Four Weeks Down

Part 1: Assignments

Daily Creates with a short explanation I made this week can be found here.

The comments made towards me this week were good. I think I’ve learned how to explain what my posts are about in a better way based off of the kind of comments I’m getting now compared to the very beginning. Sure, I can read all of my stuff and make sense of it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else understands it as well. Comments I made this week can be found here.

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Video Assignments I made this week can be found here.

Additional assignments I made this week can be found here.

Part 2: Reflection

It’s hard to believe this class is almost over and how much I’ve done since it started.  As I mentioned before, an overall issue I had was that with a class like this being so short, it is hard to adapt fast enough when you’ve have a rough start. The class is only 5 weeks but I do feel like I’ve improved each week.

I don’t want to say that the Reading Movies summary assignment was the hardest assignment, but it was the most difficult for me to complete. That was the last assignment I did this week because I just kept putting it off. I didn’t enjoy doing the summaries of the videos last week and seeing that it was another assignment for this week just made me put it off longer. Again, I understand the importance of it, but it’s just a lot to do in a short amount of time. Yes, I knew that’d be the case coming into this class, but it’s still the issue for me.

The two major things I learned this week involved iMovie and Movie Maker. I have never used iMovie before but it wasn’t too difficult to figure out. I found the automatic cropping of pictures to be annoying because I had to go through every photo to fix the stupid crop choices the program made. I got bored quickly when trying to put my video together and just didn’t enjoy it that much. I have never used Movie Maker either but, on the other hand, it was a lot of fun. I mentioned in my assignment post how much I liked the convenience of having all the tools on phone and how easy it was to learn. I’m pretty sure iMovie is on iPhones as well and is probably very similar to Movie Maker but it just didn’t sit well with me.

My favorite assignment this week was the Look, Listen, Analyze assignment. Having the freedom to choose what I wanted is what made this enjoyable. Dexter is one of my favorite TV Shows so I put a lot of thought into that assignment and tried to give more than what was expected. From doing so, I feel like I understand his character better as well. I would actually analyze more scenes from Dexter just for fun.

 

Video Summaries

 

The first video I watched was Camera Angles and Techniques. The zolly adds a disorienting visual effect by using a camera to zoom out and a zolly to zoom in causing the viewer to focus in on the subject. Camera placement is always important but especially in action scenes to make them dynamic and dramatic. Camera angles help the viewer see a 3- dimensional world. They give an example of how you can pretend to be climbing and use different camera angles to make it look more realistic and interesting.

The second video I watched was The Shining- Zooms. This is a movie I’ve never seen before but the effects shown in this clip make it look like it’s worth watching. The way that there are multiple angles of some characters all on the screen at once is neat. There’s different lighting and facial expressions coming from the same characters. I haven’t heard the story so I’m not sure why it was done like this, but it looked like a way of ordering chaos. Each part had their own little box and they lined up one-by-one on the screen and the audio from each overlapped each other. If I had watched the movie, it’d probably be more obvious as to why that scene was done this way.

The video below wasn’t on the list, but I wanted to include it because it’s pretty cool. It goes over creative ways to do comedy rather than making the dialogue be the only funny thing in the movie. Edgar Wright is known for his neat ideas and this video touches on some. Check it out if you’d like!

Where Do My Shoes Take Me?

Process: I took a slightly different approach when putting this video together and there were some big pros and cons which I will go into later. I wasn’t a huge fan of iMovie so I decided to take advantage of the awesome features my new Samsung Galaxy s8 has. I recorded a bunch of clips and cropped them each individually under the edit tab by just dragging the ends of the clip to cut parts out. Within the camera app on the phone, you have the option to add audio to your recorded videos so I tried to select a sound that matched the video and make it a little humorous (for the cat and snake part). I saved each video then downloaded the Movie Maker app on my phone(taking screenshots in the app was very difficult so I couldn’t include a step-by-step picture guide). With that, I was able to upload all my clips into one video. There I had the option to add transitions and text to each clip.  Instead of explaining every detail here in the blog like I did with the College Snapshot assignment, I tried to be creative and incorporate that aspect into the video without making it super long.

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Pros: Straight forward, easy-to-understand layout, wide selection of sound effects, ability to add text with different fonts and sizing, changes in speed of each clip, and transition options.

Cons: Working on a small screen, positioning of text was difficult, and time consuming. With this being an app for phones, viewing the video on larger screens makes it blurry and leads to the black bars on the side. I couldn’t find a way to fix this.

Overall, this is an amazing editing app in the palm of your hands (literally since it’s all on the phone) with more pros than cons. iMovie probably has all of these features and more, but I didn’t enjoy using it enough to explore that much. With this, I had fun playing around with all of the effects and I think the convenience of everything on the phone was very nice. I could work on this assignment in the car when Daniel was driving and I felt I was using my time wisely.

Story: For the story, I should be answering the question, where do my shoes take me? But the point of adding text to the video was so I wouldn’t have to write an essay here, as my feet do go many places. So I hope the texts help viewers understand what’s going on. Unlike many people my age, I don’t have my phone on me 24/7. Especially on fun days (like when I go kayaking) where I’d rather be paying attention to what’s going on in front of me instead of my phone. And I can go to school or go shopping and leave it at home, so not everything I did was captured on video. Besides I think that’d be boring to watch. I just go to school, do homework, and eat. I tried to make it funny by adding the music for the cats and the snake part.

College Snapshot

Process: I used iMovie to make this short clip for the College Snapshot Assignment. I went to My Media and clicked through my photo albums. For the pictures I wanted to include in the clip, I clicked and dragged to the bottom of the screen. I clicked on the end of the photo to adjust them each to 4 seconds long. I then double clicked on each picture to adjust the cropping. After that, I clicked on Audio and chose the sound effect called Travel. It’s an upbeat tune to highlight happy times and traveling is something I’ve done a lot of since moving 2 ½ hours away from home. I saved it and voila, it’s done.

Here you can see My Media and go through the photos library.Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 6.41.13 PM

Here you can see the adjustment of image cropping in my video.Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 6.53.00 PM

Here you can see Audio and the sound I chose which was Travel.Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 6.55.20 PM

Here you can see I shared the video on YouTube to be uploaded here.Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 8.13.47 AM.png

Media: As of right now, WordPress is being very stubborn when it comes to uploading. So this link here will take you to YouTube where my video can be seen.

Story: I chose these photos because they were the ones that stood out to me when going through my albums. Most of them are of Daniel, who has been a big part of my life since coming to UMW. He has introduced me to many things and these photos of us are a reminder of that. My video starts in September 2015, when I toured UMW for the first time. I applied, got accepted, and transferred in the spring. I met my best friend, Laura, the first week of classes. We lived on the same hall and had Anthropology together. She took me to one of my favorite restaurants, Outback Steakhouse, for my birthday. The squirrel may seem random, but I promise it isn’t. On my way to the library one morning, a squirrel jumped on me in front of Lee Hall. He tried to take the poptart I was eating out of my hand. I returned the gift of taking Laura to one of her favorite places, Vivify, for her birthday. Daniel introduced me to rugby, a game I knew nothing about before dating him. He is on the team but he got injured so we would go to the games together with his dog, Klaus. When Daniel and I met, he took me to Goolrick’s for the first time. Right before the spring semester ended, he took me there again because he knew I loved those vanilla milkshakes. I love taking pictures of Daniel when he isn’t looking. Summer had begun and this is the first picture I took of him fishing, which is another thing he introduced me to. A little over a year ago, Daniel and I went to D.C. to see Skylar Spence perform. It was my first time seeing him live and my first time riding on the metro. Next is another picture of Daniel fishing. He came to my hometown and there are quite a few lakes around so I took him fishing. The next picture of us is at my home, 2 ½ hours from him. That was the first time he stayed in my hometown for a few days. Next, Daniel wanted a picture of the trout he caught and decided to pull me into the picture. I didn’t mind. Outside of Hooked in downtown Fredericksburg, I saw two dogs in a truck. I got to spend Daniel’s birthday with him which we were both happy about. In December, he took me ice skating for the first time. After I fell the first time, I refused to let go of his hand for the rest of our time skating. Have you ever seen a German Shepherd that weighs over 100 pounds being spoon fed? Well, now you have…and again at a different angle. This clip ends with my first time going to the University of Tennessee for a basketball game. They beat Alabama and I got a kiss from Smokey, their mascot. It was back in March for my birthday. It’s hard to believe all that has happened since transferring to UMW. That is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and these photos are a reminder of that. Of course I’ve taken more photos than this but I didn’t want to include more personal events nor have the video be too long. Besides, the assignment just asks for a snapshot.

 

 

Good Morning, Dexter Morgan

For the Look, Listen, Analyze assignment, I chose the opening of the TV show Dexter from the 3rd youtube playlist. I chose this because Dexter is one of my favorite TV shows and although this isn’t a scene from a classic movie, I think it’s a masterpiece and worthy of this assignment. If the video won’t play, it can be viewed on YouTube here.

LOOK: The camera angles are very close-up throughout the whole intro. Many of Dexter’s actions are a little bit slower than normal. It begins with a shot of a mosquito on Dexter’s arm and he immediately slaps and kills it. It then cuts to the title of the show, Dexter, in red with dripping blood. If you look closer at the letters, you can see how they turn to a darker red as if they were put onto a microscope slide. It cuts back to Dexter looking in a mirror but his image is blurry. It then cuts to an extreme close-up of him running his fingers down his chin and neck. It’s so close, you can see the moisture on his skin and each individual hair sticking out. At a side view angle, he takes a razor and slides it up his neck. It then changes to a front view of his neck where blood trickles down, but the cut isn’t shown, just the blood. A drop of blood falls to the sink followed by a couple more and are, again, close-up shots. The camera goes back to the previous view of his neck and he’s holding a gauze pad to absorb the blood. A very close-up shot shows the blood spreading across the gauze. The camera then shows a close-up of meat in plastic wrap being cut. It is tossed into a skillet where you can see the cooking begin. He flips the meat, and the camera cuts to a zoomed in shot of his cheek. It then cuts down where you see him bite down on the bacon and continue to chew. An egg is being cracked in the next shot and put into the frying pan. Once the egg is cooked, another close-up shot is shown of him using a fork and knife to cut it. The yolk spreads and makes a bit of a mess and the camera shots are slightly choppy. Coffee beans are in the grinder then squeezed out in another close-up shot. A side angle shot shows an orange being sliced in a motion you can see all of the juice squirting out of it. Floss is wrapped so tightly around his index fingers you can see the cut of blood flow to the tips of his fingers. The camera angle changes and is down towards the sink, but you can still see his hands. Another close-up front view of his neck is shown and his mouth is opened as he pulls the floss out. Next, shoe laces are wrapped tightly in his clinched, shaky fists. It cuts to a view of his bicep where you can see the motion of him tying his shoe. A super close-up shot of his shoe lace being pulled through the ring holes is shown next. A white T-shirt is pulled over his head and he searches for the opening to stick his head through. He finds it and is looking straight into the camera with an almost exhausted look on his face. The camera zooms out a little to where you can see his whole face with his eyes still focused on the camera, the first time in the intro you see a full shot of his face. It changes to a side angle of his house key exiting the lock and him walking away from his apartment.

Listen: Sound is hard for me to describe but I’ll try. Music begins and kind of resembles an alarm noise. There’s a sudden slapping sound followed by the theme song starting. It’s a bit eerie and has high pitched noises throughout that almost sounds like a blade being pulled from a sheath. There’s a slight sound of a rough surface being rubbed then a scraping noise. The music gets a little louder then a slicing noise is made and I’m reminded of the crunch thick ZipLock bags make. Something is sizzling then crunchy chewing noises are made. More sizzling and the scraping of metal is heard. Squirting noises are made as if pressure is being put onto something then squeezed. Music continues with no other noises until a quiet squeaking of something being pulled. The eerie music continues to play, but no words are spoken throughout the whole intro.

Analyze: What I love about this intro is it’s just a basic morning routine. Wake up, shave, cook breakfast, eat, make coffee, cut up some fruit, floss, tie shoes, get dressed, and leave. It’s something everyone can relate to, yet it’s eerie. Dexter seems like he is just like everyone else, but there’s something that’s just…off. It’s most likely intended to make the viewer slightly uncomfortable. Not so uncomfortable they decide not to watch the show, but just enough that they realize this show isn’t typical. It should spark interest in wanting to know who Dexter Morgan is because he is an intriguing character. The hands that are used to shave, cook, eat, etc. are the same hands that end people’s lives. He’s an organized serial killer. The difference between him and other serial killers is that he has a reason for killing each of his victims, they aren’t random, spur of the moment killings. But like many serial killers, Dexter has a routine for how he kills…just like his morning routine (I know not every killing isn’t 100% the same, but if you’ve seen the show, you know he has a ritual). The people he kills must have done something bad to, in his mind, deserve being killed (the mosquito he kills bit him), he cuts the cheek of his victims (he cuts himself while shaving his face), he has disassembled some his victims and throws their bodies in the ocean (he cuts up the meat and throws it in the frying pan), he feels satisfied that the person is gone for good (he enjoys his breakfast), in the show they commonly zoom in on his hands as he stabs them close to the heart (the close up shot of his hand pushing down on the coffee grinder), he always uses wrap to restrain his victims (the wrapping of the floss and shoe laces), and I think there’s probably more that can be analyzed and I just may have missed it. Or maybe I’m wrong about all of this, I don’t know. It’s just how I see it. I think the close-up shots, blood, noises, and music is what changes how the viewer will interpret it. Maybe others will interpret it differently. I can definitely feel a difference when watching the clip above vs. the clip below.

If the video won’t play it can be viewed on YouTube here. This was a draft of the opening for Dexter. It feels so much darker and frantic. The music is harsher and the camera shots are almost chaotic with how choppy they are. I feel almost distraught while watching, especially after watching the final version where that one made me curious and wanting to see more of Dexter’s life.