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Documentation Requirements

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Documentation Requirements:

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Online Web Page:

Your documentation should be presented online as a part of your growing webpage / portfolio. So text, image and video should be embedded together in one place.

Feel free to use Vimeo or YouTube to create embedded videos for your web page. More visibility is always a good thing. However, do make sure you keep a high-quality copy of your video documentation for your archives (useful for presentations, off-line viewing, submissions, etc). We would appreciate if you tagged your videos with “Ryerson New Media”, in an effort to create a pool of works made at the school.


Your web page should include two descriptions.

1) Project description – from a conceptual perspective, this text is idea driven and allows you to give voice to what drove you to make the work.

2) Technical description — addresses the inner workings, reveals details about relationships that might not be obvious by simply watching the piece in action. This description should include size, materials, space requirements, platforms.


A 2 – 3 min video that tells the story of experiencing the work. This NOT a rock video, it is not cut to beat, it does not have a sound track UNLESS the piece has sound (see also voice over below). You want high quality images that show the audience what the piece is about. You should use a tripod and when necessary additional lights. Shoot LONG takes – you want people to understand the work.

As this is a story – you should shoot it like a narrative.

A minimal shot list includes:

  • Title & Credits
    You should make sure you have a shot at the beginning with your project’s title, and a shot with credits at the end of the video (your name, date, school, etc)
  • Establishing shot:
    – start wide, let the whole experience be visible in the frame. Let us look at the elements.
  • Medium shot:
    – if this work is interactive, then have an “actor” come into the work and interact. Have them do what they are supposed to do. You may to choose to start this shot with someone in the frame. Make sure we understand this in relations to the first shot. Don’t go all Tarantino on your audience.
    – if the work is autonomous then move in and let the piece “perform”
    – you may want more than one angle of this action
  • Close Up shots:
    – shoot close-ups of interactions – are there handheld interfaces? Is there a kiosk, an object? Get a close up of it in use and on its own.
  • Medium Shot:
    – End with a medium shot – once we have seen what the layers are let us see the whole thing again. It allows us to integrate the information.

Technical Shots:

Include technical shots only as they are necessary for understanding the work.

If the technology is integral to the piece – as in an aesthetic or functional element then include them with the above video. If the piece is trying to conceal the technology then it may be better to have a technical video separate from the experience document.

This layer is usually more valuable for juries and organizations that want to see aspects of process. This is a judgment call – there are not hard and fast rules. Keep in mind that some people are deeply turned off by inner working videos. Giving an elegant pathway around this layer is wise.

Voice Over OR Title Slides

The work will often determine which is the correct approach. This is partly a judgment call – partly a functional issue. It is often more efficient to describe in spoken word. Text will force you to be more concise. Voice over with a sound piece really doesn’t work (I speak from experience here).

If you do opt for voice over – make a copy with only the sound inherent to the piece and a copy with your voice over. You may wish at some point to show the video without your dialog.

USE someone other than yourself to do the voice – IF at all possible write a script and have someone else read it. You will be grateful you did this in 5 years (months, weeks).


You should have high quality stills for print media (catalog, advert, the newspaper). These stills should be long shots (wide, establishing), medium shots and close ups. These are tripod held, lit shots, NOT frame grabs from your video – even if your video is HD – they are not frame grabs.


Written by hex705

November 18, 2008 at 2:16 am

Posted in Documentation, MPM32

Tagged with ,

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