Author Archives: Brian Harmon

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Nov 5 Photography

Quiz (as Blog Post)

Using the assigned reading (introduction of From Snapshots to Social Media) answer the following questions:

1.  Explain the ‘inherent duality’ of domestic photography.

2.  Sarvas and Frohlich spend a great deal of time describing (the object of) photography.  They suggest that the history of the technology is vital for for researchers interested in understanding how photography works.  What is their rationale and do you agree?  In other words, why should we care about the history of photography?

3.  What method does this study deploy to make its case?

4.  What is your experience with photography?  In your answer use the concepts and terms utilized in the reading (domestic, snapshots, etc).

5.  In your own words, define the term PUNCTUM.

6.  What are the six practical effects of the shift from film to digital photography?  Which of these effects has the greatest impact on your experience with photography and/or your final project?

7.  The authors of this book claim we are “still in an era of ferment”.  What do they mean?  Do you agree?  Give a prediction about the future.  The next dominant model of photography will be…

Post your a link to your blog as a comment to THIS post to receive credit for the quiz.


HERE are some basic tutorials for those with little or no experience with this program.

What I’d like for you to do today is find an example of a photograph of the object (or a close proximity) you are working on.  Download the image and open it into Photoshop (not Bridge).  Spend some time today exploring this software and producing 3 variations of the image.  Among the variations you might consider are the following (with tutorials linked):




Save each version (as JPEGs with appropriate file names in a folder on your flash drive) and then upload the 4 images (the original with 3 variations) onto your blog.  Tag your blog post with “photography”.

note:  Adobe Bridge is another program that can be very useful.  We’ll talk about this program on Thursday.  If you already feel comfortable with Photoshop, I encourage you to try this assignment with Bridge.

Some Interesting links from this week

Two local journalists go to Syria to report for Medium…create some interesting stories and photos, but this is their tale told as a Graphic Novel.

Gerry Melendez of The State with shots of USC Baseball

New Object Lesson:  The Light Switch

For Next Time

Bring in 5 unedited photographs of your object (or of tangible things that you plan on using…people, places, things).  I would prefer that you practice taking the images YOURSELF, but I understand that this might not be possible in some circumstances, so gather images as you can (strive for high resolution!)

Read Roland Barthes’ The Rhetoric of the Image (on DropBox>Readings>Still Photos).

OCt 31 Title Sequence Workday

Dexter Imitation

Create File Structure

Create a new file on your desktop called “Premiere Practice 10.31”.

Within this folder create four separate folders called “Graphics”, “Moving”, “Stills”, “Music”.

Go to Dropbox and download (copy and paste, NOT drag and drop) the folder called “Premiere Practice 10.31”.  Within this file you’ll find some media you can use to practice in Premiere.  Transfer the files from your ‘downloaded’ folder to the appropriate places in the folder on your desktop.  Copy the 1920×1080 PNG file you created on Tuesday into the Graphics folder.  If you have other media already gathered for your object documentary, put it in the appropriate folder.

Open Premiere Pro.  Create a NEW PROJECT.

IMPORTANT!!!  In the new project menu, make sure to change the location of your project by selecting “Browse” and then choosing your folder on the desktop.  Title your project “(your surname)_Premiere Practice 10.31”.

Click the tab called “Scratch Disks” and make sure they are indicate “same as project”.  For more information about scratch disks, check here.

Click OK.

(Take a moment at this point and go back to your folder on the desktop and notice the new files that have been created.  You need to remember to keep all these files in one place to maintain the integrity of the editing you do.)

Back in Premiere, take a moment to look over the layout and familiarize yourself with it.  HERE is a good overview in a single image.

The next step is to import the media from the folders you’ve created.  HERE is a comprehensive overview on importing media into Premiere.  When you are ready to import your files, RIGHT CLICK in the top left window and choose “IMPORT”.  You can then navigate to your folder on the desktop and choose to import the four folders within (as a group or individually).


First you need to create a NEW SEQUENCE.  Right click in the top left panel and choose “New Item”>”Sequence”.   There are hundreds of presets, this is something you will need to figure out later.  For now, choose the default, name your sequence “(your surname)_Premiere Practice 10.31”. Click OK.  Arrange the media you imported on this sequence.  Save your work EARLY AND OFTEN.

You will need to important and cut at least one movie clip.  Several ways to do this are covered in this FORUM.

You will need to create several title screens (at least 2).  TITLES and TEXT

You will need to import several photos (at least 2) and the design you created on Tuesday.  For detailed instructions on how to manipulate still photos/design go HERE.

You will need to add and cut some audio.  Here is some help with that.

Create a track that is under 30 seconds in length and export it.


After saving your project (do this early and often), go to ‘File’>’Export’>’Media’.  Choose H.264 as your format.  Use “Youtube HD 1080p 23.976” as your preset.  Click on the Yellow ‘Output Name’ and make sure the title matches your sequence title and is being saved in the appropriate folder on your desktop.    Here is a reasonably clear explanation of the process.

The export will take a few minutes, so spend this time composing a BLOG ENTRY discussing your first reactions to Premiere Pro and how it differs from iMovie.  Go over the process (movie clip, title, sequences etc) and reflect on it.  How does it work?  What kinds of connections did you notice as you worked?  Were you surprised?  Were you frustrated (try to map out the cause of the frustration)?  What good is this knowledge?  What good is this ability to arrange media?  Did you utilize any of the CRAP design techniques? Did you notice “gut feelings” coming into play as you arranged this media?  You should consider this post as a rough draft of your final reflection on your project.

Once the export finishes, you can upload your file to the class Dropbox in “Premiere Practice 10.31>Student Films”.

Have a Happy Halloween!

For Next Time


Read the Introduction to “From Snapshots to Social Media-The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography” (page 1-21 on Dropbox in “Reading>Still Photos”).  Be ready for a short quiz to begin class on Tuesday.

Also remember, your second response is due Tuesday.  Here are some more details.

Oct 29 Title Sequences

A last note on design:  I hope you each had an experience during your work in Illustrator in which you felt a gut feeling about some component of your digital composition.  Did something just ‘feel right’? How can you explain, logically, how that works?  Remember, part of your final grade will be based on a reflection of your work.  Part of what I’m hoping to instill with this pedagogy is a careful attendance to the process…to what happens when designers, artists, photographers, filmmakers compose digitally.  How are choices made?  What drives you to a certain color, a certain angle or a certain tune?  In design (as you will remember from Helvetica) there is a controversy between strict form and expressive feelings.  One way to discuss design is to use the terms of the discipline.  These are CRAP.





As you think about the design aesthetic for your project, as you navigate the gut feelings, take some notes about how you feel…how you came to these decisions.  I hope that this CRAP terminology (or other design concepts with which you may be familiar) can help you translate the ‘feels right’ logic of design into something I can grade.


The logical next step after a few days spent on design is to make that design a part of your film…to make it move.

The most traditional location (topos) for graphic design in cinema has been the TITLE SEQUENCE.

After we watch a few examples as a class, go to THE ART OF THE TITLE to complete the following blog assignments.

BLOG #1 – Find a text in the archive of The Art of the Title which you appreciate.  Watch the title sequence and read through the commentary and/or interview.  Link this page to your blog and give 2-3 paragraphs about what is striking to you about the sequence and how you might use it as inspiration in your own film.

BLOG #2 – Discuss your title sequence.  Here are a few questions to guide this post.  What is the title of your film?  Is there a song you are considering to introduce the film?  If you had to choose RIGHT NOW, what font(s) would you use?  Colors?  Vector Art?  What will the text be in your sequence? (produced by? directed by? starring? production company name?)  Finally, include an image to the following specifications:

-In Illustrator, open a new document with the dimensions 1920×1080 (this is the standard dimension for HD video…more information here.)

-Create a design with your title.  You can include a subtitle as needed.  Use NO MORE THAN TWO FONTS! Colors, vectors, photographs, etc are all up to you.

-Export as a PNG file and upload in the body of your blog entry.


-Finish up your designs from last week.

-Open Premiere Pro and look around!

-Ask me questions about your object.

-Get started on the work for next time….


In a wild crash course, we will be creating a short title sequence in Adobe’s Premiere Pro.  If you have no experience with this program, PLEASE SPEND SOME TIME WITH THE FOLLOWING TUTORIALS.

All Adobe Premiere Tutorials

Basic Tutorial (and alternative introduction)

Importing Files

Building Titles

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Response #2

A few of you have asked for some more specific detail on RESPONSE #2, so here you go.

Because it wasn’t entirely clear (perhaps another casualty of my negotiating a lack of software), I’ll push the due date back a few days.  Response #2 is now due by class time on November 5th.

As we discussed, there are several options.  You each should have recorded some form of a literacy narrative before fall break.  What I’d most like to see is participation in the DALN.  If you spent some time with your audio text and are happy with it, go ahead and follow the directions in the guides provided (in Dropbox) and upload your narrative to the Archive.  I encourage you to submit the best work possible, so if your piece needs some more work, edit it.  Remember this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your final object documentary.  Once you submit to the archive, you should include a link to your audio (in the archive) in a blog post of your own with a brief (2-3 paragraph) overview of your thoughts on the process of recording a literacy narrative.  Then link YOUR BLOG POST as a comment to THIS page.

If you have no interest in audio or the archives at all, you can submit a more traditional academic response (500-750 words) to one of the readings posted in Dropbox that we haven’t discussed so far in class (Selber, Tagg, Daley, Spinuzzi, Rice).  In addition to a summary, I’d expect several paragraphs devoted to how this theoretical text can impact your documentary.

Pushing the due date back a little bit on this assignment means that your THIRD RESPONSE will come up more quickly, so keep that in mind.  I’m looking for a graphical or video response for this last assignment.  More info to come!

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Oct 24 Illustrator Continued

The assignment for today is simple.  Continue practicing with Illustrator on the assignments from Tuesday.  You can find the specific description here.  Briefly, you are responsible for submitting two blog headers and two imitation exercises.

As of 2:15pm, no one has left the link to their homework (blog post about Helvetica) as a comment to Oct 22 class entry (as assigned).  Please do that.

All proposals that were successfully submitted to me have been graded.  Comments have been sent back.  If you haven’t submitted a proposal or submitted one in an unacceptable format, please see me after class.

For Next Time:

CRAP design and Title Sequences.  As you watch TV/Movies over the weekend, pay careful attention to the title sequences.  What fonts are used? What kind of design elements are used? Is there movement? Is it effective? How does it work within the larger themes of the program? Write a blog entry or some tweets (#harmon460) to record some of your thoughts.

Reminder: Your second response is due NEXT Thursday…Oct 31. CHANGED!!!!!   NOW it is due NOV. 5