Final Review, Gaku’s animated short

Here is his video for reference. – I reposted it so that it can be viewed fullscreen. Domo arigato, Gaku-sama!

  • synchronized sound-image relationship

From 0:07 to 0:10 you can hear footsteps that reinforce the idea of the character running.

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From 0:19 to 0:24 you can hear chewing, which greatly enhances the final scene. The first time I watch this animation (without sound) I thought that the snake/creature was talking to the boy who climbed down into the cavern… Now, the lip movements are clarified.

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  • singular off-screen but diegetic sounds

After watching this video a few times, I still have not been able to identify any off-screen sounds. Sure, there are birds and water drops present, but these seem to be territorial sounds, used to enhance the environment.

  • metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

In the opening shot, we hear a frequency crawl pan left to right, which enhances the throwing of the Apple. This sound is non-literal, but implies a kind of “fly-over” effect, similar to an airplane in flight.

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At 0:12, we hear an “ow” sound from the apple itself. Again, clearly this isn’t meant to be literal, but reinforces the idea that the apple fell and landed hard.

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  • diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

Starting around 0:05 you can hear birds chirping, which makes sense, given the setting of a park, with trees. At 0:14 you can hear water dripping, and echoing reverberations to give us a better sense of the size of the cavern in the following scene.

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What do you guys think? Are there other sound elements worth noting? Am I missing anything? Are these sounds adding value to the animations? Comment and let me know.

 

Final Evaluation, Shelby’s animated short

Tonight, we reviewed student’s final project. I was in Group A, reviewing the work of Shelby and Gaku.

Here’s Shelby’s video for reference.

  • synchronized sound-image relationship

At 0:10, you can heard the sounds of feet stomping/landing on a hard surface. This accompanies the image of a young girl’s silhouette moving/jumping up and down.

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At 0:14 you can hear the sounds of a bouncing ping-pong ball, echoing as it lands on a hard surface, reinforcing the movement and collision of the apple onto a hard surface.

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  • singular off-screen but diegetic sounds

At 0:22, there is the sound of an egg-timer/stove-clock ticking away. Although we cannot see this, it enhances the idea of waiting for a pie to cool while it sits on the counter. This is a very nice compliment to the rising steam. At 0:26 we hear the bell, as the timer “goes off”. Again, this is not seen, but it improves the sense of place.

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  • metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

I think that the sound of the apple landing is somewhat metaphorical. On the one hand, it synchronizes in a very literal way with the landing of the apple, on the other hand, it doesn’t sound anything at all like an apple. It has a kind of nice hollow snap-pop to it, which seems to imply that this one apple isn’t really enough, but also is happening not in the orchard, but elsewhere, in a closed space.

  • diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

Starting around 0:03 and ending around 0:13 you can hear the sounds of wind, leaves rustling, and birds chirping, this amplifies the orchard setting and makes for a more believable and immersive environment.

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At 0:17 through 0:21, there are ambient sounds associated with a grocery store checkout. Not only does this give us a better sense of place, but also adds to the idea that these are separate events, happening at different times.

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What do you guys think? Are there other sound elements worth noting? Am I missing anything? Are these sounds adding value to the animations? Comment and let me know.

Next, I’ll review Gaku…

Soundscapes – Reflection & Response

For this last extra credit assignment, Carl asked us to think about soundscapes.

A soundscape is classified in three predominant ways:

Keynote Sounds: A keynote sound is the dominant tonal presence in a soundscape[…]

Signals: An infrequent and also alarming informational sound is classified as a signal[…]

Soundmarks: the acoustic equivalent of a land mark[…]

In the US Navy I spent over a 1,000 hours on watch (standing guard, patrolling, etc.). Situational awareness on watch is paramount – it’s important to know where you are and what is going on around you. Sound plays a critical role in this process. For this assignment, I have chosen the USS Kitty Hawk pier vehicle gate.

Keynote sounds: The ventilation ports roar as they move thousands of cubic feet of air, it is constant, and harmonizes a sharp whining of coils with a dull hum. The waters are still, except for the occasional bass-heavy groaning of a barge, metal chains clank sharply on wood planks, and giant inflatable bladders rub against rusted plates with a low but rapid Pop-pop-popopopop.

Signals: The 1MC (general announcement system) blasts dozens of announcements; meal times, arrival and departure of high-ranking officers and officials, calling the duty section, calling working parties, calling the end of the work day, etc.; the circuit engages with a snap-click before broadcasting a scratchy, distorted hiss of dozens of loud speakers, reverberating on countless steel surfaces.

Soundmarks: North of my post there is a designated smoking area, it is one of many. There is a constant murmuring chatter, low grumbling voices and an occasional laugh, but the words don’t come through clearly. There’s the quiet, smooth Tick-Schwick of lighters igniting endless cigarettes, and the Hiss-Splat of sailors spitting on the deck.

 

Reflection Response #4 (Condensed)

In Walter Murch’s “Stretching Sound to Help the Mind See”, we are invited to think about the role of sound in cinema and in our own lives. He makes reference to recording prototypes by Edison, and early 20th century films. What I found most compelling was Murch’s idea about sound and three-dimensional perception as a hallucination:

…the depth we perceive is not a hallucination. But the way we perceive it — its particular flavor — is uniquely our own… And in that sense it is a kind of hallucination, because the brain does not alert us to what is actually going on. Instead, the dimensionality is fused into the image and made to seem as if it is coming from “out there” rather than “in here.”

There is a mixture of joy and terror, living in a world filled with synthetic sound and the progress of cinema as a means of escape. From simple paintings on the walls of caves to MegaPlex 3D Movies, every step has required humanity to sacrifice a little bit of what we consider to be real. As Murch pointed out:

King Ndombe of the Congo consented to have his voice recorded in 1904 but immediately regretted it when the cylinder was played back: the “shadow” danced on its own, and he heard his people cry in dismay: “The King sits still, his lips are sealed, while the white man forces his soul to sing!”

My focus for this final project will be to synthesize a new reality by combining sounds out of context with my animation. Specifically, I will focus on creating sounds to supplement that which is not seen.

Sound Concepts for Group Evaluation

After reviewing the group’s animation sequences, Carl would like us to make specific recommendations for sound design:

Please also write down ideas for sound design for the two other members of your review group (see below), noting potential sounds and placement of sounds that could be used to strengthen their visual storytelling, add mystery, comedy, suspense or other value.  Specifically, please list ideas for:

  • 1 synchronized sound-image relationship
  • 2 singular off-screen but diegetic sounds 
  • 1 metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship
  • 1 diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

Following the in-class reviews, groups will get together and discuss sound design possibilities.  Each member should post to their own research blog a summary of input they received from the rest of their group and directions which might be pursued.

Allison: Apple Bomb

Unfortunately, the sharing permissions for your video block me from viewing your animation again, but I do remember what the sequence looks like:

Synchronized sound-image relationship

  1. At the end the character takes a piece of the apple into their mouth. I think this could be enhanced with a “slurp” noise
  2. EXPLOSION!!! This is pretty self-explanatory, but the more dramatic the sound, the better.

Singular off-screen but diegetic sounds 

  1. SCREAM!!! When the apple is thrown off camera, and during the animation of it rolling, I think the character might scream, in a panicked kind of way
  2. Your character isn’t working in a vacuum. I’d expect subtle things like footsteps, or other kinds of body movements to be heard, but not seen. This will add value to the explosion and scream.

metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

  1. Music. For some reason, I cannot help but imagine something akin to Looney Tunes accompanying this animation sequence. Maybe it’s the fact that an exploding apple fits so well within that Genre.

diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

  1. The obvious choice here is to go fully atmospheric. Give us some weather sounds (wind, nature, etc), so that diegetic sounds have more depth and context. This shouldn’t compete in volume with the background music.

Ryan: Fairy Tale

This sequence needs to be edited down to just five cuts/panels so it’s possible that these recommendations will make less sense going forward.

Synchronized sound-image relationship

  1. In the opening scene, the woman in the forest moves in a sort of glide, or prance. We should have some kind of shuffle or other sound accompanying these movements.
  2. The opening of the door, the drawing of the curtain, the poisoning of the apple: all of these actions call for sound.

Singular off-screen but diegetic sounds 

  1. The most compelling off-screen sound would probably be a cackle of some kind, as the villain celebrates the death of her visitor.
  2. I think that your protagonist has a “singing” quality about her. Obviously drawing from Disney tropes, but I digress. Perhaps this singing could continue even off-screen.

metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

  1. Music. We have a contrast in mood between the woman in the forest, and the woman in the house. I think that two pieces of music could enhance this contrast greatly.

diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

  1. As with Allison’s animation, the obvious choice here is to go fully atmospheric. Give us some sounds of the forest, cheerful and bright.

Reflection Response #4

In Walter Murch’s “Stretching Sound to Help the Mind See”, we are invited to think about the role of sound in cinema and in our own lives. He makes reference to recording prototypes by Edison, and early 20th century films, some of which may be too obscure for a younger generation. For example: the last time I watched the Godfather Trilogy, it was playing on a Laserdisc – everything is better on Laserdisc. What I found most compelling was Murch’s idea about sound and three-dimensional perception as a hallucination:

…the depth we perceive is not a hallucination. But the way we perceive it — its particular flavor — is uniquely our own… And in that sense it is a kind of hallucination, because the brain does not alert us to what is actually going on. Instead, the dimensionality is fused into the image and made to seem as if it is coming from “out there” rather than “in here.”

As much as there is a rift dividing the generations and their tastes in movies, there is an even greater rift dividing the generations in our ever-expansive field of technologically induced hallucinations. In the span of homosapiens’ arrival as a species, it has only been a blink of an eye since we clever apes invented devices to trick our ears into believing in a virtual world of sound.

Specifically, I’m reminded of another classic film, George Romero’s Day of the Dead, when the zombie “Bub” hear’s music for the first time in his (undead) life.

There is a mixture of joy and terror, living in a world filled with synthetic sound.

As we currently push the limits of computer-generated images, virtual reality, and augmented reality, I cannot help but wonder if I will simply be too old to appreciate the benefits. I’ll admit that getting my first iPod turned me into a zombie of sorts, and who wouldn’t want to fill the doldrums of everyday life with their own personal soundtrack? This welcomed distraction was not without consequence, because my primate brain was too poorly equipped to tackle the nuances separating the real from the virtual – I’ve walked out into traffic on more than one occasion because the sound in my ears was too engrossing for me to keep my wits about me.

What will become of sound, now that virtual acoustics are entering the market place, creating virtual, interactive audio environments in a mobile platform?

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Coming Soon, to a Nightmarish Dystopian Future Near You!

The progress of cinema as a means of escape, is not that different from our organic evolution. From simple paintings on the walls of caves to MegaPlex 3D Movies, every step has required humanity to sacrifice a little bit of what we consider to be “real”. As Murch pointed out:

King Ndombe of the Congo consented to have his voice recorded in 1904 but immediately regretted it when the cylinder was played back: the “shadow” danced on its own, and he heard his people cry in dismay: “The King sits still, his lips are sealed, while the white man forces his soul to sing!”

The next evolution of sound will not provoke thoughts of spirits or souls, but will create space for sound that is hyper-real, and cleaner than the sounds produced by our natural environments. Coupled with other electronic and synthetic facets of reality, we’ll be forced to reconcile our world with one that is unreal, but ultimately a stronger reflection of our internal perception of the world.

Project 3: Ideation Phase

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the process for creating time based art. About 90% of comedy is …

 

 

 

 

TIMING!

Get it? Okay, that was a bad joke, but it gave me an idea for how to approach this design challenge: I should stick to comedy as a theme. There are just too many difficult decisions around timing each of the five panels. Comedy is a static target, and I can use it for the entire decision making process. Here are a few simple ideas for including each of the three apple animations created earlier.

FOR THE ROLLING ANIMATION:

IdeatProject3 2FOR THE FADING ANIMATION:IdeatProject3 1

FOR THE FALLING ANIMATION:IdeatProject3

These last two are incomplete. I couldn’t figure out a good denouement for the first sequence, so I decided to do another, but then couldn’t figure out the denouement for that one either.

Reading Response #3

“I never take claim to any of the photos. which is really important, that that’s not my work.”

– Cassandra Jones

In “Send Me A Link,” digital media artist Cassandra C. Jones, used digital photos she’d gathered from the internet and compilation CDs (Image Collections) sold on Ebay, and then transformed them into animations or wallpaper collages.

In her BoinBoing interview, she also likes the term, “money shot” and uses it quite often.

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Here first example of a still-life “wallpaper” is a floral pattern made from hundreds of pink flamingos. She noticed that there was a typical kind of pose for the birds and that this pattern was repeated across several different sources. Here first example of time based art is a sunset created by stitching together hundreds of images (1,391 images, to be exact) of sunsets and then arranging them in order of their proximity to the horizon. She got this idea from reading Susan Sontag’s book on photography and the idea that (3m:14s) “sunsets are cheesy because there are so many photographs taken of it.” Cassandra related to this idea because while she was visiting Greece, she realized that everything on that island has been photographed thousands of times.

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What’s truly interesting about her work is the source data – the internet. She is able to find so many iterations of any given thing that it is possible to construct a coherent animation sequence from it. The use of amateur photography was important to her art because it demonstrated a connection to everyone’s experience with a common thing.

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Back to her wallpaper work: she bought a compilation CD for $2 on ebay that contains images of cheerleaders. According to Cassandra the (6m:17s) “crotch shot is the money shot of the cheerleaders. It was the perfect combination of (American) family values and pornography.” To communicate this idea more strongly, she arranged the cheerleaders into the floral (“wall flower”) arrangements and scaled them down to a point where an echoing pattern appears, masking the source image through rhythm and repetition. These images are wholesome and innocent, but with a vulgar undertone. If you don’t look closely, you can easily miss it.

 

Pacific Vortex – Reflection

If you didn’t go, you missed out. Check out this blurb from Carl Diehl’s Class Blog.

Pacific Vortex is pleased to plunge you into a multi-channel miasma orchestrated by Ben Glas and Joseph Wells.  Here you will find a formidable constellation of quadrophonic arrays and computational creativity that activates, in new ways, the architecture of the Mediatheque and your own mind! Sine-waves accompanied by generative visual abstractions will segue, sojourn, soliloquy, or, in other ways, play perceptively on the audience’s sense-abilities.

 

 on his customized16mm projection systems.  An outgrowth of projection arts and ad-hoc animation trajectories cultivated in San Francisco’s vibrant 1990’s musical scene, Manning physically conjures a phantasmagoric environment  using celluloid selections that are dyed, inked, bleached, cut up and compiled on large reels.  These elaborate illuminations hybridized with handmade slide and overhead transparency projections and mixed by hand are improvisational and articulated without electronic expediencies.

 

@PNCA 511 NW Broadway, enter from the Park blocks between NW Hoyt and NW Glisan.

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Part 1: Multi-channel Miasma Orchestrated by Ben Glas and Joseph Wells.

This performance was a great way to answer that classic question we’ve all had during our more formative and vulnerable years: “what would it be like to have severe tinnitus while tripping on acid?”

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“You are freaking out… maaaaaan…”

I do not believe that this was intended to be a pleasant experience, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable as art. The installation was well planned, and included three distinct visual fields, all based on monochrome oscilloscopes: Linear, Circular, and Sequential. By connecting these visual indicators to separate microphones in the space, the audience was provided with a real-time visual representation of the generated tones. Initially, the space was flooded with high-volume, low frequency tones that overlapped, this was a kind of “carrier signal” for the soundscape. The tones shifted independently, and were divided into separate channels. Combined with the space’s acoustics, this created a physical sensation that is adjacent to migraine pain, but decorative in nature.

The rising and falling walls of sound, combined with visual representation are entirely abstract, and not a simulation of anything specific, and my description is only meant to be as informative as possible. This time-based art might be “art for artist’s sake” but was still an interesting combination of different digital technologies and A/V equipment. Perhaps if I had earplugs I would have gotten a richer, but less intense experience. The pleasure wasn’t in the grinning and bearing, but in observing the feedback between visual and audio information, and seeing sounds transformed into shapes. The frequency and amplitudes occasionally combined to create familiar linear forms (sawtooth, sine wave) and geometric shapes (octagons, squares, and even triangles with rounded edges). It was compelling to be able to “hear shapes” but the experience was probably too intense for casual audiences.

Part 2: Out of time, place and scale, by the polychromatic Pond Mind Pulp, a live artwork carried out by Colin Manning.

If the first performance was an appetizer, then this was certainly the entree.

IMG_2237The first sequence was entirely digital in its presentation, but the second part included analogue sound and 16mm film projection. I couldn’t help but turn the viewing experience into a game of “Name That Film”. Some of which were esoteric educational films of yesteryear, and nothing too remarkable from that selection. Others however, were true blue classics – Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Battleship Potemkin, and even Heinlein’s film adaptation Destination Moon) I’m sure there were others worth mentioning, but those were highlights for me.

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Even though the source material was often recognizable, the results were nevertheless quite abstract, and it is difficult to construct any literal meaning or narrative from the presentation. Sequences were arranged in an almost reckless manner, moving backwards and forwards through time, overlapping, mirroring, and mocking the past and forgotten future, like a  mocking riddle with no satisfactory answer. The audio component, while more discernible than the first piece, was still persistently abstract in its use. While there is no doubt that a relationship exists between moving pictures and time, it did not appear to follow a strictly linear pattern of past-present-future, but instead seemed to meander in a way that reminds me of what it was like a young child with the flu, watching old movies while laying on my side, volume up, comprehension low, while metabolizing the finest generic-brand, over-the-counter drugs that money can buy.

Nothing quite like the feeling of something familiar and strange. Time well spent.

 

 

Fair Use – Reflection and Response

“Art is what you can get away with”

-Andy Warhol

-Banksy

-Matt Geiger

To understand fair use, we have to go all the way back to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The Committee on Postponed Parts was responsible for ironing out the details on patent and copyrights. Needless to say, a lot has changed since the late 1700s, but let’s take a look at Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution to see what they came up with:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

This is still pretty open-ended, but even then it was understood that all culture and scientific discovery is built upon what came before:

“The constitutional goal of the Copyright Act is to promote the making and the dissemination of culture” (1:45)

This is not an open invitation to plagiarism, but a declaration of a carefully orchestrated, and ongoing balancing act. On the one hand, we want a plurality of original works and the good faith use of existing culture to produce new works (Fair Use Doctrine), but we also want to ensure that there remains a secure and reasonable expectation for creators to receive just compensation (Copyright Law).

Like everything else in the US Constitution, this is a compromise.

You can use copyrighted material openly, and without permission from the holder of said copyright, so long as you meet three basic conditions:

  1. Your use is noncommercial: i.e., you’re not financially benefiting from the use of the copyrighted material.
  2. Your created work is transformative in nature: i.e., you are not simply reproducing an unaltered version of an original work, but are transforming it in a way that allows for new interpretation which is separate from the original work. This includes things like commentary, mash-up, remix, and critique. Here are some examples:

Commentary

Mashup

(WARNING: Links to torrenting site ThePirateBay, might be NSFW)

withbootslogo

Remix

Criticism

The third and final condition is that your use of copyrighted material must not “compete with the original or have any negative effect on its market.” A.K.A. “Parody Law”

Here’s something that pushes the limits: DUMB STARBUCKS

Intellectual Property is a complex web, and there is no guarantee that following these rules will keep you out of legal trouble, but it is still a good idea to follow rules of Fair Use Doctrine when using copyrighted material or even material that is in the public domain. The Center for Media and Social Impact has published this helpful guide of Best Practices for Fair Use in the Visual Arts, but if you want to save yourself the trouble of a single mouse-click, then scroll down for a short list:

PRINCIPLE: Artists may invoke fair use to incorporate copyrighted material into new artworks in any medium, subject to certain limitations:

LIMITATIONS

  • Artists should avoid uses of existing copyrighted material that do not generate new artistic meaning, being aware that a change of medium, without more, may not meet this standard.
  • The use of a preexisting work, whether in part or in whole, should be justified by the artistic objective, and artists who deliberately repurpose copyrighted works should be prepared to explain their rationales both for doing so and for the extent of their uses.
  • Artists should avoid suggesting that incorporated elements are original to them, unless that suggestion is integral to the meaning of the new work.
  • When copying another’s work, an artist should cite the source, whether in the new work or elsewhere (by means such as labeling or embedding), unless there is an articulable aesthetic basis for not doing so.