The second and final video project I chose to do this week is the 4-and-a-half (?!) star Narrative Ambiance assignment. I chose it because I thought it would be easy. I was dead. wrong.
I like to film the weather – if it’s raining, windy, snowing, you know I’ve got a few minutes of video of it. I make videos of the trees in my neighborhood in fall, too. There’s always that one specific day when all the trees are at their most brilliant colors: yellows, oranges, and those amazing, beautiful REDS! All cast against a cloudy, gray autumn sky. But for this project, I wanted to use some of my videos of snowfall, because I’d come across a poem that hit me in the heart.
Carl Phillips’ White Dog, to me, is about knowing when it’s time to let something go. This past October, we had to make the decision to let our beloved cat go. He was only 14, but he knew it was his time. We couldn’t make him stay for us. To let him go that autumn was to really, finally, totally let him go. He was an indoor/outdoor cat, but this was the one time he wouldn’t be slinking back through our door. We wanted to let him go because we loved him, and that was that.
The snowfall as a visual was more than a “poem about snow -> snow video” thing, too. Snow and winter is usually used to represent death, or at least a long slumber. I think that’s partly why the poem itself reminded me of the critters we’ve had to say goodbye to – imagining them bouncing off through the snow, disappearing into it!!
This project was HARD, not just like “I had computer trouble” but I had to take a few breaks now and then to love on our living pets. There was a lot of stuff with Windows Movie Maker that I got frustrated with – I feel like I must have a crappy version, like the one they give you to try and convince you to buy the full version. I had the worst time trying to tack on the opening and closing credits without them being “white text on black screen” blech. Anyway, the music I used for the background is Snowfall (final) by ShadyDave on Freesound.org.
The first video assignment I chose to do for the week is the 4-star Six Second Art project. I’ll say right now that I’m no artist – I can’t draw for beans, I can’t paint, I can’t dance, and I can’t sing. I have shaky hands so anything that requires a gentle touch is out the window. Woosh. Bye bye, art that isn’t of the abstract performance variety!
What I am kinda good at is origami. For this video I decided I wanted to make a paper crane. When I was younger I used to make them all the time – I really wanted to make 1,000 cranes. As the legend goes, if you have the patience to make 1,000 paper cranes, you’ll get to ask the gods for a wish. I always went by the “you have to make them all in one year” rule, so I never made it to 1,000.
Instead, I’d try to challenge myself in other ways – what was the smallest crane I could possibly make? The biggest? I tried using all different kinds of paper too. Newspaper, construction paper, tissue paper… I think once I actually tried to make one using just plain old tissues. Pretty sure it didn’t go well.
Learning how to fold the crane was a really tough process for me, especially since it was a few years before everyone started posting How-To videos on Youtube. I had to go by crazy diagrams that were hard to figure out. But in the end I was able to do it, and even though I needed a “refresher course” to make the ones for this video, being able to fold them is something that I’m proud of. I realize that posting a video where my process is sped up 160% is exactly the opposite of what I would have wanted to find 10 years ago, but… that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
The worst part about doing this assignment had nothing to do with the editing process – it was positioning my freaking camera. I didn’t have anyone on hand to help me out with this in the way of filming… I was hoping someone would hold my phone over my shoulder, but nope. Instead, I had a setup that ended up looking like this. Behold, my terrible art skills!
I had a BOX in my face the whole time. ARGH. It was a bit of a struggle getting the video from my phone to the computer (I use Google photos and have my camera roll sync to that when I open the app, but the video was nearly 3 minutes so it took a while to upload). But after getting it into Windows Movie Maker, it was pretty much smooth sailing for me. I chose a shamisen for the music track because it reminded me of Kubo and the Two Strings – a beautiful stop-motion film by Laika that was ROBBED OF AN OSCAR and features origami and the shamisen. Here’s a gallery of my process –