Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Final Project

My final video project is called "How To Survive Mr. Sanderl's Class". Essentially it's a satyrical survival guide for how to survive the class I am currently in. Of course, this class doesn't really need a survival guide, but I thought it would be fun and amusing for those watching. Since this will be my final project of my senior year, I wanted to make it special and reminiscent not only of my time spent in this class this year but also my time spent with Mr. Sanderl as my middle school teacher (4-5 years ago). The most important thing I've learnt in class is to have fun when film making, even when you need to take things seriously. If you like what you are creating, it will be easy. I believe my video also showcases my ability to use Final Cut Pro and a camera to communicate a message to an audience.

Script writing was the most challenging aspect of the process. While I have no trouble writing for my classes, dialogue is much harder. There is no room for flowery sentences because the main goal of the voice over is to communicate the purpose of your film in a way in which no one becomes bored or falls asleep when watching. I needed to make sure it was humorous and not forced, as if I was having a normal conversation. Not being the way I usually right, I struggled a lot with finding the right wording and flow. I had to go over my script, verbally, with my sister several occasions because I wasn't quite happy with what I had written then. My biggest roadblock was finding time and energy to actually film. I'm sure you've all heard of senioritis, but I didn't think about how badly it would hit me until recently. I couldn't help but wonder why I had to do this project when I was just going to graduate anyways. Any excitement I had flew out the window. Eventually I got up off my couch and filmed, but it took a surprising amount of convincing myself that it was worth it.

Overall I was surprised with my critique results, I was worried that my project was not going to be as nice as I imagined, as I had to rush the ending to accommodate for a guest speaker (granted the speaker was very enlightening). I'm glad that my classmates found my video to be humorous, as it was my intention.

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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Digital Manipulation

The surrealism art movement is a type of modernist art movement that primarily lasted from the 1920s-1940s. Actually, it first began as a literary movement as writers started to experiment with a new type of writing style and technique. Surrealism was an expansion of dadaism, a movement that fought against the elitist regulation of art. Often characterized by dreamlike imagery, surrealism included a deep psychoanalysis from the artists. They expanded on their own subconscious by breaking away from classical styles. Notable artists being Salvador Dali and Paul Delvaux amongst others. Still a popular style today, surrealism has spread to the digital world where artists can use online programs to create surrealist work.

All three of my surrealist concepts surround ourselves and how we interact with our environment. My first concept combines drawing and spiderwebs to represent how we create our own skeletons and cobwebs in our closet. It's symbolic about how although some things can not be predicted, we have greatest influence over our own life. My next concept is about how the mistakes we create, create larger problems in turn. I wanted to connect all of my concepts together, so this means that if we leave those cobwebs and regrets then those problems will continue to pester us and craft even larger problems. This second concept also alludes to human pollution and the destruction of the environment. As for my last concept, it's has a lighter note to it, a conclusion to my first two concepts. The message of my third concept is "new things can arise from nothing". I want to promote that if we sweep away our cobwebs and problems, then good things can come from it. I think together they make a series of powerful images, to demonstrate how our actions are connected, one thing influences the next.

Hexadecimal colors are used by web pages to set up colors. There are two main color systems used, that being RGB (red, green blue) and CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). While in theory the two are interchangeable, they each have their primary uses. RBG is often used on web pages because they are additive which means they add together to become white. Whereas CMYK is used in printing, and has been since the first days of color printing, because they are subtractive colors. They way we perceive and print light is very important, which is why things printed often look different from what they are on the computer. There is only so much that we can get from color in printing, which is much different from what we can perceive on the computer.

Lossless compression is when converting data files, none of the original quality is lost. This is especially good for music files to that the quality of music does not decrease. Lossy compression is when some of the quality is lost when converting data files. In terms of images, the JPEG and GIF format is considered to be lossy, as some of the quality is always lost in these formats. Lossless formats for images include, PNG, BMP and RAW. Raster and vector are the two main types of image files, they determine the look of the image. Raster is used more often, being made out of pixels, and includes jpg, gif, and png.Vector processing is used in CAD, and other types of 3-D graphics. One easy way to compare the two is that Photoshop uses raster processing and Adobe Illustrator uses vector. They each have their pros and cons, it all depend on what you want to do with your image. Raster images allow you to blend and add depth to your work, whereas vector generally processes the outlines of colors. However raster images can get distorted and become lossy, whereas vector images are lossless and can be edited very easily. First, a little background on what dithering is. Dithering is a create process in which you simulate a color by using two different other colors and placing them close together. There are many ways dithering can be used for creative effects in Photoshop. It can be used to create texture in low resolution, or even to create new and interesting patterns.

Technology gives us the ability to create work in less time than it would have taken a painter in the Renaissance days. This means that artists are able to churn out more of their work for profit and satisfaction. However, I feel that having all this technology at our fingertips sometimes lets us lose the real meaning in art. When I work on photoshop I don't become as contemplative or as thoughtful as when I'm working with my oil paints. Surrealism existed long before the creation of computers and the new technology used today. It is not a reflection of materials, but it is a reflection of your message. Those artists back then could create surrealist artworks, and so it is not impossible to break away from the digital world and work with other forms of media. For one, paint is an excellent way to create surrealist artwork. The ability to work and rework a painting would be vital in creating the introspective works of surrealism. While it might take longer, I don't the end result would be all that different and by no means less important. Salvador Dali is still revered for his insane surrealistic paintings, which he did without the use of technology.

On the day of the critique, I was at graduation practice, so I didn't have the opportunity to receive live feedback from my classmates. However, from what I gathered from the critique results the meaning of my best work became muddled. There was a large focus on the fact that there was a giant lizard in my picture, and less focus on what the meaning of the lizard was. I also received relatively low scores across the board for my picture, which I must say surprised me. I noticed that at first glance my work does look shoddy, and looks like I just pasted the ball and lizard on top of my background picture. Yet, those two images are actually behind my background and I tried to manipulate the image so that it looks like that they're rising from the ocean. Overall I thought I did a little better than what I scored, yet I see where my classmates are coming from.

ALD 1.1 Assess how mathematics is used to create and manipulate digital media.
ALD 1.2 Assess how changes in digital technology affects the creation and manipulation of media content.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Photo Challenge

The 15 Day Photo Challenge my classmates and I participated in is essentially a 15 school day long project where every night you are required to take a picture that fits both the selected theme and CAP (Composition, Angle, Position) for that day. I was lucky enough to be in charge of the class critique twice over the course of the challenge. The first time, it was for the topic and CAP I chose which were "fear" and "leading lines". Fear could be a numerous amount of things from the abstract to the explicit. The most important thing though, was making sure that leading lines were incorporated into the picture. Leading lines refers to the composition techniques where the photographer uses natural or man made lines that point towards the subject. The direction of the lines are important, it needs to draw the viewer's eyes towards the subject, not away. The second day I led the critique was for the topic "trust" and the CAP "ant's eye view". There were many different takes on the idea of trust, from trust in our vehicles to trust in our friends. As for the CAP, ants eye means that the camera lens must be pointing straight up, like an ant looking towards the sky. This angle makes selecting your subject harder, but it can be done.

I love to take photography, it's one of the hobbies I have that has a calming effect on me. Needless to say (Hi Mr. Sanderl, you reading this?), I was psyched for this project. I believe that over the course of the challenge I was able to improve my photography skills. At first, some of my pictures didn't seem to have any purpose in what I did. I just took pictures based on whether or not they looked nice (or sometimes using subconscious composition techniques). However as the challenge moved on, my pictures were much more thoughtful and in return I got great feedback. Now I consider things like rule of thirds, and positions. There is still so much more about my photography that I can improve, and as I continue to take pictures in my free time I will do just that. Improvement is key to success.

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.

Hiki No Video

Our Hiki No topic is "Developing Your Personal Style Cultivates New Found Confidence", my team and I want to communicate that personal style is way to generate confidence and that having confidence makes for a happier life. We describe several things in our video such as: wearing what you love is important, being fashionable and comfortable is possible, what you can accessorize with, how to create your style (in terms of getting/making clothes). Everyone could use a little more confidence, especially since the main audience of Hiki No is students, and we hope that we can inspire our audience to create and develop their own style.

By the time our rough cut was due, my team had about 80% of our video complete, all we had left was our last point in our five point outline. That being said, there were several things we needed to improve our rough cut with. I think our five point story flow worked well, and there wasn't anything we needed to change in terms of outline. Since the rough cut, our team has recorded new voice overs 3 times, we want to choose the best voice over for our video. There were several things we needed to do in order to improve our b-roll. First, we didn't have all of our sequences filmed so that was our first priority. Then, there were several awkward placements of b-roll that we needed to move around. The final result of the placement looks great. In terms of editing techniques we needed to fix things like audio, cutting, and placement of b-roll. To fix that, we learned how to ramp audio and add different tracks, we watched our video over and over to look for editing mistakes and points of improvement. In order to improve our overall message, we decided to get more film of boys. In our rough cut, there was a significant female presence but there was only one boy. We wanted to make our film more balanced and inclusive so we shot more scenes with some of our male classmates. I think we managed to vastly improve our video from our rough cut.

The DMCA is a law set in place by the US government to protect the original works of individuals. It prevents citizens from the stealing the works of others and using it for commercial or personal gain. Copyright infringement is when a person violates the copyright rules set in place for a product. This could be stealing music, copying artwork, and other offenses. While there are some exceptions to copyright policy, the penalties for infringement can range from paying a large fine (up to 150,000) to being sent to jail. It is always better to gain permission than to risk the consequences.

According to a book about copyright, featured at the Stanford University Library, gaining permission to use copyrighted content is a simple five step process. First, check to see if you need permission to use the content. In some cases, products are listed as fair use, or are free to use in certain situations. If you check first, it could save you a lot of time. Provided you do need permission to use it, determine who the owner of the content is. Is it a small artist? Or is it owned by a large scale company? Then, identify the rights you need. What do you intend to use the product for? This will ensure that you don't pay for more than you need, or pay for too little. Next contact the owner of the work and negotiate the terms. Discuss things like payment, use and intentions. Remember, that person owns the work so if they aren't comfortable with it being used, respect their wishes. You may need to pay for the product, so that should be a key point in your discussion. Finally, make sure to get the copyright agreement in writing. That way, if any problems arise you have legal documentation of your discussion with the owner of the work. This solidifies that you gained permission to use the work.

Fair use is the copying of copyright material that does not violate copyright laws, and can be done without the permission of the owner. Using the copyrighted work for commentary, parody and criticism are examples of fair use. If you follow fair use policy then you do not have to pay for the rights to use it, or be pressed charges for usage. Although you should be careful, fair use is not a set of defined rules so it is often decided by a court whether or not it is fair use. One example of fair use is the series "Bad Lip Reading", this channel on YouTube uses the film of popular movies but records voice overs that overlay the original sound. Since they are using copyrighted content for parody, these videos fall under fair use. Another example of fair use is done by the YouTube channel "Cinema Sins", they take popular movies and point out flaws in them that the audience usually would not notice. This YouTube channel is using the content for critiquing purpose, so they are not at risk of copyright infringement. Both channels are using fair use to create new content from old.

Gaining permission means you are not doing anything illegal by filming at that location. It ensures that all parties are aware of the filming, and prevents any misunderstandings from occurring. There is also the matter of liability- if you have permission to film on location, it becomes your responsibility to take care of your crew and prevent any injuries from occurring. Video Release forms are another way to prevent any misunderstandings between the participants and film makers. Any participants involved must agree to being used in the final product (film) to make things legal. Video release forms are used anywhere, from schools to big Hollywood productions. Overall, our critique results were great. I was pleased with our final video and I think our hard work reflected in our product. Yet, there are always things that can be improved upon. The biggest thing that we need to improve upon is our audio levels, particularly our background music. While the music did not sound very loud in our headphones, on the big screen tv the music drowned out our voiceovers. There were also some parts in our video where the music transition simply did not make sense, if we are selected by Hiki No that aspect will certainly be fixed. I think we can fix this problem by always lowering the audio more than we think we should, and even playing it out loud will help make sure the music isn't too loud in future videos.

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, 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.