SUNYergy Archive: Access to All Issues
October 2008
Volume 10 Number 4
Page 1

link to Research, My Lovely on YouTubeNoir by Design - The Making of Research, My Lovely, an FIT Library Video
by Varounny Chanthasiri and Tabitha Hanslick

Cover Story

Noir by Design, The Making of Research, My Lovely

Features

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[Editor's Note: careful viewers will notice an Alfred Hitchcock-like moment where (library) Director NJ Wolfe appears towards the end of the video.]

Research, My Lovely was conceived in the spring of 2007, a collaborative promotional effort between the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Library and FIT’s Information Technology Department. To date we have received a very positive response from the College administration and the library community for this project. FIT’s Communications & External Relations Department posted the video on YouTube to positive responses,link to the FIT home page garnering excellent ratings and numerous views.

In the Fall of 2006, the Fashion Institute of Technology launched a marketing initiative geared toward prospective students to highlight College departments and services. Several College departments partnered up with an IT team (the Technology Development Team - TDT) to produce “podcasts,” or short films able to be streamed across the World Wide Web. Vincent Sassone (award winning director/writer/producer), the project leader and member of FITs IT Department and TDT, approached the Library with an opportunity to produce a promotional video. Professor NJ Wolfe, the Library Director, embraced this idea and designated a library team to make this project a reality. link to video on YouTube

From the start of the brainstorming process, we were encouraged to venture into the avant-garde as Mr. Sassone voiced frustration with the homogeneous scripts he had recently been involved in directing and producing for the college. We decided to center our theme on the idea of doing research. Thus we settled on the idea of writing a script on “how to do research,” revolved the story around a mystery and the film noir concept was born. Varounny Chanthasiri, the support staff in the Directors Office and then student at NYU’s Media Studies program agreed to write a script for the production. Tabitha Hanslick, the Library’s administrative Coordinator, assumed the role of producer and project manager.

link to the video on YouTubeBefore we began the process, the Library production team needed a clear vision for the goal of the project. Prof. Wolfe wanted something that was educational and buzz-worthy. Because a film noir centers on two performers, usually male and female, Ms. Chanthasiri wrote a part for a Library staff member and customer or student. The flirtatious relationship between the male and female roles was playfully integrated into the script, while still providing useful how to visuals for resources that are available to students. The first drafts of the script were vetted by all four members of the team. Several versions written over a month resulted in a very brief script with heavy reliance on visual messaging. Prof. Wolfe approved the final draft of the script. We were all more than curious about how it would translate into video.

After final approval of the script, the production team needed to find actors and then determine the shooting schedule. Finding willing players for the characters was quite challenging and in the end we cast a non-traditional assignment of roles. As a college known for creativity we believed this would not create any negative feedback. We settled on two people to star in the short film: a member of the Library’s Circulation department, Maris Heller, and a fashion design student, Richard Lowe.

We also did basic research on our “mystery” topic to provide the visual elements for the various resources available in the library. These items were included in our “props” list along with the costume items and other film leads at the Circulation desk tangential items used to convey the feeling of a forties film noir setting. Location scouting was the next step. The script was reviewed to identify appropriate points in the Library that would effectively help relay the “information” message. We wanted to highlight the service desks and unique areas of the library that students would find helpful when using the library. After determining the spaces, we established the shooting schedule, which was non-linear to the script based on logistics. For example, we shot all our scenes on the fifth floor before moving onto the sixth floor even though the script jumped from the fifth to sixth floor and so forth. In order to minimize interruption in services, we decided to shoot during closed hours.

Mr. Sassone, as the director and IT project coordinator, arranged for the equipment and filming crew, both procured from the FIT’s Media Department. We planned for a two-day shooting schedule, without any major set-backs we wrapped on time. The Library team consulted with Mr. Sassone during the shooting to ensure the content in the shot was relevant to the message the Library wanted to convey. After filming was done, Mr. Sassone met with Maris Heller, our librarian actor, to record the voiceover which was added later in the editinglink  to video on YouTube room. The editing process was by far the most labor intensive and time consuming aspect of this production and FIT is fortunate to have the studio space, equipment and talented staff to accomplish it. One of the challenges in the editing process was converting the Camtasia screen shots into Quick-time, a Mac program. At this point we were working against a deadline so had to come up with a quick fix, resulting in less than perfect graphics; however, this can always be edited in the future when technology allows for better software integration and compatibility.

FIT’s Office of Communications and External Relations was the overseeing body for the process and responsible for final production approval. The Library officially premiered Research, My Lovely during FIT’s Technology Day, April 25 2008. Many faculty members commented immediately they loved the edginess and fun perspective coming from the Library. It immediately created a positive buzz about the Library across campus. From this point, we have published the film on our webpage, shown the short film to a variety of FIT committees and groups across SUNY in addition posting it on YouTube.com.

This project was a new experience for many of us in the Library. Overall it was more fun than what we normally NJ Wolfe cameoconsider library work. Much of the success of the project can be attributed to several key components. We had support from the administration in allotting resources including staff hours, a dedicated crew who worked toward the same vision of the end product, an organized time line for the project and a dash of creativity. Overall, we believe that our vision for the Library resembles what has been captured on film.

 

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Cover Story

The Making of Research, My Lovely

Revised SUNYConnect Financial Plan

[Image: Bobby Approved Logo]

Features

SUNY Borrowing Task Force Report

SUNY and 360Search

 Features

SUNYergy Happens

SUNYConnect Updates

 

How to Contact Us

Linkable Links