Looking Back at Storifying Ideas

This week I have taken some time to review my classmates blog posts relating to their ideas of things that can be storified. There were a lot of good ideas that spanned across a variety of creative topics, from grammar instructions to amplified guitar pedal boards. One thing I observed however, was that there were quite a few intangible ideas such as aforementioned grammar help, relationship building, and describing ones day-to-day work responsibilities. For the exception of my IKEA instructions storified example, my ideas typically focused on an object and that objects point-of-view. Things like ice hockey skates and my car. It would be interesting to see how one storifies something intangible compared to how someone else storifies something tangible. How will the story spine compare? Contrast? How will the media used to portray the story differ?

Play by Play – Peanut Butter and Jelly

For this assignment, you are supposed to provide play by play commentary on a video. I thought to mix it up a bit and do something a little different, so I found a video on “how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich” since it’s one of my favorite foods 😉 and add a different spin on it..see my video below..

I first downloaded the video using “pwnyoutube” then uploaded it directly into Windows Movie Maker. Once I had the video, I recorded my commentary in SoundCloud and uploaded that clip into Movie Maker as well. Finally, I added in a soundtrack to the beginning and end. The song is “Manners” by Klaypex.

Here is the original video..

Here is a screen shot of my movie maker project..

PBJscreenshot

 

 

Chaplin Circus Fraternity Initiation

This was my first video creation/editing experience! I learned a lot from this assignment and it was cool to see how easy it can be to add in things like a title and credits. The trickiest part for me was adding in the overlay audio, but I ended up using Audacity to create the “layered” audio that I needed.  The story that I used was that the man in the video was a new employee looking to join the Circus’ fraternity and part if joining it, he needed to prove his “worth” by entering the lions cage. There really wasn’t any main reason as to why I chose this storyline, it’s just something I thought of and went with it.  For the audio, I used Avicii’s Levels (video below)

Here is the final compilation after my video editing using the Windows Movie Maker software in conjunction with Audacity.

Then I grabbed the Foley sound recordings of current and past classmates to provide the sound effects..

 

 

As you can see in the below screen shot, the audio section is all one file that I imported from Audacity.

MovieMakerSS

Look, Listen, Analyze – Gladiator: “My name is Maximus”

In this assignment we are to analyze a movie scene in three ways; Without volume, without picture, then as normal. I chose the movie, Gladiator, not only because I LOVE this movie, but also since I remember it having some awesome cinematography and this would be my chance to break one of the scenes down.

The scene I chose is when the main character, Maximus, reveals his name to the emperor..

I first watched the video without sound and observed the following:

Not until you really pay attention to the camera movements (like in this exercise) do you realize how many “cuts” the camera makes. When the volume is off, those cuts become more obvious and sometimes even distracting! Here are some particular areas in the scene that captured my attention based off of the techniques of “how to read a movie” by Roger Ebert.

Foreground is more dominant: This occurs at :04 and :06 very blatantly, but also in a less obvious fashion at 2:03.

Right is more positive: I didn’t notice this technique of Ebert’s much at all in this scene except for the boy running at :27. In fact the the opposite happened several times at 2:59 and 3:05 when the emperors soldiers exited the screen to the left.

Rule of Thirds: You can notice this at :13 and 1:27 specifically as the people in the frame are off-centered.

Brighter areas are dominant: I noticed this at 2:26 with the emperor’s gold headband and again at 3:25 with the women in the crowd wearing white.

I thought one of the coolest angles was at 1:07 which adds substance to the animosity Maximus has towards the emperor.

I then watched the scene with just sound. I noted several things including the usage of an orchestra playing the background almost the entire scene – it set the mood and rose in pitch when to signify compelling points of dialogue. The violins also made the scene very dramatic as this scene is a huge climax in the movie and turning point in the story (the emperor finds out who the “Spaniard” is). I also noted the usage of foley sounds with the crowd and footsteps of those on the coliseum floor. The sound level of the crowd played an intricate part.

When I watched the scene as normal, with sound and picture, it’s almost as though both the sound and picture were enhanced! By that I mean I became more keen and observant, essentially getting more out of it and appreciating the scene more than if watching it for the first time. It was more obvious to me this time how the audio is synced to the picture and how subtle some audio effects are (like the footsteps or light crowd noise in the background) that make the scene come alive.

 

Reading Movies – Techniques and Strategies

Roger Ebert, a well-known film critic, wrote about his experiences studying, dissecting, and reviewing films. He explains that conducting these actions are much more than an exercise he goes through, its the fact that he essentially “reads” the movie by using a technique called “Cinema Interruptus” –  stopping the film when something stands out or exhibits some sort of suspicion. A film can be stopped to observe the composition of a shot within it with regards to the “Rule of Thirds” a concept we learned during our week studying images. I was interested in this concept when taking photos and I am happy to see it also applies in video. Ebert explains in his article that the rule of thirds revolves around positive and negative composition, where the person in position “right of center” is more dominant than the person on the left. Ebert goes on to say “movement to the right seems more favorable” and therefore objects on the right-side of the screen seem to hold more substance in the context of the film. Just as I agreed with this concept in images I still agree with it in use for movies and Ebert sums of the reasoning when he says, “the future seems to live on the right, the past on the left.”

The two videos are watched were:

and..

First, the video on editing techniques. Although there was no narration in this video, I still thought it was very useful, especially for someone like me who has no video editing experience whatsoever. It goes through some of the scene transition editing techniques such as a “wipe transition” or a “jump cut.” It also goes through some examples on editing the frame such as “freeze frames” and “still/thaw frames.” All of these techniques I had never heard before but have seen happen in movies, commercials, TV shows, etc. The second video I watched was a star wars bloopers video which pointed out some of the subtle differences or “mistakes” the director and his crew made. These are things that when watching the movie you may never catch since they are so minor, but as Roger Ebert suggested, when using “cinema interruptus” these are things that can be caught when “reading a movie.”

Storifying – Take 5!

For this week I have chosen my 1994 Acura Integra. A car, really? At first I didn’t think it would apply, but taking a deeper look, I realized it’s filled with stories and elements that could carve its own story. What made me think of it was the fact that it is now 20 years old and I’ve owned it for 10. It has been through a lot and essentially transformed from its original “stock” appearance. From all the body and mechanical work, car meets, trips, and from acquiring it during high school and still owning it now as a working professional. Although my mindset has changed and I no longer spend money on the car other than keeping it running, it still holds that sentimental value. Now that I think about it, it’s nice outside today, I should be outside washing it! 😉

Acura2

Radio Commercial – Seinfeld needed Mobile Phones!!!

This audio assignment is called “DS106 Radio Commercial” and the purpose is to create an audio file that emulates a commercial you may hear on the radio. However, the catch is that you need to advertise something that could be useful for characters in a TV show or movie. The first show I thought of was Seinfeld!! The premise for many of their episodes revolve around the 4 main characters communicating with each other and losing each other around the streets of New York. Imagine how different the show would  have been if mobile technology was as prevalent then as it is now.

I first looked up some situations in the show where the characters could have used a mobile phone, this site was very helpful. I then collected different audio clips and imported them into the tool, Audacity, where I layered the sound. The commercial is comprised of three sounds: A mobile phone ringing (downloaded here), my voice (using SoundCloud), and background music (Kaskake – LAX to JFK) that I had on my computer.

I thought it all came together nicely, I tried lowering my voice to make it more suspenseful and raised the volume of the music when fading out at the end.