Author: krs134

My Experience of Composing Digital Media in a Nutshell

            Ahhh… Composing Digital Media. I took this course simply to fulfill a writing intensive credit. I have a talent for art that wasn’t being put into use in the medical field so now I had the opportunity to relinquish my pent up creativity onto new mediums. I figured I wouldn’t have to do as much writing as a more literature based writing course, so it would be a breeze. Ha! I remember walking in the first day and hearing the syllabus. We were told about the numerous projects and how we were going to have to spend countless hours outside of the classroom learning skills and doing most of our work on the projects. This is the point where I started to question what the heck I was doing here, but something was telling me I signed up for this class for a reason. I thought maybe she was joking and just trying to scare us away, but now as I’m sitting here trying to remix my last video project on the last week of class, I know this was no joke. I can honestly say after taking many difficult classes thus far a Pitt I have yet to put as much time into a single class as this.

While daunting, you get out of this class what you put into. The amount skills we have accomplished in this class in astounding in the short time we had together. I’ve heard of whole courses dedicated to single, simple programs such as Word and Excel, but we managed to utilize numerous. While I have had some previous experience in Photoshop, this class was a much needed refresher and only broadened my comfort with the program. I had always wanted to learn how to code websites but have never pursued it, because I deemed it too intimidating and complex to learn on my own. Through this course though I was able to rapidly learn and create my own website in less than a week. After learning multiple programs I feel a lot more confident in myself handling all sorts of media.

            Ultimately, I am glad I had chosen to tough it out in this class. Although I may not need all these abilities in my line of work, I feel accomplished to have diversified myself and picked up this vast skillset that may come in handy at some point or another. Beyond just the skills, I learned I could accomplish anything I put my mind too. Like I said earlier although I am proficient in art, which didn’t so much correlate as much as I had originally planned, this was a whole new realm for me out of my science based knowledge background. I feel that the readings from DJ Spooky and deep thought discussions of archiving methods, definitions, and how much our lives are immersed in the archive, I have become better rounded and I am grateful for it. I was opened up to perspectives I have never heard before and offered my own. As tedious as it was at times, Composing Digital Media was a very rewarding class.


How to Create a Diagonal Split Screen:

Import three videos and stack them on top of each other in your timeline. Go to the effects browser and apply the “Offset” effect to all three videos.


Go back to your effects browser and type “image matte” and select the “Image Matte Key.” Apply that filter to all three clips as well.

Now select the video on track three and go to the effect controls. Change the composite using under the Image Matte Key settings from “Matte Alpha” to “Matte Luma.”


Next, you must download the diagonal matte .png files. Here is a safe link where you can download them (

Click on the “Setup…” button next to the Image Matte Key effect and locate the file you have just downloaded and select the Diagonal Left.png file and click on it to apply it to this layer.


Use the “Offset” function to adjust the frame to show exactly what you want to see.


Repeat this step for the other two clips. For the clip on track 2, use the Diagonal Center.png Matte and for the clip on track 1, use the Diagonal Right.png Matte. Once again remembering to offset the videos to show exactly what you want.


Once you have applied your mattes to each track, it is time to animate each track.

On track 3 set a keyframe for the initial position then scan over 15 frames and set another keyframe. Go back to the first keyframe and slide the frame off screen in a left diagonal motion and readd the keyframe. This will allow the video track to slide down from outside the left frame.


Now we can animate the other two videos to slide in. Select the second track and scan in 15 frames from the clips endpoint and add a keyframe, then scan over another 15 frames and set another keyframe. Go back to the first keyframe and slide the frame off screen in a left diagonal motion and readd the keyframe. Try not to overlap this track with the left or right ones.


Finally, we can animate the last video. Select track one and scan in 30 frames from the clips end point and add a keyframe, then scan over another 15 frames and set another keyframe. Go back to the first keyframe and slide the frame off screen in a left diagonal motion and readd the keyframe. Try not to overlap this track with the center one.

Press enter to render your clips and you should now have a nice cascading diagonal split screen! 

The Day in the Life of Amar

            As technology is developing so rapidly now a days, members of first world countries and the privileged tend to take their lifestyles for granted and find ways to ease our situations with the least amount of work.  The short documentary Amar (All Great Achievement Require Time), beautifully illustrates the life of a boy who was not born into such privilege but shows passion and determination to break his current situation. 

            The director, Andrew Hilton, saw the drive in the teenager and captured a day in the life of Amar using an observational style documentary.  This was a very wise decision since Amar’s actions do not need explanation as to why they should be admired.  Using the strategies of the purest of observational documentaries, Hilton choice not to include music, interviews, or narration of any kind.  I believe this aided to Amar’s authenticity since we, as viewers are able to watch and draw our own conclusions about his life with any influence.  The filming’s affect is very personal and intimate without being intrusive to the characters.  Hilton’s camera work is done so well that it gives me a feeling like the camera isn’t even there.

            Beyond this Hilton’s scene selections is expertly weaves twenty hours of Amar’s life into a nine-minute clip.  Cutting down twenty hours into nine minutes of footage would be very difficult, but is done so smoothly that the viewer never feels like they are even missing out on anything.  There is never any moment where we not caught up in his hustling life.  It definitely improves the affect of drive and perseverance in the film since he has no down time besides eating with his family, and even then he is in assistance.   While I have never met Amar and have never heard anything about him before this clip, after watching it I feel very close to him and can feel his struggle and ambition.  This is definitely one of the most powerful short documentaries I have ever seen.


Question: The observational style used in this documentary is very effective in its affective purposes.  How could I possibility use this to help me create my desired affect?

How to Create a Robot Voice in Audacity

We will begin by opening Audacity and recording a short voice recording, or use a previously recorded voice.


 If there is any excess noise from the recording you can highlight the audio and go to effects and “Noise Removal…” When the next window pops up just press okay.


 Now go ahead and trim off the excesses recording scrap by selecting the bars that are not recorded and pressing delete.


 Next we copy the existing sound piece add a new track from the “Tracks” tab in the top bar and select “Stereo Track.” Paste the copied sound piece to the new track.


Now highlight the second track and go to “effects” and apply “Echo…” with a delay time of 0.04 and Decay factor of 0.6.


 It is now starting to sound a bit like a robot.  Next, you can lower the pitch of the second track by again going to “effects” and pressing “Change Pitch…” and set it to    -10.


Copy the first track once again and make a new stereo track and paste the sound piece in again as we did previously.


Now on this third track, go into the “effects” menu and select “Change Tempo…” with a percent change of -3.


Congratulations, you now have your very own robot voice! 

Audio Analysis of Lament for Joe Hall

In Lament for Joe Hall, Matt Gray presents his interpretation of the Jeff Hall murder from the point of view of the son Joe Hall.  The soundtrack begins with a twitchy, high pitch feedback that made me cringe with its headache inducing frequency.  This sound is coupled with the boy’s somber monotone voice introducing his life as a failure and what sounds like parents arguing.  This introduction not only begs me to turn down the buzzing high pitch but really gives me insight into how irritated, confused, frustrated the muddled thoughts in young Joe Hall’s head must have been during this time in his life.  As I listened on it seemed to me that he wanted this sound that was troubling his head to end as well and knew of only one solution.

            Once this loud screech ended a child’s voice bluntly introduces the troubled life Joe Hall faced.  Whether it was intentional for this purpose or not I believe the use of a child to do the voice was genius since many people naturally have a greater inclination to listen and have more compassion for a child.  The rhetoric bluntness of his initial statement draws in my attention in a way that makes me want to hear more and see how he dealt with such troubles.

            The brief moments between talking were coupled with more unsettling frequencies.  These frequencies deliver an uncomfortable affect analogous to the agitating occurrences that young boy was facing.  Matt used rhetoric to show the controlling detrimental behavior of Jeff Hall by using phrases and words like, “he read me,” “he made me,” and “he said I needed to.” By using these phrases he shows how Joe lacked free will and how his father influenced him in ways he had no say in. 

            Around half way in when Joe is explaining a time when his dad took him out to the border to look for “illegals” Matt couples the speech with outside type creepy music with dogs barking to create an affect that made the listener sound like they were out there with them.  The eeriness of the background music mimics the nervousness and anxiety that Joe was experiencing at the time.

            Overall, Matt does an excellent job utilizing rhetoric, sound, and other audio sources to create effective affect that keeps the listener engaged throughout the entire story and binds us with similar feelings that Joe may have been facing even though much of the talking is monotone without emotion in itself.


Question: What types of assisting audio can we fuse into our projects to create the desired appeal to emotion?  What types of sounds evoke which emotions?

How to Make a Search Bar Using HTML

First, open up the Dreamweaver application and create an html or add to a current html project.

Next, while under the <body> section, create a div class by typing

<div class=”search”>

Press enter to drop to the next line then tab in and type:

<form action=””>.

(I used my url here for example sake but you will put your own url).

Press enter again and drop to the next line then type:

<input type=”text” name=”search” placeholder=”Enter Keyword Here…”/>

Drop to the next line then type:

<input type=”submit” value=”Search Here”/>

Drop to another line and close the form by typing </form>

Make sure all tags are ended and the code should appear as such.