HCDE 451: Video Prototype

Introduction
This week’s challenge was to make a demo video which “demonstrates clearly, effectively, and creatively the functionality of a product.” The product in question would be an existing transportation-based service in Seattle.

The presented video would need to “comprehensively and concisely communicate the motivation, usage, and functionality of the product” in a minute or less. We were encouraged to sketch out storyboards to help guide our video design.

While a polished video is always appreciated, Andy said that we should used “whatever level of video technology and software we are comfortable with or have reasonable access to.”

Practice Run in Class
Before sending us off on our own to make our own videos, Andy Davidson went over some design principles for making effective videos and then had us do a practice run in class for another product. Because I found this practice run beneficial in informing my final prototype, I will show that work here.

The product my in-class group chose was Grubhub and we wanted to demonstrate the use and functionality of the phone app for android. Before we moved to filming, I spent a few minutes sketching out this storyboard with my group:

Because we were on a time limit, we wanted to keep our video as simple as possible. This meant one location for shooting, a limited number of takes, and voice acting included (music overlay and subtitles can be time consuming). We thought it turned out well, given the time and location constraints:

From this test run, we learned how valuable seconds can be in a short video when we had to refilm certain shots 3–4 to shave seconds off. We also had some issues with background sound, especially when we found that our voices were much quieter than expected. There was on way to turn up our own voices without emphasizing the volume of the background sounds too.

My Personal Video Design

When I first started filming for this prototype, I wanted to do the One Bus Away app. I take public transportation all around Seattle and use the app almost every day. Without a car, it seemed like it would be the simplest one to showcase.

I started with a storyboard to show how a person could check the bus schedule from the comfort of home and plan to leave their house at precisely the right time to catch it.

This was my first time using Mischief with my Surface Pro 3.

One Bus Storyboard

Unfortunately, after filming the first four panes of the storyboard, the bus never arrived. The app said “NOW,” but nearly 10 minutes after it had supposedly come and gone, it was still nowhere in sight. The person helping me film had to leave, so I had to go home and find someone else to help me. Below is the short video I started to film. There is no audio overlay on this one because I ended up scrapping it.

Failed attempt at One Bus Away Demo

When I contacted a second person willing to help me film, he told me that he did not want to spend money on a bus ticket to continue my scene and suggested we do the taxi service instead, in his car. I had a day to think about what to do next, so I illustrated a new storyboard for Lyft.

Lyft demo storyboard

The idea was that a person would start out in a populated location, then realize when they wanted to leave that the bus was no longer running. Instead of worrying, this person would be able to order a Lyft and get safely home.

The Video
I used Microsoft Movie Maker to splice the video together and add both the music overlay and the captions.

The song I used was called The Sattler Monument by Robin Allender and I found it free on freemusicarchive.org.

During editing, I discovered that the sections of me indoors were of poor quality and took too long. Furthermore, neither me nor my filming partner really paid attention to our screen orientation during filming, which I would have redone had I daylight hours left.

Still, the black frames made my captions more clear, so I guess it worked out.

Note that the storyline differs a little from my storyboard. This is because it made no sense that no buses would be running in the middle of the day — so I had to come up with a new motivation for choosing Lyft over the bus!

Analysis

Overall, I was satisfied with how my video came out, though I wish I’d given myself more time to redo certain scenes if anything went wrong. I did try to go out and redo certain scenes in the evening, but they were all too dark to be useful, so I had to compromise and make the film work as best as possible as is.

Movie Maker may not have all the capabilities of more expensive programs, or even Apple’s built-in iMovie, but it suited my purposes just fine for this demo.

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