Grab your popcorn! It’s Movie Time! (Week 10: How to Read Movies)

3-2-1 ACTION! It’s time to start thinking visually, but not with photos this time, but with the magic of video!  This week we analyzed different camera techniques used in movies and how they have the power to turn an ordinary dialogue exchange into a stunning movie scene. Next week is gonna be fun because we get to utilize what we’d learned this week and translate the knowledge into our own videos. Although I’m an audio-lover 4life, there was a point in my life where I’d created videos every other week.

Any Video Experience?

I’d been video editing since I was 12, first using Windows Movie Maker as a video editing program. I made little music videos using different cartoons and uploaded them to my first Youtube account. However, due to copyright infringement, Youtube shut down the account taking all of my videos with it. :( That really sucked, but I ended up creating a new account and continuing to create videos, just cutting down on how much copyrighted material I used. Once I started college, I ended up getting a Mac computer with no Windows Movie Maker on it and I panicked. I discovered a glorious video editing program for Mac called Final Cut Pro from one of my buddies. This was WAY harder to use than WMM, but most of the structures were the same; it had a timeline editor, filter effects, and different export options for video sharing. I’d been using this program since then. I usually dont have the time to create videos like the ones I used to make anymore, but now I have a reason to! BRING IT ON!

The 3 Time Analyze

The movie I chose to review was Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. I watched the scene where Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the back of the car. First I watched the scene without the audio on, second I listened to just the audio, and finally I watched and listened at the same time to see how much the camera and sound played a part in the scene. Clearly they both made made a huge difference. Check out the “3 Time Analyze” post here!

http://xslayermovies.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/redesign_pulp_fiction_by_raicas.jpg

 

Further Analyzing (Pulp Fiction Facts and Montage)

This post was dedicated to Pulp Fiction as a whole rather than just one scene. I gave 3 facts about the movie, proved that it could be a Crime-Thriller-Comedy film through tropes, and created a montage demonstrating the 3 facts. I used Final Cut Pro and a few video clips of the movie to create the montage. Check out the somewhat long post here!

Youtube Makes Politics Fun (Youtube Genre)

Who would ever think that Mitt Romney could actually be an entertaining human being? Well, with the power of a little video editing and Youtube, he can unwillingly become a mainstream celebrity. This week I discussed how Youtube has a genre that makes politics entertaining and even funny. On the class Youtube Genre document I called this genre “Funny/Entertaining Politics.”  If taken seriously enough, these videos have the  power to influence an individual’s view of the politician. Check out this funny informative post here!

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 Daily Creates

This week I did the 2 Daily Creates “Buried Treasure” and “Greatest Gift Recieved.” For the Buried Treasure one, I took a picture of a giant, dark pit in the ground and imagined it was the world’s oldest tar pit. In this very pit, a few dinosaurs were unfortunate enough to fall in and never swim their way out. For some reason, this pit reminded me of something out of the movie Jurassic Park, and I think it would be a great place to shoot a dinosaur movie! For the 2nd one, I drew a picture of the greatest birthday gift I had ever received, a 1 week vacation on the Disney Cruise Ship. This 1 week ended up being a week and 3 days because our ship was stuck out in the middle of the ocean due to a hurricane slamming our port in Florida. Hey, my family wasn’t complaining though; it was 3 extra days for free! Sounds like the best birthday present ever, right? Well it is…..untilll……FLYING DINOSAURS SHOW UP AND ATTACK THE SHIP!!

Jurassic Tar Pit

Best Present Ever Recieved

Potential Video Assignments

Anyone ever notice how Gary Jules in the song “Mad World” sounds ALOT like Winnie the Pooh? I made the connection when I first heard the song, but never got around to making a video for it. Until now! For one of my video assignments I’m planning to do the “Music Video” challenge. I’ll be using a scene from the movie “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin” when poor Pooh is depressed about losing Christopher Robin and he sings a sad song about it. I found this scene fitting because it is the ONLY time in the Winnie the Pooh franchise that you’ll see him this upset about something, which also sort of goes with Gary Jules’ depressing song. I plan to use Final Cut Pro to align the clips from the movie together and also add the music. I dont know if I’ll be able to make the video with the whole song since I’m sure that I’ll run out of sad footage and I’d end up having to desperately reuse footage. I’ll use enough of the song to get the main message across; that Jules is secretly Winnie the Pooh in disguise.

Picture 2

In my other video assignment I plan to be the lead singer of a boy band and have no shame. In other words, I’m gonna have some fun with the “Lip Synch Your Favorite Song” challenge! For this one I want to “sing” one of my favorite songs since I was a kid, Nsync’s “For the Girl Who Has Everything.” Nsync and Backstreet Boys were me and my sister’s favorite bands and we would always take turns singing the songs when we were little. I think she’ll get a good kick out of me lip syncing the song when I do it! :)
Instead of Final Cut Pro like I’m using in the first assignment, I have to use IMovie because I sadly don’t know how to record from a webcam through Final Cut. I’m going to play the real song in the background as I sing along with it, and then when I save it, I’m going to remove the audio of me singing and replace it with the actual song; uploading the mp3 to IMovie and attaching it to the video. Actually, I despise IMovie, so I might just record the webcam video with it and THEN switch to Final Cut to do the editing. Nsync will have a new member, the young heartthrob Amber May! I’m gonna LOVE this!

Next week I’m gonna make some daring dives into the video editing pool and hopefully not drown. I’ve got a floaty on each arm to help me through the dangerous waters though; one being Final Cut Pro and the other IMovie (though the IMovie float seems to be a bit deflated…) So lights, camera, ACTION! It’s time for me to become the next Tarantino!

Exploring Pulp Fiction Even More! (Facts and Montage)

As a continuation of the last Pulp Fiction post, here are 3 interesting facts about the movie. Later I have a montage demonstrating these facts.

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Fact 1: “Pulp Fiction is most known for its nonlinear storyline.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIViN-G37L8

What this means is that the sequences within the story are out of chronological order, but are still connected to one another. Tarantino has some element of this in a number of his movies, such as Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill. He connects the “chapters” of his stories by introducing placards in between scenes explaining what the new segment is called. This unique style of storytelling, among other things, helped Pulp Fiction gain 7 Oscar nominations in the 90’s and later influenced other nonlinear styled movies.

Fact 2: “Tarantino wanted Travolta to reclaim the charisma he had flashed onscreen in “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease”.” http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34786_162-57570937/pulp-fiction-quentin-tarantino-hit-changed-movie-making-in-hollywood/

Tarantino knew that the audience would’ve loved to see the “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” star hop back onto the dance floor. He’d originally told Travolta to do the twist in his scene with Uma Thurman.

Fact 3: The F-word was said 265 times in the whole movie.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_that_most_frequently_use_the_word_%22fuck%22

If there were an Oscar for “Most Potty Mouthed” I think this movie would be easily nominated. According the the Wiki article above, 265 instances of the word being said in the 154min film is equal to someone saying it 1.72 times per minute. Holy f**k!!

7 Tropes that Show How Pulp Fiction is a Crime-Thriller-Comedy Film

1. Gorn: “The movie shows gore and blood, not to frighten or upset, but to excite and thrill.” (This is basically the whole movie.)
2. Running Gag: “A joke that is only mildly funny the first time, but becomes funnier each time it is repeated.” (Whenever Vincent goes to the bathroom, something bad is always happening when he comes out.)
3. Enemy Eats Your Lunch: “Take their food. It’s a step beyond just invading personal space, and it shows who the alpha dog is.” (Jules takes the guy’s burger and drink at the beginning to show who’s in charge now.)
4. Dropped a Bridge on Him: “a character is permanently written out of a show, especially killed off, in a way that is unexpectedly anti-climactic or mundane.” (Vincent is show instantly when he comes out of the bathroom, not even having a chance to respond.
5. Groin Attack: “seeing someone get struck in the crotch is usually just plain funny.” (Marsellus shoots his rapist in the groin. POW!)
6. Hypocritical Humor: “A character accused of engaging in a certain behavior or activity denies it before being immediately depicted engaging in the very behavior.” (Jules tells Vincent not to use the Lord’s name in vain, yet he himself does it the ENTIRE movie)
7. Lethally Stupid: “This character accidentally causes a disaster because of a stupid idea” (Vincent acidentally shoots Marvin and splatters blood everywhere in the car. way to go…)

Basically whenever there is any sort of gore or bloodshed in this movie, it usually involves a humorous scenario, hence why I call this movie a Crime-Thriller-Comedy film. (The rest of the Pulp Fiction tropes can be found HERE. They’re really fun to read.)

Nooooow I shall present my montage, doing my best to show the 3 facts from earlier.


Here are the 3 videos I used to create the montage, hope you enjoyed it!
1.“Pulp Fiction Chronological”
2.“Pulp Fiction Dancing Scene”
3. “F**k Pulp Fiction”

Youtube Makes Politics Fun

The internet has recently encouraged individuals with the same opinions, or no opinions whatsoever, to come together to either make their opinions stronger or, for the ones with no opinion, begin to take a side. Throughout the years, the power of this conformity has flourished, to the point where online communities could change a person’s beliefs all together.

For example, the presidential debates last year had spawned a variety of slanderous, sometimes entertaining, forms of media that expressed messages about the candidates. These messages could be positive (in favor of the candidate) or negative (against the candidate.) On the class Youtube Genre document, I added the genre called Funny/Entertaining Politics. This genre is meant to either poke fun at the different candidates by exploiting their flaws, or it is meant to simply add some fun to the otherwise boring popularity contest known as the election. Below are some of the videos I added.

Mitt Romney Sings “The Real Slim Shady”


 

Epic Rap Battles of History: Obama vs. Romney

 

Obama Sings “Replay”

I noticed that a good amount of these entertaining political videos on Youtube (and even the media in other online communities like Tumblr) tended to be in favor of Obama. Could this have possibly contributed to Obama’s success in the election by influencing the voter turnout among Youtube’s main age demographic? Hmm..interesting concepts worth looking into if I were ever a Sociologist.

 

Let’s Analyze “Pulp Fiction”!

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I LOVE Tarantino’s movies! He always seems to know what camera effects to use at just the right moments to enhance the scene.  I chose to analyze a famous scene from the movie Pulp Fiction where the two main characters and their hostage are in a car debating. I’m going to take notes as I’m watching the clip so I can jot them down as soon as I notice something, so I apologize in advance that this will not be in paragraph form.

Step 1: Watching Without Listening

1. According to Roger Ebert, things in the foreground are more important than what’s in the background. Which is why Marvin, in the back seat, is blurred out when the 2 important guys are talking in the front. Also in the front, the dominant individual is on the right while the “sidekick” is on the left.

2. In the beginning, the camera doesn’t pay attention to who’s talking, but only the expressions given off by Jules; showing how he doesn’t have much interest in what Vincent is saying to him. This also functions as the scene’s Establishing Shot (according to the Top 20 Cinematic Techniques video), showing where this scene is going to play out rather than jumping straight into the characters’ argument. I noticed Tarantino does this a lot in his movies; he sets the stage before focusing on the characters’ interactions.  After this moment, the camera begins to cut between whomever is talking.

3. When Marvin starts talking at 0:49, the camera is still blurry, probably implying that he’s still not invited into Vincent and Jules’ conversation. However, after he’s done speaking, the camera cuts to Marvin’s point of view from the backseat, but not the direct POV through his eyes.  This makes the audience seem like an invisible character next to Marvin in the backseat, watching this play out from a different perspective. Even though Vincent is clearly talking to Marvin now, we still don’t get to see him in the shot for the rest of the scene. Probably showing how he’s still not important enough in that scene to get his own screen time.

4. I guess the cut to the back window as the blood covers it is a way to show the gruesomeness, STILL without showing Marvin. He just wasn’t meant to be in this scene, yet he’s extremely important.

5. After the blood explosion, both Vincent and Jules are being showed in the shot at the same time, showing how theyre both imporant at the moment. However Jules seems to be more dominant in the shot because the camera is shot from his side of the car. Imagine of this moment was shot through the front windshield of the car. This would put Vincent and Jules on equal levels. Tarantino didn’t want this because Jules is clearly the boss between the two. I also noticed that Vincent is more blurred out in the background, not as much as Marvin was, but just enough to show that Jules in the foreground is more important.

Step 2: Listening Without Watching

1. The soothing sound of the car driving along the road was the first thing I noticed. The sound sort of puts us in the car with them. Despite the fact that they’re arguing, the sound of the car is still sort of relaxing.

2. Tarantino likes to keep things as natural as possible in his movies, which is why during average-human-scenario scenes like these, he doesn’t add any additional background music or unnecessary sound effects. If these were added to this shot, the meaning might be changed or the scene would be dictated by the sounds. Plus you can already feel the heat between the two without music telling us “this is a heated argument.”

3. The dialogue seems like just an average human conversation that escalated a bit too much. Vincent was so involved in the conversation that he wasn’t paying attention to his gun. I’m trying to imagine this scene as if I hadn’t already seen the movie. If i were just listening to it as an audio drama, I wouldn’tve known why a random gun went off if Vincent hadn’t said what happened. Speaking of the way he said it, I found it hilarious that he said” Aw, I shot Marvin in the face…”all casually, as if he didn’t just SHOOT SOMEONE IN THE FACE!

4. The atmosphere in the car changed from heated arguing to panic after Marvin got shot. Without even being there, the audience can feel how frantic the characters feel just by how the dialogue is layered on top of one other, sentences being cut off and shouting.

Step 3: Watching and Listening!

1. Tarantino uses the audio dialogue and the camera shots to keep us at the center of the action in the car without even being there.

2. Huh…I didnt notice this before. The speaking dialogue is so clear, as if it was recorded in another, more enclosed location other than in the car. I know if I tried to record myself talking in my car, I would still get some kind of background noise and my voice wouldn’t be heard as easily.

3. At 0:33 Vincent looks directly at Jules to confront him head on, after he’d been looking forward and away from him the whole time. He does this to show his seriousness in the topic. Meanwhile Jules doesn’t once turn to look at him. This isn’t because he’s busy driving (because he later turns to look at him after Marvin was shot) but it’s because he had no intent to change his mind on the matter. His decision was final.

4. At 0:52 Vincent does the turn again to talk to Marvin just as he did when he got serious about Jules’ responses. He ends up sounding alot more serious during those 2 turns in this scene.

5. Now we finally see Jules look at something other than the road at 1:00 (see, told you he was just ignoring Vincent’s glance earlier!) He looks at the back seat multiple times, as his voice gets louder and louder, clearly more concerned about what just happened than what they were discussing before.

Maaann, this couldve all been avoided if Marvin had an opinion. Oh well.

I never noticed how much went into this scene, and if I did I was probably not consciously aware of it. Tarantino clearly takes all aspects of perspective and audio into account when he creates these legacies, and he tries to make each scene a slice-of-life scenario; things that could happen to any average person.

Woo-Hoo! Didnt Get Trapped in the Web! (Week 9: Stories in/of the Web)

At the beginning of the week I didn’t really understand the phrase “Stories of the Web” and I thought it meant videos or books on the web. Silly thought.  Now I sort of understand the phrase more. It refers to stories told through the different interactions and processes of the web, not just a linear story found on one platform; in other words using a web as a tool for storytelling.

Blog Comment Narratives

For this assignment I wanted my fictional character to be an EXTREMELY energetic kitten who loves exploring and getting herself into trouble in the process. The name of my character was Ditzy Spazz, and she pounced across 5 different Ds106 blogs: Hello Brittany, ampersanddragon, Waiting for the Spark, my own in response to another character, and Above the Clouds. There wasn’t much interaction with my character, so I tried to interact with others to purposely drive them up a wall.
This kitten is based off of my young niece, who likes to always question the things around her and explore new places. Sometimes she runs into trouble though, which her mom always has to get her out of…

Ditzy

Web Assignments

I thought these would be tough at first because they involved using HTML (which I’d had horrible experiences with last year.) But these assignments were less about programming and more about structuring, making them ALOT easier to handle! The 2 Web Assignments I did were “Youtube It Your Way” and “Horrible Website Translation“. the 1st one was my favorite because I love birds!

My Group’s Radio Show

I pretty much summed this up in last weeks weekly post. After hearing it on the air this week, this was actually the first time I fully listened to it without seeing the audio tracks running in front of me. The quality came out better than I thought! The transitions and bumpers really locked the stories together and gave the audience a break between story parts. I’m glad we gave Nancy’s idea a shot by spliting the stories into 2 parts so it wasn’t just a dry run of people talking for 5min each. This helped my short attention span too.  I’m glad I got to have some radio experience before the summer when I do the real deal live!

Check out the Digital Dynamite Radio Show here!

Recycle Your Media!

Everything is useful in Ds106! Even the pieces of media that don’t make the cut! This post is to honor 4 of the ones who auditioned for a few assignments, but just were incomparable to the winners. I am not allowed to link or embed them, but rest assured they’ve been sent to the dropbox and they may be seen in the future of Ds106!

ConvergingLines- This one I ended up finding AFTER the 20 minute photoblitz window. Couldnt use it because my 20min were up and it wouldnt’ve counted. This was a good example of converging lines on campus.

RhythmDesignBlitz- This one was part of the Designblitz. I didnt use it because I found it boring. It was just a shadow casted on some stairs, supposedly representing rhythm.

BlueSkyPhotoblitz-  This again was for the photoblitz. It was a picture of the blue sky through a few tree branches. I actually had no clue what element I was searching for when I took this shot. I just took as many pictures as possible hoping they would satisfy one of the directions. Guess it never did.

Fountain-This one was such a nice picture that I didn’t want to throw it away. Actually…I didnt even plan to use this one in an assignment. I just happened to take it while I was walking around thinking it looked neat.

Daily Create Story

I used the Daily Creates “License Plate,” “Why Aliens Exist,”and “Waiting” to write a story about waiting for the alien invasion.

Check out my alien conspiracy story HERE!

This week seemed muuuchh shorter than last week because last week was 2  weeks combined. It felt so weird not having to record anything this whole week, but that’s just a side effect of Audio Withdrawal Syndrome. Now it is time for my brain to switch gears into Web Storytelling Mode.

The Aliens are Coming! (Daily Create Story)

They’re coming soon… I’ve spent my whole life studying their existence, discovering their whereabouts, and preparing for the invasion. The aliens are coming.

This week, I disscussed some of my evidence with the general public, starting with this public service announcement, discovering that they have always been the causes of forest fires. In relation to this PSA, I brought in actual evidence that proved that they were on their way! Please refer to the license plate image below.

Licence plate that made me look twice

I warned that the presence of license plates that read “Phyer” were clear warnings that their impending onslaught was arriving and the end would be nigh! HOWEVER! There is a chance that the human race can save itself! When the invaders arrive in their massive silver saucer, they will ask us why they should spare our planet from any further harm. Only a select few on the whole planet, including me, will know this answer; “The Earth deserves life, because life gives the Earth meaning.” The chances that the invaders will come across an individual that knows this coded answer is very slim, to the point where the Earth only has a 3% chance of survival.

I havent given up yet. After this discovery, I started analyzing where their ship would land. I came up with a grassy hill at park known as Chimborazo in Richmond,VA. This site is a historical one; created in 1874 and known for one of the world’s largest military hospitals. The only flaw with my studies is that I have no idea when these creatures will arrive…

Waiting

So now I sit here waiting. I don’t know for how long, but if it’s to save billions and billions of lives, time is not a factor.

Horrible Burger King Website Translation (*)

For the Google Translate Fail assignment, I stumbled upon a Japanese Burger King website and translated the only parts of the site that werent images (since Google Chrome cant translate those.) This is a screenshot of the bottom of the home page.

Horrible Burger King Translation

For most of these statements, I honestly had no clue what they were trying to say were trying to say. I laughed hysterically hard at “With meat sauce, delicious addition, the popular American cheese fly!” Some pages are just not meant to be translated! Hahaha!

Youtube It Your Way!(****)

Ever thought about what it would be like if birds were the superior race on Earth?

For the “Youtube It Your Way” assignment, where we had to pick out a youtube video and change some aspects to give it a totally new meaning, I chose a video of a human and a parrot yelling at each other…for no reason. I then used Hackasaurus to change the title, comments, commenters’ images, the video views, the amount of likes/dislikes, and a few linked video titles in the sidebar. The main topic here is Political Birds, so I made the arguing parrot, originally named Oscar, a governor debating with a journalist on recent issues in the bird world. All of the commenters seem to support Oscar’s rise to the top.

Here’s a screenshot from the original video

Picture 2

And here’s the Oscar Debates With Media version

Picture 2

At the end, the bird thanks his contender for the debate with a kiss! What a good Governor!!

Listening to “The Fifth Dimension Twilight Zone” on DS106 Radio

Last night I listened live on Ds106 Radio to a story called “The Fifth Dimension Twilight Zone.” I liked the new format of storytelling this group brought to the table. Sort of like a variety show with different stories attached to one.  However it was a bit confusing to listen to at first, as seen by some of the Twitter comments. By the end I could sort of see that it was a group of mini stories and poems, but some things still confused me, like the introduction of movie clips. What sort of segment were they going for with that one? Also it was a bit hard to tell what audio was from a movie, and what was actually being said live.

During the 1st poem read, there could’ve been some sound effects to help the listener visualize what the narrator was reading; to help them paint a mental picture of the scene. They fixed this in a later poem, which I could follow alot better.

I LOVED the Swap Shop scene! The effects and creepy background music was spot on and the voice acting was hilarious. Sure, it may be weird to listen to the acting as much as the  story, but just think if the characters would’ve read their scripts in a……..monotone………boring…….Ben Stein sort of voice. This would’ve put listeners to sleep.

Overall this show wasn’t bad, it just needed to tie the elements together a bit  more to better explain the main theme. The hosts should tell the viewers what the show is going to be about in the beginning to give them a reference point, just incase they’d never seen the Twilight Zone and are not familiar with this storytelling style. Confusion will cause the audience to change the station (believe me, I’ve seen it happen.) Keeping listener’s attention and filling them in on what’s happening is the most important part of radio in my opinion. Since we are not visually seeing the story on a screen, we need that extra imaginary boost. This is what audio stories can do that shows on TV cant; give the audience total imaginative freedom!

I would give this show 3 stars; 1 for effort, 2 for having somewhat of a structure and not doing a bunch of random things, and 3 for the pretty decent audio mixing (whoever did that, a few parts were louder than others, but still good job integrating everything!)

Storytelling Within the Web Assignment: How Cynics See UMW

Do you know anyone on campus who aaaallways has something negative to say about the school? In some cases what they say is true, but most of the time they just need something to complain about in front of their friends. It gets annoying. Wouldn’t it be simpler to transfer if you dont like the university? Apparently that concept is too complicated.

I created the How Cynics See UMW page by taking the original UMW homepage and editing the text to what is usually negatively said about the campus; “There’s no parties here!” “The food service here sucks!” ect. I do agree with a few of these, such as the small amount of diversity and the fact that our school’s slogan is cheesy, but I don’t complain about these aspects every waking moment! For the most part, I wouldn’t have selected any other college to attend.

Here’s the original UMW homepage

Picture 4

And here’s how cynics see it
Picture 1

I was unable to change the UMW logo and slogan just by typing over the text because the whole space was an image. This was the only place on the site where I had to use GIMP, since everything else was a basic editable text area.

Check out the main page to see the text a bit clearer. And for pete’s sake, don’t turn into one of these people!! People like these make the school more unbearable than what they actually claim.