Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I have never been an overly savvy person when it comes to wires and circuits. I have never even attempted building a circuit before, and was absolutely terrified of electrocuting myself or starting a fire. (Fortunately, neither happened.)

For this assignment, I wanted to stick with the basic motor and switch circuit. I wanted a box and to make something spin that you could easily turn on and off. Trying to come up with an idea that I could use in a theme throughout this course, I chose to take inspiration from my recent trip to Japan and create two contrasting halves. The box itself is covered with photographs of a modern Tokyo. Skyscrapers, arcades, electronics, the (incredibly efficient) subway, and cityscapes. The wires, battery, and motor were hidden inside the box, with only the switch sticking out. The top is taken from a handmade hair ornament popular with the geisha of Kyoto, a far more traditional and relaxed city. Hanakanzashi are starched and folded pieces of fabric that create flowers and leaves and are worn in Maiko's hair to represent the different seasons.

While the sewing of these flowers and leaves was the least difficult, attaching them to something that would latter attach itself to the motor and spin, was perhaps the hardest thing to accomplish. I have little skill in building, except for the standard tape, scissors, glue, and string. All rather primitive. This forced me to enlist my father, self proclaimed building expert, to come up with an idea on how to fit everything together.

In the end I believe it all came together rather well, and I am happy with the outcome. Though perhaps in the future I will expand my knowledge of building material.


For my video project, I wanted to keep things simplistic, with no over-the-top performance aspect and while playing with a shallow depth of field. I decided to borrow the Nikon D90 from my work, and while my intention was to also borrow a macro lens, unfortunately we didn’t have one in stock. So my first setback was having to use a kit lens, where the f-stop could only go to 3.5.

Working around that, I did my best to figure out this new camera’s settings and video options in the short amount of time I had it, deciding to leave it on aperture priority as I filmed. Another difficulty was getting used to a different brand’s focus ring, which Nikon has conveniently placed in a different spot compared to the Sony I am so used to handling. (My Sony that I would have used, had it come with a video setting.) Also, having to manually focus while filming and not being able to use the viewfinder became tedious at times, and there are a few shots where I wasn’t able to focus on what I wanted or hold the camera perfectly straight or steady.

The cuts between scenes were also a lesson learned while putting the different shots together. I realized that I had to think about how each scene could flow into each other instead of randomly cutting from one image to the next. Used to photography and still images, flow is something I rarely think about, and finally trying my hand at video, this was something entirely new and different.

As for the Dean Martin song I chose to accompany the video, I chose it for its kitschy and old school Italian feel. Cooking with bright, fresh foods always reminds me of Italy, and food and Italy always make me think Dean Martin. The song is feel-good and not too serious, which I like.

I’m rather pleased with the outcome. It portrays the feeling I wish to get across; a homey, casual but fun feeling, of simply cooking and putting a meal together. I also feel like I learned a lot and enjoyed working on this project.

La Tour Eiffel. La Vie En Rose.

La Tour Eiffel. La Vie en Rose. by sambaz

This entire assignment had me completely stumped. I don’t know much of anything about audio, and can’t even begin to guess what constitutes good audio art. The theme was also a little difficult. It took me a while to think up a concept, and finally settled on something I experienced while in Paris. I wanted to recreate a scene from my first night there. I had had a horrible day, having been awake for forty hours, couldn’t get into the rented apartment until 5PM, and even then, the apartment was 6 flights of stairs up and with no elevator. (Imagine dragging large suitcases up that…) Anyways, we weren’t in the best of moods, and decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower that night. On the way there, we passed some people singing Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose. It felt like the perfect embodiment of Paris; Edith Piaf and the Eiffel Tower. So my idea was to re-create that scene.

Using Audacity, I took some audio from some of my favourite French films (Les Chansons d’Amour, Paris, Je T’aime, and Avenue Montaigne) of street and cafĂ© scenes, mashing them together, and then took the English version of Piaf’s song and sang quietly over top of it. The audio isn’t the best quality, but that is because, Piaf, having sung this song in the 1940s, didn’t use high quality audio equipment. I wanted to recreate that “vintage” sound by lowering the quality of the track, playing the song through my computer speakers and then recording it while it was playing with the computer microphone.

I believe I was successful in recreating the scene and moment I wanted to recreate. I also like how the lowered quality and vintage sound came out.


In response to Electricity.

If there was ever one thing that completely flew over my head in science class, it most certainly was the units on electricity. Being someone with a tendency to doodle throughout my classes, I never paid much attention to these units. To be honest, I never did very well in them either. So having to read an article solely on electricity was not something I particularly looked forward to.
But the article was basic. I appreciate basic. Especially when it pertains to something I am not overly knowledgeable about.
The article contained a few simple diagrams, which I felt helped my understanding greatly and kept my attention longer than plain old text would have. Of course, they weren’t just diagrams thrown in for the sake of taking up space. They were actually useful, and were referred to throughout the article. Figure one, of a basic electrical circuit, using a light bulb, battery, and switch. This helped to set up the two diagrams to follow. It is the simplest and most basic circuit our class worked with, and the text provided a better understanding to it.
The second figure was of two light bulbs in a parallel circuit. This helped to better illustrate the ideas behind circuits and how they function. Continually referring to not only figure two, but back to figure one as well, the text helps to compare and contrast these two circuits, giving the reader something to reference if they ever get lost in the myriad of terms and potentially confusing descriptions of how exactly it is that electricity works.
The third figure is one that explains the “dreaded short circuit.” (O’Sullivan, 8.) This is used simply to further illustrate the path of least resistance and help with one’s understanding of it. I’ll admit I had no clue what it was before reading.
The diagrams were helpful tools when recreating my own circuit. (Though I replaced the light bulbs with a spinning motor.) And while some of the text still managed to fly over my head—much like high school—having the hands on experience in class, playing with wires and circuit boards, LED lights and batteries, combined with the article, was probably what gave me my greatest understanding.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hello TBM.

Starting a new blog on my account. This one being quite literally for school and my Time Based Media course. I'll be posting all of my TBM class work here, including a 3 minute long film, a video of a circuit and it's container, and an audio clip.

My original blog, with work from other courses, can be found HERE! Just an assortment of rambles and ideas concerning art and the assignments I receive.