ECI831 SUMMARY OF LEARNING: Like Flying a Motorcycle Out of the Desert

A breakdown of how this came to be:

I love making videos, and with the exception of making videos for my son’s birthday parties, I haven’t really flexed the video editing muscles in awhile. So, I always knew that I’d be using iMovie in some way to make my project. Throughout the term, I have tried to stay on top of all the presentations we have had, and to reflect upon the content as soon as possible.This helped to create a bit of a database where I could cull material to use towards parts of the summary of learning. The problem was, I didn’t want to drone on about all the concepts we covered; I  needed a presentation format that would force me to compress the information so it was both palatable and realistic to get across.

Hello Pecha Kucha. Alan Levine briefly described this process. It’s essentially a 20 slides X 20 seconds kind of presentation. When the slides switch, you have to keep going. A lot of planning goes into making sure your spoken content matches up with the time allotted. This really helped me to summarize the content I wanted to cover, and how best I could use the time effectively.

Then, something weird happened. I decided to translate my summary into Japanese. In retrospect I was riding on a high after practicing Japanese so much for the last three months, and with my wife and kids gone on holiday, I suddenly had a lot of free time to commit to something. So, not realizing how ambitious it actually was, I jumped right in.

After the better part of two days, I finally made it through the translation stage! Yay! I know it’s not perfect in some areas, but I can say with the utmost honestly that I gave it my very best, so if you do speak Japanese, sorry for the mistakes, but I hope you’ll appreciate the effort, and will kindly look past the grammatical issues to focus on the content, which should be apparent through the language ;).

Afterwards, it was on to recording all the translation. This took a long time, due to my inexperience with phrasing and the many new vocabulary words I had had to use to make my translation more accurate. Japanese is also written as one long flow of characters, no spaces between words, and foolishly I wrote it all out like that. So when it came time to reading aloud, it became necessary to reread and underline all the different words, so I could tell when words started and stopped.

I used Garageband on an ipad I had borrowed, to record the sound. I would have used my own laptop, but since re installing the new OSX Yosemite, my computer’s fan is always buzzing, and when I first started recording, it sounded pretty awful.

I blocked out all the times I needed based on Petcha Kucha. Some clips were longer or shorter, based on the one second I was over the 20 second mark, or if I was below the 20 seconds. Then I realized I needed video clips, or something that would match the content of what I was talking about. I didn’t want to simply pull static slides, and after doing the translating, I thought that it might be funny to make my video look like an overdub of something else.

The content actually turned out to be easier to find than I had originally thought. Internet Archive has a lot of excellent collections that are in large part public domain. It was here that I found a lot of clips from the 80’s and early 90’s on technology. Pasokon Sunday, a Japanese program from Japan on tech, as well as Computer Chronicles, an american tech show, acted as bookends.

In an attempt to continue the theme of lo-fi, 80’s technology, I borrowed clips from War Games, Tron, and Real Genius, all of which feature new technologies as one of their main plot points. I also found a clip of an elephant on Blue Peter, a BBC kids show, which helped reference the ‘elephant’ of gender and race inequity on the net. There is also a kung-fu clip that I did pull from youtube, but I’m pretty sure whoever owns the rights here in North America isn’t too bothered, given how bad the overdub was for it in the first place! I also borrowed a clip of Giorgio Moroder back in his studio in the 70’s while working on one of his better albums E=MC2.

The music that plays throughout the piece I wish I could claim to be my own, but it is in fact Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Firecracker. I love this band, and the music totally fits the aesthetic of the video clips. Both Moroder and YMO are pioneers of using synthesizers and other technologies in their music so it made sense to include a nod to both of them in the video.

Afterwards, it was just a matter of adding subtitles to the clips, and making minor tweaks.

But then it still wasn’t super awesome enough. So, I had to call out the big guns. Megaforce (1982) is a pretty bad film. I wouldn’t recommend watching it. However, the ending is hilarious, inspiring, and terrible/awesome all at the same time. Watching this clip had me laughing continually, and actually had me realize how adept the clip is at capturing an analogy of the class. Squint and you’ll see it, believe me :).
From barren desert – to using new tech to soar above what would have been unthinkable beforehand – to being motivated by a crew of buddies who are all watching and waiting – to making it and celebrating: this is the ECI831 class in a nutshell! I did notice the absence of women in the plane, yes, you’ll have to forgive that one discrepancy.

I really enjoyed making this video. It was honestly the most technically challenging video I’ve ever made, that with the overdubs, the subtitles, and adhering to a give or take twenty seconds for the pecha kucha. Speaking of which, I don’t think it really resembles a Pecha Kucha at all anymore, but that structure IS hidden below all the awful Japanese and silly video clips. Hope you enjoyed it!

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10 thoughts on “ECI831 SUMMARY OF LEARNING: Like Flying a Motorcycle Out of the Desert

  1. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of work that went into this, Jeremy! Your presentation is original and wicked good. As for the Japanese, I have no idea if you’re speaking it correctly at all but kudos to you for making the incredible effort!

    1. Ha ha, thanks. Yeah, I’m pretty positive there were some mistakes all right, and I’m sure in the future I’ll listen to the translation and cringe, but for what I knew, it had to do. Thanks for your comments!

  2. Wow! Wow! Wow! Amazing work Jeremy! I thought your summary of learning presentation was fantastic. I thought it was such a neat idea to share your presentation speaking in Japanese! All your hard work for your major digital project made off and you really show cased your learning in this blog and video. Way to go!

  3. OMG- YOUR PROJECT IS #EVERYTHING It’s just so right. I LOVE your design aesthetic, and the lo-fi. Seriously- it all is so coherent and fluid and well done. Probs my fave vid/proj yet. Like- I like it better than my own. #legit. Cheers. J.

  4. This is beyond amazing, the sheer creativity of the idea had me hooked in. I totally thought you had found old Japanese audio and was marveling how you found someone saying “twitter”, until it dawned on me that you had recorded yourself. Whatever you did in the editing, makes it sound that much more like a B- movie, though if you do no get an A for this I am going to have to speak to your teacher (who, gets some bonus kiss up for using “Real Genius” as his back drop).

    Seriously this is one of the most creative approaches I have seen to presenting an experience summary, please do not nuke your blog because I’d love to reference it– and not only for the video, but the thorough writeup for your process.

    Extra bonus points for using Computer Chronicles in the background too, so retro I could cry.

    1. Hey I am so glad you enjoyed the video, and caught all the little nods to past technology! I recorded the sound in a bathroom, for extra echo, then added a telephone filter to muffle it a bit.
      I’m looking forward to following ds106 for some more inspiration for further projects, thanks so much for commenting!

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