Monday, September 30, 2013

Video Mash-Up

Today I am sharing with you my Video Mash-up using iMovie. This project took me about 18 hours over a period of 3 days. It took me a lot of time to figure out what I wanted this movie to say. It had to have a story. As usual, this process changed and evolved as I searched for clips and began piecing it together. 

The story starts off with the insecurities of life. Afraid to show our faces to those who would judge us, we tend to go about our days hiding. But as the story goes on, we gain confidence in who God created us to be. Because He created us, we don't  have to fear man and their opinions. We can hold ourselves confidently. He is the author of life, and in this parallel, dance. At the end, I show the faces of the ballet dancers from the beginning of the film to represent this. In a few places in the film, you'll hear audio from the 1985 film, Footloose. While I am using the exact words from that film, I cut some words out and I rearranged them to tell a different story. 

I used clips from a lot of movies to make this film. They are: 
Dirty Dancing
The Breakfast Club
Swing Time
Step Up 3D
The Black Swan
Footloose 1985 Audio only
Footloose 2012 
Save the Last Dance
Something Borrowed
A Musical Groups 1940's Style Song Video

This project was challenging because I had to make the dancing in the film go with the beat of my song. So I used the speed feature a lot in my editing. I also put filters on many of the clips to evoke different moods. Some clips were cropped and I also added transitions between some of the clips. I cut, arranged and modified the clips until they hit the song in just the place I wanted them and also to tell the story I was trying to tell. I also learned how to completely remove the audio from a film, leaving the soundtrack to be manipulated to tell a completely different story as I did with Kevin Bacon's audio from Footloose.  

I realize that my video is not very weird, but it is "me". It tells the story "I" wanted to tell and I feel it goes very well with the music. I choose to use my song in its entirety because... well it took a long time to make it and I wanted it all in there. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homeschooling the Younger Years...

Homeschooling the younger years doesn't have to be complicated. Find yourself a solid math program, an easy to use reading program without a lot of bells and whistles and you can rest assured that life will teach them the rest for now. However, if you want to add in some enrichment, you can't go wrong with Memoria Press. They sell whole kits but you don't really need all that. What I do is purchase the Teacher's Guides and rewrite the lesson plans to only include the Enrichment portion of the guide. This gives me a rich addition to my son's homeschool day. 

Using wonderful picture books as our springboard we learn about beautiful music, art, rich literature, social studies and science. I often will find the musical selection on youtube where we can watch the actual music being played. How awesome is our life that we can have our own symphony orchestra right in our homeschool room? I teach him all about the different sections and types of instruments. We talk about the feeling of the pieces and through this he is developing good taste in classical music. 

For the art piece, I have created my own art prints for him using Google Images. I downloaded them, and had them printed at my local Walgreens as photographs. He has his own photo album that he keeps them in. Each week, I give him a new print to which he studies. I play little games with him, taking the print away and asking him what he remembers about it. Sometimes we talk about the colors, the textures, the subject matter, etc... I also tell him the title of the painting and who painted it. He keeps that information in the photo album with his print. Each week, he recites from memory the paintings and artists. It is wonderful memory work and makes for an exciting time on our trips to the museum when we see works by artists he is familiar with. 

For the rest of the subjects, we use youtube to look at things he may be unfamiliar with. For instance, today we learned about water powered sawmills. We were able to go on a virtual field trip to see one. Sometimes, for the science, I'll get additional books and videos from the library to expand the topics. 

So for very little money ($30 for the Teacher's Guide), I have a rich addition to our 1st grade homeschool. Here is a screen shot of the 1st four weeks of school this year. I retyped the guide into a more user friendly format. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Music for the Ears

Well, it is completed. This project had the largest learning curve of all the ones I've done so far. Not only did it involve learning Garageband, but it also included pulling out all my musical genius (of which I had none... lol). This is actually the fourth song I created. I tried creating original tunes using the on screen piano with my mouse, the computer keyboard and I even went so far as to attach my digital piano with a midi/usb cord.

What ultimately ended up working for me was to use a song I was already familiar with, using mostly the baseline and some of the song. I used a lot of drum beats, percussion, guitars, flutes and so many effects I couldn't possibly name them all. I experimented with the volume levels, echo, pitch and tempo. My inspiration song was "Heaven" by DJ Sammy. It is a dance mix of the same name by Brian Adams. I love this song!!! I hope you enjoy it. I am pretty proud of it. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


                                                    City                                    By Michelle P.

Song of the city,
Echoes of the past.
Melody of the future,
Days gone by fast.

Touch of the hand,
Rarely seen in my day.
Pride lost and forgotten,
City light the way.

The other day while driving around I was listening to the radio. The Morning Crew were discussing the fact that my city is considered a terrible, unsafe place to live and they had people calling in to say how they felt about it. Everyone was talking about how horrible and unsafe a place it is as if we live in the ghetto. One women even said she lived in Saudi Arabia for some time and she felt safer there than she does here. I found it rather ironic that here I was driving around since 4:30am (which I have been doing for about a year and a half now), alone, in the dark delivering newspapers. Not once in all this time have I felt threatened or even scared. Not once. I felt sad for the city, this place I call home. I have lived in other places, Minnesota, Illinois and even Michigan. Our city is a place we need to love as long as we are here. We need to make it what we want it to be.

The poem I wrote for this video talks about the men and women who built our city, the craftsmanship and effort that when into things even as small as the cover on our sewer system. It goes on to say how we need to remember that city pride and build a place we can be proud of. All we have to do is look closely at the city of the past to imagine the city of the future.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Urban Landscape Edited

IMG_11.jpg by cmahmh

IMG_11.jpg, a photo by cmahmh on Flickr.

"Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light."      Helen Keller

When I saw the beautiful, ornate lamps on the side of this dilapidated old building in downtown Toledo, I knew I had to get a shot of it. So many amazing details are hidden in plain site as these structures deteriorate with every passing year; details that just aren't important to today's contractors and architects.

This old lamp was photographed during the day and I seriously doubt that even if electricity still pulsed in its veins, it would even function. I wanted to take a step back in time and once again light the night through the magic of editing.

Using my 5 megapixel iPhone 4, I shot this photograph without flash around 7:00pm on a warm August evening. The photo is 1936x2592 which gives me about 5,018,112 pixels or about 5.01 megapixels. Once home, I strengthened the contrast and the saturation to bring out the natural colors already there and to bring a feeling of dusk. I cropped the photo to bring the focus directly onto the lamp. Using a filter, I brought back to life the light of yesterday.