Video Project – Final – Update, Upgrade, and Upsize Your Life with Magical USB!

Our group, Abby Lee, Tianjun Wang, and Martin Martin spent the past two weeks finishing up our video project. We met a couple time a week for a few hours at a time to make sure we had all the video and sound we needed for our Video and Sound final project!

Colorized Version of Storyboard for Magical USB in preparation for our video project.
Colorized Version of Storyboard for Magical USB in preparation for our video project.

Having our storyboard completed really helped with determining the path and direction of our project’s production. With the different frames illustrating what we were hoping to achieve, we were able to break our informercial into very accomplishable pieces. And, after our last class session, we were able to take into consideration feedback given on how to improve our project and incorporate it to produce an even better final product.

Our first week of shooting we recorded a number of video clips that we would use to show some of the many magical transformations that can be accomplished with the Magical USB. We found ourselves having to modify our shooting based on what was realistic for us budget-wise (in our case, both time and money.) Fortunately, we had a lot of ideas on how to overcome these minor obstacles. Once we were done shooting, we were able to take those images and video clips and apply special effects in Adobe Premiere to give the appearance of the items morphing (much like our Magical USB does, but manually.)

Having the meat of our examples created, we moved on to record our intro with our boring guy and his boring life being transformed by a fate introductions to the Magical USB. We had initially talked about having the sound of talking in the video sound like the boring grown-ups in Peanuts comics, so we didn’t focus too much on getting the audio recording for the video we took. We later decided having clear dialog would help better communicate the magic-ness that is the Magical USB. The audio we did attempt to take, so we could have noise room to use, didn’t actually record, so, with no recordings, we ended up doing voice overs… this choice, rather than reshooting, was an easy one to make as the bad dubbing only adds to the cheesiness of the infomercial.

Using Adobe Premiere to Create a Commercial for the Magical USB.
Using Adobe Premiere to Create a Commercial for the Magical USB.

Our feedback from our class editing session was that we should show even more transformations to illustrate the potency and miraculousness of the Magical USB, and that we could benefit from including some sort of customer review or testimonial about the product. We ended up combining the two and creating a segment where an audio recording of a testimonial was played while examples of updates, upgrades, and upsizes where shown.

We brought the whole thing together with audio clips to bring life to the transitions, and filtering in some background music (once the boring guy’s life meets the Magical USB, of course!) to give the video’s silent moments some pep.

A shot of a whiteboard with our dialog outline for the first part of our video, used as guidelines for the flow of our filming.
A shot of a whiteboard with our dialog outline for the first part of our video, used as guidelines for the flow of our filming.

Personally, what I most took from this experience was more (useful) experience. I’ve worked with Final Cut Pro and iMovie in the past to make projects; however, that was over 10 years ago. Interestingly, I don’t feel like all that much has changed in terms of how video editing programs work. Much like with coding, if it’s not something you know how to do, you can fairly easily find help on the internet. Also, I have to say I really loved my group. I’ve had a lot of experience in the past working in teams and groups and have been blessed with really cool teammates at ITP. (An observation: I honestly have to wonder if the group work dynamics/approach they were starting to force us to do in college 25 years ago is something that has, culturally, trickled down and become ingrained in younger students. Generally, I’m someone that is very easy to get along with and collaborate with, and I really don’t recall it ever being this easy to work in groups.)

In terms of what I would change were I to do this project again or how I would approach my next project differently, I would say that working on this project has really pointed out the realities of what is feasible time- and expense-wise, so I would take a different approach to planning the piece. I tend to dream big and then figure out how to get to where I want to be, but in cases like this, when working with a team, scrapping a project and pushing hard to remake something is even less considerate than it is feasible… that is to say, it’s out of the question.

Once we’d started editing the film, I started thinking about the music video I made for a friend of me driving through the desert in my car singing along to the music (so that my friend could know what it’s like to go on a road trip with me.) It’s essentially me in a car driving and holding my digital camera while I filmed and sang. No real props (save my sunglasses and Mr. Roads, R.I.P., my sweet car) and a simple, but somehow entertaining (at least, it is if you’re into cheesy music videos), approach created something effective. So, given the same assignment and time and budget constraints, I would likely do something similar–maybe a lip sync music video, or at least something involving fewer props. With all that said, I’m quite happy with the final outcome of our project. It’s funny and was fun to make; I would absolutely work with Abby and Tianjun on a project again!

Tianjun, Martin, and Abby (clockwise from lower left) celebrating after some Magical work!
Tianjun, Martin, and Abby (clockwise from lower left) celebrating after some Magical work!

This was seriously a really great effort by everyone involved on the team! Abby, Tianjun, and Martin all contributed equally in very different ways to end up with a product that needs no Magical USB… just take a deep breath before you watch–you’re not going to believe what you see! Meet Magical USB!

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