Tuesday, May 7, 2013

So little, so late...

Two days to go before the final presentation... and so much left to do. I don't know if I'm going to get this done in time. I think I smell a(nother) disaster.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Design for Media Final Project - Week 2

I began by taking digital photos of my glucometer from all (square) angles. Then I edited the photos so they were all square, and so the glucometer is always the same size and position on every image. This creates a reliable set of reference photos that I can use to model the glucometer in Blender.

The next step was to create planes in Blender's modeling environment, create materials in Blender, apply my reference photos as textures to those materials, and scale and position the planes relative to the primitive cube that will eventually become my 3D glucometer.

Part of the challenge was applying my prior experience in Maya to Blender's terminology and workflow. It's a bit like trying to figure out how to ask where the bathroom is in another language, except the word for "bathroom" in that language actually translates as "automobile."

Fortunately, there are multiple support forums for Blender users, and a lot of people who migrate among Maya, Blender, and other 3D modeling apps. A little bit of Google goes a long way.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Design for Media Final Project - Week 1

I've been using various GNU/Linux distributions since 2009. I started with Ubuntu, a common first distro for new Linux users. Since then, I've "distro-hopped" and tried Debian (Ubuntu's upstream project), Linux Mint and Trisquel (two Ubuntu derivatives), Ubuntu Studio (a re-spin specifically for media creation), Fedora (a bleeding-edge distribution showcasing new features), and -- most recently -- openSUSE (a community-built version of the commercial SUSE Linux distribution).

I've experimented with the Blender 3D modeling and animation program, but I haven't really spent enough time to use it effectively as a creative tool. I'd like to begin by modeling a (relatively) simple object.

Last year I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Since then, I've spend a lot of time testing my blood glucose and taken a lot of pills. The photo above is of the glucometer that I use to check my blood several times a week. Its design is based on a relatively simple shape, but it has enough features (buttons, the slot for the test strip, etc.) to make it a good subject for learning to model in Blender.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Group Project - Week 4

Post Production Workflow
  • Video Post
    • Video editing: Yazmin R. is working on making a rough cut with the footage available to her.
    • Effects: The need for additional video effects is still TBD.
    • Color Correction: Karl A. will be doing color correction to the edited footage.
  • Audio Post
    • ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement, or "looping"): The actors who played Rose, Snow, and the dwarf are not available to record in the booth. I'll be bringing different actors into the sound booth to record dialogue for the on-screen characters. Sakhile has been cast as the narrator.
    • Foley: This is a good task to delegate to anyone who was involved in pre-production and production, who is looking for something to do. Foley involves finding ways to create sounds that match the on-screen action: swords clashing, rustling fabric, footsteps, etc.
    • Ambient effects (also called "nats," as in natural effects): These can be found by combing sound effects libraries or going out with a recorder and acquiring them. For example, when we were shooting in the woods, we could still hear traffic from the highway nearby, so we would still have had to find someplace even more remote to record ambient effects, or simply found some nice "woodsy" sounds online or in an effects library. We'll do the same for interior shots, etc.
    • Music: We already have several tracks to choose from, so laying music down after the rest of the editing and effects are completed should be no problem. This will be one of the last steps in the post-production process.
  • Titles / Credits
    • We still need someone to make the end titles / credits. I'd like to see something with some design sense to it, rather than just plain rolling text on a black background. Matt S. would be a good choice if he isn't already busy with something else. He should also have at least one other person design the credits with him.
This blog post is adapted from an email conversation I had with Beth DuBoe, the project's director.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Group Project - Week 3

So what do you do when you bring a road case full of audio recording equipment to a video shoot, and no one brings the electrical generator you need to run the equipment?

You pull out a digital photo camera and become part of the documentary crew, while resigning yourself to adding voices and sound effects in post-production.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Group Project - Week 2

Music Selections

The trailer begins with a quiet, pastoral introduction to the characters Snow White and Rose Red. Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie is a nice quiet selection for this sequence. I found two public domain recordings. One is a piano arrangement, the other is a harp arrangement. I tend to prefer the harp performance for this project, but it's too early to commit yet.
Gymnopédie No. 1
Comp. Erik Satie
Perf. Robin Alciatore
Public Domain
Recording Courtesy of Musopen

Gymnopédie No. 1
Comp. Erik Satie
Perf. Peter Johnson
Public Domain
For the sequence where the girls build their friendship with the bear prince, here's an appropriately named love theme. The edits between each musical phrase are more than a little rough, but I should be able to smooth them out in the final mix. If I use this theme at all, I'll only need a few seconds of it anyway.
Sacchrine [sic] Love Theme
Brian Boyko
Public Domain
For the rest of the trailer (orchestral stings, building tension, epic climax, etc.) I found several CC-licensed tracks by French composer Jacques-Laurent Benech. It's unlikely that I'll use all of these tracks, and I certainly won't any one in its entirety; but these tracks will provide a nice pool of musical "moments" to score the Snow White & Rose Red trailer with.
I Don't Wanna Die Now
Jacques-Laurent Benech
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

The Chamber
Jacques-Laurent Benech
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Mio Altro in D minor
Jacques-Laurent Benech
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

The Coaster
Jacques-Laurent Benech
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Libre Pensée
Jacques-Laurent Benech
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Agitato - Glory Afternoon
Jacques-Laurent Benech
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Kayan Trailer
Jacques-Laurent Benech
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Group Project - Week 1

After reading the "Snow White and Rose Red" story, and reviewing the "Metamorphosis" chapter in 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias, I sent the following message to the project directors and story team.

I hope nobody minds, but I wanted to contribute a few comments after reading the story.
  • Whose story is this? The title suggests that the girls are the protagonists, but this is a metamorphosis tale, which hints that maybe it's really about the bear prince.
  • The girls (individually and as a pair) fit the "magical/innocent child" often seen in myths. For example, they can stay in the woods late into the night in complete safety, and are even protected by an angel. Is their status as magical children altered or jeopardized at all by either the appearance of the bear, or their interactions with the dwarf? Do they mature at all as the story progresses?
  • The story says that the girls get along perfectly, all the time, from beginning to end. What if it isn't always so? What if things start out well until one of the sisters starts to develop feelings for the bear prince and becomes jealous of the other? (The story says that Snow White was sad to see the bear leave when spring arrives, but doesn't say how Rose Red feels about it.)
  • Aside from their relationship to each other, what personal character arc does each girl go through? Does the quiet, studious Snow White learn to be more assertive? Does headstrong and passionate Rose Red learn restraint?
  • If the bear prince could be released from his curse by the dwarf's death, why didn't the prince just kill him earlier? Is it because it would only work if the bear prince was defending someone else instead of looking after his own self-interest? ("Love" is often the cure for the metamorph's curse. Perhaps it's the love the sisters have for each other, or the love one or both of them have for the bear prince, that undoes the curse. Or perhaps the girls' love for their mother -- does the dwarf become a threat to Mom in some way, and the girls act to protect her.)
  • Why did the dwarf curse the bear prince in the first place? What could the prince have done to cheese him off THAT much? The dwarf only swore at the girls; whatever the prince did, it must have gotten the dwarf REALLY mad!
  • The bear prince either can't or doesn't tell the girls who he really is. (This is common in metamorphosis stories.) Why not?
  • The prince's brother is introduced very late in the story, largely as a convenience so both girls have someone to marry. Is there a way to bring him into the story much earlier?
Okay, that's all. Carry on.
- Palmer