Category Archives: Sabrina Black

The Feel Good Closet

Volunteers are at the heart of nonprofit organizations. Sara Asher, a volunteer for Ophelia’s Place, gave her time, energy and heart to a project to help girls feel good about themselves. The Feel Good Closet is the result of her continuing efforts. Asher holds Feel Good Closet events for girls at Ophelia’s Place, a local nonprofit organization that creates a safe community for girls ages 10-18.

The Feel Good Closet allows girls to choose fashionable clothes, regardless of size, and at no financial cost. For each event, the closet is stuffed with clothes donated by individuals and companies throughout the community.

Asher saw where she had more than she needed, and where some girls didn’t have enough. The closet plays into the social issues involving financial standings and personal appearance. The Feel Good Closet events allow girls to forget any financial struggles their families may be experiencing and gives them the opportunity to silence what the media says is beautiful or attractive. With Asher’s hard work and support from Ophelia’s Place, girls are encouraged to feel good about who they are, how they look, and what they have to offer the world.

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Fictitious Multimedia

It didn’t occur to me before further exploring MediaStorm that people use multimedia techniques to tell fictitious stories as well as news stories. Makes perfect sense and now that I think about it you can see it everywhere, sometimes moreso than with news stories, documentary pieces or information pieces. That being said though, I wouldn’t necessarily consider movies or films to be multimedia necessarily, so for the sake of argument I’m just going to classify movies and films as separate beasts entirely, though they certainly contain multimedia aspects. (For those who strongly disagree, I will say that watching a DVD is definitely considered multimedia because of the number of options you have for special features, scene selection, language, etc.–It’s the freedom to choose what you want to watch and how you want to watch it.)

The story that I found on MediaStorm is called The Party. I have to say that it’s a very strange and actually kind of disturbing 10-minute story. Not something I would have ever expected to find on MediaStorm. Despite this story’s strange/disturbing qualities, it’s still interesting to see how multimedia is used here. There’s the video, there’s a brief written piece by the writer/director, and there’s room for comments (of which there are plenty, both praising the video and criticizing MediaStorm for its presence there). It was kind of nice to see multimedia used in a creative, fictitious way even though I have to say I didn’t care for the story as much.

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In transition

After watching a couple of multimedia videos, one from the New York Times website and the other from MediaStorm, I have to say that I’m a little confused about how people choose their transition styles.

Though the two pieces that I watched were incredibly different, I noticed that they both primarily consisted of hard cut transitions, though there seemed to be some fades and dissolves in places that I didn’t entirely understand. I kept look for a pattern, a style, or a theme–something to indicate why the transitions were made how they were and I’m still slightly baffled.

The piece from MediaStorm I thought I may have figured out until I got to the end of the 15-minute video and discovered that it wasn’t as consistent as I thought it was. I watched Intended Consequences (talk about devastating!) and tried to note what transitions were made and how. I thought at first maybe each new person was introduced through a fade-in transition and then all of the associated photos or video had hard cuts. When that didn’t hold consistent, I watched some of the piece again to try to figure it out. Though there still may be some pattern to it, I wasn’t so keen as to pick up exactly what that was.

And the NYT video wasn’t terribly exciting nor did the transitions explain much. Mostly all hard cuts with the only fade transition that made sense being at the end. I guess sometimes the simplest solution is the best.

As for the rest of the editing sequence, the Intended Consequences piece had some very strong photography and that was really exemplified in the way that the photos were combined with audio and just a few clips of video. Kind of difficult to say much else though since I consider transitions between photos or clips to be one of the most important aspects about editing.

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Living life the fantastical way

IMG_5721 Getting to know Shannon Cramer:

Hand-drawn and clay characters, foam swords, video games and even a giant stuffed polar bear–Shannon Cramer has an eye for fantasy and out of the ordinary. Shannon is an art student focusing on conceptual art at the University of Oregon. Conceptual art is the development of digital characters in the early stages, involving hand-drawn sketches and thousands of clay models before the characters are digitally created.

Though the University doesn’t offer a conceptual art program, Shannon has been creatively organizing classes that will provide her the necessary skills to become a conceptual artist for a video game company. Though she is finishing her fourth year, she says it will be another full year before she graduates.

When Shannon began her academic career at the University of Oregon, conceptual art was not yet on her agenda. Shannon had made it through the pre-journalism program and was accepted as an advertising major before she discovered she needed more creative freedom. Plus, she didn’t like the idea of trying to get consumers excited about motor oil. Since being picky about clients in the advertising industry isn’t much of an option, Shannon decided to take a break from journalism and relax with a few art classes where she eventually found her true calling.

Once enrolled in art classes and enjoying the work she was doing, Shannon decided to make the switch and become an art major, despite the fact that she had taken Info Hell twice in order to get through all of her prerequisites for the journalism program. But because the University of Oregon doesn’t currently offer a conceptual art major, much of the character drawing for her portfolio is done in her own time. Many of her character drawings are inspired by her and her friends’ Dungeons and Dragons characters.

To help develop her conceptual art skills, Shannon has taken design courses through the theater department in order to learn more about costume design, which is becoming more and more crucial in the video game industry as the graphic quality of games is constantly improving. Shannon says that some of the job postings for conceptual artists actually include an extensive background in costume design.

Shannon’s courses in the theater department are also helping her expand her character drawing abilities. Though she has a great deal of confidence in her creative abilities,  she is seeking out  more opportunities to practice drawing sci-fi characters as opposed to medieval characters, which are her preference. Her work with courses in the theater department have allowed her to learn more about many different aspects of costumes and characters.

To help prepare herself for a career in conceptual art, Shannon is in pursuit of an internship with a video game company. Though there are five video game production companies in the Eugene area, only one of those companies has a conceptual artist. So Shannon has expanded her internship search to include companies in Portland and Seattle. Her most current internship inquiry is with Bungie, the creators of Halo.

In addition to her work with conceptual art at the University, Shannon is also involved in a boffing/LARPing (live action role playing) realm through Club Sports. Boffing is a combat activity with foam swords and other foam weapons. Shannon’s identical twin sister and her twin’s boyfriend are the realm leaders for the University club. About 20 students are active members in the realm. A couple times a year the realm will go to events with mini competitions and giant battles.

Shannon also helped for the University’s co-ed acapella group, Mind the Gap. Though Shannon no longer sings with the group, she calls herself the acapella groupie because her twin and her twin’s boyfriend are still active members of the group so she continues to stay involved with events and performances.

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Katie Couric: How to conduct a good interview

Good interview techniques from Katie Couric:

  • Be a gracious host.
  • Conduct the interview with warm and welcome body language.
  • Calibrate your tone of voice appropriately for the interview.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Explain what you can in the body of your question without saying too much.
  • Don’t ask “yes” or “no” questions.
  • Know the interviewees responses from other interviews they’ve done to help with follow-up questions.
  • Use questions as a template and be able to go off in a different direction.
  • Try to learn about who you are interviewing before the interview.
  • Don’t forget about your audience.

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That’s right, a bowling video

I have a confession. I’m one of those nerdy folks who has been on a bowling league since I was in middle school and will probably continue to be on a league for quite some time. What does this have to do with video? Well, it doesn’t really except for the video above of the dude who can bowl better backward than I can forward.

In order to talk about what makes a successful video, I wanted to have a video I could use as an example and I figured it was time to get away from technology side of things. A successful video (or compilation of video clips) includes video clips with varying angles, shots and sound in a way that makes sense. What “makes sense” I suppose is debatable, but for the video above, let’s say that what “makes sense” is showing a variety of imagery, including discussion as well as action, and having the clips be relatively short (I’ve noticed that much longer than about 15 seconds on one clip starts to feel a little long).

The video above uses good positioning for interviews when you consider the rule of thirds and it includes a good variety of camera shots. I think the most effective in this case are the mid shots/long shots when the guy is actually bowling. He’s well positioned within the frame and in the background you can still see the pins be obliterated (the pins are also well positioned within the frame, if you again note rule of thirds).

As for sound, anyone who’s been in a bowling alley knows that it can be a little obnoxious but in this case I kind of like it because it sets the atmosphere without being to obtrusive. One of the things that  also did with this video was watch it without the sound to help me dissect the video parts a bit. Pretty strange and pretty boring without the sound.

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Hypermedia vs. Multimedia

I instantly found myself confused and additional research didn’t help provide much clarity, so I will pass this somewhat perplexing comparison onto the rest of you…

Because today’s post is open topic, I put “multimedia” into Google just to see what would come up. And thus, I discovered “hypermedia.” The best that I could come up with for what exactly “hypermedia” is could be described as, “A combination of media whose locations are linked to provide an easy way to navigate documents.” This same source described “multimedia” as, “The presentation of information using text, graphics, animation, audio and  video.” Granted, this “source” that I found includes students talking back and forth in preparation for a test, but it appears that the information provided probably came from class notes or a study guide.

What I don’t understand is how they’re different exactly. I could see how multimedia may or may not be hypermedia as well depending on the style of multimedia that it is, but I would think that most hypermedia would be multimedia as well. There’s so much crossover between the two that I’m not sure about the purpose for having two separate categories.

Then again, maybe there’s a broader difference that I’m just not grasping here. Either way, it gave me something to write about. Anyway, just because this is somewhat dry, here’s an image that came up when I Googled “Hypermedia vs. Multimedia.” Enjoy!

This is kind of how I feel at this point...

This is kind of how I feel at this point...

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