Video Prototyping

An Intro

Video is one of the most compelling ways to communicate the story about a project and share a short glimpse of the experience. Product and service concepts can also be explored through low fidelity video prototypes. In this one week course we learned how we can tell compelling stories of people through video and shoot high quality footage using equipments like a DSLR camera and tripods and on using editing softwares like the premier pro to finish and polish the video.

Taylor Hamilton and Derek Jennings

Our Teachers

Our film-making gurus for the week were Taylor Hamilton and Derek Jennings. Taylor is an accomplished filmmaker who is the Principal Film Designer at Frog and works with designers, technologists and strategists to build compelling concept and product launch videos.

Derek has been working in television since 2011 through CBS and focuses on digital publishing for the tech entrepreneur. Together, they were able to share a ton of knowledge along with tips and tricks for making high quality videos with simple equipment.


video prototyping arvind sanjeev CIID

Our deliverable for this one week course was to build a short 2 minute video that tells the story of the concept we have been working through PCR (People Centred Research). Through this class, we were able to learn how a story has to be framed and the different elements it should have that appeals to human emotions. The content in the video have to be structured in such a way that they are resonant, visceral, shareable and repeatable. They should be simple and straight forward enough that a person can tell this story to someone else in a bar in a couple of seconds. Moreover, we also learned about different tools and frameworks like the ones below that can help frame stories.

Story pyramid:

video prototyping arvind sanjeev CIID

Moreover, the whole class emphasized on how story is the king and everything else like the cameras we use or other equipments are just tools to support it. The story should be based out of a basic human truth, which serves as the bedrock. For example: a good bedrock will be health. Everyone is concerned about their health and well being, using this as bedrock for a particular concept will make the story more clear.

Story rollercoaster:

video prototyping arvind sanjeev CIID

Another helpful model to follow is the story rollercoaster. Here, stories need to be framed with a downward emotional spike and an upward spike as seen in the picture above. Having these spikes keeps the viewers intrigued and forms the basis of a good narrative.

Framing the scenes:

The next section we went through was with the order of the scenes. Taylor had explained how he uses a wide shot first to bring the viewers into context, followed by a medium shot of the object or scene and finally using a close shot to bring the object or subject into focus. These three different frames are then repeated several times during the video.

Story timeline:

video prototyping arvind sanjeev CIID

This was another important part that was talked about. It explained how the timeline should be structured as in the diagram below. By first starting with calming scenes almost like poetry through establishing shots, followed by a thesis, storyline and finally wallop.

Some of the other tips we got were:

  1. To always use tripods to stabilise the video.
  2. To always have a symmetrical perspective with the subject in the centre.
  3. To always have the eyes of people on the top quarter of the frame.
  4. Eliminate bad audio and use proper mics at the right levels.
  5. Have all cameras shoot at the same FPS (usually 60).
  6. Correct the white balance in the picture.
  7. Hold shots for a minimum of 10 seconds.
  8. Always have movement in videos.

Moreover, there were also several fun exercises that we did to emphatise with actors and to understand story telling better. One of these was this improv session where the teachers assigned different stories to each group and they were supposed to act it out without any verbal communication:

Post production:

video prototyping arvind sanjeev CIID

After recording all the content, next we moved on to post production. Here we used premier pro to edit the content. We started off with this in the following order:

  1. Acquisition: Downloading all videos on to the computer.
  2. Assembly: Arranging all the rough videos on to the sequence line along with photos on the B roll.
  3. Rough cut: Removing bad quality clips and cutting short scenes.
  4. Fine cut: Trimming down clips to make it short and succinct.
  5. Polish: Doing color grading, white balance, distortion effects, etc.


STORYTHREAD: Somayeh Ranjbar, Arvind Sanjeev, Matt Visco

During the week of video prototyping we were asked to take the concept we developed during our two weeks of research and storyboard and shoot a video explaining the core of our idea. Our concept, StoryThread, was a platform that allowed people of all generations to take part in collaborative story making via devices spread out across the city.

The model we followed to create our video was called the storytelling triangle. The triangle attempts to break down a concept into its key components — what is this about, what is it really about, and what is the bedrock. With that model in mind we set out to create a story focused on human connection and how storytelling can be that connector.

Our story revolves around a character whose life is relatively mundane. One day he hears voices emanating from the corner of the station. Slowly he starts to understand that this story was created by the people around him. The box starts to affect his routine, everyday before his train he listens to the story. Eventually he decides to add his piece to the story displaying his new found connection with the people around him. The story attempts to show how both listening to and creating a story can make people feel a part of something larger as well as how stories can be an effective way to share perspective.

Our final concept, StoryThread, is focused on story-telling. StoryThread stations would be distributed throughout a city where people can hear or read stories that have been made by a random collection of people. If people are interested in these stories, they can decide to add their own piece. Through this collaborative story making our hope is that people will both enjoy the process and feel part of a larger community. We felt that story-telling is a craft that all ages appreciate and it is a simple way to allow for different generations to share their unique perspectives.

Also, more projects from this class can be seen here: Video Prototyping projects.

This is just a short intro to my life at CIID, I will be publishing more posts on the different topics we learn as well as the projects we do through this blog. Furthermore, all the credits to the media content for this blog goes to the IDP class of 2017.

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