Tackling iMovie through trial and error

In my attempt to create a John Oliver-esque satire bit, I’ve realized that superimposing images and videos into other videos isn’t quite as easy as I imagined. If you’re not familiar with John Oliver’s show Last Night Tonight, it’s a satirical news show that features John Oliver speaking on a certain issue with about a dozen or so superimposed visual aids in every 5-10 minute segment. It looks like this (and here’s a link to a full segment on YouTube):

So I browsed youtube until I found some useful tutorials. Unfortunately the first two I found used versions of iMove that were different that the one I have installed on my laptop, and I wasted about 10 minutes watching completely useless videos. but eventually I found the following video:

I haven’t recorded any of my actual video yet, so I played around using practice images and was able to superimpose them correctly after many failed attempts to even import them into iMovie. I’ve learned that the drag-and-drop feature doesn’t work if your clips are in the wrong format, and also that iMovie is pretty hard to pick up and self-teach. Although some things are intuitive, there are SO MANY little icons that do not have functions that are not clear from their appearance. For example, how am I supposed to know that the button with a key on it does, until you actually click it? There’s a lot of things going on in the interface, and just figuring out how to superimpose images took me a decent amount of time. I imagine that learning how to edit and polish videos will also take a while to learn, which is frustrating but also exciting at the same time because I have so much to learn.


“iMovie for Dummies”

For anyone as technologically challenged as myself, you will completely understand how bold of a decision it is for me to make a video for the Remediation Project.  I have zero experience whatsoever.

Lucky for me, my Macbook has iMovie as a video editing app available for free.  My challenge for myself this week was to explore it.

I was surprised how well it went.  First and foremost, I loved that the app automatically synced up with the videos, pictures, and music I have on my computer.  This made it very easy to drag what I wanted into the editing space.  I also really liked that it has various themes you can use if you don’t want to start your project from scratch. They are professional-looking and are still editable so that one can make various changes to them.

It was made very user friendly by offering tabs for music, text and pictures. By simply clicking on these tabs, this program offered an array of options.  Also, editing a video clip was not as hard as I expected; by clicking on the clip, the selected clip would highlight and then you can drag on the sides or click in the center to make various edits.  This will probably be the most challenging part of video editing for me, though, since I have the habit of accidentally deleting the clip instead of shortening it.  Very frustrating!

Since my sister’s wedding is in the spring of 2015, I used some pictures of her and her fiancé and a theme to get a feel for the program.  Adding slides with text could be done by clicking on the “T” tab, and editing the text simply required you to click on the yellow par above the video clip and then type in the space to the right.  The separation of music, text, and video, made it easily visible how each component was working in the process.  Below you can see how I set up my edits:


So many firsts

For my remediation project, I’m taking my children’s book storyboard and turning it into a “Draw my Life”- style video, but rather than drawing on a whiteboard, I want to draw in Photoshop. I’ll need to draw out my story and record it then speed up the drawing and add a voiceover of me telling the story.

I actually got up the gumption yesterday to go to the Tech Deck and ask some questions about using Photoshop for my remediation project. I have to say, the man there was helpful in showing me how I can create my project with just a tablet, Photoshop, Quicktime and iMovie, despite the fact that the faces he was making told me this is not going to be an easy venture.

To create my project, I’ll open Photoshop and then open a Quicktime screen recording and select the portion of the screen where I’m going to draw. Then, I’ll record that section of the screen while I draw. I can record my drawing in segments, and then, by opening them in iMovie, put the segments together. I’ll speed up the drawing and add a voiceover in iMovie as well.

So, perfect. my roommate has an iPad that she never uses and has no problem letting me borrow, I ordered a stylus (actually five, so if anyone needs a stylus…let me know) for $8 on Amazon, and Photoshop seems pretty easy to navigate. My main problem, then, is not the technology but the fact that I’m not a very good artist. I’ve never really drawn before, and if I mess up while drawing, I can’t erase my mistake and keep going. I have to stop and completely re-draw and re-record that segment. So I’ll have to put in some serious practice time drawing people and dolphins on a tablet and schedule in time to allow for mistakes while recording and having to start a segment over.

I still have to play with iMovie. I’ve never used it before, and I’m assuming what I have to do with it is pretty basic, but I haven’t gotten to testing that theory yet.

Infographics & Tutorials

For my remediation project, I will be relying heavily on infographics, which are visual depictions of information. Based on recommendations from my peers, I decided to use the website infogr.am to create my infographics. The website seems very simple and easy to use. There are plenty of layouts to choose from but the options are not too overwhelming. As someone who has always struggled with inputting data into Excel spreadsheets, I found data entry on this site much simpler and more user-friendly. I created a very basic graph about college enrollment (pictured below) and even though this is just a rough version, the visual representation already supports my arguments much more strongly than merely listing the numbers ever could have. The only problem is the y-axis scale looks a little off, so I will have to check into fixing that.

My one worry about this site is that its templates seem limited to charts and graphs. I am thinking of creating more general diagrams such as timelines that do include specific data, so I would need a more sophisticated means of infographic production, which of course means I need to find support resources to tell me how to do this. Upon searching “infographics tutorial,” I came across an in-depth course form lynda.com on how to create infographics, including choosing color schemes, fonts, and backgrounds. As we mentioned in class, however, lynda.com requires a paid subscription, which the University does not offer to its students. I browsed more and found free tutorials on how to create infographics using Adobe Illustrator, but the application itself costs money. Luckily, it looks like the University has access to Adobe Illustrator so I may look into using this application for my project.

College Enrollment Infographic

Diving in Headfirst

Admittedly, I was terrified to add a foreign technological component to my Tumblr. I was a wimp and decided to add the easiest media to work with to my blog first, and save the infographic, which I have never done before, for last. So I started with pictures, videos, podcasts, and news articles until Naomi encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones.

So far, so good. I began creating an Infographic about the history of Sabra Hummus that I want to model after this clever example from Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/trends/article/huy-fong-s-sriracha-hot-sauce

The platform I’m using, Infogram, is fairly simple. It’s free, and it has a ton of well-designed free templates. It’s drag-and-drop technology is super easy to learn and I feel comfortable adding text and images. It even saves automatically. The only caveats are that you cannot adjust text size (or text formatting in general), which is annoying because I want to add in links as captions to photos, and I don’t want them to be super big. I also wanted certain parts of the timeline on my infographic to have larger fonts than others, but I will have to play around with and readjust the look of my infographic in general to make certain parts of my text stand out more than others.

This screenshot doesn’t cover the majority of the content of my infographic, but it gives you an idea of where I’m going in terms of design. Let me know if you have any suggestions, especially if you have used this technology before.

Beginnings of my infographic...

Oh Media, Oh Technology

Remediation is never as easy as I thought. There are so many aspects needed to be taken into consideration. A website seems very easy to handle; however, punctuation, the position of images, the volume of the background music, and many more are all very crucial to a good website. I’m saying a good or an average; if you want an excellent website, I’m afraid you will need to make much more efforts than writing a 30 pages paper.

Since I am not doing anything very professional such as coding that requiring specific techniques, I am more focused on the design of the website because I want it to look professional and matches with the theme. Therefore, I tried Lynda; unfortunately, students are no longer covered by our school. So I turned to our best friend Google (I know we are expected to physically go to look for resources in school, but I found Google is really not a bad idea), and I found a lot of useful resources related to web design in YouTube. One of them works very well for me. It is the website design 101 video series of Website.com. It covers the text, color choice, logo, menu bar and all other interesting design tips. The best thing is that it provides further reference for useful tools such as kular.adobe.com, etc. It does not just focus on its particular website design, but covers different general topics for all website design beginners.  The videos introduce very detailed aspects of web design that we might ignore when we decided to create a website. However, as we actually start to build and design the website, all these details will come out and become the most troublesome part of website. I think it is really helpful to know and learn all of these in advance, so when I actually begin the process and meet all these problems, I can handle them well with corresponding knowledge.

The other resource I go to is Wix.com on YouTube because I am creating a Wix page for my remediation project; therefore, to get familiar with the functions of the website is very important. I learned how to add music, video, anchor, gallery, Pinterest, animation and even live chat to the website. I especially like the function of adding anchor to the website, which is used to directly link an element to a specific location on the same page or another page on your site.  It works very well for long pages and it eliminates the presence of an actual link. All of these are necessary for my website, and having them in my website could make a big difference.

In addition, I have explored a podcast station named Spreaker, in which you can broadcast in a console for free. I have the idea to put some audio and Podcast pieces to the page to add some freshness to the website.

The lesson I learned from these resources is that to be concise when trying to design a website. No matter it’s the text, color, or information of the website, make it simpler, professional and less overwhelming to the readers.

Tech Challenge? Tech Desk

Today, I went to the UGLI in search of something. But unlike every other day, it wasn’t an open table on the third floor. I was searching for the Tech Desk. A magical place where computer savvy volunteers are just waiting to answer all of my Photoshop queries. But here’s the thing, I didn’t know the first thing about Photoshop. I didn’t have any specific queries. Photoshop was  (and maybe still is) one big question mark. So when I finally found the Tech Desk, a glass office space within first floor of the library, I was intimidated. I was scared that I would look stupid for not knowing. But I pushed my reservations aside.

Turns out the Tech Desk really is as great as it sounds. This one experience didn’t turn me into a Photoshop expert. Or intermediate. But I was shown some basic functions that I plan to use for my remediation project.

The Tester Photoshop Image I created

So what did I learn in order to create this masterpiece?

1. Layers are key. In Photoshop, every addition to the blank page gets it own layer. Each photo needs it own layer. Each text box needs it own layer. I’m not sure if this is exactly the reason, but I observed that the editing functions are applied by layer. To be able to edit pieces individually, they need to be own their own layer.

2. Eraser. To get the diagonal cut between images, I first inserted both images on different layers. Then used the eraser tool to clear out half of the top image that was covering the bottom image. I know the straight line is impressive. No I don’t just have really steady hands. I was taught that by holding the “shift” key and clicking from one point to another a perfectly straight line will materialize, connecting these points.

3. Text Tool. Inserting text was easy with the text tool. But I kept forgetting to add a new layer first, so I would need delete the text and start over on a new layer if I wanted to move the text around. What’s really cool, but not shown in this image, is that you can add text on a curve. How? Create a new layer. Click the path tool to craft desired squiggled line. Then type.

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot. But then I think about things and I realize there is so much more to Photoshop that I am not even aware is possible. If I’m still getting frustrated about forgetting to add a new layer, I can’t even imagine what a professional would get frustrated by. In short, I will definitely be back to the Tech Desk.

This Should be Interesting

I hate technology. I still handwrite every paper before I type it and I refuse to read a book, newspaper, or anything else of that nature on the computer. I don’t dislike technology because I think it’s hurting our ability to communicate in person. In fact, I think technology is enhancing the world in more ways than one. I have a problem with technology because I have no idea how to navigate it; I am technologically challenged to the utmost degree. So, this project has intimidated me since I read the syllabus on the first day of class.

In class last week I said I wanted to create a tumblr about University of Michigan students and their thoughts on capital punishment. Tumblr is such a trend these days and seems to be accessible to anyone (my 13 year old cousin has her own page) so I figured it would be relatively simple. Well, after exploring it and seriously struggling to make my own, I decided to try a different medium: a video ad campaign.

A video ad campaign is definitely a bigger project to take on, if for no other reason than I don’t know anyone else who has made one (thus less people to ask for help). But I found a website, Viddyad, and so far the process of creating a video has gone smoothly. I can upload clips and images from the internet and Viddyad will string them together accompanied by a voice over (should I choose to make one).

I am having one main problem with Viddyad: price. Right now, I can preview a video I make for free whenever I want, but I can’t tell whether or not I have to pay in order to share it. If anyone has experience with this platform, I’d love some advice!

Technologically Challenged

I am TRYING to move forward with my Remediation Project. First, this writing class pushed my comfort levels on my writing style. I am very “type A” when it comes to writing, where I just want to state an argument or create a thesis and go from there with a research paper. But this class has created  a greater awareness of “outside the box thinking” for me. I have been able to turn an argumentative essay into a sports blog post. However, now I need to turn my sports blog post into a interview documentary… I have accomplished creating a proposal and time board for this project about how I “ideally” envision my project.

Now the hard part… For those who are “technologically challenged” like myself, this project is not ideal. Here are a list of things that I am going to attempt to use for my project:

1) iMovie. One of my peers has shown me how “easy” it is to use iMovie. I look forward to using this process because I will be able to add this additional skill to my portfolio. I would love to be familiar with this process because I know in the line of work that I would like to go into, this would be a great skill set to offer with the new changes of social media/online blogging within the communication field.

1a) Through testing out iMovie, it seems like it will provide me with plenty of assistance to get the job done. I know it will be crucial to have the ability of fading from one screen to another in my project. This will be based on how I want to incorporate my interviewers to my example skits, but through playing around with iMovie, I think it will do a sufficient job.

2) If my “technologically challenged” self does have problems with using iMovie (god bless), then I know I can contact Michigan’s ISS for additional support. They provide an email and number in which they can be contacted on. So I feel comfortable that if I do have issues, I will be able to contact them for additional help. I plan on using my iPhone 6 as recording my interviews. The quality of the camera is very high def. Also, for the skits that will include being in the water, I will be using my teammates GoPro for some in the water action shots. I look forward to including that within my interview documentary.

Technology . . .

“I just don’t want my capstone podcast project to sound homemade,” I say, sitting in one of the fancy media rooms at the Duderstadt and talking with a peer media consultant about “amplifying” and “wav files.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like on a scale of bagels covered with cheese and ragu to a pizza lovely crafted by Italian immigrants- I want it to be Digourno. It can be different than professional but I still want it to be good.”

He laughs.

“No matter what you’re going to have to teach yourself some about audio recording- levels etc. And vocal performance too probably”

That’s the moment I realize that I may have bitten off more of this pizza than I can chew. In the Writing Minor, we like to talk about how we write, why we write, what we right. Yet with this podcast, I’m having to contend with technology and with performance. In fact, how I write it may be affected by these programs and how they work.

I am not a Luddite. I have been having a passionate love affair with Photoshop for the past three years, designing covers and booklets and posters. However, relearning a complex program, learning enough so I can make it sound professional, is that too high a goal?

I just want to do my ideas justice. I want to do any listeners justice. I don’t want them to be distracted from my content because of a voice crackle.

I also want to be realistic about my abilities. I want to be realistic about the time I have left as my senior comes to a close with a bang of work and a whimper from me. I also don’t want to engage the obsessive perfectionist qualities of my personality. The part of me that will tweak-tweak-tweak at Photoshop.

I want to do the best I can with my time and abilities, but will that be enough?

This American Life by Ira Glass has an episode called “Fiasco!” where he sayings that when everyone reaches just beyond their grasp that’s when greatness can occur.

I’ll settle for Digourno pizza.