I was kindly invited by Adobe recently to attend the OFFF Festival, now in its 16th year in Barcelona, Spain. During my time at OFFF I learned quite a few things surrounding the festival, creativity, the mindset and tools used by some of the industry's leading individuals. These are the 10 things I learned at #OFFF16:
1. When You Fail It May Lead to 'Succailure'
Ustwo, the development team behind Monument Valley, were present on the 1st day at OFFF and gave a lot of solid advice. One particular nugget of information that I took away from their talk was the notion of 'succailure'; the idea that even if you fail when tackling a project whether that be through audience reception or the lack of willpower to continue - as long as you learn from it, it's succailure.
2. Stoooorm is Going to be HUGE!
One of the greatest announcements at OFFF had to be the introduction of Stoooorm, a service dedicated to providing raw assets within their original project files - allowing for easy remixing and collaboration.
This type of service is something that I have been waiting a very long time for, to be able to download the PSD or After Effects file and look at how certain films were edited, motion graphics or digital artwork were created - this would allow for interactive teaching that presents the individual with full reign over the product in which they can break it down at their own pace. The interactive platform will focus solely on the use of providing these assets to the public, allowing for painless interactivity and education, helping to delve into the processes that talented individuals use around the world. Stoooorm provides an endless co-creation and learning experience in which you can create freely with high quality assets before re-uploading for the community to reuse. Offering true originality and shareability in a web 2.0 platform.
The best thing about it is the fact that we can then re-upload that work for others to see how we remixed the same assets to produce the new look - which they can then download and freely create with. This endless cycle I believe will produce some incredible content and is something I am very excited for and will keep up-to-date on.
3. Photoshop's Content-Aware Crop Tool
Michael Chaize announced on stage that Adobe Photoshop's upcoming update will have a new feature based on the content aware tool. The crop tool now has a new check box option that fills in any white space presented while cropping a photograph. The tool can also be used to extend images beyond their original framing to generate extra scenery. See the video below for a clearer explanation:
While this feature is new, the process is not, usually you would have to rasterize an image and CTRL-Click on the image's icon to select the photo before inverting and using the content aware tool.
This new crop feature will save a lot of time and make editing photos an ease - I hope it eventually makes its way to Lightroom!
4. Network. Network. Network.
Over the period of OFFF, I didn't hold back at any point, I thought to myself while at an incredible event with so many interesting and creative people surrounding me, why not talk to them? I asked questions and pushed myself to soak in as much knowledge and experience as I could. During this time I met some fascinating people from all sorts of backgrounds and ideologies - photographers, designers, film-makers, YouTubers, writers and the list just goes on and on.
5. Have Your Portfolio on Hand at ALL Times...
During my time at OFFF I met some great people all of which asked to see my portfolio, due to the sketchy wifi within Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, where the festival was taking place, that wasn't always possible! Since the event has ended my phone is jam packed with short films, photography, design work and every other kind of digital work I've produced in my time for offline use. Hint: in the photos app make sure to give a 'love heart' to these files so they appear in the favourites album. This way they won't get lost or pushed up the screen by a photo of your lunch for Instagram.
6. 'The Troop' Know How To Make a Teaser!
Early morning after an entire day of travelling I was still not quite awake for the OFFF opening ceremony, yet The Troop's fantastic work of their teaser trailer for the festival had me wide-eyed and smiling from cheek to cheek. The music and sound design were fantastic and offered a true uniqueness surrounding their presentation. If you haven't seen it yet or want to experience it again, enjoy:
7. Always Have Multiple Camera's on You at All Times!
During my trip to Barcelona courtesy of Adobe I was tasked with using social media as a platform to promote the event and Adobe's insane products. While at the event I took hundreds of photos and more gigabytes of video than I'd like to state - these are for an upcoming video surrounding the event (keep an eye out!) but multiple times throughout the event I had to be quick at getting the shot! To combat the issues of battery power, SD card storage, subjects at different distances and lighting I always carried 3 cameras; those were the Canon 70d with the 18-135mm lens (useful to have various vocal lengths at hand) with my 50mm 1.8 in my kit bag for when I needed low lighting shots. A Canon PowerShot s120 and my iPhone 6s for the incredible 4k camera. The iPhone was particularly useful due to the various apps available such as VSCO cam and Spark Post, these gave me the option to post to social media on the fly.
Having multiple camera's proved critical, in one instance my battery died in my DSLR so within seconds I switched to my Powershot just to capture the crowd storming the stage at Joshua Davis & Madame Ghandi's performance. Had I not had my second camera on backup I would have missed the crowd rushing to the front with people raising chairs into the air. Having multiple cameras also saves time, shooting time lapses simultaneously gave me the opportunity to edit photos on my iPhone as I collected new footage - productivity and time management skills come into use in situations like that.
At one point I was given a 4th camera by Michael Flarup as he presented on the Adobe Twitch channel - it's safe to say I was a little swamped!
8. Adobe Capture Let's Anyone Create
OFFF isn't just about talks from some of the industry's leading, there is also a whole section dedicated to workshops, stores and even a tattoo parlour. One of the main attractions were the several Adobe booths where you could create your own design to be printed onto a tote bag; you could also print a funny postcard created in Photoshop. To fully utilize the programs used at OFFF it was necessary to sketch the idea first before scanning it in, this is an ache to do time and time again but with Adobe Capture, sketches could be synced to the Creative Cloud in seconds. The app truly has come a long way since its original premise, now allowing you to generate colour pallets through the camera, converting a photo into a brush or turning objects into vector-based shapes.
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The app allows anyone to create and seeing the amazing work produced at the Adobe stands proved that to me. Seeing the power and creativity that individuals have while using such a powerful tool was motivating - I'm incredibly jealous of the Creative Cloud library that stores all of the insane designs!
9. The Internet has Changed Everything
I've always been under the influence that the internet is the greatest thing to have ever been invented, it has shaped my life and career in monumental ways - creating YouTube content when I was only 10 years old allowed me to be part of a new generation of digital natives. Everything I have ever learned has been though the web, all experiences I've had offered to me are due to my successful Gaming YouTube channel - earned thousands of pounds through advertising and selling designs amongst other ventures. Even this trip to OFFF was only possible due to the internet! Digital Kitchen, the creative and digital agency behind the titles of Dexter and Narcos, had a talk hosted by Alaa Mendili, one point of significance that stood out to me was how he got started in his field.
"Where I was born and where I grew up doesn't really matter because for me it all started with the Internet." - Alaa Mendili
It was great listening to someone in such an accomplished position who had the same experience as I, the internet allowing anyone at any age to learn absolutely anything. I've just finished my second year of university and I feel like I've barely learned anything simply due to the fact I had learned most of it years prior through Google and YouTube. The internet is a tool that I will use indefinitely in the future to brush up on my weak areas - if you aren't utilizing the power of the web to improve your skill set or work, please start.
10. Personal Projects are Key
Through OFFF many speakers identified how starting personal projects out of curiosity and passion in a childlike state was a great way to get attention and can in time turn into paying projects. James White of SignalNoise started designing illustrations of his favourite wrestlers from the 80s, long story short, one thing lead to another and now has began working on The Lego Movie 2 with one of his heroes Rob Schrab.
I've had my fair share of personal projects help me get my foot in the door to some interesting companies and meet some talented people. I personally feel that your evenings after work happen to be the perfect time to "kill" time on something relaxing, a passion project of sorts that has a slight hint of shareability or skills growth within it. It's a win-win situation to me, you end up learning and potentially adding to your portfolio while having fun and if you fail....you guessed it, have a succailure.
A lot of useful information at this year's OFFF festival, if you didn't make it I hope these 10 points have taught you something; I learned a hell of a lot more than the few mentioned in this post so if you can make it to OFFF next year please do as you won't regret it. Thank you to Adobe and everyone I met at the festival for being such great people with positive and creative attitudes, it meant a great deal to me. I hope to work with you all again in future.
#Filmmaking Jun 01, 2016 · 5 min read
How To Shoot a Travel Video
Towards the end of my summer break I wanted to shoot a short film as a way of getting a final creative release before heading back for a new semester at university. I’ve always been a fan of observational travel videos and the short edit segments by travel vloggers such as FunForLouis and Ben Brown.