Here’s a little story about adapting my work to fit the rules.
About ten months ago I started to develop my demo reel, Hovering Lights. It started out as a found footage project, much like Cloverfield, Chronicle and such. Following that line, my original plan was to shoot it all 16:9, like a handycam and have all the overlays on the screen, which would be another thing I wanted to learn how to script. In the first presentation people said it was too outdated, looking like something from the 90s. At some point one of the instructors suggested that I made it all look like it was shot with a phone, and uploaded to Instagram. That idea clicked pretty well with my crazy-experimenting side and I decided to set that as a goal.
First things first, I needed to figure out Instagram’s limitations. Maximum length: 15 seconds. Video dimensions 640×640 px, square format, 29,97fps. So even my longest shots needed to fit in 15 seconds or less. That kind of solved the problem I was having trying to figure a way to make it all look continuous while hiding several cuts along the way. Getting adjusted to the square aspect ratio was the hardest part, and I started my Instagram account two or three days after that presentation. I posted daily: old photos, new photos, some assignments, tests and whatnot, building up my audience in the months before the reel was ready to go.
Of course, I shot it with the 5D3, raw, and got me some extra resolution to finish the project at 1080p Square – no way in hell I was going to have my final output down to 640 Square! – cropping information on the sides and adjusting my framing along the each shot by manually moving the crop around the original shots. It turned out nice, dynamic and still holding LOTS of information for post. Then I went forward working on the shots through the remainder of my program. In term 6 I hit a speedbump and went back home for a while, getting back to work on my final shot with class 3D112, kind of restarting my Term 6.
Following a schedule different from my original class, 3D112’s graduation won’t happen until September 18th, which should be the time I’d have the final sound for my project – there has been some more interesting developments on this part, though – so I had to wait before officially releasing it on Instagram. At some point I decided “you know what, fuck that, no matter how amazing this sound will be, it won’t be noticeable on a phone’s speakers”, so I started posting the first part last Sunday (August 23rd).
Second part went online on the 28th…
And then, coolest thing ever – not to say otherwise -, on the 29th, Instagram decided “ehhh, fuck this square aspect ratio thing, you know?” and removed restrictions so anyone can post whatever pictures and videos taller or wider than the original 640px resolution. Boom, that was it. What’s the point of having square footage now? My single salvation is the fact that this is too recent and the majority of users is still posting square stuff. So today I uploaded the rest of the project – even more luckily, everything that was left to be uploaded should happen in a single straight sequence of posts, unlike the two first parts – and watched my followers count drop by EIGHT people not ten minutes after I was done. Seriously? But, ok, I’m fine with that. I already got seven new ones to fill in that hole.
I got lucky that the whole thing was already going on, but if that change regarding the aspect ratio had happened in the middle of my development process, man, I’d be pissed for weeks. What did I learn from this experience? If I ever adapt my work to fit something else’s rules, I better release it faster than 10 months, right? Hahaha!
This post links up with something else, but it’s an entirely different subject, so I’ll just stop here. Enjoy all the clips, and follow me, if you still don’t!
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