Frankenstein, Agrippa, and Magic

close up of spider web with water drops on it
Beaded, by Myriams-Fotos, licensed CC0 on Pixabay

 

Though the upcoming term is promising to be one of my most busy, I have high hopes for participating in Networked Narratives, a new online course (?… or more like an event, a happening, a creation?) organized by Alan Levine and Mia Zamora.

According to the description of the course, we will be looking at questions like:

How have networks transformed our ability to tell, share, and participate in stories in the digital age?

How can we design for narrative emergence in an open network?

So what I’m getting from this is that we’ll be telling stories, designing narratives, or maybe one big one, and seeing what happens when we do that in an open, networked way.

But also:

In pursuing these source elements of networked narratives, we take cues from the age of alchemy.

Well, this piqued my interest. So does the collaborative storytelling, mind you, but the connection to alchemy really sparked something for me. That’s because it’s something that I’ve learned just a little about here and there, and want to know more.

Hoffmann & Shelley

In the Arts One course I am part of, this past term we read E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman,” in which alchemy plays an important, but obscured role (fittingly). The father of the main character dies in some kind of fire, after working mysteriously for years with someone named Coppelius, who brings with him a dark foreboding every time he visits. Later, the fiancée of the main character tells him that his father probably died in an accident involving alchemy. The whole story is purposefully shrouded in uncertainty, so we aren’t really sure if that is what happened, or if the father and Coppelius were doing other nefarious activities (see my students’ blog posts on this story for more!).

picture of the character Victor Frankenstein leaving a room in which he has just created his creature
Frontispiece to 1831 edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, public domain on Wikimedia Commons

In addition, in past years in Arts One we have read Shelley’s Frankenstein, and there too there are hints but not much substance about alchemy and magic. Victor Frankenstein is said to have studied works by Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus (whose original, very excellent name was Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) when he was a teenager. Then when he went off to university he dropped all that and studied more “respectable” scientific works and processes. But when it comes to having created his creature, it is suggested that his earlier studies of alchemy and magic were related.

So I have had little brushes with alchemy over the years in teaching this course, but I really don’t know anything about it. So, to take a cue from Laura Gibbs, who is using this course as an opportunity to learn more about alchemy, I’m going to at least start investigating more about some of these people I’ve read about, but only have a tiny, obscure, mysterious sense of what they were up to.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486-1535)

I’m going to start with Agrippa, though I don’t have a lot of time today to write about him and will have to put this into a couple of parts, probably. I started by looking at the entry on him in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which is an amazing resource that is free, though not openly licensed.

engraving of profile of Agrippa with his name written around the frame of the engraving
Image of Agrippa, public domain on Wikimedia Commons

According to the SEP, Agrippa was “the author of the most comprehensive and most widely known book on magic and all occult arts, De occulta philosophia libri tres / Three Books of Occult Philosophy”, the first draft of which was published in 1510, and the completed work in 1533. Several things strike me about what Agrippa was trying to do, including that he was connecting religion and magic. He thought that God had given secret knowledge to a few people in various societies in antiquity, according to the SEP article, and that medieval scholars had distorted this knowledge. Thus, what was needed was to get back to what these select ancient scholars had learned from God:

Mastery of this ancient wisdom would grant a select company of wise men power to reform corrupt religion, to reshape an unjust society, and to gain control over themselves and all of nature. A reformed magic would endow those who truly understood it with power to achieve things that seem miraculous and beyond the ability of ordinary human beings. (SEP on Agrippa)

Magic, then, was just wisdom about the nature of the world given by God to a select few, who would then be able to do things that to those who don’t have that knowledge seem “magical.” In his own work, Agrippa was careful not to reveal the secret knowledge to just anyone reading; he wanted to make sure that it was accessible only those with the intelligence to understand and the moral goodness to use the knowledge for the good of humanity. Thus, according to the SEP:

Agrippa cautioned his readers that he had written in such a way that the prudent and intelligent would understand but the corrupt and unbelieving would not; underneath his own text there was a “scattered meaning” (dispersa intentio) that the wise would be able to extract and put together, finding in one place the principles that would reveal the true meaning of another passage where the significance was not evident (OP 3: 65). [OP is the Occulta Philosophia text]

What is really interesting to me here is that for Agrippa, magic is simply knowledge that only a few have, and it is that which is provided by God. At least, that’s what I’m getting from my relatively quick reading of part of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article. I guess in a way I still think of magic sort of like this, though I don’t connect it to religion: magic is that which we don’t quite understand, which seems mysterious, but which isn’t actually mysterious–it’s based on knowledge that some people have that allows them to fool us into thinking they’re doing something unbelievable. We just aren’t initiated into the knowledge required.

Exclusivity

This reveals a somewhat troubling aspect of this view of magic, though: it is highly elitist and exclusive. Only those with a particular level of intelligence, or morality, or who have been chosen by those already in the know, get to be in the know.

Which is precisely not how I’d like to think of my participation in this course; I don’t want it to end up being exclusive, that people who know others in the course or who know something about alchemy or digital storytelling are the only ones who feel welcomed. And knowing the people involved, I think we will try our hardest not to let that happen, though sometimes it just happens given how much we already know each other and enjoy each other and already speak a common language.

To me, this is something to be continually aware of, to reflect on, and to be on the lookout for how it might feel closed-off to newcomers …

 

 

Map of today

Today’s #ds106 daily create was:

Draw your path on a map. Stop being a slave to GPS trackers! Get out a real map (or even a digitized on), find yourself, and show us where you traveled today.

I really don’t want to put any information about my daily whereabouts on a map, unless it’s just my work–that information is public. But anything that reveals where I live, or what parts of town I tend to frequent…I’d rather that not be readily available online, for safety reasons.

So instead I drew a kind of emotional map of today, on a background of mountains and water because that’s what I’m surrounded by here in Vancouver. The mountains go right down into the water. Sea-to-sky they call it here. And this background seemed to fit the shape of the movement of my moods today.

Map of today

Today was difficult. I spent a good deal of time last night looking at the news about the attack on Bastille Day in Nice, and today I started off this morning still feeling awful and outraged. At a certain point I just crumpled in a heap in my office, unable to do any work. For some reason this particular attack hit me hard. Maybe it was because it had been a family holiday with kids–something I and my family do all the time. Maybe it was just on top of everything else in the past few months. I don’t know, but I really couldn’t take it. There were brief moments of despair in there.

Then I started doing some connections/collaborations with people in #clmooc, and I started to feel better. Something about joining with others to create something gave me a renewed sense of hope and I was able to face the day. That’s something I’ve experienced many times in ds106, and I thought it might work for this otherwise very difficult day. It did.

Here’s a blog post about how connecting and making things helped me through.

So when it came time to think about a map of today, an emotional map was the first thing that came to mind…

And I’ve been playing around with actual pencil and paper drawing lately, just because I’ve mostly been doing so much digitally that I wanted a change for a little bit. And I want to get better at drawing. I keep thinking “I can’t draw,” and though that, like so much of what I thought I “couldn’t” do before #ds106, is bullshit, it’s also true that I’ll only get better with practice. Here’s some practice.

Not quite #ds106

Not Quite #DS106

 

DS106 Daily Create for June 2, 2016: You look for a representation of DS106 in the world, and you find something close, but not quite it. Find something like that. (You had one ds106 job!).

I went for a walk yesterday while thinking about what to do for this daily create, and came across the following sign:Private road

That’s when it hit me: there are many, many things I love about #ds106:

  • the amazing people in the community!
  • the amazing learning opportunities that I’ve had that allow me to create art
  • the amazing people in the community that helped me to get over my fear that I wasn’t any good at art
  • the laughs, the supportive comments, the fun…yeah, you get it…the people!

And it is all possible because DS106 is an open course. People who are not officially registered in it can still see what’s going on with those who are, can see what they create, can engage with them and with those who are not officially registered and are doing it as “open” participants. I have learned so much and met so many wonderful people (many of whom I haven’t actually met in person but feel like I have), and this would not have been possible if it hadn’t been available to “open traffic.”

So I decided to create an image that says: you can get close, but not quite it if it’s not open.

My original image was pretty wise-ass, substituting “BS” for “DS” (as in, you know, bull****).


But I thought, well, sometimes it might be important to run a ds106-like course but keep it closed, only for registrants (and I thought of someone I know who did just that). And I decided I was being too nasty with my “BS,” b/c such a course wouldn’t really be “B.S.”

So I changed it to more like “close but not quite” as DS105. Almost there.

 

The process

I did this in GIMP. That’s what I first learned on in ds106, and it’s still my first love. I have access to photoshop now through my job, but I haven’t taken the time to work with it. And I can still do all I want (so far!) in GIMP.

  1. Upload original image and add “DS105” to the top, inside the red circle. I searched for a font on dafont.com that looked somewhat like the DS106 logo, but it was okay if it didn’t really fit b/c, well, this was not quite it! I used “Plane Crash.”
  2. Use “clone” tool to erase the “Road” under “Private.” This image worked really well for this sort of thing, because there was so much white space I could use to clone.
  3. Find a font that looks pretty close to the font used for “Private” and add “Course” where “Road” was. Here I started by just looking through the fonts I already have installed. Font Book on the Mac lets you easily flip through them and see what they look like, so I just did the tedious thing of going through a bunch of fonts and seeing what matched more or less. The Consolas font did well.
  4. Adjust the colour of the new text “Course” to match the colour of “Private.”
  5. Adding the “Registrants” instead of “Residents,” and “Open” instead of “Traffic” at the very bottom were a bit trickier. I wanted to move the original text so that it fit better on the sign with the new text (when I tried to add “Registrants” in the place of “Residents” it didn’t fit in the space well without moving “only”).
    1. Duplicate the sign image so you have two (as per the screen shot below)Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.20.56 PM
    2. Use clone tool on both the first and second sign images to erase the words you don’t want: here, I erased “residents” and “through” on both images, because those were the words I was going to replace.
    3. Add “alpha channel” to sign image second from the bottom–this means that if you cut anything out of it, the space where you cut will be transparent and it will show through to the layer underneath.
    4. Add text to original image (not the copy of it on the bottom of the stack)–“Registrants” and “Open.” I used the Consolas font for this too, even though it didn’t quite fit as well for this section of the sign as for the section above it, but it’s pretty close.
    5. Move this text you’ve just created to where you want it.
    6. Select around the original text you want to move, on the layer just above the last layer (here, “only” and “no”) and use Edit -> Cut, then paste and it will give you a floating text layer that you can move around. Move the word where you want, and it’s fine because where it was just shows through as transparent to the white space on the image at the bottom, where the clone tool erased the original word. See the screen shot below, which is hiding the image on the bottom of the stack to show the transparency where I moved “only” and “no.”
    7. Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.27.46 PMAdjust the colour of the new words to match the originals as best you can.
  6. The much easier way to do the “registrants” and “open” words would have been to just clone out the whole of “residents only” and “no through” and re-type them in the new font and move them around from there. But of course, I only thought about that after I thought: hey, I know how to preserve as much of the original as possible and just move it. I think the effect would have been just as good to just add new text there rather than trying to keep some of the original and move it.

 

I like how this one turned out, and it was fun and pretty easy to do!

Where is Shakespeare’s head?

Vader-ShakespeareSkull-dailycreate-April2016
This image is on Flickr, here

 

The #ds106 daily create for April 23, 2016: It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! “Scientists have scanned Shakespeare’s grave and determined that his head is likely missing! Your mission – show us where Shakespeare’s head is!”

When I saw this daily create I immediately thought of an old #GIFfight from 2013, which used this Vader image. Then I used that image for another daily create in December 2013.

This Vader pose just reminded me of those old iconic images of Hamlet saying “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well ….”

I followed pretty much the same process as described in this blog post, including doing a transformation of the skull so it looked more like it was facing Vader.

Skull image is from here: www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=50580&

Taking my giant cat West

The ds106 daily create for February 19, 2016 was:

But I decided in the end to just use one cat (less work to cut one out of its background than two). I thought I might have to put the cat in the back of a pickup truck with the back door up, so I thought the one of Marco standing up would be better because more of him would be out of the truck bed.

I first tried to put him into this truck:

From pixabay.com, public domain
From pixabay.com, public domain

But when I made him into a giant cat, and put him high enough in the truck behind the back gate so you could see he was a cat, there wasn’t enough room for his head.

Then I found this image on Flickr:

SAAB 99 pickup truck, Flickr photo by John Lloyd, licensed CC BY 2.0
SAAB 99 pickup truck, Flickr photo by John Lloyd, licensed CC BY 2.0

Perfect–I wouldn’t have to put him inside the truck back door, which would require cutting the door out of the image and putting it on a new layer, on top of the cat!

Process steps (using GIMP)

  1. I opened both images (truck and cat) as layers.
  2. Then I used control-click (right-click) on the cat layer and chose “add alpha channel,” which allows it to be transparent if you erase part of it.
  3. Time for the eraser tool on the cat layer:

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 8.54.57 PM

4. After working with the eraser in smaller increments, I ended up with this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 9.30.26 PM

 

I just wasn’t really thrilled with the result. For one thing, it looked like he was listing to the side a bit.

5. I then went to Layer on the top menu and chose Transform -> arbitrary rotation and rotated him a bit so he wasn’t listing so much. But it still looked weird.

6. He needs a cat bed or a pillow, I thought. Otherwise it just looks like he’s sitting strangely on that truck. I found a picture of a pillow on Pixabay. I did the same as in step 2 to add an alpha channel to the pillow layer, and used the eraser tool to get rid of the white background.

7. But the pillow was sitting at a weird angle; it looked like it wasn’t really sitting flat on the truck. This time I used the perspective tool on the left menu of GIMP and moved the layer around with different perspectives until it looked better.

8. I then cleaned up the edges of the cat a bit more. I realized that if you make the eraser tool Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.10.14 PMbigger, using the brush that looks like the one with a square around it on the right, it will give you softer edges on your erasing around the image (rather than using a smaller brush, which gives harder edges).

 

And so, the finished product:

GiantCatGoingWest

 

 

Amazing how he can manage to stay on through all the bumps in the road!

 

Captioning Frederic Remington

I had hoped to participate in the Western-themed #ds106 this term, and what with teaching a little less than usual I thought I’d have time. Not. Too many grant applications, research, award applications, and lots and lots of committee work. Alas.

But I did do today’s Western-themed #ds106 Daily Create: caption a Frederic Remington painting. The instructions were to “add a caption to the painting to bring the west into the modern age. Make it funny (yet stay respectful).” Well, not sure I brought it into the modern age, but I did try for the rest of those instructions.

Remington-YouDidntJustDrinkThat

The original is “Miners Prospecting,” public domain on Wikimedia Commons.

The one with the pan just looked so guilty…

 

I used GIMP to add the text to the image. I didn’t have any fonts that looked Western-y enough, so I went to dafont.com and downloaded “Duality.” I felt like it mixed oldish-looking with a kind of sense of joking fun.

Every time I do this I forget how to add fonts to my computer so GIMP can use them. Fortunately, there’s the internet. This page was helpful.

The hardest part was picking a colour for the text that made it stand out and be readable, and yet didn’t just sort of fade into the picture as if it were part of it. The yellowish colour worked best, as it fit the aesthetic of the image better than like blue or something, yet also clearly looks added on (which was the idea!).

Spaghetti (?) Westerns

Both images from pixabay.com
Both images from pixabay.com

 

The ds106 daily create for Jan. 4, 2016, was to do some research on Spaghetti Westerns. I relished this encouragement to do so because, well, the whole idea has never made sense to me. What does pasta have to do with Westerns? And why specifically spaghetti?

I realize that by saying all this I admit I know nothing about Spaghetti Westerns, which is certainly true. I know next to nothing about Westerns at all. The genre has just never really appealed to me, even though I grew up in what is technically the “West.” Small town Idaho had its share of cowboys and cowgirls, and rodeos were big. But that’s really not the same thing now, is it? We had sheriffs and saloons, but things were mighty tame by the time I was born out there in the wilds of small town Idaho.

I don’t know…something about the aesthetic, or about the over-the-top masculinity and violence, about the sexism…it just has all not been attractive to me.

So I am taking it on as a challenge to find something I like in Westerns, by joining #western106 this term, an open, online #ds106 that was supposed to be taking place with Alan Levine at KSU, but that didn’t have enough students (what were they thinking?). So it’s up to use open online participants to corral the wagons.

And as a start, I’m learning a bit about Spaghetti Westerns.


 

The daily create site suggested we look at the TV Tropes entry for Spaghetti Westerns. And there is where I discovered the connection:

  • “A sub-genre of the Western films, so called because they were produced by Italian studios (and tended to feature quite a bit of gore).”

Ah, okay, like tomato sauce. I had no idea that the Italians were into the Western genre. Shows you how little I know about Westerns at all.

I found out more from an Introduction on the Spaghetti Westerns database:

  • “The name ‘spaghetti western’ originally was a depreciative term, given by foreign critics to these films because they thought they were inferior to American westerns.”
  • “In the eighties the reputation of the genre grew and today the term is no longer used disparagingly, although some Italians still prefer to call the films western all’italiana (westerns Italian style). In Japan they are called Macaroni westerns, in Germany Italowestern.”

So spaghetti westerns are macaroni westerns too. The pastas multiply! And if that weren’t enough, some Westerns that focused on political topics having to do with Mexican revolutions were, according to the same site, known as “Zapata Westerns,” but sometimes as “Tortilla Westerns.”

I can’t help but wonder what Canadian-made Westerns might be called. Somehow “Maple Syrup Western” just doesn’t have an authentic ring to it.

I also learned from that same site that A Fistful of Dollars (1964) is a remake of a Kurosawa film called Yojimbo (1961), and Wikipedia tells me that Yojimbo was heavily influenced by “the 1942 film noir classic The Glass Key, an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett‘s 1931 novel.” I haven’t heard of any of these except the 1964 Western, and now I’m interested to follow this particular thread (perhaps mainly because, well, I just really like film noir).

From A Beginners Guide to Spaghetti Westerns, I learned that

  • “Initially, the Spaghetti Western protagonist was a loner/outcast in the Eastwood mold — not a traditional John Wayne-style “good guy” in a white hat, but a morally flexible type, more unpredictable and cynical.”

Okay, that sounds intriguing to me. I can get on board with that to some degree, though I’ll have to deal with the sexism and unnecessary violence somehow.

Also, the genre changed later with the political films (late 60s), according to the same site:

  • “The lone hero was out; collectivist themes were in. Many took as their historical basis the border battles between Mexico and the United States (leading to their occasional branding as “Zapata Westerns”).”

Since I haven’t seen these, I can’t comment on whether or not they have racist or xenophobic overtones (that will have to wait until I see one or two).

A number of sites said that one thing that makes Spaghetti Westerns stand out in part because they were much more violent than other Westerns, apparently. And when I learned that Tarantino was a fan of spaghetti westerns, well, after this, I wasn’t surprised. I haven’t seen Django Unchained, but now, at least, after reading all this, I understand the reference to Django (1966).

 

So after all of this I am more intrigued about Spaghetti Westerns, and will find myself some time to watch a couple (after I’ve finished a lecture on Apocalypse Now that I have to give for a class next week!).

 

Sisyphus animated gif

I am going to do an instructional video for one of my philosophy courses, on Albert Camus’ essay “The Myth of Sisyphus.” I spent quite awhile this morning looking around the web for videos or animated gifs of Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain, having it fall down again, and starting over. I wanted to use something like that for my course video. I found a few videos and gifs, but none of them were, so far as I could see, openly licensed.

What’s an instructor to do? Create their own animated gif, of course! Thanks to #ds106, I can.

Adapted from Sisyphus, by Nikolay Necheuhin, from The Noun Project.
Adapted from Sisyphus, by Nikolay Necheuhin, from The Noun Project.

 

It didn’t turn out exactly as I would have wished (do these things ever?); I would have liked to have had Sisyphus move the boulder in from the left after it falls down, but the icon of the man in the original wasn’t shaped in the right way for that to look good (he would have his hands in the air while pushing the boulder sideways!). And I just don’t have the time right now to change his arms so he is pushing the boulder sideways with them. That wouldn’t be too hard to do, really, with this black-and-white, blocky image, but I am out of time today.

Now, because it’s going into a video, I’ll either have to credit the original icon maker and The Noun Project in the credits, or put that info on the gif itself (I’d rather not), or just buy the icon from the Noun Project itself. Yeah, that’s the easiest thing…and I am getting so much value out of this one it’s way more than worth it!

I love how #ds106 is useful not just for fun (and it certainly is useful for that…we all need fun in our lives!) but also for my work. Excellent.

 

Two more…

I decided to add to the original by making the “sigh” obvious:

SisyphusGif-sigh

 

 

And then, because Camus says at the end of the short essay on Sisyphus that “we must imagine Sisyphus happy” (and my video will talk about this), I made one where he is very happy.

SisyphusGif-smiley-yay

These gifs are all openly licensed, CC BY 4.0

 

The process for the original

I used GIMP to make this animated gif.

After downloading the original icon from the Noun Project (see link in caption for the gif)…

  • I put a white layer under the transparent black icon.
  • I selected the rock using the circular select tool, did command-x to “cut” it, then created a new, transparent layer and used command-v to paste. In GIMP, that gives you a floating layer that you have to anchor down to the new layer you created.
  • I made a few duplicates of the transparent layer with just the rock.
  • I selected the man using the free select tool, and then pasted him onto one of the layers with just the rock. So then I had a transparent layer with just the man and the rock together, and some with just the rock (important for when the rock rolls down!). I also had a layer with just the mountain, and then the white background.
  • I merged the mountain layer to the white background layer and duplicated many times.
  • I duplicated the man-and-rock transparent layer many times.
  • Then it was just a matter of moving the man-and-rock layers up and up to the right, incrementally in the stack, putting a mountain layer beneath each one. (I keep forgetting to take screen shots while I’m in the process, to help explain!).
  • Similarly, on the top of the stack (GIMP animates from bottom of the stack to the top) I moved the just rock layers down and to the left incrementally in the stack, with mountain layers between each one.
  • At that point, what you should do is test the animation using Filters -> Animation -> Playback. You’ll get a bunch of white mountain layers between the moving man-and-rock layers so it looks a bit weird, but that way you can easily move the man-and-rock transparent layers against the white background if you need to.
    • If you do what I did, and merge the man-and-rock layers down to the white mountain layers before testing this out, then you have to do “undo” a bunch of times to unmerge them so you can move the man-and-rock again. I did this several times over. And if you save in between, I think “undo” only goes back as far as you saved. Because there were a few layers when he’s at the very top that I wanted to change the position of the man-and-rock of, but I couldn’t b/c I couldn’t unmerge them. D’oh.
  • When I was happy with the playback, I merged the man-and-rock and rock layers onto the mountain on white background layers.

Screenshot 2015-09-19 16.21.36

  • Then I added some pauses in the timing; I wanted there to be a pause before the rock rolls back down, and between when it rolls down and he starts over again. I also wanted there to be a pause when he starts up again, facing the mountain with his rock, like there’s a little sigh of here-we-go-again. To do that, I changed the titles of the layers to add millisecond timings: “start (500ms)”, “before rock falls (400ms)”, etc.

 

  • Then when I exported it as a .gif file, I slowed down the animation by putting in the box where it says “delay between frames where unspecified,” and changed that from 100 to 200 ms. Screenshot 2015-09-19 16.17.17

 

 

 

 

Labyrinth Tales, a #ds106 radio show

Labyrinth Tales promo poster, by Rockylou Productions, licensed CC BY-NC 2.0
Labyrinth Tales promo poster, by Rockylou Productions, licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

 

There were two open, online versions of #ds106 this summer:

The Burgeron Family Fairy Tale Festival
#prisoner106

Though some of us focused on one and others on the other, many of the open, online #ds106 participants came together to create a joint radio show combining themes from both summer #ds106 experiences.

The result is a fairy tale, with some themes from the tv show The Prisoner, which #prisoner106 was based on.

Labyrinth Tales Poster, by Ron Leunissen.
Labyrinth Tales Poster, by Ron Leunissen.

This show was collaboratively written and performed by:
Melanie Barker
Mariana Funes
Christina Hendricks
John Johnston
Ron Leunissen
Rochelle Lockridge
Kathy Onarheim
Vivien Rolfe
Karen Young
plus, a cameo by Christina’s son Sasha as the page who announces the princess

 

Ron Leunissen & I volunteered to edit all the bits together, but really, Ron did the bulk of the work. I did three scenes and he did all the rest! John Johnston did the whole of scene 7, the one that is only sound effects of the Princess in the labyrinth, with no dialogue.

Here is the show, which was premiered on ds106radio on Sunday, Sept. 6, 8pm UK time, during the ds106 Good Spell show. It is licensed CC BY-NC 4.0. Please credit “DS106 open players” as the creators.

 

Music credits:

Music by Viv Rolfe:

Motion Picture Plays No. 2A Allegro Agitato, licensed CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Motion Picture Plays No. 4A Misterioso e Lamentoso, licensed CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Motion Picture Plays No. 3 Agitato Misterioso, licensed CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

 

Music by Kevin Macleod (http://incompetech.com), all licensed CC BY 3.0

“Black Vortex”

“Drums of the Deep”

“Life of Riley”

“Pop Goes the Weasel”

“Suonatore di Liuto”

“Teller of the Tales”

“Unseen Horrors”

 

Sound effects credits

Many sound effects were used from freesound.org that were licensed CC0, and those are not credited here. Some sound effects were created by the collaborators on this show themselves. The following are credits for sound effects that require attribution.

These are all from http://freesound.org:

 

“Galloping Horse” by prosounder, licensed with the CC sampling plus 1.0 license

“Fanfare1,” by neonaeon, licensed CC BY 3.0

HighHeelsWendyQuick” by acclivity, licensed CC BY-NC 3.0

sw_mild_surprise” by jppi_Stu, licensed CC BY 3.0

Human-Man-Uh_Oh” by D W, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Royal Sparkle Whoosh Left to Right” by alex@vsi.tv, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Garment Rustle 1” by unreadpages, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Opening_Cardboard_Box,” by Tony Whitmore, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Rummaging through the recycling bin” by daveincamas, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Frantic Searching” by Vedas, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Footsteps 3” by Paul Messier, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Yawn 2,” by lauriesafari, licensed CC BY 3.0

“04099 Magic String Spell,” by Robinhood76, licensed CC BY-NC 3.0

“traditional_bavarian_folk_music2” by reinsamba, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Crowd in a bar (LCR)” by Leandros.Ntounis, licensed CC BY 3.0

“Drinking” by limetoe, licensed CC BY 3.0

“drinking in big gulps,” by mwmarsh, licensed with the CC sampling plus 1.0 license

“Old Man Walking,” by reinsamba, licensed CC BY 3.0

“going down quickly on an inside metal staircase”, by arnaud coutancier, licensed CC BY-NC 3.0

door_slam” by primeval_polypod, licensed CC BY-NC 3.0

Poison Spell Magic,” by qubodup, licensed CC BY 3.0

 

computer voice:

http://www.fromtexttospeech.com

 

 

 

 

Campaign video for Number 2

It’s been quite awhile ago, but for week 5 for #prisoner106 one of the assignments was to create a campaign video because we seemed to be missing a Number 2 and we might need to hold an election.

I’m treating this very belated video as a kind of final project, since for it I made:

… all of which were created specifically for this video. Yes, it took me a long time to finally finish the video, but I decided I wanted to follow through on my idea for it even if it’s very late!

 

 

The Process

  1. I did screen recordings of several clips of The Prisoner (the episodes are all found on the #prisoner106 site) to use in this video (see credits for which episodes0. Since I didn’t need audio I just used screencast-o-matic, which is a free screen recorder (though with the paid version, which is very cheap, you can avoid the watermark with the company logo on it, which I did). I thought I might want audio with one of the clips, and followed instructions here for how to use Quicktime and Soundflower on my Mac to record the screen and system audio. Problem was that I got a horrendous echo. Actually, the effect was kind of cool, but not really what I was going for. Good thing I decided I didn’t need the audio recorded, but when I do I’ll need to figure out how to do it right.

2. I was a bit stymied by how to get my animated gif into the video. I thought maybe I could just import it into iMovie and it would work, but no go. There are a number of workarounds posted on the web, but they were time consuming and didn’t seem to lead to the result I wanted anyway. So I just did a screen recording of the gif against a white background. Since I had made the gif pretty small in order to reduce the file size, it doesn’t show up very large in the video. I could have scaled it up using GIMP, but in my experience, once I try scaling something up from when it was smaller the quality goes way down.

3. The images were imported directly into iMovie and I used the “Ken Burns” effect to give them a little movement. The one with the campaign poster was a little challenging because it was so long vertically, but hopefully the panning down works okay. Images I didn’t make myself (the question marks and the number 2) were CC0 from Pixabay.

4. I recorded the voiceover audio in Audacity, where it’s much easier to edit than in iMovie, and then imported it. I wasn’t sure how to add the voiceover to the video, but selecting it and dragging it over the video put it in the right place (leaving room for background music below the video). Since the voiceover and the video weren’t synced up well, I had to cut up the imported audio and make space between the parts to sync with the video. I looked online to find out how to do that in iMovie (click on the voiceover, go to “Modify,” then “split clip”).

5. Background music came next (see credits below). I wanted the first part of the video to be a kind of “retrospective” of past Number 2’s, a bit nostalgic and somewhat sad. Then I wanted the second part, where I talk about the Village Philosopher as saving the day, to be rather over the top patriotic or heroic. Kevin MacLeod’s great site, imcompetech.com, has wonderful descriptors to help you find the right thing (the “epic” category was great for finding the second piece of music!).

6. After realizing that I had used many pieces of music from MacLeod, and that I wanted to thank him for providing such great music with a CC BY license, I went to his donate page and donated. I have decided that when I can, I usually prefer to pay for some great service or app or something rather than “paying” in other ways like having lots of data collected about me and used in ways I don’t really understand. Plus, people like him are doing a great thing and I want to say thank you!

 

Music credits:

“Stages of Grief” by Kevin MacLeod (imcompetech.com) is licensed under CC Attribution 3.0. Direct Link: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100408.

 

“Hero Down” by Kevin MacLeod (imcompetech.com) is licensed under CC Attribution 3.0. Direct Link: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100880.