Here is my final project! I wanted to make a YouTube style Fall Lookbook with my friend and fellow YouTuber Sam Marie. We share a love for fashion (and obviously YouTube) so I asked her to be my model – and she styled the outfits! My goal for this project was to try some new shooting and editing techniques, specifically focusing on transitions. I also wanted to put something pretty in my video portfolio. Everything was filmed in Downtown Vancouver.
For my hyper cinema project, I used a narrative video I had filmed instead of loops. I chopped it up into chapters and made it so that a user will experience a different “read” through each time, even though it might end in the same place. Exporting out the video footage at a max width of 400px made the quality just terrible, but it looks cool with glitching, I think.
I made this before the assignment prompt was changed so I did my video on a course subject! I think I could improve this by showing more examples of continuity editing and taking more time to explain how to do match on action. If I were to make a longer video I would give step by step instructions on an example.
“The Flat” by digital author Andy Campbell, is a multimedia work of electronic literature.
The author, in combination with digital studio Dreaming Methods, has woven together an interesting form of storytelling by combining text, flash animation, still images and sound. Though non-linear, this work is a narrative, because as Lev Manovich points out, “narrative creates a cause-and-effect trajectory of seemingly unordered items (events)” (Manovich, 255). The user controls the exploration of a small flat with their mouse. Moving the mouse moves a still image that has animated, clickable flashes urging the user to discover more of the narrative. When a user does click a clickable area, it “moves” them throughout the flat by showing another room or area of the flat. Words appear on the screen to move the story along. The work creates an incredibly eerie environment, and exploring the digital flat makes one feel as if a ghost might pop out at any moment. At one point, a face briefly appears from the shadows in a closet. Though there is never a specific, linear and easy to follow story, one could argue that the work is cinematic in the sense that the work combines sound, images, and animation to tell a story. This work, however, does not feature any video. It has video-like glitching effects, and sometimes provides the illusion of movement, however it doesn’t appear to ever use film or video. It does, however, use similar techniques, for example, the music sets a tone of fear, the writing feels mysterious, the movement of the mouse and imagery creates a feeling of uneasiness (much like camera movement in video). It is a very interesting and well done work of multimedia storytelling.
I am a big fan of the use of language with image. I loathe writing anything, especially old fashioned essays. I whine and complain whenever I’m forced to write anything, but I whine only an iota less when I have to write something for use in video. The multimedia aspect of a video essay is very intriguing. You can use someone’s voice to directly quote from them in a much more powerful way than if you had simply read their words on the page, without hearing the unique texture and inflection in their voice. Hearing a voice over of information is sometimes easier to digest than simply reading the text, so their combination in a video essay is powerful. Sound effects can be added to amplify a point or change the mood. Graphics can visually explain what is being said, and video can provide visual evidence to tie it all together.
Here is one of my favorite video essays:
To begin “writing” a video essay, I’ll pick a topic and decide what I want to say about it. Once I have my point, I will research information that will help me make my point or prove my argument. Then I will write a script, record the voice over, and then begin collecting and creating the text, graphics, sounds, example videos, etc. that help illustrate the point or argument.
Final Project Idea:
My final project idea is not fully fleshed out yet, but as of right now I plan to create something that highlight cinematography and combines that with my interest in fashion. It will be a 2-3 minute video that follows a group of friends as they slug through their daily routines, impatiently awaiting the chance they get to meet up and go explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I can’t think of two specific course modules for this project, but I know I will be using narrative space/framing, continuity editing, and montage. In the coming weeks I will need finalize my idea, write a screenplay/shot list, and find actors and locations.
The article, “SKAM,” the Radical Teen Drama That Unfolds One Post at a Time” discusses how younger viewers are turning to YouTube rather than conventional television. This is very true. My mom watches an obnoxious amount of T.V.while I watch barely any T.V., but a lot of YouTube. A huge part of why I enjoy YouTube is that it is a community of creators and viewers. When watching a YouTuber, it feels more connected than when watching something as big as American Idol. Of course, some channels are backed by huge networks, but many are not. Often I am watching and interacting with friends or people I feel like I could be friends with. This community feeling is why man YouTubers started out.
“The Internet, by leaving you feeling uniquely alone, paradoxically encourages human interaction.” – D. T. Max
Networked cinema encourages this feeling of inclusiveness by allowing viewers to interact with it. “Skam” does this brilliantly, allowing viewers to follow and interact with the show’s characters on social media. In fact, “the show’s creators monitor fan commentary and sometimes respond to it by changing plot details on the fly,” instead of having whole seasons scripted out and planned well in advance. I could see this being the future of “tv.”
I don’t personally have any ideas for a networked interactive series like this, as I am really just not an ideas person. However, I do love cinematography and camera work, so it would be amazing to create the videos and photo collages for the instagram stories. My favorite thing to do is produce lifestyle social media content, so having a writer develop a character and storyline and let me create digital media that showcases that would be so cool. Network cinema is only just beginning and I’m excited to see where it takes the industry.
For this video, I found around 4 of my videos where I shot my feet hanging over a landscape and layered them all on top of each other with different layer blending modes. In the second half of the video, I use a mirror effect on some of the shots. I then tried for a while to figure out how to make a glitch effect by converting the file to a .txt format and then using a text editor, but no matter what I did I couldn’t get it back to a working .mp4, so I gave up.
“I want to present the computer screen as a space of endless possibilities” – Lev Manovich, What is Digital Cinema
In What is Digital Cinema, Lev Manovich said “Digital media redefines the very identity of cinema” (Manovich, 1). Although filmmaking is still at its core about presenting moving visual imagery, improved technology has made things possible that were never before. People used to see film as a truth to be believed, because it used to be so difficult to change images (Manovich, 20). Now, we are able to completely fabricate video that looks so real, one might question if it were actually recorded in the real world even though it was created on a computer (Manovich, 3). Some effects are more obvious than others, however. Take, for example, Light is Waiting by Michael Robinson. This remix of an episode of the well known T.V. show Full House appears obviously altered. A filmmaker no longer has to physically edit actual strips of film. Instead, they can use video editing software to manipulate, layer, and transform the imagery in almost unlimited ways. In Robinson’s work, scenes are layered and mirrored on top of each other with different blending modes only possible through digital techniques. The sound is also altered into a dramatically slow and choppy, eerie quality. This work does inspire me to play around with these techniques in a video of my own, to see if I can make something beautiful or meaningful.
Each of the four videos is a different landscape. Top left is a glacial waterfall in Alaska, top right, sand dunes in Utah, bottom left, the ocean off the coast of Alaska, and the bottom right is a mountains in Austria. All are montage edits of raw video and I varied which clip’s audio is playing throughout. Overall I wanted it to feel a bit like chaotic but fun memories from adventures in very different places.
If I were to be making a short documentary about the Eagle Creek fire and its aftermath, the story I would pursue would be that of the people whose jobs and homes were affected. I would interview forest service workers and the people who had to evacuate, especially those who lost their homes. The narrative would include a quick summary of exactly what happened, how the fire started, how far it spread, how long it went, etc. I would do this through a combination of interviewees describing the events and television news footage that provides details. Then, I would use interviews of two to three people to follow a narrative of what it was like to experience the fires from their perspectives. As Hampe says, it’s important to “plan the location so that it becomes a part of the evidence of the scene,” so I would film the interviews of each person in locations tailored to their unique experience (98). For example, I might film a forest service employee in front of one of the barricades that says the area is still closed due to the fires. To gather visual evidence, I would ask them, as Hampe suggests, “what can I film that will show an audience what we are talking about?” and in this case I imagine they would show me an area of forest that has been damaged by the wildfire (99). For people who have lost their homes, I would ask them if they could show me the empty lot where their house used to be, and walk through the foundation to describe memories in each room that used to be there. I would end the narrative with information that feels like it ties the story up with as neat of a ribbon as you can with a devastating event like this. For example I might show a timelapse of a plant growing while audio from an interview tells how someone plans to rebuild their home or work life. Overall, I would be sure to do my best to let the visual evidence tell the story while the interviews just help tie it all together, as the readings seem to stress the importance of visual evidence versus “talking heads.”
My first two loops are about OCD. Preferring things a certain way or liking to clean is not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. According to the International OCD Foundation, “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.”
For me, my main obsessive thoughts are about horribly dangerous things happening to me or my loved ones. My compulsions are random, and I experience anxiety and distress if I don’t perform them. This first video shows an example of what happens to me when I’m faced with a choice. In this video, it’s which coffee mug to use, but this can happen with any choice I have to make. I will grab a coffee mug and when I walk away from the cabinet, every fiber of my being will scream at me that it is “the wrong mug” and if I don’t make the “right choice” something terrible will happen. This is every day for me, and often every single simple choice. For this video, I used continuity editing.
Video number two shows a different kind of OCD behavior: checking. I suffer from an extreme phobia of being in cars. I can’t travel by car (or really any vehicle – train, airplane, etc. for that matter) without non-stop imagining the horrific ways I could die in an accident. These obsessive thoughts are often only mildly calmed by performing compulsions. Many times I have locked the door, pulled out of the driveway, and then wondered if I actually locked the door. Even when I know for certain I locked it, I will pull back in, double check that the door is locked, and then head out. My brain tells me that if I didn’t lock the door, I will get in a car accident. These compulsions obviously have nothing to do with whether or not I will actually get in an accident, but that’s the nature of mental health issues. They don’t work things out logically. I used montage editing for this video.
For this last one, let’s be real, I just wanted to slow-mo spin in this awesome dress for my attempt at an infinite loop.
This first gif is the Shard in London. Through interesting geometric style editing, it shows a span of 24 hours and almost resembles a clock. It condenses an entire day into an easily digestible few seconds, and the way it loops makes it seem like an endless number of days.
This second gif is interesting because it looks like a never ending row of lemurs all jumping over the lemur in the center. This would go on for infinity.
The final gif shows a tornado forming, but it never seems to fully form. It creates a tension that goes on and on.
For my montage, every shot is 2.5 seconds long, and often has a centered subject. I tried to capture an almost poetic or abstract path to homelessness through montage. The first half of shots represent the benefits of having a home: a roof, a locked door, protection from the elements, comfort. The last half represents the reality of living outdoors on the streets: no privacy, exposed to the elements, lack of material possessions. I struggled with being too obvious and not being clear enough. I think I needed more footage outside to represent homelessness, but I couldn’t think of things that weren’t super obvious and exploitative (like finding an actual tent under a bridge or something). If anyone has any ideas for how to improve the emotional impact/expression of homelessness, please let me know.
In “Time Frames,” Scott McCloud points out that in comics, “time can be controlled through the content of panels, the number of panels, and closure between panels” and that “the panel shape can actually make a difference in our perception of time. This reminds me of the different ways time can be manipulated in digital cinema. Often, movies will show events that happen over a large amount of time, whether that be days, months, or even years, but they do this within only an hour or two of actual time. This is where different editing techniques come in, which can portray moments in movies in real time, compressed time, and even extended time. The best way to explain how events that take years are squished into a limited screen time is the term “compressed time.” To show the passage of time, a filmmaker might show seasons changing or characters aging. Expanding time can be done by, for example, showing a ball being thrown by one character, cutting to another character watching the ball, cutting back to the ball, cutting back to a character watching, etc. until much more time has passed for the viewer than a ball could ever actually be in the air. There may even be more ways to manipulate time in digital cinema, but for now these are all that I can think of.
For my continuity assignment, I showed the process of giving my dog a new toy. I tried to use a variety of different shot types (medium, wide, close up, etc.), and different ways to cut between shots (match on action, motivated POV, empty frame, etc.).
For my “Who Dunnit” video, I filmed a scene at my house. Without giving too much away, I used my framing choices to answer the questions “where?” and, in the end, “why?” but first I make the viewer question “what happened?”
The Grand Budapest Hotel “The Police Are Here”
An employee (back left) arrives and says “Excuse me?” to the hotel concierge, Gustave (right). The space between the characters in the foreground and background amplifies a long pause before Gustave says, “uh huh?”
Cut to the next shot in which the employee says “the police are here.” The abrupt cut and simultaneous zoom into the employee intensifies the seriousness of the situation.
Medium Long Shot.
Cut to another long pause before Gustave calmly says, “Tell them I’ll be right down.”
Cut back to first long shot as employee says “Okay” and leaves. Gustave and lobby boy run to the left and open a curtain.
Medium Close Up.
Match on action as the two peer down at the police in the lobby.
Medium Close Up.
Match on action as they close the curtain and make a game plan to keep their mouths shut.
Medium Long Shot.
Camera pans to right as the two exit the room. The panning is quick and mirrors the characters’ racing thoughts and emotions.
Extreme Long shot AND Medium Long shot.
The rest of the scene has no cuts or camera movements and makes clever use of space. The police are in the foreground, framed in a medium long shot, while Gustave and the lobby boy arrive in the background in an extreme long shot.
Medium Long Shot.
Gustave and the lobby boy walk forward into the medium long shot position. They take a long time to walk to the front of the frame, creating tension and building anticipation.
Extreme Long Shot.
Still in the same shot, Gustave runs away to the back of the frame, as the police chase him.
Films have come a long way from when they first arrived in the late 1800s to the modern digital video we have today. Back then, a camera had to remain on a stationary tripod and the film developed with chemicals in a time consuming process. But now, some automatisms (the “unique, medium-specific qualities”) of digital video are smaller cameras that are easier to transport (mobility), instant viewing, and quick and easy reproduction and manipulation. In this modern age, most everyone (at least, those with the financial means) has a video camera in their pocket. We can not only capture small family memories with our cell phones, but also create full length movies. I personally create and consume videos on YouTube, for purposes of entertainment, knowledge and human connection. It is fun to watch YouTubers tell stories, connect with each other in the comments, and learn photography tips and tricks from digital video posted on the web. Some YouTubers make these videos with dSLRs, while others use their cell phones.
YouTube is not the only platform to share digital video created with cell phones. It seems that more and more, filmmakers are using cell phones to create full length feature films to be played in theaters. This allows for already well known techniques to evolve and become new again. An example of this are found footage style films, like The Blair Witch Project (1999). These films are designed to look as if the actors recorded the movie themselves, with their own recording devices. In 1999, video cameras were bulkier and unlikely to be carried by someone every day of their lives, so it makes sense that a film like the Blair Witch Project revolves around a single event that someone would make the effort to bring a camcorder to.
A 1999 Sony video camera.
But now, people can easily film anytime, anywhere, allowing found footage films to evolve beyond a single event into the actors everyday lives. Films like Rage (2009) are portrayed as if filmed by someone who has reached into their pocket, pulled out a cell phone, and filmed the people around them. While Rage was actually recorded with a traditional video camera typically used to make movies, there are many movies that actually were recorded on a cell phone. The creation and consumption of films on digital devices, such as cell phones, has forever changed filmmaking.
The featured image for this blog is a still from from a video I made in which my friends and I tested the photo and video capabilities on the iPhone X. View some of the iPhone X video footage at the 15:29 mark during this video. (Be sure to watch in HD 1080p).
Hello internet world, my name is Taylor. I’m a DTC major in my last semester. I’m a photographer in the marketing and communications department here on campus, and I also do freelance portrait photography. Videography is my “super power” in the DTC program, and I have a YouTube channel. This is my second time taking this course, I just needed an elective and this class was fun the first time around.
Part of me wants to make commercial videos for fashion brands or music, kind of like this video I made:
And another part of me would be interested in working somewhere I could make documentary style videos like this: