chronicwnderlst

A place to indulge an affliction


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I needed a lot of sense(s) for this assignment

For this assignment, I chose a clip from Pearl Harbor titled “We Got a Large Haze“:

I have seen this movie multiple times and in 2012, I had the privilege of visiting the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Historical Monument on O’ahu, Hawai’i. As such, I felt I had more than enough context to complete an analysis of this 3:44-minute video clip:

 

Cinematic Technique/Camera Angle Used How does the cinematic technique tell/guide the story?
00:00 – 00:15 High angle shot showing an island beneath the clouds during daybreak. Scene transitions to a young Asian man who places his head on his hands. Scene then transitions to a religious shrine with candles. An object has Chinese characters. The high angle of the daybreak shot as well as the shot of the religious objects convey spirituality and closeness to a higher being intertwined with the mission
00:16 – 00:30 Panoramic traveling shot of a roomful of young men getting dressed. Camera focuses on a young man sitting at a desk with paper and writing instrument in front of him. Scene cuts to a young Asian military officer with a fierce expression waving through a group of running airmen. Scene switches to a liquid being poured into a drinking bowl. The panoramic traveling shot and the switches show that this is story is both of one person and an entire nation
00:31 – 00:45 Camera shot of military personnel toasting with the drinking bowl. Military personnel are shown putting on bandannas emblazoned with the Japanese flag. Camera pans to a scene showing weapons being transported and loaded to aircraft, and senior military officials overseeing this process. Cinematic techniques convey that the operation shown has been planned in advance and being executed with ceremony and precision
00:46 – 01:00 Close up shots of the propellers and long shots fighter plans set the stage for an impending air attack Use of frantic zoom foreshadows military action involving airplanes
01:01 – 01:15 A pilot wearing the Japanese flag headband is shown inside his plane giving a “ready”signal. A plane is shown taking off from an aircraft carrier. Another plane is show taking off to sea Cinematic techniques clearly show that attack planes are being launched from the sea (via aircraft carriers)
01:16 – 01:30 Panoramic traveling shots of more fighter planes taking off from the aircraft carrier. Horizontal panning of a fleet of Japanese fighter planes flying past the entire length of the aircraft carrier. A pilot is shown flying past the rising sun. Horizontal panning shows the might of the Japanese Navy. Shot of pilot with the rising sun in the background is symbolic of the Japanese flag where the red disc represents the sun
01:31 – 01:45 Long take of the fleet of Japanese fighter planes flying through clouds. A zolly was used to show a coastal hillside from overhead and then a group of naval ships anchored on a bay. Long take of a sailor in dress whites sitting on coiled rope on a sailing ship in front of an American flag. Cinematic technique tells the story of an impending surprise attack from the air
01:46 – 02:00 Long take of a man in a motorcycle approaching a mountainside doorway. Zoom in to a roomful of men in front of radio equipment. Rapid zoom of airplanes in the clouds, an instrument panel, and Caucasian man sitting in front of an instrument panel while on the phone. Long track shot of Japanese fighter planes in air and American fighter planes parked on the ground. Cinematic technique contrasts previous scene of tranquility (and unreadiness) with scene of military personnel monitoring operations around the island in a hidden location. Contrasting scenes of Japanese attack planes in the air and U.S. military planes parked on the ground.
02:01 – 02:15 Tracking shot of a military man at his desk. He is speaking on the phone held in one hand while his other hand moves a chess piece on the table. His feet are propped up on the desk. He takes his feet off the desk , sits up, sets the telephone handset on his should, turns around to take a clipboard, reads the clipboard, looks up. Low angle shot of Japanese fighter planes. Cinematic technique shows a person who is unconcerned and relaxed in their office, despite the short moment where tension is infused in the scene
02:16 – 02:30 Rapid zoom of the men in the radio room talking, marking the instrument panel, fighter planes in the air, and men playing golf. A Jeepful of military men arrive on the golf course. A man dressed in Navy brown uniform jumps out from one of the Jeeps and salutes one of the golfers. Quick zoom of fighter planes in the air. Cinematic techniques employed   show the relaxed atmosphere on the island and among leadership (the salute conveys that the golfer is an important man)
02:31 – 02:45 Military man in brown Navy uniform continues to speak to the golfer he saluted earlier as a tracking shot of fighter planes flying over water is shown. High angle shot of a person typing on a typewriter. The words “REFUSAL TO COMPROMISE” are typed across a tape. A worried looking, middle-aged Caucasian man wearing glasses reads the tape. Cinematic techniques convey that news of an impending attack is reaching U.S. military leaders
02:46 – 03:00 Zoom in to a young Caucasian man in Navy uniform with a headset typing and the words, “PEACE TALKS USEL…” are typed across a tape. Close up and quick zoom shots of the middle-aged man reading the tape; a telephone handset being picked up; the man, now without his glasses, speaking on the phone; the young Navy man continuing to type and the middle-aged man continuing to speak on the phone. Cinematic techniques introduces new characters in the drama personified by a junior and senior U.S. military officer
03:01 – 03:15 Zoom in shot of the middle-aged man continuing to talk on the phone. High angle shot of a single Japanese fighter plane over water, with shadows of other planes nearby. Close up shot of the wing of the fighter plane showing the Japanese flag. Low angle shot of the Jeep pulling in front of a building. The golfer jumps out of the vehicle and tracking shot is used as he walks rapidly toward the building. He is met and saluted by another military man in brown uniform and handed a piece of paper. Interchanging shots of the major players in the drama make rounds out the story, emphasizing how the U.S. military was unprepared for the attack by the Japanese military
03:16 – 03:30 Tracking shot of the golfer as he continues to stare at the piece of paper. He stops walking and camera zooms in as he looks up with a worried expression. He turns to speak to the man in the brown uniform. Camera zooms in to a black and white photo of a naval ship captioned in Japanese characters and Roman letters underneath it that reads, “U.S.S. Oklahoma.” There is also another black and white photograph of an Asian woman placed to the upper left of the ship photograph. Low angle shot, then zoom in of the Japanese pilot wearing the bandanna and looking determined. Cinematic technique of zooms and tracking shot clearly shows that the Japanese attack planes have assigned targets
03:31 – 03:43 Long take, tracking shot of island underneath white clouds, with a group of fighter planes swarming towards it Aerial shot of the island reminds brings the clip to full circle as it reminds the viewer of the aerial shot of the island at the beginning of the clip. This time, the Japanese fighter planes are shown descending on the island as a group, instead of taking off individually from the aircraft carrier. The shot intensifies the drama and creates a feeling of impending disaster.

 

Audio Track Analyses

For the audio track analyses, I let the video clip run in the background as I had a Word document on screen. I noted the audio elements I heard in the Word document. When listing out the dialogue below, I used Navy acronyms: ADM for Admiral; CDR for Commander; and LT for Lieutenant. Through various audio elements such as human voices and mechanical sounds, the story of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor unfolds. There were a few things that I missed when I viewed the clip with the sound off that were clarified for me when the audio elements were turned on. The dialogue revealed hierarchy of the various people and the locations of the scenes.

The clip begins with flute music which fades to the background as a male accented voice speaks in English about destiny, honor, and service to the nation:

“Revered Father, I go now to fulfill my mission and my destiny. I hope it is a destiny that will bring honor to our family. And if it requires my life, I will sacrifice it gladly to be a good servant of our nation.”

Background music switches to drums beating and male voices yelling. Steady beating drum. Engines revving, music escalates, propellers and planes taking off. The drum beats fade away.

Male voice with an American accent, states uncertainly,  “Hey I’ve got a large haze. Propellers That’s too big to be planes, right?”   This is intertwined with increasing sound of propellers.

Male voice with American accent speaks in English, “Is that what you want to do? Knight to knight 5. Boom. Wrong move! “ Sound of small object being moved on a desk.

Another male voice in American accent urgently states, “Lieutenant, radar’s picking up a large return moving in from the northeast. “

LT: “Relax! A flight of B17s is coming in from the mainland.”

More propellers .

Male voice with American accent states in English, “That’s a heck of a lot of B17s.”

Golf ball being hit. “Good shot, Hot”  Sound of a vehicle slowing down and braking.

This better be good, Commander.”

CDR: “One of our destroyers reports having fired and sunk enemy submarine attempting to enter Pearl Harbor at 0653.”

ADM: “It’s 7:20 [a.m.]”

CDR: “We had decoding delays, Admiral.”

ADM: “Relay this to Washington. Recall the staff.”

The sound of propellers and flying planes gets louder then fades.  Sound switches to mechanical typing .

Male voice in American accent reads, “Failure. Peace talks useless.”

Handset being picked up. Male voice in American accent states urgently,  “Thurman here. Tokyo transmitting to their embassy in Washington: ‘Discontinue use of your decoding machine and dispose of immediately. Special emphasis on destroying important parts.’ Do you read that? Acknowledge!”

High-tension music. Propellers. Overland vehicle parking.

Breathless American male voice states, “Admiral, Naval Intel intercepted a transmission to Tokyo from their embassy in Washington instructing to break apart all decoder machines and burn all secret documents.”

ADM: “Japanese are expecting a war. Should we?”

Increasing sound of airplanes and high-tension music. Video clip ends.

“We Got a Large Haze” Analyses

With both auditory and visual senses engaged at the same time, I was able to get a more powerful story from the video clip. When I only had either one of these two senses engaged, I missed some parts of the story. For example, without any sounds or dialogue, I could not distinguish the ranks for the American military, nor could I place some of the scenes in context. Without any visual, the sounds tended to mix together and if I had not viewed the video clip beforehand, the sounds alone would not have told me a coherent story. Because of my previous viewing of the video clip, I was able to associate the sounds to scenes I remembered from the viewing.

When I viewed the entire clip with both audio and video elements, the story was more intense for me:

  • In the beginning of the clip, when you hear the accented English saying, “Revered father…” and you see a young man put his head on his hands as if in supplication and the camera pans to altar-like table, you wonder if he is praying to a God he is calling father or if he is addressing his parent. Only later on, when the accented voice mentions “…honor to our family…” and you see a young man writing at a desk do you realize that the “father” being addressed is a parent.
  • The scene that shows young Japanese air men running, torpedoes being loaded onto planes, the ceremonial toast, and senior military officials overseeing the activities is immediately preceded by the accented voice ending his letter with , “And if it requires my life, I will sacrifice it gladly to be a good servant of our nation.”
  • Interchanging shots served to provide a contrast between scenes and emphasized how well-planned the Japanese attack was and how unprepared the Americans were.
  • The scene immediately preceding the Jeep arriving at the military headquarters was of a Japanese plane in the air and the mechanical sound of the propellers blended in to the mechanical sound of the Jeep slowing down and braking. I would liken this to the “match cut” camera technique.

By turning off the audio the first time I viewed the clip and then not looking at the video when I listened to the clip, I was able to notice more of the audio and video elements used. As a result, I appreciated the techniques used when I viewed the entire clip with both video and audio elements.

In keeping with the travel/history theme of this blog, below is a slideshow of the photos I took during my 2012 visit to O’ahu. The slideshow includes photos of the USS Oklahoma Memorial. The USS Oklahoma is depicted in the video as being target of one of the Japanese attack planes, as shown in 03:24 – 03:25 of the clip:

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Gaining Cinematic Technique Literacy

All story is manipulation…

-from Ken Burns:On Story

I admit that I’ve never really thought much of cinematic techniques in play when watching movies, nor how much I have been manipulated into liking a movie through these techniques (e.g., such as orienting the viewer).  This DS106 section on “Reading Movies” has been an eye-opener. I feel I’ve gained some literacy in cinematic techniques! Of the 12 short videos on filmmaking, I watched the following five:

I found Kubrick’s one-point perspective interesting and creepy at the same time. The one-point perspective is when the movie is seen from one perspective, the viewer’s. As the viewer, I felt that I was the only static entity there; everything else happened around me. It gave me a feeling of helplessness and being out of control, as the camera angle seemed to trap me in place and I could not move to avoid uncomfortable scenes. I appreciate how effective this technique is  in making creepy movies. I have not seen many of Kubrick’s work but from what I’ve read about him (in websites and magazines, not movies :-)), this is just the type of cinematic technique he would employ.

I may be the last person on earth who has not seen The Shining. I have seen stills of the movie, especially that iconic one of Jack Nicholson peering through a crack in the door, but I have not seen the entire movie. As such, without context from the story, I could not appreciate the zooms employed as cinematic technique in the montage I watched.

I enjoyed viewing both the Top 20 Cinematic Techniques and the Camera Angles and Techniques videos.  Both provided me as a view with different perspectives, however the terms cinematic technique terms included assumed that one was familiar with them. I had to look each of them up to fully appreciate the value they added to the films. I did a Google search and found the following resources helpful:

I selected only six of the 20 videos from Top 20 Cinematic Techniques to analyze below, specifically, the movies I had previously scene, having the context helped me appreciate the cinematic techniques employed the selected scene:

Film Technique/Camera Angle Value
Children of Men (2006) Long Take, Doggicam With the doggicam technique, the camera moves freely 360 degrees and shows the rioting on the street from the perspective of each of the four characters trapped in the car. The camera also allows the view to see each of the character’s reaction to the chaos.
Children of Men (2006) Long Take, Tracking Shot The tracking shot allows the view to see the chaotic scenery from the perspective of one character (Clive Owen) as he observes first from a window, then through a doorway, until he eventually unsteadily crosses the street while dodging danger.
Ato)nement (2007 Long Take, Steadicam With the steadicam technique, the camera becomes the perfect observer as it moves freely like a person through a scene. However, unlike the doggicam, the movement is one-directional. The long take in this scene shows the landscape.   Because of the steadicam, instead of focusing on the two characters walking forward, the viewer’s eyes (and emotions) are riveted towards the background scene where the horses are being shot point-blank
Star Wars IV (1977) Extreme Establishing Shot Shows the “distance” the spacecraft, the Millenium Falcon, traveled, past a few planets. One shot shows Earth (blue planet) in the distance then the planet gets larger. The Millenium Falcon enters earth, hover over Tikal National Park in Guatemala, and landing by a Mayan pyramid
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Establishing Shot The scene shows Hobbiton, with the sun shining and a gentle breeze blowing over its green hills, as Gandalf arrives at Frodo Baggins’s house. It establishes Hobbiton as an idyllic place that Frodo will eventually leave to go on his quest.
Cowboys and Aliens(2011) Pan The camera pans through a chaparral landscape that seems abandoned (completed by audio of insects) and the viewer is lulled into thinking that it is a peaceful scene, until Daniel Craig’s character is jolted awake (and so is the viewer)

 

In April 2009, I visited the Tik’al Mayan ruins in El Peten, Guatemala. The national park’s claim to fame has always been being in Star Wars IV (see 01:35-02:04 of the Top 20 Cinematic Techniques video). Having been on the same spot on top of Temple IV as that Rebel in 01:57-02:01 of the  video, I can further appreciate the cinematography involved. Those ledges are narrow! I’m sure George Lucas and his film crew used all sorts to equipment to get the camera shots they wanted. What damage to pre-Columbian Mayan temples caused by modern equipment during filming, I hope was offset by the fact that Tikal National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, two years after Star Wars IV was released. I’d like to believe that the film contributed to Tikal being listed. If George Lucas had used the wrong cinematic technique, would it have taken Tikal National Park a few more years to make it to the UNESCO World Heritage list?

Film and Travel is a great site that highlights places around the world that have been featured in TV and movies. There’s a post on Star Wars IV and Tikal National Park, but I thought I’d post my own photos to this blog:

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Week 5 Summary

This weekly summary should be titled, “The Sound of Silence,” or at least the second half of the week. This week started more auspiciously than it ended, I am sad to admit.  I created a SoundCloud account and posted my first audio assignment on Monday.  I was very proud of posting something early in the week, that I was on cloud nine!

Then my productivity went downhill. I was stymied by audio editing tool, Audacity. I must admit that early in the week, I was filled with trepidation at the thought of audio editing. It is an activity in which I do not have any experience.   I have not worked with either SoundCloud or Audacity. To help mitigate last minute panic, early in the week, I prepared for the assignments:

  1. I explored the various websites where I can download audio files. Some I found too confusing; whereas others seemed to want my billing information despite touting “free” audio files. I liked the ease with which I could navigate, search for, and download audion files from FreeSound. So I used this site.
  2. Instead of randomly downloading audio files from FreeSound, I developed a story idea first. I decided on a snapshot story of a day in the life of an inanimate object, my travel backpack, Becki. Having a story outline made it easy for me to search for specific audio files from FreeSound.
  3. I watched my assigned segment of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus.” Then I watched the entire 3 minute clip to get an overall context of the story.
  4. I further broke down my assigned segment into five-second pieces and in a table, mapped out actions that required foley sounds.
  5. I downloaded the support software LAME library. Or, so I thought.

 

As mentioned, Audacity and audio editing were challenges for me. I found the tips helpful but it still took time for me to find ease in manipulating the track timeline and adding effects. The true challenge came from the support tool LAME Library. I admit to not following the directions correctly (hmm….maybe this can be a candidate for storifying…), so I ended up downloading a few files that negatively impacted my internet connectivity. I had to engage the Help Desk to get rid of these files and restore back to my system’s functionality. Yes, by now, this is Sunday and I had wasted a few days. Granted, it was a very busy week between personal and professional conflicting priorities. I am glad, however, of the prep work I completed, because as soon as I got my Audacity tool sorted out and I was able to export MP3 files to SoundCloud, completing the assignments was relatively easy.

Due to the time crunch, I chose a fairly simple second audio assignment, Taking Back SPAM.  I was looking for the good ol’ Nigerian bank scam or one of those “you’ll get 10 years of bad luck if you don’t pass this on” e-mails, but it seems my e-mail programs have gotten better at filtering these old SPAM classics.  I suppose mail order bride and relationship seeking SPAMs are timeless, so I was able to find one to use. 

I also thought about storifying how to navigate Medicare and Medicaid paperwork. I know that’s a behemoth task.  Perhaps I should really consider storifying LAME library.


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Message in an (internet) Bottle (of sorts)

For my second audio assignment this week, I completed Taking Back Spam from the Audio Assignment Bank

The sources I used to search for SPAM mail were my personal e-mail accounts; however, I soon found that I did not have very interesting things in my SPAM folder.  The one SPAM mail I finally settled on was an e-mail from someone trying to make a personal connection…by sending SPAM mail!

I used Audacity to record myself in a baby voice reading the e-mail.  I have a negative opinion of women who talk in baby voices with their partners in romantic relationships. So, I applied this “ridiculousness” to this assignment. The SPAM mail reminds me of those messages in a bottle that people throw into the ocean in hopes of stranger picking it up and taking action on the message. To create that ambience, I layered the recording with an audio file of waves crashing against rocks I used an audio file that I did not use on the Sound Effects Story assignment, which I had downloaded from FreeSound. I exported the Audacity file to MP3 and uploaded it to SoundCloud, so I can embed it to this blog post.

Below is the screenshot of the SPAM e-mail and the photo I used for the SoundCloud avatar:

Image


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Storify this: Medicare and Medicaid

I realize as I am typing this storifying idea that this is going to be way over my head. However, the subject of Medicare and Medicaid  has been foremost in my mind for the past two months, due to a parent’s ongoing medical issues. Then this past week, there was an opportunity for me to be staffed on a Medicaid-related project. So, if I were to take this subject on for my final project, I would storify how to navigate the Medicare and Medicaid paperwork required to get the benefits.

In honor of today’s Easter holiday, below is a political cartoon (2010) created regarding health care costs. I found it using Google Image search for “medicare Medicaid cartoon.”medicare


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Scorpions, Bulls, and a Lion, Oh My!

Since my birthday is in November (proud Scorpio!), the segment I worked on in this week’s Charlie Chaplin video was from 2:01-2:30. Those whose birthday is in May worked on the same segment, hence I used the associated astrological signs in the blog post title.
At first, I just watched my assigned thirty-second segment. Then I watched the entire clip (three minutes and 26 seconds long) and certain things, such as the woman at the end of my segment, made sense after context was added. Although this assignment was only a 30-second segment, I thought I would break it down further into 5 second increments to make it manageable. Putting the actions in matrix helped me plan out the foley sounds I needed to create. See table below:

Segment Action Foley Sound Required Sound Added Created with:
02:01 – 02:05 Lion gets up and sniffs Charlie
  • Paw walking
  • Sniffing
  •  Flip flop sandal on carpet
  • Me
02:06 – 02:10 Lion turns around and lays down on its stomach Paw walking Flip flop sandal on carpet
02:11 – 02:15 Lion puts down head on its paws; black screen; Charlie looks at camera then he feels around his pockets Cat purrClothes rustling Me
02:16 – 02:20 Charlie checks his pockets and shows a face of relief. He looks over to the lion. Sigh of relief“Hmmm!” Me
02:21 – 02:25 The lion turns on his back, as if scratching it on the floor of the cage Scratching Finger nails on magnet
02:26 – 02:30 Charlie looks bored, after realizing that the lion is not interested in eating him. He holds on the cage bars. Camera shows fainted woman getting up and looking back at the cage.
  • Flesh on steel
  • Sigh
  • Two coins clinking
  • Me

I found items I can use to simulate the sounds required.  The most challenging foley for me to create was Charlie’s hand on the steel bars of the cage. I finally settled on clinking two coins togehter, because it was more audible than me recording my hand hitting an iron bar.  I recorded the audio file in SoundCloud. It took several takes and the final product is less than perfect. It is also 3 seconds shorter than the video segment assigned.

Below is a photo of my “foley studio” (items I used to create the foley for this assignment: foley

 


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Sounds Like an Adventure


The story I created is from the point of view of my loyal travel companion, Becki the backpack (see photos). Becki and I have been traveling together for a decade. This story is a forty-five second snapshot of a day in the life of Becki.

…I sit patiently, and empty, as she books flights on her favorite airline website. I wonder where we are going next and how soon. More importantly, what is she going to stuff me with? Hopefully, not the work laptop; it’s too big and I’m not equipped to provide the necessary cushion. Ahhh, no laptop. Just clothes and a travel pillow this time. And she remembered to remove the new Swiss Army knife before it got confiscated. Again. Whee! Off we go! I’m sitting on top of the large suitcase as she wheels us through the airport. I’ll have to say a temporary goodbye to Mr. Suitcase soon, as she’ll be taking him to the TSA folks for additional screening of checked bags. The trip through the x-ray machine was a breeze, on account of no laptop and no utility knife. I’m now safely stowed in the overhead compartment. I’ve got plenty of room since it’s not a full flight. But wait! There is disadvantage to this as I get tossed around during turbulence. Ugh, not good. Now I’m upside down. Three more hours to go. Yes, we have arrived! What a relief. And I’ve never been to this place before, so I expect I’ll be getting a new patch by the end of this trip. If only there was enough room…

I downloaded over five minutes of audio from FreeSound to create this Sound Effects Story Assignment. I tried the other websites, but found FreeSound to be the easiest to work with. After considering the story spine, I excluded three of the audio files originally downloaded and using Audacity, further edited the files I ended up using to create a story that is roughly 45 seconds long.

Below is a screenshot of my Audacity project for the Sound Effects Story:

Sounds Like an Adventure (Sound Effects Story screenshot)

Sounds Like an Adventure (Sound Effects Story screenshot)

Below is a matrix that maps each track to the audio file used for this assignment:

Key Sound File Name Duration

1

Keyboard Keyboard_typing.wav 00:09
2 Rummaging through luggage   00:26
3 Rolling bag Rolling bag.wav 00:16
4 X-ray Xray belt.aif 00:10
5 Airline Turbulence Airline-pilot-turbulence-announcement.wav 00:17
6 Bag Rattling Sounds for Earthquakes-textile.wav 00.09
7 Airplane arrival Arrival’s instruction/consignes arriv.wav 02:23

8

Female sigh Z1.aiff 00:02

Since downloading the LAME library, in order to get the MP3 encoder, I’ve had trouble with my Internet Explorer, and other web browsers. This slowed down considerably completion of this and other assignments this week, which added frustration to an already trying week.