Author: jws72

Letter to Myself

I didn’t know what to do, so I just started writing like I’m DJ Spooky. Feel free to rate my forgery in class.


Dear Me,

Who is myself? Is it the convergence and culmination of a thousand brightly colored, pre-packaged mixed media vectors distilled in open-source sanitariums swirling through the digital soundscape and sneaking into my subconscious only to bubble up and boil over into my frontal lobes? What is the wetness of water? The aboutness of an object? Is my unconquerable soul brought to you by Xerox in 4 parts without commercial interruption?

These are the lyrics of a man you can’t merely understand, because a dream deferred solidifies in the hand of James Joyce as he hurls it at Proust’s looking glass, leaving as many shards as their are torrents on the Pirate Bay. Mental graffiti. Turntabling the shoulders of giants in a reaffirmation of the self using Ezra Pound as a color palette.

This is a letter from a Birmingham jail written by a free man in Pennsylvania. Rhythm science. Only the idiot stays tied in Plato’s cave assimilating binary code like a broken record set to record. Rhythm science is not a re-cord, but a re-write.

Every master is a remastering. A rematerializing along the imaginative plane manifest in the freestyle fencing matches of comment sections. Post and riposte. Rhythm Science the digital postmaster without being post modern, post menstrual, or post mortum. Remix is a fertile multi-celled organism constantly dividing, mutating, and risking absurdity in the mitosis of expression.

Torrent Science. Media vectors deferred assimilated into giant turntables. The lyrics of my frontal lobes distilled by a multi-celled looking glass. What is the aboutness of water? The wetness of my Xerox soul? 4 parts of commercial interruption swirling through the digital sanitarium converge and culminate in my brightly colored dream graffiti.

Rotating and Flipping Footage

In our class lab, I came across some effects that allowed one to Vertically Flip or Horizontally Flip an image. The effect bothered me, though, because there was no control over the many degrees between a full horizontal or vertical flip. For this exercise, I tried to find a way to rotate precisely an image in Adobe Premiere Pro and eventually found one with Basic 3D. You can still use the old vertical and horizontal flips by going to: Effects – Video Effects – Transform – Horizontal Flip & Vertical Flip. However, the greater amount of control in Basic 3D might be more useful.

I started with some stock footage from that I imported into Adobe Premiere Pro. Then I went to: Effects – Perspective – Basic 3D. You can just drag Basic 3D into your clip.

john screenshot

Then go to the “Effect Controls” panel and click the small triangle to see the drop down menu for Basic 3D.

john screenshot 2

By controlling the circle next to “Swivel” you can rotate your video along a horizontal axis. By going 180 degrees you create a horizontal flip as seen below. But you can also rotate any number of degrees (0 to 360) as you see fit.

john screenshot 3

Below “Swivel” is “Tilt” and that controls any vertical movements. Again, you can go 180 degrees to create the vertical flip seen below, or you can control the precise number of degrees (0 to 360) that you would like to rotate.

john screenshot 4

This looks a bit ridiculous with a tractor, but these techniques could be useful when editing. For example, if someone shot an interview with someone in the right of the frame, but then started shooting them on the left. The camera has crossed the “invisible line” and may disorient viewers when they see the subject go from the right side of a conversation to the left. With some careful rotations, though, an editor might be able to flip the person from the left side to the right or at least lessen lessen the effects of the switch.

Music and Editing in A Brief History of John Baldessari

The obvious point of “A Brief History of John Baldessari” is to provide audiences with insights into the life of famed artist John Baldessari. To that end, I thought the piece combined audio and visual cues subtly to indicate some of Baldessari’s own interests, specifically the American West. The main theme of the video is the final section of the William Tell Overture – a famous piece in its own right, but often remembered as the main theme song for the Lone Ranger T.V. series. Within the interviews, Baldessari asks about Clint Eastwood’s height and reveals that he has a large collection of still photographs many of which involve cowboys on horses and American Indians.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 2.51.46 PM

Archival photographs also show one of a small child – assumed to be Baldessari – dressed as a cowboy and riding a horse.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 2.49.34 PM

As the piece transitions to Baldessari’s more famous work, we see one of his famous dot pictures with a cowboy as a subject.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 2.59.06 PM

What impresses me, is that so much of this video focuses on showing audiences Baldessari’s work that the makers could easily skip over the artist’s own personal interests. However, they chose a main musical theme in combination with their interviews, archival photographs, and Baldessari’s famous work to indicate the artist’s personal interests. This provides a much better look into who the artist is as a person.

With Baldessari’s hobbies in the background, the short film creates the affect of his work through fast pacing and editing in combination with the audio. Similar to DJ Spooky, the artist’s work has strong connections to remixing – his most influential pieces combine famous and stock photographs with various original touches, particularly his dots, to form witty, surreal takes on modern art. Likewise, the film employs the public domain William Tell Overture, known for it’s fast paced musical score, along with images owned by the artist both world renowned and obscure. Layered in with that are the interviews with Baldessari that the filmmakers shot themselves and the voice over narration from Tom Waits – a famous voice that they had to write scripts for. All of these elements of collage and montage cohere in the fast-paced editing that marks the short film. Often with the William Tell Overture comes a colorful barrage of artwork. The exciting, slightly disorienting manner in which the filmmakers mix together famous and obscure images against the audio mirrors the affect of Baldessari’s work. Audiences gain a much better perspective on the life of the artist this way as opposed to filmmakers who might create a slideshow of his best or most expensive pieces.

Question: Aside from the William Tell Overture, the short film also uses samples from the Carmen Suite No. 2. How does this slower, more subdued music impact the affect of the film? How can contrasting music cues improve our own projects?

Deeper Voices for Radio

On Audacity there is an effect called “Low Pass Filter” that can slightly muffle the sound of someone’s voice. I think the overall effect makes the person’s voice sound better for radio, especially when using lower end equipment that might make a person’s voice sound tinny.

I started with a sample of my little sister’s voice.


Then I went to the top menu labeled “Effect” and scrolled down to “Low Pass Filter.”


This brings up the Low Pass Filter menu. Here you have two options to control: Rolloff and Cutoff Frequency. I kept Rolloff at 6 dB which is the lowest option. Higher options will make the voice sound increasingly muffled. The Cutoff is set to 1000, but you can make a voice more muffled by lowering the Hz or less muffled by raising the Hz.


Afterwards you can see how it changed the sound.


I think it gives a person’s voice a deeper, fuller sound that is more suited to radio. This might just be me, but I also think that the Low Pass Filter cuts down on background noises as well. This effect works well with the Normalizing effect that we briefly mentioned in class as both help recordings sound more pleasing to the ear. Finally, if you want to look for the opposite effect, there is a High Pass Filter located right above this one.

Shifting Tones in This American Life

This episode of NPR’s This American Life contains a prologue and four acts focused on superpowers and the interactions between real life people and the superheroes of their fantasies. 

Listening to This American Life, I noticed a pattern in the tone of the show. Almost all of the segments started with very lighthearted touches before gradually shifting to the more serious unifying element of the piece. Act One, for example, had comedian John Hodgman pose a seemingly whimsical question to friends: Would you rather have the power to turn invisible or to fly? Interviews with unnamed friends talking about sneaking into places, stealing, going to bars, or not having to ride the bus are interspersed and there is a fun, easygoing attitude to it. The unifying narration of John Hodgman, though, drives the piece forward and soon the characters start to examine the underlying human desires that drive their wishes for invisibility and flight. At which point the interviews revealing the darker explorations people had of the powers: voyeurism, spying, arrogance, etc. This shift in tone over time through carefully planned voice over narration and the arrangements of conversations seems to be an excellent way of getting an audience’s attention before leading them to a serious exploration of who we are as people.
These tonal shifts appear in the other acts and act four especially uses a number of sonic techniques to shift from the comedic to the serious. Glynn Washington’s highly conversational tone and use of slang devolve serious comic tropes into the absurd. One example that had me laughing was when he said, “So I trailed Superman in my special seein’ everything machine.” In a comic book I’m sure that would have a long imposing name, but his more practical, true to life title provides an ironic contrast to super-villain severity. Moreover, he also employs sound effects to parallel his narration. Crowd noises will appear when he talks about crowds, a shriek plays in the background when Superman shrieks, and other parallels appear in his broadcast. So along with music and the various feelings that music can excite in an audience, Washington’s diction, voice, and paralleling background sounds converge to create shifting moods in the audience as his piece moves from lighthearted comic book jokes to an analysis of the darker aspects of the Superman character.
I want to keep these uses of sound in mind when I make my sound project, because they can make my project engaging for audiences by creating subtle changes in mood and emotion that ultimately lead to my point.
Question: I wrote at length about sound paralleling narrative, but what effects do you think sound contrasting the narrative could have? For instance, what if someone took serious love poetry and interspersed it with crowds laughing? Does something like this fit with your project?

Automatically Linking to Other Pages

As far as I know this line of code is not in anyone’s project, but it may be worth looking at. In the header of your page (between <head> and </head>) you can add a line of code that automatically links your page to another one after a certain number of seconds. The example below includes the line of code. refreshcode

Aside from the standard HTML code it reads: <head><meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”10;URL=”></head>.

The first section – <meta http-equiv=”refresh” – is what tells the page to refresh. Afterwards, the content section – content=”10 – tells the page to refresh after 10 seconds. I just picked 10 seconds, because I wanted to prove quickly that it worked. Your page can be set to refresh after upwards of 300 seconds. Finally, the section – URL=”> – is where the page links to. For this example I picked Google, because it is a common website. You, however, can put in any URL from outside pages like Google, to the next page in your Photo Essay project, etc.

I checked the code with a really quick website that looks like this:

beforepageAnd after 10 seconds, it links to Google.


So if someone had their photo essay on different pages and wanted to link them together automatically, this is a quick way he or she could do that.