Week 5 Summary

So, our last week of class was all about the final project. I thought it was the perfect way to tie together all that we’d learned, and I knew right off that I wanted to create something a little silly. I was inspired by the new Spiderman movie to create something using that story, but I knew I shouldn’t just do a retelling of it, especially with how well-known the story is. Then I thought, hey, what’s more fun and silly than taking the story of Spiderman and reversing it? And thus, the tale of Manspider was born.

Final Project

Final Project Tutorials

Before taking this class, I knew how to do…pretty much nothing. I was very intimidated by the assignments. However, I became a digital studies minor because digital knowledge is vital in this day and age. I knew more than I had expected, and I knew that with a little time and patience I would get the hang of whatever we needed to do to make our assignments great. I learned how to use GIMP to edit photos. I learned how to use Audacity to edit sound files. I learned how record videos to post on Youtube. I learned more about design, and what sort of composition draws the human eye.

I think out of all of these things, I enjoyed learning how to edit audio the most. It allowed me to do a few of my favorite things: structure a story, and do readings of passages I like. I loved the sound effect story so much that I pretty much did it again for my final project. However, while I loved audio the most overall, I think the project I enjoyed most individually was my Narrative Ambiance video. I think it could be improved in a lot of ways, but it allowed me to showcase one of my favorite books, while also thinking more about what each line I was reading meant. I put a lot of thought into what shots to film for each line. Some other projects I enjoyed were the GIF-making assignments.

Unfortunately, I struggled with the photo editing pieces of our class. I felt the photos never looked how I wanted them to, and those assignments were where my own skill level frustrated me most. I’ll definitely have to take a lot of time with GIMP and other programs in the future. I’m not sure manipulating photos will ever be something I truly enjoy, though.

All in all, I’m satisfied both with my work and what I’ve learned from taking the class. I do wish that earlier in the semester I’d been more detailed in my assignment blog posts and weekly summary, as I lost points for that, but I tried my best to make up for it later. Writing tutorials was an especially great experience because it forced me to think about how to best communicate what I was doing to another person. You are truly in command of knowledge if you can teach that knowledge.

Thanks for a great few weeks everyone!

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Tutorials, Sweet Tutorials

PART I- DESIGN EDITING WITH GIMP

The first step in creating my comic book cover was to give it some comic book-worthy title text. I did this by going to a comic book text generator online, customizing just how I wanted my title to look. After I had that saved, I opened the image up in GIMP.

I then opened up a second blank file in GIMP that had the dimensions that I wanted for my cover. By selecting ‘Edit’ and then ‘Cut’, I could then go to that blank file and select ‘Edit’ and then ‘Paste As…New Layer’ so that my title would be mine to edit as I pleased on the cover file. I repeated this process to get a ‘#1’ to indicate which issue of the comic this was. Make sure to click ‘Layer’ and then ‘Scale Layer’ to make the image larger or smaller as needed.

It’s important to remember to paste all of these elements as separate layers, so that you can edit each piece by itself. Your list of layers should look something like this:

Next, I decided to try out putting a background on my cover. Using GIMP, I selected the layer that the background was on, and chose from the available patterns on GIMP. This selection is visible on the bottom left of the program.

Once the background was filled in, I decided to make my cover more true to life by adding a bar-code and the names of the team who worked on the comic. I went to a random bar-code generator, and also used the same comic text generator to get my names. I added them onto the cover file with the same method I’d used to add the title and issue number.

At this point I decided that maybe I didn’t like the pattern background after all. Taking it off again was as simple as clicking on the background layer, clicking ‘Edit’, and then clicking ‘Fill with BG Color’. I made sure that that background color was white. I also added the main centerpiece of my cover: the spider wearing the graduation cap. Again, same method of cut-then-paste as new layer.

My cover was almost complete….however, in the name of accuracy, I wanted to add a company title and a price. I don’t own a company that publishes comics, unfortunately, so I ended up using the comic text generator again to make my logo and price text.

And with that, my cover was complete! Manspider #1 coming to the comic store nearest to you…well. Never, probably.

Image Credits:

Comic TextBarcodeSpiderGrad Cap

PART II- AUDIO EDITING WITH AUDACITY

This assignment was reminiscent of the Sound Effects Story, which I really enjoyed; however, this time I wanted to try my hand at making my own sound effects. Lucky for me, because there’s not really a way to find ‘spider with human intelligence sneaks into home to solve math problem’ in freesound.org. Finding sounds that might emulate that was my greatest challenge. Once I had all of my props ready (a cabinet door, a notebook, a pencil, and my hand) I opened up Audacity and recorded myself making noises.

At the end of the recording sessions, I still felt that I needed a sound: footsteps. I went onto the internet to download that one. I then opened up the sound in a separate Audacity file, highlighted the portion I wanted, and copied it.

Going back to my main recording file, I pasted the sound of footsteps right before the gasping noise to indicate that a human had come back and seen what the spider had done.

That done, I exported my audio as a .wav file and uploaded it to Soundcloud.

Sound Credit:

Footsteps

PART III- VIDEO EDITING WITH IMOVIE

First step: open the iMovie app, click on New Project, and then decide what kind of project you’re making. For the purposes of my video, meant to be seem casual, I chose a regular movie.

Next, you’re asked what type of video you’re filming. You’re offered a lot of of options, but again, for my type of casual video I just wanted something simple. So, default setting it was.

You’re given your blank project and some basic instructions on how to use iMovie.

As you’re directed, go ahead and tap the icon to start adding clips into your video. Tapping that icon and then ‘All’ should bring up this screen.

I’d already had my clips pre-recorded, but you can record directly from iMovie if you want. To add clips in, just tap them and then the  icon that appears. They will then appear on your film reel. You can also add photos in, which I did under the ’30 Minutes Later’ text in the video.

From there you can edit your video as you need to. The only other major change I made was adding text, which you can do by tapping the clip or photo you want to put text over, tapping the  icon, and then selecting what format you want your text to appear as.

That done, I saved my video and uploaded it to Youtube.

PART IV- PHOTO EDITING WITH GIMP

I started off by opening a photo of the bat signal in the sky in GIMP.

That done, I used the color picker tool (  ) to grab the yellow of the spotlight around the bat. After that, I used the paintbrush tool (  ) to color in yellow over the bat, creating a blank spotlight for myself.

Then, all I needed to do was add in the image of a spider in the spotlight. I opened up a spider picture in another GIMP file, clicked ‘Edit’, clicked ‘Cut’, and then went back over to my spotlight file. I then clicked ‘Edit’ and then ‘Paste As….New Layer’. Making sure to scale my spider layer into a size that would fit in the spotlight, I picked up my paintbrush tool again. Using the yellow of the spotlight, I painted around the spider’s white background with the yellow.

I exported the image as a .png file. And thus, the people’s cry for a spider to entertain them was born.

Image Credits:

Bat signal, Spider

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Manspider #1

A child browses the comic book store, searching for entertainment in this cruel place we call “the world”. In a bargain bin, they come across a strange title, outlined in a bold red. The book tells the story of a small arachnid. After biting a scrawny teenager, the arachnid gains human intelligence, finding a new meaning to life and trouble both. The child laughs a little, shaking their head. They place the comic back into the bin.

Little do they know, the silly story was based on truth…

Manspider started out like any other spider in a comic book: in a radioactive laboratory in New York City with little to no security on the bugs they genetically engineered. However, Manspider was not one of the genetically engineered. No, it had crawled in the front door just like all of the other visitors to the lab.

Later, Manspider would not be able to say why the visiting teenager looked so much like a delicious fly. The only thing Manspider would know was that the moment its fangs sunk into the scrawny teenager’s hand, everything changed. Whatever cheeseburgers were started sounding delicious. Encyclopedic knowledge of the Bachelor franchise drifted through Manspider’s mind like falling rose petals. Numbers, as a concept, became known. The question for Manspider became not “How long until these scientists notice my web and use a broom to get it down?” and “What is the point of knowledge if it isn’t being used?”

Manspider began to sneak into the homes of middle school children, waiting until they left their homework unattended to swoop in and solve each equation. Holding a pencil steady was the most difficult part of the process, as Manspider’s new human intelligence could handle middle school math problems easily at about the rate of the smartest 8th grader.

Word spread about the mysterious equation-solving spider. Countless New Yorkers started leaving math problems out at night, hoping to find them solved the next morning. Teachers everywhere mourned, as they could no longer tell whether their students had actually done the work or a spider had done it for them. New York City was in an uproar. Merchandise spread throughout the city; it was not uncommon to spot at least 20 Manspider T-shirts on one Metro ride. Time wound on, until the spider began to realize some aspects of its new life that had gone ignored…

Its equation-solving was not about the math, or knowledge, anymore. It was about The Fame. No one really wanted an equation solved for any purpose other than having a viral video, or getting their solved equation printed on a T-shirt. Manspider knew that it was its own fault for letting things get this far. Knowledge, as they say, is power. And with great power comes great responsibility.

Manspider disappeared, back into the dark it had come from. Slowly, humans learned to solve their own equations once more. They learned to stop wishing for a spider to come into their home at night, and wishing again that spiders would not, please, for the love of everything. Some humans, probably the same ones who don’t know when to let a meme die, clung onto the Manspider. They crafted a lighted signal in the sky, calling to the Manspider to come and entertain them once more.

To this day, no one has ever seen the Manspider again. Equations, on kitchen tables and desks in bedrooms, stay unsolved until a human completes them. It is said that the Manspider resides in the dusty corners of the same laboratory, hanging over the hardworking employees shoulders and eating the flies attracted by their forgotten lunches.

It triple-checks every mistake that the scientists make.

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Week 4 Summary

As always, I started on Monday by reading over our summary for the week and planning out what assignments I would be doing and on what days. I also did my first daily create on Monday. The assignment was to create a dancing robot, and it turned out really cute and fun! I spent a long time deciding what music I wanted the robot to dance to.

After that, unfortunately…I didn’t really mean for Tuesday to continuously be a day off for me, but I ended up getting sick. So Tuesday I didn’t really do much besides lay in bed with my cat.

However, I was ready to dive back into action on Wednesday! I did my second daily create, filming something in my apartment making a horror-worthy sound. I really need to get the hinges on that door seen to.

On Wednesday, I also completed my first blog post, a reflection on Robert Ebert’s ‘How To Read A Movie’. Reading this article was interesting both because I haven’t done a lot of film studies before, and because I’m taking an introductory film class in the fall. I viewed this as a preview of what was to come in that class. Just like in photos, a lot of thought goes into arranging the perfect shot for a movie.

On Thursday, I did my third daily create of the week.  This one was interesting because initially, I had no idea what Talking Tina was or what I should even be editing into the photo. After completing the assignment, however, I put some episodes of the Twilight Zone onto my watchlist.

That day I also wrote up my second blog post, an analysis of a scene from ‘The Thing’. I enjoyed being more than a passive viewer of the film. I was also amazed to find that a lot of Ebert’s comments on film methods seemed to be true in this movie, since I’d really never thought about it before reading that article. I also discovered something new about the movie that I hadn’t considered before! All in all, I think this blog post was the one I had the most fun with all week. On Thursday, I also filmed shots of my day to be edited into the ’60 Second Day’ assignment on Friday.

Before I got to editing the video on Friday, I made sure to do my last daily create of the week. I chose the goat picture to be edited into random art because…I mean, come on. It’s goats, and goats are adorable. The art is created didn’t turn out how I expected at all, but I kind of like it.

 

That done, I could finally sit down and edit my clips together for my ’60 Second Day’ assignment. Writing the tutorial for this assignment was difficult; I had a hard time deciding how to most helpfully convey how I edited my video together, even though iMovie is such an intuitive program.

On Saturday, I could fully focus on my ‘Narrative Ambiance’ assignment. I was really excited for this one, which is why I saved it for last. I have a lot of books I love, and I was interested in seeing how filming a video for a passage from one of them would change my view of the passage itself. I think carefully considering how the shots I was taking would evoke the emotions of the passage deepened my understanding of the scene.

This week I left comments on Nicole’s, Tyler’s, Taylor’s, and Shane’s blogs. What I found most interesting when looking at everyone else’s posts was the wide variety of programs used to create and edit video. I was especially impressed that Shane used his camera to capture his time lapse and then connected the camera to his phone to put it all together. It made me want to get a nice camera and try it out for myself!

I think my assignments this week could be improved in a few ways. I wish I’d had a better camera, rather than just my phone. I also feel that I could have benefited from trying out different video editors, rather than just iMovie; however, since I did only have my phone, it seemed obvious to use it for both of my video assignments this week. Something I feel I did really well on this week was my film analysis blog post. I put a lot of focus and attention into analyzing the clip, and I hope it shows in my writing and in the media I embedded into the post. I’m a beginner at making films, but this week has given me confidence that with a lot of work, I could create something amazing.

– IN SUMMARY –

Daily Creates

Dancing Robot, Horror Noise, Find Tina, Abstract Photo Art

Video Assignments

60 Second Day, Narrative Ambiance

Blog Posts

How to Read a Movie, Film Analysis of ‘The Thing’

Comments Left

NicoleTylerTaylorShane

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Narrative Ambiance

There’s something really simple and beautiful about the way Benjamin Alire Sáenz writes. I’ve read this particular book, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, a few times now. I’m always amazed by how much he says in so little words. The book is poignant, and real, and painful sometimes. I decided to read chapter seven for this assignment because I think it’s the perfect example of all those things. In this chapter, the reader can tell how much Ari, the main character, is struggling with something in him that he can’t see. In that same vein, the reader and tell how much he yearns to feel equal to Dante. I chose to do a lot of still shots of objects or scenery for this video for a few reasons: I wanted the viewer to be able to focus on my words, and I wanted it to feel a little lonely. I also tried to pick images that would enhance the words I was reading. For example, when Ari points out that Dante’s smile is sad, I filmed a shot of the cracks in my deck to show that even things that are solid have gaps. There are more literal shots too, such as when the discussion turns to God. I also wanted the video to follow the narrative of the scene, so I started out filming in my room and then moved away from it, as the narrative and conversation moves from Ari’s room to bigger things.

I chose this assignment because I love reading and I love the thought of a film making a reading more powerful. Originally I wanted to film more of a ‘summer’ themed video, with shots of the pond and trees outside my apartment and things like that, but chapter seven of this book caught my attention and thus the video was filmed mostly indoors.

To create this film, I used iMovie on my phone. When you open up a new project in the app, you get a blank film reel to work on as well as some tips for using the app.

The first step to creating your film is to add a clip. To do this, you simply click the  icon, tap ‘All’, and then tap which clip you want to add onto the reel. After that, you can tap the  icon that appears, and the clip will be added onto your reel.

 

After I added on my first clip, I could then record my reading. You can do this right from the iMovie app. By tapping the  icon on the main reel screen, you are given the option to start a recording over your clips. You can retake the audio as many times as you need to (unfortunately, I needed to a lot).

Once I had my recording, I added in the rest of the clips and adjusted the length as needed to fit what I was saying. I also muted each clip by tapping the  icon and lowering the dial to zero. That way, my reading could be clearly heard.

The main bulk of the reading video finished, the only step left was to add title and ending credits. I debated a long time over adding in music too, but in the end decided I wanted people to be able to focus more on the words, since it was a quiet moment in the book as well. Rather than having a still photo for my title screen, I decided I wanted those to be part of the video as well. I went and got two new clips that I felt opened and closed out the video well. To add text to a clip, you tap where it is on the reel and then the  icon.

You’re given quite a few options for text in your video; it’s a good idea to sit down and consider what effect you want your video to have, and also how much text each title screen will need.

Text chosen and credits written, I decided that my video was done. I tapped ‘Done’, and then uploaded my video onto Youtube.

Guidelines for this assignment can be found here.

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60 Second Day

My days are pretty peaceful; the one I’ve filmed for this assignment is no exception. I chose to do the ’60 Second Day’ assignment because I like watching vlogs sometimes, and I thought it would be fun to try my hand at my own vlog-type video. Compressing everything down into 60 seconds was difficult, but I managed somehow. I like the aesthetic of writing out the title and ending credits scenes instead of using a video editor to do them, so the video starts and ends with my own really mess handwriting. It feels more personal like that, which I thought worked because this is me filming my own day. I think the most challenging part of this video was figuring out how to indicate movement and also time passing. When I went to the movies, I didn’t want to be at my house and then suddenly at the theater. So I filmed clips of me closing my laptop and a few of me in the car, as well as progress clips of me getting stuff for cereal out of the pantry and fridge. These sort of transitional clips are what made it so difficult to make the video only 60 seconds (leaving out the credits). However, I think that was also the most interesting part of making the video. I wanted the viewer to be able to clearly follow along with what was happening. I think the video could have been improved if I’d had a better camera; unfortunately, all I’ve got is my phone.

To put all of my clips together, I used the iMovie app on my phone. The picture below shows what the main video editing screen for iMovie looks like. Right off the bat, I’d like to point out the little question mark icon (  ) in the top right corner. Clicking on that will give you helpful hints as to how to make your movie great.

The theme that I chose for my movie was called ‘Simple’, and I felt it fitting for the kind of average day vibe I was going for. If you want to look through the themes available, you can click on the little gear icon (  ) at the bottom right.

As you can see, there’s a lot of themes to choose from. There’s also a few other options, like video filters. I chose not to use a video filter, wanting to keep my film neat and straightforward, but I did tap the option for the video to fade in from black. That done, I started to add in my clips. By tapping the film reel and music note icon (  ) you bring up the screen below on the left. Tapping ‘All’ should get you to the screen on the right.

Notice at the bottom of the screen that you have three options: Video, Photos, and Audio. Right now we’re just working with Video, but I’ll get to the Audio tab later.

To insert your clips, you simply tap them on the screen and click the downwards arrow icon (  ). This places them into your film, and you edit them from there. The next step I took after adding all of my clips was the adjust the audio. To avoid copyright infringement, since this video was going on Youtube, I used the music provided by iMovie itself. To adjust audio, tap the audio tab on the bottom right.

As you can see, you have a lot of options regarding what audio to place in your video. I knew I wanted to keep it simple, and make it more like a miniature vlog, so I just went to the theme music section. From there, you can tap each title to listen to a preview. Just like when adding clips, to add music to your video, just tap the downwards arrow icon.

The theme music I ended up choosing was ‘Travel’, because I felt that it fit the mood I was going for. Music selected, I went back to the main video editing screen to take out the audio from my voice clips so that the music could be clearly heard. To edit audio within the clips, tap on the clips and then on the speaker icon (  ). From there, you can raise and lower the dial as needed. The only clip I left the volume on for was at the end, where I turn off the lamp. I liked the finality of the sound and felt that it closed out the video well when combined with the light shutting off.

By tapping the icon in between each clip (  ) you can edit the transitions between them, but I decided I liked the default transitions the best. From there, I decided that my video was done! I saved it and posted it on Youtube from my phone. There were a few iMovie features I didn’t try out making this particular video, but I’m planning on checking them out later.

Thanks for joining me on this average day!

Guidelines for this assignment can be found here.

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Look, Listen, Analyze

The clip I chose to analyze for this blog post was from the film The Thing. I wanted to take a look at this clip because I’ve seen this movie before, and knew I wouldn’t get distracted from analyzing the scene by trying to figure out what was actually going on. I also had the Ebert article “How To Read Movies” in mind; in that article, he talks about how an audience member pointed out something about Citizen Kane that he’d never noticed before, despite having analyzed the movie at least 30 times. I wanted to see if I would notice anything new about The Thing.

The Camera Work

Right away, I noticed the use of zooms in the scene. In the first few seconds, the camera zooms in on each object and character, hiding the rest of the setting from the viewer.

Eventually, the camerawork shows off perfectly one of the methods that Ebert discusses directors using. From a positive character (one of the protagonists) on the right, the camera shifts to the left over to a couple of dead bodies, something negative. The very motion of the camera to the left suggests the shift to something negative on screen.

The camera continues to stay zoomed in on the people and objects in the scene, forcing the audience to be hyper-aware of them, such as the Petri dish of blood. The camera then executes a shifting shot from the negative dead bodies to the more positive protagonist, an opposite movement from earlier in the scene.

The theme of positive on the right, negative on the left continues to appear in the scene. After it becomes apparent who the monster has gotten to among the team, a fight ensues. After the monster is lit on fire, it runs out into the snow. The viewer is given this shot of the monster on the left and the protagonist on the right.

Ebert also states that objects in the right and/or in the foreground of a shot tend to be more dominant over objects in the left and/or background. This statement is especially true in this scene when one of the characters is instructed to torch the monster. He runs up to it instinctively, but quickly becomes overwhelmed by fear. The viewer can tell just how much power this monster has over the character because of the framing of this shot.

The viewer is also encouraged to fear the monster and to focus their attention on it through use of diagonals. In the following shot, the bench that the team members are tied to tilts up because two of the men are trying to escape the monster. The leads to a diagonal within the shot that the viewers eyes follow.

All in all, the camera work in this scene was made to make the viewer afraid of The Thing. And it certainly worked!

The Audio

One thing that I noticed right away when I sat down to analyze the audio of this scene was that there was no music. There was, however, a lot of terrified yelling.

During the first few seconds of the scene, there aren’t even any noises in the background, besides the characters’ voices and the sound effects from what they’re directly interacting with. However, it soon becomes apparent that there’s the faint sound of wind in the background. This faint howling gives the viewer a sense of anticipation and heightens the tension of this scene. At times, there are also long spaces of silence in between dialogue. The unnatural pacing of the conversation speaks to the characters’ feelings of unease. In these silences, the howling wind and rising tension is more audible. Of course, that tension all breaks when the Petri dish shatters and the monster screams. After that sense of anticipation is broken, it’s a mess of screams, howls, thuds, and flamethrower noises. The cacophony conveys the sense of terror and chaos in the room. As the protagonist tries to get his flamethrower working, the viewer can hear the puffs as it continuously fails. Each successive failure puts the characters closer to death, and the viewer is keenly aware of that.

The actors continue screaming throughout the whole scene, even after the monster is away from them and on fire. The contrast between the quiet of the first part of this scene and how loud the second part is illustrates just how fast the events of the story can go from calm to deadly.

Tying It Together

The first thing I wanted to keep an eye out for in my rewatch was whether or not the camera is on the flamethrower every time you hear the noise of it failing. If that were the case, I knew that it would be something that the director REALLY wanted the viewer to pay attention to. I found that the camera wasn’t; however, the noise is so persistent through the scene that it’s difficult to ignore anyway.

There are a lot of crashing and shattering noises caused by the monster. I found it interesting that every time a lamp or light in the room was broken by the monster’s movements, the camera zoomed in on it. After thinking about why the director wanted zooms on the lamps, I realized it must have been because if the lamps had caught on fire by being broken, then the monster would have been defeated even without the flamethrower working. Every time a lamp breaks, and then doesn’t catch on fire, the viewer might think “Gah! We really, really need that flamethrower now!”

When the flamethrower does finally work, and the monster catches on fire, it lets out a chilling and unearthly shriek. Despite all the yelling, it’s the loudest noise in that scene. I found that part of the scene striking because it comes with a mingled sense of relief and fear. The monster is defeated, but it was horrifying. They’re safe now, but for how long?

Perhaps that’s the draw of suspenseful films such as The Thing: that mingled sense of relief, and of fear.

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How To Read A Movie

I’ve never heard of a Cinema Interrupt, but the way that Roger Ebert describes it in his article “How To Read A Movie” sound like a lot of fun. I think it would also be really useful to have a bunch of different perspectives from a film’s audience. Knowing the meaning behind one detail, tiny as it may be, could change the entire meaning of a scene.

Ebert talks a lot about positioning in this article; one point he makes is that it seems like the right side of a shot is seen as more “dominant” over whatever is on the left side. I’ve never noticed a tendency like that, but will definitely be keeping an eye out for it in future film viewings. Positioning, in Ebert’s eyes, seems to be vital to the impression a filmmaker wants to convey to the viewers. I was especially struck by the style of a director he mentions, Ozu. Ebert mentions that Ozu barely moves the camera, but his shots are always composed with style. A lot of care and thought must go into making a movie like that. However, Ebert says that a lot of the time, positioning for a director comes instinctively. As a student, that doesn’t seem helpful, but maybe there’s something to it. I guess I can only find out by making my own film and seeing how I instinctively composed each shot.

It helped me to understand when Ebert gave the example to think of what he’s been describing as “intrinsic weighting” as a rubber band. Moving the pieces in your film shot around stretches and creates tension with that rubber band. I think I agree with most points he makes; I find it hard to be skeptical when I know nothing about movies and Ebert has clearly studied them a lot. I think a method I’d like to look into more is “Movement to the right seems more favorable; to the left, less so.” I can’t call to mind a specific example of this method.

To look into film methods more in depth, I watched three videos from the list we were provided. The first was “Example of a Match Cut“. This video was only 12 seconds long, but I wanted to watch it because I wasn’t sure what match cut was. The video shows a clip from 2001 A Space Odyssey, a film I’ve never seen before. However, watching the clip, I realized that I had seen a match cut before. The monkey? gorilla? in the video throws a bone into the air, and the camera cuts away from the wider shot to focus in on the bone flying up into the air. This kind of cut can be useful for a few reasons, I think. It can force the audience to focus on the object that the director wants to be shown. The cut can also limit the number of takes an actor has to do; if the object has to land somewhere specific, then the actor won’t have to throw it multiple times to try and get it in the right spot.

The second video I watched was “Kubrick // One-Point Perspective“. This video features a bunch of Kubrick films, all showcasing his use of one-point perspective. From the video, I learned that one-point perspective puts the focus of a shot directly in the center, with the rest of the shot framing it. Often this tends to put two walls at the edges of the shot, but sometimes there’s empty space there instead. What’s important is the focus and then the framing.

The third video I watched was “The Shining // Zooms“. I wanted to watch this video because I’ve actually seen The Shining, and I have a friend who can wax poetic about the film design. The video shows various scenes from the movie that use zooms. From this video, I learned that zooms can create suspense in a few ways. For example, by zooming in slowly on a person’s face, you can create the impression that something is creeping up on them, or something is about to happen. Another example is that by slowly zooming out from a central object or person, you can create tension or anticipation by slowly revealing the setting to the viewer.

All in all, I learned a lot of film techniques I had vaguely noticed in the back of my mind, but had never thought too deeply about. I can’t wait to learn more, and to create my own films throughout the week!

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Week 3 Summary

I started Monday of this week as usual, by reading over our syllabus for week 3, looking at the information on audio that we were directed to, and deciding which audio assignments I would be completing throughout the week. One thing I did do differently was that I didn’t immediately jump into the daily creates; I decided to wait and see what daily creates would be available later in the week.

On Tuesday, I decided to complete my first daily create of the week. Although my list of words was short, I spent a lot of time on this one, switching things around and trying to get a longer list of words. I wanted to try the more difficult of the word chains we were given, since I saw that people had already done every other word but ‘invent’. However, four words was my limit.

On Tuesday, I also wrote up my blog post summarizing Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad’s talks. My system for this was simple; as I watched the video, I also had a notebook and pen that I used to jot down any thoughts that I found interesting or important. Through these notes, I wrote up the blog post. Before listening to these talks I had never heard of either Ira Glass or Jad Abumrad. Hearing what they had to say definitely made me more interested in radio as a whole, as someone who listens to podcasts a lot. What did older radio equipment look like? How has the production of radio changed? How has the purpose of radio changed? Who are the key players in radio now? These were all questions I found myself wondering about.

On Wednesday I spent the day with friends. With the way I had scheduled my week, I could afford to take a day and spend time recharging away from work. It was a little unplanned, but I still felt comfortable pushing my work back a bit. After this, however, I knew that I would need to stick to my schedule so that I wouldn’t become overwhelmed by work.

Finally, on Thursday, I completed my second daily create. For this daily create, we had to take a gif created by @eventuallybot on Twitter and write a story behind it. The most challenging part of this daily create was writing a cohesive story that fit into Twitter’s character limit, and I found myself a little frustrated, as a person who likes to write. I wanted to make the story really pretty! However, I did my best to convey the story behind the gif with the space I was given.

On Thursday I also wrote two blog posts. The first was on TED Radio Hour and Scottlo’s DS106 Radio. I also took physical notes as I listened to these pieces of audio. This blog post was where I started to really think about how important sound effects and background music are in audio storytelling, and I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite podcasts, The Adventure Zone. TAZ is a Dungeons & Dragons podcast, and at first the only music in it was the opening theme. However, there was a noticeable improvement in the episodes when the DM, Griffin, began composing and using music in the story. The episodes were more enjoyable to listen to, and the emotional impact of certain scenes was heightened. My feelings about the importance of sound effects and background music were further cemented when I wrote up the blog post on “Moon Graffiti” and my thoughts on audio storytelling. I thought about how an assignment we were required to do during the week was the Sound Effects Story, and I couldn’t help but be excited to be able to try sound effects out for myself.

On Friday, I did my third daily create. Our task on Friday was to place a transparent photo of Chris Christie on a beach, to make it look like he was closing that one too. I used Fotor for this daily create.

On Friday I also started on my audio assignments for the week. The first one I did was ‘Make Your Own Mixtape‘. I thought about stringing the songs I’d chosen along in a file on Soundcloud, but…in the end I was too worried it would be taken down for copyright reasons, and just went to Youtube instead. I had a really great time with this assignment, carefully thinking about which songs would go well together and what order I should put them in. They’re all pretty upbeat, but I tried to vary the tempo so that the listener didn’t feel like they were experiencing the same song eight times in a row.

The second assignment I completed on Friday was the ‘Sound Effect Story‘. I’d been idly brainstorming for this throughout the week, so by the time I sat down to do it, I knew what kind of story I wanted to create. I think it could’ve stood to be longer, but I think I told an engaging story with the time that I did use.

And that was it for Friday. On Saturday, I did my fourth and final daily create of the week. For this assignment, we were to find our best modified or improvised item. Once I saw the prompt, I knew it could only be one thing; this plastic bag plant holder, which has been terrifying me since the day it was made. Seriously, it feels like it could fall apart at any second.

Saturday was also the day that I finished up my audio assignments. First, I sat down and recorded a reading for my ‘Old Poem Same Feeling‘. After the Sound Effects Story, this was probably the assignment I was most excited for this week. I love any excuse to bring attention to people or things from history that I think people should know more about.

The final audio assignment, to round myself out to twelve stars, was the ‘Reverse Audio Quiz‘. I thought this assignment seemed fun, and I learned a lot about what kinds of effects Audacity could put on an audio. Before this assignment, I’d had no idea Audacity was capable of reversing a track. In hindsight, it seems obvious that Audacity could do that, but there you have it. SPOILER ALERT! The song I used was ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ by Wham!

With all those assignments done, all that was left was to leave comments, and write this weekly summary. This week, I left comments on Nicole’s blog, Taylor’s blog, Shane’s blog, Sarah’s blog, and Chris’s blog. I tried to focus more on balancing praise and critique this week. Leaving feedback on others’ work is useful because, inevitably, you start thinking about your own. It’s easier to see flaws or what’s lacking in others’ work because on your own you already know the thought process behind what you did. Leaving feedback forces you into a new perspective. I also learned more about how to edit audio; for example, in Sarah’s post, she mentions how she recorded her own sound effects using her phone. Her method is something I’m keeping in mind for future projects.

This week, I think the most challenging parts of the work we were assigned were the summary blog posts. It was mostly difficult because it was time consuming, and required me to sit down for hours to listen, watch, take notes, and write up blog posts. The easiest part of the week was probably picking which assignments I wanted to complete. All four of the projects I took on jumped out at me immediately, and thankfully added up twelve stars in the end. 🙂 One thing I did wonder was why the ‘Old Poem New Feeling’ project was only one star, as it felt like a two star assignment at the very least. I had to choose the poem and song, record several takes of the poem, cut which part of the song I wanted to use, and edit it over the poem. I think the difficulty of the assignment should be raised to at least two stars.

Overall, I had a lot of fun this week, even though I was afraid to start learning how to edit audio. Next week is video, and something I’m actually really excited for after this week is learning how to do a voice-over in a video.

See y’all next week!

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Reverse Audio Quiz

Can you guess this peppy tune’s original title?

If you want to try guessing, you probably should before reading the next paragraph! It might give a little too much away.

This assignment seemed like fun; I wish I had a deeper reason than that, but I really was just excited to this because it seemed entertaining. I picked this particular song because I was curious about how it would sound reversed, and whether it would be as distinctive. It’s a song that a person can recognize in a heartbeat. This is also one of those songs that always makes me feel better if I’ve had a bad day, or helps wake me up in the morning. I also respect the singer, for his philanthropy, his music, and his attitude despite the opposition he faced for his sexuality. Therefore, I had a really good time with this assignment.

To reverse this audio, I used Audacity. Opening up the application, I then opened up the file of the song that I wanted to reverse.

Next, I went up to ‘Effects’ on the menu and clicked ‘Reverse’. Listening to the track after this was very entertaining!

I didn’t want to post the entirety of the song, so afterwards I needed to choose a part of the song to cut. By highlighting over parts of the song I didn’t need, then clicking ‘Edit’ then ‘Delete’, I got the song down to less than a minute.

I exported my audio as a .WAV file and uploaded it to Soundcloud. And the rest is up to you to guess!

Guidelines for this assignment can be found here.

 

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