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Media Production Projects

Media Production Projects
Every project you submit must be given a title.

We will critique the projects over the course of two days. You will not know which day you will present until the Monday of our critique. Therefore, your project must be ready to present on Monday. If your critique doesn't fall on Monday, and you decide to make changes before Wednesday, you must be prepared to present us with both versions.

Our critiques will follow this framework:
Critique Guide

This guide is also beneficial to help you understand what I want you to be thinking about as you make you creative work. If you can answer these questions about your own work, you'll be approaching the level of creative sophistication I expect from you.

1/22 & 1/24
Individual project.

Your first project is a series of images.
• Take 20-30 images.
• Choose 6-8 of the images.
• Decide on an order for your series ('no order' is an acceptable choice).
• Decide how you will present your series to us.

I'll be looking for:
• Effective use of technique: exposure, white balance, focus.
• Interesting exploration of aethetics: framing, composition, lighting.
• Creation of a finished project that explores, reveals, questions, engages.

2/19 & 2/21
Project can be individual or in pairs.

Your first project is a short edited video. You may choose any mode you want: fiction, documentary, experimental, etc.
• Design and storyboard your shots.
• Shoot + edit video. Use a camera log to keep track of your shots.
• Make sure you record and use the production audio.
• Use at least one example of multitrack sound.

I'll be looking for:
• Technique + Aethetics: motion, editing, and sound.
• Do not simply lay a music track down. You must explore different uses of sound.
• You should improve on, and further challenge, your skills gathered on the first project.

Helpful documents for motion project (.ZIP file).

3/20 & 3/25
Individual project. If you wish to work in pairs, the pair must come up with two collaborative projects.

Your third project is only sound.
• Record audio using a variety of microphones.
• Edit and mix multiple tracks of audio.
• Create an effective mix.

I'll be looking for:
• Technique: Recording, editing, mixing.
• Aethetics: mixing, layering, texture, separation/joining of sounds.
• Effective use of the stereo space.

4/8 & 4/10
Final Project
Individual, pair, or group project.

As your final statement in the class, you are welcome to work in any medium you wish. This is your chance to follow your muse, challenge yourself, begin (or continue) an ongoing project of your own creation.

If you're having trouble thinking of a project, you might consider doing a "found footage" work:
• Find some visual, motion, and/or sonic material.
• Recontextualize it to alter the original meaning or create new meanings.

Your participation in the class exercises is part of your participation grade.

You have five exercises, worth 5pts. each. Exercises 1, 3, 4, 5 have a written component that must be submitted on the day of the presentation. These written portion must include correct citations and a bibliography.
Exercise #2 has no written component, but you must be present in class on both days in order to get full credit.

Exercise #1: Media transformations
For your first exercise you will explore how media 'transforms' and 're-presents' in the process of recording.
First, find an object that is meaningful to you in some way. This object could hold very personal meanings, memories, or reminders. This object might hold social and cultural meaning for you, ways you connect to your people or community.
Using any camera you like, use the technological and aesthetic tools at your disposable to 'reveal' the meanings of this object. Use the tools of framing, composition, lighting, focus, lens choice, etc. to show us what the object means to you. You should take a number of images in order to find the right representation of this object
In class you'll show us one image that you feel reveals and represents the object to us. First, we'll discuss what we see, then you'll have a chance to discuss what your intentions were.

By 11:59pm on Sunday 1/21, please submit to me a 1-2 page, double-spaced summary of your media transformation exercise with correct citations.

In addition to showing us the image, you'll also create a short presentation in which you answer the following questions:

• After hearing your classmates' discussions of your re-presentation, how far off were you from your intentions?
• Using the articles that we've read (including those listed for today's class), discuss how your image is 'doing the work' of media representation. How are you using the technical and aesthetic tools at your disposable to create meaing?
• How is the physical recording 'inscribed into relations of power' as Orgad says? In other words, in what ways are you attempting to include and emphasize some possible meanings while marginalizing other possible meanings?

2/12 & 2/14
Exercise #2: In-class narrative workshop
To help us understand the process of creating narrative work, we will have an in-class narrative workshop.
• The class will be divided into two groups of 5-6 students.
• Each group will be given a short scene between two characters.
• You'll divide the labor into five (or six) positions: two actors, director, cinematographer, sound recordist (and possibly assistant camera/clapper/script supervisor).
• As a group, you'll storyboard, block, shoot, and act the scene over the course of two classes.
• Before the final day of class, you'll edit the footage into a scene.

I expect you to use storyboards and the shot log during the shoot. You will find both linked above, in the "Helpful documents for motion project" ZIP file.

Exercise #3: 'Deep Listening'
To help you pay attention to the complexity of sound, you'll spend some time doing an ethnographic examination of the sounds of the everyday.
With a partner or alone, you'll go a find a space that you can occupy for 1-2 hours. Sit and listen to the sound in the space. Take detailed notes on what you hear. Listen for sounds that you notice that you might otherwise ignore or dismiss. Listen to the sounds of people, and the ways that people sonically behave in the space. Listen to the sounds of media and technology, and how they interact with the space. Pay attention to any types of regulations, etiquette, boundaries, or anything else that seems to influence/control/demand the functioning of sound.

Record a short section of the sound that you think displays some of the interesting relationships of sound. Create a 5 minute presentation in which you present your findings and your recording. You must relate your sound observations to at least two concepts, one each from two different readings listed for today.

Exercise #4: Sound in Media
With a group, you will be assigned one of the concepts from the two chapters of M. Chion's Audio Vision, listed on 3/18. Using this concept, you'll apply it the analysis of a scene from a film or TV show.
You and your partner will create a 10 minute presentation in which you'll be expected to accurately define the concept, apply the concept to the scene, and propose that specific meanings are revealed when you analyze the scene through the framework of this concept.

The concepts:
• Fidelity vs. definition:
Fiona Dong, Valeria Vazquez

• Rendering vs. reproduction:
Allison Albach, Patrick Song

• Spatial and subjective point of audition:
Hawi Asiko, Mina Schiller

• Materializing sound indices:
Soluchi Enwerekowe, Jake Poulis, Hailey Lowenstein

• Offscreen space: relative vs. absolute, active vs. passive, offscreen trash:
Alden Gisholt Minard, Tuan Pham

Exercise #5: 'Found materials' presentation.
As a group, you'll be assigned one of the four readings listed below. Using the ideas and concepts from this article, you'll create/"find"/steal/present an "object" that illustrates for us how the author discusses the complexities of found/recontextualized art.
You'll begin by summarizing the author's key points, then present us with your object and explain how this object illustrates the author's ideas.
You are strongly encouraged to be as creative as possible with your object. You can involve us in the creation process: your "object" could be an activity or process we, as your audience, take part in.

Eno, "Generating and Organizing Variety in the Arts":
• Alden Gisholt Minard, Tuan Pham, Allison Albach

Chris Cutler, "Plunderphonia":
• Soluchi Enwerekowe, Jake Poulis, Hailey Lowenstein

Daphne Keller, "The Musician as Thief: Digital Culture and Copyright Law":
• Hawi Asiko, Mina Schiller

Paul D. Miller, "In Through the Out Door: Sampling and the Creative Act":
• Fiona Dong, Valeria Vazquez, Patrick Song

In-class presentation 4/1 & 4/3

Your penultimate project will be the presentation of your manifesto. This project has two steps: you'll create a manifesto, and you'll design a presentation of that manifesto for us.

There are two expectations I have for your manifesto:
• Reflect on the work you've done this semester.
• Reflect on who you are, or would like to be, as a media maker.

There are three expectations for your manifesto project presentation:
• I expect you to be creative in the design of the presentation. Your presentation can take any form you wish. The more creative, the better.
•I expect you to address the boundaries of the presentation context. Your space is our classroom, your time is the duration of our class, your audience is the class.
• I expect you will organize the feedback portion. You can ask us specific questions and tell us what you'd like us to do in response to what you present.

The purpose of the manifesto is to encourage you, as a maker, thinker, scholar, and producer of media to consider your voice.

All semester you'll be created media, making choices, critiquing your choices, examining the work you make for its successes and failures. Hopefully, you'll be developing an idea of what ideas and perspectives and purposes you feel most connected to. Are there stories that you feel like you'd like to tell? Theories or agendas you have magnetized to?

Your manifesto should be a statement of self-critique and self-awareness. It should reflect your knowledge of media production, of terms, techniques, and theories, and it should reflect on your work in the class.

Your manifesto, as a project, should begin the first moment you begin to make media work in this class. From the first choice you make, you are beginning to formulate who you are. Start taking notes or keeping a diary, recording your choices and you feel about them.