Author Archives: ahnorton

Thoughts on IMA Final Video Project

Hi Friends and fellow classmates.  The final is finally upon us.  This was a good project and challenging.  In this project I shot approximately an hour of video of my wife making a cheesecake.  What’s challenging about that?  Well, to reduce that hour of footage to 3 minutes for starters.  I learned more on this project than all the others combined; especially about editing.  While I’m not under any illusions that this video could, on any level, be considered great; I learned that pacing and cutting can be implemented aggressively while still maintaining continuity and a modicum of watch-ability.

While editing this video I thought I was being aggressive.  So, when I finished the first edit and found that my video was still around 15 minutes long, I wasn’t sure I could condense it in a way that could be both watchable and still come in under 3 minutes.  That’s when I started slicing and dicing.  I found that cutting on the action and using dissolves to suggest the passage of time helped me to eliminate huge portions of the footage that wasn’t nearly as important as I had originally thought when had I shot it.  I also found that there were some key shots that had defects in them (i.e., slightly out of focus or something distracting in the frame I hadn’t noticed while filming).  For the most part, I was able to cut around these defects and realized that I enjoyed the process very much.

I’ve discovered that I enjoy editing, and I want to learn how to do it better.  I’ve enjoyed meeting all of you in this class almost as much as I’ve enjoyed viewing your work.  I think all of you are very creative and have bright futures.  Keep up the great work, and I hope to see your names in the credits some day.

Warm regards,

A. H. Norton

What Does The Number “5” Mean to You?

What an intriguing question.  The number 5 symbolizes man. It represents half of 10. It’s how many fingers you have (hopefully) on one hand and, who knows, maybe it’s the meaning of life.  All I know is that it represented a uniquely nested series of poop sandwiches that culminated in a very nasty case of indigestion that is this assignment.  That said, it was fun.

I wanted to explore the question of “5” in a more theatrical way, but resources and time pushed me in a more traditional direction.  I filmed this in a single take with a DSLR Canon T5i with an 18-55 zoom lens mounted on a tripod while I also filmed b-roll with my iPhone 6.  Unfortunately, the iPhone footage didn’t make the cut, but the idea was to cut different shots from the iPhone footage into the T5i footage, then sync up the sound in post.  I thought this would add some edginess to the finished product.  I think it would have, if I could have had a little more time.

In a side note:  In this clip Melissa appears to speak very openly about her brother.  I want to underscore that Melissa is an actress who was improvising a scene.  She loves her brother very much.

Enjoy.

By A. H. Norton

 

Are You Drinking2?

Originally, I wanted to do a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, but when I came across this poem by Charles Bukowski, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.  As soon as I read it, I thought of a song I used to love by The Presidents of the United States of America named, “Kitty”.  Luckily, the song had fallen into the public domain now that they’ve been split for some time, so I could use it in the background.  I think the most challenging aspect of using this song, however, was that it is a song that tends to catch your attention, which can be somewhat distracting to the listener (also several F’bombs at the end, which I’m particularly fond of).

To combat this issue, I tried lowering the volume of the track, but then you could hardly hear it, and that was distracting.  I tried increasing volume in isolated areas for effect, and that seems to have worked ok.  I’m still not sure this worked like I wanted, exactly, but short of dumping it and starting over with different background music, I was kinda stuck.

In the intro, I tried to approximate a person scrolling through the radio dial for music.  Don’t be alarmed if you can’t understand some of the words, because it’s foreign radio that I recorded on my iPhone, then pumped into Audacity for that “tinny” mono sound.  I like it.  I hope you do too.

By A. H. Norton

Are You Drinking?

 

Originally, I wanted to do a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, but when I came across this poem by Charles Bukowski, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.  As soon as I read it, I thought of a song I used to love by The Presidents of the United States of America named, “Kitty”.  Luckily, the song had fallen into the public domain now that they’ve been split for some time, so I could use it in the background.  I think the most challenging aspect of using this song, however, was that it is a song that tends to catch your attention, which can be somewhat distracting to the listener (also several F’bombs at the end, which I’m particularly fond of).

To combat this issue, I tried lowering the volume of the track, but then you could hardly hear it, and that was distracting.  I tried increasing volume in isolated areas for effect, and that seems to have worked ok.  I’m still not sure this worked like I wanted, exactly, but short of dumping it and starting over with different background music, I was kinda stuck.

In the intro, I tried to approximate a person scrolling through the radio dial for music.  Don’t be alarmed if you can’t understand some of the words, because it’s foreign radio that I recorded on my iPhone, then pumped into Audacity for that “tinny” mono sound.  I like it.  I hope you do too.

By A. H. Norton

INDIE FILMMAKING BLOG

Screenshot_5

If you’ve got a moment, I would like to introduce to you the “Indie Filmmaking Blog” (http://www.lightsfilmschool.com/blog/) produced by the Lights Film School.

Things I like:

  • Free filmmaking tutorials
  • Well laid out
  • Film clips and trailers of upcoming releases
  • Interesting subject matter like current Indie News, Why folks are motivated to see a movie and would you make a film if you knew no one would go to it?  Screenshot_1

The school itself, I’m not sure about. The blog is slick, but it seems to be an online school, and I’m always skeptical about those. Not that there aren’t any good online schools. I just think you have to be a little more careful when considering an online school, because they’re not regulated as rigorously, especially if they’re located in another country. That said, the information on this school’s blog is engaging and entertaining. It draws you in and makes you want to explore and learn. If that’s any indication of the quality of training they offer, then I wouldn’t be too concerned.

I especially like the video, “Pointing in the Dark”, Screenshot_4which discusses why artists continue to produce art even if no one appreciates it. This short video focuses on Vincent Van Gogh as an example. It’s well done. Good production value and minimal frustrations when attempting to play (do not use the current version of the Maxthon browser, FYI). This video contains excellent information that could help the struggling artist continue, if they were considering the alternative either in frustration or necessity.

If you get a chance and you’re interested in indie films, it’s worth taking a look at this Indie Filmmaking Blog.

By A. H. Norton

LCC Campus Travel Log

Hey everyone!  Here is a brief log of important media arts locations at Lane Community College (LCC).  Enjoy…

 

Scavenger Hunt 037Muy importante, if you’re a media arts student.  Located on the first floor of bldg 17, this is where cameras, lighting equipment and supporting photography equipment can be checked out for projects.

 

Scavenger Hunt 034
This is the “Blue Cyc Wall” also located on the first floor of bldg 17.  This is part of the studio.  Looking at it, you might think, “I’d really like to try skateboarding on that thing”; probably discouraged, though, by faculty…just saying.

 

Scavenger Hunt 027
This is the Center for Student Engagement located on the 2nd floor of the Center bldg.  This office was closed when I snapped this picture, so I had to jump up above the privacy window to get this shot.  That’s my exercise for the week, haha.

 

Scavenger Hunt 066
This is the Main Art Gallery in bldg 11.  I liked this shot because of the juxtaposition of the images of the light switch and alarms to the art in the background.

 

Scavenger Hunt 021
This is the “Art-O-Mat” also located in bldg 11.  This brings back memories of buying cigarettes for my Dad when I was 5.  I remember it being really hard to pull those handles.  This machine is different, though.  Instead of cigarettes, it holds art…slightly more wholesome, don’t you think?

 

Scavenger Hunt 028
This is the Library located on the 2nd floor of the Center bldg.  Forgive the weird angle.  Tried to get creative while working around the man working at the counter off-camera on the right side of frame who didn’t wish to be photographed.

 

Scavenger Hunt 029.JPG
This is the large silver sculpture located in front of the Wellness Center.  Of the series, this is my favorite image.  When I took the picture I didn’t notice that a bird had decided to photobomb me in the upper right corner of the frame.

 

Scavenger Hunt 065
This is Mary Jo Kreindel’s office.  Yes, that is MJK’s hand.  She’s really nice.

 

Scavenger Hunt 069
Here are bank if Imacs in the Media Creation Lab located on the 2nd floor of the Center bldg.

 

Scavenger Hunt 063
Here’s Judy Gate’s office located on the 2nd floor bldg 11.

 

Scavenger Hunt 031
This is the “Commons” area of bldg 17.  Attached to this room are faculty offices and the “Indy Lab”.  These students are collaborating vigorously on a project.  Impressive.

 

Scavenger Hunt 071
Here are the flags located in the lobby of bldg 1.

 

Scavenger Hunt 058
Didn’t find any interesting construction, so opted for the turkey shot.  This fella was nice enough to puff up for me.

I hope you enjoyed the travel log.  Bye for now.

By A. H. Norton

 

My Perspective

IC-Headshot_023No it’s not Clooney or Gomer Pyle (duh)…

I’m just a guy who grew up on an old German homestead located in the dusty wheat fields of Eastern Oregon back in the mid-60’s through the mid-80’s. There wasn’t much to do out there except work or read, so I opted to do as much reading as I could. This led to writing, then drawing. I dabbled in some inventing and my sister and I performed the most exquisite puppet shows. Man we were bored, but it was a good time, if only in hindsight.

I met my wife in college and changed my major no less than 6 times (writing, Filmmaking, International Finance and Law, Paralegal Studies, Computer Science, Intelligence Studies). My first job was doing odd jobs for a geriatric farmer, who lived nearby.  That was when I was 10. I worked in the saw mill summers from age 14 and construction during the school year. I’ve been a chef, a professional writer, a paralegal, an insurance underwriter, restaurateur, broom maker, stone cutter, carpenter, Navy Cryptologist and computer security engineer and manager. That’s just what I can remember.

Now I’m embarking on a new mission…a new adventure with my wife of 30 years; to return to our artistic roots. Our only son graduated from film studies at the University of Oregon a few years ago and we hope to improve our skills so that we can work on our own projects as well as those our son might wish to include us on.

By A. H. Norton