Sunday, November 30, 2008

Drift 2 Screenings, Production Kits due

Hello, all.

I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday, and that food, family, and
weather are treating you well.

We meet tomorrow (Monday, December 1) in B91 for the first round of
Drift 2 screenings, so make sure your final cut sound video is posted
and plays correctly from your blog. Attendance is mandatory.

Also due tomorrow are your production kits; turn them in to the
Equipment Room by 3 PM. If your kit is late: you will be docked 10
points from your Participation grade for every day the kit is late. If
the Equipment Room does not receive your kit by the end of the semester,
you will receive a 0 on your Drift 2 grade, the Film Department will put
a hold on your records, you will be billed for the cost of replacing the
kit, and you will be forbidden from checking out equipment in the future.

So, avoid all of that grief and turn in your kits on time.

We'll see you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Aaron Ximm visits FILM 116

Hello, all.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, November 19) we meet in B91 for an appearance by
visiting artist Aaron Ximm. Ximm will join the Midwest Phonographers
Union in a live, improvised performance using field recordings. We'll
have a Q&A following, so make sure you read the Ximm article or visit
his website so that we can have a lively discussion:

See you all tomorrow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Individual Crits continue

Hello, all.

We continue the second round of Individual Crits tomorrow (Monday,
November 17). Unless otherwise noted, you will be meeting your Lab
Instructor in your lab room. If you are not scheduled for a crit
tomorrow, then use class time to work on Drift 2. I will be in my
office (B60) during class hours.

I will be presenting a brief overview on the work of Aaron Ximm in Carl
Bogner's FILM 202 class tomorrow, 11 am in the UWM Recital Hall (MUS
175). I'll also be performing a live, improvised mix of Ximm's field
recordings. All are welcome.

I moved the deadline for the third Reading Response to December 7 in
order to give you more time between now and the Final Screenings to
finish your Drift 2 blogs:

I also added a link to an iMovie Guide on the Tutorials page. This
includes tips on how to remove the default "Ken Burns" effect on your
still imagery (page 42):

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Individual Crits begin tomorrow

Hello, all.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, November 12) is the first day of Individual Crits,
20-minute one-on-one feedback sessions with your Lab Instructor. There
are still lots of empty slots on the sign-up sheets. Remember that this
is a REQUIRED crit.

Unless otherwise noted on the signup sheet, you will be meeting your Lab
Instructor in your normal lab room.

We will not be meeting as a class during these crit sessions, so if you
don't have a crit that day, you are free to work on your Drift 2 blogs.
Use your time wisely!

I will be holding open hours (in addition to my regular office hours)
during class time for each of the three days of Individual Crits, so
please feel free to drop in for some technical/logistical/aesthetic

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Final Drift 2 Help Session

Hello, all.

We meet tomorrow (Monday, November 10) in B18 for the last remaining
Help Session for Drift 2. We hope to see you there to talk about any
technical, logistical, or aesthetic issues you may be having with Drift 2.

Wednesday, November 12, is the first round of required Individual Crits
with your Lab Instructor. The sign-up sheets are posted on my office
door, B60.

Today at 5 PM is the deadline for posting your Reading Response #2 to
your Research Blog. Choose one of the following readings: Cage,
Delehanty, Hill, Hiss, Lopate, Peterson, Self, Spirn, Wrights & Sites, Ximm.

Visiting Artist Aaron Ximm will be appearing in our class on Wednesday,
November 19, as a guest performer with the Milwaukee Phonographers
Union, who will perform a live, improvised soundscape comprised entirely
from unprocessed field recordings. We will have an informal Q&A
following the concert, so, even if you choose not to write your Response
on the Ximm article, please read it so that all of us will be ready to
engage in a good discussion.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Call for Works: Edinburgh Festival

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Pip Chodorov"
Sent: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 6:57:39 PM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
Subject: Edinburgh Festival (forwarded message from Kim Knowles)

Dear Frameworkers,

I curate the experimental section of the Edinburgh International Film
Festival and would like to invite submissions (see below). If you
have any questions/queries you can contact me on or

Looking forward to receiving your works.

Kim Knowles

63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival - 17 - 28 June 2009

Submissions for the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival is now
open. EIFF invites experimental short and feature projects for
consideration in our Black Box Section. Submissions to Black Box are

You can submit online through the EIFF website or download a form and
post it to us.

The 63rd EIFF will take place from 17 28 June in Edinburgh. The
Festival aims to stand internationally as a festival of discovery, a
celebration of cinema, a centre of debate and a catalyst for new

Submissions Deadlines for Black Box - open NOW - final deadline
Monday 16 February 2009

For full details, and to read our FAQs please go to

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Drift 2 Dates, Deadlines, and Examples

Hello, again.

Some upcoming dates and deadlines to consider:

Post your Reading Response #2 to one of the following readings as a
self-contained post on your Research blog: Cage, Delehanty, Hill, Hiss,
Lopate, Peterson, Self, Spirn, Wrights & Sites, Ximm. The deadline is
Sunday, November 9, 5 PM.

Final Drift 2 Help Session in B18, 3-4:50 PM.

Individual, one-on-one, 20-minute Critique Sessions with your Lab
Instructor. Sign-up sheets are posted on my office door, B60. Your
rough-cut sound sketches should be posted so that you can get feedback
on sound/image relationships before you head into your final-cut sound

And, finally, here are some current Drift 2 Blogs that you may want to
look at. While I haven't had a chance to review the clips themselves
for content, these blogs feature good, solid STRUCTURE:

Have a great weekend.

Post-Crit Thoughts for Drift 2

Hello, all.

Some things to keep in mind following this afternoon's Crit:

* Edits are different from effects. When we said "no effects" on the rough-cut silent sketches, we meant no wipes, dissolves, overlays, slowed/accelerated footage, oversaturation, color imbalances, contrast changes, added noise/speckles, etc. This does not mean we are looking for completely untouched footage straight from your camera; this is RAW footage, and should be kept private. We ARE looking for footage that has been assembled with thoughtful and precise edits: what happens when one clip ends and the other begins? Are you cutting at exactly the right moment? Is the tail end of clip #1 visually compatible with the beginning of clip #2? Are there rhythmic properties of a clip that you can highlight by juxtaposing similar rhythms in a second clip? The same with graphic qualities? Can repetition of a particular image or clip throughout the sketch be used to heighten a sense of drama or movement?

* Your two rough-cut sound sketches may feature whatever special effects (image and sound) that you wish to use. Here is your chance to try out some ideas to see if they may work for your final-cut sound video. More often than not, you will discover that you do not need special visual effects after all. You can almost always say something better using a well-considered edit than a wipe or dissolve or overlay. But, that's what the rough-cut sound sketches are designed to do: allow you to experiment with ideas in a shorter clip where the stakes are not as high, working out the bugs before you spend precious time and sweat on your final-cut sound video.

* The sounds you use for your rough-cut sound sketches can be realistic or abstract, long continuous takes or highly edited sonic adventures. What we will be listening for, however, is that these sounds are DIFFERENT from the sounds you posted for Drift 1. And, of course, that they function in a well considered image/sound relationship with the visual footage.

* We are looking for four rough-cut clips, two silent and two with
sound. These four clips should all be derived from your Drift 2 walks,
but should be different enough from each other that we can see that you
have considered the innumerable directions your work can take. We DO
NOT want to see you simply adding sound to one of your posted silent
sketches to make it a sound sketch. We want you to choose the BEST four
clips among all of your footage, not the ONLY four clips you have.

* Avoid portrait mode in your still photographs at all times. As you
peruse videos on the web, you will find very few, if any, videos
composed of portrait (vertical) shots. Landscape (horizontal) shots are
preferred because they best correspond to the standardized dimensions of
film and video. (We will not downgrade rough-cut silent sketches that
feature vertical imagery as long as you do not continue this practice in
your rough-cut sound sketches or in your final-cut sound video.)

* If you are setting up a long take where the camera is stationary and
the footage shows movement across or within the frame, then you must use
a tripod or otherwise secure your camera. A shaky camera undercuts your
carefully composed long take and distracts from your message.

* The ideal format for the web is detailed in the QuickTime Tutorial:

Compression: H.264
Quality: Medium
Frame Rate: 15
Encoding Mode: multi-pass
Dimensions: 320x240
Prepare for Internet Streaming: Fast Start

By all means, work on your video in the largest, highest quality format
possible in order to best view your footage in the studio, but EXPORT A
COPY of lower quality exclusively for web distribution on your Drift 2
Blog. Everyone knows that viewing a video on the web is different than
viewing a video in a movie theater or on television, so don't worry that
your work is being seen at a lesser level of quality than you would
prefer. Go ahead and save full-resolution top-quality versions for your
own archive and for other purposes, but, FOR THIS CLASS, we only want to
see WEB-COMPATIBLE videos posted to your blog. If a video takes too
long to download (or if I look on your PantherFile and see a 300 MB clip
instead of an 8 or 10 MB clip), then you have uploaded an uncompressed
video. If a video takes too long to load, then your viewer will
definitely move on to another website.

* If your clip is widescreen or does not strictly adhere to the 320x240
dimensions without distorting, then use black bands (if appropriate) and
try to shrink your playing window as closely to 320x240 as possible.

* Only MOV format videos are allowed. We do not want to see any AVI,
WMV (which don't play at all), MPG, MP4, W4V, or any other format other
than MOV. If you are editing in Windows Movie Maker or other Windows
app, then you MUST download a separate piece of freeware to convert your
WMV or other formatted file to MOV. See the syllabus for links to
conversion apps:

* Rough-cut sketches are edited clips that best illustrate some of the
ideas and directions you wish to pursue in your final clip. No longer
than 30 seconds, these rough-cut sketches are not meant to be perfect,
finished works of art (although they certainly can be well-made and
remarkable). If you post a fabulous, tight, breathtaking and
fully-realized rough-cut sketch, do not think that your work is done.
We will then expect to see an even more fabulous, tighter, more
breathtaking, and more complex final cut video. We are on the lookout
for recycled clips, and we will spot them right away.

* If you have posted a rough-cut sketch that you or your Lab Instructor
or your peers think is missing something or violates one or more of the
rules mentioned above, then you can simply post a revised version of
that rough-cut sketch in a new post. Remember that your Blogs are
online evidence of your work-in-progress, and stand as portraits not
only of you as a person but of you as an artist. Don't spend too much
time trying to perfect a rough-cut sketch. Fix what needs to be fixed
and move on to your rough-cut sound sketches.

* The final-cut sound video is longer than your rough-cut sketches (no
longer than 2 minutes) and should be a development of, and an expansion
upon, the ideas you explored in your sketches. We DO NOT want to see a
rough-cut sketch recycled (or simply lengthened with similar material)
into a final-cut sound video. We DO want to see a final video that
fully realizes the ideas and promise shown in the rough-cut sketches.
We DO want to see a final-cut video that emerges from your Production
Strategy (which, in turn, is derived from your Drift Assessment and Ten

* Your Drift Map for Drift 2 may be the same GoogleMap you used for
Drift 1 with additional "soundmarks" and "imagemarks" added for Drift 2
(preferably color coded so that the two Drifts can be identified) or an
entirely new map altogether. If this is the case, we will want to see a
MASTER MAP that shows the areas you explored in BOTH Drift 1 and Drift
2. We also want to see linking going on between your Research Blog and
your Drift 1 and Drift 2 Blogs.

* Some of you have expressed a desire to make a straightforward
narrative film. We say, "go for it," as long as your image and sound
materials come from your WALKS OUT IN THE WORLD. Rather than execute a
screenplay or fully-formed idea (a perfectly valid exercise, and one
that is covered in other classes), we ask that you go out on a WALK in
or through a particular site or sites, gather material from those
locations, and then sift through your footage in the studio to assemble
your final video. If you design your Production Strategy carefully
enough, you can place yourself in a situation where the material you
gather is perfectly suited for a narrative video. Sound and imagery
that reveals the inside of your dorm room, however, is not the result of
a WALK, no matter how you try to spin it. Gather that footage if you
absolutely need to, but save it for another class or project.

Okay, that's enough for now!

SCAN Student Film and Video Festival

UWM Student Film and Video Festival 2008
sponsored by SCAN

Guidelines and submission form here:

* The submission deadline is Dec 5th at 5:00pm.

* Judging will take place on Dec 7th.

* Students can submit as many works as they like, but only one film and
one video from each student can screen in the festival itself.

* Students can submit any works completed after the start of the Fall 07 long as they have not been screened at the festival
before. This means if a student submitted a work last year that did not
get in, he/she is allowed to submit it again, with or without changes.

* The festival will take place on Friday, December 12th in the Union

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Drift 2 Crit: Rough-Cut Sketches

Hello, all.

We meet tomorrow (Wednesday, November 5) in the Lab Sections for a
Critique Session of your Drift 2 blogs in progress--we will be reviewing
your silent rough cut sketches (and your sound sketches as well, if you
have them ready).

Some of you asked for some examples of previous Drift 2 blogs to serve
as examples. Please note that these blogs are from Spring 2008 when
there were three Drift projects rather than two. (Also note that back
then students were asked to include their Drift Assessments and Ten
Questions on their Drift Blogs rather than on a Research Blog.)

For those of you who have e-mailed me recently about particular issues,
I will be getting to you as soon as I can.

We'll see you all tomorrow.