Final Video Project: UBA Promotional Video

For my final project in Communications Lab, I made a promotional commercial for my club, the Undergraduate Business Association.

The first step I had to take was figuring out exactly what I wanted in the video, and in what order. Since there was no real chronology or story to the commercial, it was difficult figuring out what to add. I spent a lot of time looking at other business-esque commercials to figure out exactly what I wanted to put in.

The first scene I made was the “Be A Word” scene. This was one that we had discussed previously amongst members of the club, without a real consideration that it was perhaps possible to actually create it. I had a lot of fun making this scene; picking the nouns and animating it to increase the speed was exciting and fun.

Next, I put together an introductory slide, which had the word “Be” transition to the color red, a motif throughout the commercial. I also left the word “Be” out for a second longer than the rest of the commercial to emphasize the “Be” sound that is present in “UBA.” I think this was particularly effective since it was followed by a large “Be A,” which obviously features the same sounds.

Next, I got some words from club leadership regarding what makes UBA special and unique. After filming, I actually put it into After Effects to add in the titles of those speaking. I used masking to spread the effect out from the outside, which was actually quite difficult to make look nice!

Finally, I added some information at the end regarding how to get ahold of the club leadership. This project was fantastic for me, because it allowed me to create an entertaining work that I’m proud of, and help my club.

Here is the video: 

And it can be found on youtube here

 

 

 

Sita Sings the Blues Commentary

When I saw Sita Sings the Blues, I was enthralled by the distinct artistic portrayals in the film. To be perfectly honest, I actually found myself intimidated by the precision and craftsmanship with which every unique form was made. The story and songs themselves were also quite compelling in their own right.

However, the piece has received quite a bit of criticism for either being insensitive to Hinduism, or that it lacks the logical, standard pacing of a regular film. Although I cannot address the first complaint, the second one is one to consider. I feel as though there is an interpretive problem with Sita Sings the Blues, wherein viewers expect a cinematic movie, get something different, and simply dislike it.

I think Sita Sings the Blues should be taken and appreciated in the same way as a nice painting. All things considered, the piece was likely made in the same way as a painting would have been: by someone, alone, in their home. The piece also is particularly notable for the artistic style, like a painting often is. Thus, I feel as though for one to completely appreciate the work, one must view it as though it were a beautiful painting. In that way, he or she will be able to enjoy the work in its purest form, and savor in its most wonderful features.

Jacko, James, Sapphire, Dongning Video Project

Dongning 

When we saw a video of a love story that presented daily routine of a man and a woman at the same time on YouTube, we were all impressed and agreed on doing something similar to it. Sapphire and Jacko did the performance while James and I mainly shot the video. There were several problems we faced when shooting the video. For example, the light was not light enough and the hallway- the place where we shoot the video was too narrow. But thanks to Marianne, we finally realized that we were the only ones who were familiar with the places, thus we could use every good place, every hallway to shoot instead of insisting on the one in the real dorm.

When editing the videos, I was responsible for the first part – the dorm part. It was quite hard to show the relationship between the man and the woman characters because we decided at first to use two messages to show that they were both broken up with another person. It was a good idea until I found that the mobile screens were too small to cover the whole screen in the video. Eventually I decided to write some words in the middle to clearly show what was going on. Additionally, I was able to adjust the man and the woman characters doing the same thing at the same time, like reaching for their mobiles and getting out of the beds. When doing the transitions, James actually helped me a lot because it used to be weird when the video moved to the next scene. He was kind of familiar with Premiere and it was a great news to me. He also did helped Sapphire and Jacko with their transitions.

I think something we could have done to improve was that we actually could try to shoot the video with the camera standing vertically. This probably may help us when cropping the videos.

Best,

Dongning

Jacko

I had an excellent time filming this video. Throughout the project, I became proficient with the use of Premier, and with the SLR camera. While we had some difficulties, they were largely a result of having our work on different computers. This made it troublesome to send each other our work, and consolidate it. However, we still had to deal with the standard issues that come with filming a piece like this. For example, some scenes needed to be reshot on different days, simply because the time of day was not right, and it led to a chronological inconsistency.

Overall, the project was fun to do, and I’m very satisfied with the work our group came up with. I’ve even sent it to my mom and my girlfriend, and they both got a kick out of it too.

Jacko

Sapphire 

Through this video project, I actually learned a lot, whether it is to create and

professionalize our own video or to stand in front of the camera and perform.

Although it’s a little bit awkward to see myself on the screen, I think my teammates

and I have accomplished the task successfully. Using Premiere, making videos

became fun. The scene switching effects made our video plumper and more like a

piece of music video.

 

James

During this video project together with my friends we did a lot. We reshoot a lot of parts to achieve the best effect.
As for me, I designed several part of the plots and the last part of editing and general audio combining. It has been a huge amount of work because we not only have to work out a time to work together but also have to pick the proper time and so on. Most scenes are directed by me. I feel like the communication between actors and one’s ideas are really important, and when one think of one shot, we should focus on every details but when we are actually shooting it, express as easy as possible. It took me a long time to realize that before we finally get to a smooth method. Finally our project turned out to be really successful. I learned a lot from this wonderful experience!

Video Project

Final Sound Project – Jacko, Ian, Bill, Erin

For this assignment, we decided it would be interesting if we could remix the vocals of one song, with the instrumentals of another, and then vice-versa, creating a cool flip-flop effect. We quickly found out that we be quite difficult, however, as many mixes that sounded good one way, sounded terrible flipped around.

We worked around our problems and each spliced our two songs together, finally editing them all together as one complete piece using the Audition software. Personally, I used Audacity to strip the vocals out of Say My Name by Destiny’s Child, and combine them with the instrumentals of Rude by Magic!. We then spent some time making sure all of our transitions, as well our beginning and ending, sounded fluid and euphonious.

You can find the complete song here:

 

Fixing Up our Final Photoshop Project

For our final Comic Project edits, we minimally edited what we had, and kept the soul of the project intact. To fix it up, we rotated some pictures in order to maintain the linear progression. Additionally, we edited the front of books Jimmy was edited to give a clearer picture of the changing situations. The entire comic can be found here.

http://web.nyu.sh/jd2804/jimmy-comics/

Embracing Every Iteration of the Remix

Kirby Ferguson argues that “Everything is a Remix,” which obviously brings into question the grey area that we’ve discussed earlier in the course, namely in our interpretation of the “Molotov Man” issue. When is remixing okay, when does it go too far?

Ferguson is a big proponent of remixing, asserting that it facilitates creative thinking. I feel as though I can confidently agree with her on this point. For my past few projects in this class, I’ve been taking picture of my friend Jimmy that I’ve previously worked on, and tinkering with it in a slightly different way. Since I’ve already worked on this image, my mind is opened to new avenues and pathways that I haven’t tried to, which I’ve only realized exist, simply because of my own interpretation of my previous work.

Similarly, I feel as though a remix is actually essentially to the furthering of creativity, beyond simple photo editing, but with regarding technological advancements as well.

The original airbag was close to useless, simply because it couldn’t inflate quickly enough to actually provide any cushion for the driver or passengers. Later, when an American military veteran used the same technology used in torpedoes to inflate them, their use became much more widespread. Once a Japanese engineer developed an improved crash sensor, airbags became more or less what we know them as today.

In that way, the continued remixing of an invention led to its eventually improvement and then further improvement. Obviously there is a grey area wherein taking others’ creations truly is stealing, however, there is undoubtedly quite a bit of good that can come from the remix.

Photoshop Project final edits

For our photoshop “ping pong” edit, we used a photo of my friend Jimmy setting on a curb. The picture was changed and changed again until it became basically unrecognizable.

At first, Jimmy’s head was cut off and placed on top of Christian Bale’s on the cover of American psycho. Then, he was place in front of a kitchen table with various foods. After that, I put Jimmy in space, orbiting the Earth. Then, the words in front of him were edited, more food was added, and he was given a space suit. You can find the final copy of the picture and the entire blog post, which described the origin of the “Jimmy Pics,” here. The actual final picture is below.

After, I was instructed to clean up the photo, making it look a bit more realistic — as realistic as a photo of someone cooking in space can be. So, I took off the space suit, and edited the foods and shadows thoroughly. The final product, while still unrealistic, leans a bit closer to realism. Enjoy!

Jimmy-final

Photoshop Project

For our project, Ian, DongNing and I played on a running joke within the NYU Shanghai community. There’s a student in our class named Jimmy who is often the subject of humorous photoshop edits, the most notable currently being the cover photo of the NYU Shanghai Class of 2017 Facebook page.

Jimmy Dogsledding

This picture led to a surge in popularity in “Jimmy pics,” with various students from our class editing his photos for a laugh. Jimmy himself had a good time with it and laughed it off like a good sport. But when we were assigned this project, my mind immediately turned to bringing “Jimmy pics” back.

Ian started off with a picture of Jimmy that we put on Christian Bale’s body, on the cover of American Psycho. Then, Dongning hilariously put Jimmy in front of a kitchen table, cutting up vegetables, but keeping the same now-comical glare. Now that the scene was set, I got rid of the background around Jimmy and put him in space over the Earth.

For the second round of edits, Ian edited the “American Psycho” logo and replaced it with “Jimmy learns to cook in space,” while keeping the font the same, resulting in a really cool effect, while also adding shading. Then Dongning added another flurry of foods around Jimmy. I finished by giving him a spaceman suit and a chef’s hat on top of it. Here’s the final product!

Jimmy cooking in space

Molotov Man: Reflection

The interesting situation regarding ownership and use of the famed “molotov man,” proved to be a remarkable example of how ownership of content has changed. Two women used this photo in nearly opposite ways. One, to decontextualize him, emphasizing his emotion, his vigor. While the other, the photographer, actually experienced what the man himself is going through, and thus wanted to bring attention more to his cause than his feelings.

The image was used without the photographer’s consent, and started to get used in popular culture as almost a meme-like image. This developed to the point where no one was the image’s true owner anymore, as it belonged to the beast of the internet, wherein one could simply download the image, and repost it.

This situation proved a landmark example of the rapidly shifting definition of ownership, especially regarding something digital. In a world intertwined with technology, does anyone really own what ends up on the internet, even if they never posted it themselves?

The Machine Stops Reflection: Jacko Walz

Reading The Machine Stops, I quickly noticed parallels to Orwell’s classic 1984 of the same genre. In both novels, the other precociously warns the reader about the treacherously quick pace of advancing technology. In 1984, Big Brother is the all-knowing entity that omnipotently watches over everything. In Forsters short story, this god-like beast is dubbed “The Machine,” and is revered blindly throughout the novel. The religious devotion to “The Machine,” who takes care of all life on (or below) Earth, because palpable near the end of the novel, when it – or, maybe, he – becomes a religious entity. As time winds on, love and devotion towards The Machine grows more and more blind, to the point where he is loved simply because he should be loved, rather than because the people appreciate him. Near the end of the story, as hinted by the title, “The Machine stops,” and people are unsure how to act. They have become sufficiently blind to the utility of the beast, and have fallen in love with the idea of it. This negative conclusion is exacerbated by the fact that The Machine takes care of all the humans living below Earth completely and fully. So when it actually goes down, chaos ensues.

I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and actually drew a parallel towards another short story, The Last Question, by Isaac Asimov. In case you haven’t read it, it is also a pseudo-dystopian novel wherein technology has essentially reached its maximum potential.

The idea of technology reaching its peak is a peculiar one. Is the peak when we can no longer take any more steps further, like the The Last Question? Maybe technology reaches its peak when we as people are totally satisfied with life at its current state, which ultimately leads to our demise, as was apparent in The Machine Stops?  Perhaps the peak of technology is not a physical boundary, but merely a point that we should not pass, as it would cause more harm than good. In 1984, privacy was nonexistent because of the omnipresence of Big Brother.

Maybe we are not ready to ask these questions. But for certain, the answer is more pressing today than it was yesterday.