The second part of my Breadth Portfolio series, in this one i briefly explain how the Moseley Road Baths Flash package was made.
I’ve wanted to use Flash to create a multimedia package or to aggregate different types of content in one same product. Recycling the contents I had produced previously for HashBrum, I made a serious attempt to build one: “Moseley Road Baths- Pool of Affection”[i].
I’ll avoid commenting on the content of the piece, because all the questions are related to the construction process. First of all, Flash is an almost exclusive of Adobe, and its complexity make it hard to use, but in the right hands it can deliver amazing works. This is not the case, and there are many reasons for it.
First of all, Flash evolved into Actionscript 3.0 which is much harder to use than the previous 2.0 version that I was familiarized with. This wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have planned to use features that will only work with the 3.0 version, like mapping components. So I had to give up on my initial plan of incorporating a map into the piece, if I was to do it in AS2, although I searched intensively Google for solutions. But choosing which script language is used to build a work with Flash it’s just the beginning. We have to decide what contents are going to be featured, which technical specificities they demand, how are we supposed to navigate through them and which aesthetic options we will take. The most interesting part is that it is truly an interdisciplinary experience: I used video, and had to go through the options to embed it, and pick the best format (FLV) and size to convert it to; I had to create a look for the project, and I used image editors to edit pictures and small graphic elements; besides, flash is based in animation principles, so some notions on the subject will help.
Non-linearity is an important factor to this kind of work, and since I had divided the main video to small, independent bits it wasn’t hard to do. When I first started shooting this story, I had the notion I would use it for something like this, so I wasn’t that worried about creating a narrative chain throughout the filming, but just keeping it visually coherent, which under personal limitations is not that difficult.
Flash projects are also all about functionality (the way buttons are placed) and details (the way buttons move). To improve these two factors you must have a deeper knowledge of Flash (beyond button level), which is hard to acquire on your own. Though the web is filled with video tutorials and great websites on the matter, Flash is mostly about a logical process that it is hard to grasp on your own. But I fear the approach I took using AS2 is rendered obsolete, since AS3 is more powerful, albeit more difficult to use. This raises questions about how specialized a journalist’s skills can be, since it takes time to learn these new procedures, and which alternatives are there to Flash packages.
[i] Online http://tinyurl.com/ydufyp6