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  • Writer's pictureFrederick Jewson

The Notebook

There's nothing quite like writing in a notebook, jotting down some notes, doodling a quick sketch or simply making a to-do list. The action of pen on paper is far more enjoyable and rewarding than compared to the typical typing (or stylus writing) one would do on your phone, iPad, laptop or whatever else...

Notebooks are important to video production, they allow you to quickly chuck ideas down, then develop them further in an immensely efficient and rewarding manor. Wherever you wish to write, you can, you're not limited by lines such as on a word doc. Written notes are easy to access and reference, then when it's time, they're easy to refer off of when transferring the scribbles to a script/document ready for the next stage of video production. From this point on in production, notebooks are good for thoughts, but you can't keep going with one... Things need to be properly written up!

Evidently an iPad/Tablet is great for making notes, then developing the notes further with documents and apps. However, the act of writing with a stylus over a glass, backlit, screen simply isn't as rewarding as traditional pen on paper.

This is where the wonderful "e-notebook' comes in. It's like comparing iBooks to the Kindle. Those who want to read tend to opt for the Kindle. For people who wish to write, these "e-notebooks" offer the same experience. With a surface that allows for friction between the stylus and "e-ink" display it notably feels like you're writing on something that's more than just a screen. It's not quite a paper feel, but it's equally as rewarding. Furthermore, the way the "e-ink" display pulls literal ink to the surface helps create an organic nature to these notebooks, one which is helped by the lack of backlight. Like a Kindle, the lighter it is outside, the better it looks, meaning notes can be taken when your typical Tablet struggles to shine through the glaring sun.

The reason I opted for one of these notebooks is because I do a lot of writing, from conceptualising within the first stages of video pre-production, to storyboarding and then script analysis within the continued stages of pre-production. I can send my storyboards to my laptop for integrating into documents, as well as send scripts from my laptop back to the book for on the go analysis. Traditionally you'd need to scan and print, here you can send it back and fourth wirelessly whilst keeping everything in one place. One place is key. Very key...

I tend to get through a decent amount of paper notebooks, a lot of the pages are wasted with quick lists, random scribbles and etc. What happens when a paper notebook is full? It goes on the shelf and takes up space, or for others, it gets binned! I'm not keen on either. The "e-notebook" lets me archive with ease, send notes to the cloud, put them in folders and lets me search for them! But more importantly, I'll use it for years, the hardware doesn't need to be updated, meaning less wasted paper and less space taken up. Those are the ecocentric perks. Yes, it uses electricity, but quite frankly I can't remember the last time it needed a charge, was it yesterday? Was it the day before? Did I even charge it this week? I don't know, but looking at it now, it's still on 41% battery. It's always on, yet it's always off, the "e-Ink" display is rather odd... Kindle readers will understand. It's a bit like an etcher-sketch, for lack of better examples.

As a creative, this notebook excels when it comes to video production. As mentioned, pre-production allows for creative and engaging writing whilst maintaining modern convenience such as connectivity... In meetings it's handy for note taking, but also for catching the eye and creating a talking point. Further down the video production process it's equally brilliant on set! Scripts and storyboards are at your fingertips, allowing for quick reference but also the ability to add sudden scribbles straight onto the shot list, script and storyboard. Then moving on to the final stage of video production... Post-production. This is when pointless scribbles, to-do lists and wasted notes come into play even more. By this I mean, the real paper would be binned, it has no need to be archived. Ultimately the "e-notebook" lends itself perfectly to post-production. Notes can be taken and erased with ease, satisfyingly erased too with the rubber tool. Throughout the whole production process, these little electronic notebooks, just like normal ones, are great for having by your side, but allow for that little bit extra modernity.

For those who don't care so much about the act of writing, it's important to note; these notebooks lack the functionality of a Tablet, if you're looking for something you can do your emails, browse the internet and then make occasional notes on, don't opt for an "e-notebook"! However, if you're an avid writer and enjoy taking notes, drawing and etc, then these notebooks are truly rewarding and motivating.

Oxford Video Production Script

Oxford Video Production Script

Above are a couple of example notes - excuse the handwriting.


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