Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On the eve of spring break...

By my count, the class has thus far gathered 17 different interviews. Some are more useful and longer than others. Some are very remarkable! We have more to do, but we are definitely starting to build an impressive oral history archive.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Project Assessment

On the Wednesday that we return from Spring Break, I want you to turn in a page with the following:

What (specifically) will be the story that I tell?

What interviews will be most useful in telling my story? What specific parts of these interviews will I rely on to tell this story?

Do I have enough interview material to tell this story? If not, what am I going to do to rectify this situation?

Have I identified any still images that I want to use? Are they in the public domain and if not do I have permission to use them? 

Self Assessment

You need to turn this in to me via email by Wednesday 3/22 at NOON.  I will not share your responses to these questions with either your peers or your project partner.

1.) How much work do I feel that I have put into this project thus far?

2.) How does my work on this project compare with what my peers in this course seem to be doing?

3.) How would I assess the working relationship with my partner? Is my partner doing more or less than me or are we doing about the same?

4.) What direction do I see this project going? At this point, what does it look like the main focus of my project (specifically) will be?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week Roundup

We've done a bunch of interviewing this week, but we are always looking to do more! On Tuesday, Devon and Sam got a great interview for their project on the Hare Krishna temple on Esplanade. Wednesday saw Taylor and Quentin record a fantastic (and fairly long) interview with a Tulane faculty member for their work on Russians in New Orleans. On Thursday morning, Camma and Julio recorded our longest interview to date with the director of the New Orleans Opera Association about the French Opera House - and it is a real gem! Tonight, Kristin and Elizabeth will record their first interview for the Deutsches Haus project. Tomorrow, we hope to get Jack's first recording for Brocato's.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In the Studio!

Here are Carla and Taylor interviewing Johnny Marcias for their documentary on Hondurans in New Orleans. This will be our setup for next week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More student interviews!

I'll bet you didn't know this about the fava bean! Way to go Hilary and Shelly, and thank you Joe for a great interview!

Now THOSE are some lucky beans! from Justin Nystrom on Vimeo.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Equipment/Interview Calendar


I have sent out an email invitation to become an editor of the Google Calendar for the equipment and interview schedule. If you are planning on checking out the library's camera and going somewhere to interview without me, please put it on this calendar. If you are wanting to schedule an interview on campus, email me right away if it is not on Mar 17,18 so we can schedule it. If it is on Mar 17/18, go ahead and schedule it in the appropriate time slot on the calendar.

First Student-Conducted Interview!

Here is a brief nugget from Hilary and Shelly's first interview:

Snippet from the first student interview from Justin Nystrom on Vimeo.

Formatting your hard drive


If you do not have your portable hard drive by now, go out today and buy one. You will quickly discover that there are no temporary solutions to storing and sharing your files. Hilary and Shelly recorded 28 minutes of video last Friday. Once converted to the Quicktime .mov format, the files were 19GB total. So you get the idea - you need a portable hard drive to store all of the data. It is likely that you will use 100GB of space for your files, let alone when you start producing your project.

Before you can use your hard drive on the Mac, you really need to reformat it for best results. REFORMATTING WILL ERASE ALL DATA ON THE DRIVE. If you bought a drive and plugged it in and it worked, it is still in a format that is not useful for our large video files. You will want to reformat it as a MEDIA DRIVE using these directions linked here.

If you do not have a Mac, this operation can be done on any Mac in the library running OSX. I encourage you to use the newest machine you can find.

The hard drive is also important because I will need to offload all of your files into the History Department's archive at the end of the semester.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mid-Term Update Interviews: Highlight Reel

Mid-Term Project Update Highlight Reel from Justin Nystrom on Vimeo.

We'll watch this together on Friday and talk about everything from interview technique to production methods.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tech tips for the library's Canon Vixia HG20


1.) Although the librarian will probably check, make sure the inventory in the case matches up with the contents of the case. (Make sure it is all there!)

2.) Go ahead, if you don’t already own one, and check out a tripod from Media Services. 90% of the filming that you will do should be on a tripod.

3.) Make sure the camera’s battery and back-up battery are fully charged before you head out to do some filming. EVEN IF IT HAS JUST BEEN SITTING IN THE CASE UNUSED, the batteries will be slowly dying. Allow an hour to charge the battery. If you have an electrical outlet where you are conducting the interview, then you don't have to worry about this. Bring an extension cord if you are planning to use an outlet, however!

4.) Before you head out, make sure your camera’s settings are right. Once you set them, they should not change. Chances are that the camera will be on the settings you need.

How to make sure the settings are right:

  • Turn the camera on.
  • Make sure that the thumbwheel (pictured) is set in the movie recording mode (the RED MOVIE CAMERA icon)

  • Press the FUNC button along the bottom of the screen.
  • Now you can use the joystick labeled “SET” that is on the left margin of the screen to navigate the menus.
  • If you click the joystick down four spots, you will notice that your shooting quality options are thus: MXP, FXP, XP+, SP, and LP. We want to be shooting in MXP, which is the highest quality mode. If it is not on MXP, click SET to the left until it is.
  • Next you will make sure the shooting mode is set where we want it.
  • Click the set joystick to the top spot. It should be one of the following settings: P, TV, AV, (filmstrip), or (portrait). (filmstrip) shows an icon of a film frame for CINE Mode, and (portrait) shows an icon of a human face for PORTRAIT mode. (You can see these in the photo.) I have had best results thus far with CINE mode, although you can try PORTRAIT also. There are a bunch of additional options with PORTRAIT. Don’t mess with them unless you really know what you are doing!
  • Now that the camera is in MXP and CINE mode, IT is ready for shooting. You, however, are probably not ready to start shooting yet!

5.) Plug your microphone into the camera. If you are interviewing someone, you will want to use a clip-on as you will probably neither need nor have the capacity to set up the History Department’s stereo shotgun microphone and/or have access to the microphone boom. These clip on mics are most often the best option anyhow. On the FRONT, RIGHT HAND side of the camcorder, you will see a little door. Plug your microphone into the RED outlet.

NOTE: at present, the microphone supplied with the library’s camera does not work. You MUST use a microphone that has a power source (battery) of its own or you will have complete silence on your recording! (for now, use mine.)

6.) Turn your Microphone ON and have your interviewee clip it to their lapel. Ideally, you will have them run the cord where it is not seen, like inside a jacket. Be careful – the foam windscreen and the clip come off of the microphone very easily!

If the battery in the microphone is dead, you are going to have to replace it with a fresh one. I will have a small supply of replacement batteries for you to use.

7.) Plug your headphones into the camera. It is a good idea to do this even if you are recording by yourself. It is essential that you confirm that you are getting a good audio signal. Headphones will confirm that the microphone battery is not DEAD! (i.e., recording silence!)

NOTE: You MAY get a ton of NOISE through your headphones with the HG20. This means that the A/V output is not set right. To fix this:

In movie shooting mode:
Press FUNC
Click down to the bottom menu selection (a box with lines for “menu”)
Push SET (down on the joystick)
Click the joystick to the right twice and land on the first little wrench icon
Click down six settings to AV/Headphones
Push SET
Select Headphones and push SET
Press FUNC to exit the menu

In movie viewing mode (blue movie camera on thumbwheel)
Press FUNC
Make sure furthest right icon “menu” is selected
Push SET
Click joystick to the right once
Scroll down to AV/Headphones and change setting as above.

On the HG20, the headphone setting works independently on the movie playback AND recording mode. Don’t ask me why! But I have gone ahead and changed both settings on the camera ahead of time and they should remain in this mode unless someone else changes them back.

NOTE: if the camera is set to Headphones, you will not hear anything during playback without headphones!

8.) At this point, if your subject/interviewee is properly lit and the camera properly set on the tripod, you are ready to start recording!

9.) Record a test. Have your interviewee talk into the microphone for a few seconds to try things out.

10.) Switch camera into playback mode (blue movie camera) – select the track with the SET joystick and press the joystick to play the clip. Listen to the audio through your headphones. If the headphones are buzzing furiously, go up to step 7 and follow the setting instructions and repeat the playback.

11.) Set the camera back to recording mode, and start recording your interview!

12.) When you are done, it would be a good idea to make sure your recordings are on the hard drive, so go ahead and check.

13. Turn OFF the microphone when you are putting away the equipment.

14. It is now time to head to the computer to offload your videos!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Walker Percy Documentary

Preview, Walker Percy: A Documentary Film from winston Riley on Vimeo.

On March 10 at 7:00 PM, Winston Riley will be presenting at the Nunemaker Auditorium about his upcoming film on Walker Percy. I'd like for you to be there.