iRemember: A Video Concept

We were tasked to create a video that satisfies one of the options below.

Option A: A 2-4 minute (max) promotional video for an invented object or service. This could be an infomercial, a design fiction, or an instructable

Option B: A 2-4 minute (max) alternative, speculative, or counterfactual video for an existing thing or service. This could utilize a genre such as documentary, whodunit, commercial, horror trailer, etc.

Me and my team (Adrian and Simone), decided to create a comedic-dystopian-infomercial for iRemember, a patch that one can stick on their forehead that will give them the ability to take photographs with their eyes and store it in their memory. There is a twist though, after a while, the iRemember patch will actually start to take over people’s brains filling it up with photographs.

Here’s the storyboard that we’ve come up with for the video

Creating A Sound-walk: A Reflection

After creating a sound-walk of my own, some things popped into my head that I feel are worth noting.

  1. Don’t be afraid to experiment. This is more of a personal note, but when creating things like this, it’s good to keep an extremely open mind to all of the possibilities. Something does not have to be a tried and tested thing to be worth doing. Any idea is always worth doing.
  2. When collaborating, be both openminded yet defensive of your ideas. Early on, whenever collaborating, I would be pretty defensive of my ideas or methods. I’ve always felt that I have good justifications for my ideas and that they are worth fighting for. As time goes on, I realized that it was not the way to go. When collaborating, it is more important to give room for others. That way things will go smoothly. However, now I feel that both are equally important. It’s a tricky thing to balance.
  3. Sound is powerful. Before doing this project, I didn’t realize how powerful sound is as a storytelling medium. I’ve always considered music to be powerful, but not regular sounds. I was immensely wrong.

Creating A Sound-walk

After embarking on a sound-walk we were challenged to create a sound-walk of our own. The project was done in a group of three. I did it with Bomani and Sammy. The piece can be accessed in this link.

We started out by doing a brainstorming session. We were able to come up with roughly 30 ideas. We took note of the strong ones and started formulating not only the story that we want to deliver but also how we want to deliver it. The end result of this process is a script.

Once the script is ready, we started recording and to look for free sound samples that we could use throughout the internet. All three of us are voice acting in this piece. To make it more “natural”, we decided to do three full recordings; one with each one of us in the mic.

After the recording is done and all the samples are gathered, we started to edit using Adobe Audition. None of us had ever touched Audition before, but personally I find to be quite intuitive and relatively easy to play around with. It was fun.

Throughout the editing process which takes roughly 4-5 hours for a 3-minute piece, we found some missing and out of place things in the recording. To remedy this, we did another round of recording and tweaked the story a little bit to make it more cohesive and flows more naturally.

One of the things that we wanted to experiment on is to have the listeners interact with the piece in a way that transcends the listener from an audio-based world to the physical world. We did this by asking the listener to draw a picture at the end of the piece. At first, I was quite skeptical of this experiment, but after going through it, I am extremely glad that we decided to go through with it.

Looking back, this project involved a lot of effort, compromise, and tweaking around. It was a super fun project to do, and I am very proud of what we have created.

To actually enjoy what we’ve created, visit this link. You can start listening on the elevator lobby of 370 Jay St.

Her Long Black Hair by Janet Cardiff

Her Long Black Hair by Janet Cardiff is a mixed-reality sensory experience that takes the audience through a physical journey across the southern part of Central Park. Janet Cardiff herself narrates the piece and to say that it is mesmerizing is an understatement.

The piece in a way opened my eyes about the amount of detail and realism that can be delivered through audio alone. Other than the living park itself, the piece is only delivered through a series of audio tracks and photographs, yet the detail was on par (if not greater than) most of the VR experiences I’ve even been on. From the sound of a woman yelling at her child not to climb a rock, to the change of resonance as I walk through a tunnel, to the sound of a horse’s footsteps, they all sound incredibly true to life. I was wearing a set of regular earphones (nothing fancy), and the recording made me genuinely question what was “real” and what was only part of the experience.

A section of Central Park where where the journey took me
Part of my journey throughout Central Park

The mechanics of the piece also intrigues me. As it is only delivered through audio, the narrator incorporates multiple checkpoints and a series of mechanisms to keep the audience on track and on the correct pace. The way Janet Cardiff did it is both practical and elegant. During the part where the audience is supposed to walk, she introduces a series of footsteps to mimic the steps of the narrator as she walks with the audience. This keeps the audience walking in a pace that is consistent with the narration. She also makes multiple notes regarding landmarks, ensuring that the audience is on the right track, yet it is done in a way that is cohesive and feels non-sequential.

“I remember a news article about an Iraqi father who’s all three daughters were all killed by a bomb. He found one of their arms hanging from a light fixture. The photograph shows his face and his hands. But in my mind, I see a photograph of the arm. With fingers relaxed, draped on the light as it posed.”

An excerpt from Her Long Black Hair

Throughout the piece, the narrator would go off on tangential thoughts, stories, and “experiments” as she calls it. These short sections are poetic in their own right. Each evokes a different range of emotions and stem new thoughts and questions. As a whole, I am not quite sure how it made me feel. The emotional range that I felt during the experience was quite diverse. Though if there is one thing that I’ll take away from it is that I’ll make more of a conscious effort to internalize my surroundings before moving forward.

All in all, I am thankful that I got to go on this experience. If you decide to go on this journey the audio tracks and the images are available in this link. I would recommend though to traverse it alone as it’ll give a more immersive experience.