Me in action

I’m in Design Communication I at Austin Community College this semester and the final project is a book, at least 20 pages.
My professor allowed us to choose our own topic, to insure enthusiasm, so I chose disc golf as my topic.
I have to bind the book myself and I’ve never done it before so the enthusiasm wasn’t really there especially because I like the topic; I don’t want to do the sport I love a disservice. But I’ve got the enthusiasm now. The binding will be the most challenging part but I’ve already learned something awesome.

I decided to used images of myself for the book because I can get good photos and I don’t charge myself to use the images.

During my research I found an action shot of a lady driving from the tee box and it gave me an idea. My plan was to take stills from video to use in the book.

Starting out I wasn’t sure how to do it, I’ve got the Adobe Creative Suite so I thought I could pull stills from video using Premiere. I’m not as familiar with Premiere as I am with other tools in the Adobe tool chest and I don’t have time to learn it right now but I know I could find something online if I had to. Before I even tried Premiere I tried Photoshop. Video and animation have been in Photoshop for a bit, but I’ve not really made use of the Timeline except to make animated gifs.

So, I fired up Photoshop and opened a .mov file to see what happened.
Photoshop accepted the file, and though it was slow and clunky and the audio was terrible, it played my video. Not only that but within 15 seconds I was able to locate the exactly what I needed.

In the drop down menu of the Timeline window, Convert Frames>Flatten Frames Into Clips turns each frame of the video into a layer. Then I picked out layers showing the progression of my right hand fore hand drive. The image of me standing upright is part of the background, but all the other images of me going through the motions are cut out of different layers. I had to play with the arrangement to get the look I wanted but I’m excited with the end result.

20130422-232201.jpgMy masterpiece

I’ve got some great stills already, I’ll post the completed project in three weeks after the semester is over.

Now I want to take nothing but video of everything, why take stills when you can take 24 stills a second? Or more, in HD. I also want to use this technique on some other action sequences. I’m so immersed in disc golf right now all I can think about are action shots from the disc golf course.
Anyone have any suggestions for similar images I could apply my newfound skills to?

Here’s the original footage I pulled the stills from.

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Super Bowl Extravaganza

The Super Bowl is the biggest marketing event of the year where everyone with at least $4 million dollars to spend on their campaign gain access to millions of people world wide.

I’ve collected a few ads from YouTube. Mostly I liked the all the ads at least a little bit, but the most disappointing thing to me is the number of ads I’ve seen before. When you get a shot to be in the spotlight, you have to bring your A game.

First up is a Mercedes commercial for the new CLA-Class of cars.
I really like Sympathy for the Devil so immediately they hooked me. If I were a young professional thinking about buying a luxury car I would want to identify with the lifestyle the car (and a pact with the Devil) promised. And as the affordable price of the car foils the Devil’s plan, the choice of Sympathy for the Devil makes perfect sense.

Let’s just get all the car ads out of the way first.

This sexy commercial from Fiat ties in their logo and a new convertible model with a sexy model running topless on the beach. They did a great job of building suspense before the payoff of the cut bikini string and the revealing of the new convertible Fiat 500 Abarth.

I love this ad because it uses so many little tricks to activate nostalgia (who doesn’t remember high school and prom), sympathy (walking in the door alone to prom), shock (making out with the prom queen), and triumph (speeding away with a black eye and the largest grin of your life.)
Playing on so much emotion with such a positive ending really makes me want an Audi.

This ad is unique among the stimulus overload of the Super Bowl itself, and the half-time show, and most of the other ads. The calm, soothing voice of Paul Harvey coupled with still pictures made this ad stand out among the hullabaloo surrounding it.

These next two go together because Volkswagen caught some slack for an ad some perceived to be racist. Maybe people are a little too quick to play the racist card. For one, the stereotypical Jamaican accent was shown in a positive light. I don’t think suggesting Jamaicans are happy is a racist thing.
Secondly, the pre-Super Bowl ad features Jimmy Cliff making hundreds of sad or angry people happy. On the YouTube page for this ad there is even a link to buy Mr. Cliff’s new album. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think portraying the Jamaican people as bringers of happiness is racist.
As for the Super Bowl ad, it is clever and memorable because of the juxtaposition of a white guy from Minnesota with a Jamaican way of talking. It suggests the Volkswagen makes people so happy it changes the way they see the world and even the way they talk.

Pre-Game Volkswagen ad

Volkswagen Super Bowl ad

Another ad surrounded by controversy leading up to the Big Game belonged to Coca-Cola.
Some felt it was a racist depiction of Arabs because the Arab character was leading camels through the desert. Again, maybe too fast on calling racist. Maybe the winner of the race changed because of the backlash, but during the game, the winner was announced and the Arab character definitely came out ahead.

The Race

The Last Laugh

I don’t think any of these ads are distasteful or insulting but they definitely garnered more attention because of the controversy.

The best ad for Twitter during the Super Bowl was the black out. More people tweeted about the blackout than Jacoby Jones’ 108 yard return.

Oreo had one of the better tweets.

Their pre-planned Super Bowl ad was great too. Everyone, even the fire fighters, talking in whispers made a riot in the library into a humorous and memorable event loosely based on their product.

And finally, an ad for GoPro cameras works because of the unusual first person viewpoint, which is what their product promises. Albeit not usually from a baby’s view point. Babies may be cliche in Super Bowl ads but GoPro showed off their products’ abilities in a new and interesting way.

So there it is, the Super Bowl Extravaganza. In a mere 364 days we get to do it all over again.

One last fun fact: There are more Super Bowl parties than New Years Eve parties.