We had a rough start where we generated so many ideas that at the end of the first week we didn't knew what to develop further.
The only conviction we had was that we wanted to do something funny.
We started to develop idea about the weather in London researching how does rain impact our everyday life and our mood. Going more in depth in research we realised that weather does not affect us as much as we sometimes believe it.
Soon we realised that what we were interested in was the strategy rather than the topic : it's not about what we sell but how we sell our concept. Not matter if we were promoting a fake danger.
We started researching Apple advertisement quite a lot and were fascinated by how Bon Iver doesn't even name the product while he speaks. This is when we realised we were willing to work about consumerism. The video below inspired us loads.
Whilst researching Google, it's upcoming app Allo caught our attention : as American computer professional Edward Swoden claims the fact that the app is by default not end-to-end encrypting messages means that Google is basically able to read your whole conversation. This is a big step in the privacy of our exchanges and since most people don't read Terms & Conditions, most of the app users wouldn't even be aware of this "by default" setting.
Comparing to the Air Pods joke, the Terms&Conditions topic is a serious and relevant danger which addresses maybe more the brief. What is good about it is an actual danger everyone can refer to as only 7% of British always read T&C's according to an article in The Guardian. Many journalist wrote about it and some people even started campaigning to get simplified T&C's. Since we had previously been researching the messaging app Allo and connect object like Alexa by Amazon and Google Home we knew it was a topic coming up.
My point of view on T&C's is that they are essential but they are aimed to lawyers and not costumers and in this they represent a danger.
Our problem with the T&C's topic is that we didn't had any strategy approach to make it funny/intresting. Since I had a discussion with Esteban I knew we had the avoid the "classic graphic design cool video" which I immediately referred to the ATTN: 50 seconds documentary which have a really nice consistent style and are straight to the point.
This reaserched lead me to researching what new technologies was coming out in 2017 and their relation with consumers.
- Apple is taking a big step in 2017 with Iphone 7 and its Air Pods. Daring to remove the headphone jack sounds to me like an experiment : it looks like they are testing how far would their costumers follow them.
- Google new campaign for its latest product : Pixel. We have been quite shocked by Google's upcoming app Allo which feature scans messages and suggest replies.
Doing my research on Apple in 2017 I came accross this video on Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_wImaGRkNY where silhouettes in front of a colourful background and keep on losing their Air Pods as they dance : the climax of this video for me is when you can see the dog walking through the set and you can see he has been swallowing the lost Air Pods found on the floor. I found this idea hilarious and quite conceivable : since Apple's design is ergonomic, round and shiny it is quite appealing and you could easily imagine child and pets trying to eat it.
My idea behind the Air Pod "Protect-you" scenario was to do something funny and that people would remember. I liked the idea to have a dramatic built-up that leads to an absurd danger.
My research about the two tech multinationals is what lead us to our two most developed ideas.
After a feedback session with Peter Hall, he advised to create the story board of our two most developed ideas : the Air Pods danger -as we already had almost a finish story board- and the Terms and Conditions topic -as it has we did a lot of research and had a lot of substance about it-.
After the feedback session on Monday we agreed to say that the T&C's topic, as we gathered loads of information was more consistent than the Air Pods joke. So George and I, split in between the two options gave ourself another day to create an interesting story board for the T&C's and if Tuesday night we still hadn't anything we will start filming the Air Pods joke the next day.
Below my research on Monday night against George's one :
After watching loads of short commercials on youtube, I started mind-mapping again and came up with serval scenarios both about showing the complexity of T&C's. The idea came to me after watching this video where an expert state that the complexity of Google's terms and condition is equal to The Bible using a software analysing a text and showing the number of words, of complex words, of sentences, and of pages as well as diagnosing the adult literacy level.
The first story board was like a little riddle : "What do you get when you cross.. The vocabulary of a lawyer.. With the length of Macbeth.. And the typographic skills of a blind person?". Which might seem a little offensive even if it is not meant to.
The second one is a classic plot opposing the baddies against the people and would show two characters -a lawyer and a graphic designer- conspirating in a basement to make their T&C's as impossible to read as they could.
Problem with both idea : they requires set, costume and actors.. And the time left was limited.
So George came up with the idea to create a video showing every day situation and revealing the omnipresence of T&C's. One of our argument was : even your coffee had T&C's since you signed up to get a Waitrose card.
Since George's idea was more manageable we decided to work on it.
Bellow is how I visualised our idea :
Versus how George visualised it:
Since we have different skills, we have different visions.
I would have never been capable of imagining such an animation as I didn't knew what software and how to use it at all. This is exactly when teaming-up and group-work is efficient, and here sharing skills helps so much improving the quality of our work.
As you can see to the right to mock up I made of my tagline has been magnified later in the project by George's skills on AfterEffects.
Bellow George's final storyboard:
But I thought we needed something a lot more violent, as Esteban suggested, make it extra-dramatic. As I was researching 30 sec ads on Youtube I came across with the Barnardo's commercial to the left and thought its looping and acceleration effects was creating a devastating representation the idea of accumulation.
Here above to the right a collage I made with acetate to visualise the really mainstream idea of information over-accumulation.
We thought what could work well was to have T&C's popping up in front of someone working on his/her computer. The point of view shot was ideal for our idea as I would allow us to allow the viewer to identify himself even-more. So we rented a GoPro and did few test-shots and here are the problem we came across :
- the fish eye effect was quite deforming
- the fact that the camera was fixed on the head of the actor meant the laptop screen was seen from above and was therefore distorted
Over the shoulder didn't really work since it's wasn't the same point of view anymore.
Upon the first editing of the first part : it is ending by a cross blur aimed to allow the transition to our fact slide and tagline slide. We took inspiration in the Barnardo's commercial again and how they have a fact summing up their point and with a number that give them authority (a statistic can't be denied) and then their logo and slogan which allow reenforce their position on the subject.
I had a look at fonts to try to find the most suitable ones : the "Terms & Conditions" and "Agree" really need to evoke to the visual context we are referring to and same for the "AU" of Caution. I had a look at what fonts does Apple uses like Lucida Grande and Myriad Pro but we went for Corbel as we thought it was looking alike but giving us our own identity.
Whilst designing the text slides we were wondering how to make the transition between the text slides and it's when we had the idea to scroll down and to make them look like another window that would pop up on the whole surface of the screen which meant we had to remove the cross blur and animate the transition between the first part and the second.
Our final video focuses manly on the fact that it takes only between 1,5 and 2 seconds in average from when T&C's are presented to us and when we click the 'agree' button. Which means there is an actual relation between the video timing and the actual reality of T&C's.
Self-evaluation : we did OKAY.
I am not thrilled by the outcome : I was quite happy with the tagline I came up with "Terms & Caution" and I am happy with how it renders as the effects quality is quite professional and looks pretty polished however I think we still miss emotion and as I learnt from the "Rule of Six" chapter in In the Blink of an Eye, it is what counts the most. Bellow is my evaluation criteria by criteria.
- Emotion : I think we could have been a lot more dramatic, there is something a bit too static our final outcome.. I suppose that since George is not an actor his hands movement was a bit stiff and looked really staged. Maybe adding more sounds effect like more indignation and surprise sighs could help.
- Story: I think we have done quite a good job creating our plot and being straight to the point with the short-time limit we were imposed.
- Eye-trace: The way the windows pop-up in the second part of the video is really catchy and the point of view allowed the camera movement to drag the eyes to them as well as in the last text animation the way the cursor appears and scroll down is really effective. Then I believe the first part of the video (when the windows pop up on the laptop screen) is not as strong. I had one friend asking about the title of the book to the right of the computer in the first seconds he was watching which prove that the eye-trace could have been more effective..
- No problem since its' a single shot
In The blink of an eye "Why do cuts work?" Walter Murch explains when a cut happens how we "are forced to re-evaluate the new image as a different context". What is intriguing me is that the cut need to to either be a "subtle or total" displacement otherwise we are disturbed. I have recently watched Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn and still can't get over how confusing the Glass to the Face scene was: the scene alternate Gosling sitting in the corner of room and him standing in front of Mai (his prostitute) and a shots of his mother sitting in what might be the same bar (even if we understand at the end of the scene that it wasn't). What is so disburbing is the lighting and ambience is really consistent in all of theses shots : the alternation of him sitting and him in front of Mai can be understood as he is from the couch imagining himself standing in front of Mai this can only be understood at the end of the scene.
Glass to the Face scene : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97yD9eoSr44
This chapter was inserting but since we've decided to shoot our video as a single point of view shoot it didn't help me with this project but allowed me to get a general understanding of how cuts work. We did tried some over-the-shoulder shot to see if the screen was more easy to read but we thought that a cut wasn't necessary and would lose the effect making the viewer identifying him-self to the character.
Portfolio preparation has started and I thought I would do some rough poster mock-ups to go with the video. I started by using a plain background and then thought I should add a bit more colour to catch the eye and split my canvas in two in order to make each be as vibrant : on a light background the phone -with its white background- is lost whilst on a dark background the type would need to be in white which clashes with the type on the phone's screen.
In the end I have chosen to mount it on different backgrounds:
- a supermarket : which is the ultimate representation of the society of consumer
- offices : to represent all the fine prints linked to services that we don't even realise agreeing to
- an electronic store : illustrating all the T&C's we have to agree to when using softwares and electronic devices