Monday, December 5, 2011

Hyper Haiku!

Hyper Haiku Site:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Looking back, Blog 3

I recently finished my video project with Ian Murphey. I learned a few things along the way as I created this piece.

Shooting and editing are the easy parts of this assignment. It was the planning and following through that was difficult. My partner did not make things easy on me either.

If I had the chance to do it over again with Ian, I would. There are several things I would've done differently.

-Planning: I am a journalism major at Hunter College and can ask most people a few basic questions to get a feel for them. My goal for the video was to show what Ian was doing with his life and what are his long term goals and ambitions. Unfortunately most of the questions I asked were greeted with one word answers or repetition of what I had asked him. This resulted in a 9+ minute interview being boiled down to 3 minutes.
To circumvent this I would have done the interview as normal and push him more to talk about certain things. I could then ask him to explain certain things more thoroughly after the playback. Then I would have taken the recording, made a transcript for him to read, and then rerecord the audio.

-Shooting: I definitely would have taken more stock footage of Ian doing everyday things as filler material. Also, I would have liked to have recorded audio/video together so to show Ian himself answering the questions.

-Editing: I would have used iMovie. Final Cut is frustrating and time consuming. I have created similar short video projects before using iMovie and it'll take maybe an hour to compile everything and make a 5 minute movie. You get the same result without the headaches.

Overall I'm unhappy with the final outcome of this project which has been nothing but headaches due to either equipment malfunctions, the idiosyncrasies of my partner, or small mistakes that I didn't notice until after I uploaded it.

The audio piece was frustrating because after I edited out all of his one word answers and the times when he'd repeat the question back as a statement, I was left with a more incoherent mess then when I started with. I then edited it and rearranged about half a dozen times until it became as good as I could've made it. Having Ian, or myself, prepare a script for him beforehand would have helped immensely.

The video was frustrating. Once the camera's memory card decided to corrupt the file archives preventing me from uploading my original footage. We had to reshoot another day with less time to do so. This footage was also partially corrupted where it decided to blend in different shots in the same file with some overlap.
During editing I noticed that I didn't have as much stock footage of Ian as I wanted to use as some filler during the interview. After I submitted it and I played it back, I noticed an editing continuity error from me inserting the wrong part of a clip into the piece.

I have a lot more appreciation for those who do story boards and planning after this experience.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sound and image relationships

This is a video of an undergraduate music student from the University of Indiana. In this video he covers the Fleet Foxes song Winter Hymnal. He plays all the instruments on the track. Sometimes you'll see multiple people playing, however this is an editing trick!

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The first shot is set in a basement. There are three men wearing head phones and upright basses. One is to the far right, and another is to the far left. The man in the center starts the piece first and it seems as if the other players are watching him as they join in. This is actually the same man in three different outfits. He positioned himself in three different places in the room and spliced all three pictures together to achieve the desired shot.

The first of a recurring theme, there is a hard cut to a close up of someone strumming a guitar as the sound of a guitar cuts into the mix. Shortly afterwards, it cuts back to the three bass players. It cuts again to the guitar player with a close up of the hand changing between chords before going back to the bass players again.

At 0:42 several instruments come in at once as the three bass players fade out. There is pizzicato bass (bass played with fingers), percussion, and whistling. Since he is unable to do all three at once the camera does a hard cut to first him playing 'drums' on the side of his bass, so him playing pizzicato from the top of the fretboard, and then to a side shot of him playing the melody with the bow, until another close up of him whistling. Then it cues back to the original shot of the three bassists as their 'track' kicks in again.

The rest of the video follows roughly the same format of doing hard cuts to whatever instruments happen to be playing and only using the same handful of shots. The song ends where it starts as the three bass players each begin to put down their instruments.

The length and choice of shots is dependent on which section of the song is being played. There are two main sections of the song and two main groups of shots which the maker used. The first is the three bass players and the guitar. The second group has the pizzicato and arco (bowed) bass, the whistling, and the drumming on the side of bass for the percussion track.

The cuts are nearly all jump cuts. Each group of shots was filmed in different locations and they're all by the same person so there isn't much of an issue of continuity. The only instance of a match cut is during the second shot sequence when he goes from playing upright with his fingers, to with a bow.

The order of the shots is ostensibly to line up with the instruments being played. However each sequence has multiple instruments, with the second being reasonably complicated as several instruments start at the same time. The creator simply chose whichever he felt like it seems.

There really wasn't a right or a wrong place to cut. The creator was more concerned about making a song than a cogent storyline. He simply did what was easiest to him, which was matching up video of him recording each of the different tracks, and then assembling them all together later. Of course there is some artistic license, but that is the general idea.

There is one thing I'd like to note that I didn't realize until later on. The first sequence was filmed in a basement, and when it switches to guitar, the video is still slightly dark. The second sequence is shot in a brightly lit room that's probably his dorm room. I'm not sure if this was intentional or just because he recorded and filmed in two different locations.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The sound walk

On the night of Friday, September 23rd, I decided to do a soundwalk of a neighborhood I frequent. The neighborhood is in the Stapleton section of Staten Island and I decided to do this as I already sound walked my own neighborhood for a previous class.

I've rented out a music studio on Sands Street for years. During the day the only sound is the train running overhead as the neighborhood is mostly deserted. Several years ago I had a rent dispute with the studio and they locked us out of our room. To get it back we had to break in during the day time. That should say volumes about the neighborhood.

I began my walk at the Stapleton train station and its roughly five past nine. The train rumbles on to the neck stop and the station is deserted. I walk down the steps to find an elderly woman whispering in her cell phone and tapping her foot impatiently.

My goal is the studio on Sands street a street over. Even from the train you can hear the crash of half of dozen different drummers pounding away as hard as they can. You can see the building across an abandoned lot, but you've got to walk around onto Bay Street to get there. Walking onto Bay you get the hum of traffic and the hiss of hydraulics of the bus dropping off its passengers.

There is a small mexican deli on the corner. Music can be heard blaring from a crappy AM/FM radio filled with Latin flair and a bouncing salsa rhythm. Two men are arguing in Spanish inside. Making a right onto Sands street you can start hearing guitars playing repetitious distorted rhythms. The metal door up top slams with a hollow clang and boots pound down the stairs as people leave the studio. I had up the same stairs, go to my room, and drop off my bag. Its quieter here than outside since most bands are too lazy to completely soundproof their rooms. There is still a deep rumble of bass and drums somewhere on the floor but I leave the way I came and head back outside.

I go farther down Bay Street towards the direction of the ferry. There is a constant sound of indecipherable shouting and bass heavy music in the distance interrupted only by intermittent traffic. The is a harsh crackle from the order cue at the McDonald's drive through as people place their orders. Another train rolls by.

There aren't many people out and about and this hour on Bay Street and the ones who are stand silently at bus stations. I hear a fog horn in the distance as the next ferry boat docks and another as one departs. Several minutes later another train rolls past in the opposite direction.

The is the rattle of shopping carts as late night shoppers roll out of the Western Beef supermarket. I decide that its time to head back because its getting awfully close to rehearsal time. On Sands Street there is a screech of tires as people race to the end of the dead end street.

The sounds of traffic, the shopping carts, music and people talking are considered to be background noise.
Sound signals could be the sound of the order box at McDonalds, the screeching car tires, and the sounds of the heavy metal doors at Sand Street opening.
The only sound land marks that seem relevant to me, is the sound of the trains and the fog horn from the ferry. They denote the time and are constant reminders of the location of the neighborhood.