I was at first somewhat confused as to what the requirements of the videos were. We were supposed to “sell” the Patchell cabin as a destination, but it also had to be personal and tell of our honest experience there and fit the format of a personal blog post. So it kind of sounded like we were making an honest ad, which also sounds counter-intuitive.
I had a few ideas at first. I had thoughts of filming the hike to the cabin and throughout my time at the cabin to be a sort of personal vlog. However, that would not sell the experience enough, I figured. I also had the idea of an “anit-ad,” where I just complain about everything at the cabin, which would hopefully make the viewer more curious about this place and if it’s really that horrible. However, that was not honest and personal enough.
During some counseling with my teacher, I was told I should just be myself, because my view of hiking and nature, which is that I don’t really care about it (I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either), can apply to many people.
I started my filming without much of a plan. I’d end up just going around at the cabin, filming and talking to the camera about the places I showed. Eventually, it grew into something resembling a review. I was no longer “selling” the destination, nor hating on it. I gave my honest opinions and tried to give a fair view of the cabin.
At this point, I figured there were several things I wanted to point out. The lack of electricity and plumbing became a big thing, but since a big part of being at the Patchell cabin is taking in the enviroment I also showed the surroundings. While I still gave my opinion on what I thought of it, the focus would be letting the viewer see what I’m looking at and make up their own mind about it.
I also gave some practical information in the video, like the time it takes to walk there and that you need to bring your own sleeping bag or bedsheets/covers, as such things are important to know. I also mentioned that in the written part of the blog.
Speaking of which, the written part was to be a bit more factual than the video, and started out with information on possible routes to the cabin. Evntually I got to more practical information about the cabin itself, sometimes repeating what was already mentioned in the video, but also adding extra information, like the system for buying food there and that you have to pay to sleep over at the cabin. These are things that are important to know for people going there, and repeating or adding information seemed appropriate for a review-style blog.
But I did let my personal opinion shine through the video and the blog, especially at the end where I give my opinion that it feels better to leave the cabin than to arrive at it. I was myself through the whole video, and I hope that made it look natural.
I tried to avoid having a lot of people in my shots, as that would not fit with the video’s story. That was difficult, given that it was a class trip with about 30 people always walking around. But my biggest problem was the wind, which kept ruining my takes. For some shots I could fake it, recording the sound later, but for the shots of me in front of the camera that was impossible. In the end, I needed to go back to the Patchell cabin to record a few bits. Even then, there was a lot of wind, but I was lucky and managed to shoot the scenes I needed during intervals between the stronger gusts of wind.
Now, some people would have adviced me to use a good microphone for the shoots to avoid this, but I intended to keep the video looking natural and like an amateur-video as much as possible. So there was no colour-correction, only basic cuts, and I wanted the sound to be straight from the camera, as that gives the most authentic sound. I had to edit some sound levels in post-production, but that was mostly it.
If I had a chance to do it again, I’d likely try to find a time with less wind in order to make it easier to film. I would also film part of the hike up if I wasn’t travelling in a big group. However, I am genuinely happy with the final result. It’s not perfect, but that’s also the point. If I went back and redid everything to get a perfect look and get all my lines perfect, it would likely seem less authentic and thus ruin the idea. In my video, the perfection is in the imperfection.
Finally in the blog post I added the 360-footage at the end. For the 360-footage I figured I wanted to just show three different views. One from a mountain peak, one from just outside the cabin and one from inside the cabin.
I show each view for 20 seconds, giving the viewer time to look around with their preffered 360-viewing method, before fading over to the next view.
I have also added in sound effects for the 360-videos for atmosphere. There are different wind-noises on the two outside-shots, and the sound of a fire crackling on the inside one. They do not have 360-sound, and as such do not change when you turn around the view, but I decided to not prioritize that, as doing it would be difficult and, potentially, counter-productive if I ended up making mistakes.
For the mountain peak I wanted to focus on the view and let the viewer take it in. Unfortunately it only had good view one way, so I made that forward and the focus.
The shot outside the cabin is mostly just showing off how the cabin and the surroundings look, giving the viewer time to take in how it looks.
The inside shot is in the downstairs living room, with a fireplace burning. I placed the camera on top of the back of a chair to simulate the best I could how it would be to sit in a chair and look at the fireplace. And as long as you don’t look directly down, it actually works quite nicely.
The reason I put the 360-video at the end of my blog post was to “reward” the reader for reading through everything. While 360-video is a bit of a novelty, I think it still serves as an interesting part of digital media to most people, which will intrigue people into wondering what they’ll see. Even if they skip to the end and see the video without having read much, the views they get to see can hopefully make them interested in reading the blog about the cabin.
These have been my thoughts about what I did and why I did it for Media Product #2. What follows is the Tl;dr version.
I made the video look like a vlog-review of the cabin, with emphasis on making it look amateurish and genuine in order to make it stand out as real. I was myself during the filming and gave my personal opinions.
The blog post was more informative, but still part of a review-style as a whole.
The 360-footage was intended to show off different views for the viewer in order to let them take in how it looks in the area and let them feel slightly like they’re there.