Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Response to Radiolab: "Deception"

CC Flickr User tq2cute

Something I found interesting about listening to the two radio shows (Radiolab: “Deception” and This American Life: “Valentine’s Day 2013″) one after the other are their stark contrasts. While "Deception"spoke about how people began to lose all trust and faith in mankind after they were exposed to compulsive liars like Hope, "Valentines Day 2013" included an interview about a boy who was completely enamored by a narcotic officer. However, after the officer exposed herself, the boy's trust didn't seem to be phased  by this revelation at all. It is just interesting how both shows contradict each other in that aspect.

In other news, I really enjoyed "Deception." I think it may have been the content that made it more interesting than This American Life's show, but I'm not sure. I also appreciated "Deception's" consistency with style, whereas This American Life had multiple different stories. Radiolab's appeal also had something to do with the jumping introduction about the snake. I was listening to it very late last night while everybody in my house was asleep, and was somewhat creeped out at times. It had a lot of erie music and quick loud noises. They were likely just adding to the strangeness that comes with analyzing pathologic liars, because they are still somewhat of a mystery and are viewed negatively.

At the end of the show, they talked about how liars are happier because they are able to lie to themselves about the realities of life, and the radio hosts made this seem like a positive thing. However, it seemed really selfish to me. I think that life is all about helping other people, especially those in need. Therefore, when people lie to themselves about the deadly reality so many people encounter everyday, something is going wrong. If you are only thinking about yourself and your happiness at all times, then something needs to change. I think we all should sacrifice a bit of our happiness to help make other people happy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekly Summary

CC Flickr User Squallwc

Assignments completed:
This has been an interesting week working with audio and Soundcloud. Like many other students in the class, I am somewhat unfamiliar with this form of media, so I am excited to start absorbing all of the new skills! Even working with this weeks fairly light workload (the audio creates and the vox pop) was somewhat challenging. The main problems are from working with an older computer. After recording all the responses for the vox pop, I tried putting them together from Garageband to export them into itunes, but Garageband couldn't find one of my files! It was the response from my housemate, Carisa. I googled around to try to find out how to access it from somewhere else in my computer, but still no luck. After one hour of trying to find an answer (I was determined to solve this mystery), but ten minutes left to post it on my blog, my frustration settled in and I decided to post to Soundcloud what I had. Carisa responded with her irrational fear about how she is afraid of both cockroaches, and also KILLING cockroaches. Now that I have experience with Garageband and Soundcloud, hopefully my next experience will be smoother.

Response to "Listening In"

CC Fernando Candeias

Great historical examination and progression of the radio in America!

However, the article was written from an extremely ableist viewpoint. Perhaps it is because I am taking a  disability culture course that makes me hyper aware of non-disabled norms in our culture, but this article excludes a large subset of people: the deaf. The article suggests that there is only one way to listen, and that is with your ears. However, there are many other ways to listen, such as through body language. The article also stated that the radio forged stronger relationships with the so called "imagined community." Does this mean that deaf people don't have quite as strong relationships with their nation and community because of their inability to hear? Of course not. While deaf people also belong to another community that many of us are not a part of (the deaf or hard-of-hearing community), we should not exclude them from their region or nation. One can counter this argument that the effect of the radio on hearing people have non-directly affected deaf people. For example, after several years of the radio changing culture, deaf people are born and live in this new culture, and are therefore a part of this new way of living without actually being the ones to contribute to the change.

It would also be interesting to read a cross-cultural historical examination of the radio in different countries. When I studied abroad in Brazil, my host father listened to the radio every single night (though he was admittingly much older). Nonetheless, I wonder if the radio had the same effect in Brazil, or other countries, as it has in America.

Two Audio Creates

Two sounds not normally heard together. Guess what they are!

An everyday object used as a musical instrument! Guess this one too!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Video Three: "The Surprise"

My final film, "The Surprise," is a video with a twist ending. I suggest that you watch the video right now to figure out what the surprise actually is, before I spoil it for you.

I initially wanted this to be a video without people, and just a mural that grew and expanded magically on its own. However, my first video project was stop-motion, so I needed to do something different. I also wanted to animate the drawing at the end- perhaps the tree playing the guitar or the mountains walking, but animation is tricky, and like I said earlier, I didn't want to make another video with stop-motion.

After I put the raw video footage together, I realized that it looked a lot like we were advertising for Heineken. That is why I decided to go with it, and make it a commercial for Heineken. That's the surprise, because it was so unexpected. It is also a statement about how many commercials nowadays have nothing to do with the product that they're selling, yet somehow the advertisements work because its interesting and we're left talking about the randomness.

CC Diego Garma

I didn't have any real problems with the actual filming process, except creating my own tripod out of books. My house randomly has a chalkboard in it, so I used that as inspiration for creating a mural, and my housemates were happy to help. The video footage lasted 20 minutes before I sped it up.

The editing was fairly straightforward as well. Since I only took two separate video clips, I just combined the two, and sped up the video to 1,050%. I had to make the Heineken still-frame in photoshop, which was easier than I thought it would be, and I took the other Heineken image from google.

The music is II'ya Beshevli, which I found on Soundcloud. I hope you enjoy this commercial! And for the record, I'm not even that big of a fan of Heineken. Ha!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekly Summary Post

Flickr User cseeman

This week's completed assignments:

This was a fairly relaxed week, then again there is no such thing as a week at the University of Michigan that is void of challenges. I actually finished my second video project days ago, and even wrote my blog last week, but it has been sitting as a draft because Blogger wouldn't allow me to select the new video from the "My Youtube Videos" option. I waited for a couple days to see if it would change, but it still didn't allow me tonight. I then realized that I can search my Youtube username in the "From Youtube" section to access my video, and that is what I did!

Additionally, I am still unable to upload videos directly from my personal laptop. My usual resource (my roommate's laptop) was nowhere in my off-campus house, and walking to the library after being on my feet 12 hours for work was out of the question, so it is a week of all Daily Create photographs. Pictures are not necessarily less interesting than videos though, and I think my photographs still have something to offer!

As I approach my third video project, I think I may work with an already existing Youtube video. So far, I've created all original videos that don't build off of anyone else's. It's time to gain more experience changing and re-editing content that is already on the web.

Three Daily Creates

Let's get this triple Daily Create action going!

Daily Create #1 Directions: Take a picture of something you made. 

Daily Create #2 Directions: Take a picture of something, cut it up and piece it back together in a different way.

Daily Create #3 Directions: Take a picture of your greatest success or triumph. 

Video Two: "A Typical Day at Work"

This video is all about my job, and what I typically spend a lot of my time doing. I work at an animal boarding facility in Ann Arbor. That means when people go on a trip, they leave their animals with us, and I help take care of them. Even though it's a lot of manual labor, I love hanging out with animals all the time. It really is a type of therapy for me.

Anyway, to the video: the filming was the easiest part. Many animals get "playtimes," which means customers pay $6.00 extra for us to play with their animals. I just brought my camera along for the playtimes, and let the cuteness ensue. On Sundays, I work 7am-7pm, so I have a lot of time with the animals then.

The most time consuming part was choosing which clips to edit together, and making it match up with the song. The entire editing process took about 2.5 hours, but it was well worth it. I used one of my favorite songs,"With Arms Outreached" by Rilo Kiley, which made the video more heartwarming for me. It is definitely a feel good movie.

There were two problem that I encountered:
  • Being uncertain if I'm allowed to use pets in a video without asking their owner.
  • Inability to upload the video correctly to youtube the first few times.
Regarding using other people's pets, I decided that if I'm making the video for educational purposes and not for commercial use, I'm probably fine.

After a few tries of uploading the video to youtube, I realized what I was doing wrong: setting it on private when I imported it from imovie. I was worried because the video would never show up in my channel. When I went into "Video Manager," I realized what I was doing wrong, and fixed it all. Now the video is live on the web. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekly Summary Post

CC Taylor Sloan

This week, I completed:
  • Response to "The Reality Principle"
  • Response to "How to Read a Movie"
  • 3 video/daily creates: 1, 2, and 3
  • First completed movie
The main problems I encountered this week were those related to editing my first movie, which I already described in the initial blog post. Just to recap, I couldn't make the duration of each photo in the stop-motion under 0.1 seconds. That seems quick, but my video actually looks like it's slow motion. I've already made peace with the slow motion aspect of the video, and am proud of my work!

Another reoccurring problem is my laptop's inability to upload videos to youtube. I typically use my housemates laptop, but he's not here, so that's why I was forced to do a photo as my daily create, even though I really wanted to talk about my favorite foreign word! For the record, my favorite foreign word is "saudade." It is a Portuguese word that does not have a direct translation into English. To have "saudades" is to have a feeling of nostalgia for someone or something. Estou com saudades do Brasil e tudo que está relacionado com minha memoria lá!

I look forward to making my next two videos. I already have the footage for one, but I may just nix that idea and do something different. The footage I have now is of a bunch of goofy animals that I take care of at work.

Daily Create: Pattern

Directions: Create some kind of pattern on your desk right now.

Response to "How to Read a Movie"

CC Flickr Ennor

Roger Ebert knows a lot about reading movies- yet none of it interests me. I don't think I will ever be able to read a movie with an audience, because the whole process sounds somewhat annoying. Strange people yelling "stop" randomly to discuss lighting and color is not my thing. Let's apply this idea to books. If your class is reading a novel together in some writing course, and anyone is allowed to yell "stop" to discuss literary techniques, what would you do? I would probably die from a mixture of boredom and apathy. Okay, no I wouldn't die. I would ignore them and continue reading to myself while other people talked about the metaphors. Unfortunately, you can't secretly continue watching a movie when someone stops it, and that's what I would have trouble with.

For some people, analyzing movies is their thing. When it comes to analyzing films, I'm more interested in how it is producing and reproducing culture, with stereotypes and all. That is my Women's Studies minor coming out. I'm not interested in the nit-picky comments about lighting. At the same time, I do recognize that these things about character, shadows, and construction are important to know when making movies.

Well, one thing I've learned after reading this article is that I should never become a movie critic. A movie maker, however, may still be in the running.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Video One: "The Guy Who Slipped"

I knew I wanted to make a stop-motion for my first movie, but I decided that using another person would be easiest. Rather than me having to move the subject after every shot, the subject can simply move itself, which makes the process go much quicker. After this decision I grabbed my housemate, my camera, a random "CAUTION" sign, and we ran up to the fourth floor of Angell Hall. I initially wanted my housemate, Sam, to slip on a banana, but he accidentally ate the banana earlier in the day, and already threw away the peel.

The actual photographing process was smooth for the most part, except for those random people who walked out of the classrooms and through the hallways. Sam was more distraught than I was, since he was the one dragging himself across the floor. He ended up getting a floor burn on his hand, but I compensated him with Insomnia cookies.

After the photographing took place, I tried editing the movie in imovie 6 on my laptop. For an unknown reason, imovie would not let the duration of each photo under 0.3 seconds, which was way too long, so I took my work to the fishbowl. The imovie's there were better, but not by much- they wouldn't let photos last for under 0.1 seconds. I figured that would have to be okay, since I didn't have many other options. The editing took much more time than any other part in the video making process, but I realized that there is no point in obsessing over it. Since I couldn't make the frames pass quicker, I am now telling people that this video is a slow-motion version of Sam's fall.

The song is by Giuliano Carmignola, taken from Soundcloud. Enjoy!

Video Create: The Hiccups

Video Create: My Favorite Joke

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Response to "The Reality Principle"

I watched "The Truman Show" for the first time only a week ago, and one thing I kept thinking throughout is if people actually dedicate their entire lives to reality television. That is, sleep, eat, and live every part of your life while living as a persona with the potential of always being aired on television. "The Truman Show" is clearly an exaggerated example of this happening, and still very different from reality shows today. In the movie, everything in "The Truman Show" was fake, including the town set in a large bubble. The only real thing was Truman. Reality shows today are still somewhat real, though not completely still because although they are not necessarily fed lines, their character development and story is guided by producers. The Truman Show and modern reality television do share one thing, though- the line separating labor and leisure is nearly non-existent. At the same time, that is not much different from most lines of work these days. For example, working at a non-profit that you care deeply about, especially a controversial one, you are expected to represent the company at all times. And when your values are those that your getting paid to fight for, you do end up dedicating your entire life to the cause. Other professions are nearly in that direction as well- doctors, au pairs, big corporate executives. Heck, that is why CEOs and business people get heart-attacks all the time: because every part of their life is weighed down by work!

As a society, we should start diverting from this trend. Our sanity and health depends on it.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weekly Summary Post

CC Neil Howard


This week, I had trouble working on a video. I wanted to use the song "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys with a video clip of Joan of Arc burning, but I wasn't able to download the clip from youtube. I tried downloading many different programs that would download the video, but none worked. Almost all had to do with the fact that I'm using an old version of mac. I think to rip videos off the web, I may need to use the UM computers, which is fine. It's just more convenient to work on your own computer in your own space. I had fun making the videos for the video create, and I thought "The Syncher, Not the Song"was interesting. Overall, good week. I just need to overcome this youtube video download challenge!

Response to "The Syncher, Not the Song,” by Douglas Wolk

The song "Dragostea din Tei," popularized in America by the infamous Numa Numa youtube video, quickly became a recognized tune before you could say "vârcolac." I even remember once making a video where I briefly did the Numa Numa dance. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find this video (I think youtube took it down because it was uploaded right when they realized that they can be jerks and get away with it). I always figured that it was a one hit wonder song from the nineties, or an old song by Eifel 65, which is probably a one hit wonder band anyway. I had never actually seen the Numa Numa video until this article, and was initially introduced to the song by friends or strangers randomly singing it as a joke. It came so quickly, and was so catchy, that I thought the song had always been around. Classic goofy song. I did a quick youtube search and even found out that my favorite animal, the pug, even had a numa numa video. Unfortunately, the french bulldog and boxer (also a few of my favorite dog breeds) did not have good ones, but a pug is a pretty obscure animal.  I take this video of a pug starring in his very own Numa Numa dance video as proof that they really are one of the greatest dog breeds of all time.

Daily Create: Something Broken

Something broken: the ice machine in my fridge.