Voyage of A Hammer

Hello everybody! It’s the end of Week 5 and boy has it been a lot.

To start off this week I tuned into the ds106 radio. I tuned in on Thursday so I was able to listen to “The Earth Abides” radio show. I really enjoyed tweeting along with the story and interacting with my classmates. Listening to the radio show also helped me identify good audio and radio techniques. Here are some tweets I sent out while live tweeting.

The first assignment I did this week was to choose one of the archetypes for myself and begin to imagine that individual’s name, history, and personality traits. I then completed the All Those Books assignment. I think that this is the work I am most proud of this week. I really spent a long time thinking about my character and their backstory and personality traits. Moreover, I made a boss video for my assignment. I mean the video itself is probably one of my favorite things I’ve made in this class.

The next post I did was a reflection post on some of the readings and watchings we did. I liked these readings/watchings we did because they taught me skills that I incorporated into my audio assignments this week.

The next assignment I did was the Frequency 2156 assignment. I was able to create an interesting radio message that hopefully people will be able to listen to on the Frequency 2156 website.

The next assignment I did was about my favorite quote. I chose a quote from “La Jetée” and then recorded myself saying it and mixed in some music.

The last assignment I did this week was the Sounds of Our city assignment. I really enjoyed this assignment as it allowed me to get more comfortable with Audacity and even play around a little with music.

This week I also did my first self evaluation. It was nice to reflect on my efforts in this class. I also like self grading as it really makes me think about what I have done and what grade I deserve.

Also this week I read some of my classmates posts. I especially love Jillian’s character introduction post. Jillian beautifully introduced her character and their fascinating backstory. It is definitely worth a read.

I also love Katie’s Some of the Good Sounds post. It is a very relaxing mix that no joke lowered my blood pressure. Give it a listen if you also want to be relaxed.

For me, this week meant re-discovering my love for audio work. I forgot how fun Audacity is and all the neat little tricks I used to know. So this week really was a revival of my audio skills.

If I could do the week over, I would change how playful I was with audio. This week I think I took it pretty easy and wasn’t as daring with my assignments. I think I could have had more fun with it and gone a little wild.

In terms of what I am looking forward to, I cannot wait to do Design. I really have no idea what design entails, but the prospect of it thrills me. I hope it has to do with maybe Photoshop or maybe something crazier? I have no idea.


Question of the Week 

This week Martha asked:

How are you feeling? Be specific.

Well, thanks for asking Martha. No one really has asked me how I am in a while, so this is nice. I’m stressed. School sucks. I’m tired. Uh…that’s about it. I don’t really have *feelings* outside of stress or anxiety so that pretty much covers it.

That’s it for this week. I’ll catch y’all on the flipside.

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Sounds of Mad Max

Hello everybody! For my last assignment of the week I chose the ¡Sounds Of Your City! Assignment. In this assignment I was tasked with recording different sounds I hear throughout the day. I then would take these sounds and overlay them on background music. Instead of recording sounds I hear everyday, I decided to take sounds from the Mad Max (1979) trailer. I chose to use the Mad Max trailer for this assignment because I have been thinking about that movie a lot since I watched it last week.

Below is my assignment.


Behind the Process

To begin this assignment, I downloaded the Mad Max (1979) trailer. I then opened it in Audacity and cut away all the narration. This left me with some good quotes and car sounds. I then went to the Free Music Archive from WFMU and found this amazing Lofi Hip Hop song called Soma by teeho x VYVCH. After discovering this track I tried to emulate the Lofi Hip Hop vibe. If you are unfamiliar with this genre of music check out this hilarious YouTube video. In Audacity, I shuffled the audio clips around and added some effects like changing the speed, adding reverb and fade in/out.

The difficult part of this assignment was the initial cutting away of the narration. Sometimes I got lost in the audio and had no idea what I was cutting. This confusion forced me to learn the keystrokes for zooming in and out on Audacity so I could cut things easier. Another thing I found difficult was trying to add some story element. I was working with really a random assortment of clips. So, I found it challenging to link these together into a working story.

In this assignment, I found it easy to change the amplification and bring out the dialogue. Moreover, I think that my attention the dialogue and trying to emphasize it was something I did well. On the other hand, something I want to improve was distorting the dialogue. Even though I want to draw attention to the dialogue, in order for it to fit into the Lofi hip hop genre, it needs to have more distortion and reverb. I tried to apply these effects, but I didn’t do it very well as it wasn’t noticeable.

In general, I liked this assignment because I got to think creatively in my use of audio and music. If I had a choice I would do this assignment again, but actually record audio of my surroundings and not cop out by using a trailer.

Thanks y’all for reading. I’ll catch you on the flipside.   

Her Visitor

Hello everybody! This week I chose to do the “Quote With A New Feeling” assignment. In this assignment I was to find a quote and record myself saying it. After recording myself, I was to mash up my audio recording with sounds, songs or instrumental music to better explain the feeling that this quote has on me.

I chose a quote from “La Jetée”. Below is my result.

“She accepts as a natural phenomenon the ways of this visitor who comes and goes, who exists, talks, laughs with her, stops talking, listens to her, then disappears.”


Behind the Process

To begin the process, I decided to use a quote from “La Jetée” as I had watched it for class last week. Since watching this film, one quote has been stuck in my head. So I chose this quote and translated it into English. I recorded myself saying it in Audacity. Recording myself was once again the easy part of the assignment because I knew how I wanted to say it and what inflection to bring to it.

I decided that me saying the quote was a little boring. So I decided to intercut the main character of “La Jetée” saying it too. This gave the quote an interesting back and forth, almost like a dialogue. I think that this element of my assignment is something I did well. I was inspired by this weeks listening from Detective Stories in which they use this technique. This element adds layers and a sense of character to the audio.

For background music I went to 78 RPMs and Cylinder Collection. I dug around for awhile and stumbled upon this track called “By the Waters of Minnetonka” by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. There is something about this song itself and its quality that feels ethereal. This correlates to how I feel when I hear the quote from “La Jetée”. I also had to learn how to use this website because I initially had no idea how to download the audio. After finding where to download, I had to learn which file type would work best with my audio project.

One difficult thing about this assignment was getting the main character saying the quote. I could not find a short YouTube video of him saying it. I really wanted a short clip not a 21 minute video to download because I am not about that life. To avoid downloading a large video file, I used Screencast-O-Matic to rip the audio. I am not really happy with the quality of the audio therefore this is the one part of this assignment I would improve.

I liked this assignment as it allowed me to mess around more with layering audio. I also liked playing with the effects to achieve the quality I wanted. I did find this assignment fun and would definitely do it again if I had a choice.

Well, that is it for now. I’ll catch you on the flipside.

Pick Up I’m Calling

Hello everybody! This week I explored Frequency 2156. Frequency 2156 is a community based Internet radio from the post-apocalyptic future. Essentially, you can go around the world and listen to radio messages that people have published.

Thinking critically about Frequency 2156, I believe that the creators chose audio for their medium as it is simple. Audio is a simple medium to convey messages, stories or feelings. I also think that we associate audio/radio with the past and the idea of lower tech. This lends to the post-apocalyptic narrative the creators are facilitating. As I referred to in my last post, radio also harkens back to ancient storytelling. There is something about plain audio that pulls us back to times around the campfire. Also, in terms of server space, audio would also be a smaller file size compared to a video. So they were probably thinking about that as well.

Furthermore, I really like the crowd-sourced radio feel to tell the post-apocalyptic story. I really like it because every message is unique as we all bring different ideas to the genre. I think that these different perspectives also add to the story because it would reflect what really happens in the apocalypse. I mean the world is so large that we would all *have to have* different post-apocalyptic experiences. Thus, I think that the crowd-sourced audio works very well in terms of telling the story.

If I had created the story, I would have given users options to insert images or videos. Obviously, it is currently audio week. However, I think that giving users the option to add image or video would have elevated the story. I also think a visual stimuli would really help immerse the viewer into the post-apocalyptic world.

I had the opportunity to complete the “Frequency 2156, Can You Hear Me?” assignment. Below is my result. To listen on Frequency 2156, click here

Hello?

I know someone is out there.

I heard the radio click today.

Were you trying to send a code?

I heard you doing some clicking, but I was outside so I didn’t catch all of it.

I mean, you’ve got to be close, right?

We can work together.

I promise, I’m not scary.

I mean unless you wake me up without coffee.

Hello?

Oh god I’ll do whatever you say.

I promise. I promise…


Behind the Process

To start this assignment, I wrote down a quick script. The premise of my story is that a loner is in the woods. They were working outside on something and heard their radio click. They assume that someone is trying to make contact with them. So later that night, after a waiting awhile for the other person to try and make contact again, the main character releases a radio message. While they are on their radio, a person comes and interrupts them. Let’s just say, the main character is no longer with us.

I would have to say that the most difficult part of this assignment was trying to incorporate a story into my radio message. I wanted it to feel like a normal radio message in the beginning, but somewhat tense and jolting in the end. I really struggled with trying to achieve this feel without using visuals. Thus, when I wanted there to be almost like dead air after the scream I had to really think about how to do this with audio. This is why I finally chose to have the forest, fire and wind sounds continue on even though there was no dialogue. These continued sounds really helped conclude the story and give the listener a palate cleanser from the scream. Because I really thought about creating a story thorough audio, I think that it is something I did well.

After nailing down the script, I went into Audacity and recorded me speaking it. I found recording myself quite easy as I knew how I wanted my script to sound. I then went online and found the various sounds I needed including TV static, forest noises, a scream, fire crackling and a wind breeze. An interesting noise I decided to add was the Shepard Tone. The Shepard Tone is an interesting little sound that adds stress and tension to an audio clip. Vox made a really interesting video about it that you can watch here. In Audacity, I adjusted the volume and reverb. I also add some fade in/out to make the audio flow. Something I learned was how to layer the sounds so that the listener would be able to imagine the environment of the story. Using this layering effect really gave the listener a lot of sound to analyze and absorb.

Something I want to improve was my use of audio effects. I tried to make my speaking audio a little muffled, but could not really find the effects to get the sound I wanted. If I could go back, I would try out more effects and play around with those that got close to what I wanted.

All in all, I liked this assignment as I was able to do storytelling through audio. I also found it fun to find sound clips to incorporate into my radio message. If I had a choice, I would do this again. Being me, I would probably make an accompanying video that is a little Blair Witch project-y if I did it again.

Well, that is it for now. I’ll catch you on the flipside.

Sound And Silence

“In radio, you have two tools. Sound and silence.”

-Ira Glass

Hello everybody! Today I am going to reflect on some of the watchings and readings I did this week.

To begin I want to explain my experience with audio. Last year in my FSEM, I created a podcast about Female Athletes and their Representation in Digital Media. I had worked somewhat with audio before making that podcast. However, if you listen to the podcast you’ll hear a lot of bad edits and poorly balanced audio. So, I guess you could say that I am also coming into this class a little new to audio.

Something I learned from the videos we watched is that radio’s lack of images is actually a strength. Because of it being solely audio, radio allows imagination. It not only allows imagination, but a collaborative imagination between the audience and creator to exist. These two become almost partners and create the visual aesthetic as one.

The thing that really resonated with me was how beautiful and powerful the un-edited human voice is. Jad Abumrad eloquently expresses the musicality of the human voice. Our natural ups and downs of our voice lend to the magical quality it has. I also think that Jad Abumrad’s idea of the intimacy of the voice resonated with me. When he was discussing this, I could not help but think of a phone call. I especially thought of phone calls with my siblings or my parents. Obviously, it’s not like a normal call as there can be sound effects and commercials. But, the focus on the human voice and its simplicity lends to the empathetic and powerful value it has.

Furthermore, I do agree with Jad Abumrad’s connection of radio to storytelling. I think that there is an innate desire in humans to just listen to someone talk. Not only to talk, but to capture our attention and take us on a journey. This desire has had to change to the medium of each audience. So, I agree that radio is just storytelling in a different medium. Instead of being around a campfire, we are around our radios. Having that sense that we are all doing the same action or activity despite not being physically being together, creates that sense of being around the campfire. Thus, new storytelling is hardly “new” as it is just “ancient” storytelling done in a different way.

Moreover, I was able to listen to Detective Stories which were cut from a Radiolab show. In this I was able to find what techniques worked well and what didn’t. What I think worked well in this show was the layering style of the audio. The narrator would be speaking over himself and sometimes some music. This gave it a more realistic feel and avoided the over sterile human voice effect.  Something that didn’t work to well was the crazy overlapping dialogue. Sometimes I would be confused by who was talking. I think in this case having such quick back and forths didn’t help keep the show lively and made me a little frustrated.

Something that didn’t make sense to me at first was what a bumper was. I was really unsure by what this meant, but a quick Google search told me that a bumper is the short clip (like theme music) used to buffer transitions between programming elements. To be completely honest, I kept thinking of Bumper from Pitch Perfect when I was trying to figure out what it meant.

I think that through these readings I was able to understand how to create a sense of place through audio. One can add room tone or sound effects to help transform the listeners’ room into the situation one is describing. This precise and knowing stacking of voice, sound effects and music helps the listener absorb themself into the environment. It even makes the listener feel as if they are involved in the story. I think that learning this will help me in the future with the radio program.

Overall, I did enjoy these readings and watchings. They really helped me ponder what elements I like and don’t like. Analyzing these techniques has also made me think about what tactics are effective in storytelling.

Well, that’s all folks. I’ll catch you on the flipside.

All Those TV’s

Hello everyone! Today am I going to introduce you to cypherpunk106, who is my character. They’re pretty cool, so I’m excited to introduce you to them.

I actually somewhat chose cypherpunk106’s archetype way way back and wrote a post about it here. To remind y’all, I chose the axpert archetype. Axpert is a combination of the Archivist and Expert archetypes. An axpert has the characteristics of the Archivist as they collect/hoard technology and the characteristics of the expert as they proficiently use the tech they hoard. In essence, an axpert is very skilled and can masterfully use older technology.

My character likes to be anonymous and goes by cypherpunk106 usually. cypherpunk106 likes to be security conscious, so you’ll never see them use their name on an open channel (or any channel for that matter).

Some other personality traits of cypherpunk106 includes:

  • Nostalgia for the good old days
  • Biting sarcasm
  • Overuse of the word “kid”
  • Slightly masochistic
  • Prefers to spend time alone
  • Can be relentlessly moody
  • Workaholic
  • Plays off depressing backstory™️ with self deprecating humor

cypherpunk106 has a somewhat of a weird past. Throughout cypherpunk106’s life, they lost people close to them. This loss didn’t always mean death, sometimes people close to cypherpunk106 went crazy or stopped talking to cypherpunk106. This series of losses lead cypherpunk106 to grow detached emotionally from most people. That being said, cypherpunk106 can be fiercely loyal to people who support them.

On a happier note, cypherpunk106 grew up on reruns of 90’s shows like “Legends of the Hidden Temple” and “Boy Meets World. The environment portrayed in these shows lead cypherpunk106 to grow attached to the 90’s. This obsession explains cypherpunk106’s love for the late 90’s band, The Strokes. In the 90’s, cypherpunk106 finds their ideal world even though deep down they know it was just as screwy as it today is.

The assignment I chose to continue demonstrating who cypherpunk106 is the “All Those Books” assignment.  I chose this assignment because it appealed to my creative side and allowed me to mess around more in Final Cut Pro. Below is my result.


Behind the Process 

For the “All Those Books” Assignment I had to make the ideal work space for cypherpunk106. I was tasked with filling the space with items that cypherpunk106 would like. After some brainstorming and looking at some inspiration, I came up with the following items to put in cypherpunk106’s room.

  1. Stack of TVs with 90’s shows on
  2. iMac G3
  3. The Strokes poster
  4. Bookshelf with books
  5. Speaker stacks

I decided to do a video instead of an image just so I could make the shows on the TV move. With my ideas ready, I went to Final Cut Pro and worked my magic. My magic being compounding the *hell* out of my clips, transforming, adding music and all around tomfoolery. I do have to say that this was quite fun, even though it took me a while.

One difficult thing about this assignment was finding images that worked with the perspective. I could not find a good wooden desk that was also transparent for a long time. I really had to dive deep in the inter-webs for good images. In fact, something I want to improve is finding a better speaker image. I could not for the life of me find a transparent speaker image that was flat on the desk. IT KILLED ME. Looking back, I probably could have sucked it up and just found an image and then made it transparent. But, I am lazy so I did not.

Something I learned through this assignment was the *amazing* value of the compound clip feature in Final Cut Pro. Genuinely, I owe this project to that feature. Having the ability to simplify my timeline and go back and adjust was tremendous. Guys, I think I am in love with Final Cut Pro.

In this assignment, I found it easy to download and insert my audio. Of course, I went with “Between Love and Hate” by The Strokes. I also found it easy to add some room tone to the audio. Fortunately, Final Cut Pro has really great audio effects that I was able to spice up the music with.

Overall, I think I did well on this assignment. I liked that I was able to search around the Internet for images/objects that I feel represent cypherpunk106. If I had a choice, I would definitely do this again. If I did it again, I wouldn’t make it a video but a 360 photo. I think that a 360 photo would be a little more interactive.

Well, that is it for now folks. I’ll catch you on the flipside.

We’ll Always Have Paris

Hello everyone! So this is it for Week 4. Despite the lighter workload, I still struggled this week to keep up. Below I am going to give you a quick overview of the work I did and analyze it a little bit.

To start off the week, I created a Hot Pocket meme for my Daily Create. I am a meme master, so needless to say, I got into this. I started by finding a Hot Pocket meme and then getting rid of their text/memeage. I had an idea for what I wanted to put inside my hotpocket. I was inspired by Kevin Hodgson’s tweet about dead hyperlinks. I was also further inspired by the hundreds of broken images on my own domain (I deleted things from my media library, I was dumb). I then found the broken image, the uncategorized and yum pictures and added them to my meme. After I added the text (font was close to real Hot Pockets packaging) with a spicy drop shadow.

The next Daily Create I did was to color an image from the Europeana Coloring BookI decided to do this digitally (I mean it is *digital* storytelling). I did my editing through Photoshop and used the paint bucket, brush and a myriad of selection tools to color my image. When I was done, I tweeted it and used the #ColorOurCollections hashtag. The Europeana twitter actually retweeted me and replied that they thought mine was pretty (*blushes*). It is always nice to get recognized for your work, even if it only took you 15 minutes.

My first assignment I did this week was to write a blog post in which I share what I learned through the Tips page, analyze an Abandoned America album and complete a Photoblitz. This assignment was deceivingly large so I broke it up into three sections. An annoying issue I keep running into with this post is inserting my Instagram images. I have tried using the Insert From URL function, auto embed and actually pasting the embed code in the Text tab. No matter what I do, I keep getting this glitch (see below). I decided to cut my losses and upload my images to Flickr. Not like that’s a loss, since Flickr can definitely handle my high quality images better than Instagram can.

My next assignment was to take a before/after photo of a person, place, or thing that has survived the apocalypse. After taking the photos I was supposed to use Juxtapose to show the difference between my two photos. One of the criteria of this assignment was to not rely too heavily on Photoshop. I, of course, being a badass ignored this. To call myself out here, I think that if I could go back and do this assignment again, I would. I really did a sloppy job editing my images. Also, because I decided to be a rule breaker and use an old photo of mine, I really missed an opportunity to try out more of my photography. To roast myself, I was pretty lazy in this post.

Also, this week I tried to do this typography assignmentI am not even kidding when I say I spent about an hour and a half trying to do this. I have decided that TYPOGRAPHY IMAGES AREN’T POSSIBLE. I watched so many Photoshop tutorials, but I could not make it work. So, I had to stop myself from wasting another hour on it and instead do the following assignment.

Instead of wasting more time on the typography assignment, I decided to do this billboard assignment instead. This was a fun post to make as it allowed me to be creative and insert a narrative into an object that I don’t normally get to do that with. One thing that annoys me a little about this post is how low quality my featured image is. For some weird reason, my site *butchered* the quality of the image. When I have the time, I will try and diagnose that. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is because of JetPack’s image quality controls (unconfirmed, but will investigate).

The last assignment I did was to watch “La Jetée” and “Mad Max”. I really enjoyed these movies (except for Mel Gibson). I think that this is the work I am proud of this week as I really analyzed the techniques in both movies. I also demonstrated to my reader what I was talking about through my use of screenshots. I also have to say that I am kind of obsessed with the gif I made.

This week I have been able to read a couple of my classmates posts. I really want to shout them out because their work is impressive to say in the least.

The first post I really recommend reading is Lauren Sargent’s Tips/Tricks postIt was really cool to read her thoughts on the Abandoned America church album she analyzed. It was also fascinating to read her behind the scenes of her Photo Blitz. Seeing the images is one thing, but hearing the process and thoughts that go into the photos is really revealing.

One of my classmate’s assignments that I lowkey fell in love with this week is Katie’s Brady Bunch goes Apocalyptic post. I am not even kidding when I say that I am obsessed with this post. She used this amazing 3D effect to really draw in her viewer. Katie’s post was super creative and just really fun.  

Another great work one of my classmates produced, was Joshua Jenkins’ “La Jetée” and “The Road” postJoshua’s analysis of “La Jetée” was superb. I especially love how he connected the museum to the protagonists’ death. This actually made me re-analyze that part of the movie and come to the conclusion that Chris Marker, the director, was showing us how the protagonist is like the preserved animals. Definitely give his analysis a read as it is very thought provoking.

This week has been a lot for me, but it meant discussing photography (one of my favorite things to discuss). This week gave me an opportunity to analyze framing, lighting and contrast. All of these discussions I rarely get to have. Something I am looking forward to is audio week next week. This week at my job I had to show someone how to produce and edit audio. I haven’t done it in a couple of months, so it kind of sparked that drive in me again.


This week Martha asked us:

Do you think an animated GIF can be considered a story? Why or why not? It would be great to include some examples to illustrate your thoughts.

Personally, I think that gifs cannot be considered a story. I think that gifs show a sliver of a story. A story is recounting events, connected with dialogue and can (not always) follow a structure (linear or causal). Thus, a gif’s format is not conducive to a story. It isn’t long enough to show events, connect those events and have a structure. I think that the main thing gifs are missing is context. In the gif below, we can see a man shocked. But why is he shocked? What are his traits (physical, moral, ethical)? Are we at the inciting incident or the climax?

In essence, I think one gif is not a story as it doesn’t meet the criteria for a story. However, a series of gifs together…now that can be a story. 

Well, that is it for now folks. I’ll catch you on the flipside.

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A Time Traveler and A Bad Driver

Hello everybody! Today’s post is going to be split into two different sections as I watched two different movies for my assignments. If you don’t like spoilers I would suggest not reading on further.


“La Jetée”

For the first part of this post, I am going to talk about the movie “La Jetée” by Chris Marker.

Chris Marker used different styles of framing to convey the way the apocalypse feels throughout “La Jetée”. When showing us what the apocalypse looks like in Paris, he starts with a simple cityscape view. Then almost like zooming in, he shows us specific buildings that have been destroyed. Framing these zoomed in pictures on the ruins, draws the viewer’s attention to the destruction that has racked Paris.

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Moreover, the photographer uses heavy shadows to frame the image and focus the attention on the subject. In the photo below, the background is mainly black. This simplifies the image so one cannot help but analyze the man in the funny glasses. Chris Marker’s use of shadows to frame throughout the movie gives the underground galleries a dark and mysterious feel. This gloomy atmosphere in the movie defines the way that Chris Marker imagines the apocalypse.

Furthermore, throughout this movie I noted the tips and techniques we discussed that Chris Marker also employs.

Chris Marker likes to change the viewer’s perspective by shooting up from below. He especially likes to employ this technique when the warden character and the prisoner are interacting. This leads to the feeling of a power imbalance and the insecurity that stems from that.

Additionally, Chris Marker uses the depth of field tip. This can be seen in the screenshot below with the man in background blurry while the crazy man in focus. With the focus on the crazy man, the viewer can almost feel his pain.

In general, Chris Marker also deploys heavy subject contrast between the dream like memories and the harsh cold tunnels. Through this technique, the viewer can feel the sharp contrast that the main character goes through every time he time travels.

Chris Marker also uses foreground and background techniques. In the photo below, the foreground of the image (the birds) is in focus whereas the man and the woman are not. Strangely, through the focus on the birds we choose to concentrate on the blurry man and woman.

In addition to foreground techniques, Chris Marker uses lighting and shadows to add mysterious vibes to his photos. When the main character travels to the future, Chris Marker highlights the future people’s strangeness with intense lighting and shadows.

As previously mentioned, Chris Marker frames each shot to really convey emotion to the viewer. Whether Chris Marker is shooting up from below or using light to add drama to his subject, the viewer feels what the subject is feeling. As a viewer, I found each of Chris Marker’s images really moving. Through his images, I felt immersed into the world of “La Jetée”. I felt what the characters felt. However, because of Chris Marker’s highly framed and focused images everything did feel a little surreal. The shadows sometimes obscured the background and the little details I wanted to pick up on. Of course, this was done purposefully. But, the intense concentration on the subject led me to also feel distanced from the movie as the images were almost overly dramatic. In general, I missed the feeling of reality in some of the underground gallery shots.

What resonated with me about “La Jetée” was that love can be unconventional and still work. In the movie, the main character discusses how the woman accepts his strange appearances and disappearances. Despite that oddity, she still falls in love with him. The two of them shared such a deep connection that even though he sometimes wordlessly leaves and returns, she still loved him.

Some other aspects of the movie that worked well was the heart beat noise Chris Marker would insert. This sound got me very stressed and really captured my attention. Also, the costumes, especially the weird glasses they wore in the underground galleries, worked well. These glasses and the weird headgear of the future people made it easy to separate the trips to the past, present and future. Also, I loved Chris Marker’s break from images to film. When he included the video of the woman in bed, I actually got really scared. The change from photos to video was quite jarring. This aspect was done well, but I feel like as a viewer I could have been eased into it more.

In general, the author really drew me in through his use of framing and characters. At the end of the movie, you are almost rooting for the man and woman to somehow have a happy life. All of these features come together to form a really enjoyable film. Even though at times “La Jetée” reminded me of Flipagram, I did enjoy it as it used photos to create a narrative and an immersive experience.


“Mad Max”

The second film I decided to watch was “Mad Max” by George Miller. 

*Before reading more, Mel Gibson is a dueche here is why*

Throughout “Mad Max” I paid close attention to how the scenes were shot and added certain elements to the film. In terms of forwarding the narrative, George Miller would shoot scenes that included Mad Max’s family very up close. With this extra focus on Max and his family, the viewer could see how he interacts with them. This helped forward the narrative and plot line for later (no spoilers).

Additionally, George Miller used an up from below perspective multiple times in the film to show when the power has shifted or is imbalanced. This can be seen when Max is trying to quit his job, but his boss won’t let him. Through the camera angles we can see how his boss still has power over Max and won’t let him go.

Concerning how the scenes draw me in as a viewer, there were multiple times that George Miller used interesting angles to capture my attention. One example is when Goose is riding his motorcycle and we get a view from his motorcycle dash. This is an interesting angle as we feel like we are driving the motorcycle.

Also, George Miller masterfully used camera work to create empathy or disgust for the characters. He mainly used the Rule of Thirds to help the viewer focus on specific people or subjects to evoke these feelings. An example of this includes the disgust one feels when the nomads beat up the couple and sexually assault them. Moreover, empathy can be felt when when George Miller uses the Rule of Thirds to focus on Goose’s burned hand.

George Miller is also amazing at conveying emotion through his choice of framing. A wonderful example of how George Miller uses framing to convey emotion is through Jessie and Sprog’s death. After they are hit with a motorcycle, George Miller decided to focus on the shoe and ball. The shoe focus is on the left and then George Miller uses depth of field on the right to show the nomads leaving. This framing leads to serious emotions, specifically heartache, as you watch the ball bounce down the road.

This use of framing to convey emotion continues as depth of field is used to draw attention to Max collapsing near his dead son and very injured wife.

As part of the watching, I was tasked to choose one very short clip from “Mad Max” that I think worked particularly well and to make a GIF out of it.

The scene I chose from “Mad Max” was when Toecutter drags Johnny into the water at the beach. Toecutter then thrusts a shotgun into Johnny’s mouth and reminds him to keep his mouth shut. This whole action is really violent and leads to a lot of tension. Weirdly, right after this Toecutter drops the shotgun and throws an arm around Johnny in almost a fatherly way. I decided to focus on the moment that Toecutter has his arm around Johnny is guiding them into the sun. This shot evokes a range of emotion including anxiety and also tenderness. The lighting in this moment is also amazing as the setting sun adds to the mood of it. I think this scene is just like a mood swing, which is why I find it kind of thrilling and decided to make it into a gif.

To make this gif I used QuickTime screen recording and then went to ezgif to make my gif. In ezgif I selected my time and cropped the gif to not include the black of the screen. I found this particularly easy as I have made hundreds of gifs. I did decide not to use Photoshop, however, as I felt that the dithering through it would have been worse. One thing I could improve is to try and make the gif loop. However, I think that may be a little extra.

Overall, I really liked “Mad Max”. I think what resonated with me about this movie is the fall of a man. Throughout this movie we see Max’s devolution. He starts as a cop, who just enforces the law, and ends as a man who basically lives above it. In the end, Max becomes the thing he used to fight. Likewise, George Miller did an excellent job of drawing me in through the characters and the emotions that they expressed. On the other hand, I feel like what didn’t work well in the story is the lack of explanation for why the world was the way it was. I feel like adding this into the story would give more meaning behind the characters’ actions (especially the nomads). Besides that, I really enjoyed “Mad Max” because it created stimulating character arcs and a detailed sense of place.

Thanks everyone for reading, I’ll catch you on the flipside.

And Then There Were Two

For my latest assignment, I had to reconstruct an image of a billboard by photo editing the imageI decided to give my billboard a zombie apocalypse feel.

Below is my finished masterpiece (P.S. for some reason the quality of it is getting *butchered* on my front end. So click on the image to see the higher quality version on Flickr.) 

billboard

 


Behind the Process

I began this assignment by looking at abandoned billboards. By doing this, I did not have to work too hard to get the aesthetic I wanted. I found this amazing billboard and absolutely loved its texture and the surrounding electrical wires.

After I found my perfect billboard, I had to decide what text to put onto it. I was inspired by the city limit and population signs in my hometown.

Furthermore, I needed a fake town name to put on my billboard. I went to this city name generator and got the town name of Berkton. I then decided I wanted a graffiti font. After searching around for a while, I found one and downloaded it. Having my photo and font, I then went into Photoshop. I started by adjusting the curves to make it a little darker than the original. I then inserted my “Berkton City Limits. Population. Humans: 2. Zombies: 156” text. I had to skew the text a little as it was not on the right plane. I had to also add a drop shadow to make the red more visible. Moreover, I had to adjust the kerning between some of the letters as some letters were illegible. Lastly, I edited the nearby train stop sign to say Berkton.  

Something I learned from this assignment is how to change the kerning between letters. The last few years I have absolutely hated Photoshop because it is almost impossible to find anything in there unless you know exactly where to look. So when I wanted to change the letter spacing in my image, I was completely lost. After a bit of googling, I found out what kerning is and how to change it. Needless to say, Google is my best friend whenever I use Photoshop.

In this assignment, I found it easy to insert almost a narrative into the photo. I attempted to do this through the “Humans: 2” part of my billboard. Having two humans left in a town evokes almost an Adam and Eve scenario. It lends to the story of two people left against an ever growing zombie population. I think that the viewer can’t help but to think of the lives of the survivors and how they navigate a world dominated by zombies.

Something I feel I did well was paying attention to the little details. In order to make my photo complete, I decided to change the train stop sign to say “Berkton” as well. Doing this almost makes the town feel real. It turns a zombie apocalyptic town from a distant thought or a dream into reality. Through this attention to detail, the viewer can feel immersed in the environment.

Furthermore, something I want to improve is my creativity. I feel I could have done more with this assignment maybe add some dark clouds or a zombie. However, I also am conflicted with my desire for simplicity. I feel that if I keep the message simple, it will be easier for my viewer to understand it. Thus, I want to improve finding the balance between simplicity and complexity in my photos. 

I liked the openness of this assignment. The prompt simply says “Reconstruct an image of a billboard by photo editing the image. Replace the heads of people or objects with photos of your friends and family.” Because I am always looking for loopholes, I am assuming that my family and friends are dead because of the zombie apocalypse. Also, the family friendly part? Well, I think that any surviving families that wonder near this town would *love* to know that there are 156 zombies and approximately 2 humans. Because this prompt is so open ended, I feel it was easy to insert my narrative and creativity into the assignment.

Overall, I chose this assignment because it allowed me to insert my ideas and stories into an everyday object, the billboard. Hopefully you enjoyed my billboard and my silly behind the process.

That’s it for now (not really I’m writing all my posts today). I’ll catch you on the flipside (again, in like two hours tops I’ll have another post up).

Monticello: Apocalypse Stronghold

Hello everyone! My first assignment for this week was to take a before and after picture of a person, place, or thing that has survived the apocalypse. Being me, I decided to ignore the instruction to not rely on Photoshop. I believe that Photoshop is a valuable tool that demonstrates where the art of photography is headed. 


Behind the Process

I started this assignment by downloading a photo of Monticello I took recently. I think Monticello is a good place to show it before and after the apocalypse as it evokes a lot of emotion. These emotions include patriotism (it is Thomas Jefferson’s house after all) and despair as the after photo demonstrates its abandonment. After downloading the photo, I brought it into Photoshop where I added the ivy, dead grass and trees. I think it was a challenge to find good images to insert. It was a challenge as these graphics had to be transparent and evoke an eerie feeling. I also played with the curves and vibrancy of the photo. This really made it set itself apart from the bright, happy Monticello in the before.

The difficult part of this assignment was working with the layers in Photoshop. I always struggle with duplicating them and making sure that they are in the right order. So, the hard part was dragging the layers around to make sure that things were arranged correctly.

Something I learned from this assignment was that when you place a graphic inside your image you need to rasterize it. I had no idea what rasterizing was. After a quick Google search, I came across this article that explained what rasterizing is. Rasterizing is when a Photoshop layer is converted from a vector layer to pixels. Vectors are great because they maintain clarity when you enlarge them, but pixels are needed to do *artsy* things. So I learned that in order to mess with the graphics I found, I need to convert them to pixels so I could edit them.

In this assignment, I found it easy to create a sense of place. Monticello is a place that most people are familiar with. Because of this, I think it was easy to turn it into an apocalyptic scene that is rooted in its past. Moreover, something I think I did well was adjusting the brightness and contrast of the after photo. Changing these via curves really rounded out the image and gave it a dark vibe.

One thing I want to improve was darkening the sky. I attempted to use the paint brush to do this, but it turned out sloppy. There were some areas of blue that I just could not get rid off no matter how hard I tried.

I chose this assignment because it allowed me to transform an image to be something completely different. I really enjoyed that aspect of this assignment as it allowed me to be creative in a different way than usual. This was a fun assignment, that if given a choice, I would definitely do again.

Well, that is it for now. I’ll catch you on the flipside folks.