’m not exactly the best when it comes to artist references in this mod. A lot of my ideas are formulated in my head before I could find an artist to reference to, so I always struggled to find someone to include in this section. I also have a very limited Photography/Film knowledge, which is probably a bit more of a fault on my part, haha… sorry Bryan ):

This time was no exception, I really had no idea what inspired me to do this style of work in the first place. But I tried to think a bit more and I went back to look at some of the animators I subscribe to on YouTube and realised that is probably my best source of inspiration for my works.

The animators I follow are all usually talking about their life stories and opinions on various issues, which are really nice to watch. Some have really sarcastic humour that I can really related to, which is a nice plus. Furthermore, I find it impressive that these animators can express a simple face so animatedly even though their character personas are relatively simple in design too. They can also present their points humourously with a witty and well-timed joke, which always gives me a good chuckle. All in all, I admire the quality and effort they put into their videos and maybe someday I’ll be like that too…

Here are some of them! They are all really good, check them out if you are interested!

  1. TheOdd1sOut
  2. CypherDen
  3. Jaiden Animations


(Scene opens with a girl walking)
(She turns her head to see something shocking)
(A police tent is shown)
(A police car is shown)
(Police tape with a crowd is shown)
(The girl dashes off toward the scene of the crime)
(She reaches the place and stops to catch her breath)
Girl: Wait… what?
(A clapper is shown)
(A boom mic is shown)
(A film set is shown)
Girl: It’s… a movie set! Ahahaha….. (her voice trails off)
(She slowly backs away from the film set)

Some reflections:

Hoo boy, I don’t know if this video was a mistake or not to be honest, haha. It was very time consuming and in my opinion, quite shoddily put together. There were many scenes where there were more that I wanted to play with, but due to time constraints I had to cut the amount of work I intended to do and come to a compromise. I knew making a semi animated short wasn’t easy, especially since this is my first time trying to use Adobe Premiere. I had to learn everything from scratch, and more often than not I couldn’t get things to work the way I want, ahaha. Coupled with some other happy little accidents, this project was a little frustrating to say the least πŸ˜›

Furthermore this is not exactly the conventional video format for this assignment, and even though Bryan gave the go ahead for my video I was honestly really hesitant throughout making it because it almost feels like I’m not hitting his requirements… but I guess we’ll see o_o

Buuuuuut I guess, in hindsight, I picked up many useful Premiere skills through this first-time experience and I hope that I would be able to use them more effectively the next time I need to produce another video. May every mistake be a lesson to be learnt. πŸ™‚

Post-presentation critique:
Bryan thought the video was pretty okay and appreciated the effort I put into this project. The story was easy to follow, and he was sad to realise that there wasn’t more suspense to the video because of the time limit, haha. Despite that, he commented that I could have put in more effort into the background, such as playing with curves or colours, which I agree with. I would have loved to do that too, but time was unfortunately not on my side πŸ™ It would have been nice to make the world look more vibrant. Thank you for the great advice! πŸ™‚

Alas, this post has gone on too long (or maybe it’s because I’m falling asleep…) but I guess I’ll end it here. If you made it all the way to the end, thank you for reading through my entire post, and I’ll see you next time! <3

Sound effects credits:

  1. The dramatic BOOM sound
  2. The ZOOM sound
  3. The brake sound
  4. People talking in the background
  5. Background environment noises are by myself



Author: Hilary

everything looks better with night mode

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