We’ve reached the end of the road. Kyle and I are both happy with what we’ve made over the course of just one semester. For myself, it was the first time seriously working with a video camera. We’ve learned a lot about both the technical aspects of documentary but also quite a lot about our topic. If you’re going to be in Ithaca, please come to our screening on May 16 at 5:30 pm in the Transmedia Studio! For now, here’s the script of our documentary, Beats and Bytes. We plan to have it online at some point soon, and possibly even with some extras also uploaded to YouTube. We had even more content that just didn’t fit into the documentary, but we want to thank everyone in the ICGSO for all of their help, participation, and enthusiasm.
So this is it: our finalized documentary is due in two days! We finished up most of the editing today and got some helpful feedback from our classmates and professor last week that really tied the entire production together. Reactions all around seem very positive in terms of subject matter, and apart from a few technical issues the production is good to go. We plan on submitting our finished documentary to several smaller film festivals, including a documentary-specific one in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, as well as the International Student Film Festival in Hollywood; both take place this October, so we’ll have to wait for a while before we hear back about our chances, but we’re hopeful it will get picked up!
We would also like to thank everyone, both participants and supporters, who made this documentary a reality, including Michael Samson, Tiffany Lu, Alex Ryan, Shota Nakama, Shawn Jimmerson, Austin Wintory and the entire Ithaca College Gamer Symphony Orchestra. It was a pleasure working with all of you, and hopefully the end of this production cycle will not mean the end of our journey.
We can officially say it: We interviewed Austin Wintory!
Austin is a composer, most known for his work on Journey, but he assured us that the last thing he wants to do is just repeat Journey over and over. It was our longest Skype interview, and the video quality was fantastic, which is more than we can say for some of our other videochats. Austin had a lot to say and got us laughing. It was a last-minute interview, and we really wish we could include more of it in the documentary, but we’re low on time. We’re actually doing well for time constraints concerning the due date, but we’ve found that we reached the 15-minute mark of the rough cut quickly! And there’s still more awesome footage and pieces from interviews!
Editing has been a challenge, but a rewarding one. When filming the ICGSO concert, we set up three cameras. We’ve now found that the footage with the best sound quality is not necessarily the one with the best visuals. We also like to vary up the angles, which means we’ve been working on syncing the different videos to the audio, watching it over and over to make sure that they match. In addition, while editing the trailer, we discovered how to blend audio. In the trailer, we used the beginning and ending of “Dragonborn” from Skyrim. To make it sound natural when we cut out the middle, we were able to do an audio cross fade with precise timing to make the transition from one clip to the next almost unnoticeable.
We’re more and more excited for how this will turn out. If you’re in the Ithaca area, please check out the screening for our documentary (as well as a few other great documentaries) at the Transmedia Studio on the commons at 5:30 pm on Thursday, May 16.
We proudly present our trailer for our documentary, which we’ve now titled Beats and Bytes. Enjoy!
The trailer can also be found under the media page.
So this semester is finally winding down, which means that the final cut of our documentary will be due soon! We have a little less than two weeks to make our final edits and adjustments before the project has to be handed in, but we’re making progress. This Friday we picked out a few choice video and audio segments from our favorite songs and interviews and put them together in a 1-minute trailer that should be up on this page soon! We also have yet to put together a formal production book featuring a compilation of waivers, budget sheets, production notes, our formal script and other necessities; it’s a lot to do, but we’re confident we can get it done. Stay tuned in this coming week for our finalized trailer, as well as our finished product in less than 14 days!
This past week was an exciting one for our documentary’s progress, starting with a great deal of more editing. We’ve looked through all of our interviews and pulled the clips we will most likely use, so this just leaves us to fill up time with more b-roll, music and other assorted visual and audio methods. For our documentary class on Thursday we presented a rough cut version of the project to the other students in our class, with a 2-minute opening sequence, several b-roll shots with music and segments of our best interviews; the entire thing was about 7 minutes long. We got mostly positive feedback from our group as well as some very helpful constructive criticism; people were overall very interested in the topic, even if they didn’t personally play or like video games, and they agreed the music was spectacular. Things they did want, however, included actual shots from the games themselves, which could be tricky to provide under copyright law, but after doing some research we concluded it might not be as much of a problem as we thought.
Additionally, our documentary got a bit of publicity this weekend when we were featured in a pre-recorded segment for the Sunday night local news show Ithaca Now, on 92 WICB, IC’s radio station. My partner Carly talked in detail about the making of the documentary, the filming process, contacting people for interviews and our total experience in making this film so far. Check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/92-wicb-ithaca/documentary-filmmakers-ithaca
We’ve pretty much wrapped up filming! Last Tuesday was the Gamer Symphony Orchestra concert. Kyle’s friend Nate assisted us with filming so that we could have three cameras set up: two on either side and one from the audience’s view behind the conductor. As for my experience, I had a piano set up to my left, so my view ended up being rather restricted (thank goodness for the two other cameras!) and I could only get shots of the woodwinds and strings as I had to keep Kyle and a photographer out of frame, as well as navigate around the pianist with limited room. The first piece was from the game Skyrim, and it had a male chorus. I filmed them and then just before the second piece began, I quickly raised the tripod as high as it would go and leveled it out again. I caught a few happy faces on both the musicians’ and audiences’ faces during the concert, and it was definitely a fun experience for all!
We’ve now started working on our rough cuts and going through interviews. The hardest part is trimming down interviews. There are just so many good things said that it’s hard to cut anything out! It’s hard to believe that it’s already April 7th, and it’s time to step it into high gear and edit, edit, edit.
There are also new stills from what we’ve filmed! Check them out under the media tab.