ComiCol Festival Review

                ComiCol was a film, game and comic festival that took place at Firstsite Colchester from Friday 29th May to Sunday 31st May 2015. The festival was put on by young people, for young people and was led by Fistsites young film programmers Mary Dodds and Jack Williams.

It was interesting to find out about what is on offer for people wanting to get into animation, VFX and gaming.
This will be very useful for my future career and my current studies at Colchester Institute, as will all of the practical sessions throughout the weekend.
– James Coppin

The weekend included epic film marathons, interactive workshops, industry talks and a 300 second film challenge. With a chance to have your film screened before the feature films. Workshops included VJ’ing, Sound for film, Cinematography and lighting. And with talks from the NextGen Skills academy and Games Hub Shark Infested Custard. As well as various comic and game stalls. 

Y.A.K member and media student James Coppin went along for the weekend to see what it was all about, here are a few thoughts he wanted to share.

I had found out about ComiCol through a flyer posted at Colchester Institute, where I go to college. As I’m studying media and I’m a big fan of all stuff nerd I decided to come along and join in.

11219104_1598160110471232_6788309524288334734_n

First off I went to the VJ session with artist Liam Roberts. Before the VJ session I didn’t have any experience or knowledge as to what VJ meant, I learnt that it was similar to DJ but with Video instead or Music. I shared a camera with someone and we took roughly ten second long clips of a variety of patterns and shapes throughout the Firstsite gallery, afterwards we were shown how to mix the clips with each other and apply various filters and effects to them.

I then went along to the Games Hub session with Steven Huckle from Shark Infested Custard. 
I wasn’t aware of the games companies in Colchester and the ‘Shark Infested Custard’ gaming session made me interested in finding out more about the company and I might consider applying for a games group they are running. It was quite a bit shorter than I expected and would have been improved if it featured more active participation, such as allowing us to play with games they had created, or showing us more about the youth games group they were running. A similar turnout to the VJ session, though mostly different people.

On the Saturday I got down in good time so I could check out some of the stalls on offer.
I thought there could have been more stalls, possibly from further afield and with more interactivity, though I enjoyed seeing and finding out about some of the local business in Colchester.

11216798_489891227835090_3001186202722889754_n 11181844_489891231168423_8464732589160356011_n

The Sound for Film session was fun, and it was cool to see how foley sound is created for media. I already knew a bit about foley and sound, but had never tried it myself so that was great to do.
I had already done the same Cinematography and Lighting for Film session as part of the BFI Film Academy, but it’s good to practise with lighting and cinematography and learn how they affect the tone and appearance of a shot. This will be very useful for my future career and my current studies at Colchester Institute, as will all of the practical sessions throughout the weekend.

I really enjoyed the NextGen Skills academy, As a Doctor Who fan it was very exciting to see Murray Barber Milk VFX there, and to hear about his involvement in the recent series’ and 50th Anniversary Specials of the show. 
It was interesting to find out about what is on offer for people wanting to get into animation, VFX and gaming.


Mouthwash – one of the 300 second film challenge winners

I thoroughly enjoyed the event although I wish it was publicised more heavily in advance, so that more people would have come as I think it had a lot of potential. As well as this the timing of being close to London MCM Comic Con meant that many con-goers were short of cash or out of energy. Hopefully the event will happen again and continue to improve each year.

Review by James Coppin

Leave a comment