Bellydance Snapshot

I decided to use my experiences as a bellydancer for the College Snapshot assignment. I’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of UMW MEDC since its foundation in Spring 2016. This club has led me to establish some amazing friendships, and has ultimately helped me become more comfortable with myself. I felt that this assignment was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my experiences throughout the years.

I searched through my phone, Facebook, and YouTube to find several pictures, performance videos and music clips from over the semesters to a brief, unique video. Using glitchy ol’ Windows Movie Maker, I ordered all media chronologically and even synced the audio clips to the performance videos I included. Movie Maker almost failed me several times, but I was eventually able to pull it off and created a wonderful MEDC montage.

My Thursday in 40 Seconds

The goal was to film one day in 60 seconds, but I didn’t realize how challenging it would be! Maybe it’s because my day was pretty relaxed, and maybe it was because I forgot to whip my camera out for some moments, but I only got about 35-40 clips.

To present events as a narrative, I started with my daily routine and ended with my nightly. At the start of the video, I made sure to include a shot of me opening the curtains in the morning, and I made the final shot one of me turning the light off. Everything in between consisted of me driving to places, buying food, going to class and practice, etc. Each time I took a video on my iPhone, I trimmed it down to 1 second and saved that as a new clip. At the end of the day, I imported all of my 1 second clips into Windows Movie Maker and added credits and music. Despite not making it to 60 seconds, I really love how it turned out and I’d like to continue making these kinds of videos.

Advice to my Teen Self

I decided to do the Sixteen Year Old Me video assignment. This assignment allowed me to reflect on/deal with some of the things I was experiencing when I was younger. Teen Ashleigh was generally shy, extremely anxious, and she missed out on a lot of opportunities simply because she had very low self-esteem. Since I don’t usually take the time to think about how far I’ve come, making this video definitely got me in my feelings.

I wrote all my thoughts down and formed a brief yet meaningful letter. I went through tons of old pictures and collected a handful, which I imported into Windows Movie Maker. I tried to arrange them in chronological order to tell more of a story, beginning the video with images from my 16th birthday and ending with one that was taken only a month before my 17th birthday. I also tried to arrange the photos in a way that somewhat corresponded with the topics I covered in my letter.

screenshot editing

I recorded my script in Audacity so I could adjust the quality and volume of the audio. When I was finished, I imported my narration into movie maker. I added background music that suited the introspective tone of my video, I adjusted the duration of clips to match the script, and then added the title and credits. When I was finished, I saved my project and uploaded it to YouTube.

Week Nine: A Fun Time

I enjoyed the web assignments. For Storytelling Within the Web, I decided to use the Mozilla X-Ray Goggle tool to transform Craigslist search results for Health and Beauty into results for Magic and Witchcraft. I loved the way it turned out, and I wish I had the time, energy and brain power to just alter the entire results page instead of just a portion.

Next, I worked on the Google Draw Something assignment and had an actual blast. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was an entertaining little challenge, and it’s something I think would be fun to do with a couple of friends too.

After that, I wrote a tutorial on how to extract video frames in VLC media player, which ended up being a little time consuming. The assignment was to write a brief tutorial, yet I also wanted to be thorough in my explanation so that people could actually follow along and understand. I’m hoping the screenshots helped. Overall, it was a useful exercise because it forced me to refresh my memory on how the tool actually worked.

I’m pained to admit that I only did two Daily Creates this week, so instead of connecting a third TDC, I used my Magic and Witchcraft Craigslist page as the third component. Connecting the three pieces ended up turning into a creepy little story and incorporated several webpages into one cohesive narrative. I’d say it was a success.

Overall, I enjoyed getting to experiment on my own terms this week, as the Radio Show project had been very demanding. I was able to play with HTML, VLC media player, and experiment with tools I’d never used before, like youdubber and the Mozilla X-Ray Goggles. Week Nine was a nice reminder of how much fun the Internet can be.

Connected Creates

Gisele Bethea was a beautiful and talented dancer whose ballet-metal fusion style paved the way for many fusion dancers to come. That is, until one of her performances took a turn for the worst.

Gisele’s mother had grown jealous of her success, and hired a magical ‘hit man’ from the Magic & Witchcraft section of Craigslist to put a stop to her daughter’s thriving career. He snuck into her performance with his Book of Spells and attempted to curse her, but instead he accidentally altered the spell by mispronouncing the final sentence.

Gisele felt her eyes burn and her skin tingle, and so she fled the stage screaming. Once she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she felt a rage like never before. Her beautiful brown eyes had turned black, and her skin appeared spotted and multicolored. Gisele was no more.

Some say she still roams the streets, screeching as she searches for her mother.

Digital Tool: VLC Frame Extraction

I decided to write a brief tutorial on how to extract video frames in VLC media player. This is a tool that can prove useful if you’d like to create a GIF out of your favorite video or movie, or if you want to just save a batch of screen shots from the best scene. I used this tool to create a series of glitched GIFs from a fantasy film. (Read about it here!)

First, you’ll need to install VLC media player and download the video or movie of your choice. Once you have everything needed, open VLC and go to Preferences, then select ;Show All’ near the bottom left corner. A list should appear in the dialog box, and from there you should select ‘Video’, then ‘Filter’. A series of boxes will appear, and you’ll want to check ‘Scene Video Filter’ to enable the image-saving setting. Once you do this, return to the left menu list and display the drop down menu for ‘Filter’. Select ‘Scene Filter’.

Once you’re here, establish how many frames per second you want to save in the ‘Recording Ratio’ text box, and indicate the location where you’d like your frames to be saved in the ‘Directory Path Prefix’ text box. I’ve indicated in my example that I’d like one our of every 2 frames to be saved to my Pictures folder, but feel free to play around with the FPM; the lower the number, the more image files will be saved to your computer. When I create GIFs, I usually set it to 2-3.

Once your settings are saved, hit File and open the movie/video and play it through. Once finished, you should have all of your frames! Yay!

BEWARE! You should go back to Preferences > Filters and uncheck ‘Scene Video Filter’ so that VLC doesn’t continue saving images everytime you watch something.

Draw Something in Under 20 Seconds

I decided to attempt the Google Draw Something assignment by clicking here and drawing something in under 20 seconds for Google to guess. This was way too fun, and also stressful, because I had to use my laptop’s touch pad and the time went by faster than I’d thought it would. I was surprised to find that the computer guessed all but one drawing correctly (and quickly)! I had a pretty easy time until it came to the animals… I found myself pausing to think of a game plan before hitting “ok” because it didn’t seem like enough time. Check out my masterpieces:

Google quick draw

Shopping for Magic on Craigslist

After a few failed attempts at editing other webpages, I ended up remodeling a Craigslist page. Craigslist pages are basic enough to make substantial changes in the content. I’ve been feeling very shpooky lately so I decided to transform the search results of “health and beauty” into “magic and witchcraft”. This was a little difficult because I had to brainstorm several tools, animals and concepts found in the fantasy genre, then I had to find the perfect image and price it accordingly.

The search results page was endless, so I only edited the first 18 items, but it’s still pretty cool to browse through as though I were an actual customer looking for these things. You can shop for magic and witchcraft here.

craigslist magic

Week Eight: Distress Signal

This radio show really tested our problem-solving abilities as a team since it felt like the due date approached very quickly. Our return from break consisted of an in-person meeting where we established more details in our outline and wrote a script for the talk show. I was able to create another commercial before we met again on Friday afternoon to record.

Time constraints resulted in our radio show not going as planned, but we were able to resolve most problems. Despite feeling tired and delirious by the end of our process, I really enjoyed working with Jordan and Alaina. When we started the assignment, I didn’t expect to record and edit the show in person, but I’m glad we did because it resulted in a really fun and engaging radio show with its own little twist.

We recorded most of our content in UMW’s Vocal Booth and spent hours in the digital lab to edit afterwards. Things got tricky when it came to this portion of our process; the more content we added, the bigger, messier and harder to navigate through the working project. This led to some audio clips shifting around, which led to several failed Soundcloud upload attempts. Eventually, after going back and correcting clips more than a few times, we were able to save, upload and submit the final mp3 file.

Alaina and Jordan were full of amazing ideas and positive energy throughout this entire project. Though the assignment was taxing and may still have a few residual errors, I’m proud of what we created together.

Here’s my Daily Create.

Communication & Digital Studies Ad

We needed at least three commercials for our radio show, so I took on another for this week just before my group recorded and assembled our podcast. Since I graduate this semester, I’ve been thinking (and stressing) a lot about potential career opportunities, and reflecting on the different ways that being a UMW student has helped me develop skills an employer would find valuable.

The Comm & Digital Studies major encouraged me to test my creative limits, to become a better writer and public speaker, and to develop a strong sense of digital literacy. I figured I should verbalize these positives and encourage others to look into the major through an audio advertisement. I formed my thoughts into a script and found music on Free Music Archive to play in the background.