Advice to Future ds106ers

There’s a lot to say about this class. It was stressful, it was fun, and it was cool. Even if you just needed an elective credit, like I did, it’s really worth it. I learned so much I otherwise never would have, and the creativity on part of Professor Bond, his collaborators, and the other students was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. This class will push you, but it’s also a great balance between “left-brained” and “right-brained” thinking that will produce awesome stuff. Besides BUDGETING YOUR TIME for the SAME AMOUNT OF WORK AS A FACE-TO-FACE CLASS, my main piece of advice is this: when it comes to your radio show, plan, plan, plan, and plan some more. Something will go wrong. In the case with my group, most of our technical problems happened at the very end when doing the final edits and uploading, which meant that we had to turn in our work a little late. It’s an online class, so it’s very hard to meet with your other group members and to find a time when everyone is available to outline the show, let alone actually recording anything. The key is to plan everything out as much as you possibly can, and do whatever you can in the show as early as you can. The radio show is DIFFICULT. But in the end, you can make something really awesome. You can listen to my group’s show here:

James Bond Chipmunked

For the Chipmunk Style assignment, I decided to make it fit with our theme and to use a scene from Casino Royale. I wanted a scene that was pretty serious, but not violent. This was one of the most tense scenes in the film, where Bond wins a high-stakes poker game by the skin of his teeth. I especially liked seeing Le Chiffe (the villain, played by Mads Mikkelsen), who’s normally pretty menacing, talking like one of the Chipmunks. The music was also kind of a funny addition after raising its pitch, since it also ruins some of the tension. Making this assignment was pretty easy using iMovie. After uploading the clip, there’s a tool under iMovie that lets you change the pitch or effect of a certain video, so all together it took around 30 minutes to come up with the idea and edit the clip to my liking.

Week 10 Summary

This was, again, a pretty difficult week. I do have some experience in editing videos and in basic cinema studies, so a lot of the assignments didn’t have a huge learning curve for me (maybe except for the kinetic typography video). A lot of the work was just time-consuming. As a tip, if you plan on ever using software like After Effects, make sure you have LOTS of disk space and a lot of time to wait for it render. That was, unfortunately, a lot of what set me back this week, too. I started the assignments about a week ahead of time, but the time it took to upload videos and that sort of thing took a very long time. Here’s hoping next week isn’t so bad (and that I won’t have 2 papers due the same week!).

Spy Interview

Classical Mash Up

Fruit stop motion GIF

Bill the Butcher Kinetic Typography

Video Essay: Quantum of Solace

Video Essay: Quantum of Solace

 

I created this video essay analyzing the cinematography of a fight scene from the film Quantum of Solace, because what’s a spy movie without a good fight? I made it using iMovie and Audacity (and just as a tip: the freeze-frame option in iMovie is a life and time saver). It wasn’t too hard to make other than the writing and trimming clips. Enjoy!

 

Bill the Butcher Kinetic Typography

For one of the assignments, I decided to create a kinetic typography video from Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York, where Bill “the Butcher” Cutting, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, delivers a chilling speech. I love kinetic typography videos, so I thought I’d jump in. The first thing I learned when starting this assignment is that kinetic typography views are very, very hard to make. So I shortened the speech as much as I could within reason, and set to work using After Effects and watching a LOT of tutorials.

The film takes place in the 1860s in Five Points, New York, so I wanted it to look a bit like an old 1800s newspaper. I set the background solid to a pale yellow and chose a couple of fonts from my favorite graphic resource, dafont.com, and began working. It’s best to plan out, at least in your head, where your various words are going to be placed throughout the composition and whether you want some phrases to be one words, a couple of words, or a whole sentence on the screen at a time. The best way to do that was by listening to the monologue a few times.

After I got a rough idea of where I wanted to words, I winged most of it. The idea is to have the camera track along where you want the words to appear in your order, so you have to use key framing to manipulate the time it takes for the camera to go from one place to another in 3D space (since zooming in and out makes the video a lot better than just panning or tilting).

The next thing to think about was text animation. Kinetic typography is as much about text animation as it is about camerawork (hence the name). This all depends on the mood of your audio segment. For example, some kinetic typography videos can be more whimsical, like this Who’s On First video, or a mix of funny and horrifying, like this Ingourious Basterds one, or just something clean and interesting, like this Stephen Fry one.

There aren’t tutorial videos for everything, so I had to learn some aspects of After Effects that I’d never known before. Someday I want my skills to be good enough to create something like this Interstellar video. As you can see, the video is only around a minute long, which is a very short monologue. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be (if it were possible, I’d rate this assignment 10 stars), but it was a lot of fun to mess around with the different possibilities.

Fruit stop motion GIF

For the Inanimate Motion stop motion assignment, I took photographs of some fruit that I was eating and a made a .gif to make it look like the fruit was disappearing. Photoshop has a great feature where you can create a frame animation and export it as a .gif. It was a little difficult to try to put the fruit back in each spot where it was while taking the pictures on my phone (without a tripod), but I think I was pretty successful with it.

Classical Mash Up

For the Classical Music Video Mashup, I used Blink 182’s video for “What’s My Age Again?” with Offenbach’s “Infernal Gallop” (often misnamed The Can Can). Even while reading the assignment description, I had the idea of putting these two together. I used iMovie to line up the music with the video, even though I had to trim the song a little here and there. Hopefully it’s as funny as it was to me.

Week 9 Summary

Week 9 was another grueling but fun week. In some ways the Web assignment group is my favorite category. The work wasn’t as hard as some past work, and it didn’t require as much of a challenge to my creative thinking as I have had before in this class, but it was mostly the time-consuming parts of the work that seemed to make it drag on. I really did appreciate the simplicity of most of the assignments and how many different places I could have gone with most of them. Listening to the radio shows was also a lot of fun. I was really impressed with the work and creativity my classmates put into the shows, and I of course appreciated the positive feedback about Cloak and Dagger. You can read my review of Agents on Air here. The web assignments I did – a history themed Buzzfeed personality quiz, the Google Drawing AI, and a Pinterest Dream Vacation – were a lot of fun despite the challenge. Editing code on a website using the X-Ray Goggles tool was also something I’d never done before, but I really liked the end product I came up with. Finally, my Daily Create story about a time-traveling physicist, if a little contrived, was fun to write and really challenged my creatively. Here’s hoping future classes get to do more great web assignments.

Connected Daily Creates: A ds106 Story

 

 

The year was 1900. Max Planck had just discovered black body radiation, opening the door to the wild and mysterious world of quantum physics.

Little did Planck know that his discovery would literally change the course of history.

Not long after Planck made his discovery, physicists all over the world began working on applying his theories. One scientist living in the 1950s, John Crow, actually used Planck’s theories to invent a time machine.

John Crow used the machine to travel back and forth in time. But, instead of solving the world’s problems, he mostly just had fun. He traveled to 18th century France, where he went by the name Joseph Ducreux and took up painting. He was known for making odd references to movies, songs, and phrases from far ahead of his time, but instead translating them into his own (what we would call archaic) style of speaking in an attempt to become a comedic sensation.

John Crow also travelled forward in time, where he discovered the invention of the Internet. There he found he had become a meme! Not the famous painter and comedian that he wished, but he still found immortality of a kind. He left after being disgusted by the volatile and derisive nature of modern online exchanges, but not before offering timeless advice for everyone.

People all around Crow/Ducreux thought he was crazy, or at least very eccentric, throughout his life. Whether making jokes no one got or referring to tiny moving pictures one could hold in one’s hand and speak to, he did not belong to any one time or another, but to the ages.