DS106 on the couch

Category: digital storytelling

Just a little story about serendipitous connections on Twitter…

Just a little story about serendipitous connections on Twitter around another daily create. I wrote about this the other day  and this is the story told for cogdogblog​ and his stories of open sharing

Behind the scenes

Hmmm… Don’t ask.

It was going to be my first black background video. It was not to be. I learnt that making video with back background that do not make one look like a ghost is just plain difficult. I then tried Touchcast on the iPad. Well, I should know better. I am sure the app is cool once you learn to use it but


So I decided the ‘easy’ way would be to create it in Animoto.

I have made one other video sucessfully on Animoto, but have tried several that #bigfail. It is not a transparent platform it has many rules that are there to encourage you to upgrade and you often get stuck after you have gone to far into your project to ditch it. I refuse to collude with dishonest commercial behaviour so I ditch the project rather than be forced to pay. I have an education account, you would think they would behave transparently, they do not. 

This time i worked out all their rules. Clip length, audio length, number of songs (1), free theme, total length of video allowed, maximum size, size of photos…. and I am not kidding!

The damn editor still cut my soundtrack by 2 seconds. I could not get around the problem in their editor. I think it has something to do with the addition of their logo at the end but i was not going to be forced into another way of paying to test that out. I rendered the video with faulty sound track and downloaded it. 

I then brought it into iMovie and edited it. Detach soundtrack, add new on, shift a few clips to make it flow, add titles and a little music. Bob is your uncle, as we say in the UK. Done.

What is annoying is that it has a lot of potential. Animoto that is. If only they gave clear free options and then offered upgrades. They even try to force you to upgrade for better quality video download. If I wanted that I would have asked for that when I signed up! 

Come back One True Media! That was a fast and easy way to produce video, and I did not mind paying them. They still went to the island of dead tools…go figure.

Testing Sway for Daily Create

Today’s daily create asked us to create  calming collage. At the same time I saw a tweet from David…

Door doors doors…

[View the story “Just another Daily Create for #DS106 ” on Storify]

I am really taken by bot wisdom of late. We did one daily create…

I am really taken by bot wisdom of late. We did one daily create with @everyadage and I have been following it ever since. I love the nonsensical prompts that almost make sense. A couple of DS106 participants have been playing along with me @JanWeb3 and ds106ronald and we have been taking a few of the adages and making creative edits with the prompts. 

So here is: Is it not unimportant to have trumpets coming from a bitter tulip?

I tried so many possibilities for showing this visually! How do you show a bitter tulip? In the end I settled for shrivelled equals bitter. What background is appropriate? In the end I settled for showing wonderful music coming out of the trumpet being played by the bitter tulip. 

The idea here was: Is it not unimportant to have trumpets coming from a bitter tulip when they make such wonderful music? 

As it is a saying (we have many sayings in the village) and I used village plain font, I am having it count for a few credits in #prisoner106. 

How? All images CC0. I used Photoshop and mainly played with embossing and skew tools. Got texture somehow in the background and made a nice frame for it through render > picture frame. 

This was challenging in design and made me play with new tools in Photoshop – had never used skew before. Hard fun! Thank you Ron and Janet for playing!

“A reasonable alternative is to complete a piece that…

“A reasonable alternative is to complete a piece that incorporates two different assignments for a sum total of 4 or more Credit Units.” 

So I did the ‘I can read movies assignment’ and ‘the one story 4 icons’ assignment in one cover. The electricity in my tree house is on for another week as I am clocking 6 Credit units and another 2 for the extra hard work to combine two assignments into one. Although to be fair, I took this on thinking it would be easier than doing two. The new number two is clever with words. A reasonable alternative, indeed. I think I should get an extra 2 Credit Units for doing the whole thing rather than just one episode, but that might be pushing it a bit. 

Behind the scenes

I wish I had used my notebook as I intended to keep up with all that I tried. A little like our resident artist  futzing was a key ingredient. 

I started with the idea that I wanted the cover to embody the sense of ambiguity  that is the hallmark of the series. I read an amazing blog post today that spoke about the series as it “constantly offering us a seeming chance for escape, then pulling the rug out from under us.”  Nothing is as it appears. 

The post explores a Prisoner computer game that never tells you that you can escape the game by pressing the ESC key! The tag line of my cover comes from the end of this game. You win and it tells you: To win is to lose. Sheer genius.

The 4 icons are from our friends at the Noun Project. How awesome are they? I bought them all ‘cause I love supporting their artists.

I have been using their icons in my Prisoner posters series as comas and full stops since this run of DS106 started. It occurred to me that may be the ones I had chosen over time would embody key themes. I was right. 

Birds singing seem happy and free, and yet the noise may attract attention when it is not wanted.

A prisoner in jail might seem a negative icon, yet prison is not always a bad thing. (I will not explain the photo below to avoid spoiler for participants still watching episodes).

The fish escapes the fish bowl and is free then it dies as it lands.

The sad ghost represents death and suffering and yet, if ‘to win is to lose’ may be to lose is to win?

The cover is for book 1 and it contains the story of 6. Hence 6 is 1.

I used Photoshop as usual. Started with one of the covers from the I can read movies series that was cleanest to get a clean black background with the clone tool. I started with a lot more text which disappeared as the 6/1 tension shaped my thinking. I discovered you can search google by ‘type’ of image as well as usage rights and this can find you components to use in a creative edit. The lapels from the jacket came to me that way. I pulled them out of original image roughly with quick selection tool and then added it in with screen blending option to blend in with the grainy black background. My little friend the colour dropper did its job to blend all the colours well. A little blur tool helped me along.

For the first time ever I grouped some layers so that I could line them up properly. The little icons and its background were a group. I used the Emboss Texture blending option to create a rough look to the background.

I feel I have got as close as I can to the essence of what makes this my favourite series of all time. It is to do with the ‘nothing is at it seems nature’ of it. The kind of story that destroys mechanisation by remembering that what makes us human are non-googlable questions such as why. Awesome.

This constant tension is even shown in the way the prisoner dresses. The lapels of the blazer showing that we have a prisoner dressed in a suit, highlighting perhaps that we cannot tell from external cues who is the prisoner and who is the guardian. 

Total time spent: several days to get the bits and this afternoon pulling it together. I wanted to challenge myself so I did my best to attend to small details  I might ignore in the usual run of things. Cool challenge, Number 2. 

Be seeing you. 

More experimentation with signs

Another hard day at the hospital experimenting with signs for conformity. And I even did an…

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