Archive for March, 2012

Boys Like Beatles and…

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t lie. My music library has not changed since high school. I happily listen to the album, Dark was the Night on repeat for hours.  Yet, when I saw this assignment, I knew I wanted to poke fun at famous Beatles’ album cover, 1. Maybe it’s because I don’t get, or maybe it’s because they seem a little egotistical. Nevertheless, I called back to my high school days when Boys Like Girls ruled the hallways and music diehards wore the ‘1’ album like a badge.

This is what the original albums looked like:

In Gimp I edited the two albums together. Good-bye  weird dripping rainbow and hello bleeding Beatles.

This just feels right.

 

 

Our Top 5 Sidekicks

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The goal of this assignment was to identify a type of archetype in TV shows/movie and represent it in a quick video. I believe that sidekicks are poorly represented. They are neglected, forgotten, and taken advantage of, yet, without them the story would not be as rich. What’s Batman without Robin? Simon without Garfunkel? So, I wanted to pay tribute to the sidekick.

The Process:

I downloaded the video clips from da Youtube. I did not want just smash a bunch of clips together and call it done. Rather, I wanted to create a dialogue. Next, I added a music clip to add a bit of drama. Overall, once I had my vision and the clips I wanted to use, it was a snap!

 

Play-by-Play: The Hangover

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Bam! I finally stopped tweaking and posted this play-by-play humor analysis of the Wolfpack Speech scene in The Hangover. This go around I stated playing with transitions and incorporating music.

The Process:

First, I downloaded the video from da Youtube and opened it in iMovie. Next, I added my analysis via the voiceover by pushing the microphone button in iMovie.

 

During this process I noticed that the longer narratives were dull and needed a little spice. So, I added some mood music. In order to ensure that the music did not fight with my voiceover I tweaked the music settings.

Click the box next the ‘Ducking’ while the audio that you want dominant is selected as well. This is will allow the other audio file to be present but play in the background.

Last, click on the ‘Normalize Clip Volume’ button to mitigate the feedback noise.

 

 

 

The main challenge for this assignment was making the audio seamless and clear. Overall, I enjoyed working on this assignment and hopefully Youtube will not mind that I ‘borrowed’ some of my material.

Taxi Driver: Film Essay

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Taxi Driver is a Scorsese masterpiece with one of film’s most powerful protagonists, Travis. It’s Travis’s many contradictions that makes him one of the great characters in film history. In my film essay, we will be watching the final shootout scene in the brothel. During this scene we will be discussing how editing techniques reveals Travis’s disjointed state and decent into psychosis.

The Process:

I ripped the film from Youtube. I have the original DVD but I could never get MPEG to convert the files into .mp4 or any form really. Next, in iMovie, I was able to add my voiceover audio with a push of a button! I drew up a script and recored myself.

The main difficulty was normalizing the audio. The is a strange echo during the scene with Travis talking to the Pimp. I struggled for hours trying to play with audio settings but I was only successful in mitigating it but not fixing it. For the other scenes it seems to be fine but those scene already had distorted sound.

Real movie editors have tough jobs. Hours of tedious work that only realizes small successes. It’s tough work and I cannot say I will be applying for any of those positions any time soon. or ever.

 

in[SPIRE]

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

My fascination with electronic literature started when I accidently stumbled upon Dr. Whalen’s blog for his E-Lit class. I discovered a whole new world of narratives in the form of hypertext stories. So, for my final project for DS106 I want to create my own e-lit masterpiece.

A key part of the DS106 community is the connections between all of the pioneers. We have knitted together an intimate community that is not only participating in its structure but also creating it. However, to the outsider it’s a group a crazy people shouting out strange acronyms (e.g. TDC) and laughing at complex inside jokes.

To mitigate our esoteric nature, I want to create an interconnecting diagram that will highlight connections, stories, and dialogues between members of the DS106 community. Ideally, a person can map another pioneer’s creative journey and progress in DS106.

In regards to the visual element, I envisioned a cyborg brain with circuits and semiconductors. Then when a person clicks on a resonator or capacitor there will be a story.

My hope is that this project will be carried on by future DS106 pioneers and the web of connections will continue to grow and become more complex.

 

 

PREproduction: Play-by-Play

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Fact: Jokes are only funny when you explain the punch line in explicit detail. The more detail, the better.

Fact: I watch a lot of documentaries.

Goal: For the Play-by-Play assignment, I will analyze a pivotal scene in the movie The Hangover and explain why it’s funny.

Specifically, I will be analyzing the scene above, because honestly, it was the only hearty chuckle this movie got out me, so it must be funny. In addition, I will utilize ground-breaking humor theory in order to fully examine it’s hilarity.

Coming soon to a computer near you.

Kill Bill in 1932

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Film editing is difficult. Anyone to tell you otherwise is just showing off. I have worked on this project for far too long and I am beginning to hate it. The goal of this assignment was to transform a modern film into a silent film.

 

 

First, I decided to take on Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill vol. 1. I felt that this film was an appropriate choice because it portrayed archetype characters, typical  for silent films. Plus, I just really like the film too.

The Process:

My first hurdle was learning how to download videos from Youtube. Initially, my research revealed a program called, Youtube downloader. However, to get the program for free you had to sign-up for another on-line service (e.g. Netflix). I knew there was something better so I called upon the DS106 community, and my friend Tim Owens showed me a bookmarking tool that was super easy to use. (Sorry Alan, but I have clue what to do with script text.)

Next, I downloaded the official Movie trailer for Kill Bill. Originally, I tried to make my own trailer but I soon realized that it was a formidable task and not necessary (3 hours later). Then, I needed to mitigate its 21st century feel.

The original music was hip and cool. So it needed to go. In iMovie, I muted the original soundtrack then added my own with iTunes. I picked a sassy jazz piece that fit perfectly with the time frame. Yes, technically the song is from 1938 and not 1932 but let’s play pretend.

Next, I need to do away with the shiny colors and HD quality pictures. First, I muted the saturation to zero. Good-bye color. Next, I messed with the brightness and contrast levels to make it look more grainy.

Last, I uploaded it to Youtube. Ten minutes later, I was ready to upload it to Artisfier, but I was unable to make it work. I tried various privacy and quality settings and Artisfier still could not upload my clip. So, back to the drawing board.

Once again in iMovie, I tweaked the color setting to make it look more silent film-esque. There is a slight issue with some of the actresses’ black hair blending with the dark background but I figured it’s 1932 and we can’t win all of the fights with movie editing.

I tried creating a more time period appropriate credits intro, so I designed a minimalist poster and added it to the beginning of the trailer. However, after doing so, I worried that I was infringing copyright laws so I deleted it. It did give me the opportunity to play with transitions between scenes. So, one point for learning!

Overall, after struggling with different aspects of film editing, I feel that this was a great way to introduce myself to the art of editing. There are still a lot of things I want to do better with, like making it look more grainy and less shadow-y but I am excited with how it turned out.

 

 

Life Lessons

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Life Lessons is a powerful film.

First, it’s a Martin Scorsese film, and who doesn’t love Marty?

Second, it’s an eighties film (1989), the best era for film.

It is also a provocative film about a middle-age painter and his young, discontented girlfriend, Paulette. From the very first scene we rarely get the feeling that there is anything still and contented in the soul of our hero, Lionel.

He is verbally clever but emotionally uncertain. It is not a story of love. It is a story of power and discontentment.

 

Here is a shot-by-shot analysis of the second chapter the best reveal the nature of Lionel.

 Shot 1

I. Mise-en-scene

A. Setting: Onset in Lionel’s studio apartment.

1. Props: cassette, cassette player with paint stains, and some pieces of                                            plastic are missing, suggesting the tape player is well-used and old.

B. Lighting:

1. Ration: low ratio/high-key lighting.

2. Quality: soft, less detail.

3. Direction: There is an overall illumination of the cassette player, as a result it is difficult to discern the exact location of light, however, we can assume a standard 45 degrees, considering there is no specific effect created on the cassette.

C. Costume: Only evidence of main character is his hands, which have long, dirty                                                 fingernails.

D. Behavior of Figures:

1. Lionel’s hand appears from the left-hand side of the screen. He inserts the                                     cassette then hits the play button on the cassette player.

2. Cassette tape rolling.

II. Cinematography

A. Framing

1. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

2. Camera position: Straight on, tilted to the left.

               3. Framing distance: Extreme close-up on cassette and cassette player.

4. Camera Movement: Steady/ no movement.

III. Editing:

Shot 1 ends with a close-up of the cassette player then cuts to Lionel standing in front of the large canvas. We can assume that there is a time lapse from when Lionel inserted the cassette tape to him standing in front of the canvas, because we do not witness him walking away from the player to his position in shot 2. It is also an establishing shot because every time Lionel begins to paint he plays music fitting his mood.

IV. Sound

B. Noise: We hear the sound of the cassette being inserted into the player. Then, the             sound of Lionel pressing the play button on the player.

        C. Music: Diegetic music from the tape player.

Shot 2

I. Mise-en-scene

A. Setting: Lionel’s studio apartment.

 1. Tables with paints, buckets of brushes, canvas, painting in the background, basketball hoop, stacks of books, stacks of sketchpads, extension cord, kitchen chairs, lamps, easels, mirror, paint buckets, paint stained newspaper, magazines, large white stretched canvas with black sketching.

B. Lighting

1. Ratio: Low ratio/high key.

                        2. Quality: Soft, less detailed.

 3. Direction: Brighter back light illuminating his hair and his right arm and right pant leg, left rim of his glasses with standard 45 degree angle.

C. Costume

1. Dirty, loose-fitting blue thin striped button-up collared shirt with paint stains, top few buttons undone.

                                    i. Loose fitting beige cords with some paint stains.

ii. Greasy medium long graying hair.

iii. Large rimmed glasses.

iv. Old, worn black sneakers stained with paint.

D. Behavior of Figures:

1. Lionel stands a few feet away from the large stretch canvas with the black                                     markings.

i. Looks in awe and concentration onto the canvas with his head                                                             slightly tilted to the right

 ii. Moves his right arm twice, as an attempt to move it towards                                                            the canvas.

II. Cinematography

A. Framing

1. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

               2. Camera position: Straight on.

3. Framing distance: Starts as long shot, eventually moves into a medium                                                close-up.

               4. Camera Movement: Tracking shot to the right and circling around Lionel.

III. Editing: Shot 2 ends with Lionel standing then it cuts to a longer shot of Lionel standing. These shots show continuity of action.

IV. Sound

A. Speech: N/A

            B. Noise: N/A

C. Music: Music from the tape player.

Martin Scorsese utilizes the first five shots of chapter two in Life Lessons as establishing shots into Lionel’s character. Key elements of mise-en-scene create drama and tension, emphasizing Lionel’s repressed sexuality towards Paulette. This is demonstrated by the low-key illumination and backlight in the scenes. This lighting creates darker shadows and establishes an intensity and anxiety in Lionel. This intensity is witnessed in Lionel’s actions as he stares deeply at the large, empty canvas. Lionel attempts to move his hand toward the canvas but as the camera changes position to a long shot of him at a high angle and downward, it emphasizes the long distance between Lionel and the canvas. This adds to the audience’s understanding that Lionel is overwhelmed. This suggests that Lionel is preoccupied with thoughts of Paulette, as a results it crates a link between Lionel’s anxiety and the aloof Paulette.

 


The Making of AMCX

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

After working on the DS106 radio show assignment, I have a new appreciation for the work that NPR interns do everyday. It’s tedious piecing together a radio show.

First, you have to write the script. But make sure it follows a logical and intuitive order. If not, you risk recording several versions where you mix up what time of day it is throughout. Uhhh Oops.

(Photo Credit)

Next, you need to record yourself reading the script you just spent an hour tweaking. Remember to repeat this to yourself: What Would Morgan Freeman Do?

Third, edit, edit, edit.

Last, do not feel discouraged because you just spent the last four hours working on only four minutes of your radio piece. At least, all of this was true for my group, AMCX. Slowly, slowly it is all coming together. So far we have accomplished several items from our never-ending to-do list:

1) 2 commercials (check and check)

2) radio bumpers (mos def)

3) political debate piece (still waiting on Handgela but let’s just check it for morale)

4) Linda’s investigative report (YES. Linda the superstar, as usual)

5) One smooth edited radio show (what am I? magic?)

Keep your fingers crossed but the goal is to have a completed radio show by Friday. Bless the news interns, I have no idea how they do everything so fast.