How to present time-based work in a static portfolio for interviews and applications.

Time-based work

Time based media is particularly difficult to present in a traditional portfolio. Time-based work includes things like movies, animations, installations or performances. These can be really difficult to present in a portfolio. This resource looks at some things to consider when presenting this kind of work in a portfolio. There is obviously no substitute for actually being at the installation and performance or watching the whole movie with all the sounds. Yet there are some solutions for communicating the experience and information about the work more clearly. Here are some tips for presenting this kind of work:

Give a link to the full version:

Always include the actual video or animation through a link online or memory stick. Make sure it is in a widely used format.

Demonstrate software use:

Make a sheet of screen grabs of software that has been used. Time-based work often requires a process of different applications, so its work indicating the breadth and scope of the development.

Photographing work such as installations and performances:

Work like performances, projections and installations should be documented through photography that shows the work at different stages. Ideally, it shows some close up detail and some wide views as well as communicating some of the narrative. Include images of the performance or installation itself and also where it is being presented and any audience that see it, to give it a context and show it was live.

Video documentation of live work:

Document performances, projections and installations with video and include a link with an online showreel. The showreel doesn’t have to have the full performances if they are long, but could be brief highlights of the event with some clear titles indicating when and where it was and if there are more details in the portfolio.

Showreels of screen-based work:

Put animations, movies and documents of installations on a showreel, rather than attempting to have links to them all separately. If there are a series of movies, then just cut to the most exciting bits. Titles between each should indicate clear details such as actual run time, type of media (i.e. claymation), title of outcome and what the work was for.

Supporting time-based work in the portfolio:

Anything in sketchbook or worksheets should have clear explanations of: place, time, event, duration and software etc. Simple details can really help the interviewer understand what you have been doing and it also shows your awareness of the audience. If you have a series of pieces of this nature then you can use the same ‘house-style’ each time to convey this information.

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Show how the work should be seen ideally:

There is no point just showing the video if there was a particular way the work had to be seen If it was intended it to be projected on the floor or surrounded by certain things, then the interviewer needs to see that too, which can be communicated through a diagram or photograph.

Include actual evidence of the exhibition or presentation:

If the work was in an exhibition, then include images of the show with the audience there. This gives a sense of scale, but also demonstrates and ambition to engage the audience.

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And finally, don’t assume the viewer will understand what they are looking at:

Don’t be afraid to explain the obvious with clear notes and short sentences explaining what took place. Notes and details can be reflective with these points and that shows a level of evaluation.

Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Painter, Writer, Designer