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Brianna: Wray of Sunshine

Hey y’all,

I’ve emerged from the finals fog to share the last of our Identity & the Moving Image assignment. I present Brianna: Wray of Sunshine


My classmates gave me written critiques which were mostly unanimous in wanting the music quieter and my voiceover louder. Agreed. I struggled with the levels and rushed it a bit. One person was concerned that I wasn’t wearing headphones. But, I assure you, they’re on. I’ve got theseYou just can’t see them under all the glitter…and hair. My professor noted that the entire second half of the video could be omitted (or made into its own video). I also agree with that, however in our individual meetings before filming I had two very different ideas and she suggested I combine them. Plus, with graduation approaching I thought it more important to document this workspace and the lovely people who populate it with life. Is it the best video I have done or will do? No, but it’s a collaboration  I am proud of.

Many special thanks to Ellen, Jeanne, Ellen and Matt who helped with ideation and filming. No thanks to Adobe Premiere which deleted my footage AGAIN and wasted 3 hours of editing time and 3 ounces of my sanity. I’m officially on team Final Cut Pro.

What do you think? Are you into video? Do you have any tips on software for me? I’ve used iMovie and Premiere, but Final Cut Pro looks similar enough to figure out. We’ll see!

xo,

Sunshine
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Thanksgiving 2016

This Thanksgiving was the best one yet. Why? It was intimate, just six of us, no turkey, no drama, just fun. How can you go wrong with that combination?

Short answer: you can’t!

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Even without turkey there was so much [insanely delicious] food! Everyone made something or brought something. Bethany’s table flair was on point. And we invented a new tradition: Thanksgiving Group Sketches! Bryan’s Squash Mac&Cheese KILLED THE GAME. And this is from a girl who thought she knew all the ways to make a mac. Ooh! He said it was a new recipe, too! Amazing. Not pictured here, but definitely made the scene was Jared. He brought these fluffy amazing rolls.

 

It rained and it poured all day. I am thankful we all had a warm, dry place to be. Before we knew it all the plates were empty and all the bellies were happy.

How was your holiday?

xo,

Sunshine
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Event: 1/16th at Sand Point Gallery

Join us on Tuesday, November 29th at Sand Point Gallery for some top-shelf, high-brow, full-on fine art. Our poster, created by the very talented Jenn Watts, features a preview of all the beauty to be beheld. Trust me when I say I am as excited to see what’ll be on display as I am to present the paintings I’ve been working on. There will be something for everyone, and wine!

If you’re in the Seattle area, we’d love to see you!

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We & the Collaborative

Hi y’all, welcome back! Are you ready for another video? This one is a—gasp—group project.

You know how those can be. One person does nothing. Another person does all the work. When someone else is responsible for your grade, shit gets ugly. But not this time. I’m happy to report that my group was thoughtful and attentive, everyone not only contributed, but truly made this reproduction shine. But before we get into that, here’s the assignment:

90: We & The Collaborative

Remake something, anything, a music video, a speech, a scene from a filmbased on your word, and/or emotion.

CREW: 

Camera
Design (Lighting/Camera Assist) 
Talent
Sound (You decide the editor(s))

RULES: 

No more than 90 seconds 
Upload to Youtube or Vimeo
Title 
Must have Header & Footer
Credits

My group picked this SNL skit to copy featuring a caucasian family sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. Aunt Kathy brings yams and racism to the table and even asks an African-American guest why his friends are antagonizing the police. The arguing only stops when someone puts on Adele. I like the concept and obviously get the joke. Probably most people are soothed by Adele. Not I, though. I’m just not into it. [Forgive me, Adele fans, it’s just that I typically go for more up-tempo music and a lot of the subject matter I’ve heard from her popular hits are about sad relationships. I don’t listen to the radio, so it hasn’t been thrust at me. It’s not a personal attack, Adele as a person is amazing. Just not a fan of the music. There’s only so much room for that on my daily playlist.] I know, it’s the same as my feelings on Starbucks coffee, mine is not the popular opinion and that’s okay.

So, we brainstormed what might bring together people in Seattle with such disparate views. Enter marijuana.
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Weed has the potential to aid a lot of people. Heck, it could be ending homelessness from taxes collected by its legal sale. I wanted our video to convey the different ways weed helps. Perhaps a cancer patient would find relief from the harsh treatments involved, a lady with heavy cramps associated with menstruation would benefit from a CBD strain, etc. Of course fitting all that meaning in 90 seconds is nearly impossible. It mostly reads as a recreational weed endorsement. That said, our classmates seemed to like it, especially the fact that all the characters are minorities and the white girl is the lone voice of reason. The harshest criticism is that the autofocus is distracting. Agreed. But in discussion Dan suggested we treat the autofocus as intentional and ponder its effect. In that sense it could be interpreted as moments of confusion in trying to grasp another person’s perspective and then builds to represent the haze of being high. Could be, if it was intentional. It wasn’t though.
Many thanks to Katie, Sharnelle and Adrian who kicked ass in front of and behind the camera. Adrian brought great tech, even the camera. Everyone contributed as best they could. Even when Sharnelle couldn’t be there for the editing because she had to work, she was with us via text offering great ideas. I also appreciate getting to know Katie and Adrian’s editing styles. Everyone’s workflow is different and as the only person there for the whole editing portion, I got a front row seat into different schools of thought.
Alright, here’s a Thanksgiving Miracle – Seattle.


And ours wasn’t the only success. Check out the rest of the class’ work, too.

What do you think? Who’s your favorite? I love love love Going to the Store 1 and And July conceptually. But Michala KILLED THE GAME on Gangnam Style.
So, what have we learned here? Group projects don’t suck, scheduling sucks. Having a crew work on a video increases accuracy and the richness of the end product. Recreation, homage, and appropriation are different ideas with blurred lines between. And that you should subscribe here and on the Wrays of Sunshine Channel for more outlandish creativity. Muah!
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Meet: Jennifer Wee

We met on a rainy day. I was under the safety of my black umbrella when I was joined by one Jennifer Wee. And, here’s the thing, I’m friendly as hell, but the modern umbrella is a further expression of one’s bubble. One does not simply enter anyone’s bubble. Yet there she was, comfortably in my bosom, so to speak. Her presence has since been a welcome one, which is a less stalker version of saying I make sure we’re in at least one class together every quarter. But she’s more than a great bubble buddy, she’s an artist, too! Meet: Jennifer Wee


State your name for the record, please. 

For the Record,
I am Jennifer Wee.
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What media do you work with?

I work mostly in photography, but I have been branching into video. I
also very secretly enjoy 3D scrapbook-y art collages of doom and
drawing when no one is looking.
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Which is your favorite?

Photography is by far my favorite. In fact, it was a conscious
decision on my part to spend more of my time away from developing
other skills and interests in favor or pushing my photography further
forward.
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What about the quality of photography helps you express yourself?

I’d like to say that the tools don’t make the photographer because
they don’t. Really, they don’t. But I’ll throw my phone at you if you
suggest I do any amount of serious work using that thing. The further
photography develops, and the more control I have over it makes me
fall in love with the medium more every time I pick up that
slightly-too-heavy camera. Who cares if I have to trek through a
forest with a giant tripod and a heavy backpack filled with lenses. It
beats a portable shit-mera. (Shit-camera. Shit-mera.) (Also, with
control, you can play with intentionally under exposure which is a
blast to work with in photoshop.)
How does craftsmanship fit into your practice?

Craftmanship? What’s that? I’m very self-taught, but I’ve been doing
this for over eight years. Naturally one of the last things I figured
out is that your camera has a light meter that saves you unnecessary
(and excessive) time/effort in Photoshop. And naturally still, since
it was one of the last things I learned, I spent a majority of those
years in frustration and unholy determination (I’m born stubborn)
working through Photoshop until I breathed it into my very essence. As
a result, a lot of my work tends to be more transformative relying a
lot on interesting Photoshop tricks and effects.
What are your favorite projects you’ve worked on, or do you even have favorites?

I always have favorites, and they’re usually my most recent, but I’m
still in love with my bugs and latex project. Actually, I desperately
want to revisit that series with more bugs and new models. In
particular, I’d love to find a skeletal sickly anorexic person for
some of my bugs, as well as someone tall with an hourglass figure and
rolls and rolls of fat. Because I want to capture the “ugly” bodies as
something beautiful and breathtaking, and just a little alien.
How did you know you were an artist?

I don’t know I’m an artist, still, so I can’t answer when I found out.
I actually want to be a fashion photographer. I love interesting
designers such as Alexander McQueen and Fendi, and I would absolutely
love to capture them with my camera. My interests have always been
fairly commercial, and I’ve gotten a lot of flack for not being
more… well… exactly opposite that. But I like what I do, and I
like where I want to take it so if that means I’m not an “artist,”
that’s fine.

Oh, she’s an artist. Yeah, I said. Ar-tist. See more of Jennifer’s work. What do you think? I dig the latex and ethereal aesthetic she’s got going on. Thanks for visiting Wrays of Sunshine, y’all. Need more? Meet: Justin Blackwell, Tamblyn Gawley, Iris Scott, Scott Dalrymple or Lauren Napier.
Photos of Jennifer by Brianna Wray, all other images provided by the artist. Go to her website! Commission photoshoots!

http://www.jweephotography.com

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You & the Staged

Assignment Objective:

To shoot & edit a 60 second video. To better familiarize oneself with Adobe Premiere software. To familiarize oneself with the language of media. To learn and repetitively practice Premiere commands along with more advanced editing techniques. To shoot on any desired device, import and manage media, edit and export. To dig deeper into a conceptual approach to making video.

Commands | Tools | Problems | Technical Considerations
  • use header footer
  • add credits or titles
  • no longer than 60 seconds
  • fade sound levels in and out
  • no music
  • create a shot list

“This is your moment to get on your soap box, video soap box. What do you care about? Do you care about not caring?” -Dan Paz


That’s it. Those are the rules. The due date on this was very tight initially, which I used as a tool to be decisive when I would ordinarily languish in indecision. Why not stage a protest? Protests are very much staged, planned events. The concept speaks to issues of community organization and current topics of interest. In the ideation process, though, it became clear that I was limited by what we have on hand. For example, in a real protest I would expect to see at least one bullhorn, and we don’t have one and/or couldn’t borrow one in time. Making this video required taking my limitations and flipping them into advantages. At the end of the day all I really have is myself and my stuff. So the focus shifted to not just a generic protest, but what the idea would look like specifically in my life.

I have these items, these weapons that are filled with personal history, flowers, this military jacket, some cardboard—not even a legit picket for my picket sign. There were several shots that got cut due to technical difficulties and even though I made a shot list, I managed to miss one.

By the time I got to editing over the weekend something had happened with Premiere or the media. Fuckery was afoot. I could see the clips in my timeline, but the media was pending and wouldn’t show up in the preview feed no matter how hard I rendered my entire work area. I went in to use the school computers early Sunday morning thinking their system (with its to-the-teet-Adobe-connection) might work better. It didn’t. I wasted time, and energy getting up early when at the end of the day I had to start over anyway. Could’ve edited in my pajamas and slept in. It will haunt me. For those of you who follow on Instagram you probably saw these posts.

All that said, I’m still proud of what I was able to put together. Enough of my original goals shine through that the message comes across. I really appreciate my classmates’ critiques, too. Just to have several perspectives think through your idea helps so much.

One lesson learned was that I should’ve created an audio shot list as well as the mandatory video shot list. Also, if I could go back in time I would have had another camera on me while I waited for Matt to drive under the overpass. He was using my phone to film that clip so he couldn’t tell me when exactly he would be there. I just had to stand there and look out for a blue Nissan. While waiting, several people walked by and really wanted to take part in the demonstration. They asked, “what are we protesting?” We. That’s so powerful to me. In that position, there was no way they could see what was on my sign, and if they could it was only a circle with a slash through it which is intentionally unclear. There’s not just one thing wrong with our world and our government, though I do offer examples I care about [Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock] elsewhere in the video, these people on the street had no context and were still on board in solidarity. They patted me on the back, they honked and they really cared.

That moved me so much and the whole time I had to just keep protesting. The other camera was literally at my feet, with a full battery, just sitting there. Get it together, Bri! All I can say is videography is challenging. Especially if you have any kind of perfectionism issues. I’ve spent years working on perfecting a single image in the form of a painting or in photography. With video you have thirty images to perfect per second.

Maybe everything happens for a reason. Maybe having not filmed that part is important for another reason. I don’t know, but I’ll never forget. A big, giant humongous thank you to my Honeybee who helped with so much with ideation, props, and filming. He’s such a clever and helpful partner and I couldn’t ask for more.

So, here’s Protest. Lemme know what you think in the comments. Subscribe here and on Youtube for more Wrays of Sunshine!

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Word of the Day: Susurrus

Horror films have always freaked me out. I’m a huge fan if the gore is comedic somehow, but overall I’m hyper-sensitive to suspenseful elements and a bit of a drama queen…and a bit gullible. All it takes is a susurrus as the scene pans over the treeline and I’m all, noooooo don’t go in there! There’s a mummy, a masked murderer, a creature. It’s a trap! Get to the choppah! There’s no hope. Game over, man. Straight up, zero to Humperdink:

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Susurrus [soosuruh s], in Latin means a whisper, but the more contemporary definition includes a whisper, a murmur or a soft rustling sound. It’s just enough to put you on edge.  In video, susurruses are a great tool to transition into mysterious scenes without going all Freddie Foreshadowing. In real life, though, if you hear one, maybe run.

And in the meantime, maybe keep on that cardio.


Need more vocabulary? Learn to stultify, endogenously!

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George Tsutakawa’s Fountain of Reflection

George Tsutakawa was a celebrated sculptor and painter who taught at the University of Washington for 29 years before retiring. Born in Seattle on George Washington’s birthday, Tsutakawa’s work finds a natural home on the University of Washington campus.

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I got entirely lost escorted some freshman from ART101 to see the Fountain of Reflection. The fountain works were off during our visit, but I appreciated the view to the inner eye.


Credits: Biographical information on George Tsutakawa from the University of Washington‘s faculty listing, and a cursory glance at his Wiki. Image from Seven Roads.