hbrooks17

Henry Brooks

FINAL – “Dating Profile: Michael Jackson”

My final video was originally supposed to be a mockumentary following the “Job Profile” assignment format. Evidently, it turned into a fake dating profile. I had more fun with this video than any of the others I filmed over the course of the semester. It was out of my comfort zone to say the least.

I wish I knew why I made a video like this. I’m so sorry.

I enjoyed this final project much more than I thought I would.

Thanks for the fun semester.

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HyperCinema: “Through Windows”

http://dtc-wsuv.org/hbrooks17/through-windows/

For my hyper cinema assignment, I wanted to capture some brief nature shots similar to those we’ve seen from Terence Malick this semester. I was inspired to film on campus between the library and VMMC because of the miniature window panes next to the stairs in VMMC. As I found myself walking from one class to another, I noticed how the image of a tree was distorted by the shape of the glass. By noticing the way the glass manipulated an otherwise obvious image, I sought to capture the difference in perception. While I could write a considerably long post about metaphors surrounding ideas such as perception and interpretation, I would be lying if I said there was a “greater meaning” to this work. I saw something that I thought was really interesting, and I wanted to share how I saw the tree through the glass (hence the title: “Through Windows”). Unlike my other projects throughout this class, the hyper cinema assignment didn’t truly start with an idea, then a plan. However, my idea for this assignment developed the moment I saw the tree as I walked down the stairs. From there, I immediately knew what I wanted to film, and how I wanted to film it. Even though I wouldn’t consider it my favorite assignment so far, I had fun experimenting with different shots, as well as receiving unusual stares from people passing by.

(In hindsight, I guess I looked pretty weird filming on the staircase for several minutes…)

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HyperCinema: My Experience with “Last Dream”

After experimenting with Last Dream, I’m unsure if I would qualify the experience as a form of digital cinema. While the use of interactivity within storytelling always creates a unique experience, I found myself “playing” the story rather than experiencing it as a form of cinema. My attention drifted more towards the “game-ification” of the world I was placed in. Through a point-and-click, old-school, flash game -esque environment, I was unable to focus my full attention to the narrative and story content. Instead, I spent the majority of my time clicking on every possible object looking for a solution to the “puzzle” that would grant my access to the next portion of the story. While the experience was fun, I only briefly directed my focus toward the words on-screen. Even though I was unable to completely decipher the story or overall meaning, I thought that the art and environment of Last Dream was entirely unique to the experience it tries to deliver. The use of plant imagery subtly surrounding the point of view of the user while still in the house was a very interesting touch and frequently grabbed my attention. As an art piece, I was much more interested in Last Dream’s content. As a story, however, I struggle in qualifying my experience as “cinematic.” Would I recommend this to anyone wishing to experience stories/games such as this before Flash is entirely discontinued? – Absolutely. Though much of my critique stems from my inability to “accurately” experience the story, I wouldn’t say that it’s the fault of Last Dream. In my opinion, it’s probably because my interactions with point-and-click games is almost second nature – in that I often find myself mindlessly clicking until I beat the game in only a few minutes.

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Video Essay: “Botch Tribute”

This video is more of a tribute to the late, great band Botch. The song I have devoted this tribute to is “Swimming the Channel Vs. Driving the Chunnel,” which is easily one of my favorite songs by them. This video is a personalized visual interpretation of the song’s lyrical content, hence the “video essay” format. I chose to withhold spoken word / the original song to emphasize the words themselves, rather than simply creating a “lyric video.” The lyrics belong exclusively to Botch / Hydra Head Records and I claim no ownership / association with them. I’m just a fan who wants to share the words.

Song in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA1wruMpinc

Botch bandcamp: https://botch.bandcamp.com

More about Botch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botch_(band)

The background music is not the song I am referencing.

Music: Meydän – Chalet
(Courtesy of freemusicarchive)

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Video Essay Blog + Final Project Idea

While my experience in the CMDC program has shown and taught me many different skills, tools and methods to produce digital content, I have always had an attachment to writing in general. Because of my early fondness for writing, I chose to major in English. This blog post in particular is a very interesting subject to me, as it is (in my opinion) an incredibly creative method of conveying and distributing ideas/research/opinions. To me, language is such an important part of day to day life. Though many would consider me to be quiet, shy, etc, written language has always been a strong suit of mine. Ultimately, writing has allowed me to communicate with a greater sense of meaning. To me, the video essay, as a medium, is such an important cultural artifact that has risen from sites such as YouTube. The use of visual media in conjunction with a traditional essay format “bridges the gap” between the visual and written worlds.

In the case of an argumentative essay, the video essay can be a very powerful tool used to validate one’s claims. As someone who has written several argumentative essays over the course of a college career, the citation of multiple sources is critical in “proving” any and all claims. However, with the video essay, the “works cited” page is playing out in front of the viewer at all times. As the speaker makes a point, there is often visual evidence to support their claim. In the instance of the 12 Angry Men video essay, as the speaker discusses the use (and emotional effect) of various framing techniques, the visual evidence to support their discussion includes the specific shots in question.

 

Also,

 

For my final project, I’m choosing to explore a mockumentary format. The subject of the mockumentary is supposed to be an “exotic car collector,” however, they have no exotic cars (and no awareness of anything, really). The “collector” will believe that anything with 4 wheels is an “exotic car.” My goal is to defy the viewer’s expectations of what would otherwise be a normal video of someone talking about cars – except they have no understanding of what a “car” really is. My brief mockumentary will take the form of a 2-3 minute video, and will exercise the knowledge of what we have learned about documentary filmmaking and visual evidence. Realistically, I will only need two or so of my friends to help out. As of right now, the only permissions I believe I’ll need from anyone will involve getting shots of their cars.

I was inspired by this old Kyle Mooney video:

Any feedback or recommendations about this idea are welcome.

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Job Profile Final Cut – “The Mechanic”

Here’s the updated version of my job profile. I made sure to include the original garage sounds in this version. After reimplementing the sounds, it does improve the overall atmosphere of the video.

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Job Profile – The Mechanic

Here’s my submission for the Job Profile assignment. I chose to interview my mechanic friend about his job and the experiences he’s had over the course of his career.

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  1. Henry,
    There is some good camera work here. But I think you missed something about the interview process. Typically, unless you are in the shot and a subject of the video, the interviewer’s voice is cut. Which means you need to ask questions in a way that allows for the interviewee to respond in full. Sometimes you can coach on how to answer. For example: “what is you favorite experience?” should be answered: “my favorite experience is…” Then you would edit the responses into a coherent narrative along with the visual evidence. Also, please add back the sounds of a garage. This makes us feel present is the garage.

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Hybrid Space – Campus Walk

For my hybrid space assignment, I wanted to create an interpretation of a walk through the WSUV campus. I filmed on a day when no clouds were in the sky. Ultimately, this allowed me to use the ultra key effect in Premiere to use the blue sky as a “blue screen.” The original idea was to capture certain visuals of walking from a parking lot, through the heart of campus and back. However, after watching Light is Waiting by Michael Robinson, I wanted to exaggerate every feature I could without overwhelming the viewer. In the name of exaggeration, I made the sky an unusual color and background, as well as layering and fading different frames in and out. As someone with limited experience using Premiere, I had fun experimenting with the different options and visual effects that could be used.

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Hybrid Cinema – Light is Waiting

In Light is Waiting by Michael Robinson, the viewer is “drawn in” to the visuals of the work more so than the “story” itself. What can be seen in the video is the guts and gore of a destroyed TV and all the unusual, distorted content of the TV’s (fake) output. However, the concept and editing of the video creates an unusual yet familiar feeling of nostalgia as various moving images that could be found on any basic cable channel overwhelm the viewer in waves and layers. While some images include clubs, tribal rituals, boating, etc, they all relate to one another as the special effects create a sense of continuity among all of the images. As Lev Manovich explains, “Special effects, which involved human intervention into machine-recorded footage and which were therefore delegated to cinema’s periphery throughout its history, become the norm of digital filmmaking” (9). In the case of Light is Waiting, the use of special effects, distortion of audio and video as well as other forms of editing, has created a situation in which the editing is more fascinating than the content.

Had the content of Robinson’s video remained unedited (or “tame”) without the insane, red and blue, near seizure-inducing transitions, as well as the various layers of images and “mirrored” versions of them, the video itself would have almost certainly been uninteresting and irrelevant. However, given the extensive and artful use of these effects, Light is Waiting shows how special effects have not only become the norm of digital filmmaking as Manovich states, but that they have become so pervasive and attention-getting within today’s digital filmmaking that the works produced through this medium almost require the use of some type of effect or non-traditional style of editing.

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Eagle Creek Fire – Visual Evidence

 

For those of us who lived in the southwest Washington / north Oregon area at the time of the Eagle Creek Fire, the experience is unforgettable. I remember the blanket of ash on my car and the intensity of smoke in the air. After experiencing a true forest fire for the first time, I would focus the story of my documentary on the aftermath and the memories / personal accounts of the individuals most grossly affected. As Hampe states regarding the use of interviews for visual evidence, “…too much of the talk in modern documentaries is there, I fear, because it’s so much easier to do an interview than to go out and find a compelling image” (114). To circumvent the lack of images (or “real” visual evidence), I would make it a point to include footage from many different sources.

 

 

Whether the sources in question are vertical videos from those who witnessed it up close, content from news helicopters during the fires, or even sequences of still images that portray the devastation, the main focus of the documentary itself would allow the eye-witness testimony to emotionally engage the audience as the visual evidence is enhanced through various shots of the fire as it occurred. According to Hampe, “A strong visual demonstration will almost always be the best evidence you can use” (112). By allowing the audience to experience personal accounts in conjunction with the real-time footage of the fire, there will be an attempt to showcase the Eagle Creek fire as a personal memory rather than an acknowledgment of a past event.

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Spatial Montage – Paranormal Activity

 

For my spatial montage, I took inspiration from the movie Paranormal Activity. While I didn’t add any extra effects to give it a “night vision” or webcam type of feeling, I wanted to position the still shots as though they were somewhat like security cameras (similar to the movie). Throughout the montage, there are some subtle (and blatant) disturbances that indicate the presence of a ghost in the house. Though I could have done more to make the “ghost” itself obvious for the viewer, I didn’t want to make anything too obvious. Instead, I chose to go with common ghost story/movie tropes that have been used throughout horror movie history (the jiggling doorknob, the shadowy figure, etc). Given the use of simultaneous frames on the same screen, I wanted to create an unsettling feeling as the viewer notices sudden movements and changes that could potentially catch them off guard through peripheral vision while they focus on a specific frame.

While the recording process was fairly easy (and fun, overall), the only trouble I had later on was positioning the frames within Premiere. After I figured out what I was doing, it was just simple editing from there. Unlike the video content, I chose to withhold some of the audio I had recorded. Even though I originally wanted to play around with making “creepy sounds” to make it more intense, I figured that the experience would be more “authentic” without any music or other unnatural sounds. Ultimately, I had more fun with this assignment than any of the others we have done so far.

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Nonlinearity in Run Lola Run

In Run Lola Run (1991), the main novelty of the film is the use of nonlinear editing to showcase different actions, interactions and resolutions. While the premise of the movie stays the same (Lola must help Manni and his money problem), the repetition of events, flashbacks, visions, etc, all allow for a more disjointed timeline of the story’s development. As Nicholas Rombes states regarding Run Lola Run, “In Run Lola Run, the several different versions of the same event tell the story not only of Lola and her boyfriend Manni but of the process of nonlinear editing itself, whereby shots and sequences are pieced together in potentially endless configurations,” (Chapter 25: “Nonlinear”). In order for the story to further immerse the viewer, the use of nonlinear editing creates a story where there are several possible interpretations of the events that take place. Are the cuts to Lola and Manni in bed from the past? Are all of the different “replays” Lola experiences simply visions / predictions of certain outcomes from her perspective that guide her to making the right choices? Or, alternatively, does time not exist in their universe at all? Because of the way in which the film has been edited, the viewer must piece together the “actual” story as it develops. Ultimately, by the final repetition of Lola’s running sequence, the viewer (and Lola) both come to an understanding of what must be done in order to achieve the ideal outcome. Despite the lack of an obvious timeline, the nonlinearity of Run Lola Run creates a situation where the viewer must think for themselves to determine the film’s true resolution. In solidarity with the film’s development, as most writers would say, “show – don’t tell.”

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Loops Assignment

Loop 1: “Shower”

 

Loop 2: “Oven”

 

Loop 3: “Wind”

 

For the loops assignment, I chose to base my videos off of the prompts we were given for the project. While the idea of creating a cinemagraph was appealing, it didn’t offer much in the way of variation. Of the three loops I’ve created, my favorite is loop #1, “Shower.” While the media player for wordpress fails to seamlessly replay the loop as it restarts the video link from youtube, the idea of the loop is still established. In loop #1, I wanted to create a theme/atmospheric type of shot (In this case, a shower at night after working/school, or a scene in a generic slasher movie).

Though the first loop was easy to film and edit, the other loops I’ve included in this post were much harder to create. Since I was working with multiple shots that would loop endlessly, I found myself struggling at times to come up with ideas that would allow continuity without having an obvious beginning or ending. In the case of loop #3, “Wind,” I aimed to create a short montage of nature being effected by the wind. Despite the lack of a true start or finish, the purpose of the montage is to create a feeling/observation of nature. However, the most difficult loop I attempted was loop #2, “Oven.” In loop #2, I focused strictly on continuity editing (POV shot, etc). With a time-limit of 10 seconds, what was originally 3 to 4 shots quickly became 2 to 3.

Overall, even though I had fun with this project, it was the most difficult one for me to produce thus far.

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Loops

In terms of time, gifs/loops such as this are suspenseful to say the least. When watching this gif, even though it’s a loop, there are many questions that can be asked as we think in terms of our own reality. Even though we know there’s no possible way for us to walk through these doorways forever, it seems as though we are making no progress towards the light. While the point of view of the gif shows “light at the end of the tunnel,” no matter how far the subject walks in the direction of the light, there is no movement forward. To me personally, it’s unsettling.

 

The endless staircase in Mario 64 also offers a weird/manipulated perception of time. Unlike the previous gif, an endless staircase seems more aggravating than creepy and suspenseful. That being said, the endless staircase is very similar to the hallway gif in the sense that it offers the same distortion of time / distance. While far less unsettling, the time spent moving in one direction without any progress toward a destination can be seen in the gif.

 

As most people say “time flies,” a time-lapse of the woods through the four seasons proves the statement to be true. While the other gifs offer interesting portrayals of time and the ways editing / other media can manipulate a concept we all have a perception of, this gif (though sped up) is by far the most accurate representation of time of the 3 [gifs]. In order for anyone to be confused or question the portrayal of time within the first or second gifs, we need to understand what we base our initial perceptions of time on. In the case of gif #3, there is no more natural representation of time than the changing of the seasons or the change from day to night.

 

 

 

 

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Metric Montage Video

For the montage assignment, I chose to do a metric montage of me getting ready for school and going to class. Each clip is 2 seconds long and shows a simplified version of how I get ready for school. I originally wanted to take this same concept but instead include a shot of me leaving at night, but due to my schedule I wasn’t able to film the night-class shot. I believe that if I included a shot at night of me leaving it would have helped improve the theme of “the passage of time,” though the notion of time and distance is already covered through driving.

Even though I liked the idea of an intellectual montage, I couldn’t think of anything specific that I could translate into a video. Instead, I wanted to use some of the principles I learned from both the framing and continuity assignments. I preferred the use of a metric montage (compared to the other forms of montage) due to the balance it allows from shot to shot. Because I was able to guarantee an exact length of time for each scene of the montage, the editing process was much easier than the previous assignments despite the need to cut out the overwhelming majority of footage. However, similar to the other assignments we have done, only so much footage/information/story can be included in 30 seconds.

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  1. Definitely a great sequence. I was impressed with the quality of shots and audio. I enjoyed the variety of angles to showcase the narrative. I am curious what did you shoot with?

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Narrative Time in Digital Cinema

 

One of my favorite methods of depicting the passage of time is the use of highspeed time lapse. Over the years, there have been several shorts, TV shows, movies, etc. that have all used some form of time lapse. A common example of time lapse that is frequently used is a shot of the sun setting or rising. By simply “speeding up” a shot that would otherwise take several hours, a message of time passing can be effectively delivered to the viewer. As McCloud states in regard to portraying time through motion in comics, “If you’re going to pain a world filled with motion, then be prepared to paint motion,” (109). Just as comics can create representations of motion and time through various techniques such as the difference in panels (i.e. long panel), the time lapse can present the viewer with the idea that a significant amount of time has passed / is passing, and that the following scene(s) will take place in the future.

The use of the time lapse can be incredibly useful in cinematic storytelling. In regard to stories that take place over longer periods of time (days, months, years), these stories often necessitate an understanding of time and space over great distance. While some works of digital cinema take place over brief periods of time (minutes, hours), works that span especially long periods of time require the ability to explain time’s place within an individual story. Despite the frequency of which the time lapse is used within most forms of visual media, it has proven its worth over time.

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Continuity Video

 

For my continuity assignment, I chose to go with the “making/doing something” route. In the video, I aimed to use continuity editing to showcase an action taking place without disrupting the narrative flow of the “story” itself. At the start of the video, I’m laying on my bed listening to music. From there, I put down my iPod, get up, and get out of bed. Then, as I walk toward another part of my room, a closeup shot briefly shows my iPod along with the music I was listening to. In the next frame, for the sake of continuity, a shot of my legs walking in the same direction as before shows a transition from one location to another. By the end of the third frame, I stand in front of music equipment such as a guitar, amp, cord and pedals. By including these props, the subject (action/”doing something”) is established. In the next sequence of frames, I pick up the guitar, turn on the amp, plug the guitar in, and turn on a pedal. From there, the main action of the video takes place as I play part of a riff on the guitar. When I finish playing, I put the guitar back and turn everything off. Finally, the last shot of the video shows me walking back to my bed from the opposite direction as before (for the sake of continuity), where I then lay down and the video ends.

One of the hardest aspects of making this video was the time constraint of 60 seconds. Because of this, there was a fairly decent amount of footage that had to be cut – some of which was fairly important from a continuity standpoint. For example, after I put the guitar back and turn off the amp, there’s no shot of the pedal being turned off, even though there was a shot of it being turned on before. While the shot of the amp being turned off can give the viewer a sense that I turned off all of the equipment, with continuity in mind, it would have been important to include a brief scene where the foot pedal is turned off. Without cutting any footage at all, the time of this video would have been around 5 minutes long. After spending a significant amount of time deciding on what to cut and what not to cut, I managed to condense it all down to 60 seconds exactly.

Initially, I was more concerned about the process of continuity itself rather than the content of the video. However, after spending more time editing than I originally thought would be required, I realized that managing time and scenes together to create a complete video can be more of a challenge than implementing the principles of continuity. Even though I ultimately cut out roughly 4/5 of my original footage, I feel that I was able to establish a setting, an action, and a resolution within the time limit provided. While it may have been better if I was allowed more time than 60 seconds, given the circumstances, the content of the video appears to be clearly understandable.

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  1. I know you want more time to develop a story, but these are just exercises. You are right, though, that storytelling is more than just connecting one shot to another. Its is shaping the editing into a whole. The continuity edits are good here, but because you are shooting the action yourself, the movements feel less fluid. When directing yourself or others, try for natural fluid movements so that you can connect shots on the movement.

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Framing Blog Post

To get a better understanding of framing, I decided to analyze the different frames in the border shootout scene in Sicario (2015).

High/ELS

 

Medium Long Shot

 

Medium Close Up

 

Medium

 

Extreme Long Shot

 

Medium Close Up

 

Medium Close Up

 

Extreme Long Shot

 

Tilt (Here is where the tension/suspense of the scene is near its climax).

 

Medium (The shootout starts here. What all the frames have been leading up to).

 

Close up

 

Medium Close Up

 

Medium

 

Long shot (The scene’s resolution as the team begins their exit across the border).

 

One of the common themes throughout this scene is the use of close up shots to build tension. Not only is the audience frequently shown close ups of the protagonists, they are also shown close ups of the scene’s antagonists. Not only does this create suspense as the audience watches both sides prepare for a fight, it also shows the intensity, seriousness and other reactions/responses to the situation. The use of the tilt shot midway through also highlights the shift in the scene’s suspense, as it signals to the audience that something “isn’t right.” Almost immediately after, both parties confront one another, and the shootout begins. As the scene begins with a high angle shot / extreme long shot, it also ends with a long shot as the protagonists leave the scene.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I highly recommend it. Benicio Del Toro is an excellent actor and he offers a great performance here. (Fair warning, it’s a violent movie about a serious subject).

 

 

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Framing for Visual Evidence

 

In this assignment, I wanted to pursue the idea of an “aftermath.” In this case, the culprit left plenty of evidence. It won’t take much for anyone to figure out who is behind this crime.

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Pocket Cinema: Accessibility of Production

 

With the innovation of mobile phone cameras in the realm of film production, the accessibility of film making is now in the hands of anyone with a smartphone. In several cases, the development of major blockbuster films as well as indie productions has required the use of technology and equipment that eats away at the overall production budget. In addition to other expenses such as paying actors and staff, the cost of filming equipment can cost a significant amount of money. However, as some filmmakers have come to understand, as most (if not all) smartphones contain a built-in camera, the ability to create shorts, movies, episodes, etc, is doable with the technology already possessed by Apple, Android and Google devices.

In the case of videography through smartphones, shows such as Tangerine show that the challenge of recording a TV show is not an impossible task. As the same principles of videography apply, the phone simply becomes a simplified camera. While some may question the quality of footage, there are attachments such as lenses that allow for enhanced quality. While the production of movies and TV shows that are filmed through smartphone cameras are still in their infancy (in terms of major cinematic breakthrough), the foundation has been laid out for greater accessibility in filmmaking. Though the broad perception of smartphone filmmaking has yet to be taken seriously across the board, as it currently exists, platforms such as YouTube have thrived off the use of individuals creating and distributing content through their smartphone cameras. Though blogging/vlogging is far different from professional filmmaking, it is possible that iPhone filmmaking can be taken seriously in the future.

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Introduction

Hey everyone, my name is Henry. Even though I’m taking this course to help fulfill my credit requirement, I have a strong interest in videography such as music videos. I have always had an attachment to music, especially the videos that can become as iconic (if not more iconic) than the songs they’re associated with. I’m looking forward to learning more about videography and different stylistic approaches with all of you.

Two of my favorite music videos:

Lately I’ve been really interested in the use of colors and psychedelic-esque elements. The videos above, to me, highlight the ability to use a near-excessive amount of colors, filters, effects, etc – all without distracting from the music and subject of the video itself.

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