The biggest test of my editing skills to date has come and gone, as today, I premiered my “Five-Word Book Club” segment as part of DS106. Inspired by the “Five-Second Movies” of Doug Walker and, by extension, yours truly, my final video assignment for this grading period is an abridged parody of Internet review shows in general, as I summarize three classic books or plays – all in the public domain, as of press time – for the audience’s viewing pleasure. As for the reason why I started this post by describing this video, and not the challenge it was based on, that can be summed up with what the challenge itself, worth five stars toward our final score for these two weeks, was. As pointed out in the assignment bank, the challenge was doing the following:
Have a conversation with yourself! Film yourself talking, then change clothes, hair styles, etc., and then film the other half of the convo. Edit this in any movie editor program (I used Pinnacle movie maker) To overlap the two scenes so that you are talking to yourself! Play around, to figure out the most efficient way! Also, timing is everything in this! Make sure when talking to leave breaks for your other self to respond!
The shots were done in one take on my iPhone, with the only real costume change being my choice of shirts. The script focused on a one-minute episode of the show, in which I “reviewed” Robert W. Chambers’ horror anthology, The King in Yellow; Romeo and Juliet, the timeless tragedy from William Shakespeare’s First Folio; and George Barr McCutcheon’s comedy of capitalism, and the subsequent errors thereof, Brewster’s Millions.
Pre-production started – by which I mean, the script was typed – a day in advance of filming, and the editing process was quick and painless, or as much as you could imagine it to be. Since Windows Live Movie Maker didn’t include a function where you can seamlessly splice two videos together, I settled for the next best thing, and downloaded VideoPad by NCH Software for my editing purposes.
Once I had uploaded the footage onto my computer, I watched through the available footage on VideoPad, looking out for any moments of silence I could cut out, so that the story was told in a much more effective manner. Alternating between the two videotaped versions of me, I completed the set hours ahead of schedule, making sure to save everything as its own MP4 file when I closed up shop.
From there, I added in the usual set of opening and closing credits on Movie Maker, complete with the “Sabre Dance” from Gayane playing in the background. After that, I saved everything in full, and uploaded the final product onto my YouTube account, to wrap everything up for these two weeks.
Having already earned eighteen stars in the form of my last four challenges, this last one does seem rather pointless in retrospect. Then again, both this and my mandatory assignment are all that’s left to do before Kyosuke’s birthday this Sunday, and the latter is also going to be the toughest task I’ve had so far, as I attempt to pull off a visual trick worthy of David Copperfield in his prime. With that in mind, I would like to present to you my warm-up act for this weekend’s proceedings.
Create a supercut montage of overused dialogue, themes, motifs, film-making techniques, etc. for a particular character, TV show, film, and/or public figure. A supercut is a “fast-paced montage of short video clips that obsessively isolates a single element from its source, usually a word, phrase, or cliche from film and TV. Supercut.org collects every known example of the video remix meme.” For examples and descriptions of supercuts visit:
It was during a visit to the latter site on this Video Assignment post that I saw the inspiration for my penultimate bit of editing this week, as someone managed to find all of the times in the first thirty episodes of the animated series, Darkwing Duck, where a variation of DW’s signature entrance is used in one form or another. Naturally, the basis for my supercut would be the next thirty episodes of the show, at least according to when they aired as part of The Disney Afternoon in the early 1990s. Before I get things started, however, it should be noted that there is a reason why the “Supercut” challenge was worth five stars at the time I chose to do this particular task. That’s because the footage you’re about to witness at the end of this entry is the direct result of two whole days of trimming non-existent film reels, just so I could find more of the times Drake Mallard told anyone within earshot of him that he was “the terror that flaps in the night!”
For this particular task to work, I started by signing up with another website: KissCartoon, which focuses on Western animation, yet still allows users to download episodes for free, much like its sister site, KissAnime. After finding and saving all of the necessary files on my computer, the hard part kicked in, as I spent countless hours on Windows Live Movie Maker, finding and editing every last clip to the best of my ability. To help me find the clips faster, I decided to watch the separate episodes, while editing the footage, on my computer. As soon as I found the footage I needed while watching the footage, I would locate it on Movie Maker, split and splice accordingly – for no less an important reason than making the final product as presentable as possible – and delete any excess footage once the edits have been made. I kept everything in a chronological order, according to when each episode was put up on the site, and thus premiered on The Disney Afternoon. There is no background music playing this time around, as I wanted to keep everything intact for this piece.
After doing this for thirty episodes’ worth of material, despite the later revelation that some of the episodes I chose didn’t even have the phrase be said at all, I made my opening and closing credits using the closest color scheme possible to those of Darkwing’s signature domino mask – purple, with sky-blue for the eyes. As for the font, I settled with Showcard Gothic, since it seemed to be the most accurate of the choices I had, regarding a matching font for the show’s logo. The lynchpin of the entire piece was a post-credits stinger, from the episode, “Slime Okay, You’re Okay,” when DW’s sidekick, Launchpad, essentially tells his friend to “work on a shorter intro.” Once I was satisfied with the combined product, I saved everything as is, exported the footage to a separate file, and uploaded it to my YouTube channel to conclude my broadcast day.
To sum up, once I crossed the sixteen-star threshold, I felt like the only real challenge left was my mandatory assignment, which I’ll get to next. However, this one was my toughest assignment to date, and I think it may have been for the best. I now have a lot more respect for editors in general, and the movie industry as a whole, through a task that tried to help me identify one of the most prominent clichés in all of cinema, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. Overall, these twenty-three stars of mine were definitely well-earned, and now that all my efforts can be seen on both my YouTube and Vimeo accounts, it won’t take long to see why.
I actually turned in my fourth Video Assignment for the week on my YouTube account six minutes before midnight yesterday. This, more or less, explains why the date on the video is November 10th, instead of November 11th. However, since there’s one other project left for me to do before I can really put myself through virtual boot camp, it only seems right that I try to explain how The Modern-Day Midnight Rider was made.
The assignment in question, worth yet another four-and-a-half stars, is what’s referred to as a “selfie story,” which is exactly what it says on the tin – a short story that’s told entirely through the self-portraits that people make on their cameraphones. Considering how good my previous efforts were, with regards to editing, this looked to be one of my better performances on paper. To be more specific, I had to do the following:
Narrate a story using selfies. It can be any story you’d like (crazy night out, movie night with friends, just the average day, etc). You can use a combination of selfie clips or pictures, it is all up to you. Create a one-to-two-minute video montage of all the selfies to tell the story. Try adding music or effects to keep it interesting.
I took ten of these pictures the night of November 10th, 2015, on my way to and from that night’s Newsgathering class. Since Daylight Saving Time ended last week, we’ve basically entered the part of the calendar year where I’m essentially taking glorified night school lessons. This made my choice of song for this particular project all the more fitting, especially since my teacher for Newsgathering is also a fan of the band who plays it. As if the title alone didn’t give it away, the song playing in the background of this video is none other than “Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers Band, the same group behind the seminal Southern rock classic, “Ramblin’ Man,” as well as “Jessica,” the instrumental theme to the long-running BBC motoring show, Top Gear.
Editing everything together on Windows Live Movie Maker was rather tricky, especially the opening and closing credits, to the point that it sometimes felt like the mouse, alone, had a mind of its own. Even the pictures were rather tough to deal with, at least until I noticed two “rotate” icons that helped me straighten each of them out, one at a time, and all by hand. From there, I found another button, “AutoMovie,” that pre-selected a series of transitions and effects on my behalf. After a round of further edits, with some of the selections being switched out for others, I downloaded my copy of “Midnight Rider” from SaveClipBro.com; uploaded the MP3 onto Movie Maker, uncut and unedited; saved the entire product as is; and, along with your usual round of paperwork, uploaded everything onto YouTube, with less than six minutes to spare before the twelve o’clock deadline.
Create a short video – about one-and-a-half to two minutes long – that describes a character. Use about 3-5 short clips that describe the character’s personality, that portrays what they will be like in the story. Basically you are just taking a closer look at a character before you begin the story so the audience can get to know the characters better.
Make this fun, and interesting, create a story in your blog with this character.
This was, without a doubt, my favorite Video Assignment of the bunch, and while it does add another four-and-a-half stars to my total, I personally think it was worth the full five, if only because of the effort that went into this.
For starters, I went to the Kiss Anime website, and looked up episodes of Kimagure Orange Road to base my video on. Once I logged on, I was given permission to download whatever episodes I needed, for free, by right-clicking the respective “480×360.mp4” links, and saving my findings on my computer’s hard drive, proper titles and all. To give myself more of a challenge, I only stuck with the original anime series – all forty-eight episodes – that aired from 1987 to 1988. That meant I couldn’t use any of the OVA footage from 1989 to 1991, much less anything from the two full-length movies released to theaters in 1988 and 1996, respectively.
The character I chose to focus on is the male lead, Kyosuke Kasuga. Kyosuke’s the oldest child, and only son, in a single-parent family who has had to move to a new town seven times in his life prior to the start of the series. The reason why they move is rather simple, to the point that it’s revealed in the first chapter of the manga and the first episode of the anime: Every member of Kyosuke’s family – on his mother’s side, at least – is an “esper,” meaning they have the ability to teleport, use telekinesis, and use their minds to do various activities, depending on the situation they’re in.
Once my footage was uploaded, one by one, onto Windows Live Movie Maker, I had to wait several times over to cut the footage at the right time, not only to fit the time limit mentioned at the top of this post, but also to make sure I had enough material to tell a story with what I was able to get. By shear coincidence, the five clips I ultimately chose were all ordered by the release date of the episode they’re respectively found in: Kyosuke’s younger sister, Kurumi, sending him flying across the room with a cabinet was in Episode 1; the family conversation about Kyosuke’s indecisive nature was from Episode 25; Kyosuke’s daydream about his two friends, Hikaru Hiyama and Madoka Ayukawa, fighting it out for his affections was in Episode 32; Kyosuke using his esper abilities, known in series canon as “The Power,” to travel back to the morning before his classmates’ Christmas Eve party was in Episode 38; and the final sequence, where Kyosuke uses “The Power” to scare off a group of bullies harassing a younger Madoka and calling him an alien, was from Episode 47, the first half of the show’s two-part finale. The second half, Episode 48, was referenced in my “Five-Second Anime” tribute, when Kyosuke uses “The Power” to shatter a concrete wall that he was tied to.
The opening and closing credits – red lettering amongst a sky-blue background, was a minor nod to the second set of opening credits from the anime’s original run; this also provided a stronger case of continuity between the two projects, as I already used the first opening in my “Five-Second Anime.” The song that plays throughout the piece, however, has no connections to the franchise at all… well, almost no connections.
Its prompt rejection back then paved the way for the next series he conceived, “Kimagure Orange Road,” an instant success that came to be known as “the Bible for Japanese teenagers” throughout the 1980s.
Between this, and the constant comparisons – in canon – between Kyosuke and Superman, I had to choose a song that summed up that revelation, en masse. Ultimately, I selected “Superstar,” the title track from Jesus Christ Superstar, to sum up the central gimmick for Kyosuke’s character development, in general, let alone the show as a whole: Although there might be someone among us with paranormal, and even god-like powers, this doesn’t change the fact that, to coin a fitting phrase, even immortals have mortal needs. While I did plan on having either Jay Laga’aia – Captain Typho from the Star Wars prequels – or Murray Head – the guy who went on to sing “One Night in Bangkok” for the Chess soundtrack – sing this one, I knew that there were no clips, involving either of them, that could be cut down to two minutes, at most. On the other hand, there were not one, not two, but eleven other people willing to perform it in their place: the finalists from ITV’s 2012 talent search, Superstar.
After finding a clip of the fourth episode of the mini-series, that tried to find someone to play the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s UK arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, in which the newly-revealed finalists perform the title track of the musical, and the show, I uploaded the URL over to another website, SaveClipBro.com, which let me save the audio file in MP3 form. After that, I uploaded the file onto Audacity, cut out all but the necessary two minutes, saved everything, exported the audio as another MP3, uploaded that onto Windows Live Movie Maker to start the same time as my edited movie, save the combined product following some minor edits with the credits, uploaded everything onto my YouTube account, and completed my third official Assignment of this grading cycle.
As for the story this tells, the scenes I selected represent individual character traits attributed to Kyosuke over the course of the franchise: He’s always caught in the crossfire whenever something goes down involving his family or friends; he’s indecisive to the point of being obsessive-compulsive; he doesn’t want to see any of his friends or family members get hurt, physically or emotionally; he isn’t afraid to break the family rules to keep anyone and everyone he knows, including himself, out of harm’s way; and finally, when he does have to resort to using “The Power” to keep his loved ones out of trouble, odds are the end result’s going to serve as quite the shock to those in the vicinity.
When you put them together, though, that’s when you see the maturity of Kyosuke Kasuga, from boy to man, in the vein of those Charles Atlas ads you used to see in magazines decades ago. Early episodes and chapters exposed him as nothing outside of a scrawny weakling, despite having countless superhuman abilities in the family bloodline. His developing friendships, and subsequent love triangle with Hikaru and Madoka, combined with the wacky hijinks triggered by the rest of his mother’s side of the family, allowed him to increasingly gain confidence in his abilities. It isn’t too long before their lives are directly threatened, by which point Kyosuke is now able to save them all, to great effect, by using “The Power” for self-defense. Overall, this was an exciting day for me, and with only two-and-a-half stars to collect, and two Assignments left to earn them, I’m thinking that things are only going to get better.
I’m not too sure of this assignment myself, but with four-and-a-half stars at stake as of press time, I really need to speed things up for the big finish this time next week. So, for today’s task, I have to “strip or mute the music out of the modern music video,” and “layer the classical music on top.” To make a long story short, it’s Music Appreciation Day at DS106! Again, I might be grasping for straws, depending on what can properly be described as “modern” and what can not. However, I’ve got one week to turn this grading period around for the better, so it’s time for me to show – and tell – exactly how I’m going to do just that.
This was a rather simplistic challenge, all things considered. For one thing, finding the necessary video and song to edit in time were both relatively easy, once you did a quick YouTube search of them. Specifically, I went with the music video for Fall Out Boy’s hit, “Uma Thurman,” and the finale of the “William Tell Overture,” which is also known as the theme to the Lone Ranger franchise. After that, I used a downloading site, SaveClipBro.com, to download one in WMV format, so I could edit it more effectively on Windows Live Movie Maker, and the other in MP3 format, so I could use Audacity to see what could be done to trim the fat, if it needed to be trimmed at all.
From there, it was all over but the credits sequences, referencing the traditional music video credits on the bottom-left corner of the screen for the opener, and using the same cinematic roll-up as before as my closer. As an added bonus, I decided to have the song start again, from the beginning, right as Fall Out Boy’s “assistant for a day” entered a tank to run over a truck.
The biggest problem of all, however, was which site I ultimately decided to upload to. While my use of the “William Tell Overture” finale was blocked in some countries – but not in the U.S. – according to YouTube, the fact that I used the entirety of one of the Universal Music Group’s videos in my entry was all it took to receive a copyright strike. My Vimeo account, on the other hand, was able to get my entry up and running, half an hour after I uploaded it onto their site.
While little effort was needed on my part, it was still one of the better experiences I’ve had at this point in the semester. I can only hope that things turn out just as well for me in the next seven days, as they have been in the last seven.
Since today’s schedule was too hectic for me to attempt today’s Daily Create task, I thought I would do the next best thing and post two video assignments for the price of one. If you have to ask, don’t worry: They’re both cut from the same cloth, although one of them deviates from the intended theme. For starters, this particular challenge, worth four-and-a-half stars, recommends that we do the following:
Make a super-short, five-second film – basically enough time for one gag, bit, or joke. See examples (ALERT: Not G-rated, generally) at http://5secondfilms.com/ – or, alternatively, try your hand at creating a five-second version of a major movie.
For this assignment, I decided to make two “five-second movies,” both in the Doug Walker style. The first of which is actually a “five-second anime,” of 1987’s Kimagure Orange Road, and the second is a straightforward mini-film, of the 1992 movie, Stay Tuned, starring John Ritter and Pam Dawber, with the latter one being put up for star consideration, and the former being made just for fun. The same steps apply to making both of these projects, though, so forgive me if the signals are mixed, to say the least.
The first step to making a five-second movie is to download the necessary footage, using whatever conversion sites you can find. In the case of KOR, I registered an account with Kiss Anime, before finding the episode I was looking for, that provided the scene for my “movie.” Following the site’s directions, I right-clicked my mouse over “480×360.mp4,” and saved the link for myself. As for the intro, a quick search on YouTube of any opening sequences to the show led me to another video, that I would download using the website, SaveClipBro.com, which also helped me get a copy of the intro in MP4 form, which was accessible for use on Windows Live Movie Maker.
As for the Stay Tuned video, I originally looked for a full-length version of the film on YouTube, with the intended goal of using SaveClipBro.com to convert it to WMV form so I could also use it on Movie Maker, before complications with the downloading process led me to find another cut of the film, also on YouTube, that’s split into six parts. I only needed the first and fifth parts for this one, since the first contained the opening credits sequence I was going to splice, and the fifth part concludes with one of the most infamous lines in movie history, effectively making it the basis for my five-second version. For the respective audio tracks heard in the closing credit sequences – namely, “Shout” by Tears for Fears and “Start Me Up” by Salt-N-Pepa – I typed in the URLs of two videos that contained those songs onto a YouTube-to-MP3 conversion site, and downloaded the tracks once the link popped up.
From there, it was all over but the editing, first with the audio tracks, and then with the videos. The first half of this phase went by rather quickly, as I used Audacity to find the best clip available from both songs, and edit out the rest. “Shout” had an issue during editing, however, as I had to normalize the audio for it to be heard properly. Once I did that, I saved everything, and exported the remaining audio as two edited MP3 files; as you can probably guess, the video-editing process was a bit more complicated.
First came singling out the parts of the opening credits I needed, followed by cutting the remaining footage out of the picture, via the “Split” and “Trim Tool” features of Movie Maker. After I was satisfied with the editing of one clip, I added in the other using “Add videos and photos” to make sure that everything was as seamless as possible between shots – the original “Five-Second Movies” Walker created back in the day had no transitions to their name, after all. Once everything was edited to fit the gimmick I was going for on both counts, I included the stereotypical scrolling credits sequence, instead of the straightforward cut-to-the-end credits, to attempt to provide a more cinematic feel. The fonts I used for the credits – specifically, Cooper Black and Gill Sans MT – were chosen because they best fit in with the fonts of either the anime logo, or the actual credits sequence of the original film, respectively.
After I became satisfied with how everything clicked into place, I saved it all, before turning both of my projects into their own WMV files, so they could be uploaded onto YouTube, in their own right. One usual round of paperwork later, and I have yet another double-feature for you to enjoy. So, if there are no further delays, let’s roll the flicks, and see what it all built up to for ourselves.
My second, and last, original creation for DS106 is one I think everyone is going to enjoy; since several of my classmates enjoyed doing American Sign Language for this year’s Halloween festivities, I decided to ramp things up a bit by creating a different kind of spelling bee. Though the key source of my inspiration was the American Sign Language challenge, this one was also inspired by the old SFM Entertainment bumper from the ’70s and ’80s, as well as the universal distress signal, S.O.S. This is how you take part in the Morse Code Challenge.
For starters, think of any word, at least five letters long; once you have it in mind, make sure not to tell it to anyone. Afterward, find a chart that translates letters into Morse Code, with the top priority here being to memorize the patterns to the best of your ability. Then, use Audacity, or any kind of sound recorder, to get the sound you’re looking for, keeping with the Morse Code theme. In my example, I tapped my knuckles against my desk to the tune of the dots and dashes.
When you’re satisfied with your final recording – after the usual round of editing – save it as an Audacity file, and export the audio as its own MP3 file; it’s the latter of the two that will be the most important part of this. While you can upload the original audio to SoundCloud, if you so choose, I’ll upload my version onto YouTube, instead. Should you also choose to take this path, then this is the part where you can start using Windows Live Movie Maker, or any video editing software you might have. To make your entry seem more challenging, although they’re optional, repeats are allowed, as are clues to the identity of your mystery word.
If you really want to add some bells and whistles, to provide the feeling of higher stakes for this simple game, you can. For starters, you could open your video with a public-domain drumroll, that you downloaded off of FreeSound. You can even add an opening and closing credits sequence.
After a second round of editing is complete, take the time to save the project as is, before publishing the movie in its own file. When you do, turn everything in to SoundCloud or YouTube, complete with obligatory paperwork, and you’re done.
This assignment, should you choose to accept it, will be worth an additional five stars toward your weekly goal.
This assignment, worth four stars toward my weekly total of eight, was a bit more personal than I thought. That’s because this particular task involved the creation of a “letter,” in either audio or visual form, to our sixteen-year-old selves.
This could really be a video or audio. But write a letter to your 16 year old self. Talk about anything you want. (I.E: Don’t cut your hair, you will look crazy. Or, don’t stress out about college, you will get it!) Just talk about things that you wish the 16 year old version of you knew back then.
Since I didn’t have a lot of time on my hands, and I didn’t want to risk getting the “self-consciousness blues” again, I decided to make another slideshow. Timing everything to a recently-downloaded MP3 of the Killers’ anthem from 2006, “When You Were Young,” to tie back to when I was sixteen, I essentially told my past self not to worry too much about things he was going to get, anyway – not because his parents loved him, in that they did, but because he was intelligent enough, and paid attention enough, to know what needed to be done, and when to do it. I’m not even joking when I say that: I spent my senior year in high school trying to get good-enough grades not to graduate, but simply to get my letter, as in those letterman jackets all the stereotypical jocks wear in high school teen movies; I got what I wanted, the week of my graduation. I even used some public domain photos, available on Bing Images, of the Germanna Community College campus, and a previously-used photo of the entrance sign to the University of Mary Washington, since they were the only photos I had that were digital.
Sadly, even now, I think I have more doubts in my mind than anything remotely resembling confidence, but these letters are a good source of therapy for those who need it. Thankfully, I had enough time to get my points across, and complete a Daily Create challenge, on top of it. While I take my rest, having earned nine stars when I was only asked for eight this week, allow me to remind you that the video of my letter to my past self is available for viewing, on YouTube.
You get to be the censor of a movie scene or clip. Choose a sound effect or dialogue you want to substitute for a recurring phrase or expletive, or over-used character speech and use it at the appropriate moments in your movie. This is five stars, so you need a movie scene or clip longer than 2 minutes.
As the quote from the DS106 page suggests, this tas was worth five stars at the time of selection, and since this week’s assignments have an eight-star minimum, I need all the help I can get. Hopefully, I can get through this week without finding myself…gone with the wind.
You’re probably wondering why I’m going after the highest-grossing film of all time – period – after I dragged Casablanca through the mud earlier this semester. Well, since this class is all about creativity, I figured that if you can’t cause controversy, you can’t be called creative. So, I decided to see if I could bleep out any not-so-naughty words in Gone With the Wind, whether this timeless treasure needs it or not.
Trying to find the alternate censor, as well as the movie clip to censor, were pretty tough, all things considered, but after stumbling across the clip above on YouTube, and finding a clip of an AK-47 going off on FreeSound that was not only available, but in the public domain, as well, all I needed was a site to download the clip. Keeping that in mind, a visit to WikiHow introduced me to a website called KIBase, which let me download the clip, in its entirety, for free. All I had to do was look up the video’s source code on YouTube, copy it from start to finish on KIBase’s YouTube Downloader page, save the downloaded file, and let everything else come down to a few minutes on Windows Live Movie Maker.
The clip, itself, was uncut and unedited when I uploaded it onto Movie Maker, meaning I had to time every last gun-shot I “fired” whenever I heard a word that could be cut off for comedic effect. I created the opening credits myself, from scratch, and laid my closing credits over the ones from the actual movie. After saving everything, both as its own file, and as an exported WMV file, fit for downloading onto my own YouTube page, I did exactly that, for the first of two challenges this week in the world of video editing. After a few pictures of the situations behind the scenes, as they unfolded, you can listen to the censored finale of Gone With the Wind, “Gone With the Bleep.”