Photoshop – Ocean Scene

For our photoshop project, we took a basic stock photo of the beach and water and turned it into a mermaid, aquatic galore, fresh with giant octupi sinking ships, mermaids, and other bizarre creatures.

I specifically added in the birds, extended the cliffs/rocks in the scenery to be more than they originally were. As I was working, I had problems working with layers and it took me a while to realize when I needed to switch layer to layer to accomplish something.

Snip20150226_4

Comic

For our comic, a stick figure observing a painting in a gallery. He steps into the painting, wherein by mysterious means, a hand approaches and kicks him off the cliff and back into reality. We drew the stick figure in Adobe Illustrator, but everything else were stock photos from Google, compiled together to create a comic. 11045528_958052474213221_384363418_o

Video Project

After talking with Marianne, in terms of safety as well as my poor memory, i decide to upload this video again. Guys, just ignore this.

 

Billy:

My first reaction upon the making of the film was a bit uneasy, because I did not have any idea of how to plan for the film. However, thanks to my group members (Nancy and Maddie), we have come up with an initial idea of a story  that involved quite awkward and hilarious situations after a hangover. Nonetheless, as time passed, our film ideas evolved into something very different due to circumstances: a roommate to roommate situation that involves death. We also modified quite a lot of the panels around the beginning and the end of our storyboard.

I acted as the protagonist of the film, and I also modified and corrected most of the sounds that were recorded with film. I modified some of the movie in premiere as well. Madeleine and Nancy worked as the cameraman and sound recorder person during the shooting of the film, and they did most of the editing job in the making.
In the end, I was quite satisfied with the results, and I experienced many new things (such as frustration and self-achievement) — I think my group did as well — that were unknown to me as a newbie in filming.

Nan:
To complete this video project, team work is really important.
First, since when we started doing the project, it was during midterm period, so everyone was busy that time. But we figured it out finally. Maddie and me did the first version of story board. And considering about the danger of shooting fight scenes, after I discussed with Billy, we had the second version. And of course, we changed our plan during shooting to ensure a more reasonable and also exciting story.
During the shooting, Billy acted as the main character and leading. And Maddie and I were responsible for shooting, lighting and recording.
And for editing the film, Maddie did a major part of editing videos and I was responsible for music editing and re-editing the video for adding some scenes we shoot later. For me, to find right songs, which can make the story more impressive, was hard but also interesting. And I was very happy that finally I made it.
Billy modified the whole video at last to ensure everything is ok.
I learnt a lot from this project, not only how to make a video but also how to work with team buddy. We did have some schedule problem, but we made it at last, and when we shooting, we had a good time, especially in familymart. :)
Thank to my team member!

Maddie:
Having never worked with Premiere before, this project was a challenge, but also very fun. Our original idea was slightly different, as Billy mentioned, but after reconsidering, we changed the storyboard in a way that helped tighten up the film and make it better.
Finding time that we were all available might have been the hardest part – especially after coming together one night and deciding that using only one LED light to simulate daylight just did not work out – but in the end we were able to find daytime hours that suited all of us. Once this happened, the filming came together nicely; Billy and his roommate acted and Nan and I filmed and managed lighting and sound. Billy was also able to help us set up the shots, as well as review them with us in the camera and recorder before moving on to the next scene.
One we shot all the scenes, Billy worked with the sound to clean it up and remove room noise, Nan found and integrated music into the film, and I edited the shots together and color corrected them where needed, then added the cleaned up audio. Nan also added a few scenes we shot a little later, and Billy and I did final small tweaks just before and after the critique.
The overall process was very time consuming – as was expected – but very fun and entertaining, and it was great to see it all come together in a video that the class seemed to enjoy.
*We took into account the critiques from class and lowered the volume of the plastic bag in various shots. However, we chose to leave the sound out of the transitional door closing scene because of personal style preference, and kept the roommate hidden until the final scene in order to maintain the air of mystery and hold the curiosity of the viewer.

Storyboard for animation project

The story begins with a robot named S4M, who explores the vast deepness of a technologically advanced city that protrudes all kinds of mechanical pillars over its lands. As S4M wanders into the darkest parts of the city, he finds a lonely leaf shone by a dim light. He is curious, so he proceeds forward to examine the leaf. As he grabs the leaf, his mechanical hand turn into an organic one. He becomes amused and studies the leaf even further. S4M “feels” the smoothness of the leaf; he had never experienced such feelings before. However, as he stroke the edge of the leaf, he accidentally “cuts” himself, feeling pain. Therefore, he releases the leaf, and the leaf flies away as his hand become mechanical again with a small scratch. The pain vanishes, and he realizes that the leaf is flying away through the wind. S4M chases the leaf, wanting to know more, but the leaf flies away into a precipice. He does not notice the fall, so he fell and destroyed himself in the process.

Nevertheless, I am thinking of the ending still. Maybe I can give him a happer ending.

Below is a quick sketch, but it’s subject to change.

Frame 1 Frame 2

 

animation storyboard

Processed with Rookie Processed with Rookie

 

The idea of this animation comes from Márquez’s short story Light is Like Water. It is a story about two boys who asked their parents to buy a boat and diving outfits in return for their good grades. After their parents went out of home, they broke the light bulb. The golden light pour out of the broken bulb like water. They navigated around the house/dove under the furniture after letting the light run to a certain depth. So they played with light/water, and light spilled over the balconies, fell from their apartment and rushed along the street.

I plan to use stop motion to present this story. For the last scene, I want to keep the background still and use fluorescent colour to gradually light every building as the water flow by, turning it from black&white to a colorful one.

Nicholas Sanchez’s initial animation

So here is the collection of my storyboards. I think that my animation will acually be a trailer for the fictional scifi epic “SCAR WARS,” completely invented by myself.  What I aim to do with this piece is create a short narrative where popular and iconic characters are basically participating in an all out fight. To better understand, an outline is  attached at the bottom.

animation sb 1

animation sb 2 animation sb 3animation sb 4

Scar Wars rough script

 

  1. 2. 3. Line 1 “The Scar wars. They left our planet ravaged. But after the onslaught, the death, and the hell that became our lives, eventually we won, and we thought it was over.”

 

4.Line 2 “But we were wrong”

 

4.5 Line 3 “Pika!”

 

  1. Line 4“Lets get this show on the road, aha!”

 

  1. BLACKOUT

 

  1. Darht vs Teletubby

 

  1. slide 1 : WAR

 

  1. Sonic goes super

 

  1. slide 2 : RAGE

 

  1. Master Chief and Samus

 

  1. Slide 3 : LUST

 

  1. Charlie and sponge hands

 

13.5. Charlie and sponge

 

13.5.2. Charlie and sponge charge/transform

 

  1. slide 4 : MORE RAGE

 

  1. Shrek

 

15.5. Line 5 “Ogres have layers… We both have layers.”

 

  1. Slide 5: SCAR WARS, COMING THIS CHRISTMAS, FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

Nicholas Sanchez’s Sita Sings the Blues Response

Sorry this is late, but here it is.

Sita Sings the Blues is an excellent animation feature film, which I believe highlights the usability of animation platforms like After Effects. Let me begin my response by describing what I initially liked or what otherwise immediately caught my attention.

To begin, the different styles of animation used by Nina Paley enhance the piece and display her diverse talents. I also appreciated the consistency of the animation relating to whatever it was the story was doing. For example, the shadow puppets (who were hilarious) had a unique animation style different from the others; so too did the cartoon when Sita literally sang the blues; the meta narrative of Paley’s own life and breakup also had a unique style. What’s more impressive is that she did all of this alone, and worked on it from a single program. This, I think, speaks volumes about her talent as well as what can be done using the Adobe programs.

My critique of the piece is simple, and I can categorize criticisms in three ways. The first complaint lies in the intro and ending. Although I appreciate that Paley used the same sequence to conclude the film as she did to open it, I think that they are too abstract and take away from the story. Furthermore, the length of these pieces was a little bit too long. My second criticism regards the blues songs that Sita sings. To clarify, I believe Annette Hanshaw’s voice is lovely, the songs are great, and that this was an excellent creative choice on the part of Paley. Furthermore, I respect her use of the song and animation to show the connection between the context of the song and how that related to the story. However, like the introductory and concluding animations, the songs ran a bit too long. My final criticism lies in the ending of the Sita story. I thought that it was abrupt and not as exciting as I would have liked to have seen, which left me feeling like a some action was missing. Nevertheless, if this was Paley’s creative choice, then I appreciate the technique. However, I personally would have made Sita’s “return to the womb” a little more exciting.

These things said, Sita Sings the Blues was altogether a great film. The storytelling was great, and the different facets of the narrative, like Paley’s own trials, Sita, and the shadow puppets, all enriched the film and grasped audience attention. Overall, I highly enjoyed watching this movie. If I can take anything away from this film, it is that Animation is a difficult endeavor, but a truly rewarding one if done well.

Animation Storyboard – Baaria

The basic premise for this animation is a girl studying in her room on a particularly windy night at 3 am in the morning. She hears a scratching from her closet and goes to check what it is. The main elements of the story will be driven primarily by the audio sounds. I’ve assembled a basic collection of all the pictures of the elements in the story, now I just need to edit them in photoshop to create a comprehensive visual component that would then make my animating process easier.

 

IMG_3331 IMG_3332 IMG_3333

Animation Story Board by Stephanie

story board 2

This is an animation about two balloons. One is in the real world, the other is in the reflected cartoon world. At first, you may not see that they are two balloons, but gradually you will see the relationship between the two balloons. In the end, the two balloons are united and they merge into one balloon with the shape of heart. This is a story about finding love.

The balloons are painted in PhotoShop in different layers.

气球 气球右 气球左

All the backgrounds are ready to be changed, but I want to create a feeling that the right side balloon is the left side balloon in another world.

Response to Sita Sings the Blues

The entire animation is amazing! Even though the animation style were particularly different from scene to scene, the overall story flowed very smoothly from different points in time and settings. A lot of the main scenes are musicals that portrayed accurately (and sometimes hilariously) the situation in which the characters, Sita and Rama — as well as the modern couple, undergo. This animation can be interpreted as how the relationship between the two genders can change through the outside circumstances that affect them and their thoughts. The narrators within the animation were vital figures that discussed and expounded The Ramayana to the audience in a fun and interesting way, and I think this element was absolutely necessary to the audience, because some of the audience might get confused if the narrators were not portrayed.

A few things I have noticed within the story. A high correlation persists between the story of Sita and Rama and the one of the modern couple. The circumstances, such as the couples being stripped away by others and even themselves, lead from the initial burst of their love to the end of their relationship. Additionally, I wonder what was the motive behind Dave’s “Don’t come back” message, is he doubting her like Rama to Sita? Or is he cheating on her? The message is rather obscure and leaves some questions.

Furthermore, Rama’s voluntary monkey servant, Hanuman, is quite similar to the man-monkey, Sun Wukong, portrayed in The Journey to the West from the mayor Chinese literatures. Both of the monkeys are able to “jump” from places afar, and they have an entire army of monkeys ready to do anything. The main objective of Sun Wukong was to protect and follow a monk to India for Buddha’s teachings, while Hanuman was to support Rama in his journey. Maybe, both characters are the same individual but at different points in time, since a significant part of the Chinese beliefs in Buddhism was borrowed from India’s beliefs. I think it would be quite interesting to see that Hanuman is Wukong. Nonetheless, this was just a short side theory.

I enjoyed the animation and now I’ll go onwards to the development of mine!

(Response) Sita Sings the Blues: The New Ramayan

You know, in this day and age, it is hard to find a way of storytelling that you’ve never seen before. Movies are loosely based on the same techniques, again and again. So much so that one could be convinced that all techniques have been explored to their full potential. Had I watched Sita Sings The Blues prior to this class, I would definitely have thought that it was a definitely amateur production, and that maybe it was easy to do a similar project! Alas! Now, I have a certain inkling of an idea how much such a project could have cost the creator. Nina Paley. She somehow managed to align images from different, possibly stories of the Sita and Rama legend, to make an endearing and exciting story of Sita and Rama. Her success for me, I think was the fact that these images, even though different did not provide a jarring effect to the narrative of the story…halfway through, it became expected; for the monkey to change to purple, for Rama to switch from between blue and the ‘normal’ skintone, etc.

But even better for me, was the way Nina told the story. Coming from a culture that has quite a number of legends and myths going around myself, I know how hard it is to tell an accurate story of the happenings of the past- it is near impossible. Not only are these stories normally told through oral tradition but they’re also usually told by people trying to teach you a lesson so it’s bound to happen that they’ll emphasise certain aspects and leave out the others. It is therefore brilliant that Nina uses the conversation of 3 Indians as they try to figure out which versions of the story they all have makes the overall “correct” one. Another aspect I particularly like is the parallel juxtaposition of the Sita and Rama with her own story of a girl being separated from her boyfriend for a while and then rejoining him only to find that he doesn’t want her anymore. It kind of humanises the Sita and Rama story and makes it more relatable to the audience too! I would definitely recommend my friends to watch this too!

Movie making, a reflection

I’m constantly being introduced to new means of creating in this Communications Lab class and it’s fascinating the number of things one can create. In the making of this movie I experienced using a professional camera, using CC Premiere to create and edit movies, the importance of good lighting for the making of a movie, and in addition building on previous skills used in previous projects notably using the microphone and Audition. It’s also the first time I’ve been introduced to storyboards and how displaying the different shots on paper makes an idea more concrete and also shows you what you exactly need to do.

In this project, I was mainly in charge of recording sound although I also managed to get a chance at doing Light and Camera. In the process of making the movie I learnt how important it was for everyone to be ready before shooting the scene in question and having prompt words such as “cut” or “rolling” in order to make the editing process easier.

Putting together the movie on Premiere was the most challenging part because although we had all the shots and sound, it was time to go through every single one of them, cutting and pasting and editing over and over again. I think it was really interesting to sync sound and video together because I had to export all the sound into Audition to raise the amplitude up and then import it back into Premiere. The task I found most fun and time consuming was syncing sound and video. The “marker” tool became my best friend in the process.

Overall, I think I got a feel of how to make a movie and the amount of work that goes into making big movie productions that come out in the theatres. There are so many components that the crew has to take into account and the editing is done so meticulously. I’m really fascinated and at the same time I’m really glad to be learning all of this. It’s all so interesting and I can now recognise things once I see it on screen, and it equips me with the tools to start creating my own projects.

*Big Thanks to the incredible friend actors who helped make this project awesome.*

Sita Sings the Blues Response- Maggie Walsh

I thought that was interesting. I REALLY liked the parts where the Indian people were trying to recall history, and the animator was illustrating what they were saying. I enjoyed all parts, especially the songs, but boy, especially that narrative part! It was so funny.

Also. I think it is weird how your mind just “accepts” some things when watching animation. Like, Sita’s body?

sita_rakshasha

That defies the laws of physics. But we don’t question it. Animation can take you to a place that typical film cannot. There is this abstract reality present in animation and you can really play with that. I mean, think of that acid-trippy part in the beginning and middle. You have no clue what is going on, but it is animation, so anything goes!

I’m excited to start my animation 🙂

July, Inez, and Maggie’s Adventures in Filmmaking

Rough Cut: 

We had a lot of fun doing the rough cut, although this doesn’t mean it was entirely without obstacles. These were some of our main difficulties.

  • Recruitment of cast members
  • scheduling of cast members
  • Lack of efficient lighting
  • Not knowing how to fully operate the microphone (and getting bad audio because of it)

In the process of editing the Rough Cut, we had to deal with some of our problems that came up while shooting. The main one was dealing with the audio. We had low levels in some scenes, and exponentially higher levels in others. We had to export sound to audition in order to smooth everything out and make it sound cohesive. Additionally we had to leave a few scenes out because we had not yet filmed them, due to casting conflicts.

Final Cut: 

The final cut was another obstacle, but we are very happy with our outcome. We worked with our audio and finally adjusted the noise reduction to a level we liked. We cleaned up the music to make the entire piece more fluid. All in all, we realized the importance of good audio when making a video, and it was what we struggled with the most.

Our Experiences:

We all took turns manning different positions. Whether it was sound, lighting, or camera we all got to handle the equipment at one point or another. This allowed us to practice and understand the difficulties of filmmaking, and all the effort that can go into just one shot.

In regard to the editing, we also divided this up. Although, we discovered that audio was the largest job and difficulty.

Many thanks to Leon, Roxanne, Saphaya, and the Campus Store!! 🙂

 

 

 

Video: Final Cut – Baaria and Mercy

Here is the link to the final cut. In our edits, we color-corrected the frames to reflect the same warm, glow, edited the audio for noise reduction, and worked on the transitions from clip to clip. We also eventually cut out the majority of footage in favor of story coherence.

 

Here is the link: https://drive.google.com/a/nyu.edu/file/d/0B5uy6selZe-tSHZTTTg4TV9SRFk/view?usp=sharing

 

NOTE: Must be signed into NYU email address in order for link to work.

Final Cut by Stephanie and Luke

In this final version, we deleted the text titles and added a new background music. Also, we re-cut the third part in this film. We kept the audio of the boss and the girlfriend, because we thought this weird combination of the audio and the video can create some laughter for viewers.

Reflection by Stephanie:

I want to divide our process of film making into three parts: Storyboard, shooting and editing.

In the process of storyboard, Luke and I decided to make a short film about dream in classroom. And we tried to draw our idea onto the paper. Although some of the draws did not appear in this final edit, I still think this storyboard greatly helped our shooting.

As for shooting, we did all our shots in three days. The first day we shot all the scenes in the classroom. We invited two sophomores to act as the background and Luke starred in it. Also, we shot the clock as the transition clips for later use. The second day we went to the IFC to shot the building, Luke’s jump into the dream and his walking into the building. We met some difficulties in there. Because that day the sun was really big and we had to increase the ISO of the camera, which led to some post-production problems. I think our shots of the IFC were great, but there were still some problems. Because I hand-took the camera, thus some clips were a little bit shaky, and we did not get a great record from the TASCAM. The third day we shot everything in the office in Marianne’s office (Thank you so much for lending us your office, Marianne!). We shot a little bit too much in the office, and we failed to get a clear record of the boss speaking. And Luke’s answering cellphone was weird in some sense.

We started editing pretty early. In fact, I would cut out the clips that we needed in the film right after we shot them, which I think save us great time. Because our storyboard was really clear and straight forward, getting the clips out from each video was not a difficult job. But the most difficult part was the editing. Because many frames were too repetitive, we had to cut off some frames to make everything more consistent and fast. This was a struggle, but we managed to do that with some transition effects. The biggest problem we faced in the process of editing was audio quality. Although we used TASCAM during shooting, we did not point it right to the people who were speaking. So we had to re-record three audio: teacher’s voice, boss’s voice and girlfriend’s voice. We must thank Nick for his recording, because that added some much fun onto this film. And we had to thank Saphya for being the girlfriend’s voice. However, in the editing process, we kept the original boss’s voice from the video, because that sounded more natural. But I do admit the audio still has some problems.

When I am writing everything about the film now, everything seems so easy and simple. But when Luke and I were shooting it, editing it, there seemed nothing was right. I think I have a great partner, who is great in acting and editing. I need to thank him so much. As for myself, I managed to get familiar with Premiere and Audition, and how to shot film. This is such a great experience.

Video Project Response – The Roommate

Billy:

My first reaction upon the making of the film was a bit uneasy, because I did not have any idea of how to plan for the film. However, thanks to my group members (Nancy and Maddie), we have come up with an initial idea of a story  that involved quite awkward and hilarious situations after a hangover. Nonetheless, as time passed, our film ideas evolved into something very different due to circumstances: a roommate to roommate situation that involves death. We also modified quite a lot of the panels around the beginning and the end of our storyboard.

I acted as the protagonist of the film, and I also modified and corrected most of the sounds that were recorded with film. I modified some of the movie in premiere as well. Madeleine and Nancy worked as the cameraman and sound recorder person during the shooting of the film, and they did most of the editing job in the making.
In the end, I was quite satisfied with the results, and I experienced many new things (such as frustration and self-achievement) — I think my group did as well — that were unknown to me as a newbie in filming.

Nan:
To complete this video project, team work is really important.
First, since when we started doing the project, it was during midterm period, so everyone was busy that time. But we figured it out finally. Maddie and me did the first version of story board. And considering about the danger of shooting fight scenes, after I discussed with Billy, we had the second version. And of course, we changed our plan during shooting to ensure a more reasonable and also exciting story.
During the shooting, Billy acted as the main character and leading. And Maddie and I were responsible for shooting, lighting and recording.
And for editing the film, Maddie did a major part of editing videos and I was responsible for music editing and re-editing the video for adding some scenes we shoot later. For me, to find right songs, which can make the story more impressive, was hard but also interesting. And I was very happy that finally I made it.
Billy modified the whole video at last to ensure everything is ok.
I learnt a lot from this project, not only how to make a video but also how to work with team buddy. We did have some schedule problem, but we made it at last, and when we shooting, we had a good time, especially in familymart. 🙂
Thank to my team member!

Maddie:
Having never worked with Premiere before, this project was a challenge, but also very fun. Our original idea was slightly different, as Billy mentioned, but after reconsidering, we changed the storyboard in a way that helped tighten up the film and make it better.
Finding time that we were all available might have been the hardest part – especially after coming together one night and deciding that using only one LED light to simulate daylight just did not work out – but in the end we were able to find daytime hours that suited all of us. Once this happened, the filming came together nicely; Billy and his roommate acted and Nan and I filmed and managed lighting and sound. Billy was also able to help us set up the shots, as well as review them with us in the camera and recorder before moving on to the next scene.
One we shot all the scenes, Billy worked with the sound to clean it up and remove room noise, Nan found and integrated music into the film, and I edited the shots together and color corrected them where needed, then added the cleaned up audio. Nan also added a few scenes we shot a little later, and Billy and I did final small tweaks just before and after the critique.
The overall process was very time consuming – as was expected – but very fun and entertaining, and it was great to see it all come together in a video that the class seemed to enjoy.
*We took into account the critiques from class and lowered the volume of the plastic bag in various shots. However, we chose to leave the sound out of the transitional door closing scene because of personal style preference, and kept the roommate hidden until the final scene in order to maintain the air of mystery and hold the curiosity of the viewer.

puppet pal final version by Nicholas, Isabella, Yu

puppet pal final version

 

Based on a true story.

Yu’ reflection after rough cut:

The rough cut was only like the beginning of our story. The true climax shows when we add the taxi, the rushing, the date and the puppet’s self-realization. It was a great experience to film in a taxi, and outside of a starbucks. I learnt that it was much easier to adjust the parameters to get a good picture when the light is enough. One thing that makes me really happy is that I managed to film the puppet in public areas without being shy(oh..ahah).

We adjusted the white balance, the sound level. Also we added some footage to help understand this whole story. I learnt that what we thought was clearly expressed in the footages are not what people see. Just like writing an essay, it’s crucial for us to get others’ opinions.

Our editing process was a struggle because we lost our footage which is supposed to be on our SIM card. Strange things happened 🙁 So we learnt that it’s always good to have a back-up. Storing things on the SIM card of the camera is not a good idea. At least we need a flash drive/hard drive. Other than this, we worked together efficiently. It was a very nice experience, and I really love this video!!!!

Nicholas’s reflection in general:

Making the film was a challenging, but rewarding process. The initial creative processes, such as brainstorming and creating storyboards, were easy. I attribute this to the fact that both of my partners were easy to work with and creatively inclined. The next, more challenging step was creating the puppet; after hours of work, eventually the puppet was built and we became ready to shoot.

Shooting was difficult, as we had to learn while doing. By this I mean to say that using tools like the camera and lights really reinforced how we were supposed to use these tools. I took on the task of lights, and became the impromptu light person throughout the shooting process. In addition, I often was the puppeteer, and hence performed in the entire movie. I have learned that puppets can be challenging to work with (but rewarding if done properly), and that lights are a crucial component of the filming process.

Editing presented different challenges, as this too was learned while doing. Nevertheless, we figured a lot out and eventually, through trial and error, began to edit properly. Although we hit a roadblock where we lost some footage halfway through the editing process, we still managed to complete the video with almost no quality lost. The lessons learned from the editing process: 1) always have a back up of all footage and 2) rendering and compression takes time, so make sure you have enough time.

Responding to Sita Sings The Blues

I thought this animation was really well done, visually and notionally. I found myself wondering how a lot of the scenes were created. A technical aspect of the film that I really liked was the collages used in a lot of different scenes. There were parts when some of the elements were cartoon, some were photographs, etc. The usage of different mediums in one shot or scene tied into the larger concept of creating one piece of work or telling a visual story with different images representing the same thing. Each character in the film had multiple versions, that the shadowbox narrators pulled together through the telling of the story.

Another broader element of the whole film that I really liked was when the two stories (Nina’s personal story and the legend of Sita) met at a corresponding place: when Dave told Nina not to come back to India, consequently breaking her heart, and when Sita was banished from the kingdom. Furthering the parallel in the two stories, we see Nina and Sita’s situations are even more similar when Nina begs Dave to come back to her and becomes consumed in her heartbreak as Sita continues to worship the husband who banished her to the forest. Ultimately, I thought it was so fascinating the way the two stories, considering their irrelevance to one another in the beginning, came together so seamlessly in the end.

Response for Sita Sings the Blues

This animation is amazing! I have never seen this kind of way of telling stories. The story is told impressively through a combination of various expression ways and the topic it arouses – the relationship between man and woman – is also interesting.

The story is told by a combination of modern times and the ancient India, and the successful internal link between the two story – both telling the story of an abandoned woman by her lover enables this method to deepen the meaning of this animation. Also, the expression method is a combination of modern techniques as well as the traditional Indian drawing style such as the scene using video game setting with the characters draw in the traditional Indian style. This gives the audience an enjoyable and refreshed watching experience all the time. What’s more, the music, especially the voice of the woman who sings the blues, as long as the other sound effect in this animation vividly and elegantly fulfil the needs of the scenes.

Besides the interesting expression style, the notion it conveys is also deep and worth discussing. Every time after the impressive story telling scene, two background commentors will give a discussion about the content of this story. This transition gives different perspectives for the audience to evaluate the characters’ behaviours in the story, and intrigue the audience’s thoughts on the story.

Really love it!

Response to Sita Sings the Blues

I had not had any prior knowledge about this film before watching it, so I was very surprised when it ended up combining so many drastically different styles together to tell one story; I was instead expecting one fluid style throughout, like many of the animated movies I’ve seen in the past.

I have mixed feelings about this choice. On the one hand, the use of several different styles made the movie engaging and helped to hold my attention. There switching of styles seemed to occur when I didn’t necessarily expect it, which made the movie even more interesting to watch. However, I felt at times that the constant switching was distracting to the story itself; I was more focused on the animation styles than the narrative.

I did enjoy the use of the narrators a lot. It was a successful, I think, way of telling a religious story that was relatable and captivating. By having these laid back narrators, it felt more like we, the viewers, were sitting in a room with the narrators, hanging out with them as they recounted this narrative.

Overall, I definitely found Sita Sings the Blues to be a fascinating animation that was enjoyable to watch, but in my opinion, Paley could have tightened up the film a bit to make it more cohesive and comprehensible. I realize that the use of so many animation styles is a personal choice, so again, this is just my own opinion.

Sita Sings the Blues Response

I really enjoyed watching this film. I felt that the multiple styles of both animation and storytelling worked well together to illustrate both the story of Sita and of the artist. I can see where some controversy can arise from cultural insensitivity, but I’m not too familiar with Hindu culture and feel I can’t write too much on that, so I’m going to concentrate mostly on the artistic value of the movie.

I feel some of the strongest sequences were the narration ones where three shadow puppets provided back story and narration in a very colloquial and often humorous way. It reminded me of the scenes from Disney’s Hercules with the muses. However, in terms of story, the laid back tone of these scenes didn’t make the story increasingly compelling as the movie went on, rather, it remained at the same level the entire movie. It was still interesting, but unlike most movies we’re used to watching, there wasn’t really a strong plot structure (like the three act structure).

The musical sequences were also well done, the art was well done and very strongly stylized. I enjoyed the use of 20’s blues songs with the very new pop style of these scenes. It took some time to get used to the style, but after I did they got more enjoyable. When I first watch an animation with a heavy style, I feel like I’m concentrating more on the art than anything else. I felt the same way watching the movie Book of Life that came out last year.

The sequences with a more traditional art style actually sometimes reminded me of Monty Python animated sequences, though I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe the two dimensional and minimal movement of the figures.

Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the scenes with Nina, but that’s mainly because I never liked the style that combines real photographic elements with animated ones. It always looks a little off to me and feels uncomfortable. However, these were also the scenes with the story that interested me most. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more interested in relationship drama, or if it’s because these were the least frequent scenes that only gave us just enough information to move on.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this movie and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in animation, new media, or indie movies.

Sita Sings the Blues Response

I had watched this movie last semester with a friend who was watching it for GPC and had enjoyed it for its unique take on animation and varied usage of style. I also appreciate how colorful the movie is and I especially loved the scenes in which the gods would be discussing Sita and Ram. It was a nice running commentary to the storyline.

I do however have a problem with how factual the storyline actually is–while I know the modern day aspect is indeed at least semi-autobiographical, I am unsure of how accurate or how true the legend is portrayed out. Of course, there is always room for artistic license, but within it there are limits.

I particularly enjoyed the scene with the cat. I remembered it from the first time I watched the movie and I still enjoyed the scene watching the movie once more. I really like how the cat woke his/her owners up. However the fact that Nina had to leave her cat behind in order to join Dave in India perhaps is the first signifier of the doom of their relationship. An adorable cat like that means happiness and separating cat and owner is like separating the deepest of loves.

 

Also, I really dislike when Sita begins to sing. I’m not really into musicals.

Sita Sings the Blues Response

This film was rather unlike anything I’ve seen before. There were so many different elements I’m having trouble even recalling them all. The varied styles of animation certainly made it more interesting to watch, but I do feel it distracted somewhat from the narrative. While I acknowledge some of the styles served a purpose- differentiating between storylines, time, and place, the variation between styles within the same scene (retelling of the same moments in a story) was distracting and felt somewhat directionless.

My favorite scenes by far were with the shadow puppets. The dialogue was genius, and I loved the use of this very old art form telling an ancient story with new media and slang. I saw an exhibit on those type of shadow puppets at an art museum in New Mexico and was fascinated by the colorful detailing that is never seen on the shadows themselves.

I really appreciated the use of the jazzy songs. Heard alone, I would associate them with a Fred Astaire-type film, but Nina Paley did a fantastic job taking them out of context and manipulating them to fit Sita’s story. I did, however, feel as though they were lengthy and many, especially towards the end. In the music scenes, I really enjoyed the 2d layering of the different shapes, particularly the hinged “paper” parts on Sita’s body. This playful animation was my least favorite in terms of artwork, but the way Paley chose to layer the world and create movement was striking.

After doing a very small amount of research, I was surprised to find that Paley is not, in fact, Indian. I wonder what compelled her to use an Indian myth in her cathartic piece. Surely she identified with Sita’s character and her helplessness and devotion, but there are plenty of other female characters in stories from all different cultures that exhibit the same traits. I wonder if anyone takes offense to this animation or considers it to be cultural appropriation.

Sita Sings the Blues

Thoughts on Sita Sings the Blues

As soon as the movie started and the floating images of Sita and Ram came along, I did not know what to expect. I was already impressed by the intricate nature of the characters presented and how Nina Paley used glinting stars as the eyes and jewellery of the characters which gave life and feeling to the moving shapes. I felt that there was a huge amount of intricate work that has gone in this project which amazes me.

There are so many things happening at the same time, like 3 parallel stories and a superb hilarious narration. I really enjoyed following the story by jumping from those different point of views because it kept my attention and my interest in the movie. One of the stories happening is Nina’s story and she represents it using real life places which helps us situate the story. I loved how although the characters and cat are of a moving drawing cartoon type characters, the shots the audience sees of New York city or other places are more realistic and real. This reminds me of “Understanding comics” that we read previously and the more abstract nature of Nina and Dave’s characters allows the audience to identify and imagine themselves in place. The second story happening is about Sita’s story in songs. I really enjoyed this version as well because the songs were catchy and with the blues rhythm. I noticed that in the singing form, the characters were more formed like a collage of different shapes together which was very interesting. It was especially interesting to observe how movement was portrayed, it reminded me of human figurines that we can play with, and how you move the figurine by placing moving its legs or arms. I also thought the songs gave the movie more vivacity and vitality. The third story going parallel was what we saw most of and what was actually happening between Sita and Ram. I think the characters were drawn in a unique manner. The eyes particularly stroke me as interesting and how all the characters were mostly viewed from a side angle instead of full face. I thought the whole narration part of the movie was hilarious because they paused to give their thoughts on what was happening and it was funny to observe the disagreements going on between the narrators. I think it made the movie more enjoyable for the reader because it relieves tensions happening and it made some situations very comical, especially at the beginning when they were talking about the king dying or having a heart attack over the fact that he had to send his son Ram away. In the background of the narration the characters are seen to execute what the narrators narrate and that scene where the King sends Ram away, I believe the King died almost 10 times in the background as the narrators were debating what happened.

All those stories happening in parallel were really fascinating because they were all so different in style and type which made it seem like it could have been totally different stories although they were all related. Additionally, as the scenes switch from one story to another, I was impressed by how it flowed seamlessly and was linked to each other. I also liked the revelation at the end when Nina is reading the book, and how it ties all the pieces together between the story of Sita and Ram and Nina’s and Dave’s own story.

I was captured from the start with this piece of animation and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it all.

Reflections to Sita Sings the Blues

Sita Sings the Blues is absolutely one of my favourite animated films. I don’t have much to say about the content that causes a lot of controversy, and I don’t mind seeing it as the the diary of a heart broken women. What attracts me about this film are the various cross-cultural art styles, the absolutely well-down background music and many interesting details.

I believe Nina Paley deliberately tried four of her favourite styles in the film to separate the time, place and settings. My favourite style is actually the one representing her own story. The drawings of the characters are simple and even abstract, but many elements tie the story back reality, the use real photos in the scenes for example. I also appreciate how Paley handle the details, especially how she deals with the cat. Waking you up in the morning, purring and kneading – all these are so real and familiar for those who has had a cat as a pet, and the connection is build almost immediately.

The background music has done a terrific job narrating and strengthen the emotion. One of my favourite scene is the beating heart in the beginning. The heart beats go so well with the rythem that it attracts people perfectly. The other one is the butterfly scene when Sita is taken away by the king of Sri Lanka. The butterflies dance so well with the rhythm that it is enjoyable to watch.

Anyway I think Sita Sings the Blues is a very well done animated film that you can feast on for more than one time even if there’s a huge controversy about it.

Sita Sings The Blues response

Sita Sings The Blues was so well done in both its storyline and its animation. I think Nina Paley did a fantastic job writing and animating the piece. I noticed there were four major animation styles throughout: the narration and discussion of the Ramayana, a more realistic animation of the story of the Ramayana, the musical animations and then animation from Nina’s actual life. The way Nina was able to parallel her life to the story of Ramayana was especially intriguing and meaningful. I also think that creating four different animations and combining them all in the same film would be an extremely difficult task; however Nina was able to tie them in seamlessly.

I also noticed how sound played a huge part in bringing Nina’s work together. I think the music and certain sound effects were really important in captivating the audience. In the sequences that involved the narrators who were discussing/ telling the story, it is prevalent the work and effort that went into piecing together the sound and the correct animation to achieve perfect timing. This piecing-together was key in the comedic aspects of the film and what I saw to be one of its best features.

 

Rough cut of puppet pal by Isabella, Nicholas and Yu

A Day in the Life of a Puppat or The Unexpected Virtue of Metahuman Experiences documentation

Here is our rough cut. We went to the fabric market together to get the materials for puppet and made the puppet. (everyone got a little hurt from the heating glue). Then we started filming.

Yu:  I takes care of the camera. It was really hard to keep the light level consistent in various places. Even in the office, different corners has its own lighting problem. The breakfast scene and the office scene are both shot on the 11th floor of AB, where lie all the economists’ offices. And focusing was a struggle. We did the editing together. We basically put all the footages together and added some transition effects. The most interesting part hasn’t been shot then.

Response to Sita sings the blue Yu Zhou

It is until the very end that I understand the link between the modern couple and the ancient Indian story. I was quite confused at first: whey did they appear together? At last I see the heartbroken girl identified with Sita, and might have involved in making this animation.

The story of Sita was presented very interestingly in this animation. There are two main versions of the figures. They looked very different to each other. But the color of the skin and other key elements remained to help us identify that they are actually the same person. The singing and the acting were integrated very well. Every time the tension is built in the story telling part, the singing relieves it somehow and helps us understand Sita’s emotion much better. Also, the three narrator character tells the story together through their conversation. They made mistakes and corrected one another, which is pretty amusing.

Details of this animation surprised me. Previously I have been exposed to many Japanese animation, where the painting style are consistent throughout the whole animation. Yet in this Sita sings blue, pictures of reality and drawing are combined to tell the story. Sometimes even one object can be composed of two parts of very different painting style. At first I thought that it did not make sense. But after a while I get used to it and I think it is very interesting to do the animation in this way. (Like how we implanted our puppet into the real life lol).

The music was great. The little break in this animation was cute. One sad thing is that the cat reminds of my cat which went out to play last week and never came back since then(SO SAD!) Anyway, since this animation was done by a person not a group, I really appreciate the person’s effort and talent!

Responce to Sita sings the blues

The first thing I realize is the copyright issue of Sita sings the blues. When I opened the website, I saw a letter Nina Paley wrote to audience. One of the things in the letter is the copyright thing. “Some of the songs are not free and may never be”. This let me realize that although Nina Paley wanted this video to be spread over the world and also spread free culture thoughts, the songs did cause some problem, which is one of the controversies.

屏幕快照 2015-04-15 下午9.40.19

Let’s come back to the story itself. It tells us two stories in four expression styles. One is The Ramayana, the other is a contemporary fds. Both of them tell us a love story, in which women are the biggest victims. Here Nina Paley is talking about kind of feminism. And especially the Ramayana will raise many questions to people nowadays. Why must a woman be pure all the time? Why men care about purity issue, while themselves can have several wives at the same time? Why in literature or religious works, women are always thinking about love? What if she thinks about war, business, instead of love and children?

In addition, I really love the way Nina tells the story. She uses four styles, obviously, and I think it is because different styles can tells the story from different angles. To me, I like the the shadow puppet part, since this part focused more on telling the story from other people’s perspectives, and also, this way is more fun.

屏幕快照 2015-04-15 下午9.41.13

Besides the story, I also find a lot of philosophy in the whole video. I can’t deny how surprised when I heard Sita singing “if you want a rainbow, then you have to have the rain”.

Finally, controversies. After searching it online, I also find after the video was released publicly, was met with outrage by some Hindus and, according to Nina, a number of academics also. I think here, the religious issue also comes out when we think about freedom of art.

Rough Cut Documentation

Film is a hell of a lot more difficult than I ever expected. I’ve been aware of the effects of warm and cool light in a recorded environment, but I never considered how much work goes into creating those conditions and how much consideration is given to the effect lighting creates. Lighting was probably our biggest struggle, particularly in scenes where the puppet had a wider range of movement than simple arm gestures. I can understand how it would be cheaper/easier to create a movie set from scratch that will be better suited for contrived lighting than it is to try to light a pre-existing space, especially one so poorly lit as the NYUSH dorms.

As far as post is concerned, I found Premiere far more difficult to use than Photoshop. Even after a combined many hours of work, I am still finding myself feeling very lost and fumbly in Premiere.

Response to Sita Sing the Blue

Sita Sings the Blue is a tragic song that is filled with tear. Two major stories are showed in this animation, one is from modern western society, the other comes from ancient Indian epic. But they have the same theme: wives are abandoned by their husbands. Considering his reputation, Rama abandoned Sita, though he actually believes that Sita didn’t betray him during those days. In modern American society, the husband chose to never come back to his family because comparing to his wife and child, he prefers freedom. The modern story it self would be a normal and conventional drama if not being compared with the revised Indian epic. That is the fresh element that attracts me in the animation.

I like that the director chose to use the blues music as the background music. It gives the animation some exotic feeling, and really slows down the speed of the animation. I feel relaxed when watching that, and I think it’s due to the blues. What’s more, I get really surprised when I heard that the shadow puppets are 100% unscripted. I have to admire that shadow puppets add more eastern elements to the animation, but besides the puppets, the director use lots more various styled elements as collage, Indian-style dummy at the beginning… I feel like too many different styled elements make the animation inconsistent and separated, also a little bit chaotic. I am not quite into that style.

Reflections to Sita Sings the Blues

I would say, I am impressed by Nina Paley’s individual effort in making an animation on her own. This animation connects the Hindu epic with her real life. However, it may seem confused at first why she should put two topics which seemingly are completely unrelated in one animation. But after watching the whole animation, I think there are certain themes that the two topics share: the betrayal of men and the determination of women.

(“THE GREATEST BREAK-UP STORY EVER TOLD”, classic)

In the Hindu epic, she focuses on the story of Sita. In the story, although Sita has done so much for her husband, she is still questioned for her sacristy by the man she loves. Sita is willing to die to prove her loyalty to her husband. Or maybe she is also heartbroken. In the real life, Nina loves her husband and is willing to follow him to India. However, her husband abandons her while she is in New York. But different from the ending of Sita, Nina finds her spirit back by studying Ramayana.

When I was watching this animation, I found four different style of drawing. I think this variation provides the viewers a clear signal of changing of setting or story. However, I am not fond of all the style. Some styles are just too trivial and over-colored. And this animation is way too long, and some frames are meaningless to me. Some animations are just repetitive of the previous ones, which only serve to extend the duration of the animation. And this repetition will make viewers boring while watching.

When professor mentioned the controversy this animation caused, I thought that would be the protest from the Hindu people. Because there are certain clips that Nina makes some inappropriate narrative in the animation. But after I searched online, I found that there was another huge controversy over this animation, which is the copyright issue of the Blues song by Annette Hanshaw. (I guess that is the reason why this animation is called Sita Sings the Blues, because in the musical part of this animation, Annette’s voice sings the experience and feelings for Sita.) This seems alike with the controversy on The Molotov Man and The Grey Album. What’s more, there is an interesting to be noticed in the beginning of this animation. Nina uses the words “Your Name Here presents”, “in association with Your Money”, “a Funded by You production”. I do not know whether it is an answer to the controversy, but this seems an innovative approach to the copyright issue.

Although there are some stylistic differences that I have with this animation, I still admire Nina Paley’s effort in finishing this animation. But there is one more question that lingers in my mind: Nina Paley uses her real life experience in the movie, is she violating the right of her ex-husband?

Stephanie and Luke’s Rough Cut

This rough cut has four sections. The first is in the classroom, the second is in front of the IFC, the third is in the office and the fourth is in the classroom again. We use titles to indicate the change of time and space. This is only the rough cut, so there are still a lot of adjustments that we will going to add in the final cut.

Chloe, June, and Dave Rough Cut

So this is a really really rough rough cut of our video project. It wasn’t a terribly hard video to shoot since most of it is from the first person perspective of the camera man, but some of the effects were a little hard to figure out, such as moving Herman around at the end. Some of the clips are kind of filler and can be replaced with new footage if need be. Lighting was easy, and using the camera was easy because of a lot of prior experience with photography. Some of the problems that are still apparent are less than satisfactory transitions, sound that’s too quiet or too loud, and some mistakes present in the frame; but despite all that, this short film has heart, and in the end, isn’t that what counts? The answer is no. That’s why this is a rough cut.