Author Archives: Marla

Returning Home – Audio Clip Update

After hearing what some of my fellow students did with their audio projects, I wanted to play around with some effects for this clip and so added some reverb to the bell sound.  That is the only adjustment I made, and I think it really makes this piece more polished.

For the original clip, see my April 27th entry.

Enjoy ~


Chainmaille: From Armour to Art

The idea for this project came while I was working on a final project for my Image Communications (photography) class.  I decided to take commercial photographs of my chainmaille jewelry and as I was photographing my pieces, I began to think about chainmaille armour and how interesting it is that we’ve co-opted one art form into another.  So I decided to explore that idea with a video and viola! – the idea for my final project was born. My intent was to make a very short documentary that introduces people to the ways in which jewelry artists are using not only ancient chainmaille techniques, but newly invented weaves and patterns to make really cool jewelry. What I didn’t get into much in this video is all the other ways chainmaille is used today:

  • Iron chainmaille scrubbers for cast iron pans
  • Pierce-resistant chainmaille gloves are used by butchers and craftsmen
  • Chainmaille is used to make shark diving suits
  • Highway retaining walls are created using massive links in a 4-in-1 pattern

And, of course, there are artists and craftsmen (and women) who are still using the basic 4-in-1 chainmaille pattern to create lightweight armour for various reasons. I didn’t go into too much historical detail because I wanted this project to focus on the jewelry and not chainmaille history.  But if you’re interested in this history, there are plenty of websites devoted to it. Here are a few I found interesting:

All the jewelry pieces in this video were made by me over the past few years (one piece was made specifically for this video), and I took all of the photographs in this video, either on trips overseas (the images at the beginning) or during Spring term 2015 as part of this and other projects. The chainmaille sleeve and shirt on this video were not done by me. These items were on display in the Lane Community College Art Museum early in Spring term 2015.  I do not know who the artist is (I wish I did so I could credit them), but I really like their work. (If you are the artist or know who the artist or artists are, please notify me and I’ll update this post to give them their due credit).

The music and sound effects are courtesy of freesound.org. Clips used:

I hope you enjoy this little introduction into a craft I really love.

Cheesy Goodness in Video Form

Enjoy my interpretation of 5 in “5 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in 5 Days.” https://vimeo.com/marsartspace/cheesygoodness

I had a couple of different ideas for “5” as a video project, but after hearing about the “Grilled Cheese Experience,” a benefit for Food for Lane County, I decided to have some fun, try some new restaurants, and give back to an excellent organization while completing this assignment.  Don’t you just love it when things come together like that?

The Grilled Cheese Experience is the brain-child of Anna Williams, a senior at the UO and an intern at Food for Lane County. The project involved 15 local food carts and restaurants all serving their version of the grilled cheese sandwich.  For every sandwich purchased, $1-$2 was donated to Food for Lane County.

This was a really fun project and helped stretch my video, photographic, and audio skills.  My sister was my partner in fun in this great adventure.  I put it all together using iMovie because that is the video editing program I’m most familiar with.  I did have some frustrations with iMovie but overall, the project went well.

One difficulty was having the perfect narration track and then having Teresa discover a glitch in it.  I’m really glad she did because I hadn’t heard it in the original recording, but it meant rerecording the narration and that’s when everything went wrong. All my audio equipment and programs refused to play nice together and I was concerned that I’d not get a good take.  However, the planets aligned, the cards stacked up, and the fates smiled down on me and I was able to get a clean track.  Phew…

A shout-out to Teresa for her great thoughts and guidance on this project. I think your suggestions really pushed it from good to great.

I hope you enjoy it.  And even though the Grilled Cheese Experience is over, feel free to head to your favorite restaurant or food cart, ask for a grilled cheese sandwich, and donate a couple of bucks yourself to Food for Lane County.

Audio Credits – All Sounds from freesound.org:

Music:  Acoustic Sunrise – Apple Garage Band loop

Informational Interview with Mel Stark

Aud 120 Poster

I chose to speak with Mel Stark for my informational interview because I’m interested in audio production and after hearing Mel speak in our class, I knew she’d be a great resource for information.  I wasn’t wrong.

I had a list of questions ready for this interview, but after sitting down and just talking with Mel for a few minutes, I abandoned my formal interview track and went for a more informal, “What do I need to know to be successful” type of discussion with her.  This just felt right to me, and I feel like I learned more than if I’d stuck with my carefully worded questions (which I did seem to get answered in the course of our discussion).

One question I did ask was what skills or qualifications does someone need in this field.  Mel turned the question back on me and asked what kind of audio production I’m interested in.  The answer to that question, “I’m not entirely sure, I’m still trying to figure it all out,” led us into a discussion of all the different avenues open to someone pursuing audio and the different skills necessary.  Since my only real experience with audio is voice-over work, that’s where I’m leaning, but I’m also fascinated with sound for motion pictures and foley work.  Having this as a starting point, we talked about Mel’s Audio 120 (Audio Production) class (which I’m planning to take Fall term) and the things I’d learn there.  It was very clear, after talking with Mel, that she loves teaching and is very invested in her students’ success.  But as with all things, the student needs to be willing to work hard and bring their best to each class and each project.  I can’t think of better advice for anyone pursuing a career in any field.

Being familiar with computers and software is a critical part of audio production and engineering and so anyone pursuing this field will need to continually improve their skills and comfort with technology.  I appreciated Mel’s reiteration that for her audio classes, especially the introductory ones, she is invested in helping her students get comfortable with the equipment and tools necessary to complete their work.  Having this kind of support is invaluable and we’re foolish if we don’t take advantage of it.  Like all the instructors here, Mel is preparing us to be successful, but we have to take responsibility for our own futures and our own knowledge and skill sets.

When I asked Mel what events should I attend or what kinds of things should I be participating in to help me in this field, she reminded me of the huge range of audio and visual events going on around Lane County, such as film and music festivals, art performances, and Future Music Oregon at the University of Oregon.  She also mentioned a local audio producer who offers voice-over workshops as someone I should get to know. I’m hoping to take one of his workshops later this year to hone my skills and connect with others in this part of the industry.

One other thing Mel mentioned about being successful, and I believe this goes for any pursuit, is to be yourself.  One of the great benefits of a career in the arts is that we get to infuse the projects we work on with our own personalities and individual ideas.  Being true to the work means being true to ourselves and pushing ourselves to learn a bit more, stretch a bit further, and try new things.

I’m glad I took the opportunity to speak with Mel for this project.  I came away with a renewed sense of excitement for audio production, and my eyes are open to avenues other than just voice-over and film sound.  I hadn’t considered dipping my toes into audio engineering for music, but with Mel’s suggestion to look in at the audio studio in Building 6, I think some classes in audio engineering may just be in my future.  Thanks, Mel!

Audio Project – Returning Home

Returning Home Cover.JPG

For our audio project I wanted to narrate a small piece of one of my stories.  I wanted to use something familiar as I was getting used to using Audacity for recording and editing.

It took me some trial and error to find just the right piece for this project.  I had three or four ideas in mind, but settled on my original idea of a piece from my story, Returning Home.  I chose this piece because the scene is heavily influenced by the deep, resonant sound of a bell ringing through a city on a busy market-day.  I wanted to find and edit a bell that would sound just as I envisioned it when I wrote the piece.

I had a blast [imagine an exciting explosion sound effect here] with this project!  Once I got used to some of the nuances of Audacity, it was really easy to navigate and get my tracks edited.

I chose to use freesound.org as my sound library for this project.  While it took some time to find just the right clips for some sounds, I was able to edit them with Audacity to make them as close to what I wanted as possible.  The following clips (noted in order of appearance) were used (all under an Attribution License except as noted):

FootstepsGravel.wav by mikaelfernstrom | viking musicians.wav by Kyster | clock-tower.wav by xserra | Sneeze by Dshogan (License:  Attribution, Noncommercial)

The sound of the coins is my own that I recorded while working on the project.

One of the more difficult aspects of this project was getting the sounds right.  I really like the village ambience sound I’ve used because I like the chatter and the musicians in the background.  I’m also happy with the footsteps on gravel.  I had to play around with the speed on that but am happy with how it turned out.  And I love the little girl’s sneeze.  I took a recording of a man’s sneeze, changed the pitch, and Viola!

Overall, this was a really informative and exciting project for me.  I’m looking forward to working more with audio production in the coming months.

Blog Search 2015

This Week’s Topic:  Blog Search 2015.  Another great assignment for my Intro to Media Arts class. This week we’ve been asked to find a professional blog and comment on it.  Seems like a pretty straightforward task, right?  Not so fast.  There are a large number of not-so-great blogs out there.  Thankfully, I found one of the elusive good ones for my area of focus.

One area of media that I’m very interested in is voice-over.  I’d really like to narrate audiobooks and provide voice-over narration for documentary films.  The blog I found most interesting and most useful for this goal is Vox Daily, found at: http://blogs.voices.com/voxdaily.

Vox Daily Front Page

There are a few things I like about this blog.

1.  I like the way the blog is set-up.  It’s a combination of industry professional interviews, industry news, and thoughts on the industry (for example, is honey good for your throat before performing?).  With the opportunity for readers to post comments to the individual blog entries, you get a very nice cross-section of comments from those who have been in the industry for some time and those, like me, who are just starting out.

2.  Vox Daily has a Resources tab that I found very useful.  There are a number of sections available and the two I found most helpful are Podcasts (to which I’ll be subscribing via iTune) and Tools (which includes libraries for free music and sound effects).

3.  How easy the site is to navigate in.  There is no undue hunting around to find the information I’m looking for because they’ve set-up a Browse This Blog by Topic section, so I could quickly get to blog entries about Audiobooks and Narration.

I’m glad I found this site.  I know I’ll be coming back often and will learn something new that will continue to spark my interest in this field.

Media Arts Resources at Lane

Teresa sent us on a Scavenger Hunt this week to photograph various places that Media Arts students should be familiar with at Lane. I enjoyed this project. I’d just checked out a camera for my Image Communications class, so had a good time getting used to it and working on this project.  Here are my shots. Enjoy ~!

#1 – Teresa’s Office Door.  I had no idea Patty Duke had been in Star Trek.1 - Teresa's Office Door

#2 – The Blue Cyc Wall Studio.  Thanks Google for informing me what a Blue Cyc[lorama] Wall is.  Can’t wait to work in this studio.2 - The Blue Cyc Wall Studio copy

#3 – Equipment Checkout, featuring Michael (because he couldn’t find the Christopher Walken mask I wanted to photograph).  I’m going to get familiar with this place…all those toys !

3 - Equipment Checkout - feat Michael

#4 – The Main Art Gallery.  I was amazed to see these chainmaille shirts on display. This is my kind of art.  I’m jealous (and now ambitious to get a cool shirt done myself).

4 - Main Art Gallery

#5 – The Art-O-Mat.  I walked by this my first few days without realizing what it was. Cool.  I’ve got to scrape up $5 to get myself some art.5 - Art-O-Mat

#6 – The Library.  It will be nice when the library is back home and larger.6 - The Library

#7 – The Silver Sculpture in front of the Health and Wellness Center. I caught this on a really sunny day.  I love the play of light through the green tiles.

7 - Silver Sculpture 2

#8 – Mary Jo Kreindel’s Office.  Mary Jo wasn’t in her office when I took the photo, but I was able to meet her later.

8 - Mary Jo Kreindel's Office copy

#9 – The Bus Stop.  Enough said.

9 - The Bus Stop

#10 – Christina Salter’s Office.  I enjoyed meeting with Christina when I was deciding to enter the Multimedia Arts program.  She was incredibly helpful and encouraging.  Thanks, Christina!

10 - Christina Salter's Office

#11 – The Indy Lab.  So many iMacs (and cool posters).11 - The Indy Lab

#12 – The Flags in the Students First building.12 - The Flags in the Students First Bldg

#13 – Construction.  What would the 2015 school year be without all the construction, and playing “Where’s the Titan Store Entrance This Week?”13 - Construction

Now on to the next project.

My New Life (Revised – now with Pictures!)

Hi, and welcome to my blog.  I’m Marla, and this is a totally new adventure for me.

Up until two weeks ago, I’d been working in the healthcare industry.  Good money but no creativity.  As the left-handed, weird child of my family, I’ve never really fit into normal society, but years of acting classes paid off and I’ve successfully fooled people into thinking I’m a responsible adult for some time. Well, no more.  It’s time to let all the creativity that has been boiling up in me since my childhood overspill its limits and lead me into a new career path.  That is where the Multimedia Design program at LCC comes into play.

I can’t say that my life has been entirely devoid of creativity.  I rediscovered my love of writing a few years ago, and have recently found a new passion in video production, so I plan to focus my studies on audio and video production.  I’m not planning to head to Hollywood anytime soon, but would like to use my new-found skills more locally helping on small independent films and documentaries.  Of course, I may decide that I really like blogging and parlay this new skill into something financially viable.  Who knows.  At this point, all paths are open to me.

There isn’t much to say about me personally.  I’m not the typical college student. I’m a bit older and a bit more jaded generally, but also a bit more enthusiastic about this since it’s a career path I’ve decided on after a number of years doing what I thought a “responsible adult” should do.  As the director Brian Singer once said, “Screw continuity, I’m going for substance.”  So, substance, here I come.  Feel free to revisit my blog to see how this adventure plays out.

Ok – so I am also a photographer. This is one of my favorite pics from a trip to Italy a few years ago.

Dragon Umbrella Lamp in Venice Italty

Oh, and I make chainmaille jewelry.  So maybe I’m more creative than I thought!

My Chainmaille Jewelry Logo

My Chainmaille Jewelry Logo

My New Life

Hi, and welcome to my blog.  I’m Marla, and this is a totally new adventure for me.

Up until two weeks ago, I’d been working in the healthcare industry.  Good money but no creativity.  As the left-handed, weird child of my family, I’ve never really fit into normal society, but years of acting classes paid off and I’ve successfully fooled people into thinking I’m a responsible adult for some time. Well, no more.  It’s time to let all the creativity that has been boiling up in me since my childhood overspill its limits and lead me into a new career path.  That is where the Multimedia Design program at LCC comes into play.

I can’t say that my life has been entirely devoid of creativity.  I rediscovered my love of writing a few years ago, and have recently found a new passion in video production, so I plan to focus my studies on audio and video production.  I’m not planning to head to Hollywood anytime soon, but would like to use my new-found skills more locally helping on small independent films and documentaries.  Of course, I may decide that I really like blogging and parlay this new skill into something financially viable.  Who knows.  At this point, all paths are open to me.

There isn’t much to say about me personally.  I’m not the typical college student. I’m a bit older and a bit more jaded generally, but also a bit more enthusiastic about this since it’s a career path I’ve decided on after a number of years doing what I thought a “responsible adult” should do.  As the director Brian Singer once said, “Screw continuity, I’m going for substance.”  So, substance, here I come.  Feel free to revisit my blog to see how this adventure plays out.

By Marla