Monday, December 12, 2011

My Animation - Das Bot

So, here is my final project for the class! It's short and sweet and I hope you all enjoy.

Das Bot

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reflecting on My Work

It's almost been as many weeks since the semester began that I started working on my interview project and now it's done. I don't think it's perfect, and I could definitely think of ways to improve upon it, but I think it's still a good snapshot of Wanjira's passion for film. Although it wasn't my first time gathering footage and sitting at an editing screen, the project served to remind me all the challenges and pleasures of producing a story in audiovisual format. I've ruined movies for myself now because whenever I watch them I think of how the guys behind the scenes put it together.

I think one of the most pleasurable things about working on the project was editing it. A lot of people tend to shy away from editing because it can be a tedious, yet stressful process. To me it feels more like putting together a puzzle from a bunch of jigsaw pieces, but instead of just one final image, there are scores of possibilities for the final, big picture. Deciding where to fade out and how to pace the cuts with the music was a zenlike exercise for me. I think it's definitely something I want to explore more than I have in my film studies.

I can't remember who said it, but a quote has long stuck with me that reads, “films are never finished, only abandoned.” I kind of feel this way about my interview project. I dealt with my fair share of roadblocks with this project that kept it from panning out exactly the way I planned it, but the same could be said of anything I've worked on. When I go back and watch it, I always pick out a place where I would rather cut a little later or cut the musical interlude a little shorter. I'm sure I could spend another two weeks tweaking it and pulling more footage to throw up on the screen, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Media 160 Interview Audio Portion


Here are the storyboards for my upcoming profile piece project for Media 160.

They're pretty rough, but they get the point across.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Sagan Series (part 1) - NASA The Frontier Is Everywhere

One of the the most powerful things I've ever seen on Youtube is The Sagan Series by user damewse. Designed as unofficial commercials for NASA, they use sequences of spoken word from Carl Sagan's Cosmos series cut with a specific piece of music and a variety of assorted footage. The first video in the series, “The Frontier is Everywhere” is one of the most impactful of the seven. Because the piece is a visual montage, it relies heavily on artful editing to drive its points home. The editing choices themselves are based in the two elements of audio in the piece: Sagan's voice, and Michael Marantz's “Earth: The Pale Blue Dot”.

The cuts in this sequence are very reliant on the tempo and rhythm of the music. Nearly every cut in the first third of the sequence occurs on the strike of a key on the piano. This has the tendency to draw attention to the cuts, but not in a way that is distracting. The whole point is to draw attention to the visuals, which are often beautiful shots of the landscapes of Earth from the surface and space. As the music becomes more flowing, so do the cuts. By this time, Sagan's monolog is the more important element, so the timing of the cuts better match the subject of his discussion.

As far as the subject of the visuals themselves go, they more or less match something Sagan is talking about at the moment they appear. For example, the image of Earth from orbit on Sagan's words, “terraqueous globe” moves to footage of rioting and burning oil fields when he says, “we, who cannot even put our planetary home in order.” This immediate relation between Sagan's words and the images seen enhances the effect both have on the viewer.

The video only cuts to black twice, both are fade outs, and they occur at roughly the one and two third marks of the sequence. The interesting thing is they both happen after Sagan asks a rhetorical question before continuing in the next section to answer it. The effect these fades create is that of markers in the piece, when a turn is about to happen. They work well as small segues, and makes the viewer even more interested in what will come after the fade in from black. It's no wonder the video not only is popular on Youtube, but one of my favorite videos on the site.