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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Week Seven: DJ Ashleigh’s Comeback

While this week didn’t require any remixing, I did revisit Audacity to layer and edit multiple audio clips. This time, however, I wasn’t granted the “do whatever you want” approach; all creations were part of something bigger and better! I’ve spent this week planning and contributing ideas for a group project: Distress Signal, a ds106 radio show.

I’ve really enjoyed working with my group (Alaina, Jordan and Ana). We created a Google Doc to lay out some big ideas, and then created tables to visualize how our roles should be divided. We listed all of the assignments that needed to be finished this week, and from that list each of us chose 3-4 tasks to accomplish. I think this was a really effective way to arrange contribution; everyone created something for our project, but also had the freedom to choose whatever roles they were most interested in.

I signed up to create a radio bumper, commercial, and promo image. I’m really happy with how each piece turned out, and hearing my group mates’ work has me itching to put all of the pieces together. I think we have a very promising show idea, but I know that getting down to specific details will be challenging and time consuming. With four creative minds at work, I’m confident that our final product will be everything we wanted and more.

P.S. here are my Daily Creates.

Week Four: Photo Bomb

This was a great week. I managed my time well and generally just felt more comfortable approaching the visual assignments. I compared my experience with photography to the readings and realized that, while I incorporate a lot of elements in my photos, there are plenty of things I should work on, like creating more of a story and utilizing the best lens for each case.

I chose Sailor Moon for my Life of a Superhero assignment. While I probably could have found a photo of her standing, I love that she looks like she’s hovering over the dumpster as she takes her trash out. It’s so dramatic.

I geared my Color Changer assignment toward illustrating Ceto’s prologue from last week. It was really satisfying to transform a description I had in mind into something I could actually look at, and I was amazed at how drastic the mood and tone of the photo changed just by adjusting the lighting and colors. It reinforces a lot of the points made by the readings.

I decided to do some serious experimenting for my other visual assignment, called Averaged Portrait. I had a mini selfie shoot then combined all of the photos I’d taken. This encouraged me to use Photoshop features that I’d never used before to create a unique self portrait.

The 20-minute photoblitz was an adventure around my house that resulted in some interesting angles. My daily creates featured shadows, dirty dishes, and unraveled paper clips.

Overall, this week was a blast (which is why I’ve titled this summary ‘Photo Bomb’)! I was able to develop concepts that were formed last week, I got extra practice with Photoshop, and I took plenty of pictures. I feel like I’m expanding my skill set and improving my creative thinking, which is really exciting.

Week Three: Words Emerge

Man, this week was tough. There is nothing I hate more than the intimidation I feel while staring at a blank page.

I’ll start with TDC. This week’s daily creates featured a haiku, animorphing, and International Dot Day.

Because I hadn’t really incorporated the superhero concept into my work for this course, writing a reflection on what defines a superhero definitely worked well for me. The First Ever Superman Cartoon shed light on the basic, most notable qualities of superhero narratives, while the excerpt from Ink-stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors explained how superhero qualities include more than just Superman’s abilities. This was a necessary lesson for me.

Next, I watched Vonnegut’s Shape of Stories video. I applied the method to The First Ever Superman Cartoon in this blog post.

Creating my character dossier and introduction for Ceto was difficult. Since this assignment sets the foundation for a character we’ll work with throughout the semester, I couldn’t help but fear committing to certain traits too soon. I didn’t want to box myself in. I am extremely thrilled about what I have so far though, and I’m confident that more interesting details will grow through the work. Ceto is like a plant… I’m gonna have to give her some sunlight and water to thrive.

While I relied on phrase generators to gather ideas for my character dossier, I used them yet again to place myself in a superhero role in the SuperStory assignment. One of the first phrases I generated was Trustworthy Forehead. It struck me as odd, but I just decided to roll with it since there were no strings attached. I used words from other phrases that came up to develop random details of the story.

My “free” writing assignment was Explaining Ceto, which was worth 3 stars. I was inspired by Alaina’s take on Explaining the Spy. I loved learning more about the thought that went into her character, and since my dossier & intro didn’t give too much away, this seemed like a great way to share more on how much thought went into Ceto.

Overall, the writing week was a massive challenge for me. I hope to handle next week a little better.

Week Two: College Course or Fun House?

This week, I fell in love with the Assignment Bank. There are endless opportunities to make something unique. The three assignments I tackled were from the visual, audio and animated gif categories. My work not only reflected my interests, but encouraged me to use my experience with certain programs towards a new goal. One assignment, for example, led me to create an audio advertisement. I’d used Audacity for music in the past, but I had never written an advertising script or tried to stitch different voices together. I enjoyed working on assignments from multiple categories.

My Daily Creates featured small animals, redundancies, and Radiohead. I didn’t expect to rely on Microsoft Word to create any work for this class, but that’s what happened for two out of the three TDCs. Throughout college, I’ve really only used Word to write and format papers. This week’s prompts let me play more with the design features!

I also found myself placed in the writing group, which meant I had to contribute ideas for things we could incorporate in the writing portion of the course. I browsed the Assignment Bank for inspiration and came across Changing Fortunes. Since I’m still struggling with the superhero theme, this assignment seemed like a great way to develop some concrete ideas. I found quite a few phrase generators online and submitted the SuperStory Generator assignment in hopes that it would help anyone else having a difficult time. I feel slightly better about diving into the theme after this week. Leaving my superpowers to chance makes the task seem less daunting.