To follow up on our discussion from last week, I wanted to show you some examples of films made with consumer-grade (as opposed to professional) cameras to emphasize the point that it’s really about the person behind the camera, rather than the camera in and of itself, that determines the output. Of course, video editing equipment will help, but it really does start off with your vision.
For instance, check out this gorgeous short film made with a cell phone:
Also, check out (many thanks to ITF Karen Gregory for these links):
Pioneering Cell Phone Cinema: Q&A With João Krefer
To serve as a further resource to the basics I cover in class, what follows are some links to some iMovie tutorials. If you’re having difficulty figuring out a particular effect, email me, and I’ll help you out and add the information to the resource list below:
General iMovie Tutorials
Side-by-side effect for a split screen
More iMovie tutorials by ITF Jenny Kijowski
Also, to add to the pile of resources of Creative Commons material, Archive.org offers free footage.
1. Responsible Use
In putting together your film, you may find yourself wanting to incorporate images or music that you didn’t create. It is easy to find images and music all over the internet, but it is harder to locate images and music that you can legally use in your own projects. To learn about where to go on the internet to find resources you can use without incident, read this post written by Jenny Kijowski, another ITF here at Brooklyn College. Of particular use for you will likely be sites like Jamendo and dig.ccmixter that allow you to search through Creative Commons-licensed music. To educate yourself more on the topics of copyright, fair use, and public domain, peruse the Teaching Copyright resources page, which also contains a number of links that may help you rightfully obtain material for your videos.
2. Film Equipment
Naturally, to make a video, you will likely need equipment more robust than the camera that’s built in to your MacBook Pro. You can find the form to request audio-visual (A/V) material from Macaulay here. At the end of the form, you will find a visual catalog of the available equipment. Also to note is that the standard rental period is 1 week, but this period can be extended with permission.
On your MacBook Pro, you’ll find two programs that more or less obviously deal with photo manipulation: iPhoto and Gimp. As its name suggests, iPhoto is made for tweaking your photographs. Gimp’s great for more powerful image manipulations—it is very much an open-source Adobe Photoshop. However, you may not realize that Preview, which is most often used to view PDF documents, also handles a low level of image manipulation, making it the perfect tool to use when you quickly need to make your image web-ready. In this post, I’ll be discussing how to make all these easy adjustments—namely, rotating, cropping, and retouching— in Preview.
In Preview, all of the image manipulation you need can be found in the Tools menu. Preview allows you to rotate images in four directions very simply—left by 90 degrees (counterclockwise), right by 90 degrees (clockwise), horizontally (mirror image), and vertically (upside down image). As you can see from the screencapture at right where I’ve highlighted these menu options, you can also rotate left and right using key shortcuts (command-L and command-R, respectively).
As you may notice in the screencapture in the section above, the Crop option is grayed out in the Tools menu, meaning that it is currently unavailable to use. To activate the Crop tool, you must select an area to be cropped. When you open a file in Preview, you are given a small set of tools directly on the top of the image panel, as seen in the screencapture at right. The dotted box is the selection tool that will allow to select what parts of the image you want to save and what parts you want to crop out. To perform this operation, you click the tool, then click and draw a rectangle in the image that selects the area you want to save. (Note, there are other shapes and ways you can use to crop your images in Preview, but the default rectangle shape will probably be what you use most of the time.) You can readjust the rectangle after you’ve initially drawn it, to modify what it is you’ll be cropping out (i.e. the unselected bits). Once you’re satisfied with the area you’ve selected, click the Crop option in the Tools menu or use the keyboard shortcut, command-K.
To retouch your images, you select Adjust Color, highlighted in the Tools menu in the screencapture at right. Once you click that, another panel will appear (as seen in the next screencapture). This panel allows you perform a lot of different things that can radically adjust your image. I’ll quickly detail a few here that might be of use to you:
Exposure & Contrast—Both of these tools will allow you to adjust the colors in your image to make them lighter or darker.
Saturation—This tool can increase or decrease how vivid or intense the colors in your image are. If you want to easily convert your image to black and white, you can drag the saturation all the way to the left and dispose of the colors completely.
Temperature—Dragging this tool to the right will ‘warm’ up your colors (increasing the yellowish tone of your image), while dragging this tool to the left will ‘cool’ your colors down (giving your image a bluish cast).
Sepia—Dragging this tool to the right will increase the brownish cast of the image. If you drag the tool completely to the right, you will have a fully sepia-toned image.
Sharpness—Dragging this tool to the left will make your image more blurry, while the rightward direction will sharpen it up.
4. Saving Your Image
In OS X Lion, the way you save your file has changed, and the terminology may be a little confusing to you. Under the File menu, you’ll see Save a Version, which is synonymous with Save, meaning that clicking this option will save your changes over your existing file. You will also see Export, which is synonymous with Save As, meaning that you can save your edited file under a new name and can also change the file extension if you’d like. On that note, most images you create for the web, you’ll want to save as a JPEG. For more information on how to save files in OS X Lion, check out this document.
5. Extra Credit
Check out these posts written by fellow ITFs about how to do even more with your images:
How to Resize Photos (gives directions for both Preview and iPhoto)
Creating a Slideshow (using the NextGEN Gallery plugin—to use this feature on your blog, select Plugins from the options along the left-side of your Dashboard, find NextGEN Gallery in the alphabetized list, and click “Activate.”)
6. Need More Help?
As always, you should feel free to send me an email. However, your issue may be something that other students are experiencing, so you should also feel free to comment here about any image modification frustrations, and I can answer you in the comment train or in a new post.
For this course, you will be creating your own Eportfolio where you will post your assignments. These assignments will be syndicated locally on this very site using the FeedWordPress plugin. To set up your Eportfolio and post your assignments on this site, please follow the instructions below:
- Set up an Eportfolio through the sign-up page. You’ve been given the code word already.
- Email your friendly ITF, Margaret, the URL of your Eportfolio (i.e. http://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/YOURSITETITLE) and your full name.
- Set up four categories for course assignments and contributions:
- Site Observations—for your write-ups of your Coney Island and High Line visits.
- Reviews—for your reviews/responses to performances or events attended for class.
- Photos—for any photos taken that are relevant to the course.
- More—for other miscellaneous observations to be shared with your coursemates.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to spell and capitalize the categories as shown above. Incorrectly labeled categories will NOT be imported.
- When you write a post for the course, label it with the correct category.
- Email or visit (see office hours at right) your amicable ITF, Margaret, if you run into any problems along the way!
Happy blogging (see “How to Use WordPress” for more help)!
The links that follow are largely a collection of very short videos (around 1 minute) that walk you through how to perform different tasks on WordPress. I’ve collected them together intuitively in groups of increasing complexity. You’ll want to review the links in “Ready?” as you start writing, move onto “Set.” as you begin to customize and add flavor to your content, and continue on to “Go!” as you further branch out with your eportfolio.
Writing and publishing a post
Adding categories and tags to your posts
Saving and returning to draft posts & pages
Embedding photos, video & audio into your posts
Previewing and activating themes
Creating an image gallery
Choosing a theme for your blog
Adding and deleting categories
Using Quick Edit and Bulk Edit to manage your posts in half the time
Adding an ‘About Me’ (or any other static) page
Changing your default media settings
Customizing your header image
The Text Widget for WordPress
Import your WordPress blog into Facebook
How to embed a YouTube or other off-site video into a post
Sign up as a subscriber, so this site will appear in your dashboard!
If you want to add yourself as a user, please log in, using your existing Macaulay Eportfolio account.
Office & Contact InformationProfessor: Geoffrey Minter
Office: Boylan 3149
Office Hours: Tues. 10-10:45 am, 2:15-3:30 pm; Thurs. 5-6 pm
Phone: 718-951-5784 (during office hours only)
Email: (general) email@example.com | (for papers) firstname.lastname@example.org
ITF: Margaret Galvan
Office: Boylan 2231 O
Office Hours: Thurs. 1:30-3:30 pm, Fri. 9-11 am
Course Site: Sutro Park