Category Archives: videoassignments

The Complete Package: Firefly

For this assignment, we were to make a trailer for a TV show that’s run its course. I chose the tragically short lived sci fi/western Firefly. Apparently you can watch the entire series on YouTube, plus it’s on Netflix. For anyone who hasn’t watched it yet, you’ve got some binge watching to do.

What’s the deal with this trailer then? Well, it’s a product of the evil wizard Nameijustmadeup. You see, Nameijustmadeup mind controlled all of the executives at Fox into cancelling the show early. However, Firefly is so awesome even someone as vile as Nameijustmadeup couldn’t help but be moved by. Thus, he made this trailer, hoping that at least more people would watch the current episodes.

First, I found the music I wanted to use. Then I took clips from the first episode and edited them into the order I wanted.

movie maker firefly screenshot

It was actually a fairly involved process. I spent a lot of time cutting out the right clips and playing with the volume settings. It definitely took a lot longer than I though it would.

That Bleeping Censor: Pulp Fiction

For this assignment, we were tasked with taking a movie clip and ruining it via censorship. So I thought to myself, “what good movies have lots of swearing?” Well, anything Quentin Tarantino would work, so I went with Pulp Fiction.

Why exactly would someone want to censor Pulp Fiction? After all, who would do such a thing to such a brilliant cinematic classic? It must be the work of some advanced alien race. They are trying to demoralize us before they take us over. It’s the only possible explanation.

The assignment page included a helpful video that details the process of censoring a video. In lieu of a tradition bleep, I decided to go with an old-timey car horn. The only tricky part was pinpointing the exact segments of the video that contain the swear words. That took a little bit of trial and error. If you feel the need to watch the video with every nasty syllable in tact, here’s the original:

Chaplin Escapes Animal Planet

Technology always seems to fail exactly when it is needed. I have been using iMovie more frequently than I normally do because of ds106 and it seems to have taken its toll. Every time I try to create a new project and begin working on it the software crashes unexpectedly. So this project that should really only take a little over an hour has turned into a half of a days worth of a mess. I tried to download a free trial of Final Cut Pro X, but of course it wouldn’t run when I tried opening the program. I went online and tried every last suggestion with no success, so I gave up after about five hours and downloaded a newer version of iMovie, which set me back a few dollars, but finally my issues were resolved. Enough about my technological deficiencies and more about the story!

The story is rather simple because it is somewhat like Planet of the Apes. Animals have taken over the planet, but not just normal animals, circus animals (cue dramatic music)! Charlie Chaplinn plays a man who just escaped from an animal run prison and is now fleeing the scene only to get caught in a cage with a lion. Luckily for him another human had just escaped and was near by to help him:

I wish I could make a feature length film of what life would be like living under our circus animal oppressors. I imagine that just like in Planet of the Apes, the humans try to escape and revolt against the animals. Of course this all takes place after Chaplin escapes from the Lion’s Den as I like to call it!

The video is not the greatest because it has sort of corkiness to it, so dramatizing it with epic music kind of makes it funny. I wish I could have added more, but it has been a little difficult getting used to this new version of iMovie. I am definitely liking the new version, but I think it will take a while to get fully adjusted. Though this project took me all day, mainly because of my computer issues it still was box load of fun!

Editing the video really wasn’t all that different from before just copying and pasting sound and footage together. What was difficult for me was adding in additional media like the text and and actually going in and editing individual pieces of footage and audio. Finding all the different tools I normally use was a little bit of a pain, but after a while I got used to the new process. Probably the hardest part of all was just selecting the right clips I wanted to edit. For whatever reason this new version of iMovie makes it really difficult to select clips with a trackpad. Here is what the new iMovie software looks like in case you were wondering:Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 8.15.00 PMAdding the audio was simple: I took the audio clips from random students on Sound Cloud downloaded them and then just pasted them in the correct positions with little editing. I wanted to use more audio from our class, but most students including myself made the mistake of not making the audio track available to download. Just a small oversight and not that big of a deal. For the music I used a song called “Black Vortex” which I acquired from Royalty Free Music. If there is anything specific you would like to know please let me know! Also, I hope you enjoyed the video!

 

40 Minutes of ds106 in 1 Minute

This assignment called “Speed up your work day” was pretty cool and I really like how it turned out. Since it is a weekend and I am not at work I decided to record my ds106 day! The whole premise of the assignment is to, you guess it, speed up your work day. So, I took about 40 minutes of a screencast of me just doing random ds106 assignments, while working on a few different things. I really think this captures the essence of ds106 and what it is all about….being creative and sharing what you create. Through the video you can see several of my assignments unfold in the process, along with this one, and me commenting on other students blogs as well. Here is my ds106 day!

Once this class is all said and done, I think I will look back on this video and just enjoy how much fun this class, and the process that comes with it, truly was. Speaking of process, this video was not hard to create and anyone who has Quicktime Player on their computer can make this video. I’ve shown you before how to make a screencast, but I will tell you again as a refresher.

Open up Quicktime: Go to>File>New Screen Recording>then press record. That simple and when you want to stop just press the stop button.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 6.30.09 PM

Save the video to your desktop or somewhere convenient. If you wish to add more to the video like I did with the audio and titles, you will need some form of video editing software. I used iMovie because that is what I am familiar with. I simply just added some text to the beginning and end of the video and used a song I found on Royalty Free Music for the sound. Also to speed up the video alls you have to do is select the entire clip>right click>show speed editor> and move the speed editor tool to the left to speed it up or to the right to slow it down.

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 7.21.30 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-20 at 7.21.47 PM
If youhave any questions just leave a comment!

Vine It! ds106 Sunday

I have been watching vines for some time now, but I have never had the app. Some the vines can be drop dead hilarious, whilst others are far from anything clever. Making a vine is actually simple especially if you are from my generation you will be able to catch on quickly. When I saw this assignment I had to try it for myself. Why not become part of something you enjoy, right? The assignment calls to record your day through ds106. So, I decided to record my ds106 Sunday to walk you through my day from eating breakfast, to lunch, and completing some awesome ds106 assignments.

The first thing I did this morning as soon I as woke up was went to the kitchen made my coffee and started making some delicious ass french toast. Considering most of my day would consist of doing ds106 work I needed the extra calories. As I started to edit some of the video I was working on and as the day past I once again became hungry. So I made some spicy chicken with some Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, which turned into a delicious meal and continued working. Refueled and ready to go and after some major software malfunctions I am still kicking right through it. Without further adieu here is my first attempt at a vine, enjoy:

I think after doing this assignment I will be more prompted to participate in vining (if that’s a word). Six seconds is not a lot of time to be creative, but I think that is what is so challenging about Vine. Some people really push themselves to be creative in that short period and have a lot of success. Maybe me doing this assignment will prompt you to go check out the cool free app and see what other viners (don’t know if that’s a word either) are up to today!

Shot Reverse Shot- Uniquely Done in Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Tarantino is unlike any other director that has ever existed. Though his films can be quite gruesome his directing is near genius if watched carefully and closely. For instance watch this clip from his debut film Reservoir Dogs:

 

Watching the clip on silent can show how and why the director made certain choices in filming in a particular way. Here Tarantino decided to make a unique editing choice on using the shot reverse shot technique. Usually this technique is used when two characters are having a conversation by filming the one talking. However, in this case there are more than one actor and they are not all sitting across from one another, instead they are sitting at a round table. One easy way of filming a group of individuals having a conversation is either to do it from one perspective of a person or show the group in one shot. Tarantino on the other hand decided to use multiple perspectives by filming over the shoulder of each character pointing towards the one speaking at the moment. This action to me seems more natural than capturing the conversation from a distance. If you were sitting at a round table with a group having a conversation you are more than likely going to be staring at the person speaking than the entire group or a person who is not speaking. Doing an over the shoulder shot also allow the audience to remain the audience rather than having a POV shot.

Just listening to the dialogue in the film without watching also offers a unique perspective on the clip. Tarantino is able to make us imagine looking directly at the individual talking like we would in a normal conversation. This is perhaps why he chose to capture this scene in such a way because as I said before it is more natural. Without looking we know there is a group of individuals holding a conversation in close proximity of each other. We don’t imagine looking over the group and even if we did our head would be facing the individual speaking. Had I closed my eyes before seeing the scene this is how I would imagine it being shot, and would have been very surprised if it was not filmed in this manner.

Watching the scene with sound shows just how fluid the conversation really is with the actors seeming more natural than actually watching a movie. It really allows the audience to place themselves within the conversation rather than just watching it unfold. The shot reverse shot from different shoulders as I said before is the perfect way to film a round table discussion even if its over talking about tipping a waitress. Filming in any other way would have been off putting and would not have been a great way to start watching a film. All in all Tarantino did an excellent job at capturing the moment rather than the scene.

Perspective

I took a film class a few semesters ago and ever since then I have never looked at film the same way. By no means does that make me an expert on film, but my girlfriend sure does find it annoying sometimes to watch movies together. That being said I agree and disagree with Roger Ebert’s argument. He presents a valid argument, but as he states that it is not a definitive action and are more of tendencies more or less. However, movement and placement of characters most certainly invoke some sort of emotion, which is what I agree with Ebert on the most. Though movement and placement are not exactly what makes a film a film. The “shot at a time” analysis of a film is an excellent way to see how these actions play on our emotions, but I feel as if they are more circumstantial than what Ebert intended to argue, which he continuously states throughout his essay. While the placement of characters is an important part of cinematography placement of the camera is where the real emotion takes place. The right or wrong emotion comes from where the camera lays and what angle it shoots from regardless of the placement of characters, especially from left to right.

I know we were only suppose to go through two of the videos on perspective, but I decided to go through most of them because I enjoy it so much.  The two that stood out most to me were Stanley Kubrick’s and Quentin Tarantino’s use of the camera, one being low angle and the other being the one point perspective. Personally, Tarantino is my favorite director. I have watched every single one of his films to many times to even count and a few semesters ago I did a project on Inglourious BasterdsThe way both Tarantino and Kubrick deploy their cameras, rather than their actors, is what gives their films certain emotions. Tarantino with his low angles gives his actors a great sense of power and control, while Kubrick’s one point perspective enhances the focus on any character in the shot, which also enhances the pure emotions they display whether it be anger, happiness, or fear. However, where Ebert’s argument comes into play is after the placement of the camera. What I mean by that is after the camera is set the placement of characters is vital to keep the emotion flowing continuously rather than awkwardly. For instance take a look at this shot from Kubrick’s The Shining:

giphyJack Nicholson is perfectly center on the screen and the camera is a straight on still shot giving the one point perspective. Imagine if the actor was placed either to the left or to the right rather than straight on at the camera. It would give off an entirely different effect and emotion and the acting probably wouldn’t be taken as serious. Then again had the actor not portrayed the character in such a way and he was sitting motionless to the left or to the right the effect would more than likely give off the same feeling of insanity because of the movie as a whole.

I think the only way to test if Ebert’s argument is correct is to take a film you have never heard about and watch the film by pausing for every shot write down what you feel and see (while on silent) and then watch the film in its entirety afterwards and see if you were right or if the film gave off an entirely different vibe. While character placement and perspective is important in analyzing a film it is far from an end all way of critiquing a film. Also, when Ebert continuously reasserts that his argument is not an end all notion I have my doubts that it works that way in most situations and believe that again the placement and perspective of characters is more circumstantial.