Digital Drag Race User Battle: And the winner is …
… well, first let me explain what a user battle is before I reveal the winner. When we first starting planning for the Digital Drag Race a few months ago; we wanted to find a way to engage the community and activate their creative skills. And, since the official (or invitational) Drag Races were limited, we wanted provide an opportunity for those not invited to showcase their skills and participate as well.
Basically, we selected two user generated videos; put them side by side, and let the community decide who the winner is. The grand prize is well … a stroking of the ego and an interview on the Inside Scoop.
But, before I get into the interview, I wanted to say that everyone who submitted their own videos did an AWESOME job; and I want to thank everyone for your participation.
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Mark, I’m 24, originally from Cornwall I am now living and working in Oxford UK.
Earlier this year I graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a First Class Honours in BSc Computer Networks & Multimedia Systems. I am now trying to get into the media industry; my main focus lying in the fields of graphic and motion graphic design.
Currently I am working as a voluntary intern with the charity OFVM (Oxford Film & Video Makers) whom support local film production in a variety of ways. These include training courses & bursaries, equipment hire and founding many local film festivals.
How did you get started and what interested you in digital design?
Photography was the starting block for me. For as long as I’ve had a camera I have loved experimenting with different techniques and subject matters. For me this naturally progressed into editing, self taught by “playing” in Adobe Photoshop working with the images I had taken.
University opened my eyes in terms of film and motion graphic production. I had dabbled with video prior to this however I never had the access to the software, equipment or facilities to develop it further. My course not only provided me with these but also gave me direction through the various media modules I undertook.
My final year project was an investigation into the use of Adobe After Effects which struck me as a very exciting tool. With no formal instruction I successfully produced a motion graphic piece entitled The Corridor, which to my great surprise was voted the best media dissertation for that year.
I come from quite a technical background having studied computer networking at college and in part at Uni. I found however that the subject did not grab me and that I needed a more creative outlet. I find that the use of technical mediums in design and production is perfect for me; the right balance of technicality in hardware and software with the artistic process of design.
What was your creative process in creating this video? What was the inspiration?
Waterfall Swimmer was inspired by my affinity for water and stemmed from an idea formed at my other job working as a Lifeguard. A conversation with a colleague led to the topic of power in nature….sharks….tidal waves….waterfalls….what better way to demonstrate power than a guy swimming up a waterfall!
The scratched film asset provided for the competition struck me as having a very fluid quality, which when blended and masked into the waterfall seemed to fit well giving it a grunge like styling. Limited time and resources made this a very experimental project – the close up of the swimmer (Norbert Sinka) was filmed in front of a giant blue float at the pool whilst “swimming” under one of the spa fountains!
Something I am very interested in at present is the linking of audio to animation. I knew early on that I wanted to somehow have a close link between the strong beat of the soundtrack and the video. I therefore decided to drive the animation of the circle vector asset at the beginning using audio keyframes linked to its scale. The mask for the frame is also linked to the sound – changing its feather and expansion properties. With the addition of an overall expansion this draws closing focus to the word POWER.
What other creative endeavours do you enjoy? What are your influences?
I love creating things, and destroying things for that matter! I’ve always liked dismantling things to see how they work, which either ends in disaster or an improvement on the original. I always feel the need to have some sort of the project on the go – the latest involved taking an angle grinder to an old oil barrel and some fencing to make a BBQ for our house.
I am heavily influenced by the music I listen to, which at the moment is predominantly electronica. Inspirational directors such as Chris Cunningham or Michel Gondry astound me with their ideas and creativity – to follow in their footsteps would be a dream come true.
Having been born and bred in Cornwall I feel that the culture, landscape and the sea has also had a profound influence on my work – especially for much of my photographic and Photoshop work.
What’s in the works for now? Anything you’re interested in trying?
Working with OFVM I am often given the opportunity to design promotional flyers for courses as well as DVD cases for various productions. I have also created motion graphics for productions and idents for film festivals, giving me valuable experience and adding to my portfolio. I am currently mentoring a student on a documentary he is creating on children’s rights, assisting on shoots and providing support at all stages of production. The documentary is due for release next march on the Big Voice Oxfordshire website.
At the moment I am trying to get my hands on as much work experience as possible through freelancing, volunteering or entering competitions – such as this one! I also have several personal projects I’m working on including a music video for the artist T.H.N. in which I hope to further explore the idea of using sound to directly drive the animation of various compositional elements and effects.
Do you have any links you would like to share?
I am currently building an online multimedia portfolio which will be available early next year. This link presently points to my YouTube page, please check it out.
‘The Corridor’ as well as some other projects which I collaborated on whilst at Uni have also been selected for inclusion in the Student Projects portion of the Brookes Experience website.
A big thank you to all of those who voted for my video! Thanks also to Ignite Social Media and Intel for giving me the chance to compete. I look forward to the second round!!
— End of Interview —
Check out his video, it’s awesome. I wish I had skills like this.
Also, we will be hosting two live Digital Drag Races at CES in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for up to up to date coverage.