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Pilot dairy – Week 6

It’s Week 6, the pilot’s nearly at an end, and the kids have touched upon a number of film production and Blender basics now.

Today, they were introduced to a whole new set of interfaces – Blender’s Video Sequence Editor or VSE. What was really nice about this was that the kids had an audible “aha” moment. They could see at a glance that there was a whole new part of the production pipeline, and some had clearly been wondering how all the preceding shenanigans would get stitched together.

I explained that getting to grips with this, or any VSE, is a skill on its own, one that can form part of a career in video editing. Some of the kids nodded and some were a bit “meh whatever” about that — but it was just so nice to see that the notion of something in this setting had a direct relevance to a future, albeit indeterminate working life. For me, one of the biggest payoffs about the club has been that these kids have had experience of something that can lead onto so many interesting careers later on.

Whether they remember specific is, to me, entirely irrelevant. Whether they take away a feeling, a belief, that this can be cool, fun, challenging, rewarding, and exciting — that’s everything.

Here, Thomas plays the part of "reality TV interviewee"

Here, Thomas plays the part of “reality TV interviewee”

To round off the whole video sequence I placed the various scenes and snippets of animation work we’d done into the VSE. The gaps were immediately apparent and the kids were able to suggest solutions and to participate in the creation of some short additional video sequences to fill those gaps.

We decided to shoot a set of reality-TV-style interviews. Head-and-shoulders clips that each person says in roughly the same way, so the clips can be chopped up and spliced together. Well. That was fun! And despite the inevitable skylarking, the footage that resulted was pretty good. Sure, 99% ends up being thrown away but the remaining one percent is gold dust and really enhances our film.

We finished off today’s session with a run-through of the footage and edits we completed to date. We still have a few gaps – about 60 seconds to fill in and make a complete (and watchable!) sequence.

Our aim now is to complete that work next week – because the week after that, we show the movie to the whole school (and parents) at the final assembly of the year! No pressure!