December 11, 2007

The Day that will Live in Infamy... - Project 4

So for the final project, I knew a few things ahead of time. I new that I wanted to film another video and I knew that I wanted to make it ridiculous and fun because I'd be able to always look back on it and get a good laugh instead of looking back at another video that I could care less for. I accomplished that here. The video is absurd, stupid, and a little crazy but I'm proud of it. I feel like I accomplished all the goals I had set ahead of time. I wrote a general script. I filmed all in a day. I edited in a timely manner. In general, things went very smoothly for me on my final project. Having a plan and sticking to it really goes a long way. Also, I think that even though there is no intended point to the video, it does have several effects and asks a few questions relating to time and how people perceive things. To that effect, it is easily pertinent to the class. The length was a little longer than I wanted or expected it to be but over the times I’ve watched it, it doesn’t seem to feel dragged out. Overall, I think things went well.

Visiting Artist Response

I went to hear Lowery Stokes Sims speak at the Weisman last week. A lot of people showed up to hear her speak as it was a packed house. Her topic was very broad. She talked about how art can engage the environment. She wanted to show many different art pieces from around the country in which artists used the environment to portray their message and their art. It was a pretty interesting topic. One quote she gave the audience was that, "Instead of puting a work of art on the land, some land is now put into a work of art." She gave three general topics of how/why this could be done. The topics were recycling, response to social issues through the production of objects or discourse, and engagement of landscape.

She then showed various pieces of works in each category. There were pieces of sustainable art, excavation projects, and other out of the ordinary works. A few of my favorites included a picture of a piece in which 10,000 trees were planted around a mountain in a spiral position. It was accomplished in 1996 first and was just an amazing acheivement. It took many years for the trees to grow but when each one grew to its potential, the benefit was a great piece of art. That piece has inspired many new planting projects. Another piece I liked was a drawing of an apocolyptic, end of the world type scenario called "Manifest Destiny" in which the artist illustrated what Brooklyn would look like in the future because of global warming. The whole town was flooded and the piece in general held a very strong message.

The lecture as a whole was okay. It was a little boring but definitely better than the one I went to last time. Sims had a lot of good things to talk about and seemed very familiar with everything she had mentioned. One thing I would have liked to see would be more time for artist names and titles of pieces. On her presentation, she didn't include either and she talked too fast to catch most of the names of artists or their works. Also more pictures would have been nice to see.

December 5, 2007

Alex Killough

My artist presentation, from December 3rd, was on Alex Killough. He is an artist based out of California that makes art dealing with the relationship between sound and image. He uses a lot of computer filters to blur his image as well as his sound. His art is not always visually or audibly pleasant but it is always certainly interesting. Killough graduated from the University of Texas: Austin from the Fine Arts Department. He is pretty local when it comes to displaying his art but he has had his pieces shown at the University of Texas as well as the Univeristy of California: Berkeley. Killough also programs websites and helps other artists accomplish pieces tha they need help completing. Many of his individual pieces, though, are very abstract. If you would like to see some of Alex Killough's artwork and videos, visit or

November 26, 2007

Project 4 Proposal

I want to incorporate all the techniques that I’ve learned so far during the semester and end up with my best work that I’ve had yet. I want to revisit the video project for my final work. My goal is to end up with final video of five minutes plus. This may be longer depending on how filming goes. The video is going to be in the form of a documentary or mockumentary formula. I want it to have a very solid story to it. To accomplish this, I want to make sure that I have a full script written out ahead of time. This achieves a very professional video. It also makes filming a lot more efficient instead of thinking up lines at the time of shooting. The story will involve multiple people telling their interpretation of a story or event that was out of the ordinary. At the end, if it works out, I may use stop motion if I choose to incorporate the actual footage from the event. I want it to look very documentary-esque. To accomplish this, I’ll again use the digital camcorders and a tripod. I may or may not experiment with lighting depending on the availability of kits for me to rent. My work will be shown on the normal projector, similar to how we have watched the previous two projects. It could potentially make its way to YouTube depending on how I feel about the finished product. The intended audience is no one in particular but just those looking to watch a well-shot, potentially funny video project. Overall, I am excited with the idea and hope that I can execute it properly.

Visiting Artist Summary

I recently went to see William Jackson Rushing III at the Weisman Art Museum. He spoke mostly on modern Native American art as well as incorporated some of its history and interpretations on some of the art that is presently being displayed at the actual museum. W. Jackson Rushing has a PHD in art history from the University of Texas and is an accredited speaker around the nation on the subject of Native American art. Native American art has an important place in history and stems from a wide variety of geographical areas. Rushing stressed the importance of regionalism and how the specific art can be a big factor in deciding which region the piece was created in. A lot of the works he talked about came from the west coast area and even Alaska, Canada, and Hawaii.

The specific pieces ranged from baskets, bowls, paddles, weapons, tools, masks, and clothing. The pieces themselves are extremely fragile, abstract, and were very time-consuming to make. One piece in particular was very spiritual, and reflected the artist’s dreams in the very details of the piece. Rushing, in his lecture, included topics on the future of art and how it has lived on to this day. He said that Native American art is growing to this day. It has grown strong incorporating media and technology. On this note, he also mentioned that Native American art has evolved over the years through innovation and that without it, it would have become extinct by now.

As for the presentation, it was extremely boring. Although the art was interesting, Rushing was not. He wore an obvious brown toupee that did not match with his grey beard. He read his entire presentation from a sheet of paper. He rarely deviated from his rehearsed rhetoric and used big words to try to make himself sound intellectual, almost arrogant, on the subject. The lady next to me fell asleep.

November 21, 2007

Paper Trail

The reward of having a finished project is definitely nice when considering all of the effort put into this project. This stop motion video was incredibly difficult to make and very time-consuming. Originally the idea sounds good on paper, no pun intended, but the actual shooting is a long, drawn-out process. There were times when I'd be out in the cold for hours at a time and not a ton of pictures to show for it. Also the wind plays a huge factor. There were a few times when I had to chase down my piece of paper. A lot of duct tape was used to make sure each scene was secure. That being said, however, overall I am extremely pleased with the finished product. There are obvious flaws in the video that any beginner would encounter but I feel that the quality of the video outweighs some of the excess. The way that it comes full circle after traveling to various places makes the two-minute stop motion complete. In conclusion, another stop motion would be something that I'd be interested in trying again because of the experience I had with the first stop motion project.

November 5, 2007

Project 3 proposal

So I did end up getting inspired from hearing everyone's ideas and actually make a short stop motion video in class. I want to animate a crumpled piece of paper. In my vision, I see myself crumpling up this piece of paper, which is either a test or else just a loose-leaf piece of paper that I write something on. It then turns into an adventure around campus and goes through various places around the U of M. In the end, I see the paper making its way back to me, with the actual appearance or writing on the paper having changed over time. I just hope that wind is not a fate-sealing factor in my project. For the sound, ideally I would like to use an actual song. I know that this is not the preferred way of incorporating sound but I feel that if I try to make my own sound, it may come off sounding cheesy and not fitting of my artistic vision. I may, however, try to make my own music on one of the online applications that are accessible.

October 23, 2007

How to Play Fantasy Football

This project was very much a learning experience for me. Going in to filming, I really didn’t know what to expect. Before this project, I had never had any experience editing and very little experience using a camcorder for anything formal. I soon realized how hard it is to speak on camera without stuttering, laughing, forgetting what to say, or anything else that ruins a shot. I have a lot of extra footage of my friend and I screwing up lines. Believe it or not, this project was very time consuming and a lot of effort goes in to making this video turn into four minutes. The whole process of filming in general is very hard including finding decent lighting, enough time in the day to sit down and film, getting people to help out, making sure people don’t talk or walk into your shot, ect. Overall, however, I’m very pleased with how my video turned out given these circumstances. At first, I had the intention of making the video humorous but learned very quickly that trying to be funny is the quickest way to make the video unfunny. I then figured that the best way to go about it was to focus extensively on the dialogue, which shows through in the video. Editing was by far my favorite part of this project. Tinkering with little effects and such was enjoyable. My final impressions about the video project in general are that I felt rushed, especially because the camera equipment is only available for two days at a time and never on the day that you need it because of limited quantity, and the editing software doesn’t allow you to work from home either. If I had more time and better resources, I would have been able to use better lighting and minor techniques that would have brought up the quality of the project. That being said, I still believe I put out a good effort for my first time using these technologies, given the circumstances and overall I am very pleased with my how-to video.

October 9, 2007

Project 2 Proposal

*Sorry this is late but my Internet has been down for a day and a half*

When I first sat down to think about this project, I knew that I wanted to infuse a little bit of humor as well as information. I also wanted to make sure this how-to was something that I was able to speak about easily and with knowledge. Keeping these factors in mind, I decided to make a how-to video on playing fantasy football. Fantasy football is an activity that I’ve been involved in since I was 12 years old. Since its infusion, I’ve always been intrigued and have tried to find ways and patterns to win with more success. This video will focus not only on the rules and ways to get involved, but also tips to create a solid fantasy football team.
There are several reasons as to why fantasy football interests me. The main reason is because of my love for the sport and game of professional football. I feel that it is head and shoulders above all other sports to watch. Secondly, there is plenty of money to be won in the game of fantasy football and I have definitely won my fair share in leagues that I have been in. Third, most everyone in my life plays fantasy football in some form, whether for money or for pure pleasure, and having that common bond is a great way to relate to my dad, brother, and friends.
Initial ideas that I have for this video project will be first to provide rules and ways to get involved. I think this will help to get people interested in the topic. Next, I’d like to show people a live draft and some more “man law? aspects to add a little humor if I pull it off correctly. Third, I hope to let people know how to set their lineup. Lastly, I would like to show how to watch football on Sundays. I will most definitely film this in my house with friends. Hopefully they will be supportive in my quest to make a good project. Also, I intend to get as much experience with the camera before I start shooting as possible to make the actual film go smoothly.
Overall, I want to make a video that is informative, that helps get more people involved in fantasy football, and also makes people laugh. I look forward to making it and to learning the techniques of editing and shooting video.

October 1, 2007

A Walk Through Home

After recording audio for my upcoming project, I realized that many
questions that had previously been anonymous were now answered. Recording
sounds around my house seemed like a logical choice to pick because these
were sounds I hear ever day but never pay much attention to. The most
unexpected thing was just the fact that there were so many unique noises
and to single them out was interesting. I organized my sounds by arranging
them by almost giving a tour of the house. The reasoning for that was so that
the listener is able to picture the scene in their heads with ease and can
relate as well. I used a lot of echoing as well as different volume and
speed effects to give the piece a more realistic feel. I also experimented with
the phaser effect at one point and liked the outcome. Overall, the whole
process was fun and challenging at the same time. It had me really get in
touch with my surroundings and helped me focus and develop the piece on a
new level.

September 17, 2007

Chaos in the city