— fengshui

March, 2012 Monthly archive

Synopsis: For this assignment you need to select several scenes from your favorite film (or one of your favorites), and edit them together and comment on some of the filmic elements of the scenes? Why do you like these scenes? What strikes you about them? What makes them good cinema? Is there a subtext at work in this film? In short, construct an essayistic commentary on the scenes as a narrator explaining to your audience what you find important about the scene, and why. What’s more, what do the details you have pinpointed say about the film more generally. For an excellent example, see Rob Ager’s analysis of space in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shininghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sUIxXCCFWw

For this assignment, I chose the same scenes as I did for my pre-production analysis. The most tedious part was to align the video with my voice-over and making sure the audio in the movie played at a decent volume. For timing, I actually used two laptops…. James’ for playing the video and mine to record on audacity. This is probably not the smartest way, but what’s done is done and it sounds pretty good (except that my voice isn’t distinctly clear). I think I would have enjoyed this video assignment if I weren’t too concerned about my own homework assignments but it was still a good attempt. Enjoy! 🙂


I uploaded the video essay on vimeo, so hopefully there’s no copyright issues. Let me know if there are any problems with this video.

Video essay – Titanic from Feng Chen on Vimeo.

Read More

Sunday, March 26.

Nothing like an entire day to spend working on this week’s upcoming tests/assignments. At least, that’s what Sundays are for, right? #overwhelmed. 

Saturday, March 25.

Cherry blossoms festival day!! Last night we planned on waking up early in morning to take the metro. So we set our alarms at 8, or at least one of us did. Naturally, we woke up an hour later. I pulled on some shorts and a cardigan with flip flops and left at 10. I have already anticipated the weather, but still, we were convinced to go. We reached the Smithsonian metro stop and walked not long before we have arrived near the monument where cherry blossoms bloomed. I took some pictures of the lovely flowers but the sudden wave of wind and rain made it hard to admire the cherry blossoms. We left after a few minutes of picture-taking and that’s when it really started to pour. We were all feeling hungry so we went to grab some lunch at Chipotle. Let’s just say I did not choose appropriate enough clothes or footwear. I felt really irritated because I was freezing cold and wanted to go home. However, we ended up going to the Smithsonian Art Museum and walked through the history of video games. I, myself played pac-man in front of a huge screen. I also learned of this video game available exclusively on the PS3, called Flower which lets you take control of the wind as you explore and navigate through beautiful, lush environment used on SIXAXIS motion control. Personally this game attracts me because of its aesthetically pleasing graphical qualities and music. I really want to play the game after seeing others play, so I stood in line, but because my stomach was acting up, I left. By the time we finished touring, some of us were getting tired, so we left for home. Overall it was a good day despite the lousy weather and I have some pictures!

me w/ cherry blossom tree
more cherry blossoms
beautiful lake

FRIDAY, March 24.

It’s Friday and I am super excited for the weekend to start. I have been overwhelmed with so much homework, tests, and assignments these two weeks. It feels like it’s never-ending. However, I shall not complain because it is Friday and I want to celebrate. I was done with classes at 1:50pm and had lunch with a friend at 3. The weather was just absolutely gorgeous today, thus I spent the entire day soaking up the sun and just simply relaxing. At 4 I went to check out the Holi Festival of Colours. I thought about participating but did not have any clothing I want to get dirty, so I just sat on a bench and observed the splashing of coloured powder and water between people. Needless to say, it was really lively. Dinner was at 6 and I was famished! I went with some friends to eat at Hibachi Buffet, this Asian buffet restaurant. I left the restaurant feeling bloated but it was a good feeling I haven’t felt in a long time from eating really good food. I headed to James’ apartment to work on some ds106 video assignments while waiting for a friend to pick us up and go to his house. There, we slept over and the next day we drove to DC for the cherry blossom festival.

PS. I didn’t have my camera with me today, so there are no pictures available for you guys 🙁 Sorry! I promise I’ll double up on pictures at the cherry blossom festival. Definitely.

Read More

Wow, this took so much effort and so much time into perfecting this video assignment but I have to say, I am very pleased with the result. I will talk more about the process later. Meanwhile, please enjoy the video! 🙂



Synopsis: The dawn of cinema had no audio; silent movies created an atmosphere with music and the use of cue cards. Take a 3-5 minute trailer of a modern movie and render it in the form os the silent era- convert to black and white, add effects to make it look antiquated, replace the audio with a musical sound track. As an example, see Silent Star Wars.
Get creative and choose a movie that would look most unlikely to be done from this era. If you want a shortcut, try using The Artsifier

As I said, this video assignment took me a very long time to complete. Many times I became frustrated because I wasn’t familiar with windows live movie player well enough, which makes it all the more annoying. This is also my first time using this program to edit a video. I decided to download all the sound clips first because I wanted to spend most of my time editing the video. Probably the most difficult obstacle I stumbled upon was to figure out how to precisely match the video with the audio I chose. I ended up doing it the difficult and tedious way — by playing both the audio on audacity and the video on windows live. Through serious concentration and precision, this process took a good hour or two to match up with both the audio and video counterparts. The next obstacle was figuring out how to trim certain scenes to align with the audio. I discovered the “set start point,” “set end point” option which lets me trim the selected music so it starts at a specific point and end at a specific point. That was a really cool feature and is really helpful with timing everything. One scene of the trailer that I wanted to improvise is the section where Andy is happily with his toys on his bed. I decided to slow the speed half way, so that it draws out that raw emotion of happiness before transitioning to the next scene where Andy’s toys are upset about his leaving to college. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this video assignment, probably one of the best assignments I’ve ever had to do and I am very proud of the outcome 🙂 

Read More

TDC76 image: Some trees express enormous soul. Find and photograph that special tree.

Cherry blossom tree

cherry blossom tree

TDC75 audio: Read a favourite quote, emulating the author’s voice. Tell us why the quote is meaningful. 

Will smith quote by feng_shui

TDC73 image: Make a photo that emphasizes the color yellow

yellow mellow coat

Read More

I have put much thought into thinking of a final project idea that would be interesting and last for the remaining weeks of the semester. I will be taking various pictures depicting the mood I feel each day, and blogging about it the end of the week, just as I would do for a daily create. I might switch things around. Some days I will have more than one picture, other days I will have just one. Hope this turns out as well I imagine! 

Read More

Use CamStudio, Fraps, or another screen capturing software to get footage of something you do on your computer that tells a story. A few minutes of gameplay is a good example or narrating a process.

I will be using Jing to screencast this lame game that I play during my spare time… don’t judge me.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

I never would have thought to be blogging about a walk-through of a game that I play but here I am doing just that. Basically the purpose of the game is to kill monsters in order to level up. By killing monsters, you can gain certain items to fulfill a quest, which may also provide xp or experience to further your leveling. Since I’m playing the mini replica of the original game, dying is impossible. You can only run out of energy by killing many monsters. Until then, you either have to wait 5 minutes to be replenished with 5 energy points, hire a friend, or use 5 help points by visiting a friend’s house and picking up items. When you have visited every friend and helped picking up items, you will have to wait until the next day to be replenished with energy points.  What I love about this version is that it’s not as complicated as the real game and you are guided along each path you take whereas in the original game, you have to figure out what path to take, etc. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

I never would have thought to be blogging about a walk-through of a game that I play but here I am doing just that. Basically the purpose of the game is to kill monsters in order to level up. By killing monsters, you can gain certain items to fulfill a quest, which may also provide xp or experience to further your leveling. Since I’m playing the mini replica of the original game, dying is impossible. You can only run out of energy by killing many monsters. Until then, you either have to wait 5 minutes to be replenished with 5 energy points, hire a friend, or use 5 help points by visiting a friend’s house and picking up items. When you have visited every friend and helped picking up items, you will have to wait until the next day to be replenished with energy points.  What I love about this version is that it’s not as complicated as the real game and you are guided along each path you take whereas in the original game, you have to figure out what path to take, etc. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Read More

TDC70 image: Windows, gates, & doors represent the lineal state between two realities. Photograph that idea.

The gate of truth derived from the anime/manga Full Metal Alchemist

It is an “endless white expanse and forcing the truth of alchemical knowledge into the minds of alchemists who are called to it by the rebounds of Human Transmutation” —source

the gate of truth

TDC69 video: If you had 3 hours to live, where would you go, what would you do, and why?

TDC66 video: Tell the world in a 5 min of less video why ds106 is the best thing since… cat breeding?

Read More

So the movie I chose to critique is Fireproof. It was first suggested to me by my brother who thought and still thinks it is a great film. I took his suggestion and watched it with James via skype and we thought it was a horrible movie. Take a look.

Throughout the entire movie, James and I couldn’t help but shake our heads and gag at every single scene. Fireproof is a Christian drama film that tells the story of a married couple who are on the impending doom of filing a divorce. The husband, Caleb Holt, is a firefighter who lives by the motto “Never leave your partner behind”. Along with the bad relationship with his wife, Catherine, he struggles on a day-to-day basis of internet pornography and his decision on saving up for a boat worth $24,000 despite the fact his disabled mother is in need of a hospital equipment. 

Personally the movie didn’t appeal to me due to the lack of sophisticated filming. There were barely any effects or elements in the film that provoked emotion or catharsis in me. An aspect that I really dislike is the horrible acting. I didn’t get a sense of “realness” in the characters nor did I connect with them. I think that’s a major aspect the film lacked, that there was no connection between the characters within the film and the audience. A good movie would keep the audience in suspense or stir sympathy, but there was no emotional connection whatsoever. During one of the fight scenes where Caleb is screaming at his wife, I didn’t really feel any emotion because the way in which Caleb was yelling didn’t seem convincing or “real” enough and again, there were barely any effects or elements to reel me in. 

Another reason why I think this movie didn’t get enough credits is because of the fact that it is a Christian film. Not many people can relate to the way in which Caleb handled the relationship. For example, Caleb’s father offered him a book that would commit him to a 40 day test in attempting to win his wife back. Every day Caleb would perform an act of kindness towards his wife, such as making coffee in the morning or order roses for her. These acts seem ideal in nature but aren’t really relatable to ordinary people like you and I. In addition, the acting was really off and Caleb’s actions didn’t seem convincing to me. 

However, I will say that there is a distinct sincere message the film was trying to convey, despite the lack of technical elements and indecent acting, and that is marriage involves commitment. I did see this in the middle of the movie but it was hard to take the film serious when the acting was poor on its end. Hopefully I will not follow the same mistake for any future video/film productions. 

Read More

One of my all time favorite movies and also one of AFI’s list of the Best 100 Movies of all time is the Titanic. Although I’m not all that ecstatic about the 3-D version, it is still one of the most emotional and aesthetically provocative movies I have ever seen. Directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron, this 1997 fictional film production stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater. The film is categorized in the historical/love drama genre according to AMC Film Genres site. It is a magnificent romance story between two social classes in the midst of a tragic historical event, the sinking of the Titanic. There are key scenes in this movie that depicts many elements described by Robert Ebert in his article “How to Read a Movie“. 

I would like to focus on a couple of scenes that provokes aesthetic reaction and visual compositions that have “intrinsic weighting,” or “certain areas of the available visual space have tendencies to stir emotional or aesthetic reactions” which is noted in Robert Ebert’s article. But first, here’s a trailer to give you an insight of some of the aesthetic and devastating moments within the film.

I would like to draw out a variety of emotions that this movie provokes — wonder and awe of the ship, journey of the voyage of the ship to a new land, new found love, fear resulting in the sinking of the ship, and it goes on. Ebert states in his article “the rule of thumb in the composition of a shot: Right is more positive, left more negative. Movement to the right seems more favorable; to the left, less so. The future seems to live on the right, the past on the left. The top is dominant over the bottom. The foreground is stronger than the background.” In the “I’m flying” scene with Jack and Rose, the camera is anchored down on Jack as the ship sails to the right, which gives a good sense of direction on both ends. Then Rose enters the scene as Jack guides her to the top of the railing, the camera is anchored up on both of them. This positioning of the camera is imperative in this scene because it provides a sense of perspective and is crucial to provoke an emotion of awe. I especially love the angle of rotation where the camera circles as the ship is sailing from the left and it comes around the ship so that the ship is sailing in the right direction, to the right. According to Ebert, movement to the right indicates a better future.

Another scene that deals with the the positioning of the characters is where Jack draws a nude portrait for Rose. When Rose lays on the fancy couch, her face is positioned in a way that faces the direction of Jack and the camera only focuses on Rose’s face, Jack’s face, his eyes, and the movement of his hand as he’s painting Rose. This objectifying of the subject centers on the nitty gritty details that makes this scene perform its very best. At 1:24 the camera shifts the POV to Jack’s eyes which enhances him and brings out the concentration in his eyes. I thought this scene was very beautiful because it brings out the aesthetic feature of the woman and the portrait Jack draws for Rose illustrates that she is a masterpiece. 

Some TV tropes used in this film were the Always Save the Girl and Chase Scene. These two tropes clashes during the “You jump, I jump” scene where both Jack and Cal Hockley convinces Rose to get on the lifeboat along with the other women and children. Both are willing to do anything to save the girl they love. Then at last minute when the boat is still lowering, Rose jumps into an open window and frantically runs to find Jack. Then follows the chase/gun scene between the two lovers and Cal Hockley, who becomes angry and frustrated that he can’t have Rose. 

I am so amazed how the producer uses various visual compositions of a shot to piece different scenes together. It is all so cleverly composed. With the use of intrinsic weighting, you can’t go wrong with screening a scene. Elbert states that you can’t go wrong with going against intrinsic weighting either, because it “exists in the realm of emotional tendencies” which means that it has to portray to the audience’s emotions. By analyzing this movie, I’ve learned a lot about compositions of a shot. 

Read More

I am so glad our final radio show is coming together so well. To wrap up on our alien show, James re-edited his intro and outro (because of the feedback and lack of a quality mic). He then sent me both tracks via soundcloud and I performed some revisions and synchronized all of the tracks together so that it sounds coherent and smooth. I did, however, encounter a few problems with audacity. For instance, I had problems with cutting out a segment or piece of a track, but I soon realized for that to work, I had to first press the ‘stop’ button. There were other minor issues I had with audacity but with the help of one of my group members, Sarah Parlette, I easily overcame them. Although I was neither part of the interview nor spoke, I still helped out with the editing and combining tracks to form a coherent and cohesive story, forming a commercial with various “alien” soundtracks pulled from youtube, and found inspiration from a well known former broadcaster for alien shows named Art Bell (thanks to Jim Groom!).

I had the pleasure of working with Sarah Parlette and James Cruz on this provocative alien radio show. It surely is a one of a kind and not to mention, controversial topic to inform, advertise, and perhaps influence. A huge shout-out to Don Goff who took time out of his hands to contribute a wealth of insights as well as his own personal beliefs in this project. Also, thank you Sarah for proposing this alien phenomenon and James who helped me with commercials as well as being the intro/outro/host. Those who will be listening, I hope you enjoy this radio show as I have in the form of partaking it!

Read More

Here is my video tutorial for this assignment. The audio is really bad but I hope you still get the drift of how I created this effect. Enjoy! 🙂

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Read More

TDC54 audio: Stump us. Record a sound of an ordinary thing and make it hard to guess. 

Unidentified sound by feng_shui

Answer: crunched skittle candy wrap.

TDC53 video: Record a video of your hand drawing a picture of your other hand. 

TDC52 image: It’s February 29. Take a photo of a leap. Or a leaping photo.

feb 29: leap day

Read More

During this week and the past week, my group and I have met up twice to discuss the structure and content of our alien radio show. At our first meeting, Sarah proposed a provocative idea — aliens! Her friend, Don Goff is our main source of all these alien information and the reason why we are using aliens for our radio show is all because of Don Goff, so major kudos to him and Sarah! We decided collectively to do an interview with mister Goff informing our audience the existence of aliens because as we might not know it, there just could be other life forms out there besides humans. While Sarah interviewed Don Goff, James and I worked on bumpers and commercials. The next time we met, most of the recordings was already finished and mashed together, so all we need to do now is to fix/edit some transitions or technicality and we should have this show completed. Major thanks to Sarah, who’s done so much for this group and the project itself; interviews and a bumper, and thanks to James for helping me with commercials and bumpers. Tune in for more updates on WA51 Network! 🙂

Read More