Digital Storytelling Reviews: In Sight & The Aussie Affair

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For the final stretch of this course I need to review my peers work. Having viewed a few I am now very nervous about my little amateur production.

Review: In Sight

First off is Bo, Jarrod and Matthew’s In Sight. What a beautiful little film. Amazing cinematography and use of colour and light ad depth and emotional resonance to each frame of this short film. Acting was great and this didn’t feel like a University project it felt like something I could see in a short film festival. Well done to Bo, Jarrod and Matthew. All the best for the remainder of your course.

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: The Aussie Affair

Very well shot documentary dealing with the lives of international students studying in Melbourne, Australia. The cinematography and editing is well done and shows the highs and lows of life as an international student. Insightful and humorous at times. Well done to all involved.

Rating: 3 Stars

Digital Storytelling: Film Review Podcast – Hq Movie Reviews Podcast May 2014

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I have just finished my very first podcast. Since being introduced to the idea of creating a non-fiction digital story I wanted to do my own Film Review Show just like David and Margaret’s At the Movies on the ABC.

Since I was completing the digital story on my own I wasn’t allowed to make a film (or show) so I decided to do a podcast. I love listening to lots of film review podcasts such as Now Playing.

The episode layout for my podcast would be looking back at a particular month. Review the big releases and make a top ten list relating to the most popular film of that month. Since there were three Marvel superhero blockbusters in May I decided to review them all back to back and also create a top ten list relating to superhero films.

I enjoyed completing this podcast and I got help from Alex who is also studying her Masters in Media. Alex agreed to be a special guest and help out with my top ten list.

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole podcasting process. From reviewing the films, writing a script and the final editing. I wrote a script of the program. Recorded my voice using my Macbook Pro and edited it together using Adobe Premiere Pro. I included audio from the films I reviewed and downloaded the audio online. I also found a song to play as an intro and outro from freesound.org. Alex recorded her voice and sent it to me through Google drive and I edited it together.

However it didn’t all go smoothly and I would do things differently for my next podcast. First of all I would record Alex and I’s top ten together to include more of a rapport between us. Due to lack of time I got her  to record it on her own but as I was editing I realised it could’ve been better if we were in the same room. Also this week just when everything is due I caught a nasty bacterial infection which affected my throat. So halfway through the podcast you can hear my voice drastically change.

My digital marketing strategy includes advertising on facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedin, and on this blog. I want to upload the podcast to an RSS feed and hopefully get it on iTunes in the coming weeks I’ll definitely keep working on that. I hope to continue with this series and hopefully build up a fanbase.

All in all though I did love the experience and keep posted for more Hq Movie Review Podcasts coming out every month with more special guests.

Bridge-Less River 1: Ebooks

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*I have made it to Level 2 yay!

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Unlike most people I talk to I actually love ebooks. Many people still prefer the printed paper books. To feel the weight of the book in your hands and dog tag the pages and add your own notes to each page. However I prefer the light and flexible ebook. This started around 2011 when I got my first iPad. At that time it was the iPad 2. I was so excited to get this brand new apple product to add to my apple collection of my iPhone 3 and Macbook Pro. The iPad 1 was released in April 2010 and just like the iPhone before it became apple’s next big hit. Since then the iPad has received many upgrades, with iPad 2, 3, Mini and last years iPad Mini, it has also sold over 200 million units. In 2010 I was dying to get my hands on one. Then for my birthday in 2011 my then girlfriend (now wife) bought my an iPad 2 for my birthday. Best birthday present ever! Anyway this post isn’t about iPads, it is in fact about one of their apps that has since changed the way we read books, iBooks.

Using the app iBooks users were able to purchase a book through iTunes (usually at a pretty standard rate) and read it on their iPad. These books were published digitally and allowed readers to highlight text, enlarge text and bookmark pages with the ease of touching their screen. Today iBooks isn’t the only ebook app as there is Kindle for Amazon subscribers, Google books for Android users and many more ebook apps. However as a user of iBooks I’ll stick to that app. On iBooks some books were free but most popular and recent titles would not be free. As with other iTunes products there are sales here and there and you can get updated on your favourite genre, author or series. The first book I bought on iBooks was A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 1 – Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. After watching the excellent first season of Game of Thrones I was interested in catching up on the books. As we were planning a holiday on a cruise ship it was the perfect time to catch up on some reading. I found reading on the iPad so much easier than lugging around a massive book. (Game of Thrones is an especially big book coming in over 1000 pages). It is easy and versatile and you can read wherever you are. I could read in my dark room as the back light allowed me to read each word without needing to turn on a lamp and I could read in the sun with my glare free screen. Since then I have enjoyed many books on my iPad and haven’t read a paperback since. I have a lot of friends that disagree with the ebook phenomenon and believe a book should be felt but I find the versatility and sleekness of an ebook/iPad so much easier to carry around and enjoy on any occasion.

If my film criticism takes off and I want to write a book one day and make it into an ebook there are different ways of doing this. One way could be to get a deal or contract with a publication company and get them to edit and publish my book both paperback and ebook. They could use EPUB format for IOS devices and Kindle for Amazon Kindle products. If today I decided to do it myself I could use BookWright a downloadable book making tool. To create a book you can publish it in print, as an ebook, or both. Bookwright keeps it tidy for you in one project file. You can also use Adobe InDesign to make an ebook. You can choose your fonts, edit your blurb and control how everything appears aesthetically using the Bookwright tool.

Other ways of making an ebook can be found in these links;

http://www.bookbaby.com/how-to-make-an-ebook

References:

BookWright – http://au.blurb.com/ebook

Media Objects: Editing Task

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For this task I decided to create a horror trailer. I cut together the footage from my Single Shot Video Assessment as well as footage from archive.org of different horror films. I also cut in my photography work and audio tasks. I used iMovie to create the horror trailer with their trailer template. This created exactly what I was aiming for and with the audio playing over each other it created an eerie and action packed trailer.

My video task was somewhat of an action film already so it was easy to cut that footage together and create an action packed trailer. Inspired by the films The Ring (2000) and a Touch of Evil (1958) as seen on blackboard, I wanted to create a real sense of horror that would impact the audience both visually and aurally.

The task asked us to explore editing based on the theme or idea of ‘impact.’ Impact to me represents being affected by what you watch. Horror films have always left a big impact on me and would affect my sleep and day to day activities if it were particularly scary. I wanted to capture the horror genre in my trailer and leave the audience craving more. I wanted my trailer to incorporate impact not only through story telling but also in the fast paced editing required to leave an impact on the audience. The visuals I used hinted at a dangerous and off putting course of narrative. I wanted the style to be fast and sharp hinting at danger in every corner. The audio used was a mix of iMovie stock horror audio and my audio assessments including the heartbeat track, catalyst song as well as my own audio tracks of raining.

For the most part I am happy with my trailer however I would have preferred to just use my video project as the only source of footage. I am proud of what we shot for the single video assessment task. The black and white cinematography and action packed sequence provided plenty to use for a horror (or thriller, action, mystery) trailer. I feel using found footage off the internet cheapened my trailer and gave it a tacky youtube mashup vibe. Originally I planned to use horror films of the black and white period to match with my black and white single shot video. However as I searched for footage I found some quite frightening video of clowns and steamy alley ways that I couldn’t resist including in my final. Although the footage doesn’t match with my single shot video I found the impact is more disturbing juxtaposed with my footage.

I enjoyed completing this task as I love editing. I want to continue editing films and I believe the opportunity will arise again as I complete my Masters.

 

Sources of my found footage video included in the trailer;

https://archive.org/details/OdeToTheHorrorMovie

https://archive.org/details/Horror_201307

https://archive.org/details/AHORRORMONTAGE

https://archive.org/details/GrindhouseHorrorTrailerCollection

 

Sources of audio

Catalyst by Zilmrah at freesound.org

Heartbeat at 60bpm by klangfabrik at freesound.org

 

Interpreter’s House 5: Search Engine Comparison

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Using three different search engines, I searched for ‘MIFF 2014’. MIFF 2014 is the Melbourne International Film Festival. I want to learn as much as possible about this years festival and I wish to attend as many screenings as possible.

Instagrok Search:

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Unfortunately Instagrok couldn’t find anything on MIFF 2014. In the search engine comparison, Instagrok fails right away.

Duckduckgo Search

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Duckduckgo appears to search from an international point of view. Related topics that appear include the Mumbai International Film Festival and Malaysian International Furniture Festival. These searches aren’t what I was hoping for and don’t help me. The Melbourne International Film Festival is no where to be seen.

Google search:

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Google is clearly the winner and found the best results regarding MIFF 2014. The first link is the official website for MIFF and holds all the information for this years Melbourne International Film Festival.

Google is my default browser as I use Google Chrome for my web browser. If I used Internet Explorer I would go to Internet Options and select Google as my default browser.

Slough of Despond 5: Creative Commons

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One thing I haven’t thought too much about is copyright issues with regards to my reviews. Anyone out there online can take my work and reproduce it as their own. I know my students constantly do this with wikipedia. However for this task we are to find a Copyright licence which suits our work.

I have found Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

Under the following terms:

  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

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Doubting castle 4: advanced blogging

In order to write a review for the film The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I got information about the film, behind the scenes information, release dates and trailers via my RSS feed from my account on theoldreader.com

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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Plot Synopsis: Peter Parker struggles with keeping his promise to the late Police Captain George Stacy to stay away from his daughter, Gwen Stacy, so she can stay out of danger. Peter also deals with the truth behind his parent’s disappearance as a child as well as a new threat in the villains Rhino, Electro and the Green Goblin.

Review:

Reading the plot synopsis above doesn’t quite capture everything going on in the film. I didn’t mention Peter also reunites with his old friend Harry Osborn, who is slowly dying from a mysterious disease and needs Spider-Man’s blood. As well as everything going on in the mysterious corporation Oscorp, and Peter’s Aunt May (Sally Field) and Peter graduating from High School and going to college. As you can see this film is very busy. So much is crammed in that it is hard to grasp everything that is going on. The producers are clearly trying to develop a cinematic universe much like The Avengers which balances sequels and numerous characters with great ease. I find this unfortunately detracts from the film and instead of focusing on a few interesting characters (which this film has many) the film gets lost in its juggling act.

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This is unfortunate because Peter Parker/Spider-Man is such a compelling character. Growing up as a fan of comic books I found the story of Peter Parker balancing his personal life with his superpowers among the best of the genre. In 2002 Sam Raimi directed an excellent adaptation of the comic book which balanced the heart and soul of the characters with the action and spectacle of a blockbuster film franchise. Raimi continued this streak with 2004’s Spider-Man 2 and ultimately failed in 2007 with Spider-Man 3. Unfortunately in Spider-Man 3 even Raimi couldn’t juggle the multitude of characters, back stories and villains and tie them up into an interesting film. Spider-Man 3 was the last film in Raimi’s trilogy. In 2012 Sony and Columbia Pictures decided to reboot the franchise with a new director, actors and crew, titled The Amazing Spider-Man. The film went back to basics with Peter Parker discovering his powers, falling in love with Gwen Stacey and fighting one villain. It was a tightly focused, smaller superhero film which I thought worked because of its simplicity, great actors and a darker more realistic vision from director Marc Webb. However just as Sam Raimi before him, he too must now work out how to balance franchise needs, multiple character arcs, giant action sequences and keep fans eager for a sequel. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 works better than Spider-Man 3 however while balancing it all we lose some of the heart and soul which made the first two films so great.

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On the positive side Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both excel in their interpretations of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Their chemistry is real and believable. You feel for these characters and are engaged in their every step. They engage us with their romance and break our hearts with their actions. They are truly the films strongest asset. Also Marc Webb creates multiple action set pieces which defy the laws of gravity and show us things we’ve never seen before in a superhero film. The introduction of Spider-Man taking on some thugs in a busy New York City throws us right back into the wonderful world of Spider-Man. The ending (especially in Imax 3D) is also breathtaking in its vision and scope.

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Where the film suffers is in its multiple storylines and characters. Dane DeHann and Jamie Foxx don’t get enough to flesh out their respective villains. Also Paul Giamatti and Sally Field can’t do much with their limited screen time.

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The score from Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams is interesting in combining orchestral music with dub-step. It really does work in amping up the action and tension.

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As a popcorn blockbuster the two main leads and great set pieces keep this film working. However the multiple storylines let the film down and it can’t reach the heights of the first two Raimi Spider-Man films.

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Rating: 2 Stars

Cast & Crew

  • Director: Marc Webb
  • Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHann, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti
  • Screenplay: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner
  • Producer: Avi Arad & Matt Tolmach
  • Music: Hans Zimmer & Pharrell Williams
  • Cinematography: Daniel Mindel
  • Editor: Pietro Scalia & Elliot Graham
  • Studio: Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment