Project Diary: Artist Video
Updated: Apr 8, 2020
"About Me" Artist Video
For a recent school project we were challenged to create an artist video. The video was to act as an introduction to who we were as designers and to let viewers of our websites get to know us a bit more. I was initially pretty intimidated by the idea of this assignment. Even though I love photography, videography has always felt like a very intimidating medium to me. When brainstorming ideas for how I wanted to execute this project I remembered that I've always wanted to try making a stop motion video and I thought this project would be the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
My first step was to write a voiceover script that was roughly 60 to 90 seconds when spoken aloud. I came up with a few bullet points of things that describe me as a designer that I wanted to include. I tried to focus my script on what I'm interested in when it comes to design, my morals and values as a designer, and some basic facts about myself. Once I had my ideas I strung them together in a paragraph. I then practiced reading the script aloud to make sure it sounded good and fit the time constraints.
Once I had my script completed it was time to start working on the visual elements of the video. I decided to play to my strengths and create an illustration-based video. I started this process by creating a storyboard of what I wanted each frame to look like. I separated the script into sections and started to conceptualize the imagery I wanted to illustrate each point. I planned for all of the illustrations to move on a plain white background, with the different pieces coming in slowly from outside the frame.
Next came the most time-consuming part of the entire project: drawing the illustrations. I used multimedia sketch paper, micron pens, and Copic markers to create a series of small illustrations. I tried to keep in mind how all of the pieces would look together. For some of them I made separate parts that would provide the illusion that the object was moving once the video was edited together (e.g. the spinning needle on the compass). Then I cut out the drawings and put them into plastic baggies, each numbered according to the order in which they would appear in the video.
My illustrations, organized and ready to go!
Finally it was time to film! In my research on how to create stop motion videos I came across an app called Stop Motion Studio. The app allowed you to set up a timer to take a photo intermittently for whatever time you specified. All I had to do was set my phone on a tripod and move my images in and out of frame. After each frame, I watched the video playback to make sure everything looked how I wanted it to. It was a bit of a learning curve at first and it took some time for me to figure out the pacing of moving my illustrations around. It was a very tedious process but eventually I got into a rhythm and things moved a lot more smoothly. Once all of the photos were taken I decided on a playback speed and then exported the video to my computer.
The "Stop Motion Studio" process
The final step was to bring my video into iMovie and record a voiceover. This was the least time consuming part of the project, as I simply read my script into a microphone while watching the video playback. I also found some music for the background and adjusted the brightness, contrast, and saturation of the video. These final tweaks really made it look more professional.
I ended up being really happy with the final video. Although I knew that making stop motion videos was time consuming, it wasn't until I actually made one that I realized how much work is really involved. I am definitely interested in making more stop motion videos in the future, especially now that I've overcome the learning curve. I'm also pleased with how the video represents me as a designer and I'm excited to have it displayed on my website as an introduction to who I am.