Friday, April 6, 2018

Practice Story

My group chose our interviewee by going around the group and suggesting some personal stories to talk about. We chose my teammate Juliana because the had a relevant story that even involved our Digital Media teacher. Juliana planned to talk about her experiences with all of the new coaches she got this year in sports. Next was assigning the rest of the roles, Ella was absent the day we learned how to work the microphones for the interview so I became the director/camera/audio person. That left Ella with the job of editor/interviewer/voice over. Our jobs were not really set in stone, so there was a lot of switching around based on absences and certain skill sets that we could use. For example, when Juliana was absent for a school event, Ella and I were able to write the script and get it approved on time. We all worked on editing together, which enabled us to show off all of our specific editing strengths. Teamwork doesn't always mean individual roles, and I think everyone was able to help all around. I think all the shifting and working together only improved the quality of our story.

Safety must always be your number one priority during the production process. Your life, and your health is not worth a good piece of footage. If you are safe you can protect your equipment, yourself, and others around you. Be aware of all these three things when going to film in a new location. First, identify your surrounding areas, identifying any hazards you see. That could include falling rocks, slippery areas, cliff faces, cars, etc. Next, evaluate those risks. Are they worth it? There are some risks that can be conquered with the right precautions, however there are some that are simply too dangerous. Knowing your limits could save your life. If you decide that the risks are worth it then your need to come up with measures to control those risks. Whether that involves objects or just making the conscious decision to step a little father back from said risk. You should be especially aware as the director, as you are responsible for the safety of your team. Be smart, and be safe.

For the critique results I sort of felt like the criteria was very hard for a practice story that was all shot during school. It is clear to me that if our story was our official Hiki No Story then we would shoot many things differently. However for our time and location limitations, I feel that our story was pretty good. Some things that we needed to improve upon were evident, yet there was nothing we could do to fix them because of said limitations. The three largest words for improvement were continuity, nat sounds, and audio visual ties. I understand that continuity was a problem in our story, there were some things that count be switched around. Personally, I would like to change the B-Roll accordingly to fit the story rather than switching everything around. I definitely agree that we need more, and louder nat sounds. I feel that we somewhat forgot about nat sounds so for some of the sequences Ella and I were talking, or the camera was auto focusing. For our actual Hiki No Project we were certainly consider nat sounds prior to shooting any B-Roll. As for audio visual ties, I concur with the rest of the class that we need them. Audio Visual Ties are a very important component to a great Hiki No Story and I very well plan to include them in the future. Many of the audio visual tie opportunities were not able to happen, because of our limitations for shooting. Of course there are things to improve upon, and with a full range of options my team will take all of these helpful critiques and rid our final product of those problems.

To make the story more compelling, I would have liked to do a few more things. If this was a full length interview I would wanted to get supplementary interviews, like a coach or another teammate, and better b-roll. As it is, I would have liked to get more relevant broll. There were some sequences, like Juliana drinking water and putting on her shoes, that we wanted to incorporate but we didn't have much time down at the track. A more compelling story would have more conflict at the core, such as maybe some arguments with the coaches or the team losing at first, which would really solidify the accomplishments made by Juliana and her team in the end. I believe that my team has a lot of potential if we were to create an interview style story for Hiki No.

ALD 6.1: Anticipate potential health and wellness concerns while operating computing devices in order to enhance workplace safety.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Interview Composition

A reporter shot is set up so it is as if the reporter is speaking directly to us, the audience, whereas an interview shot is setup so that the interviewee is facing away from the camera. In the interview shot they are looking at an unseen interviewer. While the reporter is in the middle of the screen and facing the camera, the interviewee is on the side of the screen (either the right or the left) and is facing partially away from the screen. The background of an interview shot should pertain to the content of the interview. We don't want something to distracting, but something to enhance the story. We never want to shoot against a flat surface because it gives a claustrophobic feeling. There isn't much space around the person so it is as if the walls are closing down around them, things look cramped. "Look room" is the amount of space the interviewee is looking into/at. If the subject is aligned at one of the far thirds then the "look space" is the rest of the space on the screen where the subject is looking. Follow their eyes. To set up "the line" follow the front of the camera lense to the subject's nose, it will help you avoid creating a profile shot.

There are many important parts to recording a successful interview; the shot, the audio, the subject, and environment. However, I think the most important thing is making sure that the subject is comfortable and ready to speak. If the subject is uncomfortable then the film won't look right and the audio might not be as smooth as we would have wanted. The first thing that could be done to make the interview process easier is to look for a subject who seems comfortable in the current situation, if you select someone awkward or nervous in general no amount of comfortable atmosphere can help them. Next is when approaching the subject ask to have a conversation or ask a few questions. Using the word "interview" often makes people think of applying for jobs which is stressful. We don't want the subject to be uncomfortable, so using the word "conversation" implies a low stress environment. Now that you have your subject, make sure to check your audio. Don't waste any one's time with poor quality audio. Not only will it make your video less appealing, it will set you back on your project if you are struggling to caption the poor audio. Next is making sure that the camera is far enough away from the subject. This goes back to making sure that the interviewee is comfortable.  No one wants a huge camera in their face, so putting some distance between the camera and the subject will improve the quality of the interview. Getting a good interview takes practice but there are little decisions that can be made to vastly improve the quality of the interview.

ALD 5.1 Design a targeted digital media message or concept that addresses the needs of a client.
ALD 5.2 Plan and construct a digital media product from budgeted resources that addresses client needs.
ALD 5.3 Assess the collaborative process for its impact on the design, planning, and production of a digital media product.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Under The Blood Red Sun

A 13 yr old Japanese boy faces adversity in WW2 Hawaii, when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. His life is suddenly turned upside down as Japanese-Americans were now considered enemies of the state. Tomi Nakaji is relentlessly bullied by the sun of a wealthy caucasian. Throughout the movie Tomi is torn between denouncing his Japanese culture to protect himself and perpetuating the concept of honor which is a very important trait in Japanese culture. In this family movie of loyalty, perseverance, and courage we look back into history to see the impact the Attack on Pearl Harbor had on Japanese-Americans.

Mr and Mrs Savage are a husband and wife film making duo. Mr. Savage is a director and Mrs. Savage is an Associate producer. In addition to working on individual projects, they have been producing commercials for the Bank of Hawaii for years and are a part of the media team for a church on Oahu. Mr. Tim Savage has directed several locally focused movies in addition to Under the Blood Red Sun, such as Goodbye Paradise and The Lemon Tree Billiards House.

The job of a director is to be the creative vision of the project. They are often the person deciding what creative changes could be made to make the film better. The Director carries many responsibilities such as casting, script writing, shot composition and overseeing editing. Directors are often seen as the big "boss" on set, their decisions are critical to the direction of the movie. The Associate Producer aids the head Producer in any way necessary. They are often in charge of fundraising for the project, and supervising different stages of production. Don't let the word "Associate" fool you, the Associate Producer often plays a large role in the making of the storyboard and script. Their job is often directed by the Producer, they decide what the Associate Producer does during the production process. Both the Director and Associate Producer are critical roles in filmmaking, as they execute many decisions and take on many responsibilities.

The first question I asked was "How did it feel for Under the Blood Red Sun win all those awards? Did those awards help to spread the name of the movie around?". Their response was actually very interesting, and not at all what I expected. As it turned out, the film wasn't originally planned to go into film festivals. After some discussion after the movie was made the movie was slowly submitted into different film festivals, and it won several awards. Mr. Savage said he was very pleased with that result and that it was incredible to see something he worked on win those awards.

The second question I asked was "I noticed that many of your (Tim Savage) films (like Goodbye Paradise and Lemon Tree Billiards House) are not only shot, but also take place in Hawaii. Are you drawn to the stories Hawaii has to offer, or is it because Hawaii is/has been your home?" This also had an interesting answer, as it turns out its a little bit of both. Mr. Savage feels that he has a sort of unique directing lense, as he grew up in Hawaii and lived here for most of his life. He thinks that in a way it helps gives his work a realistic feeling to the customs and norms of Hawaii. Although, he admits that most of the work he is offered takes place in Hawaii, so it's also convenience of location.

The third, and last, question I asked was "Did the actors (of Tomi’s family) need to learn Japanese for the film or did the actors already know enough?". I noticed that throughout the film there was little bits of Japanese spoken amongst the main character's family, so I was curious if it was learned for the film or did the actors already know about it. I have been taking Japanese for 3 years now, so hearing those little phrases peaked my interests. Mr. Savage primarily discussed Tomi's actor Kyler Ki Sakamoto, and he said that although there were some things he needed to learn much of his knowledge came from growing up with his Japanese family. I thought that was cool, just because even if he didn't know the language he was able to pick up a lot from his family.

Overall I think the movie Under the Blood Red Sun was excellent and moving. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys history or family friendly movies. As of right now the film can only be watched on Flix Premier, so if you happen to have an account, I definitely suggest checking this movie out.

ALD 3.1 - Evaluate the relationship between digital technology and criminal activity for its affect on the digital marketplace.
ALD 3.2 - Evaluate legal and ethical behavior related to the creation, use, and distribution of digital content that minimizes the risk of legal or moral consequence.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Public Service Announcement

A powerful and well done PSA could change how the audience sees a certain topic. I believe if done well a PSA could change the view a person has on a topic. A PSA brings light to topics that people could be ignorant about, if the message is impactful it will cause the audience to stop and think. I hope to show the dangers of vaping with my public service announcement. A lot of people don’t know the repercussions of vaping, as most vapes are advertised as a “safe” alternative for smoking cigarettes. I would hope that my PSA could change the way people view vapes. Hopefully people will begin to quit vaping, or decide not to vape at all. Vapes are so unregulated that people are taking a gamble with their bodies. If someone wants to get off cigarettes to protect their health, vaping isn’t the right answer.

The Olelo Community Media company is the host of this PSA video contest. They are a company devoted "to strengthen our island voices and advance community engagement through innovative media". Since their origins in 1989 the company has been providing access to production facilities, media training, and even air time to the many communities in Hawaii. This contest in particular, The Olelo Youth Xchange Video competition, has been going on for 15 years. The goal is to empower youth voices through media.

With any competition it's important to follow the rules, as in most cases non compliance results in disqualification. Why would anyone want to throw away their hard work so easily? I think the most important rule to remember is the theme of the contest, as it is mandatory for all submissions to "focus on an ISSUE that affects community, our state or the world". Another very important rule is rule 4 on their list of rules which states "Each entry must be uploaded to ‘┼îlelo’s OmniContest website (link to be provided) between January 8, 2018 and 11:59 p.m. HST on February 28, 2018. All tabs and fields of the online submission form must be completely filled in and double checked for accuracy; i.e. title, category, first and last names of students, etc. Incomplete submissions may lead to disqualification. Maximum file size is 1GB". It certainly is a long rule, but nothing in it should be ignored. This rule highlights the importance of properly completing the submission form, because if done sloppily disqualification can occur. In the rule there is also mention of the cap on the file size of submissions. This is particularly important because if a file type turns out to exceed the cap then the student could fix it before submission, but if it is overlooked and submitted without care then it will be disqualified. Lastly the third most important contest rule, in my opinion, is that the same footage can not be used in multiple entries. Working in teams like ours could result in the reuse of footage amongst PSAs, although it isn't common I believe it's important to know. What could seem like a harmless decision could result in the disqualification of both PSAs which would not only affect you, but your teammate as well.

I think there are so many media competitions with prize money and scholarship opportunities is because the arts and communication industry wants to inspire students to participate in digital media, which would then result in the expansion of the industry. After all, what student would pass up an opportunity for prize money? Personally, I believe that students benefit more from contests than the companies themselves. Students have the opportunity to get money and refine their skills, whereas the companies mainly have the opportunity to put their name out there for the public. Therefore the students benefit more from the contests.

My PSA didn't evolve much from the RC in terms of sequencing and ideas. As suggested during the RC critique I added more post it notes that was not present in my RC, I made this change to better connect my symbolism to the film topic. I did, however, need to reshoot pretty much everything in order to accommodate for these slight changes. I do feel that those changes only improved my storyline, and having to refilm was a small price to pay. I also redid my VAs several times, I suppose I'm just not used to having to read into a microphone. I'm still not happy with my final voice over but compared to my other takes, this one is an improvement. In addition, I edited my ending to be more ambiguous and not as simple as one angle shot of me walking out the door. I believe that making these changes was absolutely necessary and boy was it worth it. Although I'm still not happy with my final cut, I would keep making it better if not for the time constraint, I think making changes vastly improved my RC.

The critique went mostly how I thought it would go, I know I changed things so I wouldn't get a low score, but I didn't expect to get all fours. I was a little shocked that my score for changing from my RC was somewhat low, as I did the changes asked of me. Regardless, I am relatively happy with the critique results. The best compliment I received was one made on my sequencing, I've had experience making sequences before so I tried to incorporate that knowledge into my filmmaking. I wasn't 100% pleased with them but I'm glad someone else enjoyed them.

ALD 2.1 Assess the evolution of digital media as it affects and is affected by society.
ALD 2.2 Assess changes in technology and markets as it affects digital media designs.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


A Cinemagraph is a photograph where a portion of the image is animated. It is submitted in a gif format, but it doesn't always seem that way. At first glance you may even think it is just a still image! First, you record your footage. To make a cinemagraph the most important thing is a stable camera. If the camera isn’t stable then the whole thing will not work out. Pick something interesting! You want to be creative, make your cinemagraph something unique. Second, open your footage in final cut pro. Go through your footage and cut things you don’t like and make sure it is what your want for your cinemagraph. Thirdly, create the meat of your cinemagraph. Start by making a freeze frame, this will be your still action. Then add a draw mask to the freeze frame, this will give you the ability to cut out the part of your cinemagraph you want still. Add your points to finish the mask and then invert it. The fourth step is looping and exporting your cinemagraph. Cut the video at a good point, and then switch the bladed clips to create a loop. Then export your finished product and you’re finally done.

I was absent the day the class did the first cinemagraph, and when I came back there was a cinemagraph crash course awaiting me. I believe that this cinemagraph turned out well, but I don’t really think it is a good representative of my skill level. I had no part in coming up with the idea or taking the footage. In general I think that if I follow what I did to make the first cinemagraph, then the rest of them should turn out nicely. I think to improve my cinemagraphs I could go for more risky content, and involve more movement in the gif. For my second attempt I plan to have a cinemagraph of the tv changing channels. What I imagine is, someone (either myself or my sister) sitting in my living room at no specific time of day, holding the remote, poised to change the channel. This will be my still frame. On the TV the channel would be changing, an endless cycle of boredom, acting as my moving element. To take the footage I’m likely going to use my phone and make a tripod on a stack of huge books from my room. In the end I hope this cinemagraph will turn out to look nice.

I quite like how my cinemagraph turned out. My footage ended up being over a minute long, and my final cinemagraph was cut down to around 6 seconds long. I am quite happy with the way it looks, although I would have liked the lighting to be better. I think my cinemagraph could be more creative, and challenging. After all a television is very easy to cut out. For my last cinemagraph, I plan to take a risk. I’m imagining a pot of boiling water, with a hand pouring in pasta. The water will act as my moving component and the hand will be the still action. I am unsure of how well it will turn out because of the steam but I am hopeful. The filming will take place in my kitchen, and like my second cinemagraph it will be filmed with my phone and a makeshift tripod. I don’t want the entire body of the person in the frame, so I will film it from the side so that just the hand and pasta box are showing. This last cinemagraph makes me nervous, but excited.

This third cinemagraph was my riskiest one. I had to film it twice, to get it just right. But in the end, I’m really happy with how it turned out. Instead of a pasta box my final cinemagraph has a hand stirring the pot. It looks much better and more realistic than the pasta box I had in my first one. I think it was a bit of a risk but it looks the way I wanted it to. I believe that the main reason for creating cinemagraphs is aesthetic, however some companies are now branching out in their advertisement techniques and are using cinemagraphs to sell their products. Making cinemagraphs can also show knowledge and enhance digital media techniques. A cinemagraph can tell a story in a way that a photo can not, with movement. Yet, a cinemagraph doesn’t have so much movement in it that it becomes overwhelming, like some videos.

Above are the results of the critiques of my cinemagraphs. You can see that my second one was voted my best and my first was my worst. I'm a little surprised with the results. I definitely expected my first cinemagraph to be my lowest scoring. After all, it was made with the rest of the class, and rather sloppy. However, I thought my peers would like the third cinemagraph the best. It was the hardest one to make, and the one I put the most thought into. My friends all liked that one the best, and if I'm being honest it's my favorite as well. Regardless I'm glad that my second cinemagraph was so well received, I'm rather proud of that one as well. Overall I'm very pleased with the critique results.

Bonus Cinemagraph! I wasn't sure if my third one would work so I recorded extra footage of my sister and just made it into a cinemagraph. I like the way it looks, but I also think it's quite simple.

ALD 4.1: Evaluate diverse processes of forming and conveying a targeted message.
ALD 4.2: Compare and contrast how various audiences perceive digital media to anticipate desired reactions and responses.