12. Mar 25th-31st Final presentations & documentation#

I spent the final week (and some time after the final week…) documenting my project. As I’ve been documenting everything as I go along, in this project diary, that wasn’t as massive a task as it maybe was for others. But on the other hand, I decided to make a project that:

So documenting all of this has been quite a massive task (/◔ ◡ ◔)/

For this week’s documentation I wanted to describe exactly how I’ve been doing the photo / video documentation of my final project. Partly so that it might help someone else who also isn’t an expert in photography/videography and wants to get started in it, and partly to remind future me how I did all of it.

Final presentation#

This week we had our final presentations! This meant putting together a short presentation and a video explaining our project, and then skimming through our documentation. I was still working on my video and my presentation up to a couple of minutes before my presentation started, but that’s just how it goes (◑‿◐)

My final presentation is on the main page for this project, but here it is again:

I used Adobe Illustrator to make the presentation, with a different artboard for each slide. Then I exported each artboard as an image, and made the images into slides in a Google Slides presentation.

In Google Slides, you can go to File -> Publish to web, which creates a link that allows you to embed the presentation, like you can see above! Google Slides supports gifs, which is very nice. You can also embed YouTube videos inside Googles slides presentations, which is very nice too!

Photo documentation#

Throughout Fabricademy I’ve used both:



I don’t know a whole lot about lighting for photography, but luckily the light in TextileLab Amsterdam is pretty decent - reasonably sized windows that let in soft light - so my goal was to set up a white background near the windows, and shoot all my documentation of the final product there.

We had a large piece of white posterboard hanging around, so I washed the back of it using hot water, dish soap and the back of a sponge - this got rid of some stains that would have shown up in the background of my shots.

I shot some of my documentation with the posterboard on the ground, and some with it propped up on a small table (which was easier on my back, but slightly wobbly).

photo setup

Editing in Lightroom#

My photo editing process is pretty basic:

Here’s a side-by-side showing the same photo as shot, then after editing in Lightroom (and after removing the background, which is explained in the next section). I am by no means a photography / editing expert (or even moderatley good), but following these steps does make a significant difference:

editing process

Getting rid of backgrounds in Photoshop#

For some photos, I wanted a properly white background. It’s probably possible to set up my camera so that this isn’t necessary, but I don’t know how to do that…yet {◕ ◡ ◕}

Using the Paint Bucket tool#

For photos where there’s a very clear difference in colour between the subject and the background, the quickest way to do this can be to use the paint bucket tool (the icon that literally looks like a bucket with paint dripping out of it). Like so:

Using the Quick Selection tool#

For images where the Paint Bucket tool ends up colouring in parts of your subject as well as the background, the Quick Selection tool can be helpful. What you do is

In this gif you can see my laptop struggling to carry out Photoshop commands while I have many other applications open


I really like using gifs to show how something was done: it’s engaging and enables you to show things that still images can’t, but doesn’t require you to click on and load a video. I’ve used two main to make gifs during Fabricademy - one quick and low res, the other more time consuming, but with a higher quality result:

Uploading to Giphy#

Uploading gifs to Giphy - the gif search engine - is a quick and easy way to create / host gifs. Once uploaded, Giphy allows you to embed the gifs wherever you want (e.g. in your Fabricademy documentation). You can:

And you can also do some minor editing, including * Changing the length of the gif / cutting out the start or end of it * Adding stickers / text to the gif

You can’t, unfortunately, crop the gif or adjust the frame rate, and unless your video / images are very high quality, the quality of the final gif will be pretty low. But sometimes that’s ok if you’re just showing a process step :)

The downside of using Giphy gifs in Fabricademy documentation is that if something happens to Giphy in the future, or your Giphy account gets deleted, then they’ll also disappear from the documentation. But it’s also a lot quicker than any other method I’ve tried, so… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

I do at least plan to download all the gifs I’ve uploaded to Giphy onto my laptop, so I have a backup in case anything happens to Giphy.

You can see all the gifs I’ve made with Giphy on my profile

Using Photoshop#

Making gifs with Photoshop allows more control over the quality, size, frame rate (and more) of the gif. But it is slower (ノ ◑‿◑)ノ

There are two ways to go about it, which Adobe has documented, but here’s my explanation.

Gif from video#

With Photoshop open:

That’s it! The most frustrating part, for me, is waiting for my laptop to struggle through this process - if you have a faster laptop than my Lenovo Thinkpad E585, this process will likely be much easier for you.

Gif from images#

This is slightly different from starting with a video. What you need to do is:

Video documentation#

My video documentation process


Making a video isn’t something that you can just figure out as you go along - there are a lot of decisions you need to make before you even start setting up your shots. I’m by no means and expert, but some things you should consider include:

Make sure to leave lots of time for setting up and adjusting each shot - it takes a lot longer to arrange the camera, background, and lighting than you might think if you’ve never made a video before!

Light / setup#

I used the same setup as for the photo documentation, described above.

video setup

My camera has a video recording setting, which is what I used to record all the video! As I was mostly doing this myself, I would hit the record button, record a test shot, and then go back and look at it to make sure everything was in frame / in focus.

Sound Recording#

As my project is a synthesizer, I really needed to record somewhat decent sound, i.e. better quality than what my camera’s microphone could provide. Luckily at TextileLab Amsterdam we had a decent quality usb mic,and it was easy to use - it’s plug and play pretty much! The only downside is that as it has to plug into a laptop, rather than my camera, I had to record video and audio separately and then sync them in my video editing software.


Audacity is an open source audio recording / editing software. All I was doing to record the sound was:

Audacity can do a lot more, but I really didn’t have time to spend on learning more (ಠ‿ಠ)

super professional audio setup

Super professional audio recording setup (the iron is not plugged in)

I came in to the lab at 8am to shoot while it would be quiet, aka before everyone else came in. But the city of Amsterdam's maintenance team had other ideas.


For the intro titles of my video, and other parts where the synth wouldn’t actually be making sounds, I turned to Freesound and looked for sounds / short melodies that would be similar to the sounds made by my synth itself. I’m still in the process of figuring out how to mix those together with my video footage to create something that makes sense :)


I used Lightworks to edit my video. Why? Because I tried it once to edit an earlier video, found it ok to use, and it’s free and not too difficult to use. It does require you to make an account on their website, which is mildly annoying but not enough to put me off completely :)

Video editing isn’t something I’ve done a lot of, so I’ve never really settled on / mastered any particular software, or needed to invest in a better (but not free) one. I don’t know an awful lot about Lightworks, and just used some basic tools to use my video. Basically I just:

I used this tutorial to get me started, and there are lots of others on YouTube to help you figure things out. I also did a lot of ‘let’s click this button and see what it does’ to understand how the software works :)

Audio and video sync problems#

At a certain point I realised that my audio and video were playing at different speeds, and over time they would go out of sync with each other. After much googling and trying to figure out what framerate each was playing at, I figured out that my video had been recorded at 25fps, and the audio at 24fps. A very slight difference but enough to create problems!

To fix this for future recordings, I changed the video settings in my camera to record at 24fps. And to fix the existing recordings, I went back into Audacity and used the ‘Change Tempo’ tool in the ‘Effect’ menu. This allows you to speed up / slow down the audio. So to get a 24fps audio recording to match a 25fps video, you just need to change the tempo by 25/24 = 1.04 (or 104%).

And here’s the short video I ended up with: