The past month has been such a fun and busy time in Broadcast Technology! The first thing I did was create a video done in a similar style to the "Future of Music" video, produced last year. This year I have been taking AP Microeconomics and for a class that teaches a lot of complicated concepts I thought that it would be cool to simplify one of them into a 60 second video that could be of some educational value. While the video wasn't made for any assignment from AP Micro I still showed my teacher the video and she approved of the concepts taught in it so the information told in the video is correct! This month I also continued working on more videos from the St. Louis Cardinals Fantasy Camp, and in particular a montage/highlights reel showcasing the excitement and energy that was brought to every game. The video was very enjoyable to work on and also included some transitions involving masking that were really fun to make! Throughout this month I have also been working on finishing Revenge of The Gnomes which is turning out really good! I was able to get some really great feedback from my teacher and classmates that I have been able to incorporate into the story to make it even better! This animation will probably run about 2 and a half minutes long which is really cool given that a lot of the colleges that I am looking at don't assign a 2 minute long animation until their students Junior to Senior year of college. It really shows how this class has allowed me to get ahead of the curve when it comes to my animation journey that I intend to pursue! I have also had the pleasure of acting in a friends short film that is gearing up to look amazing! I can't wait to see the final product and it was really cool getting to see first hand all of the aspected needed to make a film. Overall this month was packed but also very rewarding and enjoyable. I am very proud of what I got done and can't wait to finish off this semester strong! To watch both my Cardinals and Economics video click here!
This past September and October the Ladue Broadcast Technology class put together a truly one of a kind show. For the first time since I've been at Ladue, our class put together a Ladue View that had a special theme and overlay throughout the entire production. For the month of October we decided to make our Ladue View halloween themed and it turned out spectacular. My favorite part about this past production was the attention and care put into the set to really make it pop. To get the set right was really hard because it has to fit well enough with the halloween theme but subdued enough to not be distracting. I think that the class did an amazing job at accomplishing this and made stand out from any other previous show. It is also really engaging and uplifting when you have a group of people who are all so passionate and eager in dedication to all things video and media. To create a show of this scale required a specific group of students who could unite in the same goal as well as a teacher lead environment that would be nurturing of this creativity and help bring it to fruition. It was and still is the prefect combination to make amazing things that will no doubt leave a lasting legacy to the class and Ladue High School as a whole.
My particular involvement in the show was as co-host/anchor, writer, and animator for the teaser to "Revenge of the Gnomes." The idea for "Revenge of the Gnomes" was a challenging one. Most times with animation the music is created after the animating is done but in this case the situation was reversed. I was given a score that I would need to match with animation. Most every scene had to have a different hand drawn background paired with animation in which every frame had to be hand drawn and colored. The teaser for this animation was a little bit easier but just as fun to work on. Lots of small references were hidden in the video and a lot of aspects were inspired by different cartoons and drawings that I found online. Below are some photos showcasing different shots from the final teaser compared to these references and sources of inspiration! To watch the Ladue View episode click here and to watch my teaser trailer click here!
Baseball. A word linked to America and the history it has to offer. As someone with a tremendous interest in American history it may surprise you that I never took that much of an interest in baseball. I played baseball when I was a kid and my entire family has always been huge St. Louis Cardinals fans, but I just couldn't find the beauty and passion for the sport that everyone around me seemed to have. That was until I went on a trip to Cooperstown with my Broadcast Journalism teacher and a fellow Broadcast Journalism classmate.
Me and my friend Austin were the only two students from Ladue selected for the trip which was done in conjunction with the St. Louis Cardinals. The experience was overwhelming to say the least. By the end of the trip you felt like family with some of the biggest names in baseball. While maybe not the most exciting of moments, I have picked two events from the week in Cooperstown. These two moments were, for me, the most pivotal in my growth and perspective as a human and played a big part in making this trip life changing and truly full filling.
The first event happened on the second day. Me, Austin, and our teacher Mr. Goble had to record some footage at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Fantasy Camp was holding a little event there and all the former Cardinals players who took part in the Fantasy Camp where at this event. So were all the faculty and participants. At the very beginning everyone gathered into an auditorium with a giant screen in the very front. Once everyone was seated they played a video introducing the Baseball Hall of Fame. The video was almost like an epiphany for me. All these names that I had heard of, movies that I grew up loving, music that I grew up listening too, all connected by the sport of baseball. People like Lou Gehrig who I had heard about through ALS, and yet I had never dug into his time as player for the Yankees. After hearing a part of his speech for the first time I nearly began to tear up. So many powerful moments for baseball all packed into one video. On top of all of that you had some of the legends in the video in the actual audience with you! It was truly surreal and an amazing moment.
The second event was when the head of Cardinals Alumni, Joe Pfeiffer, invited all of us to a dinner with several other members of the Fantasy Camp. The dinner was a wonderful way to learn more about the different roles needed in the Fantasy Camp and the people behind those roles. You learn about how powerful the community is that the camp builds and the powerful experiences that everyone has had at some point during their Fantasy Camp journey. Everyone had such amazing stories and the dinner was a wonderful way to get to know everyone a lot better. I don't know if I had ever witnessed a closer and more tight knit group of people. All these people had a deep history together and yet they still made you feel equally at home.
I think that is what was so special about the whole experience. You never once truly felt left out. At any point throughout the camp there was always more than one person who had your back. All you had to do was bring your passion and enthusiasm to the game. This was more than just a trip. It was an experience and I got so much out of it that it really makes it difficult to fit into one blog post. The trip really changed me for the better and hope to someday see these amazing people again.
For this project I worked on the script, the logo and title, props and set, and some of the editing. This video has to be one of the most interesting and exciting projects that I had ever worked on. I really didn't know if this project would succeed and I guess the argument could be made that it didn't. However in my mind this project was a tremendous success in being able to showcase the unique and special talents that every student had in this class during 2nd semester.
I really tried to put a lot of effort into this project. At home during the weekend before filming I finished the script during any free time I had. I came after school during the final 3 days, working on mostly uploading footage and doing some editing for an hour each day. There were definitely hiccups like having the computer not detect SD cards or having the mouse constantly stop working which became increasingly frustrating, though I tried to power through. This is all just to say that when I watched the final result I was worried that I might've been a little disappointed, considering the amount of work everyone put in. Surprisingly disappointment was my furthest thought.
The final result isn't perfect, but the journey of getting there was. Everyone did their part and surpassed their previously mastered abilities. Acting is something that almost no one in the studio was taught. Maxwell was the only one with prior acting experience and yet every person stole the show when a scene featuring them appeared. Seeing everyone so happy, professional, and hard working was more rewarding than any video, grade, or score. I believe that this project has heightened the level of everyone's ability to problem solve and work together which at the end of the day is a huge success and win for everyone involved. I seriously recommend watching the final video which you can view here! The final video is honestly really fun and I guarantee that you will enjoy watching it!
This project was super fun to make! My goal was to try and create a commercial for the Agent Cauliflower cartoon I did previously. My main inspiration was 50s era commercials. I also took some inspiration from UPA animations in the 50s-60s when creating the little boy character that you see in the beginning. This project was really fun because it forced me to make more complex animation movements like the arm picking up the remote and pressing the button. The act itself never seemed that complex to animate but I realized how difficult it was once I started having to draw each frame and have it look somewhat natural while also looking somewhat cartoony. The rest was pretty simple, adding in some footage from Agent Cauliflower with an added text effect displaying the voice actors names. Another aspect that was also more difficult than I expected was finding a font the fit well for the video. I ended up going with an art deco style font that fit will with my attempt at a Mid-Atlantic/20's style accent. I also added a little easter egg of my initials in the first half of the video that was a fun way of hiding my name in the commercial. Overall this was a super fun project to work on and helped me further my animation journey by pushing myself in some aspect of the production. Below are some of my drawings used in the animation but without the black & white effect, meaning you can see them in full color as they were initially seen before editing! If you want to watch the commercial click here!
My most recent project is titled "Agent Cauliflower and The Missing Seedling". It's inspired by the corny (no pun intended) and sometimes wacky world of 1950's/60's cartoons. It all started when I watched a bonus scene from "The Incredibles" which included a fictional commentary over a fake vintage superhero show featuring Mr. Incredible and Frozon. The art style and atheistic made me laugh but also made me interested in doing something similar. Thats when I found a show called "Clutch Cargo" which inspired the bonus feature on The Incredibles. From that point on I worked towards recreating a vintage cartoon inspired by "Clutch Cargo" and the other imitators of the format. The format is called Syncro-Vox Animation. The style was fast and cheap meaning that the studios could make a lot of money without having to put in the tradition amount of effort typically seen in most animations. Everything about this project was geared towards making this cartoon as close as possible to the era it represented. An example of this was using a limited color palette. Keep in mind everything was physical back then so colors equaled paint and you would need storage to store the paint. A low budget animation didn't have the money or the space to store and keep track of all the colors, so colors were often reused and limited in terms of variety. I also tried making the plot similar to one of the same era. Helicopters and planes were often used as transportation in "Clutch Cargo" and the final villain rival is reminiscent to one that could be on "Scooby-Doo". Even aspects like "what shape should their eyes be?" was considered when making the cartoon. Overall i'm very proud of the script, animation, sound, and editing that went into this project. It was so much fun working on and I can't wait to continue the story!
This has been the 4th Ladue View that I have been a part of and definitely one of the most exciting! One aspect that made this Ladue View special for me was that I was able to get my video featured on the program. I think that the uniqueness of the video and the subject matter made it qualify to be featured so it was great being able to have this project that I worked really hard on air with the show.
Another aspect that made this Ladue View unique to me was that it was the first time I had worked a more hidden role rather than anchoring. Even though most roles are hidden that doesn't make them any less important. It was really cool to see the show run from a behind the scenes perspective rather than in front of the camera. I personally worked in the writing room to develop the script for the show.
One big thing I learned while working on this upcoming show was the importance of communication and dedication. Everyone was dedicated to doing their job and that made the show run more smoothly than I had ever seen it run before. Communication also played a big role in making that happen because it kept everybody in line.
A challenge we faced was working with AJA, our video/graphics player. While the problem wasn't 100% fixed it was solved by working around the problem and making it work. I personally faced a challenge when trying to come up with ideas in the writers room. The solution was and is always to communicate with your collaborators which will help you open up your mind to new possible ideas.
I felt the most successful in my job when I came up with ideas that could work well in the show like the idea to have one of the anchors Maxwell leave the stage before his segment aired. My favorite part of recording the show was seeing all the pieces come together so seamlessly. It takes so many people to bring the show to life which can make it difficult for all the pieces to fit. In the future I would love to continue writing or even possibly anchor again but I still want to give opportunities to those who haven't experienced it yet.
I think that including more of the student body in the show can encourage more students to watch it. I know that in middle school everyone was looking forward to watching the weekly show because they got to see themselves or their friends. With that being said I believe that it's still important to include different stories that might not be 100% about school or friends. Overall this was an exciting experience that has made me really look forward to this Broadcast class.
This blog post is going to be unique from my other ones. Normally my blog posts are just an extended description with maybe some added behind the scenes on the project. This blog post will instead be a more simplified guide to my process with filming on actual film, more specifically Super 8.
Quickly I just want to get the cost out of the way. Filming on Super 8 is expensive. As much as it was a fun and educational experience the total cost is a definite deterrent. The total cost for the processing and scanning was around $40 without shipping. The total cost for the film was also around $40. The camera would be another additional cost if you don't have one already. This why I would only recommend filming on Super 8 when the final outcome benefits from being shot on Super 8.
Step 1) Finding a Camera and Film
For me, I asked family members if they had a super 8 camera. Many people had super 8 cameras in the 60s through early 70s to record friends and family. Chances of an older relative having one is a lot higher than you may think so ask around. If no one has a Super 8 camera, Ebay and other shops like Esty are always a good alternative. Make sure that the camera is tested and working. Buying older technology is always a gamble but if it was tested and working the chances of it failing on you are slim. The camera I ended up using was a Minolta XL 401. As for finding the correct film to use make sure that it is Super 8 film. There is other film that sounds similar like 8mm and while 8mm and super 8 are visually pretty much the same, you can't use 8mm on a super 8 camera and vice-versa. Film can get expired so make sure you buy it fresh. The best place to guarantee this to buy it from B&H. Amazon also sells Super 8 film, in fact that's where I got mine. The only thing with Amazon is that you don't get that 100% certainty but it's worked for me so far. Kodak is last main manufacturer of Super 8 film and they make 5 different types. Here is a quick brake down so that you can choose the film that works best for you:
Kodak 50D) Good for bright sunny days (Color)
Kodak 500T) Good for night time filming (Color)
Kodak 200T) Good intermediate (Color)
Kodak 7266) Black/White filming indoors and outdoors (B/W)
Kodak Ektachrome 100D) Good for if you want to project your film into a projector (Color)
I went with 50D as the choice for my first roll which for me turned out looking great for both the indoor and outdoor footage. With that being said go with the film that best suits your recording conditions or if you like the look of a certain film just go for it and experiment!
Step 2) Recording
Once the camera is turned on make sure to focus your camera by zooming all the way in and focus the lens. Some cameras also have an adjustable viewfinder so make sure that your viewfinder is in focus too. All of this can be difficult to do because Super 8 cameras tend to have a pretty small viewfinder but try your best and take your time. That leads me to my next point which is to take your time. Each reel gives you roughly 3½ minutes of footage so you have to make every shot count. Even though you must make every shot count, don't be too attached to your first roll because it might not turn out the way you want it too and that's ok, it's all part of the process.
Step 3) Processing
Once you finished recording take out your film and it should say exposed on the film seen in the side of the cartridge. Most cameras also have an indicator on the side that will reveal when the film reel is done. Now you send your film to a place to get processed. The option I went with was a company titled Spectra Film & Video. Spectra is going to ask you to fill out the order instructions which can be a bit confusing when trying to figure out what to include. Below is what I filled out on my Spectra order instructions so feel free to use it as a template of sorts:
Super 8 Film Processing - ECN-2 Color Negative - Normal - 1 roll - Total: $19.50
I had Spectra ship the film and made sure to put Nicholas Coyle's address into the shipping address instead of my own. (We'll get to Nicholas in just a second)
Step 4) Scanning
You might be wondering to yourself why I put some random guy's house into the return address instead of my own. The reason for that is because this "random guy" just so happens to be one of the best film scanners in the country while also being one of the cheapest! He has scanned films for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Universal Studios, and MOMA just to name a few. To view your film on a computer you have to get it scanned. Nicholas Coyle will scan your film in 4K for only $20, including shipping the reel back to you. For reference most other scanning facilities cost well over $100 for a 4k scan. With that out of the way you will want to fill in Nicholas' information into the shipping address, city, state, and postal code when filling out the Spectra order form. Next make sure that you fill out an order from from Nicholas Coyle's website and a new client form if you are new. I can say from experience that Nicholas is one of the best people to email with any Super 8 or film questions. He responds back promptly and extremely quickly. He scanned my film the day it arrived and that night I got an invoice back with the footage. If you go with his 4k ProRes scan it will a roughly 43 gb dropbox file. The file was having a hard time loading for me so I asked if he could send me a compressed file or possibly another link for the ProRes scan. He did both and responded back very promptly so know that he is just an email away! If the dropbox file is not working for you ask for a link via frame.io which is what he sent me that worked.
Was the experience long and nerve wracking, yes. Was the experience worth it, also yes! In total the whole process took me around 2-3 weeks if you include filming. This meant that for a good chuck of time I was waiting and anxiously awaiting emails/notifications to see if the film was shipped safely. I was worried that the film wouldn't turn out at all and would just be a dark, out of focus mess. The fact that everything for the most part worked is honestly a miracle. With that being said, go into your first film roll acting like its going to turn out not the way you expect it to. I had low expectations for the final outcome which made the final outcome that much more special. This was a really fun experience that has definitely motivated me to try the format out again sometime soon.
After celebrating this past Thanksgiving with family, it got me thinking about how different this holiday season already is when compared to last years. The video for my student choice project drove from this idea. The video is a reflection on the holiday season for the past decade, covering what life was like before, during, and "after" the pandemic. The project highlights the importance of friends and family during the holidays. For anyone wanting to watch a heartfelt and personal video essay on the holiday season click here!
Even the most mundane items can carry a treasure trove of family history. That is what I discovered when I asked my Uncle Alan a simple question about a camera he gave me. What followed was an eye opening experience that widened my perspective on the Vietnam War. The camera itself became my go-to camera when taking photos. Although it utilizes film, I find the camera far superior to work with than a digital one. My love for this camera that I had just recently received made me wonder how my Uncle Alan got it and what story came with that. This story highlights the beauty that is behind anything you find. To watch the final product, click here!