Thoughts and Ideas

DesignBlitz

For this assignment, we had to take pictures of things throughout the week that illustrated different design concepts. I chose to focus on color, minimalism and use of space, form/function/message, and rhythm. After I took the pictures that I wanted to use for each of these concepts, I uploaded them to Flickr, before moving them over to WordPress.

The first photo that is shown below, illustrates the concept of color. I found this design on top of one of the trash cans around campus, and the bright colors easily caught my eye. A design like this helps make an otherwise boring and mundane object, exciting and noticeable.

IMG_3102This next image (badly) represents minimalism and use of space. I found this poster on one of the bulletin boards in the annex on campus. It is a bit blurry, as I had to stand pretty far back just to try to include everything in one picture. I thought that this showed a badly orchestrated use of space, as there is writing and pictures on almost every section of the board. Because of this, there is no where for your eyes to naturally go, as all of it is too overwhelming. Something like this makes the actual information displayed much less effective.

IMG_3103The next image represents the design concept of form/function/message. This is a recycling sign that is set up in the kitchen of my dorm. I think that it is a good example of form/function/message, because the way it is designed makes the message of all-in-one come across more clearly than if it was displayed in a manner such as in the previous example.

IMG_3104This last image is what I thought described the design concept of rhythm (or proportion), as my shirt’s design pattern is the same throughout the whole thing. The same rhythm in a design pattern makes a shirt like this an attractive buy for most people.

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Black Sabbath Design Reflections

For this assignment, I chose to watch the movie Black Sabbath on Netflix. This movie, an Italian horror film, has three separate stories, “The Telephone”, “The Wurdalak”, and “The Drop of Water.” This is an older film, which is evident by the quality and dialog of characters. There are some interesting design aspects of this movie, though, and in this post I will be considering the various ways design contributed to the stories.

To evaluate design, we need to look at more than just one component. For example, there is set design, audio design, and lighting design, among others. In this case, audio design would include elements such as sound effects, music, and audio. In Black Sabbath, there are several scenes that have dramatic or creepy music in the background. These effects how bring out a certain mood, such as fear or anxiety. As we learned about extensively last week, audio can really make or break a story, and certainly helps to develop the story.

Set design is another important aspect of a story. As an example, the image below has a scene in a desolate cemetery. The set design in this scene was very well executed, in my opinion, and adds to the overall theme of horror. Not only does the setting and mood almost scream ‘classic horror movie’, but the set is well designed and realistic as well. Without a realistic and detailed set design, there would be less for a viewer to identify with.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 5_FotoreditAs we learned in a previous week, visual effects are also very important for the successful development of a story. In Black Sabbath, there are many scenes that had interesting visual effects aided by lighting design. In the picture below, not only are there clear shadows in the room, red lighting is added to the scene, adding to the creepiness. This also helps the overall storytelling process.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 6_FotoreditIn conclusion, design is a very important element when considering the development of a story. Furthermore, for a story to be successful, all elements of design (set, audio lighting) must be utilized correctly and realistically.

Vignelli Canon Reflections

The Vignelli Canon was an informative read for me, and had many design tips and elements that I had never thought of before. As for the booklet itself, I thought it had an interesting look, and I like how some of his design elements were placed on the pages themselves, such as when he talked about grids and different font types. The pictures also added more interest for me, and altogether, it was a quick and entertaining read.

According to Vignelli, the three most important design aspects are semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics. These three terms basically amount to knowing the meaning behind what you are designing, and to be able to relate the design to your target audience. Furthermore, some other important aspects to design are an attention to detail, and discipline. As Vignelli states, “there is no room for sloppiness, for carelessness, for procrastination”. In other words, if your design is to become something tangible, than you will have to put in the effort, and have the discipline, to make it happen.

Another interesting idea that Vignelli presented in his booklet, was that ‘design is one’, instead of many different ones. This means that the design principle itself is the same regardless of the method or medium used, so these aspects (such as discipline) are important regardless of what the design is, or the way it was created. There are many other elements that Vignelli talks about, such as the timeless of design, and the visual power of a design, but the basic message stays the same; that without the three key design aspects talked about above, the design will not able to be successful.

After talking about all of the different intangible aspects to design, Vignelli moves on to the tangibles. In this section, he talks about elements such as paper size, font type, scale, and color. From this section, I thought the more important elements were grids and columns, correct typefaces, and texture/color. For example, Vignelli notes that “grids represent the basic structure of our graphic design.” So, even if you are able to closely follow the intangible design aspects, it is still important to remember that tangible elements also can have a big effect on the finished design. All together, there are many different aspects to design, and for something to be successful, they all need to be followed closely.

Radio Bumper

For this assignment, we had to make a short “radio bumper”, which is audio that announces a radio station between songs.

To make this bumper, I first created a clip of myself talking about the radio station, and then found a short, creepy sounding audio clip from freesounds.org for an introduction. I also found a beat to add to the background for the duration of the bumper. Then, I edited these audio files in Audacity, before saving and uploading them to SoundCloud.

Audio Storytelling Reflections

This week we have been solely focused on audio storytelling, and in the process, I have learned a lot more about how audio can aid a story. There are many different ways audio impacts the storytelling process, all depending on what kind of story it is and how the audio is used. For example, a story can be made up of only spoken dialog, with no sound in the background whatsoever. Or, the story could be made up of mostly sound effects. In most films/videos, it is more of a mixture of these ideas, with dialog being spoken by the characters, along with numerous sound effects during the scenes. In horror movies specifically, it is important for the audio to be prominent and convincing, as it is this audio that really can make horror stand out.

A horror example from previous weeks that I was reminded of was the comic Last Respects. From the scene pictured below, the line “the rusty hinges squealed a horrified protest as he pushed the cemetery gate open!” jumps out at me, because of the level of detail provided. It is very easy to imagine what the audio from that one line alone would sound like, and that is one of the ways that the storytelling process was aided.last-respects-1

This week, I listened to DS106 Radio Tuesday night, when the story Pigeons from Hell was being played. This story focused on an old, haunted manor, and a demon-like creature that had taken over and began to kill innocent people. Even though this story consisted solely of audio, the character and scene descriptions, along with the sound effects, really brought the story to life. According to chapter 8 of Sound Design and Science Fiction, “Alien: Audio Biomechanics”, sound effects have three functions; “to simulate reality, to add or create something off scene that is not really there, and to help the director create a mood”. If the story does not have interesting or entertaining audio, then there is nothing that would hold the interest of a potential listener. Instead, in the case of Pigeons from Hell, I was able to actively listen and imagine the story visually as it was being told, and it held my interest from beginning to end.

Also this week, I picked a page from Tales from the Crypt: Last Laugh to analyze and reflect on. This was a comic, but the writing made it easy to imagine how the audio would be portrayed. For example, in the image below the writer made it easy to decipher where the dialog between the two characters would be elevated, by bolding some words, and by using appropriate punctuation (exclamation marks). It was also interesting to imagine what other audio would be included besides just the dialog, such as the two men walking down the hall, or the doctor taking off his overcoat. IMG_3094The Moon Graffiti story that we were assigned to read this week also made good use of sound effects to make the story seem more believable and alive. It is clear that audio is very important for a story, and in some cases, is the only element of a story. Audio is also very important in the creation of a story’s mood and atmosphere. Outside of dialog and sound effects, audio is also often used in musical form. There are not many better ways to symbolize a sad story or scene than to use some kind of somber music. Conversely, happy music can quickly lighten up the atmosphere, and bring joy to the viewer.

In conclusion, from these examples and more, it is clear that audio is one of the defining aspects of a story, and is a major aid in the storytelling process. Audio can create an atmosphere, emphasize horror elements, and most importantly, make or break a story.

Moon Graffiti

After listening to Moon Graffiti, I almost felt like I was on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. There are so many distinct sounds in this story that really made it come to life. For example, when the shuttle crashed on the moon, there were very convincing sounds played that made it seem like it really happened in front of you. Further, when Armstrong and Aldrin are beginning to realize that they will not be saved, it is somber to listen to as they say their goodbyes and make peace with what is about to happen. Those sounds and dialog are what created the somber atmosphere that made the story even more believable. There were also numerous sound effects and nosies played that added to the realism of the scene, such as radioing the bases back on earth, and putting on oxygen masks. The voices of the two men were also clear and helped guide along the story. As a side note, I thought it was interesting that the speech Nixon was reading was a real speech prepared for him just in case something like this actually happened. All in all, a very cool story, and an example of great audio storytelling.

Tales from the Crypt Audio Analysis

For this assignment, I picked the first page (133) of Last Laugh from Tales of the Crypt to give an audio analysis on. I believe that the writing makes it fairly easy to imagine how sounds would effect the story. For example, there are clear signs given off to portray that emphasis should be used (such as bolding a word) in the dialog. There are also specific descriptions for each scene, which further helps the reader imagine what sounds would be used.

In the first image (shown below), sound would convey that the man in the doctors office is clearly suffering from an intense pain, and that the doctor is concerned for his wellbeing. As I mentioned above, some words are bolded to show where the emphasis would be placed, along with the proper punctuation (exclamation marks). Outside of the dialog from the two characters, I believe that the first image would have sounds such as the door opening and closing when the doctor arrives, and other ambient noises in the background. If there was any kind of music, it would probably be a soft and slow tune to express a somber mood.

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In the second image, the audio would portray a sense of urgency, as the patient is obviously still in pain as he wants to feel relief as soon as possible. I would imagine that we would hear the man in pain groan or grunt a lot, as he tries his best to walk from room to room. Once again, the visual elements lead me to this conclusion, as there are many exclamation marks in this scene. Some of the audio from this image would include the doctor taking off his overcoat and his hat, and the two of them walking from the waiting room into the hallway.

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In the third image, the audio would include the doctor and patient traveling from the hallway and into the doctor’s examination room, and the doctor rolling up his sleeves. Once again, some words are bolded to show emphasis.

IMG_3095 In conclusion, it is pretty easy to see that audio definitely can help bring stories to life, and is an important part of the storytelling process. However, some stories, such as Last Laugh, are written in a way that it is easy for the reader to portray what the audio would sound like, even though there isn’t any.

Radio Show Ideas

For the radio show that we will be doing later this semester, I have a few ideas of possible topics or themes that we could possibly incorporate. The first idea, keeping with the theme of the course, is having a session dedicated to solely scary stories and tall tales that are featured and easily found on the internet. There would be audio playing from these scary stories or movies throughout the night, and the hosts would interject every so often to tell their own scary story that they found, or made up. We could also feature scary/creepy music throughout the show.

Another idea is to feature only scary stories and tales that have been posted so far in ds106. This would allow people to have their own creations more prominently “displayed”, so hopefully more people would hear/read them. We could also incorporate some of the characters that we have made in ds106 to help tell the stories. In other words, in this scenario, we are using only student-created or found material for our show. However, I believe either scenario would make for an interesting listening, and would fit with the overall theme of ds106.

Photoblitz

  • Yellow is an attention-getting colour. A photo is dominated by yellow.
  • Make a monochrome photo (monochrome doesn’t have to mean black and white)
  • Make it green: green sleeves, green with envy, green eggs and ham.
  • Make a photograph of a smile, either literal or symbolic.
  • Get closer and fill the frame.
  • Take a picture that represents wildness.
  • Make a photo of a scene looking out a window.

The above list was what was on my photoblitz. I started taking the pictures at 1:33 PM and finished at 1:53 PM.

Here are the pictures showing my two timepieces:

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This first image is an attention-getting yellow picture. It is the step that is painted outside of my residence hall:

IMG_3083_FotoreditThis image is a monochrome capture of a squirrel on campus:

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This image is of my green Irish Spring body wash bottle:

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This image is of a smile, and features some UMW students on the front of an academic catalogue:

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This framed image is of my dog Spencer, as he quite literally fills the frame:

IMG_3079_FotoreditHere is a photo that respresnts wildness, and was taken outside of my residence hall:

IMG_3082Finally, this is a picture of a scene looking out a window (of my residence hall):

IMG_3084This was a different and exciting challenge, and it was interesting to take pictures of something you probably never would have thought of before.

 

Cinematography- Bride of Frankenstein

For this assignment, I chose to watch the Bride of Frankenstein. First off, this movie is already different than many others on the list, as it is shot solely in black and white as it is an older movie. Even though color is not used during this film, there are still other techniques that allow it to tell a meaningful story. Regardless of the movie, cinematography can have a big effect on inspiring emotion in the viewer. In this post, I will look at a few scenes of the Bride of Frankenstein, and talk about techniques that are used to inspire that emotion.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.26.30 AMIn this scene, the perspective of the shot is not at typical head-level, but instead much lower. This is important, because it gives the illusion that Frankenstein is much bigger than he actually is (making him appear more terrifying). If it had been shot at a regular perspective, it was have changed the whole scene to be much less dramatic. This would probably bring out fear in the audience.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.37.44 AMSimilar to the prior scene, this shot gives the impression that the man (doctor) in the scene is menacing and towering. The techniques used to do so are lighting and shadows. If the camera had been pointed at the doctor from another direction, you would not be able to see the large, looming shadow in the background, so I believe it was shot this way on purpose to create this effect.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 6.45.22 PMHere is another scene that uses lighting to capture the viewer’s attention and emotion. This scene is set up so that all of the light from the candles is surrounding the man in the middle, and farther out there is nothing but darkness. This creates a sense of creepiness and of the unknown.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 6.50.33 PMFinally, this scene, and for several minutes before and after this shot, is filmed with an odd angle, so everything appears to be tilted downward. This gives a different depth to the scene, and is a good way to change things up throughout the film.