Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trek 02 Final Clips Crit

Hello all,

Just a reminder of today's mandatory critique session for your final cut silent videos. Here is the schedule:

Lab 1, B-56, Lilly Czarnecki
Lab 2, B-65, Scott Foley
Lab 3, B-91, Julie Murray and Alex Torinus
Lab 4, B-68, Steve Wetzel
Lab 5, B-18, David Witzling

I've sent an e-mail to University Information Technology Services requesting that your PantherFile allotments be increased. Until that happens, make sure to empty the trash (in the left column under "Utilities"). Also, make sure you are exporting your .mov clips at 320 x 240, and that your sound clips are in MP3 format and not WAV.

One other workaround for those working in Windows Moviemaker: convert your .wmv files to .mov by "saving" your Movimaker clip as an .avi file and then using MPEG Streamclip to convert to .mov:

See you this afternoon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crit Sessions for Trek 02 Rough Cut Clips

Hello all.

Tomorrow we meet in the Lab Sections to critique your rough clips for Trek 02. Make sure your clips (along with your image capturing strategies) are posted to your Trek 02 blog, and remember that your blog must follow the format posted on the Course Directory.

Here is the schedule for Monday:

Lab 1, MUS-180, Lilly Czarnecki
Lab 2, B-65, Scott Foley
Lab 3, B-91, Julie Murray and Alex Torinus
Lab 4, B-68, Steve Wetzel
Lab 5, B-18, David Witzling

Please note that all clips must be in the .mov format before being uploaded to your PantherFile and posted to your blog. If you have had to use Windows MovieMaker for whatever reason (not recommended, but acceptable in a pinch), you must convert your clips from the .wmv format to .mov using one of the following free converters.

We will be viewing rough clips from the Course Directory, so make sure everything is posted and works.

Remember to make screenshots of your video thumbnails as covered in this online tutorial (scroll down for the right links).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Video Help Session Follow Up

Just a quick note to clarify the Trek 02 requirements.

The five "rough cut" clips are meant to be one or two steps removed from the raw footage pulled from your camera. Consider these rough cut clips as "sketches" where you experiment with the results of your light-capturing strategies, finding interesting patterns, movements, textures, etc. Pick the best moments from these sketches and make three "final cut" silent films. These three silent films can come directly from three of the rough cut clips, or mix and match the five rough-cuts to make the best three final cut films possible.

At least one of the rough cut sketches must be built from still images, but the three final cut silent films may or may not contain stills.

In both versions, only basic edits and minor effects are allowed (no wipes, dissolves, or other instantly recognizable, non-essential effects/transitions).

Your Trek 02 Blog will thus be organized as follows:

Post 1: Light Capturing Strategy #1 (at the bottom of the page)
Post 2: Light Capturing Strategy #2
Post 3: Rough Cut Clip #1
Post 4: Rough Cut Clip #2
Post 5: Rough Cut Clip #3
Post 6: Rough Cut Clip #4
Post 7: Rough Cut Clip #5
Post 8: Silent Film #1
Post 9: Silent Film #2
Post 10: Silent Film #3 (at the top of the page)

As of this afternoon, there were only a few students who had posted clips to their Trek 02 blogs, and no one showed up to my help session. So, Wednesday, I will meet one-on-one with students in B-18 to discuss/analyze your rough cuts or raw footage. Bring your work on your laptop, CD-R, or external drive. Steve will also be in B-18 to help with editing. David will meet in B-68 with students with laptops. Lilly, Julie, Alex, and Scott will be in B-56.

The rough-cut clips must be posted to your blogs by beginning of class on Monday, October 29th, when we crit the rough cuts. You will use the feedback from these crits to help you finalize your final cut silent films. These must be posted to your blog by the beginning of class on Wednesday, October 31, when we crit the final cut films. You will use this feedback to improve your silent films by the final deadline for Trek 02, Sunday, November 4, 5 PM.

Check the Course Directory to make sure your Trek 02 URL is accurate.

Please note that when using Blogger, you must use Firefox as your browser. Do not use Safari when authoring in Blogger, because not all of the button icons show up in Safari. You can, and should, still check your published Blog page in different browsers (Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer) and on both Mac and PC to see how it looks under different conditions.

That's it for now. See you on Wednesday.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Trek 02 Update

We tried to find a workaround to get AvidFreeDV to run on Mac Intel, but it appears that we're out of luck. So, for those who are working with Mac Intel, here are some options:

(1) AvidFreeDV on one of the computers in MIT 353 or B-18
(2) HyperEngine-AV
(3) Quicktime Pro
(4) iMovie

HyperEngine-AV is an interesting app, with a large workspace where you can arrange all of your clips and move them around at will. It also has an effects menu to adjust brightness, contrast, RGB, etc.

Quicktime Pro is a powerful little app, as you noticed with Lilly's demo showing how to import still-image sequences. It's also relatively easy to piece together multiple clips by copying/cutting and pasting one clip into another.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what app you use to make your art, since the proof is in the work itself. As long as you can become familiar with your footage, make confident decisions about your "in" and "out" points, find interesting and unique patterns in movement and shape, and build strong clips from effective edits, then use whatever tools will work.

And, for those who are working with PCs (or non-Intel Macs), we encourage you to give AvidFreeDV and Quicktime Pro a shot before going to MovieMaker (or iMovie).

I hope that you've all gathered your Trek 02 material by now (or will be doing so this weekend). We will have help sessions on Monday and Wednesday, and we can help you more effectively if you already have some significant work in progress.

Here is the Help Session schedule:

B-18, Steve (available: two PCs, two to four Macs, bring-your-own laptops)
B-68, Lilly (available: two Macs, BYO laptops)
B-56, Scott, Julie, and Alex (available: ten Macs, two PCs, BYO laptops)
B-65, David (BYO laptops)
MUS 180 (B-91 on Wed), Glenn (general help with analyzing and selecting imagery, and organizing work-in-progress on Trek 02 Blogs--we will be viewing your work from your blogs, so make sure everything is posted and works)

Have a great weekend, and we'll see you on Monday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Prep for Wednesday, October 17th

We meet tomorrow in B-91 for a series of short demos on specific video editing techniques.

In the meantime, we are trying to determine if there is an insurmountable problem with running AvidFreeDV on Mac Intel. If you are running a Mac Intel (any recent iMac, MacBook or MacBook Pro) and you have had success in downloading, installing, running, processing, and exporting video, then please e-mail me and Scott and explain your situation and specific Mac configuration. This will help us determine our next course of action.

Thanks. We'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Prep for Monday, October 15

I hope that you have had some success on your Trek 02 excursions, and that you were able to collect some quality footage. Check the syllabus for tips on finding your best material.

See the Course Directory to make sure your Trek 02 URL lines up correctly.

Also, remember we have all of the tutorials and guides collected on the Tutorials page.

On Monday, October 15, we will be meeting in MUS 180 for a lecture on video editing concepts and techniques.

Bring a CD-R (no DVD-Rs, please) if you still don't have a copy of AvidFreeDV.

We're going through the Trek 01 Blogs, and we should have grades available by Friday the 19th, or that weekend at the latest.

That's it for now. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Prep for Wednesday, October 10

We will all meet in B-91 tomorrow for an overview of Trek 02. Please bring the digital camera from your Production Kit to class, along with fresh batteries.

Some reminders:

CHECK YOUR E-MAIL ACCOUNT ON A DAILY BASIS. E-mail is the means by which we keep you up to date with developments in the class, particularly with specific breakout rooms that may be different than where you might expect to meet.

Remember to include a subject in the Subject Line, and include [07116] in this Subject Line. We get tons of e-mail, and when we receive an e-mail from you with a generic subject like "blogspot" or no subject at all, our first impulse is to dismiss your note as Spam.

If you are having a technical problem of any kind, PLEASE GO TO THE TECHNICAL FORUM first to see if someone has already posted a solution. If you can't find any relevant posts, go ahead and add your own post detailing your problem (be specific), then we can try to help you troubleshoot.

If you have to e-mail me for whatever reason, then make sure to copy (CC) your Lab instructor(s). Or, e-mail your Lab instructor(s) and CC me.

We will begin work on video editing soon, so make sure you have AvidFreeDV installed and running smoothly. If you need a copy, bring a blank CD-R to class tomorrow (if I've already burned you a copy, please bring a blank disc as a replacement). If you wish to use an alternative to AvidFreeDV, then please e-mail me and your Lab instructor(s)] to discuss your options. Remember that you can use AvidFreeDV in MIT 353 and B-18 if you have an external hard drive.

That's it for now. See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Art-A-Thon this Friday

The 7th Annual Art-A-Thon is coming this Friday, October 12, 2007, 10:45 AM to 3 PM, MIT-323. Open to all first-year Film and Visual Arts students, Art-A-Thon features a series of free innovative workshops, pizza party, art fair, and prize drawings. Workshops include:

Animation Station
Sun Prints
Digital Portraiture
Chinese Ink Brush Painting
Large Scale Collage/Painting
Spontaneous Comics
Kinetic Drawing
Collaborative Stenciling
Plaster Hand
Trace Monotypes
Fragmented Realism
Exquisite Storytelling
Direct Mothos Filmmaking
Photoshop Animation
Collaborative Narrative Drawing
Gouache Techniques

You won't be first-year forever, so take advantage of this great opportunity (especially the art fair, where vendors will be giving away lots of free swag).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mandatory Critique Session for Trek 01

Thanks for working so hard on your Trek 01 blogs. We are going through them as I write this, and we will have lots of comments tomorrow. (For those of you who have written to me privately about problems with Trek 01, I'll respond later.)

Tomorrow, Monday, October 8, please meet in the following breakout rooms for MANDATORY Critique Sessions of Trek 01 (attendance will be taken):

Lab 1, MUS 180, Lilly Czarnecki
Lab 2, B-65, Scott Foley
Lab 3, B-91 Julie Murray and Alex Torinus
Lab 4, B-68, Steve Wetzel
Lab 5, B-18, David Witzling

As a reminder, here is the Course Directory with your Lab section and instructor(s).

We'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Trek 01 Sounds Clarification

You will need AT LEAST five sounds. We are looking for your BEST five sounds, so that may not be a 3 to 2 ratio. If you have 4 ambiance and 1 close-mic sounds that are really strong (or 2 ambiance and 3 close-mic), that should be fine (as long as there is some combination).

What is most important is that you best capture the unique sonic character of the places and sites of your Trek. We really want to hear sounds that take us there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Final Help Sessions for Trek 01

Tomorrow we will have our final help sessions for Trek 01 (remember that Trek 01 is due this Sunday by 5 PM). Please check the revised schedule:

SonicStage Transfers: Steve Wetzel, MIT B-18
Uploading Files to PantherFile: David Witzling, B-68
Audacity Editing/Exporting: Alex Torinus and Julie Murray, B-56
Blogger: Glenn Bach B-65 (bring your laptops)
Drawing Maps: Lilly Czarnecki, B-68
Scanning Maps: Scott Foley, B-18

Please bring your laptop, external storage media, MD Recorder, recorded MiniDisc, MD power supply, and any other materials you need in order to ask us questions. The external storage media is absolutely critical if you plan to transfer files using SonicStage or edit using Audacity. If you plan to attend the Drawing Maps workshop, bring the following:

* Any and all notes and sketches pertaining to your trek (if you feel like some vital info might be missing--street names, major building names etc., you can look this info up online to piece together what you do have.)

* Paper (regular 8 1/2 by 11 paper is great)

* Pencils and erasers

* Coloring tools: markers, crayons, colored pencils, paints, ink, etc.; whatever you like. (PRISMACOLOR dual-tip design markers work really well and do not bleed. These are available at the UWM bookstore and sold individually.)

* Black fine-tip marker or pen

Check the Course Directory to find the URL for your Trek 01 blog. We will be using this URL to determine whether your blog is complete by the deadline.

If you've e-mailed me for a copy of AvidFreeDV, bring a blank CD-R to B-65. If I've already given you a copy, bring me a blank disc in trade.

Best of luck with your Treks, and we'll see you tomorrow.