Fueled by peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, vast quantities of black coffee, and one or two adult libations (dirty martinis) I powered through this week. I refused to get frustrated by software and programs that were not senior citizen friendly. Years ago when I was an electronics technician on submarines I discovered that there are more ways to solve simple problems than you will ever know, you just need to keep looking for the workaround. If nothing else, this week provided me with ample opportunities to prove to myself that the holes in my sieve like brain are not as huge as I thought they were.
I think that Ebert’s basic visual strategy is very interesting. I do not watch a lot of movies or television so I am not grounded on the intricacies of videography the way he is. However, as someone who has studied photography and photographic composition a number of times, the 20 some odd points he mentioned in his article on video composition made a great deal of sense to me.
I believe that Ebert’s 20 points can be distilled to the following:
- the right side of the frame is the power side
- the left side of the frame is the weak side
- the center of the frame is neutral
- the top side of the frame is dominant over the bottom frame
- objects in the foreground of the frame are dominant over objects in the background
For this assignment I watched two video clips:
- “The Shining//Zoom” https://vimeo.com/38828455 where the cinematography gave the viewer a perspective that the world was out of balance thru movement and placement of film clips and photographs.
- “Tarantino//from Below” https://vimeo.com/37540504 where the video was taken from the submissive position of a weak victim looking up from below at strong antagonist to the stronger.
Look, Listen, Analyze
For this assignment I chose a vignette from a movie I have never seen “The Good The Bad and the Ugly”…the Cemetery Scene.
I found it fascinating to see what your eyes see without sound and what your ears hear when you you listen without the interruption of sight. I am a very visual person who has an acutely tuned sense of hearing. For me this assignment was extremely interesting. By turning off the sound and watching the visual effects my mind was not distracted or focused by the soundtrack of the movie. By closing my eyes and listening only to the soundtrack the cinematography did not distract me. When I played the video clip for the third time, with my eyes open and my ears listening, my mind process the visual and sound effects more critically than if I had watched the movie for pure entertainment purposes.
1.) Where My Shoes Took Me
This four-star assignment was great fun. It provided me with significant challenges and opportunities to excel.
I took the video while out on my 0600 morning walk with my pup Nelly. I used my iPhone to record two separate video clips. It took me no time at all to airdrop the two videos from my iPhone to my iPad. Initially I attempted to use iMovie’s to work with the video and to download the video that I produced into Vimeo. That didn’t work. Eventually, through dogged determination and the process technically known as “dumb luck” I was able to move the two videos from my iPad to my Sony laptop where I was able to manipulate them and combine them.
I then ran into trouble when I couldn’t get Vimeo to upload my MovieMaker video project file. Again, perseverance paid off when, by shear luck, I discovered, while doing my other video assignment, that by saving my movie to a Apple iPhone format, MPEG-4, in MovieMaker (File>Save Movie>Apple iPhone) Vimeo would happily sucked up.
2.) Mr. Z Important Things in My Life
This 4 1/2 star assignment captures one of the fundamental aspects of my personality.
I drew inspiration for this video from an assignment posted by Jenna Wood entitled “How I ended Up Here”. The tutorial she posted got my creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of my first year of college or even my first year at UMW. Paging through the assignment bank I found the assignment, I ended up doing, entitled “I am me”. It fit perfectly.
Who am I:
I am a saluki hound aficionado. I have had saluki hounds for over 55 years of my life. I received my first saluki as a child, growing up in Saudi Arabia, from one of our Saudi neighbors who acquired the pop from a Bedouin friend of his. For the last 20 years I have always had at least four salukis in my house. On Sunday the 18th my new pup, Saiph (Sword in Arabic) will arrive at Dulles, by air, from Bahrain.
Putting this video together was relatively straightforward. My two primary tools were my trusty fallback, PowerPoint, and MovieMaker. When using PowerPoint the trick to remember is that everything you create needs to be turned into a “picture”, JPEG format, if you want to use it in a blog or, in this case, a video.
The second most critical step in the entire process was the next to the last and is the one I discovered accidentally:
1.) Save the project file using the “Save Movie” drop-down, under file, and selecting save for Apple iPhone.
This saves the movie as a MPEG-4/H.264 Video File. Once the MovieMaker software converts the file and that conversion is saved Vimeo will upload it to your Vimeo account.
Comments on other blog posts
I decided to do 5 blog comments this week. As of Saturday at 1pm I received three comments from classmates on my blog assignments.
For this daily create I found an old map of Northern Virginia that has Stafford County, where I live, marked on it, My house is actually located in the vicinity of the “T” in Stafford on the map.
— George W Zimmerman (@GeorgeWZimmerm2) June 13, 2017
My favorite quote is from C.S. Jarvis, who was the British Governor of Sinai in the 1930s. One of the books he wrote about his experience is entitled, “Three Deserts”. The quote, in the chapter “Masterpieces of the Obvious” is about the stupidity of General Headquarters, in the U.K. He complains:
Headquarters in those days struck me as being extraordinarily dense, not to say silly. It was necessary to explain to them that water would not run uphill, that sand blew in the same direction as the wind and did not get up and fight its way against it; that the sun was hotter in summer then in winter, and other masterpieces of the obvious of this description. It never seemed to occur to them that we men in the desert were the reason for their existence…Headquarters… regarded themselves the center of the universe and us as troublesome beings who always required something they were not inclined to cede, and imagined what a pleasant place headquarters might be if only they were not worried to death by insistent creatures who lived in the desert…
— George W Zimmerman (@GeorgeWZimmerm2) June 14, 2017
This assignment was lots of fun. My eldest sister served as the photographer and after I had done a bit of staging and run through the placement of my hedge clippers and rake we managed to take the picture in one shot. Pretty cool.
— George W Zimmerman (@GeorgeWZimmerm2) June 14, 2017
While in the military and as a government employee my jobs required periodic polygraphs. Trust me, there is nothing fun about the experience. I thought that this Simpsons cartoon perfectly captured the experience.
— George W Zimmerman (@GeorgeWZimmerm2) June 16, 2017
On the whole, I think that once again I did a passable job completing the requirements of this week’s assignments.
I got to play around with iMovie and MovieMaker. Two programs that a week ago I had no idea existed. I took my own counsel and started work early in the week. I’m glad I did. This course and summer classes in particular do not lend themselves to procrastination.
What I enjoyed again this week, was learning something totally new. I had no idea how much fun it is to play with video. The challenge of putting everything together next week will be exciting.
I think that it might be of use to students to have a chat room open, online, at least one evening early in the week where they can “Talk to the Professor/Teaching Assistant” and ask dumb questions and go over the weeks requirements and some of the finer points in using that week’s technology.
All in all, this was a fun week.