Archive for the ‘Genres’ Category

For Memories’ Sake

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

The last couple of months have been pretty darn busy, so blogging has taken a backseat. I’ve been working on a few different projects — some writing, a DVD of two short films, and some tests with a new camera. And I got married — eloped to Walden Pond, to be precise. It’s been good to have some downtime from the blog, but now I’m back.

I’ll have some more information about some of these projects of mine later this summer, and I’ll be making some changes (hopefully good ones!) to Self-Reliant Film as well. But for now, I want to announce the launch of the For Memories’ Sake website.

For Memories’ Sake is a new half-hour documentary directed by my wife, Ashley Maynor. I’m the film’s producer and, though we’re still in the latter stages of post-production on it, I have to say I’m about as proud of this movie as anything I’ve been involved with.

In the coming days, as we complete the movie and prepare it for distribution, Ashley will be blogging on SRF about some of the things that were involved in making the film. Until then, I encourage you to become a “fan” of the movie on Facebook and check out the aforementioned website.

Fat Tuesday: The Order of Myths

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to catch up with The Order of Myths since for about a year now, and tonight is my chance: it premieres on Independent Lens (check local listings). In case you aren’t familiar with its subject, here’s a summary:

Mobile, Alabama threw its first Mardi Gras more than 300 years ago; since then the party has been trying to stay true to tradition. But tradition gets tricky when it comes to race and class.

Separate but unequal royal courts preside—one queen, from a family of outlaw slave traders, the other, a descendent of runaway slaves. Beneath the surface of pageantry lies a complex story about race relations and the ever-present racial divide that persists in America today.

Read more about the TV premiere here. Film website is here.

[hat tip: Agnes Varnum]

Scott Kirsner’s ITVS Case Studies

Monday, January 26th, 2009

A few weeks ago Scott Kirsner blogged about a series of case studies he recently authored regarding independent filmmakers connecting with their audiences. Commissioned by ITVS, the case studies focus on, as Scott puts it,

indie filmmakers who are pioneering new ways to:

– Open up the production process to more audience participation

– Find and connect with new audiences for their work

– Distribute their finished film in new ways.

While all of the case studies focus on documentaries, there are a lot of insights here that are not limited to any one genre. In fact, I’ve made these case studies required reading in the Movie Business class that I teach at Virginia Tech. If you read this blog, chances are they should be required reading for you, too.

Read Scott’s introductory blog post. Or go straight to the case studies.

Louis Massiah/Scribe Video Center

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Louis Massiah, acclaimed documentarian and community video pioneer, visited Virginia Tech a few days ago. What an inspiration.

Among the works Massiah screened was a segment from Power!, one episode from the Eyes on the Prize II series. In the segment, we are told the story of Carl B. Stokes, the first black mayor of a major American city. To say this video — produced in the 80s, about a man that broke ground in the 60s — was timely would be an understatement. If you want insight into this year’s presidential election, including the racial (and racist) strategies being employed by opponents of Barack Obama, it’s a must-see. (Search for it in a local library here.)

Still, even more impressive, was hearing Massiah discuss and screen work produced by Scribe Video Center. Massiah founded Scribe in 1982, and occupies a central place in Philadelphia media-making. If you don’t know about it and you’re interested in community storytelling (and empowerment) through video, dig into their website. Scribe has been around for 26 years, which is a phenomenal achievement, particularly considering the fate of so many other media arts organizations (from the Film Arts Foundation to AIVF). More importantly, they’ve changed lives through storytelling. Great stuff.

Making a Fullscreen Video Loop for an Installation (or Kiosk) Using Automator

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

UPDATE: Spring 2013.  SRF reader Jessica Barr corresponded with me in 2012 about how users of more recent versions of the Mac OS (10.6 and higher) might have issues with the Automator script below because QuickTime 7 is no longer the default movie Mac OS movie player. Jessica kindly revised the automator script and offered it to me so I could share it with you.

Download it here: Revised Automator QT Movie Loop script

(By the way, from my limited testing, it appears you still need QT Pro 7 — which is still sold as of May 2013 — to run this script. Quicktime X, or whatever it’s called, can loop, but you can’t save a movie as one that loops. And Automator’s loop instruction in its “play movie” actions don’t work reliably. )

Read on for the full instructions…..

Original Post from 2008:

Apologies for the long post title. This is to help anyone searching for such a thing on the internet.

This post will explain how to create a video that plays full-screen and loops repeatedly on a Mac. Looping full screen video is useful for, among other things, kiosks and video installations. If you want to cut to the chase and learn how to do this, skip down. Otherwise, I’ll offer a few words explaining the reasoning behind what I did.

Ashley Maynor and I recently put up a small video installation near the offices of the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge. The installation was done as a gratis piece of temporary public art, so we needed to keep the budget as small as possible.

In our case, this was a three channel installation — that is, we had three different videos playing simultaneously on three different screens. The screens were going to sit next to each other, so we wanted some uniformity in presentation. Video projection wasn’t an option — the space was too tiny for projection. (It’s basically an empty downtown shopwindow.) So we needed televisions or computer screens.

We didn’t have three identical televisions, but I did have three identical old semi-working iMacs sitting in a “junk” closet at Virginia Tech. So I borrowed those.

Regardless of whether you use a television with a DVD player, or a computer and its video monitor, for this sort of thing you might burn a DVD that loops. That’s a perfectly fine solution, but the DVD player on one of the iMacs was broken. Also, there might be solutions out there for having a DVD player and television power up and down automatically, but I know it can be done (and know how to do it) with a computer.

So how to do it?

I decided to create a simple Automator application that could be used to automatically screen a QuickTime movie in full screen mode when the computer was booted. I also automated the startup and shutdown of the computers so that the installation runs during prime hours downtown, saving power in the wee small hours of the morning. Details on how to do this after the jump.

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