Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

Maria Schneider and Orchestra Jeff Redel / NYTimes

Maria Schneider and Orchestra
Jeff Redel / NYTimes

In earlier posts such as Fair Use Resources and Guidelines, issues of copyright laws and fair use guidelines for students and media creators have been addressed on mediateacher.net’s pages.  In a recent open letter addressed to YouTube as “pushers of piracy,” the renowned composer and five-time Grammy winner Maria Schneider has written a scathing indictment of the practices of YouTube and current popular perceptions of music and other creative content as fair game for use to the general public.  It is particularly striking and inspiring that this letter is coming not from a pop songwriter or performer but from one of the most respected and exceptional American composers of the past few decades — and a woman who leads an orchestra that is one of the finest ensembles of musicians of our time.  She writes, “…YouTube has substantially influenced the behavior of hundreds of millions of its users toward infringement, fermenting a veritable pirate orgy.   YouTube goes way beyond turning a blind eye to the marauding masses; it actively seduces its users into illegal behavior, and has even managed to make its users believe pirate behavior is beneficial to creators…  The vast majority of music on YouTube is uploaded by people with no legal right to do so – users whom YouTube has carefully molded and brainwashed.”

The attitudes Schneider describes in her letter accurately reflect behavior that I observe day in and out in schools: not only do young people not even think twice about downloading music illegally for projects, most do not even consider arriving prepared with music or other audio for their movies at various stages from pre- to post-production unless they are forced to do so.  They do what they constantly do to play and acquire music: they go online, search around — primarily on YouTube — and pull up or rip the music that they find.  And which in all likelihood has been posted illegally.


Maria Schneider testifies in Washington, D.C. (Paul Morigi/WireImage for NARAS)

I highly recommend reading Schneider’s letter, which provides an excellent resource for classroom discussion and further investigation for mediamakers.  It can be quite an eye-opener for 21st century digital citizens, who typically feel very savvy about issues related to the Internet but may not have considered all of the angles and may regularly brush off particular behaviors into the column of “everybody does it.”  (And one more thing: check out her album The Thompson Fields.  In a career of stellar releases, it is exceptional, a jaw-droppingly beautiful musical statement.  It’s a masterpiece.  And her Grammy for working on David Bowie’s Blackstar is certainly deserved as well.)

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12:07 --- Batch ResizedAmong the various concepts covered in editing, from my experience there is little question that some beginning media literacy students have enormous difficulties with what seems to be a very basic term: jump cut.  To demonstrate an effective use of jump cuts, the piece I reference in Moving Images is the opening of the exceptional documentary Spellboundin which a spelling bee champion wrestles with a word in a humorous, compelling jump-cut sequence that sets the stage for an enthralling, complex story of spelling bee competitors.  However, I have found that even after seeing a number of examples, including that one, many students begin describing virtually any cut of any kind between two shots as a “jump cut.”  So, what to do?

MaisieYouTubeWell, in a short time, jump cuts have become the standard main course in the diet of the YouTuber generation.  Just days ago, actress Maisie Williams (who has already been watched “growing up” as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones), opened a YouTube channel and quickly got the now-standard huge amounts of worldwide press and over a million views.  And this, naturally, with a video made up of a single composition cut a bunch of times from what one would guess to be a few takes.  It certainly could have been edited with iMovie, or even WeVideo: it is a single close shot with numerous jump cuts.  So — are you looking for another simple lesson for the term “Jump Cut?”  Here you go.  As Fatboy Slim asked us, “Why try harder?”  After all, just one shot in the bedroom confessing or preaching to the mirror has become chatting to millions through the looking glass — only cut it up for the best bits.  Of course, make sure you have perfect skin — then it’s on to fame, adulation, and riches.

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