Everyday Media

An everyday blog about media by everyday blogger Louise Alice Wilson.

Month: March 2016 (page 1 of 3)

RMInTerview

The main reason we do workshop activities is to improve or skill, or to be exposed to new concepts and technology that we may have never encountered before. This was definitely the case for this weeks workshop, I could feel my brain doing things it had never done before. For this weeks workshop we had to do conduct an interview with a fellow student about a particular topic area, ours was: What I like about RMIT city campus. For my interview I was partnered with Jocelyn – http://www.mediafactory.org.au/jocelyn-utting/ – we had a pretty great time together and managed to complete the entire activity.
The first problem we faced was finding a suitable location for the interview. We decided to head to building 80 to find a nice quiet place, to ensure our audio wouldn’t be tainted by other sources of audio. We managed to find a quiet room and began recording pretty quickly. I decided to be the interviewer and Joss decided to be the interviewer, which makes sense as she’s a great talker with a bubbly personality.

Quite quickly we managed to come up with some great questions and some interesting responses. We had some pretty successful recordings for the formal interview, the most successful actually being the first one. The audio for the formal interview can be found below:

For this first interview we placed the microphone close by on a table situated between myself and Joss, we did a test run for the levels, making sure that weren’t clipping then we began recording. We listened back after each take to ensure that the levels were a-okay and that there were no interfering sounds. Overall it was quite easy to achieve good sound quality, as the space was pretty well suited towards it. We then decided to leave the quiet room and interact with the campus to obtain interesting soundscapes for the non-formal interview.

To obtain interesting soundscapes we decided to conduct the interview while heading towards the elevator, to continue the interview while inside and to continue it further once we were out on another level. We thought this was a great way of making the campus, it’s accessibility and great design a physical element of our production. It also gives a great feeling of movement, energy and lax attitude that matches with the vibe of us and other university students. We wanted it to feel like a recording done by uni students for uni students and we think this was achieved. Our most successful recording for the non-formal interview was the second one, but I combined elements from the other recordings to round it out and to use certain lines that I preferred over others. The audio for the non-formal interview can be found below:

For the second interview it was slightly harder to get good clean sound as we were going around and talking. The background audio (i.e. general hum of noise in the background) varies slightly when changing from outside the elevator to inside the elevator, to outside again mainly because of the acoustic differences in the spaces as well as the number of sound sources present. It’s also harder to keep the mic at a similar distance from myself and Joss as we were both walking, thus bobbing around. Overall though I think we managed to get a pretty good recording and I really liked the sound of students and general campus sounds in the background. It helps to underline the premise of the interview as well as clearly distinguish that we are in fact at the RMIT campus.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

Why I Became An Art Blogger

It’s always interesting to read back on why people do things, especially people who end up making a career or a fortune out of the seemingly benign choices they make. Thelma Schoonmaker, the film editor whom my previous post was about was one of those people; she got into editing after seeing an ad in the New York Times. I’m in no way suggesting I’m going to make a fortune, nor that I’m a Thelma Schoonmaker in the making, but I certainly do make a lot of benign choices.

Art blogging, for me, was one of those benign choices. I made the decision to start an art blog very randomly, so randomly I’m not even sure where the idea came from. At the time I had been studying a bachelor of psychology for about two years and found myself interested in the subject, but underwhelmed with the lack of creative ideas and media I was being exposed to.

I’d always been interested in art and most creative mediums, often recording music or taking photographs on the side. But the pages and pages of white and black scientific journal articles must have got to me, because I found myself yearning for splashes of colour, moving imagery, challenging concepts and undefinable ideas. The next thing I knew I had started an art blog aptly titled: Artistic Expansion and I began spending hours a day searching through the internet for content, often finding my best pieces in the most random places, often not even defined intentionally as ‘art’.

Over the last two years I must have blogged hundreds of multi-coloured, multi-textured and multi-layered images, accumulated over 2000 followers and consumed more art than I ever had in my entire life. I find it interesting not because of it’s success, but because before I started my art blog, I really had no idea how much I did or could love art and once I had made my art blog I  couldn’t imagine how I ever functioned without it.

I guess a lot of things do hide in our subconscious, until they find a way to get to the surface or maybe that’s just my psychology degree talking.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

Everyday Me

When asked to define ourselves we often use broad brushstrokes. Without thinking we consult our internal list of “things that make me, ME” and find ourselves recalling words like “creative, outgoing, photography, guitar” before we’ve even had a chance to fully process the question. But how much does this internal list define us?

I believed that my internal list was the best representation of myself until I read a quote by Annie Dillard that states: “How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives”. This quote hit me like a punch in the gut, it’s blatant truth so indisputable; how I spent my days, regardless of what I told myself about myself, was ultimately who I was. Or at the very least would be how I had spent my life. This is why, when completing my self portrait, I decided to focus on the everyday.

Within my self portrait I wanted to present the viewer with a familiar yet abstract sense of reality through which we get to see amalgamated glimpses of the everyday acts that define me, rather than a linear narrative or a simple re-telling of ‘a day in the life’. Thus combining to create a picture of: my daily life, through an abstracted version of ‘the everyday’.

To create a sense of ‘the day’ or linear progression of time I segmented my video with four still images of the sky in various stages of daylight (morning, midday, afternoon, evening) that match the lighting seen in each concurrent video segment. The everyday acts that define me were presented in a series of short video segments that include scenes of me catching the tram, recording music and riding my bike. To disrupt the sense of linear narrative the visual segments are bluntly edited together, with nothing linking the sequential shots and a quite abrupt ending. I also attempted to create an overall sense of confounded time and space by overlaying audio from certain video segments onto others. Long, singular focus, handheld shots were also used to enhance the sense of voyeuristic glimpses.

Project Brief 02 – Final Video from Louise Alice Wilson on Vimeo.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

 

Hear Me Out

Being a musician, i’m pretty stoked toread about sound, I’d happily read through a hundred pages with various diagrams on sound, because I think sound is totally awesome. But since I’m sure that not everyone is as interested in sound as I am, I decided to keep it brief (like as brief as I could). I’ve decided to cover a topic that I think is the most relevant to media students being,

How to record clean sound:

      1.   Use a recording studio:

  • Recoding studios are designed to minimise unwanted noise and reverb.
  • If you can’t then use a space with good acoustics.

  2.   Scope out the acoustics of your space prior to deciding to record there and most certainly prior to      recording:

  • Record a sample piece of audio and listen to it back.
  • Check for background sound like cars, people talking, dogs, humming lights, air conditioners etc.
  • Does this sound remain consistent? Is the space noisier/quieter at different times of day/week/month?

  3.   Check the acoustics of your space:

  • Clap in the space, and listen out for obvious reverberations, distortions and ringing.
  • Record a sample piece of audio and listen to it back.
  • Does the room have highly audio reflective walls and floors? Or is the audio dampened by carpets and ceiling mouldings?
  • How is this effecting the overall audio?

** Clapping often helps to pinpoint sources of distortion: I once left a music stand in my recording studio whilst recording some vocals. I noticed upon listening back that there was high pitched ringing in the background, so I clapped in the space. I immediately heard the clap hit the metal of the music stand then bounce of it and ping around the room. It’s safe to say I no longer use music stands in recording spaces.

4.   Check the room tone of your space:

  • Record a sample piece of audio and listen to it back.
  • Does the room tone suit the visual footage? Does it add to it or is it jarring? Are you recording audio in a large echoic church, but you want an intimate, clean audio track?
  • If it doesn’t work, think about changing locations.

5.   Check for interference in your space:

  • Record a sample piece of audio and listen to it back.
  • Is there interference from electronic devices, mic cables and/or radio signals?
  • Make sure mic leeds aren’t running parallel to electronic cables to minimise distortion.

6.   Use the most suitable microphone:

  • Are you recording audio from a single person talking?                                                 Uni-directional, shotgun or lavaliere
  • Or are multiple people talking at once?                                                                                 Omni-directional or bi-directional
  • Are these people sitting next to each other?                                                                       Uni-directional
  • Or are they opposite each other?                                                                                                   Bi-directional
  • Do you want the room sound to be obvious?                                                                 Omni-directional
  • Or would you prefer it to be clean vocals only?                                                            Shotgun, handheld or lavaliere

7.   Dampen the audio:

  • Use acoustic panelling, vocal booths or vocal shields to dampen and trap the sound coming from the sound source.
  • You can even use blankets, mattresses or plants to dampen audio signals if you lack other options.
  • If your also filming visuals think about where you can position acoustic panelling or vocal shields so they are not in the frame.

8.   Mic Technique:

  • Make sure the sound source, or person talking is as close to the microphone as possible, with singers or people talking sometimes you legitimately need to be close enough to kiss the microphone, to get optimal quality audio.
  • If someone is about to radically increase their volume (yelling, making a point etc.), make sure they know to pull back from the microphone to avoid distortion.
  • This of course differs with microphone type, such as shotguns that usually need to be a feet away, so make sure you know what distance works best with your particular mic.
  • You can also use pop shields to minimise vocal pops and sibilance (’s’ sounds).

9.    Monitor dB levels:

  • Make sure that your decibels are sitting within the optimum range.
  • There are various handheld sound meters that can monitor dB levels or some microphones and cameras have inbuilt sound meters.
  • Always leave a small amount of headroom before distortion, to allow for increases in audio volume.

10.   Continually monitor sound while recording:

  • Use good quality headphones, closed back headphones are advisable so that the sound won’t bleed from your headphones back into the audio you are recording.
  • When shooting you often focus on the subject, automatically filtering out background noise, mic’s can’t do this, they will pick up everything.
  • Constant monitoring is important, so that if another sound source appears on your audio track, it is noticed immediately and you can re-record. Rather then realising that at the editing stage.

Hope this helps! I said I was gonna keep it brief, my version of brief seems to be 777 words? Haha.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

 

References

Roberts-Breslin, 2003.  ‘Sound’ in Making media : foundations of sound and image production, Focal Press, Amsterdam ; London, pp. 115-144.

4′ 33″

Defining something as ‘art’ is a matter of perception, thus any sound can constitute music and any music can constitute art.

This was the central idea behind John Cage’s 4′ 33″, a three movement piece composed in 1952 and first performed on the 29th August, 1952 by David Tutor as part of a recital of contemporary piano music in New York. At this performance David Tudor sat down at the piano, closed the keyboard over the keys and then preceded to watch his stopwatch. At the end of the first movement he uncovered and then covered the keys, repeating this process for the second and third movements and correspondingly turned pages of blank sheet music, then at 4 minutes and 33 seconds stood up to receive applause.

Ultimately the piece sought to frame the mundane sounds that the audience made and heard within those 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Creating an unexpected musical piece from the interplay of performer, audience member and environment and overall questioning notions of art and non-art and pushing the notion that art is a matter of perception.

Such a piece recalls the earlier work of other conceptual and experimental artists that sought to represent a similar notion or to play with the boundaries of art, audience and artist such as:

Marcel Duchamp’s – Fountain (1917)

Fountain

or the more recent work of Marina Abramović – The Artist is Present (2010)

The Artist Is Present

 

The work of John Cage and other such boundary pushing artists has helped to shape modern; culture, taste and perceptions, exemplified by the statement: what was considered dada in Duchamp’s today, is considered art today.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

 

Earlids

“There are no earlids.”, when I first read this I was like “eww, gross” but then I was like “ohh, that’s actually quite interesting”.

Having no earlids, means that us humans and most species of animals (except crocodiles, meerkats, platypus and some other exceptions) are continually absorbing sound from our environments. Even though we might not be aware of all the sounds within our environment (due to an elaborate filtering process) we still do process all of it. It’s a bit of a shame that we don’t get the RAW audio files, but I guess the JPEG’s are more conservative, in regards to the required attention, perception and memory it would take to process that much RAW information.

Our brains aren’t just conservative in the way they choose to filter information, but they also conservative in the way that they perceive and attend to information, this can be highlighted in the difference between hearing vs. listening. Hearing is the automatic process of perceiving sound whereas listening is the active process of attending to the sounds that we hear.

Deep listening is the act of taking listening one step further, it is the process of being fully present to what we are hearing. It requires the listener to avoid assumptions, judgements, manipulations and controlling the minds perspective of the information being attended to. Deep listening allows us to witness our thoughts and emotions as they arise, to acknowledge them, to understand them, then allow them to pass, in order to  understand our minds from an objective viewpoint. By doing this we can rethink our relationships with ourselves, our friends and our community as well as relationships to power, authority and vanity, rethinking the significance, nature and meaning of our social and relational experiences.

So even though we can’t shut off what we are listening to, via some advance earlid, we can shut off the chatter within our minds that alters our perceptions and understanding of the sounds around us. Thus providing a purer experience of sound and of the world around us, without all the bull.

*Note: I am aware that earlid is not actually word, ‘folds of skin covering the ears’ is a much more apt description, but earlids sound gross and weird, so I’m gonna stick with earlid.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

Premiere Pro Is A…

Premiere Pro is a… great editing program? annoying as all hell? brilliantly made? annoyingly formatted?

I think i’ve thought all of these things about Premiere Pro and probably all within the same editing session, but here’s hoping that me and Lynda can make it through. And by Lynda I don’t mean my imaginary friend, but rather a helpful online learning tool that provides video tutorials guiding you through almost any topic you can imagine.

For the last three weeks during the Media 1 workshops we’ve had to use Premiere Pro to work on our current project briefs. Originally this started with me struggling through the download process, but then getting it, then struggling with the first stages of sequencing, then getting it, then struggling with the first stages of editing, then getting it. So hopefully if I continue on with this trajectory I will slowly get everything about Premier Pro even if it’s an arduous process at first.

Currently I’m attempting to delve deeper into colour correction so as to further enhance the visual beauty and balance within my shots for Project Brief 2, I have a rough understanding of it, but could definitely be a whole lot better. It seems like each of the people within my workshop understand a different thing about Premiere Pro, maybe thats means if we all combine we can make one good editor?

Hopefully by the end of this year we’ll make twenty three good editors rather than one?

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

“They aren’t violent until I’ve edited them”

Thelma Schoonmaker: the legendary editor who has been behind the success of Martin Scorsese’s films for over fourty years, is a female force to be reckoned with. So I decided to give her the respect she deserves and dedicate a blog post to some of her key quotes that have helped to inspire me as of recently:

  1. When asked how it was that such a nice lady could edit Scorsese’s violent gangster pictures, Thelma replied with a smile: “Ah, but they aren’t violent until I’ve edited them.”
  2. “I think that women have a particular ability to work with strong directors. They can collaborate. Maybe there’s less of an ego battle.”
  3.  “You get to contribute so significantly in the editing room because you shape the movie and the performances”
  4. “I’m not a person who believes in the great difference between women and men as editors. But I do think that quality is key. We’re very good at organizing and discipline and patience, and patience is 50 per cent of editing. You have to keep banging away at something until you get it to work. I think women are maybe better at that.”
  5. “You help the director bring all the hard work of those who made the film to fruition. You give their work rhythm and pace and sometimes adjust the structure to make the film work – to make it start to flow up there on the screen. And then it’s very rewarding after a year’s work to see people react to what you’ve done in the theater.”
  6. “I read the script just once and then forget it. I just deal with what I see every day on the screen and whether I believe it and understand it.”
  7. “People expect artists to be too normal, I think. I’ve been around enough of them now to see that they’re very extraordinary human beings who behave differently than ordinary human beings. If they weren’t as sensitive as they are they wouldn’t be great artists. They are not the same as us. People should just learn to accept that.”
  8. “From MTV on, the speed of editing has increased, and that is now entering into narrative editing. People are not relying on good shots to tell the story, and I don’t think you can sustain that kind of cutting for the full length of a film.”
  9. “Everybody hated ‘Casino’. They would say, ‘It’s not ‘Goodfellas’. That’s right. It’s not. It’s Las Vegas. It’s not ‘Goodfellas’. And now everybody loves ‘Casino’. Now it’s a big cult film. ‘Raging Bull’ was a disaster and wasn’t recognized for 10 years. ‘The King of Comedy’ was a disaster, now everybody loves ‘The King of Comedy’. This happened to so many of [Martin Scorsese] our films.”

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

Be A Media Maker

David Gauntlett makes a good point in his newest book (Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn in Media and Communications Studies) and that is that traditional forms of media studies are no longer applicable. Gone are the days of massive institutions and production companies, gone are the traditional audiences and simplistic texts. In, is the new age media companies, the everyday media makers, the consistent consumers and the fantastical mess of The WWW.

While universities are pumping out the same content areas since the 1980’s (e.g. institutions, production, audiences and texts) that are only relevant to a handful of media forms (cinema, television, online broadcasting and publications), the rest of the world is moving on. David Gauntlett so rightly says that creativity in media, should also refer to thinking creatively about the subject. What are the new ways of running media and communication studies? How has the subject itself changed? What approaches and methods can help media and communications studies to become innovative and useful in spheres beyond itself?

David Gauntlett encourages a kind of call to arms, an acquiescence of the incapacities of the old system and a redirected gaze to the future needs of media students and media studies programs. Inspired by Tim Ingold’s book Making, David believes media studies should have making at it’s front and centre. He also believes the ability to do things with media should be embraced over and above the ability to talk about what others do with media, or what media does to us. The notion is that media studies should be hands on, that it should be all about ideas and critical engagement and this should be expressed through actual making.

To borrow three key distinctions from the anthropologist Tim Ingold:

  • It’s about learning WITH media rather than ABOUT media.
  • There is an intent to move FORWARD rather than looking BACKWARDS at how things are.
  • It’s aims are TRANSFORMATIONAL rather than DOCUMENTARY.

When we live in an age of mass media consumerism, where our experience of the physical world is so strongly linked with our experience of the digital world, we need media studies to be exceptional. To move forward media studies must look forward. We need to to emphasise the knowledge of the makers as they are the ones with the power to make a difference. We need to encourage research THROUGH design rather than research INTO or FOR design to ensure our makers are well equipped and we need to see change occurring.

If you want to see the change, be the change. If you want to be the change, be a media maker.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

 

References

Extract from David Gauntlett, 2014, Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn In Media Studies, Found at http://davidgauntlett.com/making-media-studies/extract-from-new-book/.

 

Media Studies 2.0

Since we didn’t have a lectorial this week, due to the Labour Day public holiday, I decided to continue on with Brian Morris’s discussion on Media Studies 2.0. So what exactly is Media Studies 2.0? By all accounts Media Studies 2.0 was first used by William Merrin on the blog he created under the same name back in 2007 and in the same year was also used by David Gauntlett (by coincidence) to reference and describe a new way of approaching  and viewing media studies.

The basic premise of Media Studies 2.0 is that the current model of Media Studies 1.0 is outdated. Media Studies 1.0 focuses on the roles of institutions, production, audiences and texts and these simply just don’t exist in the way that they used to. Media Studies 2.0 seeks to draw focus on the ways in which media is changing and to equip students of media studies with a relevant, up-to-date understanding of the CURRENT media landscape thus allowing them to survive and prosper in the new digital world.

As William Merrin stated in his book Media Studies 2.0, “(media studies) has the potential to be one of the most important subject areas going into the 21st century, at the forefront of digital technologies and their remaking of the world. But equally it has the option of being left behind, it’s focus on  reception and content and broadcast forms and concepts condemning it to an increasing irrelevance for everyone but itself”

The key aims of Media Studies 2.0 as outlined by David Gauntlett are:

  • Expert readings of media texts are replaced by everyday readings of media texts, by diverse everyday audience members.
  • Traditional media, classical texts and specific avant-garde texts are replaced by a focus on independent media projects, like those found on: YouTube, mobiles and other DIY media websites.
  • The focus on primarily Western media is removed to embrace international aspects of media studies such as globalisation and diverse; perspectives, creative attitudes and authors.
  • Acknowledgment that the internet has fundamentally changed how  we engage with all forms of media.
  • Rather than teaching students how to ‘read’ media texts, we should recognise their inherent capacity for interpretation, due to their constant exposure to media and associated expository techniques.
  • Traditional research methods are replaced  by methods which recognise individual creativity, and thus remove outdated notions of viewer,  audiences and producers.
  • Acknowledgement that viewers are not just passive/mindless consumers of messages created  by corporations but rather participate in and create individual meanings and viewpoints from the original message supplied.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson

 

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