AuthorTopic: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants  (Read 11926 times)

Offline Lackey

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Hello everyone,

This semester I'm taking a course in documentary film making.  For the term project, we're making 5 or 10 minute documentaries on a subject of our choice.  Well, I'm thinking of doing my documentary on pixel art.  What I want for this is some interviews or stories; people speaking on the subject, basically.  Audio seems like it would be easiest to use, basically I'd just edit it and arrange various still images to it.  Its sort of cheap, but in this context I think it would be effective.  I have another idea on how to use images, but Ill talk about that later.

What I'm asking for in this thread is if anyone would be interested in speaking about pixel art with me either via a Skype interview or by recording themselves privately and responding to some pre-written questions or just gabbing on thematic lines.  Ideally I'll get a variety of voices like artists, professionals or hobbyists.

Some of the questions Im looking to answer are things like what is pixel art?, why pixel?, what got you interested in pixel art? and so on, in addition to more specific questions depending on who Im interviewing.  The tone of the documentary will be basically expository, it will be to a lay-audience so Ill have to explain some of the esotera, but Id also like to touch on the motivations of artists as well.

So right now I just want to ask around, put the idea out and see if anyone is interested.  If you are interested in being interviewed or talking to yourself and recording it please respond to this thread, or via pm, and then Ill have to decide on my own if I have enough takers to go through with the project (I do have a fall-back plan).  I want to make this really worthwhile!

The other, somewhat ambitious, idea I had for the visuals is to ask participants to do a pixel self portrait as a 4:3 image with frames for the basic phoneme mouth shapes and then I would lip-synch it to the recording.  I think that would look pretty cool, and also add some character.  That might be too much work considering the 4 weeks I have to do this, however.

Anyway let me know if you have any questions, input, or whatever.  I would love to get community feedback on this project.

Offline Xion

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #1 on: March 12, 2007, 12:16:09 am
Sounds very cool, informing the average person about our little craft...
If I can find my headset, I'll record myself and send you some words on the subject. Now where'd I put that thing...?
Do you have any more specific questions you want answered?

Offline Helm

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #2 on: March 12, 2007, 01:11:29 am
This is interesting, sadly I don't feel, as a non-native speaker that I could carry the subject in audio for a long time. Shame you're not taking text.

Offline Lackey

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #3 on: March 12, 2007, 01:34:50 am
Do you have any more specific questions you want answered?
I do, probably!  But I haven't really written any down yet, heh.  I think for now general stuff is probably better.

This is interesting, sadly I don't feel, as a non-native speaker that I could carry the subject in audio for a long time. Shame you're not taking text.
I don't know if I need length, really, if you do feel like offering anything I'll take it because more is better than less in this case.  I can always edit down.  I can't think of a way to integrate text at the moment though.

Another thing I just thought of that I'd like to use is video from the recorded pixel art thread.  So there's another possibility.  If anyone else has ideas for moving images I would be happy to hear them!

Offline Xion

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #4 on: March 12, 2007, 01:49:15 am
This is interesting, sadly I don't feel, as a non-native speaker that I could carry the subject in audio for a long time. Shame you're not taking text.
I don't know if I need length, really, if you do feel like offering anything I'll take it because more is better than less in this case.  I can always edit down.  I can't think of a way to integrate text at the moment though.
Subtitles?

Offline Lackey

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #5 on: March 12, 2007, 01:56:21 am
I'm considering it.  I prefer it to narration for the preamble bit I'm going to need to do.

Offline Zolthorg

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #6 on: March 12, 2007, 02:19:50 am
why not work out the interviews in text first, which will give people confidence and a chance to work out how they want to say what.

Offline Gil

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #7 on: March 12, 2007, 03:01:18 am
I'm in. If I find the time that is.  :)

Offline Mirre

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #8 on: March 12, 2007, 10:15:35 am
If you want me - I'm in! Though, I'm not a native English speaker either. If I had the text written down so I could practise beforehand, I would probably do better.

I really liked your idea with the portraits and lip-synch. That is such a cool idea. And I agree - it would really add character to the documentary. It also reminds me of Creature Comforts (from the creator of Wallace and Gromit).

Offline Blick

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #9 on: March 12, 2007, 12:16:38 pm
I'd like to do this. I don't have a mic, but I'm sure I know someone who does. I wouldn't be able to do the Skype thing, but answering questions given to me shouldn't be hard.

Offline Helm

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #10 on: March 12, 2007, 02:24:16 pm
text questions up-front are important because this is a tricky subject to explain and it would serve noone (unless that's the angle you're going for) to have people struggle with definitions and such 'on the air'. If the point is to explain pixel art to the layman, careful, pre-written answers to precise questions is the way to go.

Offline Lackey

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #11 on: March 12, 2007, 02:58:04 pm
Here's a tenative list of questions for those who are interested in recording themselves:

Pixel art in general:
What makes pixel art unique?
What is the role of restrictions in art?
What is pixel art? (Alternate: How would you define pixel art?)
How does pixel art compare to other media you've used?
How would you describe pixel art to people outside the community?

Your own art:
When did you learn about pixel art?  What got you interested?
How would you describe the art you make?
Why do you pixel?
What influences your art?
How do you make your art? (talk about process)

text questions up-front are important because this is a tricky subject to explain and it would serve noone (unless that's the angle you're going for) to have people struggle with definitions and such 'on the air'. If the point is to explain pixel art to the layman, careful, pre-written answers to precise questions is the way to go.
The live interviewing process isn't critical, I just think it helps to establish a conversational tone.  I acknowledge that this is more effective if the person is already an expert on their subject though, with clear ideas about everything already in mind and able to speak easily about it.  The other thing is that I would almost definately require more than one interview to get a good recording and I don't want to take too much of anyone's time.  I might need people to record themselves anyway since I'm having problems getting my recording software working.

If you want me - I'm in! Though, I'm not a native English speaker either. If I had the text written down so I could practise beforehand, I would probably do better.

I really liked your idea with the portraits and lip-synch. That is such a cool idea. And I agree - it would really add character to the documentary. It also reminds me of Creature Comforts (from the creator of Wallace and Gromit).
I'm perfectly having non-native English speakers for this, any variety of voices is good!  Agreed on Creature Comforts, its the seminal example of lip-synching to pre-recorded voices.

Offline ptoing

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #12 on: March 12, 2007, 03:49:42 pm
Does skype allow for recording sessions somehow?

That would be neat.
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Offline Lackey

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #13 on: March 12, 2007, 04:01:40 pm
Not natively, unfortunately.  I've looked up various methods of recording but they seem to require multiple soundcards.  There is a program called Hotrecorder which works but the trial only allows for 2 minutes of recording and no exporting to .wav, .ogg, or .mp3.

Offline miascugh

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #14 on: March 12, 2007, 04:19:43 pm
Mhh, I think there comes a third party recording tool with the latest version of skype (what version is that again, 3.0?) but I haven't tried it and don't know if it's free.
I'm really tempted to try it, but besides not having that much confidence in my speaking I'm also not sure if I would know what to say, and that I don't have any resolute ideas about it.

Offline Larwick

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #15 on: March 12, 2007, 10:53:34 pm
Just thought i'd say this sounds neat, and i can't wait to see the finished result.  :y:

Offline Zolthorg

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #16 on: March 12, 2007, 11:35:35 pm
Skype used to be completely free for basic services as part of an offer.
Now it's free for skype to skype communication.

Offline Rydin

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #17 on: March 12, 2007, 11:55:39 pm
I don't know how many people you need for this, but I'd be more than happy to spill my guts about pixels if you'd like.  Great idea by the way.  :y:
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Offline Feron

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #18 on: March 13, 2007, 08:04:58 am
i'm a bit of an amateur around here, but i have a built in mic to my compy and audacity is a free pro recording tool.  I can export to ogg mp3 wav, what-ever you need.

I'd gladly answer a few questions - i would also record myself with other people's text-written answers if need be.  Subtitles of some of the foreign people would show that it doesnt matter what coutry you come from - anyone can create pixel-art.

On the subject of recording internet calls - there is a skype ripoff, called Gizmo Project which does allow voice recording.  Its a good program.

If you have any good video confering tools you could actually get video answers - perhaps one of the benfits of having a mac.

Offline goat

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #19 on: March 13, 2007, 03:36:53 pm
This is a pimptacular idea, and I'll gladly do it if you decide I have anything to say :P

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Offline Stwelin

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #20 on: March 15, 2007, 11:32:16 am
I can give you my perspective from the 'hobbyist' point of view. I am slightly considering getting into commercial work, but I don't think I would make a career out of it. This sounds like an interesting idea. :)

edit: also, just a word of warning if you decide to make the 'pixel portraits' to use in the film, unless you are making them fairly small and blowing them up, it could get tedious, otherwise someone may be giving some dramatic (lol) line and their expression would be staying pretty much the same... although, it would capture that old-school SNES 'cinematics' sort of style?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 11:37:06 am by Stwelin »

Offline Lackey

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #21 on: March 15, 2007, 04:35:03 pm
Glad to see this number of respondants.  I'm not certain if I'm going ahead with the project right now (I should be by the end of the day) but I'll let everyone who's interested have further instructions when I'm ready to move on.

also, just a word of warning if you decide to make the 'pixel portraits' to use in the film, unless you are making them fairly small and blowing them up, it could get tedious, otherwise someone may be giving some dramatic (lol) line and their expression would be staying pretty much the same... although, it would capture that old-school SNES 'cinematics' sort of style?

True enough.  Alternate eye positions should be possible without interfering with the mouth shapes just by putting it on another layer or something.  They would definately be blown-up (size would be the choice of the aritst) and I don't want to have anyone do too much work on a relatively short schedule.  Any 4:3 proportion image could be blown up to work (from 40x30 to 320x240).

Mhh, I think there comes a third party recording tool with the latest version of skype (what version is that again, 3.0?) but I haven't tried it and don't know if it's free.
I'm really tempted to try it, but besides not having that much confidence in my speaking I'm also not sure if I would know what to say, and that I don't have any resolute ideas about it.

Skype is free, it doesn't include any recording tool as far as I can determine (unless it's well hidden!).  Even if you don't have very resolute ideas I'd be happy to hear from you; sometimes it can be more interesting to hear from people who haven't quite figured things out yet.

i'm a bit of an amateur around here, but i have a built in mic to my compy and audacity is a free pro recording tool.  I can export to ogg mp3 wav, what-ever you need.

I'd gladly answer a few questions - i would also record myself with other people's text-written answers if need be.  Subtitles of some of the foreign people would show that it doesnt matter what coutry you come from - anyone can create pixel-art.

On the subject of recording internet calls - there is a skype ripoff, called Gizmo Project which does allow voice recording.  Its a good program.

If you have any good video confering tools you could actually get video answers - perhaps one of the benfits of having a mac.

I recommend Audacity to anyone who's thinking of recording themselves.  It's a good, easy to use, and free audio recording program.  Gizmo might be necessary for conversation-interviews.  Does anyone mind downloading software for the interests of this project?

And thanks a lot for the enthusiasm everyone, I will notify you with how to go ahead when I have the details.  For anyone who is thinking of recording themselves you might just try with the questions I listed above so that you're comfortable with them.  Again, thanks!

Offline sedgemonkey

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #22 on: March 16, 2007, 01:02:58 am
This sounds like quite an interesting project for interviewing, but I would highly recommend using actual pixel art over the talking heads so people get a good feel for the subject. I'd love to see how this turns out.

@Helm:  You don't have any English issues at all in your typing and you have a damn good English vocabulary (too good for babelfish  ;)).  If I had to guess, I would have thought you spoke English fluently.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #23 on: March 16, 2007, 01:14:00 am
helm, if you are worried about searching for words while miked, could you not make a written script, and then recite it for the microphone?

i'd love to participate since it's a neet idea to ask people what they think, but I'm afraid my opinions wouldn't really be worth recording, since pixel-art to me is basically a triviality -  it's just what i do between more important things like work and study.
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Offline Helm

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #24 on: March 16, 2007, 02:31:40 am
Yes, the being at a loss for words or mumbling stuff is what I'd like to avoid. I can speak english well enough, though with a greek accent - as one would expect.

I could make a script and such. I guess I can do it, Graham.

Are you aware how much effort lip-synching animations will be?

Offline Stwelin

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #25 on: March 16, 2007, 03:37:21 am
Indeed, lip synching is quite tedious, even if it is on a low resolution, and that's not even counting other facial animations. maybe you could go with just stills, like they do on the news when they are corrosponding with someone 'via satellite' and they just have a still of their face in the corner. Then play some more interesting content in the main area while the person is talking...

&Helm, it would make my day to match a voice to the face. :)

Offline Lackey

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #26 on: March 16, 2007, 10:25:44 pm
Hey,

Sorry about this but it looks like because of complications the project won't be going ahead.  I still like the idea though, I'm going to have to consider investigating it on my own time, perhaps during the summer.

Offline Stwelin

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #27 on: March 17, 2007, 03:59:38 am
Ah, that's a shame. i hope you do pursue it, i am still looking forward to participating, if you decided to go along with it.

Offline eck

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Re: pixel art documentary project: looking for participants

Reply #28 on: March 17, 2007, 06:52:22 pm
Indeed, lip synching is quite tedious, even if it is on a low resolution, and that's not even counting other facial animations. maybe you could go with just stills, like they do on the news when they are corrosponding with someone 'via satellite' and they just have a still of their face in the corner. Then play some more interesting content in the main area while the person is talking...

&Helm, it would make my day to match a voice to the face. :)

in the middle, you could have a slide show type thing, showing off some graphics theyve done :o

that is, if you ever folow through with it.
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