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May 15, 2008

Jeremy Sengly Final Project

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Really? yes, oh yes.

May 13, 2008

artist response AShley Kreidler

Mock up On Mu is a blend of found images in a collage format used to tell a story in a narrative/documentary form. Craig Baldwin described the film as a critique of not only the war industry, but also of the institutions that U.S. militarization cultivates in order to propagandize military action. The film portrayed the lives of three underground occult icons of post-WWII—Jack Parsons, L. Ron Hubbard, and Marjorie Cameron—and how their lives intertwined. The film showed how they established themselves as influential figures not only in the occult world, but also in mainstream American culture.
Craig Baldwin is a self-proclaimed “experimental? film-maker. The process of making this film demanded that he collect footage from Hollywood films, educational videos, propaganda footage, avant-garde films, and his own previously shot movies. He described the process of collecting footage as a “lifestyle? rather than a collection procedure. In addition to his found footage, he interlaced his own live-action footage to illustrate the narrative aspect of the film. More specifically, he interspersed his own footage into the collage format in order to convey the story more clearly. The film was weighted with an equal amount of found footage and live-action shots. Baldwin stated that he perceived the footage he shot to have equal or lesser value to the actual found film. In other words, he treated his own live-action shots as found footage as well. Therefore, his live action characters took on new meaningful personas as they were shown amongst influential icons such as Alister Crowley, Lockheed Martin, and Kenneth Anger.
Baldwin’s approach to filmmaking creates a connection between the message he wants his films to portray with the previous meaning of the footage he uses. In other words, Baldwin’s film will have a personal as well as general response from the audience because each viewer has different associations with the found footage. For example, the person I went to the film with interpreted parts of the movie differently than I because he and I had made different connections with some of the found film that Baldwin used.
Therefore, Baldwin’s style of filmmaking prompts the audience to interpret the film in their own way, while still maintaining the general premise of the movie.

Sable - Arist Response - Abinadi Meza

Abinadi Meza - "Found Voice"

For my artist response, I viewed the “Found Voice? exhibit by Abinadi Meza at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I’m going to include some details here that aren’t necessarily part of the exhibit simply because they enhanced my perception of the piece. Arriving late, I was unable to find the class and instead roamed the museum alone. As I paced through the lit halls, I passed by what I would describe as “museum proctors.? To be perfectly honest, I was a little afraid of them; in giant arched hallways with no noise but my own footsteps, they lurked in the corners without speaking as I passed by them. I need to find some place to escape them and gather myself after an hour of searching. At the far end of one hall, I notice something that throws me off: there is a single room that is completely black. It beckoned almost as if a black hole, so completely unavoidable.

With a bench in the center and no proctors in sight, I sat. The first thing that struck me was the noise. From every direction, the sound seemed to envelope the room. I picked apart laughter, the sound of clothing rumpling, and voices both young and old. It became obvious that the sound wasn’t simply a recording… it was layered and altered in such a way that gave it its own sort of atmosphere. It wasn’t frightening as much as much as interesting… I found myself trying to break it down but eventually failing, instead content to take in the “life? of the sound as a whole. Sitting on the bench, I began to take in the projected video with the sound. I actually felt a little frightened by the video, though I did understand immediately what it was. The video was taken of exhibits in the museum itself, though it was taken in the dark using a flashlight. After watching for about 10 minutes and getting EXTREMELY freaked out by the light on a human statue in the center of a hall (I kept expecting it to suddenly turn around) I was finally able to take in the exhibit as a whole.

“Found Voice? is essentially an appropriation of the entire museum. Meza utilized all the exhibits in the form of a video (it’s almost as if he compiled the museum into a 20 minute movie) and in a sense made the visitors themselves part of the work. By using a digital recording, he sampled the sounds of the various visitors, layered them and replayed them as the audio for the video. When the two are put together the product is reminiscent of a journey through an animal’s stomach; the museum takes on a life in itself. With the only light being a flashlight, you can’t really make out the specific exhibits… in this way it distorts them and makes them a part of a whole.

Abinadi Meza refers to himself as a “Sound/Installation Artist.? His typical media includes sound and video, though never sound or video composed himself. Instead he takes recorded sound and video and melds them together with his own touch (for example in “Found Voice? the layering and architecture of the sound of the museum).

I found the exhibit enthralling. Aside from simply being a “safe haven? from my supposed museum stalkers, Meza’s work forces you to become a part of the “world? he creates. Instead of simply looking at a painting, you are immersed with his ideas. The fact that I felt anything at all from it is to me a sign of how good a job he did at it and how well the idea was conveyed.

May 7, 2008

Matt Final Project








Alina Cheng Project 3

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I did a commercial similar to those of the diamond company, De Beers, has
made. It was in black and white, revolved around a love story, and of
course had diamonds involved. I feel this story line does fit with the
theme “love and diamonds are forever.? The couple in the commercial was
constantly passing each other, and the diamond, which symbolizes love,
brought them together at the end, and they left together.
I chose to do it in black and white because I feel it is more
dramatic, and most of the De Beers commercials were in black and white. The
fact that it is black and white makes me feel that there is more attention
paid to the faces and the people, without the colors of the surrounding
environment and bright/dim lights distracting the viewers.
One concern I had when I decided to do a stop motion De Beers
commercial was that it would just look like a photo slideshow or just
silly, but I don’t think it turned out that way. I made the commercial a
stop motion because that way, I had a lot more control over the quality of
the photos, and that was really my main reason. With a video, I felt that I
couldn’t control the lighting and such because there was always movement
and action going on. But with photos, I could adjust when I needed to, and
keep the quality of the photos excellent. One of my goals was to have such
high quality photos, that my commercial could almost be real. And compared
to my first stop motion, the lighting and focus of the photos are a lot
better. As for how a stop motion relates to the commercial’s content, I
feel it actually works in my favor. It is almost more dramatic this way,
and the viewers could really slow down and pay attention to the emotions
and people in photo rather than being distracted by their movements.
The music, which is Palladio by Karl Jenkins, is apparent in most
of the early De Beers commercial. The music is really a pivotal part of the
commercial because it basically pulls the story along, with the climb
towards the climax in the beginning with the rhythmic strings, to the
climax and finish at the end. The music makes it so that I don’t need lines
from the actors, because the music adds all the emotions necessary. In
fact, I think the music is the most important part of this commercial,
without it, the commercial would be totally dead. I did add the texts
because I felt it helps give viewers a base to make sure that they
understand the story. Also, I needed to put the slogan of De Beers in
there, and a narrator saying those lines at the end would take away from
the emotions people feel from watching the commercial.

Michael Sable - Project 3 Review

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This project, despite the fact that it took much, much longer to do than the others, was far and above more fun to do. Though the final product is somewhat different from the original proposal, I believe I hit hard on the parts that matter.

I chose this project to contrast with project 2; rather than it being about camera work, this one was almost entirely about editing. For the one hour of filming I did, it took approximately 20 hours of editing to complete.

After looking at the video in its completion, I believe I did some things well, and some things... not... as well. I'll start with the bad: this video really lacks a story. With my sights set on editing and specifically a counterstrike parody, the story was pretty much meant only to setup the shots. Really, this story could have taken place in a variety of different situations: car accident leading to coma, daydreaming, getting stuck in the game like in that Arnold Schwarzeneger movie, etc.

Another thing that turned out rather lackluster was some of HUD elements. I think with a little more time they could have turned out a bit brighter and more noticeable. Though the video itself turned out fairly well, suspending the camera beside me instead of shoulder mounting it might have helped it look a little more steady. Finally, I think some of the footsteps were synched incorrectly, though that much isn't too obvious with all the other layers of sound.

A few things that I think turned out well: I feel the acting turned out fairly well, though I didn't personally do as well. Ryan (my teammate in the game) did an incredible job mocking the way characters move and behave in the game... him being an avid player, he had a good idea of what to shoot for (no pun intended). The actual gun placement for the first person turned out pretty well too... you can't even tell that its actually a paintball marker. The place we chose to shoot was a really nice choice as well; there were plenty of obstacles and lots of space.

If I could do this over, I would have spent a ton more time shooting to make the footage look just write, and probably would have had everyone play the game briefly so they had an idea of what they were aiming for (pun totally intended that time).

Breanne Subias, Final Project

I know this isn't the right way to put this on here. I'll fix it later.

https://mediamill.cla.umn.edu/mediamill/embedqt/12768

The results of my final project were not exactly what I had in mind when I wrote up my proposal. I started this thing with elaborate plans of using shadow techniques in order to portray the ideas behind the dream of losing teeth, which is apparently the most commonly reported nightmare. I have these dreams all the time, even once during the course of this project, and the commonness of this dream surprised me. When presented with the commonness of the sentiments behind this dream, many of which have to do with feelings of inadequacy, it was not at all surprising to me anymore. I’m not sure whether I really subscribe to the idea of being able to interpret dreams that many people share with one explanatory swoop across the board, but it’s an interesting idea anyway. This piecing together of common elements to create something unnerving, I thought, lent itself better to a collage than to shadows.

The face in my project is created out of elements of my own face from a few different pictures I took especially for this occasion. I wanted to use elements of existing pictures, but none worked. The teeth are cut from a picture of my own mouth and mounted on cardboard to be easily mobile, and the same is true with the pupils and eyebrows. The point is that I was able to create something grotesque and disproportionate out of elements of my own being, but something that clearly functions in a human way and feels emotions.

I incorporated video footage into my piece in order to add a human element that was originally unclear when looking at the stop-motion footage by itself. It also clarifies the fact that we are seeing into a dream, as well as separates the dream from reality (dream is stop action, the sleep footage is clearly not). We are left unsure as to whether the narrator has a place in reality or a place in the subconscious of our dreamer. I think that the narrator takes a role that is very much similar to that of a psychotherapist. She is the dreamer, but she is a third party observing as well, hinting at the idea of self-analysis, which is really what this project ended up being for me. The footage of the “therapist? picking her teeth kind of brought those two sides of the character back together. This is interesting because that was the only piece of footage I shot on a whim, and it ended up being a vital element of the piece. Or at least that was my interpretation.

I worried that maybe adding a sleeping person to the piece was a “captain obvious? move and could make the project a bit hokey overall. Nothing quite accomplished that like the music I chose, however. The audio was honestly fine before I added the track, but it was very blatantly lacking at some points, and I could not just leave it. After I played with song after song, I am ashamed to say I just settled. There was no more time to change it. I am completely unsatisfied with the music I picked, and if I had to do it again, I would use eerie ambient sounds conservatively in places where they made sense rather than a near-solid musical track. It was also difficult to get the different volumes to fit together correctly while allowing for the narration to be clear. While I could have fine-tuned the executions a little more successfully, conceptually, I am proudest of this project out of all three this semester.

On a somewhat unrelated but still relevant note, this class helped me realize something: I like art I can put my hands in. I like crocheting completely impractical things and seeing what they turn into, and cutting out paper, and drawing and compiling and getting dirty and messy. It isn’t that I’m not proud of having learned a new skill…it’s just that this new skill leaves nothing under my fingernails or on my floor when I’m done with it. And that, to me, is unfulfilling. This project let me incorporate that creative, hands-on element that I love with the necessary and wondrous technology that I hate to make something I could be proud of on a level that mattered to me. And even though I have groaned at the basis of this class, for today I have been humbled and silenced. And that’s a pretty damn impressive accomplishment.

Stephen Project 3

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The Lonely Bowler went for the most part as planned for me. Visually the film is almost exactly how I wanted it, enigmatic, dreamlike, lonely. To me the visual motif is the most important aspect of the film because without it the character loses his enigma and his trademark loneliness. I think the bowler sort of coming forth from the blackness is both symbolic of his loneliness due to the vastness of nothing around him, but I think there is something vaguely hopeful about him coming out of the darkness, not letting it overcome him. Even though the final shot has the lights going out on the bowler, I see this more of the idea that he will never leave the place, or the memory of the narrator, even though the alley is closed and the lights are out, he is still there, bowling away.
The narration worked out for the most part as well with the single voice driving the piece and other voices drowning out minute details. The idea was that the small details don’t matter, it is the overall character, the legend if you will, that is the important part. What size was Paul Bunyan’s shoe? Ask ten people get ten answers. So the idea was to represent all these answers without ever really getting an answer because it isn’t important.
Nostalgia was a key element in the film; I really wanted it to feel like the viewer was either at a bowling alley, or that the guy could be a bowler from the 70’s. Music was key and Telephone Line worked so perfectly in not only reflecting the theme of loneliness but also in giving the piece that nostalgia factor with its DooWop melody yet maintaining that delightfully 70’s prog rock sound. I decided the run with the Electric Light Orchestra theme and use Hold On Tight to Your Dreams at the end. It may seem sort of frivolous but it really drives home the point of maintaining the enigma of things that inspire you or interest you. The Lonely Bowler is a mystery to the narrator and should remain that way because the moment someone figures him out, he is just another bowler. I kind of hope to make the Lonely Bowler into something more I have a few ideas brewing for a short film where the Lonely Bowler would be the eponymous character but a supporting character. He would be the glue that holds the whole film together. So look forward to “The Lonely Bowler’s Club? in the near future.

Ashley Man and His Machine

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My final project turned out completely different from what I had first imagined. I decided to focus my animation on the ways that human beings can come to be like machines. The main point of the animation is to show how people can be conditioned and trained to imitate machine-like qualities—whether it be at school, at work, or within social networks. There is a specific scene that shows how people can be cut up and made to fit a specific formula, much like a machine. The woman is literally chopped into pieces and given a new appearance—one that is generic enough for multiple people to personify. There are also football players that carry the woman off multiple times, which can be interpreted to show how most people can be persuaded into many different roles. I chose to use football players to show this because firstly, they represent something strong and convincing and secondly, because football is a huge part of American culture.

I learned a lot in the process of making my first animation, and I applied some of those techniques to this project. Firstly I used a surface (a piece of black material) to work on that wasn’t as slippery as paper. This helped to prevent pieces of collage from blowing away or getting lost in the shuffle. I also used A LOT of rubber cement to adhere pieces to each other. Rubber cement is nice because it isn’t permanent.

I wanted to focus more so on the visual aspect of this animation, so the audio track is minimal. The audio I did add, however, was mostly taken from inside of factories. The primary track that plays throughout the piece was taken from the inside of a sweatshop, so there are sewing machines and generators playing throughout the piece. I would honestly like to add something more to the audio track, but at this point I’m satisfied with what I have.


Ken Shores Project 3

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My video was an experience in a highly technical work. Though I feel it's a bit short, between stop motion and clips under 10s in length, the video finishes out at around a minute and a half long. This video was intended to be a lot of time involved setting up the shots, and then again a lot of work in the post-production editing. In that regard, I think it was a success - I barely managed to finish with my schedule in mind, logging well over 12 hours setting up and shooting, and another 10 or more in the lab editing. For the first time, I feel like I've done more than simply string video and sound clips together with pictures, and that was my primary goal for this project. The narrative of the video, that of the LEGO man obtaining the crystal, was "arbitrary," and was done as such because it fit very well with the theme of the machine I was building - An overly complex set of ramps, levers, ropes and misc objects that accomplished a very simple task. I also got a chance to work in Photoshop, which I have some experience with, though I've never had a serious goal behind using it.
The first shooting never happened, because I couldn't obtain a camera, but I took the afternoon to construct the machine anyways. Thinking myself done, when I re-assembled it, I spent another 5 hours adding to it and finally taking my shots. I'm glad I'd spent time thinking about shots and setting in the time between the two shooting dates, because it made the footage a lot easier to work with when I got it into production. All of the shots were taken at the library in my residence hall, and they were taken after sunset, to maintain a much more controlled lighting than I experienced when shooting my second project.
I am satisfied with this project and how it turned out, and while I worry that the amount of work invested might not seem apparent in contrast to the length, I have been assured by the one or two people who've already seen it that I've done a good job - Now I really want to see what it looks like projected on a screen. I won't preface my presentation with this, but during the portion with the video clips being strung together, I hope people will be able to follow the action well - Since I've overlayed different portions of the track from different segments of footage, (at least on a small screen) it seems like it might be a lot to follow, especially for someone who hasn't seen the full machine in person. But capturing the scope of the machine without actually showing it was one of my ultimate goals. And I think I've accomplished it.

May 5, 2008

Louis Adams Project 3 Write Up

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For my project I decided to do a remake version of Frankenstein. However I wanted it to more of a spoof than a spook. I added in creepy music and scary sound effects but the action that was actually taking place was more or less to be funny. What inspired me to do this video was the fact that everyone knows Frankenstein and it would be easy to catch the crowd by only changing it to NUPEnstein and adding my own effects to it. Also the reason I chose this theme is because I thought it would be easy to put in the beginning of a step show for my fraternity. I thought that it would be a good way to show how my frat is dominant and the best and to show how every other frat just isn’t the right answer. After going through critique, I have learned a lot of new things about my video.

Before I went through critique I thought that the movie was set up to be scary or kind of creepy as the doctor introduces himself and is walking to his laboratory. However, after listening to my classmates and you (Katinka), I have realized that the video was set up to be a funny spoof from the beginning. If you notice, which you did but I didn’t, as the doctor puts on his lab coat and his tie he is being goofy and acting like a dork. I never looked at it that way.

Another thing I didn’t think about was how I was setting up who the monster was. What I wanted to do was to have the monster be shown hardly at all and then at the end the viewer becomes the monster. A lot of others thought that I should have set up the monster to be someone different and we don’t ever become him. Also, at the end of the film the monster is never actually shown coming to life. We are him as he is coming to life. The film just ends there with the sound effects still going on to give it the “urging to see more,? “until next time? feeling. Some did not like that because they felt that I just left out the best part, which would be him sitting up coming to life. Others felt that it was better not actually seeing the monster. I didn’t want to show the monster before because the monster is not scary at all but after going through critique, I feel that it is necessary to have him sitting up because the whole video is funny. One student actually thought that it would be cool to have the monster come to life and start twirling the cane super crazy. After thinking about it, I think that would be the best thing for him to do because it would have finished the video perfectly instead of just ending anonymously.

TSINU-PROJECT 3


My final project was a small educational video shot in a studio. I was inspired to do the video project by my 11 years old little sister. This was a very personal video for me. I have always wanted to do a documentary of some sort that brings people from different cultures and backgrounds together. Even though this project is very small to have the type of effect I want it to have, I believe the message is big. I started my final project first by writing a small script. After I was finished with it, I had to go out and look for different people to play the proper roles in the video. I was very happy to see how excited all the people I talked to were to help me out with my project. Rather than anything else, the idea and the message behind it was appealing to them the most.

One of the most important things for my video project was setting up the right lighting. Lighting is very crucial in video as it helps set the mood of the scene. From the very beginning I knew I wanted my video to be black and white. So I placed my subjects against a black background and I made them all wear black shirts so that they blend in with the background. I did that because I wanted their face to be the only thing that was being illuminated by the lighting. Basic three point lighting was what I used to create somewhat of a dramatic look. With the black and white picture, the image turned out to be a little bit darker than the color version. However, I felt like it gave the scene the dramatic feel I wanted. And as an audience member our center of attention goes straight to the faces of the people rather than anything else in the scene.

The most difficult part in making this video was creating continuity. Since different people have different ways of reading style and voice, it was hard trying to get everybody to read in the same tone and pace. Another problem was the different size of the people involved in the video. I had to try to put the people with the same size and body structure next to one another so that there won’t be a noticeable jump between one take to another. I originally wanted the skit to be not more than two minutes; however, after cutting out a small portion of it, I still couldn’t get it down to my two minute curve without distorting the message. At the end, it was a very good experience and I was happy with the end product. I plan to make many more of this type of educational videos in the future and this has helped to steer me on the right direction.

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Sarah Vang: Project 3

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This project was probably one of the hardest to complete because of the fact it was so open-ended. It took me quite a while to get down a plot and storyline, but when my brain started functioning it came easily. My finished product ended up going quite differently from my proposal according to the storyline, but was what I had imagined for the technical aspect of this project.

The short piece follows a snapshot of a girl’s life at school. Her experience is not exactly natural, and I decided to let the audience conclude whether or not it is real.

I filmed it at the Community School of Excellence in Saint Paul, where my mom works, which is in the location of an old Catholic school. I wanted a creepy and eerie feeling, and that’s really what I got, both in my shots and in filming the project. There was even one point where I was filming the empty dark hallway alone and I thought I could see movement behind the door that stood at the end in front of me. I was happy with the lighting in the project for the majority of the video. It was not too bright outside or too dark, and I just used all the natural lighting of the location. I followed your advice and filmed the whole thing, then turned the video into still images using Final Cut Pro. It was a lot easier that way and made the lighting and image exactly like that of the video.

The sound I managed to capture in the location was better than I expected. The echoes and the ambient noise were really what I was looking for in sound from the hallways and rooms. The voice overs were done by me as well as numerous other people I know. I did not give them any guidelines in what they could whisper and say, so there is somewhat of a diversity in what is said. The scream was found on the Freesound Project website along with the bouncing of the balls. I'm not sure how well they both play in this video.

Before I started filming this, I was starting to feel a bit stressed when I realized how short of time I had to complete everything. Now that I’m finished, I’m happy with what I ended up with. This project helped me experience a director’s role more than the second one, mainly because I was the only one working all the equipment and making the decisions in how things should look. I do not know if I really have a director’s eye, but all-in-all, like I said, I’m satisfied.

Lisa Project 3

Layered audio file:
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Individual tracks:
Treatise on Abandonment
A Domesticity
Andrea and I in the Salt Flats with Dynamite
Dawn on Haleakala
Argument for Replacement of Poet with Moon

This project was really a way for me to work with and find different ways of connecting with the form of art that is most familiar to me: poetry. This past year I have been constantly writing poems for class, and I find that the same themes are continually re-emerging in different forms. I am curious about this subconscious life of my poetry and was hoping, through this project, to find a different way of discovering connections across poems that I would not otherwise have noticed. I hope that my method of randomly interweaving/layering recordings of these poems will also allow listeners to discover relationships between them that aren't necessarily obvious in reading them separately.

I started out with a bunch of recordings of poems, thinking that I would be able to use all of them in my project, but there was way too much going aurally so I chose a few (basically randomly) and worked on creating sound 'environments' for them. The poems I chose all happened to have a strong sense of place, or a motif of some sort that I could represent through sound (explosions, droplets). I thought this would be a good learning experience with sound and also add another dimension to them poems, and a rhythm too.

I thought I would be able to create one sound file at first, but since I wanted the poems to be able to randomly interact with each other (instead of having me set their interactions), I decided to burn each poem (repeated over and over) onto a CD and then have 5 CD players set up (Flaming Lips style). Listeners could have as many playing at once as they would like, and they could control when each would begin playing (or stop playing). When I found out I could use the performance and installation room I figured I would play one track from each pair of speakers, or however it works out, and have listeners just experience it without being able to control anything.

The first time I will have heard my project is just before I show it, so it is a little bit of an experiment and I'm not sure yet how it will work out. Hopefully well!

***

I think the performance and installation room version of my project was really successful. It's true that the words were significantly less audible than the other sounds, but that was really OK with me. Also, some of the poems were louder than others because the sound dynamics of those speakers were different than listening to it from computer speakers. This made it more difficult perhaps to hear relationships between the poems themselves, but the sounds also had interesting interactions I thought.
All in all, I was really happy with the way it turned out, and how all of the sounds representing different locations came together to form a new poetic sound space!

I still can see my project functioning in different ways and in different settings, like having the CDs I made set up in regular old CD players that people can have more control over, or using 2 portable CD players with earbuds and having people listen to both at the same time, one in each ear. I also thought about having people listen to the tracks one at a time before layering them.

This was another learning experience for me, and I'm glad I had a chance to focus on working with sound exclusively. I think it's a great way to experience anyone's poetry, and it forced my to confront my own poetry in a way that I was not accustomed to and not entirely comfortable with. I definitely hope to do more experimenting with poetry and sound in the future.