Archive for January, 2013

Baxter WallIn the photo at left are Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall (who is also a title designer), who won the last TWO Oscars for Editing for David Fincher’s The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  

Here is a very brief review of digital tools for media educators, notably those who are novices with editing and moviemaking in general.  In particular, those who might be asking “where do I start?”

Adobe Premiere Elements (now at 12 in 2014) is the most widely used digital editing software available and is a more accessible consumer version of Adobe Premiere Pro.  There are references available for Adobe Creative Suite 6 and through a new edition of Debbie Keller‘s textbook for digital moviemaking programs: Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Encore.

Final Cut Pro is one of the most popular programs for educators across the country, although after some early progress with professional uses about a decade ago, they have dropped significantly from the professional world (thanks to the release of FCP X), although they are still trying.   For starters with Macs, most folks are familiar with the basic Apple program, iMovie, which has developed significantly over the years.  Oh, by the way, Baxter and Wall edited their Academy Award-winning movies with FCP7.

Avid Technology  is highly used by professionals today and is a solid bet for educators (it is the platform of choice at many universities).  Among their products, Media Composer is the basic editing program and it is important to note that Pinnacle is a division of Avid.

Sony Vegas remains quite popular with students, although I have found it is less used by educators — is it the name?

For an overall look at the landscape, here is wiki page for video editing software that provides a table-based overview.

For some classroom ideas, of course there are the interactive exercises and projects with my Moving Images textbook.   Here’s another: you can find editing resources on the Thinking Film site.

william goldenberg oscar argo zero dark thirtyAnd what’s in store at this year’s Oscars in the editing department?  There are some interesting stories: William Goldenberg has two nominations — for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty — so he is competing partly against himself, which hasn’t happened since Walter Murch in 1990 (for The Godfather, Part III and Ghost).  And he is competing against his mentor, Michael Kahn, who is nominated for Lincoln.  Here is a very thoughtful, interesting interview with Goldenberg by the site production Apprentice.

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Taking a step outside (photo Carl Casinghino)

Taking a step outside
(photo Carl Casinghino)

In a rough stretch of winter, it’s time to recharge the batteries!  Right about now a new semester is arriving across the land, so I’ll be posting some helpful links for educators — they might be reminders to refresh our perspectives or could offer some excellent resources that are a new discovery.  For our start today, here is a set of Internet pages that many teachers have looked to regularly for the past few years: Frank Baker‘s Media Literacy Clearinghouse.  Baker has recently published the book Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom, and he maintains many Internet platforms that can be exceptionally helpful to educators working in fields associated with media literacy.

To add to one of his pages I had referenced earlier in a blog post related to Social Studies, here are some extremely useful spots to start: Language of Film, which has numerous sections that are highly practical and extensive, from cinematography to criticism to film history to screenwriting and many points in between; For Your Consideration, which focuses more specifically on topics related to awards news; and his official blog linked to the NCTE.

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President Obama being sworn in for second term with wife Michelle Obama holding bibles of Lincoln and King

President Obama being sworn in for second term with wife Michelle Obama holding Bibles of Lincoln and King

Today President Barack Obama was inaugurated for a second term, and many people around the world experienced this event through a wide range of images.  As always, there are many angles to consider.  Have you ever switched between different channels covering the same occasion to see how different each can look, even when they are showing almost the same exact image?  Even without changing the source, note how colors, skin tones, and effects of light can change when cutting from a wide shot to a close-up.  It certainly helps to understand cinematography to comprehend how the choices made during production affect what we see and how we interpret it.  Now, the images that record this ceremony are available to be seen immediately on the Internet, and the different aspects of the event are instantly being further scrutinized, dissected, and evaluated, from President Obama’s speech to Richard Blanco’s poem to Beyoncé’s rousing rendition of the national anthem to Michelle Obama’s new hairstyle.

Here are some links that are interesting to check out: first, an ABC interview with poet Richard Blanco.  The interview should also be looked at by scrutinizing the total content of the image: that in addition to the interview with Blanco we are looking at a screen made up of many things going on at once.  Why?  How does that affect our understanding of the information, our processing of the visuals, and its aesthetic impact?  Of course, there is also Beyoncé singing the national anthem.  Finally, considering one of the key moments of President Obama’s speech when he made reference to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his holiday, here is a link to Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.’s August 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington.

beyonce.inaugurationPostscript: Okay, so the Marines spilt the beans: Beyoncé was lip-syncing.  Good old pitch adjusters.  So does anyone else want any more “Wizard of Oz” moments here or lessons in “what you think you see is not necessarily what you get?”

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