The final project was an interesting and fun project. My original idea was to make a video about art block, simply because I was in one! But I finally came up with an idea that I thought would match my interests in the creepy/mysterious aesthetic that I like going with for my projects. I knew I wanted to incorporate tarot cards and candles into my video, with some witch type of figure. I was thinking about recording myself doing an actual tarot reading by drawing the cards and laying them out and talking about them, but I didn’t think that would be “spooky” enough. My voice isn’t spooky in the slightest and I didn’t think I could pull that off. So instead I compiled footage of myself lighting candles and looking through the cards, some smoke, and some shots of crystals and other things. I then went on the search for some stock footage that would match my theme and I ended up finding some really interesting clips. I really wanted the moon to be in the video so I’m glad I could find a high-quality video clip of that. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that with my camera at all so that was definitely needed. I also found some really interesting clips of a witch-type figure at a bonfire, which I couldn’t do myself due to not knowing where exactly to light a fire like that and make it look interesting without causing a wildfire! Overall I really enjoyed editing the project because I learned a lot of new tricks with my program. I ended up snipping, copying, and reversing clips a lot to create the effects I did. During this, I learned a lot about video transitions and what types of transitions fit with the overall mood of the video. I hope everyone enjoys it or at least found it interesting to watch.
The theme of the Gear Game takes inspiration from the popular stereotypical side-scrollers throughout the decades, such as Super Mario Brothers, RedBall, and many other aspects of the MedtroidVania subgenre. It was made using unorthodox methods of animation (if you can even call it that). Five environments were drawn using tools exclusive to Algodoo—a physics engine intended to be used for education—and referenced from my mental map of the music, so that events on screen would be synced up with it.
The interesting part about the production of this project was that I had to design a game and play-test it. Obstacles were fine-tuned to allow for manageable navigation and correctly timed on-screen events. Exploring the functions and scripting language of Algodoo was a true feat within itself as well, for the program is very old, and makeshift community tutorials date all the way back to 2006.
Once a scene is completed and thoroughly tested, I set the simulation speed to half and play through the course in real time. This allows for my screen-recording software to capture a smooth frame rate. The video recording is then saved to my desktop, and dragged into my editing software: Final Cut Pro X, where I speed up the footage to match the music.
Motivation for making this cartoon came from a desire to transition from the not-so-practical methods of practical effects in Stop Motion animation. For five years I have been repeating the cumbersome task of taking thousands of photos of meticulously placed physical objects, only to realize a mistake was made halfway through the process, forcing myself to redo everything. Computer animation, I have learned, is far more flexible when it comes to altering the world I am manipulating. If a mistake is made, all that needs to be done is to merely press the undo button, and it is repaired. Objects can be moved by the bulk, and most of all, the laws of physics don’t apply here! I can make things float, explode, or have the torque of a thousand Newton-metres, contained within a penny-sized gear if I wanted to.
Algodoo is not limitless. I have encountered my fair share of denied possibilities due to engine limitations. But it certainly has broadened the room for bigger imagination.
When I got word that my mom had access to a drone for her camping trip, I knew I had to do something with it. I have always wanted to get my hands on some more professional looking footage, and I figured this would be the perfect chance to experiment with it. She’s wanted me to edit for her for a while now as well, so everything kind of just fell into place.
My biggest challenge with this project was that I had no control at all of what footage came my way, since I couldn’t be there. I tried to give them a list of things that I wanted shot, however, I left a lot of room for creativity. I felt like this was a good idea at the time, but when they came back with actual hours of footage of just my dog playing fetch, I couldn’t do much with it.
While I was editing, I decided to create a simple storyline with the footage I was given. I started with several establishing shots to set the scene and get a feel for the area that it was in. There were some beautiful scenery shots that I was given to work with, and they worked great as introductory shots. From there, I visually introduced my dog with a video transition, and from there, I focused on several shots of him playing fetch in the snow. I hoped to have a little more variety in my shots around there, but I didn’t have much to work with. From there, there were a few more shots of him playing in the snow, catching snowballs and chasing mice, but they were shot in a different location, so I used a dip to black to introduce the shot of my mom and my dog hiking to somewhere else in order to keep visual setting continuity.
I think that given the footage that I had to work with, I think my project turned out great. I was hoping to edit a video documenting my dog’s adventures in the snow, and I really think I got what I was hoping for. Onto the next adventure!