Monday, December 8, 2014

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times...

This was actually a really hard rating to do, because I enjoyed all the projects immensely. The least well-rated one is still a solid 7/10 in my mind.

1 - Bolex Shoot
2 - Rhythmic Editing
3 - Multi-Plane Animation
4 - 16mm Film Manipulation
5 - Freestyle Assignment
6 - Crowdsourcing

My favorite assignment was the Bolex Shoot, even though we did have to come in on a Saturday to shoot (the one down side). It felt really fun and creative and stimulating, and the in-class presentation with the extra sensory element was super cool both to execute and experience. It was also awesome to work with an actual film camera to record the video, because you don't have a chance to do that in many classes here.

My least favorite was the crowdsourcing assignment simply because it felt like a lot of busywork, and I didn't feel creative and skilled enough with my materials to perform consistently over 40 separate full frames. It's really awesome to have been part of that final product, but I think the assignment could be changed to make it more interactive as the students seek outside help to crowdsource something of meaning.

As far as the middle four assignments go, I had a lot of fun with my partner shooting footage for the Rhythmic Edit, and I wish I had had more patience to manipulate the footage further in the editing process! But I actually like combining shots according to graphic similarities, and the end results were all very interesting to watch, so I really enjoyed the assignment.

The multi-plane was tedious, but once a good rhythm was established, my group had a lot of fun with it. Same thing with the Film Manipulation assignment. Overall it was fun to work in these mediums, they just weren't as fun as the first two!

The Freestyle came in at number 5 because I didn't feel like I could think of a good idea for mine. Actually I'm pleased with how my final project turned out, but I struggled for a long time with my initial idea, and ended up changing it in the end anyway. But it's an interesting idea anyway and a good way to drum up new ideas for projects!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bolex Bolex

The Bolex shoot on Saturday went really well!! We went through a lot of considerations before deciding on our final one-take shot, but ultimately I'm very satisfied with our decisions. At first we really wanted to use the trick of covering up the lens with our hands momentarily to change our shot, but instead we used camera movement and reframing to add objects to the frame or change the composition drastically. Our final presentation will be slightly difficult to coordinate because we plan to make it eerie and uncomfortable utilizing sound and touch, but ultimately I think it will be a wonderful atmospheric experiment.

I'm glad I got to be an 'actor' in our project because it was fun to be under a time crunch. I'm really impressed at our director/DP who was calling all the movements, because that would be the hardest job. It's scary to only have one shot at the perfect scene, and one minute can either be the longest or the shortest time in the world. But we hit it perfectly on the mark every rehearsal, so it wasn't very stressful for us.

I'll be interested to see what the rest of the class comes up with, because we happened to finish at the same time as Ally's group, and theirs had a much much lighter tone than ours. Ours was dark and freaky and uncomfortable, but they used really cool transitions and it was overall super bubbly and bright. I'll be very interested to see what their extra sensory element is, because ours will be sound but I could see theirs being something very different. I can't wait to watch them all!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Media Fast Vlog

Three days of no media. Three words to describe the experience? Transformative. Refreshing. Relaxing.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Design for Social Interaction

My favorite article in this week’s collection was the short reading title "The Rough Theater." I thought he was making a very interesting point regarding the architecture of theater spaces and the circumstances that need to be present in order for effective social communications and interactions. I have been in buildings or space before that are gorgeous and super organized, but sometimes they feel sterile and almost too pretty and efficient. Humans feel at home in a certain amount of chaos, I definitely agree with that point. At a hotel I stayed at in New York, they had an impressive business lounge area with perfect cube seats and organized meeting rooms that offered impressive amenities, but nobody was there! Everyone instead was in the more natural seating area which featured a birdsong soundtrack playing over the speakers, and guests were seated on the floor on raised platforms with very low tables. Pillows and natural background noise replaced the uneasy silence and sleek edges of the business area. I thought it was an interesting comparison, because lots of elements of design are based around not only the idea of symmetry and logical pattern, but also flow and rhythm and variation.

The connection he made with sound also made total sense! One is so aware of the artificiality of certain sounds in electronic music, it really can't be compared at all to the naturalism and soothing nature of real music from real instruments. That’s one reason I am so interested in Foley and sounds construction in post-production of films. After watching ‘Listen,’ I was so aware of how much work, detail, and attention had to be paid to creating a specific soundscape for someone simply walking around their property. But it was so beautiful, it enhanced the overall experience because you were so able to focus on the audio as well as the visual elements. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Age of Collaboration

The TED talk titled 'Birth of Wikipedia' was the most interesting of the three readings to me, because I knew it was open-source servers funded by public donations, but I had no idea how the infrastructure of the actual organization worked. I thought some of the figures he presented were particularly interesting. With over two million articles, Wikipedia is more popular than the New York Times, 18% of edits are made by anonymous users, meaning they have predominantly strong trusted, credible editing sources. Also, only 1/3 of hits are made to pages written in English, which definitely is a wake-up call to all of us that are English-centric minded, myself included. Their neutral point-of-view policy and their social concept of cooperation work extremely well together in order to give the world not just the 'truth,' but the facts.

What I love most about Wikipedia is their mission statement. Basically their goal is to empower people everywhere to make good decisions. I love that they are dedicated to raising opportunities for every person around the globe to learn about anything they want. It truly is a global resource for one of the most accurate and comprehensive encyclopedias that has ever existed, and I believe that is a beautiful thing. In an age where the internet is dominating education and everyone can learn anything, Wikipedia presents an amazing opportunity for organizing that information and making sure it's fit for public consumption. I cannot wait for WikiBooks to come out....maybe it will cut down on the cost of a college education? This video went along with the article that called this The Age of Collaboration to allow for open innovation. I can't wait to see how it develops in the coming years!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cymatics and Synesthesia....Astonishing Alliterations

These TED talks were very engaging and definitely made some interesting claims that I hadn’t previously known to be possible! I thought the cymatics idea was very cool; I’d seen videos of sand changing shape on giant speakers before, which looks amazing, but I wish he had gone into more of the science behind why the sounds makes these shapes. I would also love to know more about how they use cymatics in terms of healing. While it’s very interesting to know that they’re breaking down the language of dolphins using sound patterns and it can be used as art, it’s more intriguing to me how they could use sound to facilitate healing and education. The claim that sound helped form the universe is a very compelling argument. The only thing that makes me think otherwise is the fact that sound does not or cannot exist is space because sound waves can’t travel with no atmosphere. At the beginning of the universe, was it silent? Were sound waves emitted and did they shape the natural forms we see today? I guess there’s no way to be sure. But it would be interesting to explore further; I wish he had gone on with information!

The other talk from Daniel Tammet about the nature of perception was very fascinating because I wish I could see how synesthetics do all the time! I would agree with Tammet that aesthetic judgments guide what we know, because we perceive everything according to our senses. I thought the little factoid about Nabokov was very cool, because you can definitely see how his language was affected by his synesthesia; his word choice makes sense based on the pleasantness of the color order. The word was harder for me to contemplate. Tammet asserts that language matches the intuitive experience of the listener, which would make sense to me, but I couldn’t even blatantly match the word with a feeling; I overthought it. But I think that added dimension to poetry would make it so much more enjoyable to read; I wish I could think the way he does and perceive words and numbers in the way he does in order to see that added layer of beauty that comes with the written word. I’ve always had a hard time reading or writing poetry, but it would seem a lot easier if it was all in color! I wonder about how the different kinds of synesthesia affect people’s perceptions of the world, because I know that while some people associate letters and numbers with colors or shapes, others see auras or colors associated with people or living things. Something to consider.

I thought, because we may do a technology fast, that I would share a TED talk one of my high school teachers did a little while back, because I actually had a similar assignment in high school! We had all kinds of logs and reflections to do during it, so I thought I would share some of his observations about the assignment here: