The pics are meant to be crappy!

Well, its sort of photo-related so I guess I’d best make mention of it here.

So, it was like this see…

Coupla mates and I have been nattering on and off for, oh, I don’t know how long, about how increasingly difficult it is for pro photographers to earn a crust.
All sorts of reasons for this of course, none of which I intend to explore in depth. Or even in shallow for that matter.

Anyway, upshot of all these chats has been the development of the notion of “repackaging”, whereby photographs per se could be presented as a part of, or one element of, something else. (Various other ideas have also been mooted, but this is the one that’s immediately relevant to this ‘ere post.)

And part of that could be , for example, some sort of slideshow consisting of video and stills combined… or even stills on their own.

Well, my views on video (from the production side at least) should be fairly well known by now.
In a word (or four actually)… “you’ve gotta be joking!”

Nope. The idea of producing video… of any sort, size, or description… simply leaves me cold. Not a bloody chance! (Bit strange really, considering I now have two videocams. Hmm)

However, cos I’m fairly well-known for shooting me mouth off and then thinking about things afterwards, I had a thunk. Didn’t come to much though. But when does it ever?

Until the other day.

Waking from the deepest slumber an image popped into my head. An image of a pic I’d taken, oh, a few weeks back. And never actually used. Sort of dismissed in fact. Cos it looked pretty boring. And was a fairly naff photo as well (nothing changed there then!).

But there must have been something about it that was quite striking. Cos here it now was, pestering the old grey cells and calling to mind other images… images of certain periods in the past, and of certain prophetic books.

So, laying there in a half dozy state I assembled in my mind a whole sequence of other images (from pics I already have), around this central one.
And before too long it began to dawn on me that what I could have here was maybe the theme for some sort of stills slideshow. Well, bugger me!

Didn’t have a clue how (or indeed if) it would work in practise, or even what I might have to do to the selected images in order to help create the right “feel” (and undoubtedly I’d have to “do” something), but thought it was worth having a bash.
At the very worst it could only turn out to be a complete screw-up and total waste of time.

Well, not completely a waste cos hopefully I will have learned something in the doing thereof.
On the other hand, knowing me, I probably won’t have done.

Anyway, cutting what’s beginning to be a very long story short, I decided to give it a go.
A test run if you like. An experiment. A prototype. Or a “proof of concept”. Or something. With the final result uploaded to that good old standby YouTube and, for your entertainment (of the mickey-taking variety I wouldn’t be at all surprised), embedded hereunder.

The clip’s entitled “London 2009”, with a sort of subtitle of “No Narrative Needed”.

Hmm.

And before anyone says anything, yes, the pics are meant to be dark and fairly crappy!

About fotdmike

Occasional photographer; occasional writer/blogger; occasional activist; occasional computer-geek. Bit of a fool really.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Photography Chat, Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The pics are meant to be crappy!

  1. mywayoutnow says:

    You could have set them pictures to music, Heartbeat or Keystone Cops, or even the music from ‘Z’ Cars, and yes I am (just about!) old enough to remember that! Oer a bit of trivia for you the writer of that programme (Troy Kenedy) died last month!

  2. forkboy says:

    A very interesting idea Mike. The single theme in a slideshow/movie format. Works for me. And I like how you added the smiling officer at the end. Cute.

    I think it might work a bit better with some music laid onto the video. Sticking with classical would be the best route to avoid copyright issues. Maybe something darker? Moodier?

  3. fotdmike says:

    Music as background: well, I coulda done. Or some other soundtrack… I’ve actually got a super one from the recent Disarm DSEi protests in London that would’ve been good but I’m saving it for something else. If I can sus out how to strip the audio from the video clip (which I can’t use for… er… “discretionary purposes”!).

    But the decision to not have a narrative or any sound was quite deliberate. Total silence, letting the images speak for themselves.

    Sort of thing.

  4. imetam says:

    i think it’s a great slideshow/video.

    I don’t have the foggiest idea how to do a video on youtube. I’m clueless. So, if you or Forkboy could enlighten me, maybe I’d make a video too. 🙂

    • fotdmike says:

      Well Tam, I’m a bit useless with video type stuff too. So I consulted my own personal fount of all photographic wisdom specifically with regard to knocking up a video from a set of stills and he was… er… quite unhelpful really. Toerag! Most unlike him.

      Anyway, he suggested a couple of online apps, neither of which looked much good so I didn’t bother with them. He totally dismissed (I seem to recollect) any Microsucks based product (e.g., Windows Movie Maker), and sort of recommended Picasa.

      Well, I’ve had run-ins with Picasa before and have to say have never been overly impressed.
      This time was no different… mainly cos a) I initially had difficulty sussing out how to even start creating the video and, once I’d finally worked that out, b) couldn’t work out how to assemble the pics in the order I wanted.
      So, persistent sod that I am, I gave up in disgust.

      And ended up using Windows Movie Maker. An absolute breeze, I have to say. More than that even, a godsend for brainless twits like me.

      The other really important thing my own personal fount of all photographic wisdom specifically mentioned was that YouTube mangles the quality of clips, especially those created with Microsucks apps.

      So, always one to listen to good advice, I uploaded the finished product (as a .wmv file) to YouTube. Which was a bit weird considering its not one of their recommended file formats. But since when have I cared about such trifling details?

      And, well, you’ve seen the result for yourself. May not be brilliant, but I’m reasonably satisfied with it as a very first attempt at anything of this sort.
      And in fact the most fun I had was in processing the pics to create the sort of “feel” I had in mind. 🙂

      (Though I think I chose the wrong pic to start with. I originally wanted one of something like Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament but I didn’t have anything even remotely suitable. Pooh!)

  5. fotdmike says:

    Um… going back to that business of using a background soundtrack. On reflection, I s’pose I could have done. And if it had occurred to me at the time I probably would have used one of the several original recordings I appear to have in my possession of early WWII Nazi and Wehrmacht marching songs.
    And I can’t seriously imagine any ex-Nazis trying to do me for breach of copyright or something!

    But I didn’t think of it.

    Hmm. I might do a “take two” though… if I can be bothered.

  6. forkboy says:

    My thought wasn’t offered as a criticism, as you know and understand. I can see your point about letting the pictures speak for themselves, but I think it is the issue of the duration of the slide show that, at least for me, beckons for musical accompaniment.

    And I hate to admit it after having purchased an iMac, Windows Movie Maker is a smart little program. I enjoyed using it for editing home movies from my camcorder. It was simple and got the job done without a bunch of fuss. Hell…it’s so simple one doesn’t need to read anything to get started or use it. The only draw back is that you can’t burn a completed movie to a DVD with Movie Maker, but there are plenty of other ways ’round that issue.

    • fotdmike says:

      Yeah, I accepted that 😉

      And I had momentarily considered using some sort of soundtrack, though I’d had in mind one from a rather noisy demo where there was a lot of yelling and stuff going on.
      But it wasn’t really the effect I was after. More in my mind was an emulation of the Remembrance Day “two minute silence” type thing (not sure if you observe anything similar over your way?) during which almost meditation-like couple of minutes folk will pause in complete silence and (maybe) conjure in their mind scenes that recollect why they’re having such an observance. Possibly.

      Though duration was a thing that did concern me a little bit (its actually just a bit more than two and a half minutes long) and I think you’re probably right insofar as its got rather more frames than I’d intended. Original thought was to have about a dozen but when I tried that it felt as though the thing was over almost before it had begun, and it didn’t feel as though there were enough images to “hammer the message home”.

      Back to the drawing board then. With the second selection process I ended up with about 50+ pics, and that was way too many! So I suppose what the final result really represents is a sort of compromise.

      My one real criticism of it, bizarrely, is that the pics don’t come across to me as being crappy enough. I’d also added some noise but at this sort of size (640px) its not really noticeable enough. I’m thinking now I may have had a better result had I just done a straightforward sepia conversion and left it at that.

      As for Movie Maker, you’re right, its a breeze to use. As with any app I’m messing with for the first time, no way can I be asked to read a load of “how to’s” first… just dive in and tinker. Which Movie Maker really does lend itself to. And whilst quality (certainly with this YouTube version at least) isn’t perhaps as good as it could be, its nowhere near as bad as I was expecting given my mate’s criticisms of a YouTube/Microsucks combo.

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