A5: Video Demo/Prototype for Headspace

 

A5 is a video prototype/demo for an fitness or health app. I went with Headspace, an app for meditation. Specifically, this is what we were to do:

“The challenge is to create a video, maximum 60 seconds in length, that comprehensively and concisely communicates the motivation, usage, and functionality of a product or service. […] You will not be designing your own product or service, but your task is to explain to a potential customer of a health or fitness service why and (more importantly) how he or she would use this service or app.”

Having very little video experience and limited resources, I endeavored to make a video that was still quality even with these restrictions. I shot the video using a Logitech webcam, and used Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing. I also appeared in the video.

For any image, click to get a closer look.

The Design

I am somewhat of a writer, but I have never made a video such as this before. However, many of the conventions and tricks of writing and storytelling definitely apply here. One important aspect of storytelling is to make the characters want something. As the great Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Make your characters want something right away even if it’s only a glass of water.”

So what does this have to do with a video demo for an app? Well, the protagonist of the video must clearly have something they want–in this case, for a break–and this something can be given by Headspace.

The video follows a simple storyline: a stressed out student with little time to relax discovers Headspace, and is able to meditate and gain a moment of rest.

The concept for my video centered around sharp contrast: I wanted a clear difference between the protagonist with and without the app, between the stressed moments and the meditation moments. To illustrate that, I used two major mechanisms: sound and text.

From a sound perspective, I wanted to use a song for the “stressed out” portion of the video, and have it contrasted with a quieter song in the meditation portion (although in the end, I opted to use silence instead.) The song I chose was Float On by Modest Mouse, which has not only has lyrics that match the message of the video, but also has a prominent melody that is fairly distinct from the ensuing silence. I’m also pretty fond of this song, so of course I was pleased that I got to use it.

For text, I wanted lots of words, moving quickly, to try and illustrate a stressed stream of conscience, which would then disappear during the meditation. Originally I only planned to have text in the beginning, but I decided to add text throughout the video to make it more consistent, and also to make it clearer that the text are representative of a person’s continuous thoughts.

I also used the throwing of my backpack to visually represent the stress of the student.

Storyboards

Headspace Video Storyboards 2

Headspace Video Storyboards 2
These are my initial storyboards for the Headspace video demo. The are simple drawings, and were mostly used for outlining the story and documenting how I envisioned the shots would be positioned

My initial storyboards were more or less similar to the final video product, though there were minor changes/adjustments, such as flipping the direction the first shot, since I filmed in my room and it made more sense to throw my backpack the other way, or the music/text alterations I mentioned earlier. Overall I think I am more of a planner when I write or make stories, and I think that applies here, although I also think there is great value in being flexible and making changes as needed.

Analysis after testing + Reflection

Peer feedback on my video was fairly positive. Those who had viewed the video voiced that they liked the pacing and the music cuts, particularly for the end title. The captions were also very effective– my peers noted that captions represented inner thoughts well and that their positioning on the screen was also good. However, one person did express the wish for calmer music at the end, after the meditation, so as not to interrupt the sense of calm already established.

First of all, if I were to do this again or make any other videos, I’d probably get permission/the rights to use the music (which is copyrighted) or to use a song in the public domain. This video was only for assignment purposes, and with one week to complete there was hardly any time to worry about copyright. However, I think that following these kinds of rules is important, and respectful of an artist’s work.

While I do like the story I presented, if I had more time/resources, I would probably try to include more scenes visually representing the stress, instead of just using words. I also think that, if I were to have a longer video, it would be beneficial to show more features of the app.

In addition to that, I’d definitely want to be more professional in how the video was put together, or to get someone with those kinds of skills. Better editing, acting, lighting, less distracting backgrounds, etc., all things that would require more resources that I didn’t have access to this time around. Otherwise, next time I would probably try to make the musical timing more exact, and maybe make the font color consistent throughout the video.

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