Happy 21st, Pasifika!

Many people don’t realise that even traditional workflow tools can benefit from using programming techniques.

One of my earliest coding experiences was writing an automated script for Adobe PageMaker (a print-based layout application) – this took a CSV file exported from the Microsoft Access advertising listings, and created correctly-sized ad boxes with the advertiser’s name (saving production time of about 16 hours). In another project, I used JavaScript to program expressions in After Effects to automatically create a script-based numerical on-screen counter (from 100,000 to 259,000 – with motion blur). These approaches allow much more control and flexibility than traditional manually-based workflows.

For this promotional video for to celebrate 21 years of the Pasifika Festival, I used particle emitters to control a separate timeline with 3,000 images (auto-imported) and animated using this particle system. With a few simple parameters, I was able to control sizing, speed and translation limits to create the right effect. I then added a few type elements for the years, and placed everything within a ‘space tunnel’ (actually a large graphic with a polar co-ordinate distort filter).

I designed a quick endframe in Photoshop, then asked the graphic design team to make sure it was on-brand and add any flourishes required.

Once completed, I then worked closely with the Pasifika events management team to get a soundtrack cleared for use, then edited it to match the animation.

About the Festival

The Pasifika Festival began in 1992, and has grown into one of Auckland’s biggest cultural events. It came to life through a joint initiative between the then Auckland City Council and the South Pacific Island Nations Development Association. The Festival aimed to bring Pacific Island communities closer together and to celebrate the richness and variety of their values, culture and lifestyles. It has grown to become the biggest celebration of Pacific Island culture and heritage in the world.

Operation Smoke Storm

Operation Smoke Storm

Worldwide, 1 person dies every 6.5 seconds due to smoking and other tobacco use. Every day in the UK, over 900 school children (aged under 16) try smoking for the first time.

Operation Smoke Storm is a brand new style of learning resource for schools which targets this problem by creating a lifesaving shift in teens’ attitudes towards smoking and the tobacco industry. It was designed to create classroom discussion about unscrupulous tobacco industry practices that target young people. It focuses on tobacco marketing strategies from the perspective of a tobacco industry executive and marketing company, as well as a health campaigner, both seen through the eyes of a teenager and reported direct to camera in the form of a social media blog. Operation Smoke Storm comprises of 5 principal resource components:

  • 3 separate 50 minute sessions which can be delivered consecutively over 3 PSHE sessions or during an entire curriculum free day (relevant curriculum links are provided)
  • 1 Family Component — a take home booklet
  • 1 Booster Component — a follow up interactive session usually delivered one year after the original three sessions have been presented

In the sessions, the teacher streams a pre-loaded online multimedia presentation and displays this on an overhead projector screen at the front of the class. The teacher can navigate through the presentation both backwards and forwards, playing video clips and pausing to facilitate activities and discussions. Clear teacher instructions and booklets for students are provided. It was so successful, both a trial DVD version and extension Booster sessions were added.

For this project, I was part of a larger team. My responsibilities included;

  • Development of an adaptive web-based AS3.0 Flash application
  • Technical Direction
  • Content planning and delivery
  • Video compression
  • Audio cleanup (mobile phone interference removal)
  • Project Management (assisting the Lead Project Manager)
Video files
Audio files
Flash interactive games

A recent London trial showed that Operation Smoke Storm improved student attitudes and misconceptions held about smoking by as much as 39% and increased awareness of key smoking issues by 77%. This project was a finalist in the 2012 BETT (British Educational Training and Technology) Awards for Secondary Digital Content.

British Educational Training and Technology Awards
Urban Queens

Urban Queens Mini-Documentary

Intended as the first in a series, this mini-documentary is a self-initiated cultural commentary, starring young women who regularly use and frequent tanning salons, nail salons, beauty salons and bronzing clinics in the South Essex area of the UK.

The style is that of vox populi (latin for ‘voice of the people’) – this means there is no narrative or commentary voice-over. Most often seen during news segments, this style allows the personality and attitudes of the interview subjects to become particularly apparent.