Visual Communications

Levon Blackburn

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Hi, I’m Levon Blackburn, and I’m a student of the Visual Communications program. I am incredibly well-versed in all facets of the video production process. I have experience storyboarding, writing copy, shooting video on multiple cameras, recording audio on external microphones, color correcting and editing videos, delivering content, and interfacing with clients throughout all stages of the process in a clear, cordial manner. Additionally, I’m constantly aware and considerate of the tone and purpose the client requires for a project. I never resort to a “cookie cutter” approach to the creative process, instead making certain that the content I’m producing feels fresh, unique, and faithful to its subject matter.

Demo Reel

For this piece, I had to edit a compilation of work that I’ve created throughout my time in the Visual Communications program. The goal (as well as the central challenge) was to select shots that were both visually appealing and representative of my best skills. I also had to make sure all the shots fit together cohesively both with the music and with the piece taken as a whole. I believe this piece serves as a strong overview of my work as a videographer and media designer, as well as a quality representation of my skills as an editor.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art – BIG Exhibit

For this piece, I was hired by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art for a paid videography job. I was asked to shoot and edit a promotional video for an exhibit entitled “BIG.” This involved shooting video of a speaker on multiple cameras simultaneously (as well as recording audio of that speaker), shooting additional footage of the exhibit, and editing/color correcting everything into a finished product that flowed with the speaker’s narration. Throughout the process, I was in continuous contact and collaboration with museum personnel regarding the specifications they had for the video’s content. I’ve chosen this as a compelling example of professional videography experience outside of the classroom. It shows my ability to work with a client’s vision and deliver a final product that fulfills their needs. The video was posted to the museum’s website and I was credited as videographer at the end of the video.

Baseball Card Shop

For this piece, my assignment was to shoot and edit a video covering a local business. I chose a baseball card shop in Madison (which has since been closed due to flood damage). My main challenges and responsibilities included preparing interview questions (as well as shooting video, recording audio, and asking the questions during the interview) shooting additional footage of the shop, and editing everything together into a cohesive, three-minute narrative piece. It illustrates my abilities at every stage of the process (as described above). It also shows my ability to capture the essence of a place of business.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art – Eye Deal Exhibit

For this piece, I was again asked by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art to shoot and edit a promotional video, this time for an exhibit called “Eye Deal: Abstract Bodies of the Chicago Imagists.” Once again, this was paid, professional experience. It also involved the same basic process of the previous video: shooting video and recording audio of a speaker, shooting footage of the exhibit, editing everything together according to specifications from and communications with museum personnel. Something distinct about creating this video over creating the previous video for the museum is that I was working with a much smaller exhibit space. There was far less to shoot and less spatial geography to work with, so I had to find creative ways to make the artwork visually engaging (such as with the opening montage of paintings). It exemplifies my ability to creatively work within certain limitations, as well as it being another example of professional videography work under a client’s vision.

Solar System Infographic

For this piece, my assignment was to create an infographic for my Motion Graphics class. This involved animating both text and 3-D objects in a way that made the information clear, and so the overall piece was well-paced and engaging. Pacing was one of the more prominent challenges, as it’s often difficult to time animated text so the viewer has time to read it, but also so it doesn’t linger onscreen too long. This piece displays my skills creating educational content, creating well-paced motion graphics pieces with 3-D elements, and creating atmosphere through visuals and music.

Green Screen Composited Scene

For this piece, my assignment was to create a green screen composite where an actor filmed against a green screen would be composited into a separate environment in post-production. The first challenge with this project was directing my talent in a way where it was clear to him how he should interact with an environment that wasn’t really there. It was also challenging to figure how to frame the subject so his proportion in the false environment would be accurate. In post-production, after removing the green screen in After Effects, an additional challenge was correcting the color on the footage of the actor to match the background of the paintings. This piece shows my capabilities working with green screens (both in terms of lighting and shooting video) and seamlessly removing a green screen from footage to replace it with a different background. Additionally, I think it speaks for my skills relating to directing talent (since that was more challenging here than it normally would be in other circumstances), as well as being able to plan ahead to later stages of the production process (framing shots in a way where proportion will be accurate when the green screen is replaced by a false landscape).