Creating a mini-documentary and thumbnail

To document our second visit to site I chose to take on my own project. I wanted to create another form of documentation – so far we had been taking notes and photographs. As an interesting alternative that wasn’t in our deliverables I chose to film our planned route on a GoPro Hero 3+. This provides the group with a visual aid during production time, in case any needed alterations occur and we need to re-visit the site stops.

Initially, the filming process was very basic as I filmed each stop and the features from its surrounding environment, such as, the Daffodils from the memorial. This began to inspire the aesthetic for my mini documentary, instead of aiming for conventional documentary style, alternatively I chose to cut the footage to mini clips, so the film began to feel like a storyboard. I achieved this by editing my recorded footage in Apple iMovie, a quick and easy way to cut down and join footage without hassle. In our time frame, employing this programme was effective and efficient. Colour alteration for each clip was seemingly impossible due to the GoPro picking up each extreme weather condition we experienced during the day, I carefully selected each clip so the weather would be the same, making it easier to alter the colours and create harmony between each clip. Again in the time we had, individual clip alteration was limited so I selected the colour palette tool and increased the blue tones, this made the sky deeper in colour and less grey as it contrasted with the green tones in the fields.

To maintain a fluid and attractive aesthetic in the storyboard I installed ‘blur’ transitions between clips. After the cut and transition process the ‘mini documentary’ was thirty nine seconds long, perfect for the pitch to Leeds Museums and Gallery’s Curators. I chose to mute the audio and add no sound effects, so the film could silently play in the background of the pitch while Jess talked through the stops in more depth.

Story board selection of the clips, key attached also:

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As I had adopted the role of documentary film maker for the blog, we agreed it was also my part to design and apply a Breary Banks thumbnail for HiddenDale. After pitching my initial sketch to the group we decided to use it, I chose to layer a colourful panorama shot of the dale with ‘BB’, the initials of Breary Banks. I hope that the layering of the dale and the initials makes a visual and memorable connection for blog viewers. Also, the exaggerated colours in the image will hopefully encourage blog viewers to visit the site! Exaggerating the colours was also a must have, due to the image being scaled down to thumbnail size, it needed a level of impact factor. I performed the editing process on an iPhone app called Pronto, a photo editing application. Cropping wasn’t needed here, as the image selection on WordPress does this.

Sketched and annotated diagram of thumbnail editing:

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The Pitch

This week brought us to a critical point in our project: the pitch meeting. We needed to present our ideas and work so far to a group of curators at Leeds Museums and Galleries. Last week, Lucy Moore had been talking to us about it and said that she had sold it to her colleagues as their chance at “Dragon’s Den” – and thus started our building anxiety over this part of the project.

On Monday, we had a mini-pitch with Amanda Walters, the leader of the World War 1 Nidderdale AONB project, on site at Breary Banks. She took us around the site and showed us a lot of research that she and her team had put together already. There were so many photos and newspaper articles we had never seen before, it gave us some great ideas and resources for our guide.

We then gave her our tour of the site, giving her an overview of each stop, showing her our mood trajectory and aesthetic concept for the brochure. She really liked it! The only adjustment she suggested was making sure to emphasise the University’s own work on the site, mentioning the excavations specifically. We hadn’t really considered that, and took that suggestion to heart for one of our stops.

On Tuesday, we sat down and really worked on our pitch. First we divided up the tasks, everyone taking a different section of the pitch. Then we set to work to write our scripts and slides and notes. At the end of the afternoon, we ran through it all to make sure it flowed well, and make any final tweaks to the pitch presentation.

And then we came to the big day: Pitch Day. We met at King’s Manor for one final run-through of the pitch before we headed to Leeds. Nerves were running high as we loaded onto our luxurious mini-bus for the trip. We’re normally a pretty chatty group if we’re around each other for more than five minutes, but the entire ride was dead silent, except for Sara and Harald talking in the front. It’s pretty safe to say we were really feeling the pressure for this meeting.

We arrived at the Leeds Discovery Centre, the grey rainy weather very much reflecting our moods at that point, and hurried inside. Luckily, we were early so we had a few minutes to collect ourselves before Lucy met us again, taking us on a brief tour of the Discovery Centre itself. The centre was an incredible place to explore, and I for one will be revisiting there some time to get a better look at the collections there!

After our brief tour, Lucy had to leave us…to the mercy of her colleagues. Our group of ‘dragons’ consisted of Yvonne Hardman, Head of Collections and Programmes, Ruth Leach, Curator – Exhibition, City Museum, Jen Newby, Digital Media Assistant, Laura Varley, Curatorial Assistant, and Antonia Lovelace, Curator – World Cultures. They sat nicely behind their row of tables as we took our positions for the pitch.

Sara gave a brief of introduction of our project and ourselves, and then we began our presentation. It all went by so quickly! As I sat there waiting for my turn in the project, I listened to each of the other group members and was so impressed by their composure. I couldn’t hear any mistakes in their delivery, no trace of nervousness at all. We must have impressed our dragons as well, as they seemed very pleased with it!

They had questions and suggestions for us, of course, and we spent much longer than we expected discussing various alterations to the guide and distribution ideas, but overall, they seemed incredibly enthusiastic about what we had presented. They had some great suggestions that we will definitely take into consideration, and we’ll discuss those in a later blog post. But all the hard work that went into preparing for this pitch really paid off, and looking back, this was an incredible experience that will help us in the future.

Written by Ashley

Developing concepts & aesthetics

To begin the design phase for our blog and brochure, we decided to channel our inspirations through a mood board on Pinterest. Adding our own pins to the collective board blended our individual ideas and initial inspiration. In doing so, we were able to combine the concept, mood, story, and colour palette. This provided a quick insight to how the aesthetic in the brochure will come together. To bring up images reflective of our ideas, we searched with tags such as ‘war time, Britain, Navvy, WW1, antique, retro, scent, tobacco, skylark, Leeds, Yorkshire, dales’. Searching through images responding to these tags allowed us to identify specifics and relate them to Breary Banks. For example, a sketch of a Skylark can evoke emotion as these nesting birds also settled at the site during the time Navvys and soldiers lived there. This brainstorm session also allowed us to experiment with colours on colour.adobe.com, we found this helpful in terms of eliminating colours that were not harmonious with each other. The brochure and blog’s colour palette was inspired by the natural green and purple tones found on the dales. The colours cream and black will also be incorporated via atlas maps.

After pinning war-time posters on the mood board we noticed a recurring theme, the use of three fonts and three colours. This has become iconic as key elements of a war-time style poster, our creative plan is to re-create this in our blog and brochure. Hopefully this reflection on war-time style print will transport our audience back to the war and navvy lifestyle, ultimately creating a meaningful and immersive experience. More creative ways to develop the depth of the visitor’s experience through the audio guide are to incorporate scents, textures and sounds, such as the cheep of a skylark, the smell of crackling bacon, and the textures in the rough surrounding environment. To apply these in our brochure we will use grey-scale original images and altered recent images, these alterations will follow an antiqued style which we believe compliments the original photographs’ colour palette.

Another creative approach to enhance the rustic concept will be the incorporation of sketches. A member of the group has volunteered to sketch a skylark or OXO mugs, an artefact previously recovered on the site. The sketches will possibly be drawn on tracing paper then scanned into the computer, this will further develop our rustic concept and confirm our documentary/illustrative approach. As a group we have agreed to create tangible links between the past and present, this will make the product feel like a scrapbook and hopefully evoke thought, such as, could this scrapbook have looked like one of the soldier’s own? Another way to do so in the blog and brochure is to fade an image of an antique atlas map, the editing will be performed on Photoshop. We were fortunate to receive a Photoshop tutorial from Wayne Britcliffe, resident VLE and computer pro in University of York.

Attached is a mosaic of Pinterest inspirations and a spider diagram presenting our thought process.

Written by Hermione Elderton.

In groups we began to discuss and brainstorm concepts and things that we wanted to include in the audio guide. The overall theme that we decided for the guide was daily life of the people at Breary Banks, which would be the Navvys and their families, the Leeds Pals and other soldiers training at these camps, and also the German prisoners who resided at this site. We decided it was important to include stories and possible personal accounts of the people who were at this site during its long history during the 20th century, as we wanted to evoke an emotional response from the audience. However, we wanted to get the balance right of factual, interesting information, stories and music to keep the audience interested. We planned out the possible route/stops for the audio guide deciding on 8 stops which had a mixture of all wanted elements, estimating it would be around 40 minutes, which is not too long as weather conditions can be terrible, and long enough to provide an enjoyable and informative experience for users. Research into accounts of personal accounts from the Breary Banks site, and interestingly, a German prisoner of war, diary kept by Johannes Rienau about his time at Breary Banks, provided an insight to every day life for both the British and the Germans, and we decided that we would involve this in our audio guide.

Attached is a story board and a spider diagram showing our ideas and concepts for our audio guide.

 

 

Written by Jessica Chatburn.

 

 

Launch of the project

This week we launched our term project, looking at the history and the development of the Breary Bank site in Nidderdale via the creation of an audio-visual guide.

Monday

The early morning journey-some would say too early-into Kings Manor marked the start of our heritage summer project. The group met the teaching staff that would be supporting us during this module before discussing about the concept of Heritage.

We spent the rest of the day in our warm office researching the history and the archaeology of Breary Banks. One student in our group is a WW1 ‘anorak’ and he became our fountain of knowledge–even correcting one of the factual issues in existing heritage material.

Tuesday

In a spectacular turn of events, our first experience at Breary Banks was on a nice peaceful sunny day. We were then given a shovel and told to de-turf a trench. Having never done much excavating before, it felt as if we were using the shovel as a pogo stick.

As you can see, we all caught the excavating bug and thoroughly enjoyed our short time excavating-though this might have been influenced by the weather.

We then made use of last year’s heritage app which allowed us to take in the size and the feel of the site.

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Group Tour. Photo by Ashley

It wasn’t all work. Some of us of even got a sun tan- and we even recruited our youngest archaeologist, the child of one of the site’s lead excavators. We can still make a heritage practitioner out of her/them yet!

Wednesday

On Wednesday we took a well earned break; taking in the sun and enjoying student life.

Thursday

Enjoying a quick nap on the minibus (we set off at 8:15), we arrived at Armley Mills with a sense of anticipation of what the day would entail.

Becoming museum curators was an amazing experience. Handling artefacts and creating label cards was a challenge, but one that we relished. It was much more challenging than we had anticipated.

Lucy, Leeds Museums’ first world war curator, collaborated and shared information she had about the Leeds PALS whose basic training occurred at Breary Banks. It got many ideas flowing and we returned to York in the afternoon feeling very encouraged.

The pictures above were the fruit of our work with Matt and Wayne, from the e-learning development team at the University of York,  during our photo/editing workshop. As we were just starting off, many of our pictures were overexposed, blurry and some of them were exceptional. Hopefully, by the end of the project we will all have amazing photography skills.

Friday

Today we were joined by IT savy Tom Smith (from IT services, University of York) who encouraged our tentative steps in the drafting of our initial concept and then lent us his skills setting up our blog.

Here you can see the initial mood board and the start of the context of the audio guide.

Keep following the work of the group as we make our steps to fully fledged heritage practitioner, taking on the journey through the history of Breary Banks.

Written by Steve, Emmeline and Eliza