In-Depth Post #5

Over the last month, I have spent lots of time working on polishing up my effects and coming up with an idea for a final trailer to present on In-Depth night. I am planning on an action/sci-fi movie trailer, so there are going to be a lot of special effects involved. In preparation, I am working on polishing up effects and getting better at creating visual effects. Right now I am experimenting with UI (user-interface) elements and creating futuristic screens. Overall I feel like I have a good hang of video editing, and I am just learning more and more video tricks to help with my final product.

I am still continuing to practice my colour grading skills, so I can make my shots pop out more and add that little extra bit of vibrance. This relates directly to the mentoring session I had, where we discussed a ‘flat’ shot versus a ‘dynamic’ shot. We looked at examples online, where there was a comparison of no colour grade versus a colour graded shot. Then my mentor taught me about video in general, because what’s the point of video editing if you don’t know what you are editing in the first place? We talked about bitrate first, which is simply put the number of bits per second of video and audio files. Generally, the larger the bitrate the higher the file size and quality, and vice versa. Additionally, with a higher bitrate of video, you also have more colour tones. A 4-bit video only has 16 possible colour tones, but an 8-bit video, which is most videos, consists of 256 possible colour tones. 16-bit video consists of a 65536 possible colour tones, and even higher a 24-bit video contains a mind-boggling 16777216 possible colours. You get the point, the higher the bitrate the more colour tones you have in your videos.

After bitrates, we discussed chroma subsampling, which is another complicated topic. To keep things simple chroma subsampling is a type of compression that reduces colour data for luminance data, which is also known as brightness. This lowers the storage, while not hindering the actual video so it’s a win-win situation. Additionally there are different formats of compression, such as .mp4, .AVI, etc. They are all different ways of compressing the video file, but .mp4 is the most common video format.

I made sure incorporated Edward DeBono’s ‘How to Have a Beautiful Mind’ into my mentoring session; here is a transcript of our conversation:

Mentor: So can you tell me why many HD videos on Youtube still look blurry and pixelated even when they are 1980×1080?

Here my mentor uses the blue hat because they are focusing our conversation to a certain topic, and setting up “the sequence of hats for the session” (p.101).

Me: Based on what you said before, is it because they have a loss in compression?

Mentor: Yeah exactly, while uploading the video to Youtube’s servers there may have been a change or loss in the compression of a video, which is why the quality is skewed.

Here the white hat is used, because I stated a hard fact that my mentor confirms. I tell my mentor what I know based on previous experience, and they give me more information to elaborate on my answer.

Me: So does that mean they have a lower bitrate?

Mentor: In a sense, yes, but it doesn’t always have to do with the bitrate. Sometimes it just has to do with the encoding of the video, and the compression. For example newer codecs such as H.264 have higher quality than an older codec such as H.263.

Me: Oh, okay. Also, when we looked at the colour grading examples, what causes a video to look ‘flat’, and how can you add more depth to them?

Mentor: Well the luminance of the video has a large impact on how much ‘depth’ your video has, and the contrast between subjects and the background. You can add more depth by increasing the darkness of darker areas in your scene, many movies only have a dark grey in place of true black, so it doesn’t look like a void, but sometimes it just makes your image seem two-dimensional. This reminds me, you should increase the contrast of your videos as well, to add the illusion of a three-dimensional look.

Here my mentor uses the yellow hat to explain to my how depth is created in video, and how adding contrast adds depth to a video and makes it look less flat.

Me: Speaking of luminance contrast, is there a possibility that using contrasting colours will also add depth to your videos, since according to your previous statement contrast makes a video pop out?

Here I use the green had to probe for another possibility, and if luminance is the only way to make a shot pop out. I demonstrated my perception and creativity to find an alternative method to add depth to my videos. Additionally, I use the yellow hat again when I demonstrate my optimism to share another viewpoint, and when I give my hypothesis as to how this idea would work.

Mentor: Clever point! That would also work because you are still adding contrast to your shots, and making them look less-saturated. You are making excellent progress so far, and you seem to already know so much about video editing.

In this last statement, my mentor uses the red hat to express their feelings on my progress, and what they felt about our In-Depth project based on their “emotions, feelings, and intuition” (p.93/94). Additionally, my mentor uses the black hat to tell me how they felt about my videos and an honest point on how I can improve my work. By telling me how to make my videos pop out, I can make them look that much more vibrant on In-Depth night.

Here are some screenshots of me working in After Effects, and me further exploring the software:

screen-1 screen-2

Is Canada A “Postnational” State?

Canada is plainly a country, with smaller ‘nations’ within our borders. It “has borders, where guards check passports, and an army,” and with our government that possesses sovereignty over the country we fit into the very description of a country: “A region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography” according to Wikipedia (Foran, 2017). A postnational state is one “where respect for minorities trumps any one group’s way of doing things,” and this clearly is not the case for Canada (Todd, 2016).  Although we undoubtedly welcome diversity and welcome immigrants, we do not let our admiration of different cultures change our laws and the way we live entirely. We still celebrate Canada Day on July 1st every year, we still celebrate Thanksgiving in October, and we still continue to live our lives like we did before. We are only changing our perceptions, not our entire lifestyle. Furthermore, our governments’ regulations end up trumping the ways of a culture rather than vice versa; Quebec banned the use of the niqab because of their laws, even though the niqab is an important garment for Islamic cultures. That is not what it means to be post-national. We have nations within Canada, “the French-speaking province of Quebec already constitutes one distinctive nation, as do the 50-plus First Nations spread across the country. All have their own perspectives and priorities,” and cultures that bond them with one another (Foran, 2017). As a whole, Canada cannot be considered a nation because of our geographical borders, recognition on maps as a country, and we just have everything that the definition of a country implies. Canada is a country that is a home to multiple different nations within, such as what you see from the quote. With our “high proportion of immigrants and official policy of multiculturalism,” it isn’t difficult to label Canada as a post-national state, but by definitive terms we are not such (Todd, 2016). Sure, we are an incredibly diverse country housing some of the most diverse cities in the world, such as Vancouver and Toronto, but we still have control and sovereignty over the cultures in Canada. We have enforced rules, borders, and a military to protect our identity, and while that identity lasts we are and will remain a country.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/04/the-canada-experiment-is-this-the-worlds-first-postnational-country

The dangers of Trudeau's 'postnational' Canada

In-Depth Post #4

Three weeks have passed since my last post, and I have met with my mentor in that time. This meeting we discussed polishing my visual effects, and to really sell the effect. For example, my mentor pointed out that my effects were much higher quality than my actual footage, which was something that I should work on. By adding a few pixels of blur to my effect layers I can make them seem around the same quality as my footage, so everything looks all the more realistic. Additionally what we discussed is realistic camera shake to my finished effects, so “the effects look natural and smooth, versus a perfectly still shot that gives off an artificial vibe”. Moreover, my mentor talked to me about colour correction, and how much colour correction improves a video. We looked at examples of video’s before colour correction and after, and the change if very dramatic. At the end we talked about developing a script for my final project, which is most likely going to be a sci-fi style movie trailer. My mentor told me to start thinking of a script for the trailer, and to begin planning it out. Then the next time we meet I will show my thoughts, and my mentor will provide me with feedback.

 

Progress Report:

 

I worked on going back to my previous files and improving the visual effects, such as adding some blur and grain to the effect so it better suits the video. Additionally I practiced basic colour correcting with DaVinci Resolve, which is a software designed around colour correction. I changed the saturation and hue of a video clip to make the colours pop out more, and also adjusted the brightness and contrast of the clip. This is useful if the scene is too bright or too dark. To take it even further, I masked out specific areas of the scene that I specifically wanted to correct, and applied colour changes to that specific selection. For example I masked out the sky and tinted it a red colour to give off the impression that it is evening. I plan to finish my script and plan for my movie trailer in the next week, so that I can begin planning how to actually shoot the footage and create the visual effects for it.

 

How To Have A Beautiful Mind:

 

During my meeting with my mentor, I was able to incorporate some of DeBono’s concepts from How To Have A Beautiful Mind.

 

How to listen:

 

Me: So I heard you use two terms that sound similar when explaining video colour: colour correction and colour grading. What’s the difference between these two?

 

Mentor: Well, the terms are actually quite similar. Colour correction is done first to a shot, and it is mostly just the larger areas of adjusting a video. This includes the contrast, exposure, brightness, and white balance. Then afterwards, colour grading is more precise. In colour grading you adjust the curve levels, hue, tone, and colour temperature of a video.

 

Me: Oh, okay. So I would colour correct first and then grade afterwards?

 

Mentor: Basically, but before we dive too deep into colour correction I want you to learn the basics first.

 

DeBono says that if “you listen carefully and attentively you will get more value from listening than talking” (p. 67). By probing further into what my mentor says, I was able to learn new information about colour correction that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t listening so attentively. Furthermore when my mentor stated they “personally didn’t use the hue modifier to colour correct their videos,” I gained an insight to my mentors values, and how they had their preferred methods.

 

How to Ask Questions:

 

Mentor: When you add blur to any of your videos, be careful because digital blurring may cause dirty edges to your clip.

 

Me: Really? How does that happen?

 

Mentor: It’s actually quite complicated. It has to do with the video colour interpretation of a camera, and how it is calculated.

 

Me: Oh, but I still don’t fully understand how this works. How is the colour calculated?

 

Mentor: I actually have a video about this that I can show you.

 

(We watch the video- you can view it if you want at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKnqECcg6Gw)

 

DeBono says that questions generate interaction, and by questioning the reasoning behind my mentors statements I was able to create an interaction between us by watching a video that explained the situation. Due to my asking for an explanation behind my mentors words I was able to clarify an explanation, and fully understand the topic we were discussing. If I didn’t ask for clarification then I likely might not have seen the science video, and then I wouldn’t have understood the reasoning behind my mentors words.

 

Now, here is my attempt at colour correction! The video starts off with the original clip, and then wipe transitions into the colour corrected video that I created so you can see the footage before and after. I went for a reddish tone, to simulate a cinematic-style evening compared to the boring original scene. I used the curves modifier, the hue and contrast modifier, and the brightness and exposure settings to get this final look. I will continue practicing and improving my colour correction skills, and I will continue to get better and better at video editing!

 

 

And that my friend, is the end of this years fourth In-Depth blog post!

 

Romeo and Juliet– Critical Response

    The relationship between Romeo and Juliet is not something you typically see in this age. Many people think of Romeo and Juliet as the perfect relationship, but in reality if they read the play then they will realize it is merely puppy love. First of all, it is important to note that Romeo and Juliet have known one another for barely two days, and they are already getting married. When Romeo first sees Juliet, he remarks that “she doth teach the torches to burn bright! […] Forswear it, sight! For [Romeo] ne’er saw true beauty till this night (I.V.44-53).” In this quote we see Romeo becoming attracted to Juliet based solely on appearance. He is commenting on her looks, and doesn’t even bother knowing her personality before declaring his love for Juliet. This is similar to the infatuation young teens feel towards each other when they are first experiencing “love”. Their brains aren’t matured yet, and so their idea of “love” is skewed. Additionally, when Juliet says her “love has grown to such excess [she] cannot sum up half [her] wealth” we view her opinion on their relationship (II.VI.33-34). From her perspective, their love is so rich that she can’t even count half of it. Keep in mind the two have known one another for merely two days, and Juliet is expressing how rich and beautiful their relationship is. Often adolescents take rash decisions because their prefrontal cortex is still developing, and they instead rely on their amygdala to make decisions. Often these decisions are rash, and I believe this is what occurs in the play when Romeo and Juliet decide to marry one another. Of course, my response is only based off of where we have read up to in the play so far, so we will gain a further insight of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship later on.

 

    To an extent, Kulich’s argument is true and historically accurate. When she states that males were legally allowed to marry at fourteen years of age and females at twelve, this is a true fact from the Elizabethan era. However, when Kulich states that once an individual became fourteen then they would be given the same rights as an adult and freedom to do whatever they want, this point is historically inaccurate. Most of the marriages this young were forced and the humans actually being wedded did not have much say in the event. Additionally, in these cases parental consent was required, which is not what happens in Romeo and Juliet. Moreover, parents married their children at such a young age to bridge closer to another family, and so that they can improve their relations. In Romeo and Juliet, this could have been a possibility where the Montagues and the Capulets marry Romeo and Juliet to end their feud and bring peace. Nonetheless there still would have been lots more parental influence involved and definitely not as much freedom as Romeo and Juliet both have in the play with their relationship. In conclusion, the love between Romeo and Juliet isn’t something that would have historically happened based on the beliefs and values of the time, proving Kulich wrong that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is something that would’ve likely occurred in their era.

 

http://www.william-shakespeare.info/elizabethan-wedding-customs.htm

 

https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/marriage-and-courtship

 

In-Depth Post #3

Wow, we are already six weeks into In-Depth and I am continuing to expand my knowledge of the visual effects industry. I am learning After Effects, which is another video compositing software. The reason I switched over to After Effects from Hitfilm is because the former has a lot more functionality, not to mention my mentor is incredibly skilled with After Effects and highly recommended it to me. Thankfully the basic controls of the two softwares are similar so I didn’t have a problem transitioning to After Effects. Over the last week, I explored masking techniques and learned how to draw and animate a mask around an object/person. In the end I created this effect where I clone myself, and I will show this effect at the end of this blog post. I also experimented with some clever cutting in my clips to create ‘magic tricks’, which I will include at the end of this post. If anything, my interest in visual effects is only growing, because I find the topic so fascinating and interesting.

 

I met up with my mentor again this week, and I learned more useful information, such as how to use the program more effectively, and shortcuts to tools within the software. Additionally, we went through a clip from Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War together, and looked at the special effects used in the film. My mentor pointed out to me that “no one will notice and appreciate an effect that looks good and has lots of detail, but they definitely will notice when an effect is lacking.” We went through the Infinity War battle scene frame by frame to view the effects, and my mentor pointed out elements that I didn’t notice the first time, such as subtle glows on a character’s face, or how certain parts of a character were masked out and had a different colour tone applied to match the surroundings.

 

How To Have A Beautiful Mind:

 

How to be interesting:

 

When we were looking at the clip, I related some of the effects to how they may have been created, so I could link it directly to my learning. By gaining an understanding of how effects are created in massive industries such as Hollywood, I can use this knowledge to create my own stunning effects. There was one shot in particular that stood out to me, and it was when Dr. Strange stopped a plasma blast with a fractal shield. When I told my mentor my thoughts on the effect, he told me how that two second effect alone probably took days to complete, just because of how complex it was. Through this confrontation I discovered how much time one may spend over an effect that is merely on screen for a few seconds. Furthermore, when my mentor asked me how I would go about creating a certain effect on screen, I would ask “what if..” and then provide my idea. A lot of the time my ideas were different than my mentor’s, and this is because there are just so many possible ways to achieve the effect you desire. These “what if” statements allowed us to think of different and creative possibilities that we didn’t think of before, and allowed for a more creative approach to the meeting.

 

How to respond:

 

Since After Effects is a fairly complicated program, I asked for clarification a few times. If there was any aspect of a tool that I didn’t understand, then I asked my mentor for more information about it. Additionally, if my mentor used a term that I didn’t know the definition of then I asked for clarification as well. When my mentor talked about colour grading footage to help it look more cinematic, I brought up facts on how all movie studio’s colour corrected their footage to help it pop out and look more professional. It’s known for filmmakers worldwide to colour grade their footage, and I used this to support my mentor’s point. Moreover, when we were discussing special effects in general, I brought up how I had always wanted to know how superheroes get their powers on the big screen. My fascination for superheroes ever since I was a kid is my motivation behind choosing visual effects for In-Depth.

 

Lastly, we discussed motion tracking with a built-in program called Mocha. Mocha uses plane tracking to track surfaces rather than just points, so I thought of it as a new and improved way to more accurately track surfaces. Using this, I was able to make the idea of tracking in Mocha more acceptable to myself, and a lot more practical to use. Now, as per my promise, here are some of my effects that I created!

 

A cool “magic” trick effect where I duplicate money on my computer and then pull it into the real world (It is essentially just clever cuts throughout the footage and being able to keep your hand still so the cuts aren’t visible):

Another “magic” trick where I use a pillow to change my shirt (Another cut in the footage, you just have to keep your position consistent to really sell the effect):

A motion tracking test where I tracked the screen of my laptop and replaced it with another video I made of some animated text:

 

Another Harry Potter style wand effect, unfortunately the video exported with really grainy quality (I created it with various lens flares, shockwaves, and adding heat distortion to the footage to sell the energy blast of the wand):

 

 

I’m excited to keep going and to learn as much as I can about visual effects!

In-Depth Post #2

In-Depth so far is going great! I am continuing to learn loads about special effects and video editing. Over the past two weeks, I have kept myself busy by spending a multitude of time learning Hitfilm Express. At first I played around with different effects, clicking on almost everything I saw and analyzing what happened. I spent a lot of time watching youtube videos about Hitfilm; I started off with basic tutorials to help me figure out basic editing skills, and then I proceeded to watch tutorials for effects that I actually wanted to recreate. For example, I was interested in creating a Harry Potter style wand effect, so I looked up ‘Harry Potter spell tutorial Hitfilm’ and once I found a video I got straight to work trying my hand at creating the effect (which I will show at the end of this blog post).

 

I also met with my mentor, and he gave me so much useful information! First he showed me a useful youtube video about visual effects, which gives an overview of what they are and how visual effects have evolved over time. You can watch the video here. He also showed me some useful short films that use visual effects, one of which was his own film that he entered into a competition! I was truly impressed by his work because the effects in his movie seemed to really blend into reality. What I mean by this is that he didn’t overuse flashy shockwaves or lasers, and rather used more subtle effects to make his work seem to be a part of the real world, which was what he later taught me. Some of the tips that my mentor provided me are to not overuse flashy/high-contrasting effects because they look out of place and make the viewer seem to think that they are unrealistic. Adding on, you shouldn’t overuse video effects in general, because you want the viewer to retain that sense of amazement during your movie. If they see the same effect repeated over and over again, they might feel like it is getting a little stale and boring. In this scenario, what films such as Harry Potter do is they vary up their spells, and make them all look different. This way although there are lots of wand effects in the movies, every spell is unique and done differently, so we see something fresh every time rather than the same effect.

 

A great quote my mentor said was, “If you think it looks good the first time you view it, then it’s good”. What he means is that when you are watching an effect you created, if you think it looks impressive the first time you see it then it really is a good effect. The reasoning behind this is that your audience is only ever going to watch an effect once, so if it looks good the first time then just leave it. What many vfx artists will do is they spend a lot of time just looking at one effect over and over again, and because they are seeing the same one over and over it begins to feel a little stale in their head. Due to this, they won’t see it as a great effect anymore.

 

During our mentoring session, I agreed with most of what my mentor said. For example, when he said to not have very high-contrasting effects with your scene, I agreed with what he said after thinking a little bit about where he was coming from, and the reasoning behind the point. If your effects don’t match your background, then they won’t look optimal and will seem fake to the audience. He also said not to overdo your special effects, and to include a good portion of physical effects to your movies. I agreed with this point because you want to keep a balance of physical and special effects. If I had a wand in real life that could shoot magic spells, chances are I wouldn’t be tossing fireballs at every single thing I saw. Just like this, in a film you don’t want to have your characters breathing fire all the time. Only have special effects when you need them.

 

When my mentor said that he preferred using rotoscoping over using a green screen, I had a slightly different opinion on the matter. This is because a lot of the video tutorials I saw beforehand used a lot of green screen and not as much roto. Rotoscoping is when you animate a mask around an object/person to bring them out of the background, where green screening is when you take an object/person recorded in front of a literal ‘green screen’, and then remove the background. I could see the reasoning behind why my mentor didn’t prefer green screens, because of how annoying the lighting is and how hard it is to accurately remove all the green, but I could think of more downsides to roto than green screening. Rotoscoping is extremely tedious and takes an extremely long time, and you require immense patience to get aesthetic results. Based on my previous experiences with rotoscoping, I knew that I preferred green screening where possible. I brought my opinion up politely because De Bono says that it’s better to be polite than to be aggressive about it, and it’s also common courtesy not to be rude where possible.

 

My mentor was showing me some tricks he liked to use in his films, and one of them was how he didn’t like to overuse too many effects in the same video. I’m the kind of person that when I discover something new I have to try every single possibility I can manage. It was hard for me to minimize my use of special effects, but I realized my mentor was correct and what my mentor was saying was for my own good. In this case, my opinion just merely differed, because I could see the points of both sides, and I could agree with both opinions on hand. When I am actually going to make my final project, then I will most definitely take my mentors advice, because they have had much more experience than me with this skill.

 

Here is my attempt at a Harry Potter style wand effect, and I apologise for the terrible lighting in the video.

 

That’s all for now, see you in my next post! Ka-pow.

ZIP Final Post

This year for ZIP my inquiry question is ‘What components make up an effective text-based story’, and the reason I chose this as my question is because recently I saw these ads for these really interesting text-based stories. Upon doing some further investigating and even looking at some of these stories I thought that the concept was really intriguing. It was an entirely new form of storytelling altogether- one directed at the modern era where texting is a part of most people’s lives. I wanted to explore this idea further, because in the future it might become a really popular form of storytelling, in which case it’s useful if I am already skilled with the technique. Overtime, my inquiry question stayed the same but I did break it down into two more parts, which are perspectives and dialogue. Because text stories are new and fresh into the world there isn’t much information about them, so I figured out the main elements that create a text story- which are perspectives and dialogue- and I did research on that. All in all though, my inquiry question has stayed the same because I was able to find information about it, albeit not directly.

During this inquiry process some skills I expanded on are problem solving and researching, because as I mentioned above I had trouble finding information on directly what makes an effective text story, so I developed methods to persevere and find what I’m looking for. Another skill I expanded on is creativity, because being creative is an essential piece to writing an effective story. If your story is lacking creativity, then it will just seem plain out bland to the reader. Additionally, I vastly improved my synthesizing skills because I took aspects from different stories I read before to recombine into another cohesive whole. Most of the inspiration I used is from real stories and myths, because I found some of the content really intriguing, and I still wonder what really happened in those stories. A prime example is the ‘Dyatlov Pass’ incident in Russia, where nine ski hikers didn’t return home, and the police found a really “odd” scene when they went searching for these hikers. You can read about that on your own though. Another example of inspiration I used is the myth about random staircases found in the middle of nowhere, and everyone who’s gone near them has only ever experienced negative things, whether they be physical experiences, emotions, etc. You can read about that yourself as well. These skills will come in useful to me later on whenever I am working on most blog posts, because for example if we are working on an analysis of a written piece, like we have done this year, then I can use my synthesizing skills to take pieces and bits of information from different sources and formulate it into a cohesive argument or analysis. I can use my creative skills to spice up my work, and to add some more originality to my work by coming up with unique ideas of my own.

In the end, I come to the epiphany that there isn’t just one factor that makes up an effective text story. Rather, there are multiple different components you must consider when writing these types of stories. One of the most important factors is to get straight into the action. The last thing you want to do is bore your reader, because then they will likely just put your story away for another one. You want to dive right into the conflict of your story, so you can hook the reader in. Another aspect you want to focus on is to let the reader make inferences. It is tempting at times to add in unnecessary messages just to clear the plot with the reader, but it’s actually better if they make inferences. This way you can show not tell, and you can also keep the reader on their toes thinking about what is happening. Keep in mind though you don’t want to make the story so unclear that no one has any idea what’s happening, because that just makes them not want to read anymore. You want to be careful how you use grammar. When you text someone, you aren’t going to use perfect grammar for every message, so why do that in a chat story? The texts should be natural, as if it is a real conversation going on between two people.

Related image

Furthermore, an essential component that you want to use well is perspectives. When writing a text story you are speaking from the heads of multiple people, and you must be able to authentically represent these people. This means you have to differentiate your voice for it to sound authentic. Otherwise it will seem like the same person’s voice coming from both characters, and it’s more like a puppet show. Which is not what you want.

My final learning artefact is actually a text story that I wrote myself, using all the skills I learned during my inquiry. My story demonstrates all of my learning because I took all my research and applied it into a final written piece. I think that this is the best way to show my learning, because what’s better than actually writing what you spent a month researching about? This directly connects to one of my chosen competencies, which is ‘Transform ideas and information to create original texts’, because I am using all of the information that I gathered and I am creating an original text, which is my story. Another one of my competencies is ‘Explain how literary elements, techniques, and devices enhance and shape meaning’, and this connects to my work because this is what I did earlier in this blog post. I explained what makes up an effective text story, and how it does so. My artefact shows this competency because I used these different literary elements that I discussed, and then I created a story with them. In addition, my last competency is ‘Synthesize ideas from a variety of sources to build understanding’, and I did a lot of this in my research, which ultimately leads to my story. As aforementioned, I broke down my inquiry question to find more information on it, so I had to synthesize the information I found, and I had to reinterpret what it meant in my scenario. What I mean by this is that most websites that talked about writing from different perspectives, or writing effective dialogue were meant for novel-type stories, so I had to re-apply the information in my situation and see what still makes sense. I also looked at information from a variety of websites, so I picked what came up repeatedly in them, and what also worked for text stories, and I synthesized that information into my notes. These notes were then used to create my final artefact, which is how the story connects to the competency. I’m not going to post any pictures from my story because of spoilers, and you will have a chance to read it on Monday when I present.

ZIP Notes

One resource I found particularly helpful is this website: https://www.wired.com/story/text-message-based-horror-stories/

This helped me out quite a bit at the start of my inquiry, because it provided overall information about text stories and the history of them, to help kickstart my inquiry.

Another website I found helpful is this one: https://nybookeditors.com/2017/05/your-guide-to-writing-better-dialogue/

This website gave me lots of useful information for writing dialogue between characters, and although it is meant for actual book-style story writing I found that I could re-apply lots of what is said into text stories.

Another website I used: https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/5-quick-tips-for-writing-in-multiple-perspectives

This website gave me some information about writing from multiple different perspectives, and how I can pull that off effectively. Again, it’s meant for book style stories but it can be easily re-applied into chat fiction.

Yet another website that helped me: https://www.standoutbooks.com/6-insanely-good-dialogue-tips-from-your-future-literary-agent/

This website also gave me tips on writing dialogue, and although some of the tips on this website are meant for regular style stories, some other tips came in really useful to me while writing my chat-fiction story.

An additional website: https://www.nownovel.com/blog/writing-dialogue-multiple-characters/

This website gave me information for writing dialogue from multiple different characters, so it’s like a bonus of both perspectives and dialogue that helped me find more about my question.

A new question I have that’s branched off of my current inquiry is what kind of other styles of story writing will emerge in the future. Ten years ago when texting was just becoming a thing, nobody ever suspected that chat-fiction would actually become a form of storytelling. Now look at where we are. I find it amazing that we have invented such unique methods to tell stories, and I am curious as to where we will head next. This excites me because I am looking forwards to seeing new methods of telling stories, methods that I am never going to expect.

In-Depth Post #1: An Introduction

How many superhero movies have you seen? Every single one of these movies is loaded with special effects, for example the webs Spider-Man uses to swing through the city and the repulsors Iron-Man fires from his suit. For this year’s in-depth I want to learn how to create visually stunning effects, such as the ones in popular Hollywood movies and TV Shows. Here are some examples of effects I would like to learn how to create:

Image result for Thor infinity war entry gif

Related image

Related image

 

Why do I want to learn this skill? Over the past year my interest in how movies create all these cool effects is increasing, and now this project is the perfect opportunity to act on my interest and to really get rolling in the art of special effects. Another reason I have for wanting to learn visual effects is because if I become an expert in the area then I can create almost anything I want or imagine. I could add lightning to my touch, fire to my fingertips, or even magic spells to the end of my wand. The possibilities are endless! Additionally, I have grown up watching movies. When I was a child, I would look at all the explosions and laser beams in a movie and wonder how in the world they created such cool scenes. Now the knowledge is within my grasp, and I am so close to creating these effects for myself. The program I plan to use for in-depth is called ‘Hitfilm Express’, and it is a great program to create all the kind of effects I aim to create. You can check their website out here: https://fxhome.com/express

By the end of the project I wish to have the skills to create professional-looking effects that look much like those in famous movies. I want to learn some high-level film techniques that are used in large industries, and I want to be able to apply these techniques to create nifty results, such as some from popular movies below:

 

Image result for Spiderman explosion gif

Related image

Image result for Mysterio gif far from home

As for mentorship, I am planning on consulting with Nathan for the first little bit of in-depth, until I find a professional in the field. I sent emails out to studios nearby in Vancouver, but as of yet I have received no response. If I don’t get any reply back, I plan on asking Mr. Udell, the digital media teacher, to be my mentor for this year’s in-depth. He has been teaching digital media for several years, and I figure he can really help me out by providing useful information.

In the meantime, I am going to introduce myself to Hitfilm, and really become familiar with the program. Once I do that, I will slowly experiment with more and more different techniques that are more and more complex, so I can slowly build my skills up. This is my last year of this wonderful project, so there’s no second chances. This is it; there’s no holding back now. Let’s do this.

ZIP Document of Learning #3

Question: Describe the ups and downs you have encountered to date in your inquiry. Specifically, when you were frustrated or struggling in your inquiry, what did you do to address the situation?

 

So far in my inquiry I have gone through both ups and downs, but for now I am going to start off with the more difficult moments, so we can end on a positive note. One thing that I found frustrating is the fact that text stories have only really become a ‘thing’ a year or so ago. They are a very fresh and new experience, which also means finding information was a huge pain. There are next to no articles explaining what components make up an effective chat story, and I was unable to find anything directly on the topic that can help me. I problem solved through this by breaking my question down further, and finding research about that subtopic, as I explained in my earlier document of learning. I am also finding it a little tough to settle on a topic to write a story about, because I keep thinking of and then discarding ideas, although right now I have a rough draft of what I am going to write about. In the near future I am probably going to struggle with more writing-based topics, but for now let’s move onto some ups of my inquiry.

 

Something that is going well for me is the actual method of creating the text stories themselves, because the app I am using to create the story is functioning smooth and well. I haven’t encountered any errors with the software yet, and I hope that nothing goes awry. Something else that is going well is that I discovered lots of popular text stories that I can refer back to when I am writing my story, and these will help immensely because I can refer to the parts that make the story as good as it is. An example of these stories is the ‘Creepy School Bus’ series, which is a really popular text story franchise.

 

My next steps are to begin writing my story, and I have no doubts I will encounter another patch of both ups and downs; however, instead of sitting here contemplating that, to begin, I am just going to begin.

ZIP Document of Learning #2

Question: Record a journal entry of how you used one of our in-class focus blocks. What did you accomplish during that time? What did you struggle with? What might be your next step in your next focus block?

 

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

 

Today felt really short, because I spent the block busy trying my hand at text stories. Throughout the period I tried to write my own text story, but I struggled with actually sticking with a topic, because I would start writing something and then suddenly come up with a better idea and then scrap my work so far. If I didn’t come up with another idea, it was still really hard to write a story that I was happy with, because there are a millions of ways you can write the dialogue. A constant issue that kept bugging me is that most people use slang when they write text messages to their friends or whomever. I know that I shouldn’t write with perfect grammar because that wouldn’t be realistic at all, but I also don’t want to completely write in slang either, because that is a little too informal. For example, many times in a sentence I will consider writing ‘u’ or ‘you’, and which sentences I should capitalize and which sentences I shouldn’t capitalize. It’s all about the balance between grammar and slang words, and one thing I now know is that you need to be careful with that balance, tip it too far one way and the story will be unrealistic, tip it the other way and your story will be too informal and take the reader away from the moment.

 

For my next focus block, I want to look at some popular text stories, and to really analyze the style that they are written with. This information can come in useful, because when I’m writing my own story I can recall back to the elements that made the popular story such a hit, and see if I can incorporate these elements into my story. I also plan on wrapping up my research over the next day, and to actually start getting into the habit of writing these chat stories, so I can gain as much experience and skill as possible.