The Mission of Semester 106

a digital storytelling adventure

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A mission bond mashup

One of the mashups I took on this week was the Two Movies, One Line for 3 1/2 stars. I was excited by this one because it had a cool premise about combining different films. (Also I knew the person who originally put out the assignment so I thought it’d be fun to try it out.) While working through this assignment I thought it was a good example of different editing tools so I decided to go back and recreate the assignment when I was done and create a tutorial on it.

One of the harder parts of this assignment is deciding what you want to do for it! I decided what I needed to do was just go out and watch a bunch of youtube trailers for spy films to get inspiration. (Also wanted to stay on the class theme.) I went through and listened and tried to find interesting phrases by different characters. Whenever I found a phrase I thought could be useful I would download the video. Trailers can be hard because they only give you short bursts of dialogue (especially for action packed spy films) so I had to find moments where the trailers had dialogue and quiet backgrounds. Another part of my aim was to make sure the two lines really felt like they could flow off each other and that there was not over powering noise to distract from that.

Ultimately I went from a clip from  the first  Mission Impossible trailer and from the James Bond film Skyfall. (Mission Impossible is like a sub-theme for this weeks assignments.) I wanted to pull out the line “it’d much worse than you think” from Mission Impossible and “you must be joking” from Skyfall. I felt like these phrases went well together and actually regardless of placement could create different connotations in dialogue. It could either end in an exasperation of Bond or the smug look of Hunt. I actually decided to make both versions to show how context of dialogue really can change the perception of story. Who we think is in charge of a conversation or how we perceive dynamics often has a lot to do with the exchange of dialogue and body language.

To create the clips I downloaded the trailers off Youtube and then used the program MPEG Streamclip to trim the videos down to just the lines I wanted to use. After I had the lines down I brought both clips into iMovie to combine it. In iMovie I combined the two clips to make sure they went together well before I uploaded them to youtube. The clips were a little short in the end but that works in terms of the pacing of a conversation and also into the fair use of copyright material. (Since videos are supposed to be less then 5 secs borrowed when possible.) After that I was pretty much done doing both versions of the dialogue. I think the two scenes both try to capture frustration that occurs in a lot of spy films. Where agents are left in the dark or brought into unforeseen issues.

 

Disaster and Impossible

For 4 stars I did the Ready for my close up mash up. I’ve been going real strong this week with keeping assignments on theme for the class so I wanted to continue with that trend.

So I know that this picture has been used a lot since it turned into a meme but I wanted to use the so called disaster girl photo as my reference for a close up. The picture is well known because of her expression which looks menacing and made people assume she started the fire. (She didn’t the photo has an article all about the image’s context and history.)

So even though it has been referenced by different people I thought I could do something pretty cool with it so I decided to. I brought this image into GIMP and cut out the girl then erased around her any left over pixels so she stood alone. Here I was cleaning up the pixels in the process of editing it.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/135407162@N08/33843488632/in/dateposted-public/

I next thought about what to put behind her. I wanted something spy themed again to stay on topic with how close I have been doing this week. I also wanted something explosion related because it connected back to the origin of the original image but twisted it in a new way. I decided to go with an explosion scene from the 3rd Mission Impossible film. (Yes I have used mission impossible films a few times over the course of this semester but so far I have tried to avoid repeats since there are 5 films.) I went with this dramatic image.

Next I brought the image into GIMP I cropped out the black lines and rescaled the image so that it fit better into the way I was setting it all up. I also had to figure out where to put the girl. I decided to scale her down and keep her in the bottom right corner so that she seemed to be behind the car. This way she would be theoretically kinda shielded by the car and able to actually be turning back not looking as concerned as she should have been. It also didn’t break up the scene as much and left the context of the explosion.

So with this image I decided that the story behind it was that the young girl had played a role in the explosion being set off.  Getting out of another car out of frame but on the road she was looking to admire her part in the explosion and turned around to get away from the impending chaos.

disaster-girl mission

 

Mission Remix

So I remixed the Movie Mash up with the 106er’s remix style. Originally I had just been planning on just doing the mash up version of the assignment but while I was doing it I had a sudden idea and decided to remix it.

So when i started the movie mash up I wanted to combine spy movies because then it still stayed in the course also stretched ideas on how to make it. Unfortunately a lot of spy movies have single large shots of one individual which made it a bit hard to find something that worked well. So I looked around and I found this poster from Mission Impossible. It was more dynamic and had a space around the plane I could play with for editing the context.

After that I tried to think what would fit into the background and thought about parachuting. The film Kingsman another spy one had a parachute scene so I decided to incorporate that into the background. The films are not as similar as the mash up suggested them to be but there are some commonalities. I found this picture from the film to sub into the background.

Next I started to combine them. I put them together in GIMP as separate layers. I decided to erase out the background around the three figures. I am very picky about pixels so I went into great detail to try and get rid of all the blue pixels from the background.

pixel erasing

One I had done that round of erasing I placed the figures near the edge of the wing of the plane. Next I decided to remove the text below the film’s title like the release date and such. To do this I used the clone stamp tool and repeated the pattern of the grass in vertical stripes. Trying my best to blend it in correctly with short spurts.

text rid

Once I had erased out the bottom text it still felt eh, so I decided Rogue Nation and Tom Cruise were phrases that needed to go as well. I repeated the same process as before using the clone stamp tool to remove them from the image. Then I thought I was done.

first version

Once I had made this image I was pretty happy except I realized I could incorporate it with a remix! I had flipped through some of the remixes and knew about the DS 106 one for remixing the course into the mash up. I thought when I saw Mission that it would be a perfect fit! Because it included not only DS106 but also missions and spies the theme of this particular section. So I messed around with creating a DS 106 in text and played around with getting the perspective to match up with the top lettering. I wanted the lettering to try and go together.

perspective

While I was working on it I thought about it and the Impossible part of the title just didn’t make any sense. The point of DS 106 is after all that nothing is impossible. So having that in would not make sense at all. I then used the clone stamp tool to get rid of the “impossible” and played around with perspective with the text till I got it right. With that I was done! I combined Mission Impossible and Kingsman into an ad for DS106 in a really fun remix.  So I really enjoyed creating this one.

MISSION ds106

 

Magnifying Bond

I took on the assignment This Doesn’t Belong here mashup worth 4 stars.

So at first I read this assignment wrong so I did a totally different assignment. I thought it said combine an iconic film scene with something that does belong subtly. (Not combine two iconic scenes.) So I did that instead at first. So here is my first version of this assignment! I decided that I wanted to work with a James Bond scene because it would be on theme with the class and I’ve been avoiding doing bond before now because it felt too easy. I wanted to take the famous gun angle scene and edit it so it was a magnifying glass in the gun barrel. I took both images from wikimedia commons, and mashed them up together. I brought both images into GIMP (which is a software I use whenever I image edit on my personal computer. I prefer Photoshop when I can use a university computer.)

into gimp

It was pretty simple I just put the image on top and lined up the magnifying glass. Then I cropped the image to  make it look all nice. Except it went so well so quickly and I wanted to get max stars out of it so I decided to push it forward. I thought about how I could slightly change the perspective of the image but still keep the original context and meaning. After trying out some ideas I decided what if the perspective changed? What if instead of being in the middle of the frame Bond was off center? So I made it a reality. I used the clone stamp tool in GIMP to copy the pixels of Bond and duplicate him.

double

Next I had to get rid of my extra Bond. So I used the clone stamp tool again this time using the white background as the reference to effectively erase him out. I could have just erased him but I am a real stickler for pixels and I hate how erasing changes the colors of pixels and it looks too unnatural to me.

After that it still didn’t feel like it was done so I started messing with different tools to try and get different looks. I decided to use the dodge tool to lighten up Bond and create a little more visual interest. While I was at it I experimented with a few other tools to mess around but did not like any of my changes, until I decided to smudge the magnifying glass. By smudging the rim of the glass it helped it to better fit into the background of the gun barrel. I tried to smudge it so that it followed the curve of the gun but not smudge it so much that it was still recognizable. This was my final product.

magnify bond smudge

Of course when I went to write up the corresponding blog post I realized I had done it wrong so I had to do a take two. But I decided to include my first version because I still think it came out cool, and mistakes are 100% part of the progress to success.

Now I had to do something that stayed more to the nature of the actual assignment. I decided to go with another Bond image but a new one to change things up. I decided to mash things up by adding in Bourne to the mix for my other iconic figure. I selected an image of Bourne running to add into Bond in front of a car. Again I used GIMP to do my image editing because I started this project in GIMP and was determined to finish it in GIMP. I brought the images into GIMP and cut out the image of Jason Bourne so I had just him running. Next I erased out any extra pixels left around him so that layer was just him running. I ended up with this.

shrinking bourne

I was playing around next on how to blend him into the background and make it as subtle as possible I thought about skewing the image but it just made him look goofy.

skewed

So instead I kept it the correct way and changed the sizes of the image. By making Bourne smaller and placing him farther back on the road he blended back into the image better. It also helped that his color palette was similar to the colors in Bond’s clothes which helped it seem more connected rather then inserting something colorfully bright. I am happy with how it came out and think it worked out better second time around.

mini bourne

 

Spy Video time

This week was a bit crazy full of video filming and editing. But it was also a lot of learning.

Video Show Progress Posts

Filming in Action – We did the bulk of our filming all together at once to try and get it started and working so that we would have more time for editing.

For the full write up and behind the scenes on how the video was made learn all about, Your Guide to Being a Spy

Video

Daily Creates

I was excited about Mondays daily create because I really maybe excessively  like Futurama. So I was excited to play around with what the “good news” could be. I toyed around with relating it to either the course theme or just DS106 itself. I ended up going to with DS106 itself and let the good news be DS106 success.

 

Next it’s not really a daily create but just adding it into the narrative because after I did Monday’s create I noticed my header for twitter could use an update. Previously it reflected college anxiety but I updated it for ds106 specifically.

Fry book collge

fry book ds106

Moving back into daily creates!

 


Assignments

Mission Time– my idea for a group take on missions for the DS106 Headquarters

 

Comments-

Beauty of Fredericksburg

1 second video

Emails

The directorite – the posts about the directorite make me feel like a real spy since I already know Martha haha

Elimination Mission

The Final Progress show

The video show was/is much harder than the radio show was. Since it was video we had to meet up more and get more done in short condensed times to make sure everything got done in time. It was also a lot of learning of what we could and could not do with our original vision.

Our video is a guide for new spies learning the tricks and trips of the spy world. We each split up work so that everyone wrote at least one section or more of content. We would each be in charge of those sections dialogue and any visual aids. I was also in charge of editing everything together because I had used imovie before and that was easier than other windows programs.

After we had filmed all of our in person clips I stitched them together in imovie. At first it seemed like we had the same exact issue we had during radio week. Turns out scripts you plan in your head often take a lot less time in actuality then in print. So when I started stitching together everything we filmed I started to get really nervous because it was very short segments so we had very little time to start off. (Which is a very nerve wracking part of the project.) But we figured out how that we did in fact have enough time and added an extra scene to really flesh it all out.

Next we had another issue. We had purposefully filmed in the production studio in low light so that we would only be partially visible. This would fit with our characters as agents not wanting to be compromised. It would also be a cool visual aspect. Except when I exported the footage well we were enveloped in the darkness and not visible at all. Which was not what we wanted at all.

blank screens

So I messed around with the footage trying to find out a solution. (Because everyone did not have another availability for everyone to meet again.) I found if I applied a silent film filter to the videos we were visible again! It actually worked well with our vibe for the show as well because we were visible and obscured but in a distancing way. A part of our vision was creating a balance between the cold distancing of the spy world with spies willing to help out fellow agents in need. By playing around with how you visually saw us we tried to communicate this.

silent film amari

I went ahead and listened to a bunch of public domain music trying to find something that fit with our vibe and was instrumental. I ended up using this piece Jessie Cave Duo (ID 479) by Lobo Loco played at a low volume to give the video atmosphere. We did not really need a lot of sounds for most of our video because most of the video was the spies telling the story from their unknown location or they were built in from sounds we made. Most of our story was more narrator oriented.

Since each of us were in charge of sections the image sourcing was up to each person. (All hyperlinks in this section link to original work.)  Agent Katey sourced all the images for the Disguises 101 section from pixabay for her segment. There were a few images she could not find strong examples for so I helped find CC licensed ones for that also on pixabay. (the images for a necklace and man with clear skin) Two images the stud earrings and prohibited signs were part of some I added in were both from wikimedia commons. (A look at how the images fit in the the editing process.)

imovie 2

Amari for her sections collected images from a variety of sources. In the Gadgets and Gear section; the audio jammer image came from Independent Living News, the Portable Sweep Unit from an Amazon product,  both the Monocular and Binocular came from enkeeo.com, the spy coin from spy-coins.com, tiny camera pen from atechpoint.com, and the drone from a best buy product. Her Killer instinct photo of a Gun Shot was actually something she created by combing two images, a bullet from wikimedia commons, and a spy from pixabay. Also in that section she had two images of movie stills of a car falling off a cliff from a livejournal site. Agent Amari also created the intro title sequence using a software called Luxenia.

For my segment I decided to cut out drawings I had made to avoid any trouble with copyright issues. Also because I felt it gave me more options in what I was creating. We also figured the different types of shots we used for each segment reflexed back on the personalities we had been building for our spies. Our credits that roll at the end also included all of the sites where images had come from used in the video as well as who was in charge of which sections (using the secret agent code names of course.)

imovie

When we went to record the audio for the sections where we used static images or cut out scenes we used the same consistent microphone and quiet place to get solid sound quality. I did have some issues when putting all the clips together but was able to get it all sorted properly. Next to make sure that it all worked I watched through the video a few times. My other group members were in class during this time so I showed the video to some of my friends and coworkers to see if there were any issues they noticed with it. After fixing some last minute hiccups it was ready to go! (After the 2hr + imovie download time of course.)

Ultimately I think we created something very cool that brought together a lot of interesting ideas and segments. While there is always room for improvement I think we worked hard and gave it our best work. It was a fun project, while also very stressful, but it ended with a really cool result! Hope everyone enjoys!

Mission within a Mission

So part of this week we are supposed to come up with an idea about a mission the whole class could potentially take on together. I think it could be interesting if maybe we split the spies up into groups all taking on the same mission all competing. Now I do not necessarily mean it has to become like a group project or anything but maybe team oriented so that different sides could be trying to accomplish the same goal but for different reasons.

So potentially we could have something like two rival sides of the DS106 headquarters have broken apart because of creative differences on how the DS106 mission should be accomplished. The class would be broken into sides (maybe based on which types of assignments they liked most? like video, audio, or design potentially) and the goal would be for each side to try and build out ways to accomplish regaining control of the DS106 Headquarters. Maybe this could take a capture the flag kind of approach trying to win the DS106 Headquarters.  It could also be a series of challenges. Like step one how to break into the Headquarters and the assignment would be to create a video, or audio, or diagram of how to best break into the Headquarters. Then the next step might be how to get past the opposing DS106ers again with a series of potential assignments. And so on till we reached some sort of final task to best reach holding the title of DS106 Headquarters.

I could also see it as potentially having the whole class be on one side and having everyone defending DS106 Headquarters from some unknown threat. It could take the same form as the other mission idea with group tasks. It could also be more defined  into categories having an assignment based on each of the types of projects we have used so far in this course.

How the video show goes

Today Agents Katey and Amari and I got together to film the bulk of our video project. We met in the Hurley Convergence Center and went to the media production studio to record ourselves. When setting up the space we decided to go with a low back lights to obscure our faces from the camera. Spies after all want to avoid exposure. We went through and used a teleprompter to work off the script we had co-written. After going through it though I realized the audio was not high enough to hear us! So we went back and rerecorded the introduction and wrap up sections. We also recorded transitions between each of our segments with each of us solo on screen. Katey went first then I recorded mine. Next I had Katey record all of the audio for her project so we could layer it on top of her images she would use for her demonstration portion. She then sent me her images so I could start stitching everything together with the footage we filmed today. Amari then filmed two part’s for two of her segments. We ran it through till we got it right and then could upload everything we filmed to a shared google drive section.

Everyone was going to check out to find potential background music or sound effects for our segments to really pop. We also all agreed on a format for our credits and filmed a portion to use with those credits. Agent Amari also offered to come up with ideas on how to set up an intro for our show that she would work on during the week. I also offered to work on the video we filmed today to get the rough cut going!

So far we have the majority of the filming done. What has not been filmed are two of the sections where we will be using pieces of paper moved onto screen to tell our story visually. We also have to edit it together and work with the audio as well. However so far we are on a good roll.

 

The end of the start of video week

This week was the start of video for this course. We were given the option of either doing 10 stars of video each week or forming a group and making a 15-30 minute video show. I really enjoyed working on the radio show in my room so when Amari suggested we team up again I was in. Amari, Katey, and I decided to take on the project together. We decided to make a show called Your Guide to being a Spy. (I’ve written a blog post all about the process of creating that show so far, and the exciting points ahead on the project. ) The show is going to be a mix of footage of our agents on the show with a interesting cut out based diagram sections. We are excited an planning out the next steps to share it  with the class.

Daily Create:

I stumped people with my half drawn map.
Assignments:

Video Show progress- learn all about our upcoming show and the steps we’ve taken to make it great!

Interview- this week we had to piece together an interview from the three contributors of interviewers as our spies. I chose questions from all of the clips to mix things up.

Trailer- As a part of being in the group project video show we had to create a trailer for our show “Your Guide to being a Spy” I used stop motion to create my trailer as a preview for the type of set up we might use.

Video Essay– For this assignment I looked at the types of editing and staging used in the film Mission Impossible during a famous train scene. Looking specifically how movement impacts tension.

 

commenting:

Heather did a video essay on Nancy Drew

An interesting video essay on Skyfall (I really enjoyed watching the video essays this week.)

Agent Zero’s interview had very nice audio

The Rob Lowe interview

Censoring 22 Jump Street

The infamous interview

This week Agent Fawn was interviewed by top ds106 leaders. The following video is a segment of some of the remotely done interview.

 

The resume question in particular was great because Agent Fawn actually already had a resume created in a previous week so her story lines up with the rest of her narrative. She started off by answering the more serious traditional spy interview questions about her background and experience and then moved into the questions DS106 agents know to expect. To help conceal her identity (in case she does not receive the position in the interview) agent Fawn chose a back light area to avoid her face or small characteristics from being overtly clear to others.

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