In Depth Week 5

Last week, I went downtown to the Shangri-La Hotel to take photos for a convention alongside my mentor. It was a great experience and something that was totally different to what I was used to. So far, most of the events were performance type events where there were people on stage and that was the majority of what I needed to take, however, this time it was an open convention where people were interacting everywhere. This required a much different philosophy, as I had to gauge what was the most interesting component to take photos of as well as work more closely with other people. Unlike other events where I was stuck in a corner with a long zoom lens, I was up close with people and had to interact with them. There were times when I gathered people together for group photos or got them into certain poses. This is actually more beneficial in my opinion than sneakily taking photos of people, as with this latter option, people are often self conscious about having their picture taken, whereas by them knowing who and where I am, they acted more natural and made for better photos. Watching my mentor masterfully gather people and take photos of people while interacting with them at the same time was amazing, as I’ve never seen someone do it so seamlessly. This type of event reminds me of more of a cultural event, as it has lots of people interacting with different things, and is going to be the types of shots I am going for when going to cultural events. One more thing to note is as I was technically a second shooter, Mark told me to focus more on getting close ups of the venue as well as unique perspectives. Being a second shooter gave me a lot more flexibility as while Mark would have to get all the shots a client wanted, I was more free to do what I wanted.

With my mentor however, there are some challenges that arose. By learning mostly throguh first hand experience, I have to remind myself to be extra diligent in the reflection process because that is most of where I can better myself. Without this reflection process I would just be aimlessly taking photos only based on my prior knowledge. Much like cultural event evaluations, the reflection process must be done sooner rather than later in order to remember specifics. However, because of my mentor’s busy schedule on top of mine, scheduling times for us to debrief is most likely going to be difficult. For example, I was going to meet with Mark on Thursday, but something popped up and he had to cancel.

This scheduling problems can be avoided by planning ahead and using organizational skills. A possibility would be to have a processing and reflecting session after the event; however, this may be difficult as many events run late into the evening. It would also be preferable to have some time to think over what I did for myself before getting input from my mentor which is something I have definitely done since taking photos last week. This is so I can self-assess as well as get feedback from my mentor. So far I have been able to schedule mentor sessions at times that are beneficial for both of us with a bit of readjustment in my schedule. Last year, my mentor sessions were fairly easy to organize because my mentor had a more relaxed schedule. However, I don’t expect my mentor to adjust his busy schedule for me so I have learnt to be more flexible and adaptable.

Another challenge is communicating effectively. As Mark has a lot of experience in the field compared to myself, I sometimes am lost due to what him saying going a bit over my head, which leads to ineffective communication. This can be solved through myself asking him to clarify, but a better solution would be to have him get to know me better. As we have only met a few times, he does not know 100% of what I know, but when he does, he will be able to cater his language to my own, thus allowing effective communication.

I have three strategies for improving the quality of my mentoring interactions are: ensuring I have a plan before each meeting and letting my mentor know this, preparing myself beforehand by reviewing and reflecting on photos, and looking over other people’s work to get some ideas on photos to take (this applies more the the times when I shadow him). Having a plan keeps both of us on task, as well as a goal we can try to achieve by then end of the meeting. Reflecting on my photos will make sure we are the most efficient during our meetings and also allow myself some insights to bring to him before the meeting. Looking over other people’s work will give me creativity as well as add on to my reflecting of photos, as both are to improve my future skills.

I can implement these strategies in numerous ways, but will chose the way I think to be the most effective. For having a plan, this ties in with looking over my photos, as by looking over my photos I will determine what went well and what didn’t and get advice from Mark on what to improve on. Reflecting and preparing my photos (sorting and post processing) is the basic of structuring our meetings, we can start from looking over them together and moving onto talking about future plans and other techniques. All of this is something I can prepare in advance after looking over my photos. Reflecting my photos itself needs to be done in a certain manner by sorting through all the photos, and then post processing them. As for looking over other people’s work, this can be done on my own time by finding online images of events, and then taking notes and comparing them to my own photos.

Overall, I am very excited for what’s to come for my In-Depth, I have already learned quite a bit and only plan on learning more.

As a side note, I won’t release the photos of the event I was at last week as it was a private event, so I will need to talk to Mark about releasing them when I meet him again.

Romeo’s Myers-Briggs Personality

Based on what I know of Romeo from Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”, I can conclude that he has an ESFP type personality. Broken down, this means he shows the following traits: extraversion over introversion, sensing over intuition, feeling over thinking, and perceiving over judging. This personality type is the campaigner type personality, meaning he is often the center of attention, but enjoys the social aspect of it more so than the excitement of it all. He shows traits such as being independent, charismatic, energetic and compassionate. Some of these traits can be seen in the balcony scene when Romeo finds Juliet. Romeo left his friends to be on his own to find Juliet, showing his independence. He also puts his feeling of the situation over his thinking of it, as he made his decision to find Juliet based on his feelings of her and ignored the logical, thinking part of himself, which would dictate he leave the Capulet’s mansion, as if he is found he will be killed. As well, he perceives more than he judges, and in the context of the Myers-Briggs test means he prefers to make up plans on the spot and improvise rather than making a well thought out plan. This can be seen when he impulsively tries to find Juliet shortly after the party. Another scene where Romeo shows the ENFP type personality is when he decides to fight Tybalt after Tybalt killed Mercutio, and ends up killing Tybalt. Romeo was in this situation in the first place due to his extraverted nature and being out in the streets with his fellow Montagues. He shows a feeling of the situation more than thinking his actions through, deciding to try and kill Tybalt based on his personal values and friendship with Mercutio. He also improvised his plan quickly as he decided to kill Tybalt almost immediately after Mercutio dies, showing traits of a perceiver more than a judger. Throughout these two scenes, as well as other parts of the phay, it is clear that Romeo has a ESFP type personality.

In-Depth 2.0 Week Three

I recently met with my mentor, Mark Kinskofer, for the first time in person on Monday. He is the director of Vision Photography (https://visionphoto.ca/) in Vancouver and is extremely qualified. He has been doing event photography for 17 years now. He explained to me the entire process of what he had to do to get to where he is at this point. For the most part of this career, he was working by himself and doing absolutely everything, rarely outsourcing. He basically ran the show. In 2010 however, he got a business consultant and rebranded himself as Vision Photography, as well as outsourcing and getting more people on his team. This has benefitted him, and since 2010 he has been constantly improving on his branding and online presence, which is something important for businesses in this day and age. This is something he still has to constantly update on, as everything changes so rapidly such as the social platforms people use. During the early stages, he said he mostly just had to push through when he had a lot of work and never stop once. However, now he is much more stable, relying on multiple people in order to get the work that he needs to get done finished.

This whole conversation we had was extremely insightful and showed me a lot of ways event photography works, both explicitly and implicitly. First of all, his story shows the resilience required to do this type of thing, often times with no support. However, this isn’t always a bad thing. When he rebranded himself and got more people on his team, people that wanted him to do photography for them (either based on previous experiences or based on referrals) would still call him Mark, and would often times ignore the business of Vision Photography; people still wanted “Mark” and not Vision Photography.

This proves that while running everything by yourself can be stressful, it means that you entire business is extremely consistent (due to it only being one person), and even when going through a rebrand, people still remember you as that consistent one person team. This means that if I am to do any type of event photography, I must keep my work not only consistent, but consistently good in order to get referred and have people come back to me. This reputation will also stick with me no matter what rebranding I go through.

In terms of learning how to mentor others from this first hand experience, I have learned that it is best to give the mentee background knowledge and skills before giving them as much firsthand experience as possible. After each experience, the mentor should go over with the mentee and reflect on what went well, what they need to improve on, as well as future options and paths to take. Last year my mentor took a very similar approach, and everything turned out great. I was able to play with the visual effects as much as possible before my mentor would fully explain to me the specifics of how to improve. To start this year’s in-depth, Mark is getting shadow him and take photos at a convention next week at the Shangri-La hotel in Vancouver which will give me the firsthand experience I need, after which we will reflect on what happened.

Overall, I am looking forward to what lies ahead for me in my in-depth project. I am looking forward to taking photos alongside Mark and getting mentored by him in the future. I am planning on posting an update on taking photos at the Shangri-La in the next two weeks, as well as any additional things I may have done. As well, I will be doing additional things such as photos for my cadets and leadership projects in TALONS.

Romeo and Juliet Critical Response

Romeo and Juliet’s relationship resembles one of ‘infatuated children engaging in ‘puppy love’. Romeo and Juliet’s relationship sprouts rather quickly, as they decide to get married the night they meet, after seeing each other no more than an hour. They both agree to get married with Juliet proclaiming, “Thy proposed marriage, send me word to-morrow, By one that I’ll procure to come to thee, Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;” (2.2.145-147). This indicates that Juliet wants to get married and wants word of when it will happen from Romeo. This is after merely after a short exchange at the Capulet’s party and another on the balcony. Love portrayed like this feels forced and unnatural, simply due to the time it takes to unfold. In real life, love takes time to form and not in one night. Romeo and Juliet deciding to marry so soon is unjustified and would not happen between fully developed adults. If they had taken their time and got to know each other’s personalities more, a marriage between the two would be seen as realistic, even despite their young ages, due to the fact that is would have matured the same way adult’s love does and not infatuated children. In addition, Romeo switches love interests after merely seeing Juliet and proclaiming, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” 1.5.52-53). Previously, Romeo loved Rosaline, but quickly switches to loving Juliet. This shows that Romeo loves based on looks, and will switch love interests quickly and without much thought. The fact that he has ‘loved’ Juliet for only a few hours before deciding to marry her means that he quite possibly decide to stop loving Juliet and move onto someone else very quickly. Because of the fact that Romeo and Juliet’s love develops so quickly and is at risk of also breaking quickly, their love is representative of ‘infatuated children engaging in ‘puppy love’.

Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children is partially true. It is a fact that the minimum age to marry was 12 for girls and 14 for boys, however, this was often uncommon and required parental consent. Due to this, people that did marry this young were typically married by their parents for a connection between two families. The people that were married off at this age often had little to none say in their marriage. Kulich’s point about people being treated as adults at 14, as in they would have the freedom to marry whomever they choose, is historically inaccurate. Romeo and Juliet’s love not being forced upon by their families is something that would historically not have happened, proving Kulich wrong about believing that Romeo and Juliet’s love is something that would historically have happened.

http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-marriages-and-weddings.htm

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

 

Getting Started – In Depth #1

For my in-depth this year, I decided to do event photography. Last year I did basic VFX, and was originally considering learning more in depth visual effects this year with a software program called Nuke. Nuke is an advanced VFX creation program that is based completely different from other software I have used. rather than being layer based, it is node based. This complication sounded extremely interesting me. I wanted to study further into it, however, I realized that it is an incredibly complicated program where the initial learning curve would be extremely steep. As well, it was somewhat similar to what I did last year, and I also wanted to do something completely different. That is why I decided to stray away from learning Nuke, and considered going into a specific area of photography.

I love photography and thought it would be a great benefit to myself to explore something about it in detail. I was considering things such as portrait photography or macro photography, but realized that both of those are forms of art photography, which is the type of photography I enjoyed. Instead I changed course and decided to try event photography, although at this point, I wasn’t quite finalized on it. I took photos at coffee house and I really liked the process and learned firsthand the differences from what I normally would do while taking photos. At this same time, I began to realize the opportunities I could have if I had this skill, not just in the next five months, but many years onto the future. People always need photographers for events, why couldn’t it be me?

I began my preliminary research in December and started finding my options for taking photos. One of the biggest ones was cadets. I am the NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in command) of the public affairs aspect of the yearbook team, and as such, I watch over a team of people where we take photos at numerous cadet events as well as make articles about the photos and post them on the squadron Facebook page. In addition, we will also be making some videos and a yearbook, however both of those are relatively unrelated to my in depth. In doing this, myself and the IC (in command) of the yearbook team  had to make a lesson about the basics of photography and Lightroom (editing software) for the rest of the team. What we taught were mostly basic things such as ISO, aperture, composition and the simple Lightroom tutorial. In doing this, I had to go back to the basics of photography myself, as these are things I don’t really have to think about any more when I take photos. This reestablished my baseline heading into my in depth, as I can expand on what I already know more efficiently due to knowing exactly my limits. In relation to cadets, I also took a course to become a certified cadet correspondent, meaning I am now certified to write official cadet articles.

As for finding a mentor, I haven’t been able to secure one yet. I sent out multiple emails to various event photography corporations in December and am currently finalizing details with one. I am also contacting people directly whom I know do event photography or have contacts with people in the field. I am hoping to secure a mentor soon, as it would extremely benefit my learning as I will be able to get insightful feedback from a professional that would exponentially increase my abilities.

ZIP document of learning #4

Filming last week was fun, and I am almost done the editing process and just need to add sound at this point. Editing my project made me realize a lot of new things and I really had to go back to my original research to find out what I needed to do. For example, my transitions couldn’t be simple jump cuts most of the time and I needed to find something else to use, something that would add some sort of meaning according to my research. I went with a variety of transitions, but used those fast pans between locations a lot of the time. Another thing I realized while editing was the frame rate. While shooting, I changed my frame rate depending on whether or not I wanted to slow it down later in post (60 to slow down 2.5 times, 30 for 1.25 and 24 for 1:1) as I would export at 24 fps (the cinematic standard). Going through the footage made me realize that basically everything looked better slowed down to 2.5 times and that I should have done that for all the shots. The slower footage made everything more impactful and allowed the audience(= (myself at the time) to take in everything. This would also allow me to speed up the footage later if needed. Another thing I realized about editing is how impactful my colour grading was. I needed to have everything portray a tone depending on the scene. This could be done through many techniques such as changing the vibration, exposure, temperature and more. I had to learn through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. Overall, pretty much done my ZIP and just need to work on finalizing my presentation.

Doing colour work on the footage:

 

Zip Document of Learning #3

Over this break and the last week of school, I learned a lot about how to portray stories and what makes them effective. This has guided me when I was creating my own digital story. I took a lot of elements from film, but also from photography and even fiction writing. So far I have gotten all of the filming done (Huge shoutout to Elyjah and Carter for helping me) which took a couple of days. There are not a whole lot of shots, but each shot had to be perfectly made, from the lighting to the composition, frame rate to focus pulls. On average a shot(even if it only lasts a few seconds) would take around 10-30 minutes to complete. Here is a bit of the behind the scenes:

filming filming2

As you may notice, I am using the Apple light that I made for my eminent project. It is actually a really great light for filming and what I am doing, as it is very bright and casts diffuse light (which is the look you want most of the time in film and for what I am doing).

Through this firsthand experience, I am learning a lot of how to portray a story, and realize that not using any dialogue or explicit character interactions is in fact not limiting me at all, rather it forces me to be more creative. This is illustrated by this great quote from Orson Welles: “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations”. By constricting myself, I am forced to come up with new angles to approach a topic. For example, when I wanted to show the same person in a different location, I used a visual cue (zooming in and out of the same person) to get the audience to understand, rather than following the person on their travel.

After filming, I needed to begin the editing process, which I am currently on and almost done. It is a lot different from editing a traditional film as I need to employ tactics to make my medium more effective without the use of simple jump cuts, which are what most movies do. I am using motion blurred swipes, zooms and spins for most of my transitions, or fades. This gives my story a bit of movement (as most of my shots are stationary, as intended) and also a way for the audience to understand the relative positions of insert shots and objects. There is also a lot of colour grading going into it, as for my story, I want everything to look relatively the same, and vary from the norm to draw attention to certain shots and scenes.

I am making good progress and hoping to be finished all of the editing by tomorrow.

John Maxwell Reflection

Next semester there will be a lot of things to plan like leadership events, adventure trips, in-depth and probably other smaller things thrown in there as well. A law that particularly struck me from John Maxwell’s 360o Leader seminars was the very first myth he talked about: the position myth. This is something that I felt had impacted me negatively in the past, and I will try and get rid of it heading into the new year. This myth essentially tells us that those handed leadership positions, are not the highest level of leadership and often are not respected by a group. This affects all of us, but the biggest example I could think of was the adventure trip last year. With the adventure trip planning, a lot of us(myself included), stuck to our committees and rarely expanded beyond that due to assuming that just because someone was not put into a leadership position(such as part of a specific committee), that they couldn’t help on a task. The committee system is great, but as John Maxwell said (I forget the specific chapter), good leaders help other leaders by filling in their weaknesses; they compliment each other. Occasionally, a committee has a weakness and will not outsource another person better suited for the task, such as in the case of contacting people for using the gym as part of the practice committee(none of us knew the teachers all that well). Going forward into the new year, I plan to outreach to other committees to ask for help when I need it, and also be willing to outsource myself and committee to others(such as if my committee is done a section before another and goes to help others).

ZIP Document of learning #2

Last week on Friday during our work block, I finished planning out my ‘screenplay’ for my project. I put it in quotations because it isn’t truly a screenplay, it is more of a shot list, but with a big emphasis on post production as well. I have already pretty much compiled my research, and moved on to the stage of producing my final product and learning more through first hand experience. I started out with brainstorming ideas on what to base my story on. I knew what worked well in my chosen form of media and what didn’t, and had to take that into account when deciding a topic. I had a couple ideas in mind like a story about a kid who is forced to run away from home and live by themself, or one about an internal conflict with a sniper in the military refusing to kill their target at the last second. I ended up choosing to do a story about a teenager who is murdered, and his best friend seeks to avenge him. The reason I chose to to this is that it is a relatively simple story to follow, and follows a conventional story arc of inciting incident, rising action, climax and falling action. This story arc is what I am hoping to learn more about, as different medium portray it differently. By having a simple story, I am able to have fun and mold it to my mediums liking, as opposed to having a more complicated story, where my focus would be on the story and not the medium. My current story plan, while sounding a bit violent and not school appropriate, will not explicitly show violence or drugs in the final product, and everything will be toned down due to it not being a film,  is the following:

  1. Establish the two people as friends.
  2. Change days, and have the friend being seen vaping with a few other people.
  3. Cut through shoes and different drugs
  4. Have a shoe walk forward to offer monies to drug dealers, but it is a lot and they decide to just murder the person in the shoe for it.
  5. Main is looking at their phone, and seeing the last text they received from their friend.
  6. Phone is dropped and cracked.
  7. Main leaves
  8. Main buys a gun
  9. Main goes to the people who killed friend
  10. Main kills one of them but then is super shocked by what they did, so freaks out and is killed by person who killed his friend

My story structure sounds super vague at the moment, however, I also have the actual shot list with transitions, which is two pages long. Here’s a short snippet of that:

  1. Friends are playing pool with each other
    1. Close of cue being angled towards ball but moving
      1. Repeat the cure motion
      2. Have single light against diffuser to cas a shadow around the hand, and not have to edit shadow
      3. End with ball going into motion
    2. Friends standing by the pool table looking over it, a ball spinning endlessly
      1. Spin transition to other friend looking over the table
      2. Draw a follow focus from the friend’s head to the ball(this might be hard to do with ae)
      3. Pan to friend’s front of face (ae 3d tracker+mocha)
      4. Have friend eat a cheeto and repeat a few times
    3. Speed up a hyperlapse of friends walking out of door
      1. Have fistbump and run camera along hands in a slowish motion(us 35 maybe? macro would be nice

So far I am on schedule with my ZIP project, and I hope to begin shooting in the next few days!

ZIP Document of Learning #1

So far in my ZIP project, I have been focusing on getting a grasp of how different forms of media have differing effects on the way they play with people’s emotions and feelings. For example this silent animation(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FIEZXMUM2I) that shows how through simple visuals, personalities can be assigned to non-sentient beings. This similar effect will be much larger if personalities get assigned to people.

However, a question has arised from learning of these different ways of portraying personalities: what is the most effective medium to portray a character’s personality? Now this is a massive question that I cannot hope to answer, as it could basically be the basis of someone’s entire ZIP, but I have gotten a few insights as to the answer. The biggest thing I have learned when investigating this sub-question is that it depends on the purpose and what you are trying to accomplish. For example’s movies are great for showing what a character is doing, their goals and motivations, but cannot fully cover in-depth the personality or personal thoughts as there is often no narrator and they have to stick to time limits. That is why we are seeing a lot of superhero movies do so well; a superhero often has simple motives (or complex one’s that can be shown naturally) that can be understood by the audience. I plan to cover this question briefly in my final presentation, however I will need to take this into my consideration as to how to show my characters in my final product; I will need to know the general answer, but won’t be explicitly answering it.

Another question that has arised from studying how people tend to assign personalities based on simple actions of others, is when do we have a right to assume someone’s personality based on a few actions. For example when driving, people often think of the drivers of cars a certain personality based on how they drive(cutting you off, not merging properly etc.). Do we have a right to assume what type of person someone is based on one or a few indirect interactions? This is a question that I will not even try to answer, because I have a better question that I will need to answer for my project: how do people infer personalities based on small actions of others? I will need to answer this in order to figure out the best way to make my final product the  most effective.

As I continue to learn more about my ZIP and what I need to do to make an effective digital story, more questions will arise over this topic. I will need to sort through these question and answer them according to how much they will help me learn the most and make my final product the most compelling.