Interactive Cinema

I had a lot of fun making this! This only works on a desktop and was only tested on Windows. Use your keyboard’s arrow keys to navigate. Should be self-explanatory.

Click here to view project

This is also a sort of mockup web design for my final project I have in mind.

By the way, there’s a bug in the code. It works on Windows perfectly fine but on Mac, the videos clip over each other. I’ll fix that this weekend.

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Video Essay Blog

The juxtaposition of voice-over, text, sound, graphics, and video is a revolutionary way to explore new ideas and provide arguments where visual/graphical evidence could be useful. We see them all over on the internet now from Youtube to Facebook and everywhere in between. In one of the video essays provided this week, the author explains the difference between a video essay and an essay video, saying that a video essay is informal compared to essay videos which often sound academic with citations throughout the video. A video essay is a quick way to obtain information about an argument with visual/audio evidence laid over to support the argument. In most cases, a video essay is more than enough to convey your argument, but I can see how there can be times that people would require more citations throughout the video and the visual evidence needing to be less distracting from the main points creating an essay video.

I already created and posted a video essay here for extra credit, but the way I went about it is first write a script while thinking about visual evidence. My video essay was on continuity. I wanted to explain continuity by showing faults in the editing process that break the continuity in film. I used my own footage with planned scripts, visual evidence from movies and youtube, and more voice over I later added to support the argument during the visual evidence. Writing a video essay is a creative process where you don’t need to plan too much, you just stick things together that feels right and helps support your argument. Sometimes you might come across something else that better supports your argument, or might make you want to change the script (voice-over) and that’s perfectly fine too. It really is similar to writing an essay. When writing an essay, you first come up with the main point, then break it into paragraphs, then add detail and change what you feel should be changed while finishing the essay.

For my final project, I want to do an interactive video of a person running from a monster. The audience can choose the direction the person will go which can change the entire story. The class modules I will be exploring is interactive video, loops, and continuity. The videos will be loops, and hopefully perfect loops. I think I’m planning to work with another student who makes costumes to come up with the monster. I have roommates and friends who are willing to be actors. I don’t think I will need any special permissions for this project.

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Interactive Cinema

The combination of digital video, animation, and hypertext/hyperlinks is interesting and allows a lot of room for creativity. However, I found Ceci N’est Pas Embres very confusing at first. To me, there was no meaning for the placement of the hyperlinks, the videos didn’t connect well or have much relation with one another, the intro animation didn’t make much sense either. Without reading more about it before watching more videos, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the project.

Ceci N’est Pas Embres is nonlinear, interactive, and database-driven. It was conceived for and built using, the Korsakow System. Ceci N’est Pas Embres is a ‘database diary,’ a highly personal travel document based on the experiences of a family from Montréal living in rural France for six months in 2010.

The creator of the hyperlinked project, Matt Soar, effectively captures the experience of traveling and experiencing a culture shock in a rural area in a country very different from his metropolitan home. Matt provides a series of highly idiosyncratic observations about his experiences during his travel including things like the places, culture, language, and family.

When we travel to somewhere we’ve never been, we have personal experiences everywhere we go. Most travel documentation, including regular travel videos, are usually linear. It has a beginning typically involving getting to the destination, a middle where it showcases the tourist attractions at the destination, and a conclusion, usually at night, highlighting something special like fireworks or a sunset over a city’s skyline. Matt Soar instead created something more personal and captured the very essence people feel when traveling. The sudden thoughts and ideas are documented as well as other things which are all in a database and spread around organically in the project.

Interactive cinema opens a new dimension to storytelling. It allows viewers to interact with the video and maybe even change the story as they choose in what order what to watch. Or perhaps you could set it up as chapters where the audience views one video at a time like episodes so it feels like a digital video book. The possibilities are endless.

I can’t say it was very entertaining going through Matt’s project, but it sure feels like art. It gives me some ideas for my final project.

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Networked Cinema

Google’s resource material for YouTube creators goes into detail of what it takes to grow your Youtube channel. I think one of the most important pieces of advice given is that the channel needs to be original and fit a niche that is currently unsaturated. Of course, it’s important to find something that you are passionate about but if you want to make it big on Youtube, you need to set yourself apart from everyone else, and in a way that will attract regular viewers. There’s a difference between someone making Youtube videos for fun, getting a few hundred views per video, and someone who is working hard on a web series to make a living on Youtube. So the web series should also be something that you won’t get tired of doing anytime soon. I remember when Fred was the most popular thing on the internet but I couldn’t imagine how annoying it would be to make those high pitched videos all the time.

One of my favorite web series is h3h3 Productions. They do pop-culture satire, comments on Youtube drama, and they have overall high-quality content. After having some cinematography experience from this class, I can respect the work that h3h3 puts into their videos even more. Their editing is simple, but you can tell they put a lot of effort into it.

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Job/Hobby Profile

The person I interviewed for this assignment is an old roommate of mine. I forgot to ask him to introduce himself in the interview, but his name is Jeff. He is an avid hobbyist in miniature war games and in this video he introduces his favorite, Warhammer 40k. He was a bit shy about wanting to talk about it, but he is moving to Fresno, California in a few months to manage a large game store. He has managed game stores in the past and led a few tournaments. The game store in the video for visual evidence is Guardian Games which is located in Portland.

The toughest part of this project was that the interview lasted way too long. I had to cut 30 minutes worth of interview footage down to 2 minutes. I kept it simple, so an audience who isn’t familiar with 40k can understand most of it. Most of the interview, Jeff was talking about the game, how it is played, the rules, different armies/factions, and how the armies are painted. I cut most of that out so I could focus on his perspective on the social element of the game.

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Hybrid – Dark Souls

The opening scenes in Dark Souls are all similar with the same voice actor. I went for a StarWarsWars effect by overlaying the 3 scenes, changing the opacity, and changing some of the audio.

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Blog #5 – What is Digital Cinema?

In “What is Digital Cinema” Manovich says “In addition to montage dimensions already explored by cinema (differences in images’ content, composition, movement) we now have a new dimension: the position of the images in space in relation to each other. In addition, since images do not replace each other (as in cinema) but remain on the screen throughout the movie, each new image is juxtaposed not just with one image which preceded it, but with all the other images present on the screen.”

Most of the hybrid cinema didn’t make sense to me. Maybe I am trying too hard to create meaning where there is none. For example, I thought that “Light is Waiting” was clever, but it felt unnecessarily epileptic and I had to search for the meaning of the hybrid film to make sense of anything. Apparently, the goal of the film was to devour the episode of Full House from the inside out to create a hypnotic nightmare by making tropes of video art and family entertainment face off in a luminous orgy that neither could survive together. Without knowing that, I wouldn’t even have known the rest of the clips present beneath the flashing light came from the same Full House episode. Light is Waiting does enter a new dimension though where the relation and juxtaposition of images are battling each other because they can’t co-exist. We’re able to watch video art just fine and family entertainment just fine, but mixing them into a hybrid film creates something new and more chaotic than ever before.

Star Wars Wars juxtaposes 6 Star Wars films over each other and most likely simply makes all films’ opacity equal but turned down real low so they can attempt to co-exist in the same film. This creates another chaotic hybrid film that appears to not have meaning, but it in facts tells the full story of Star Wars in 1 movie’s time. It is as if it creates a new dimension of watching a film, one we can’t even begin to understand or comprehend. It still captures images of bodies in a three-dimensional world but less so after the editing as the original pieces have been heavily altered, manipulated, and challenged by overlapping each other.

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Montage Assignment

I was planning to do a montage of my girlfriend and I going to Long Beach but my sister went into labor so we decided to postpone the trip. However, I got some shots of a short trip to a river. I recently bought a Zhiyun Smooth-Q which stabilizes my phone while recording. It was difficult to use at first but after we got the hang of it it was a lot of fun. I added the music after editing everything, but I think with montage videos (at least for travel videos), it could be important to keep the type of song you want to use in mind so you can creatively sync your shots to the music. I hope my montage expresses a laid-back and carefree feeling.

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Blog #3 – Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run is a unique film as it splits three different narratives into 3 runs all starting with digital animation. The runs all start the same way with Lola running past her mother as she goes down the stairs, trying to find 100,000 German marks, and running into vital characters till the final run. The runs all have subplots as well which were also solved by the final run. Each run was edited to increase the intensity in each consecutive run. Although each run was around 20 minutes long, that time passes as though in reality. I read through the facts of the film and there are 1,581 transitions in 71 minutes of action, which is an average of 2.7 seconds per shot. The greater number of transitions added to the suspense and pressure Lola was feeling throughout her runs.

What really stuck out to me was the use of telling some non-vital characters’ stories by using photo montages such as the clip below.

I believe the 3 different runs all suggest there’s some sort of free will vs determinism at play. When Lola already knows that her father is cheating, in the 3rd run, she has free will to deal with it differently. As she entered the bank for the third time, I was on edge wondering what she would choose to do. When Lola has the slightest interaction with another person, it could leave a profound butterfly effect suggesting that future events of the person were determined based on the small interaction or encounter with Lola as suggested by the photo montages and the differences in each run.

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Time Frame Loops Assignment

I think I got this idea from the example video (the guy adjusting the clock).

At first when I was trying to record this, I made a huge mess, so I had a good idea to use paper as a funnel and put the camera on the bottom.

This was my attempt to make a perfect loop. I think it worked out well.

This was the first one I did. Simply a loop of a coin dropping into a bucket.

I tried my luck with cutting on action in this clip.

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Blog – Time Frame

McCloud explained how different panel shapes affect comics. It doesn’t change the meaning of what’s going on in the panel but the shapes can affect the reading experience. I find this just like framing in cinematography. Close-ups, long shots, over the shoulder, etc. doesn’t change what is going on in the scene of a film, but it changes the experience the viewer has. However, there is a difference. A film is stuck in its resolution and fixed screen size for its panel. Although fancy editing is available, comics have the flexibility of changing each panel size at will unlike video which is stuck in a fixed rectangle in either portrait or landscape.

This cinematic gif is a perfect loop. Sort of like McCloud’s use of expressing timelessness in comics, I feel as if calm scenes like this have the same effect.

With a time-lapse effect, you can show how vibrant a city is.

Or how something changes over a long period of time.


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Bedtime Sequence – Continuity Assignment

This assignment wasn’t too challenging. I was hoping I’d find the time to do something more ambitious, but decided to do this. My roommate was available and I asked if I could record him getting ready for bed. This is his bedtime routine.

There’s not much story to tell here. He gets home, uses the PC, brushes his teeth, and goes to bed. Simple as that. The establishing shot is his room. The story begins and ends there. It’s a wide shot to show the audience where this story is taking place. The actor throwing his jacket on the floor shows that this is his room and that he’s probably just getting back from work. Next is a close-up shot of his monitor which details him turning it on. Next shot is a medium shot of the actor putting on glasses to get ready to read stuff online. If I could do this over, I would have included another shot of the monitor when the screen turned fully on and an over-the-shoulder shot of him using the computer.

The next shot is in a new area. I was confused how to tackle this. Should I take a shot of him getting up from the PC? Should it include him walking to the bathroom from his room? How much should be cut? I decided a quick cut to the bathroom, but him still walking in, would be good enough. There’s no reason to add unnecessary detail. I tried to be creative and use the light he turned on as a way to jump to the next scene, but I don’t think it turned out too well now that I think about it. However, I like the close-up and the angle of the next shot where he is brushing his teeth.

The last few scenes is him plopping in bed, throwing his pants on the chair, putting on the covers and turning off the light. The quickness of these shots works well as it shows how fast he gets to bed relative to the time he spends on the computer and brushing his teeth.

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Framing – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

One of the best examples of framing techniques is from this classic movie scene.

Not only is the scene superb, building a great amount of tension without dialogue, but the framing was excellent.

It begins with a few long shots to show the setting and positions of each character.

Below is a 3/4 back – over the shoulder long shot.

In between the long shots, there are medium close-ups of each character.

After oscillating between various long shots and medium close-ups, the 3 guys get into their positions which is shot in an extreme long shot.

The movie reminds us they are all ready by showing a close-up of each person’s gun.

I was particularly fond of this shot:

I’m not sure what the name of the shot would be, but it shows the long distance between the person and their target and that their hand is ready to draw at any moment.

I recommend watching the video. There are many more framing techniques used which gives me many ideas I can use in future projects.

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Who Dunnit Assignment

For my Who Dunnit sequence, I had to create my own scene for the project. I’ve been waiting all week for something to go wrong that was worth recording for this assignment, but I no longer have pets so that’s a little tough! With my girlfriend’s help, I recreated a scene that we witnessed a few months ago.

If you are unfamiliar with the game Bean Boozled, the game is to spin a spinner and what the spinner is pointing to, you have to eat that color’s jelly bean. But the jelly bean has a chance of being tasty or disgusting. It could be peach, or it could be ‘dirty socks’ and you won’t know till you tried it.

Well, our roommate’s friend had an accident. Her first time playing the game didn’t sit in her stomach too well…

Warning: Might make your stomach churn.

I attempted to shoot the scene with a variety of framing. I had a few more close-ups, but decided not to include those for the sake of other people’s stomachs. My favorite scene is when a fly flies through the scene which I thought was fitting. If I had the chance to do it over again, I’d use a tripod I recently ordered from Amazon. It was difficult to keep the camera steady.

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Hello, my name is Jonathan. I am a Senior and majoring in DTC. I work full time as a web developer for a small company, so I’m trying to take evening courses for my last year here.

I have very little experience in cinematography but I look forward to challenging my artistic side. I’m also taking Digital Storytelling, they seem to go hand in hand so far!

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