“Lament for Joe Hall” Analysis

This audio piece, “Lament for Joe Hall” is put together chronologically, though “Joe” is telling the story after the main events have already passed. The author used several different techniques to maximize the effect of the audio. The use of the child’s voice, and making the dialogue from Joe’s point of view was particularly influential. To hear a child talk about white supremacy, and the abuse their family had suffered, and the thoughts going through their mind as they commit murder is a highly unusual experience a person can have, and it definitely engages the audience. The background sounds also accompanied the vocal track well. Music played often to show a shift in the narration. The use of the “white power” recording was also very jarring—to think that people like that exist, let alone that they’re entrusted with the wellbeing of children, is something that the audience would most likely find disturbing. Rather than having Joe describe the hate of his father, but actually playing a recording of what he may have sounded like, maximizes the effect. The use of the dogs howling in the background while Joe and his father were patrolling the Mexican border was also symbolistic of the narration—essentially, they were hunting people. At the climax of the piece, when Joe is killing his father, the narration slows down and the background sounds are quieted. This creates apprehension in the audience, and the tension rises as Joe approaches his father with the gun. They also circled it back around nicely to the irony of the fact that Joe’s father had taught him how to use a gun, and it was this knowledge that allowed him to kill his father in the end.

In my piece, I will use some of the effects that were used in “Joe Hall”. I liked the creepiness of the white noise that played in the background, and since my piece will have a similar mood, I might use this technique. I also enjoyed when the creator mixed up the steady narration by putting in other forms of audio, like the white power recording, and the 911 call. I also like the slowing of the narration to increase suspense, and the fact that the story was told as if it was happening, and from the point of view of the person it was happening too. I think it put more feeling into the piece and made it more interesting.

DIY: Perfect Fit Background Image

If you don’t want a plain color as the background of your website, you may want to think about using an actual image.  There are many ways to do this, but a majority of these ways require you to do extra work in order to make your image fit exactly to your page.  However, there is a simple bit of code that makes it possible to fit your image to your background in CSS.

So, to show you, I decided to make this picture of Lin-Manuel Miranda my website’s background:


First, I opened up the html file and CSS file for my website’s homepage.


I had originally set my background to a flat color, so I had to erase the part of my code where I put in the blue.  If you don’t already have a background, all you have to do is open your files.

The code that makes the background image fit perfectly is this:

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The only difference when we use is is that in the parentheses next to “url”, we’ll put the name of the file that we want to use as our background image.

I put this code into my CSS page, and put in my file name “lin.jpg”, to set the image as my background.

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Then, I saved both my CSS and my html pages, and Lin was fit perfectly to my background.

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Hope this helped!

To find out more, (or really just the same information I just gave), click here


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:


Be sure to start at Part 1!





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.


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


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



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


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.



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


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