Ice & Sky

This website, Ice & Sky, tells the story of Luc Jacquet, the scientist that enlisted in helping research the unexplored area of Antarctica in the 1950’s, and  whom eventually connected anthropogenic activity with climate change. The website is highly interactive, and provides a range of mixed experiences to keep the user engaged. The tone of the site is fairly somber, and reflects the hardships Jacquet faced while researching the Arctic, as well as the seriousness of the current problem of climate change.  The colors are primarily muted, and the scenes with Jacquet himself being interviewed in modern times are in black and white.

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The website is highly interactive, and provides a range of mixed experiences to keep the user engaged. There’s a use of animated shorts, life action footage, old photographs, voice recording, and text-based information.  I found this to be a smart tactic used by the creators– with a subject that some may consider not worth their time, it’s important to create an experience that convinces the user to remain involved with the message the creators are trying to illustrate.

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The site also provided links to related documents that would provide the user with further information, or substantial evidence for the statements the website was making.  This easy access to in-depth knowledge on the subject of climate change helps the makers of the website achieve their goal–to persuade the public to become aware of their impact on the environment.  This encourages the user to become interested in the environment using information from viable sources.

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This site taught me the importance in having variety in a website when trying to make a point to an audience.  People tend to remember valuable information more if it was presented to them in an unconventional way.  It also shows that music, color, layout, and content should all work together to form one cohesive tone and message of a website.  Juxtaposition of these within this particular site probably wouldn’t have conveyed the message as powerfully.

If you want to check out this site, and I recommend that you do, here’s the link:

http://education.iceandsky.com/

Be sure to start at Part 1!

 

 

 

Liquify

The Liquify filter on Photoshop creates a pretty cool effect on photos that you may want to have a sort of fantasy look.  You can also use it to create a dissolving effect by creating multiple layer masks, but for now I’ll just cover how to liquify your photo.

STEP 1:

Open the photo that contains what you want to liquify. For me, it’s this door.1.png

STEP 2:

Use the quick selection tool to select what part of the photo you want to add the effect to.  Just drag the tool until the subject is surrounded by the dotted line           2.png

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STEP 3:

Right click on your selection and choose “Layer via Copy”.  It will create a new layer that only has your selection in it.4.png

STEP 4:

Click the little eye icon next to your background layer to make it invisible.  Use the fill tool to fill in the background space with white, or whatever color you wish.

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STEP 5:

Go to the Filter tab at the top and choose the second “Liquify…” option.  This will open your selection in a new window.6.png

STEP 6:

Use the Forward Warp Tool to drag the edges of your selection to make them longer and warped.  You can change the size and strength of the tool on the side menu.  When you’re done, click okay, and you should have your finished liquified selection left in it’s layer.7.png

Here’s how to use Liquify in order to create a dissolving effect:

SATCO Decoration Light Bulbs

This image from Remembering Hardware was highly impactful to me because of the rules it seems to break.  It seems like the light bulbs at the very front of frame should be the most in focus, and the one to the very right, a bit separated from the rest, should be the focus in the lower right-hand third.  However, the viewer’s eye is forced to focus on what appears to be a sign for the lightbulbs.  The photo shows the depth of the shot, by focusing on what is in the background rather than the foreground, as well as not framing it directly with the lines of the sign.  The viewer can see the other items on the wall, and to someone looking at this in real life, the significance of the light bulbs would be lost.

To me, this part of the photo story was what really illustrated the subject’s character to me.  It seems like Mr. Kramer’s entire life has revolved around his father’s hardware store since he was a kid– it’s appropriate that even in something as ceremonial and sacred as honoring his father’s memory, he would relate it back to the store they had run together during his youth.  By showing the lightbulbs within the store, the photograph seems to convey the message that it isn’t only the lightbulb ritual that honors Mr. Kramer’s family– it’s the store itself.  To the average person, using those brand of lightbulbs could be seen as insulting to the deceased.  It’s as if he found whatever happened to be lying around out of convenience.  However, to Mr. Kramer, it could only be the lightbulbs sold in the hardware store used in his father’s memorial.    The entire store is a testament to his family’s legacy, and by keeping the traditions of not only his Jewish culture, but of his parents’ livelihood, he preserves their memory in a way that wouldn’t be as powerful if depicted outside of the hardware store.

To me, this photograph is the most intimate between the subject and the viewer, even though the subject isn’t depicted within the frame.  It shows a deep insight into the viewer’s mentality in relation to his family, as well as illustrates the importance of the hardware store to him emotionally rather than just financially.  Having no actual interaction between Mr. Kramer and the lightbulbs, yet describing the significance of them in the caption makes them seem all the more sacred and symbolic.

How to: Synch Videos to Music

Step 1: Insert the audio file you desire into the workspace on Premier Pro.  Scroll up on the scrolling column on the right of the audio file’s sound waves to make the sound waves bigger.  The highest waves will most likely be the downbeats of the music, which tend to be the best moments to add a clip.scroll.png

Step 2: Insert your footage, and use the razor tool to cut the clips to fit between each downbeat you want to use.  Match up the start of each clip to one of the tall downbeat waves. Razor.png

Step 3:  Keep going for as long as you want.  Try fading out the image when the music fades out, or changing images faster when the music picks up.

For more information, watch: How to Edit to the Beat

 

“That’s Love.”

The tactics used by the makers of Odysseus’ Gambit effectively capture the strange character of an unconventional chess player and immigrant from Cambodia.

In the beginning the man is blended in with those on the subway and you don’t see his face—he could be anyone on the street, just another person that you’d come across in a big city.  However, when he puts on his hat and sets up his chess, and you begin to see this person in his own environment, it becomes clear that he is the subject of the documentary and there are things that set him apart from others.  It was also interesting that they didn’t show Natalie’s face, because really her part in the video wasn’t dependent on her herself.  The part that she played was to evoke emotion within the subject, to make him more appealing to the audience and to define his character.  After he says “That’s love, you never give up,” then talks about Natalie and says “maybe I can love again”, it is a major appeal to pathos.  Despite the hardships that he has experienced, the subject still manages to find happiness and peace with his surroundings.

Another defining tactic within the video was the interspersion of the subject’s original music, particularly the same lyric multiple times: “Don’t know why I used to cry”, circulating throughout.  The lyric references the difficult past of the subject, and towards the middle of the video he elaborates that he was taken from Cambodia by the U.S. government as a child, because of the violence and destruction taking place there.  The first time the music is played, its cut off quickly after showing footage from the time of the Cambodian genocide.  There’s a clear juxtaposition between the seemingly positive nature of the subject, and the images shown with his music.  The music gets louder with the images to give a sense of possibly the subject’s past overwhelming him, and causing him to perhaps lose the positivity that seems to define his character. At the end, there’s silence as violent scenes from Cambodia are shown in a way that signifies they may be images that run through the subject’s mind frequently, yet at the very end his music has returned, and thus his prevailing spirit.  The images of Cambodian violence as well as the subject’s reference to his picture in The Washington Post are also an appeal to ethos, as it references real, commonly known events.

This story is told very effectively through its medium.  The creators had only about twelve minutes to capture a person’s entire essence, and they chose scenes that effectively did that.  The footage of the cigarette butts littered around his area showed that he spent most of his time in the environment in which we saw him.  His conversations with Natalie and when he uses his subway card for a stranger show his kindness.  His spite for the U.S. Government show his frustration.  By the end, the audience is left with an adequate understanding of the subject, and perhaps an appreciation for his eccentric nature.