[video & sound week 7] How To Fly A Kite (final video)

Aaron, Melody and I had a great time filming and editing our little video about flying a kite. We went to Prospect Park on a lovely beginning-of-fall day a couple weeks ago with a camera, tripod, kite, and a heavy dose of optimism about wind conditions.




We set up the camera, and then decided that the two “characters” from our storyboard should be consistent throughout. It ended up being me as the main kite flyer, Aaron as the kite thrower, and Melody as the main person behind the camera.  IMG_0397

The park wasn’t too crowded and it was a beautiful day, so filming conditions were pretty good. We found that it wasn’t too hard to get the kite in the air, but the wind wasn’t strong enough to keep it up for more than a couple minutes. For our movie-making purposes, however, this was fine.

One of the challenges was that as the kite flyer, I generally had to run around to keep the kite up, which made it difficult for Melody to capture all the action in a smooth way on film. In order to get shots of the kite from below, Melody had to run around the park with me, all while craning her head and the camera up to get the footage.

After a successful afternoon of shooting, we rewarded ourselves with some ice cream floats.


When it came time to edit, we structured the video as we originally envisioned it: in three main steps, from set-up, to getting the kite in the air, to keeping the kite in the air. We figured we would add either voice over or more titles to explain some of the in between steps, like testing the wind, or throwing the kite.

After getting feedback on our rough cut, we decided that the video didn’t really need any text-based instruction because visually, the steps were pretty straightforward. We found two tracks we liked from freemusicarchive.org by the artist Podington Bear that matched well with the kind of cute and lighthearted feeling we were going for.


Matching the cuts to the beats brought it all together.

Overall, I found it to be a really helpful experience to make a video from start to finish. Watch it above!

[video and sound week 3] How to fly a kite storyboard

We’ve now moved on to the video portion of video and sound, and our first assignment is to draw a storyboard for a short video. I’m working with Melody and Aaron,

We decided to make a “How to Fly a Kite” video, though that may certainly change depending on how successful we are at flying a kite when it comes time to shoot. If that happens, the theme will likely be slightly different…

For now, we broke it up into three sections: 1) Get a kite, 2) Get the kite in the air, and 3) Keep the kite in the air.

Below are the storyboards we made. (Apologies for the lack of drawing ability in our entire group!)




[video & sound week 2] Late

Osama and I teamed up to do our Video & Sound assignment this week, which was to make a short soundscape.

We decided to tell a short story (of sorts) through sound, and did all the recording at my apartment. Osama ran the recorder and microphone while I did the “acting.”

Notes on editing:

  • Even though we ran through some basics in class, I found Logic to be pretty confusing — I guess it takes practice!
  • Upon opening the wav files up in logic, we saw that our levels were slightly on the low side. I’m not totally sure how to fix this except adjusting the volume knob on the track…
  • I’m not sure how to get rid of some of the microphone noises (mostly heard in the bathroom in our piece.)
  • I don’t know how to adjust some of the background sounds, or if that’s even possible in editing. For example, we recorded the sound of “running away” and “running towards” separately and in separate places, and the background hum in the “running towards” part makes the transition hard to sound seamless. (You can hear what I’m talking about around 1:16.)
  • I wasn’t sure how to organize my different tracks, or when to use different tracks.

Overall, we had a fun time recording and putting it together.

You can find the uncompressed version of the file here, and the Logic file here.

[video & sound week 1] Plagiarism, originality and remix readings


This week in Video & Sound we read and watched four pieces of media: Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstacy of Influence: A Plagiarism; b) On the Rights of the Molotov Man: Appropriation and the Art of Context; c) Allergy to Originality and d) Kirby Ferguson’s Embrace the Remix. The common thread between them all is the idea that no art or work is truly original or creative, and that this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s inevitable, and it should be celebrated because we progress collectively through the efforts of the past.

Ferguson’s talk cites a quotation from Henry Ford: “I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work.” And, as Lethem writes, “Finding one’s voice isn’t just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses.”

I agree with the sentiment that our culture stands on the ability to borrow and remix ideas, and that openly acknowledging our influences as artists or inventors is important. But I’m also sympathetic to the people whose work gets “stolen” as well. Ideally, we could live in a world where everyone openly admits to using other people’s work and happily allows anyone to use theirs as well. But because it’s so difficult for artists to make a living to begin with, our flawed copyright laws sometimes serve as the only kind of protection they have for their income. It’s hard to fault an artist for feeling protective in an imperfect system, which is why I found Susan Meiselas’s rebuttal sympathetic and a necessary perspective.


[video & sound week 1] Reaction to “Her Long Black Hair”


This afternoon I took the train up to Central Park with my iPhone and my headphones to… listen to? experience? walk through? Janet Cardiff’s sound walk, “Her Long Black Hair.” I really enjoyed it.

There was something surreal about the way that the recording overlapped with the sounds of the city. Immediately as it begins, you’re sitting facing the street traffic as the cars whiz by, and you’re not sure if the sounds of tires and horns is coming from your headphones or from the street in front of you. (The reality is that it’s both.)


My favorite moments throughout the whole piece were like these, where it almost tricks you into thinking a sound is coming from the outside when it’s actually in the recording. There was a part when I was walking by some tall rocks with children climbing all over, and it took me a second to realize that the voices of children I could hear talking to each other about climbing did not belong to the ones in front of me.

I also enjoyed the semi-linear, ambiguously fictional tone of the piece. It almost made it feel like a kind of proto-virtual reality, or even a type of videogame — after all, you follow her directions and feel rewarded whenever something lines up between the recording and your reality. Like when Cardiff describes the bird on the head of a statue, and you see it in front of you.


One of the most poignant moments on my walk was under a tunnel. In the recording, there is a man singing. On my walk today, there was a man drumming. As she has you linger and listen, the two pieces of music lined up in my ears as an experience that was uniquely mine.