Week Fourteen: Distress Signal News!

We had way too much fun with the final project.

Alaina, Jordan and I immediately wrote our articles and filmed interviews after making an outline for the project. We created and customized a Tumblr page that provides background info and references our radio show. It was the perfect way to show our transformation from radio show to online news.

Our interviews were filmed separately but we decided to edit them all as a group. We used Adobe Premiere Pro because it offered specific effects that were needed to make our videos realistic. Thanks to Alaina’s experience with the program, our videos turned out so much better than we’d imagined. It took some research and hours of practice to understand certain special effects but we pulled it off! We used free video clips on Pexels Video and dramatic news music from YouTube to create an intro and outro for all of the interviews. This helped create a sense of uniformity among all of our interviews despite them being recorded differently.

I’ll admit it… we were ambitious. But it was all for the satisfaction of making something we could genuinely be proud of. I learned a lot about Tumblr and Adobe Premiere Pro, and I also discovered new resources for video footage through this project. I couldn’t be happier with what we made together. Check it out by clicking the link below!

Distress Signal News

It’s been a challenging but great semester, and it’s a little bittersweet because it is my last. I’m thankful that I was able to spend it collaborating and creating with everyone in the ds106 community. Here is my advice post for future ds106ers.

DS106 Advice

So… you wanna be a ds106er? Let me tell you what it takes.

First and foremost, you will need to commit to what you signed up for. The workload may be intimidating, and there may be weeks that leave you feeling exhausted, but you just have to make the effort. When you make the effort, your experience in this class is so much more rewarding.

Secondly, don’t take yourself seriously. This class is very relaxed with few rules. You can interpret projects and assignments any way you like. The goal is simply to create using different media. Every assignment you complete may not be a masterpiece, but you can at least make the work enjoyable. Having a positive attitude toward each project will help you appreciate your finished work in many ways.

Finally, be open to learning. You may not be a pro by the end of each week, but I guarantee that you will know more than you did at the beginning. Don’t feel pressured to know it all at once, and don’t shy away from trying something because it seems hard or advanced. This class is all about experimentation and learning in ways that suit you, so make the most of it.

Week Thirteen: Progress Report

Inspired by the “Save Yourself” prompt where our heroes lose their powers, Alaina, Jordan and I have teamed up to revisit the plot and characters in our radio show, Distress Signal. Only for this project, we’ll create a news series that investigates where our heroes– Ceto, Malevolent Melody and Little Brain– are now.

The plan is to create a journalistic webpage that will consist of about 4-5 posts, or articles, that will cover the lives of each superhero now that they are not so super. Each ‘news article’ will feature a video interview with the hero, where they talk about their life changes and adjustments since losing their powers after Dr. Evil’s attack. Here is our plan for the series:

Post 1: Intro Article
Post 2: Hero 1 Article with Video
Post 3: Hero 2 Article with Video
Post 4: Hero 3 Article with Video
Post 5: Conclusion Article / “5 Years Later”

Our project will allow us to incorporate writing, video, mashup and the web to form one cohesive narrative. We plan to host our news series on Tumblr and explore different programs for video editing. Our current tasks are to create and design the Tumblr page and to write the article for each of our heroes. We hope to write the intro and conclusion articles and begin filming early next week.

Week Twelve: Mashed Up

This week, we revisited concepts covered in the past, but whatever direction we took was up to us. The mashup/remix assignments were interesting because anything was fair game.

I started with editing the Dunkin’ Donuts logo to better represent the only thing I actually buy from there… iced coffee. This was entertaining, and while I like the result, I wish I had picked a more interesting way to manipulate the logo. The 7-Eleven and Pokemon mashup image featured on the assignment page was really cool, and I wish I had done something as drastic as that.

I filmed my blue belongings in motion for my second assignment, and ended up creating a monochromatic video layered with a blue song. I took a slightly different direction than what the original assignment instructed, but I enjoyed experimenting and creating something unique.

I managed to write a tutorial on the Photoshop tools I typically use to create a digital collage, the quick selection tool and SmartObject feature. Writing a tutorial is hard because you have to include plenty of detail, but also make it easy enough for anyone to understand. I tried to make my explanation simple but it still turned out pretty wordy. I made sure to include images to make it less confusing. Hopefully it helps someone in the future.

Here’s my daily create.

Make a Digital Collage Using Photoshop

This is a really simple tutorial that will cover two features of Photoshop, the Quick Selection tool and SmartObject manipulation, which will be useful for creating You In (Digital) Collage Form! There are many ways to approach this task, and this tutorial uses a method I’ve found useful.

Obviously, with this specific assignment, you’ll need to do some brainstorming. What are your hobbies and interests? Anything significant about your childhood? Your favorite place to be? What makes you, you? Take a minute to think about this and write a list, then search for relevant images that convey whatever you come up with. The more images to choose from, the better. Once you’ve saved all of your images in one folder, open an image you’d like to use as your background into Photoshop. This will serve as your working project.

For my example, I chose to incorporate my family, pet and hobby. Ideally, you’d have more images, but for the sake of this tutorial I kept it simple.

Open an image you’d like to incorporate into your collage. Select the Quick Selection tool on the left menu bar and adjust your brush as needed using the settings at the top of the page. The + sign will highlight your selection, while the sign will reverse the selection. Select a specific piece of your image by dragging the brush on it while the + sign is active. If you go past a border, you can reverse it by switching your brush to the sign and cleaning the parts you don’t want selected.

Once your desired section is selected, right-click it and select “Layer via cut” or “Layer via copy”. Your isolated selection should then appear in the Layer list on the bottom right. To place it in the image you chose as your background, simply drag that new layer over to the tab that contains the background image and release over the canvas. This transfers the layer to your working project.

The images you collected will probably vary in size, so you’ll want to manipulate this by converting the layer into a SmartObject. I like to resize images/layers this way because it’s easy to use and you don’t lose quality in the process. In your working project, select the image you’d like to resize from the Layer list, right-click, and select “Convert to Smart Object”. Resize and move your image however you’d like against the background image.

These tools make it easy to build a unique digital collage. You can play with scale, placement, and incorporate as many images as you want. I hope this tutorial was helpful!

My World is Baby Blue

I loved editing videos last week, so I decided to do a video mashup. The What Color is Your World?  assignment instructed me to photograph a single color throughout a typical day and layer it with a song about that color. I decided to film blue things around my room in motion as opposed to just compiling still photos. Some things I recorded included blankets, robes, a bottle of perfume, the sky, and my colored contacts.

Once I had enough footage to edit, I imported the clips into Windows Movie Maker, trimmed, rearranged, and slowed them down to match the vibe of the song I chose, which was Baby Blue by King Krule. Although I filmed blue objects in my video, once I started playing with video effects, I found a blue filter and decided to use it on several clips to enhance the color. It’s very amateur but I think I did a nice job of editing the footage to compliment the song.

America Runs on Ice

I love coffee, but I really love iced coffee.  Every morning, regardless of the temperature, I grab an iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. That’s why my mind immediately went to Dunkin’ when I stumbled upon the Consumer Mashup assignment. This assignment required me to redesign a company’s logo by incorporating my favorite product. Using Photoshop, I removed the hot coffee image from the Dunkin’ Donuts logo and replaced it with an iced coffee. Then I edited the text to read, “America runs on ice”. I think I should get this made into a bumper sticker for my car because this actually sums up who I am as a person.

Week Eleven: Real Life Reflection

I absolutely love video editing so this week has been fantastic. The only challenge has been with time management. I’m a bit of a perfectionist… if I have to create something, I want to at least feel proud of it, and so it takes time getting my videos to a place where I genuinely like them.

I started with Advice to my Teen Self. This assignment led me to reflect on how I remember feeling about life when I was sixteen. I wrote a script that addressed some of the things I realize in hindsight, and compiled photos of me from 2010-2011. It was a really unique and meaningful activity, even though the pictures are extremely embarrassing.

My next video assignment was My Thursday in 40 Seconds. This one required my full attention for an entire day since I wasn’t used to recording every part of my routine. I was afraid of missing something to include. I also felt weird having my camera out in public places. This video is easily my favorite creation of the week. I’m inspired to continue making videos in this style, but to hopefully switch up the scenery and music.

Finally, I created a Bellydance Snapshot. This assignment required me to compile photos and videos of a club that I’ve been a part of for a few semesters. I arranged them in chronological order and used the songs we performed each semester. It’s interesting to watch and see the different phases of the club, and I’m excited to see what’s next for UMW Middle Eastern Dance Club.

This week encouraged me to reflect on and appreciate my past and current experiences, all through the challenge of translating them to video for an audience. I made sure to include a title and credits section in each video I made, and the shots are arranged in chronological order to help form a cohesive story. I think I was pretty successful in conveying my perception of life through the clips and audio I used in my videos, and I look forward to creating more.

Finally, here’s my daily create.