Portfolios and Video Games

For anyone who has been consistently reading my blog posts, you know that at this point, I’d say, “I’ve totally mastered this new thing!” Well, dear reader, I’m won’t lie to you—video editing was harder than I thought it would be. Good thing I did it a day in advance, ‘cause that took up waaay more time than expected. Hey, look at me, not procrastinating. Aren’t you proud?

I once went on a date with a film student who told me that even the shortest clips—commercials, trailers, etc.—can take days or weeks to edit; well, after working on 2 minutes of footage for almost 3 hours, I totally believe that. Cutting out bits where mistakes were made, adjusting the audio, positioning the captions—it was quite the tedious process. In the end, I’m relatively satisfied with my work, and now I’m apprehensively sending my digital child down the river, hoping the basket doesn’t sink in a plethora of hate comments. For those of you wondering, I used Kekai Kotaki and Nicole Green’s portfolios and Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 for my video.

Now let’s talk about video games; of course it’s possible for them to have meaning. Phff, do I really have to explain the religious symbolism in Super Mario? Seriously though, video games are very effective ways of conveying messages, because they’re fun to play, attention-grabbing, and—when made using certain dialogue, music, and visuals—can deliver a powerful emotional punch. One game I think of in particular is That Dragon, Cancer, a video game made by parents Ryan and Amy Green, whose son, Joel, was dying of cancer. In it, the player experiences the torment of doing everything possible to save someone, only to lose him/her in the end, playing through Joel’s four short years of life. The helplessness felt by the player conveys how parents in this situation feel—the struggle to keep playing, to see the situation through, even though you know that the odds of getting a happy ending are slim to none. For the Greens, making this game was a way of coping with their grief and immortalizing their beloved child. For us, it’s a visceral, surreal, and in-depth look at the hearts of two sorrow-filled parents.

 

Would-Be Podcast

The hardest part of the audio editing assignment had to be—without a doubt—listening to my own voice. After hearing my recording, I had to resist the urge to apologize to everyone I’ve ever spoken to. Aside from that, simply coming up with something to say was a challenge. I mean, how was I supposed to portray my wit and charm in only a few seconds? Clearly, the time limit stifled my opportunity to showcase my humor, and deprived you all of my angelic radio voice—oh, the Audacity! Using the program itself wasn’t that complicated (even though I’m a PC user and, therefore, was stuck with the “much harder” Audacity); granted, making a fake 1-2 minute introduction to a podcast is much easier than having to record a full-length 10-15 minute one—which I’ve had to do. So, overall, the assignment wasn’t that difficult. I guess I can add “audio editing master” on my ever-expanding list of things I’m great at, right under “image editing god.”

I watched the first video I found on Channel Awesome: Bubblegum Crash—Anime Abandon. The video is a review of an anime, Bubblegum Crash, the sequel to Bubblegum Crisis; the host gives some background information on the making of it and then proceeds to go into more detail about the show itself. There only appears to be one camera angle on the host—he’s just sitting in a chair, talking. Then, there are clips from the show he’s reviewing that appear, with him talking over them (probably to compensate for his lack of movement and to show the audience what scene he’s referring to in that moment). Other than inserting these clips, I don’t see other examples of editing (besides the video’s introduction and probable editing to fix any mistakes). He borrowed the anime clips from the show, while his commentary is completely original. As for recording the audio, I’m going to assume he has a microphone set up somewhere off-camera—the sound quality wouldn’t be as good if he used his computer’s microphone.