Animation by Bill Chen and Erin Wu


First of all, I should thank Erin for her hard work. The idea of the animation came from Erin and she made the later 20 seconds. She made a scene that three small cartoon characters, which we called “puppet whites”, shaking hands on the earth. That reminded us that we could make an animation goes with the song “we are the world”.

The most two famous editions of we are the world should be the one sang by MJ and the one sang by many famous singers. We didn’t use those two because we thought they couldn’t match our puppet whites’ cute style. Erin soon found out another song sang by a child, and it is the song we use now. We cut 50 seconds in the middle. The problem was we didn’t know what should we made next. I only had some rough ideas about my 30 seconds at first. I wanted to make two scenes. I was going to show lots of pictures about the global problems, including poverty, wars, resources, environment and other topics in the first scene. The second would be some puppet whites standing on a world map and shaking their hands.

The transition between the two scenes were a hard to make. I watched the movie Interstellar by Christopher Nolan. A transition impressed me a lot and that was my favorite few seconds in that movie. Cooper is driving to the NASA station, the picture shows his sadness because he doesn’t say good bye to his daughter. The background sound is the counting before craft takes off. So as Cooper drives to the station, the space craft is taking off at the same time. That transition was super smart because no one is willing to watch how the actor drives and how the craft takes off. I don’t know if any other director used similar transitions before, but anyway, I really like this transition. That made me want to put together two different scenes at the same time, this idea turns out to be my first transition at about the 20th seconds. I was satisfied to the result. In the later change I used a similar method to make a transition, to take place a transition made by Erin.

Another change I made in the later edit was the shadow. The first scene was already made in 3D so that I just add a light and shadows on the picture layers.1 

The original picture of world map had its shadow, which made it difficult to add shadows to the puppet whites. So I made a new world map without its shadow and created a new shadow for it in After Effects. I changed every layers in the animation into 3D layers and create shadows for them.

Bill(Zhenyu) Chen

Reflection to Sita Sings the Blues. Bill

This is really an ambitious work. After Effects is a software which is smart and easy to use, but it is not that easy. We tried Premiere in the last few weeks, and we know that even one minute’s cut needs a lot of efforts. AE seems more difficult because when we are making a video, the actors act everything, and now in AE, however, we need to control every movement which some of them might just a small movement by the actors. What makes me surprise is that the author put her work online, totally for free. The movie itself is also excellent. We can see every single shot is well designed, including positions and colors. What’s more, the movie tells two stories at the same time. The two stories’ style is totally different but share some similarities, and that’s why I say the work is really ambitious. It is quite hard to astonish, let alone the author finished the work only by herself.

Bill (Chen Zhenyu)

Real Chinese Food? Bill, Helen, Larissa and Erin

video link http://youtu.be/LS00rJbM6Vo

Bill:

I have made several videos before, but I mainly used Corel VideoStudio, so Premiere is a new experience for me (By the way, the effects in Corel VideoStudio are extremely ugly. It might be the most boring video making software). We first made up a story about how an international student came to China and tasted real Chinese food. To tell this story, we had to shot five main scenes: eating in an American-Chinese food restaurant (feel delicious and think that is the real Chinese food), eating in school cafeteria (feel not good and think it is not Chinese food), being invited to Helen’s home, and eating in Helen’s home (taste real Chinese food), “flying” in the garden (feel good after eating real Chinese food). One difficulty here which different from other groups was that we had to shot in many different places, and some of places are quite far from our school.

The light in restaurant and home was a little dark, so we needed to set exposure compensation in camera to make them look nice. Luckily the light in academic building is amazedly good. We had a talented actor so we only needed to shot every scene two or three times. The only pity was we didn’t rent a recorder to record the sound, so the sound was not good. In the rough cut, since we just want to concentrate on the cut part, so we used subtitle in different colors to distinguish what different people say. Anyway, the bad sound was not a bad thing because we got a really good suggestion after rough cut that we could make our video in comic style.

Then the subtitle was taken place by the comic style bubbles. It worked out great. Since we didn’t have sound, we needed to add some music on it. Also, most of the subtitles and scenes were also became unnecessary and we decided to delete them. The music we added to our final cut (which is actually our final final cut) was not good enough and some parts was still unnecessary, so after the class we followed the suggestions and made many changes. Here is our final final final final final cut (we will definitely follow the suggestion that next time, we’d better use time and date to name the profile).

 

Erin:

In this film project, I learnt how to use premiere to edit films. Mainly cutting footage to switch scenes and show the change of camera positions. I have also learnt to draw a speech bubble in Photoshop, and add it in the scenes needed. I also got to manage tripods and cameras in turns, which I used to be unfamiliar to.

The failure part of our project is on recording the sound. Because we didn’t use a microphone, the sound was very hard to hear over the room noise, especially in the Fortune Cookie scene. I was glad that our speech bubbles worked out though.

In the second cut I learnt that the background music can be very important. Not only the style, but the lyrics should be coherent with the film itself as well. After getting the feedback, I suggested some music that might suite well with our film, and it turned out to be much better.

 

Larissa Song

Our group came up with the idea of telling a cultural story in our life.

Compared to other groups, I think our video should have the most obvious

narrative style. And actually it is, which makes it a special experience of learning

telling story in the form of video.

The first step was drawing footage by hand. It turns out that the footage just

formed a general idea of what we are going to tell, and later we didn’t follow the

use of camera strictly. But I felt it reasonable because when preparation couldn’t

be specific enough we were unable to figure out how to shoot in each situation.

Ideas only came out when we were really in the shooting place and we have to

use the environment wisely.

Since our story was about an international student but we don’t have a

foreigner’s face in our group, we asked for a friend for help. By the way, I think

through the whole process we kind of had a division of work. Some people came

up with ideas and make preparations, some worked on operation of cameras and

some put more efforts on production. So we definitely chose the best actor

because his lively performance suits the story very well. We went to 3 places to

shoot, and most of them were efficiently finished during 4 hours on a weekend

due to our plan in advance. In terms of the shooting, the biggest problems were

sound and shooting angle. We failed to borrow the professional recorder and felt

it not a big deal, but we played our video and it was so noisy in the restaurant

that we couldn’t use the voice in conversation. It was already impossible for us to

shoot again in the restaurant, which caused much trouble in production for us.

And about shooting angle, we reminded ourselves to use as many angles as we

can as Marianne said, but sometimes we limited by the environment we didn’t

know how to use certain angles that helps with narration. So I would say that

maybe our video is creative and rich in contents, but lacks outstanding shooting

skills. Finally, the after production went on smoothly. Each of us made one part

and joint them together. The music and subtitle problem were observed in

presentation and we managed to fix them later.

I would say for making a video, there could be so many skills for each factors

that make us call it art: shooting, subtitle, music, voice, acting, story, etc. We tried

hard in cooperation and did as much as we can, but our skills need to be

promoted in order to make it a fine video that might be nearer to “art”. All the

techniques in shooting and “premier” that we gained were already huge for us.

 

Helen:

The biggest challenge of our group assignment is that we have too many places to go and we only have one chance (garden, restaurant and home). Also we cannot expect that the guest’s schedule could be so flexible. But we nailed it and really enjoyed those two days and the food haha!

I participated in all parts of shooting and nearly all parts of acting. I shot most of the scene and decorations at the restaurant. I recorded some of the sound though it was not used in the end. I edited the garden dream part (feathered white frame, color level and cross dissolve video transition) also the cafeteria part (just cut). I made the text bubbles. And I searched and added music and cartoon sound effect to the video.

I learnt about how to use 6D, which is really amazing, especially the knowledge about aperture, shutter and ISO and lens. I saw that orange-and-black smaller tripod for the first time. I used premiere for the first time. Surprisingly, it was not so hard for me (although I asked the professor many many questions..thank you!) and again I marveled at how beautiful and powerful it was.

I believe if we had more cameras shooting simultaneously it could be better and I regret that we did not shoot all the dishes and the several seconds when Ivan used chopsticks to pick up the food (should have been a close-up). Besides, I am not satisfied with the music I chose because there was nothing in my mind. I’m not a professional music editor. Anyway the workshop I attended was really helpful!

Other groups’ videos are also inspiring. I love the “Inception” and take-out.

Thanks to Ivan again for his wonderful vivid performance and I appreciate all the efforts our group made together!

Response to the reading and videos

Chen Zhenyu, Bill zc676

The videos offer some examples on how famous movies copy other movies. I didn’t know so many movies and other art works are the combination of other’s work. We have to admit that every creation comes from other’s work. The video mentioned the three basic elements of creativity: copy, transform and combine. Again, the copyright issue is something we can’t get rid of. However, in the videos, the author don’t think copying is a bad thing. Copying others is the way we learn from each other. We copy first and then we create something based on that.

Sometimes people don’t really care about the copyright as long as the copier’s work is good and create something new. Tencent, the Chinese company which developed QQ and Wechat, its products in former years all came from other company’s products. But everytime it copied a software, the company would develop it and make it better than the original one. Although copying other company’s work is not a good action at all, we have to say Tencent learned really fast. When the company introduced Wechat to the public, what we could find are lots of original ideas. So it is important to have the right attitude towards copying.

Response to “Understanding Comics” by Bill

Before reading this book I had already known that there were some Japanese comic “text books”. I tried to read some but I found out that they are not so good, because Japanese comic text books mainly talked about serious science questions, such as quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. It turned out that we still couldn’t understand them easily even if we tried to explain them in a relax way.

However, use comic to explain comic is a great idea. Comic is not so serious as the theory of relativity, comic itself is fun. Using a fun way to explain serious problem may lead to confusion, but using fun way to explain funny problem can be interesting. Although this book can be regarded as a “text book”, we can still read it as a comic. Every pictures are creative, well organized and well designed.

In the first chapter the author talks about the definition of comic. He gives us a quite long and special definition: “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence”. By reading these words, we can see the author has a really deep understand of comic, and his understanding forms a complete system. This make the author has enough confident to draw such a good comic book.

Bill (Chen Zhenyu)

May all couples have their pepsi

Chen Zhenyu & Ma Xiaoyu & Wu Yilun

Chen Zhenyu & Ma Xiaoyu & Wu Yilun

Xiaoyu Ma:

During the first round, I simply looked for some funny cartoon characters, cut off them from their previous background, and inserted them into the new context. I didn’t pay much attention to the light and shadow, since I knew they were to be perfected after the second round. I put them all together without coming up with a consistent narrative. Then during the second, we decided to have a topic for a coherent narrative: the Pepsi. Our inspiration of Pepsi comes from the Molotov Man reading last week and therefore we put him in the picture, too. The isolation of the Molotov Man is probably the hardest since it is quite irregular. To hide the loss of his feet, I put him behind two other cartoon characters. Then I adjusted the brightness a bit to make his appearance more natural.

Zhenyu Chen:

The main idea of our picture is put different movie characters on the dragon’s wings. I cut the the girl in the movie <Frozen>, Beedo and the Garfield. The girl’s dress was really wired in the picture so I cut the dress off and put the girl behind the dragon’s head. Right side of Garfield’s fur was really light so I used eraser to delete it, then I darkened its body and lightened its face to make it more nature. To make the picture funnier, I used pen tool to cut off the motolovman in pdf. He looks great on dragon’s wing.

Yilun Wu:

I’ve had experience using Photoshop before, but I mainly just adjust the brightness and colour of the picture. This time I learned how to mix pictures, and also adjust the light and shadow, which are important for 3D images. Group work this time was very creative and fun, because we decided to make a gather of cartoons. And this is a cool idea that I would hardly come up with on my own.

And this is today’s. Something about copyright, Chen Zhenyu

       Human have the nature to chase art. A good art piece can spread in a speed which beyond our imagination. There should be something called copyright, but as the art piece spreading around, it is hard to control.

       It is amazing how the work Molotov spreading. The artist himself doesn’t care about the copyright, and I don’t think the photographer Susan really cares. If she really cares, she would ask for allowance anyway. But she didn’t. In my opinion, this attitude leads to the success of the work Molotov (and Susan herself, I think). The writer was about to give up and remove the painting before he get support from other artists. The great work would be buried just because 2000 dollars’ allowance.

       That raises a problem about copyright. To some extent, art piece can spread a lot faster without copyright issues. Just like Android, Google doesn’t care about who and how and where you use it. Google only cares about whether it can get money from the advertisements. Every company can use it for free, and in that case they can produce cheaper smart phones. There is also a failure example from Google’s completer Microsoft. Microsoft asked 25 dollars for each phone as the allowance to use its Windows Phone system. It’s pretty much for a phone. Let alone the system is not as good as android in most users’ view. As more customer is willing to get Android smartphones, companies are more willing to product them. And then is the time for Google to make money. That also might be one of the reason for Molotov’s success.

       But there are still some people who really care about money, such as some really poor artists. When I say ignore copyright can make a work spread faster, I don’t mean that we should cancel the law in copyright. Copyright shows the response to the author, relates to author’s fame and other things. It is rather a complex question.

Chen Zhenyu, Bill

Forget to post last week’s reading comment, Chen Zhenyu

Although the essay is fun to read, the phenomenon behind it is not fun at all. Human invent machines in order to help human, but it turns out we are too depend on machines. However, this is what happening in the world. We invented smart phones, and now we are addicted to smart phones. Sometimes people will rather talk with each other on phone than talk with others person to person. So if the novel is a kind of prediction, it is quite successful. Till now its predictions are all right.

There is another interesting statement that our traditional transport system is used in a wrong way. Now we take the person to get what they want, but there is a better way that we should take the thing we want and send it to us. We can regard this as another prediction. And the prediction is half true now. This is what Taobao, Amazon, and other company want to change. Shopping online is a revolution, it help us get things without get out from our home. Sending things to us. That’s exactly what the writer predict in his novel.

Chen Zhenyu, Bill