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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 AucklandNZ.com 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)
60
Video files
25
Audio files
10
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.