Voicemails have always been precious to me, probably in part because I’m surrounded by people who leave me strange, silly, lovely messages. When I got a new phone, I didn’t want to say goodbye to my favorite messages, so I decided that I would turn them into a new media artifact by remediating them into a visual form and remixing their content into something very meaningful to me. The result is the video above, which quickly got weird.

The process of creating this video was a labor of love. Photoshop anchors the project, as I used it to generate several key parts. There I edited and composited two series of photos for the stop-motion section, as well as built the image I used for the American Gothic-themed portion of my video (from there I used Flash to animate the scene). I used Premiere Elements to piece together the overall video, although I worked in iMovie to sequence the stop-motion animation. Elements and Premiere are often considered to be “lite” versions of video editing software, but for beginners they’re perfect. Their interfaces aren’t cluttered with a myriad of options and each boasts an arsenal of automated processes (like uploads to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.), so using these programs, as opposed to Premiere Pro or Final Cut, really streamlined my process.

My tactical goal was to become more experienced with Flash and get familiar with Premiere Pro, and while I definitely picked up some good practice, I also learned a lot of unexpected lessons during the course of this project. For instance, I figured out how to resize large batches of photos in Photoshop at once using the scripts function. I had to give a lot of thought to the dimensions of my images, and admittedly, when planning the project, that was something I looked over. In fact, I would say that the photo taking part of my stop-motion section was probably my weakest link. But I brought my layer game to a whole new level while working on the project. One example of this was when I imported my layers from Photoshop into Flash as movie clips. It made doing the motion tweens a breeze.

As I mentioned before, this is definitely a project with a lot of personal meaning.  Releasing myself from the duty of creating for an  outside audience helped make this project so enjoyable. I’m used to designing and working with the goal of clarity, so it was cool to do high concept/experimental digital art for a change. I’m looking forward to adding more animations to it. I’m also considering entering it in the Iris Film Festival.

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