Semster’s End

by Daniel

It’s here. The end of the semester. It seems like I’ve only just arrived.

My First Year MA students have been a real joy. Everyone learned how to use Audacity. A couple of people learned to use Audition as well. In the end, two groups produced two good audio projects.

The assignment was to create a radio show pilot, partly in preparation for my next semester endeavor of using the department’s available equipment to start a New Media broadcasting network. Here one group’s pleasingly responsible, well edited show about weight maintenance:

Yes, it includes a very long song in the middle, but that is the way things are done here, so I chalk it up to something of a cultural difference. The important part was that this was very nicely recorded in our jugaad of a recording studio, and later mixed carefully by J. Mary Magdaleen quite nicely. I’m fairly proud of my students for this work, simply because, in the end, this group applied everything we had worked on all semester to a single project. Conceptualizing, scripting, performing and recording a singular work which, while not groundbreaking, certainly was responsible in tone, and entertaining in delivery.

The PaperweightA victim pastThe VillainThe ZombieIn the Second Year MA batch, things were a bit more difficult, mainly due to attendence problems interrupting the progressive flow of my plan. Ultimately a smaller group of students did manage to produce a short video that was shot well, and was an original concept. Unfortunately, with only a short time left in the semester (script to screen was about 10 days and included multiple concept starts and stops), what they produced was mainly unscripted, and short on planning. The picture looks great, and it has an interesting structure.  The story-line is about a business man, who is secretly a serial killer (or perhaps a zombie master) who recruits young women to their doom by interviewing for internships. Visually, it turns on a crystal paperweight, and the inside/outside space of the barred window of his conference room.

Technically, they mastered composition with DSLR’s, and matched two different camera’s, a 7D, modified to shoot a flat profile, and the school’s 650D on camera faithful. If anything, I think that ultimately they got something of a taste of the planning necessary to create original work, and the necessity of planning to pull of a shoot, edit, score event that is original and crew based in nature, and not a dance video set to prerecorded music. Here also, were were able to explore some more advanced lighting scenarios in a high contrast environment. The story suffered. The picture, however, is wonderfully clean, and shot manually. Fighting the automatic settings, especially for ISO was a semester long challenge.

I was mildly disappointed that the other concepts were abandoned, especially when we had them with enough time to realize one of  them fully (the first concept, which was completely achievable was conceived in September). Ultimately though, the work was done. On to next semester. Happily.


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