Independent Project: Next Level Ideas

Rough drafts/versions of the independent project(s) are due this week and the finals are due next week.  I’ll be looking for next level ideas in projects from each student.  In other words, think of ways to take what you’ve learned so far to the next level.  For example, take this music video from college freshman rap/electronic group Chiddy Bang:

What makes this work different than the usual rap music video fare?

What kinds of innovation or next level ideas will you incorporate into your independent project(s)?

Here’s an example from the Beastie Boys:

And from Brazil:

So many ideas, so little time:

Hole punched

The hole punched book.


The cutout book.


Another great cutout book.

More on Brian Dettmer:

4D Art and The Virtual Window

I am interviewing artists for PBS Art:21 who are merging 2D, 3D, and 4D art forms to create work both in material and virtual 3D space.  For example take 21 years old SL artist, Feathers Boa who created Surrealism Girl for the Through the Virtual Looking Glass art exhibition.


To create this Feathers Boa used multiple layers, incl. spinning gears.

While viewing Surrealism Girl I turned the camera to see a side-view and there are several layers comprising the composition: picture frame, face/mask, gears, body, and the background.  The picture frame acts as container for the portrait.  It brings to my mind Anne Friedberg’s The Virtual Window.

In De pictura (1435), Leon Battista Alberti famously instructed painters to consider the frame of the painting as an open window. Taking Alberti’s metaphor as her starting point, Friedberg tracks shifts in the perspectival paradigm as she gives us histories of the architectural window, developments in glass and transparency, and the emerging apparatuses of photography, cinema, television, and digital imaging. Single-point perspective—Alberti’s metaphorical window—has long been challenged by modern painting, modern architecture, and moving-image technologies. And yet, notes Friedberg, for most of the twentieth century the dominant form of the moving image was a single image in a single frame. The fractured modernism exemplified by cubist painting, for example, remained largely confined to experimental, avant-garde work. On the computer screen, however, where multiple “windows” coexist and overlap, perspective may have met its end.


Approaching the work you can see the layers and clicking the face unmasks the girl, revealing the moving gears.

Clicking to remove the face/mask reveals her inner workings.  Inside she is all moving gears.  There is a static body layer with three spinning gear prims (objects) in front.  Here we see Anne Friedberg’s proposed new logic of visuality, framed and virtual: an architecture not only of space but of time.

Stop Motion Animation Tutorial

You can find the stop motion tutorial for the next class here:

Stop motion animations can be hand drawn, use photos/stills, computer screen captures, or a mixture of these techniques.

Animation and Storyboarding

Your next assignment is to create a one-minute animated movie using the stop motion technique.

Stop-motion (also known as stop-action or frame-by-frame) is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. –

In class we viewed several examples and genres using or incorporating this technique:

  • traditional or hand-drawn
  • mixed (combining stop motion with video)
  • experimental, new media (QR codes)
  • machinima (from captured action in the virtual world)

YouTube Animation Playlist

Next Assignment:  For your animated movie project start with creating a storyboard.  You have a choice of bringing in either a

  • Linear Storyboard: basically a time-based narrative that shows a sequence.  Illustrate the sequence and do not bring in a script; OR a
  • Non-Linear Storyboard:  a time-based narrative that has no particular sequence.

Here are two tutorials for learning how to properly plan and create storyboards:

Bring your completed animation storyboard to class for review next week.

Digital Video: Phase 3

For the final phase of the digital video project you are to edit/complete a final draft of your project and export as a QuickTime movie (.mov) for DVD and export a compressed version for the Web (MPEG 4 video format).  The final draft must

  • be no longer than 3 minutes (give or take 30 seconds, if needed)
  • include titles and credits with your name and any sources you used (other people’s work)
  • be on DVD by the next class (test your DVD to make sure it works)

I encourage everyone to use the feedback you received in class to finish this assignment.  Your project will be graded based on all the phases (storyboards, rough cut, and final).  Make sure your blog is up-to-date.

Digital Video: Phase 2

Digital Video rough cuts are due for viewing next week. Bring your nearly completed Final Cut Express projects in for critical review.

Before the next class please watch Chris Marker’s Le Jetee:

Note that there are 5 Categories of Nonlinear Film:

1. Manipulation of Structure and Storyline (ex. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Run Lola Run)

2. Storyline Manipulation (ex. Memento and 2046)

3. Structural Manipulation (ex. Timecode)

4. Broken Image – The Medium is the Medium:

5. Immersion – All My Friends Are Robots (machinima):

For this assignment I have compiled a YouTube playlist of what will be shown in class this week and next, as well as what we won’t have time to watch in class:

Digital Video Playlist

The list includes commercial, independent, and DIY (Do It Yourself) films and videos.  Keep the nonlinear film categories in mind when watching these examples.

Aspects and Elements of Time Review

The next class assignment is described in the previous post. For the next class you are to bring in a rough draft storyboard for your Three Minutes of My Life video project, as well as your initial DV footage (tape). This project addresses at least two of these topics:

  • Building blocks (frame, shot, scene, sequence)
  • Shot-to-shot relationships (graphics, spatial, temporal, etc.)
  • Aspects and elements of time (assignment #1)

Click the following link to download the PDF document on building blocks and shot-to-shot relationships:

Blocks and Shots Presentation (PDF)

For inspiration: Smashing Magazine’s 20 Beautiful Video Motion Pieces:

In this episode of our inspiration series, we present 20 examples of beautiful motions pieces: stop-motion, experiments, show reels, demos, paintings and more.

Remember to update your blogs!


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