Why Do Seals Have Wavy Whiskers is the multimedia film by Popular Science and filmed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The science vocabulary and and methods used aren’t common knowledge in the least so this film provides interesting graphics, photos, and underwater footage that move the film along at a steady pace without stalling to explain. This film could easily have lacked variety in less capable hands and the quality takes a dull subject into something the audience will feel compelled to suddenly be aware of.
Watching a giant robotic machine moving a pole in the the water doesn’t seem fascinating, but the red dye dispersing through the rippling water was excellent B roll to correspond with the interview. Even the close up shots of the researcher’s face seemed as elegant as the footage of the schools of fish in the ocean as did the grainy microscopic photo of whiskers. Proper attribution was provided for the images and footage not created by the filmmakers, but the collaboration of original footage and copyrighted material were seamlessly combined.
All-in-all, talented film-making is evident, as it was in this, when someone can take a truly not fascinating topic, turn it into something you are glad you watched and glad to now have information that you will probably never use in your lifetime.
The Telegraph’s October 16, 2015 “Secrets of Pompeii brought to life using a CT Scanner” isn’t exactly a catchy title that rolls off the tongue very easily but reporter Grace Dean’s video is quite interesting. The topic of Pompeii might not be considered relevant news for many, as the volcanic eruption that destroyed Pompeii in its entirety occurred in 79 AD, but it is the fact that it happened so long ago that the new findings prove valuable.
The black bar across the bottom of the film where the necessary subtitles are placed is more visually appealing than the standard New York Times black box covering footage. This film’s black bar still shows footage and isn’t as disruptive. The interview conducted with the man framed in portrait shot was a nice change from predictable interviews, of a technician wearing a lab coat at a desk drawling on, as he described the Mediterranean diet that prevented Pompeii citizens from getting cavities.
The film is fascinating and provides access the tourist shown in the beginning get to see. Images of tourists, a baby crawling on the road, tight shots of syringes, mummified corpses going into the CT scanner, pushed in a wheelbarrow and the makeshift working stations created a well-rounded story.
The Wall Street Journal’s Tinkerers Turn To Home- Automation by Bradley Hope published October 15, 2015, gives insight into the Iron Man-like bedroom workings of Jeremy Blum. The bedroom workings controlled by voice activation, tablets and computers was christened JARVIS by Blum. JARVIS: Jeremy’s Astute Residential Virtual Intelligent System is named in honor of Tony Stark’s own digital manservant who makes his life easier, or in Blum’s case, a lot lonelier.
The film spends a great deal of time going in and out of focus until I wasn’t quite sure if my eyes were so fatigued after one minute of this greatly overused technique or if the film footage was actually out of focus. Blum’s bedroom didn’t give the videographer a great deal of space to work with, so it is understandable he had to improvise and focus on the smaller aspects made visually appealing instead of turning the bedroom into a grey claustrophobic tomb. The camera tucked into the wall to give a wide shot of Blum at his computer and the entire bedroom 48 seconds into the film worked as did the fade to black as Blum told JARVIS to turn off the lights.
All-in-all it was an interestingly little film and though it was entirely out of the journalist’s control, Blum’s grey bedroom offered very little variety and it occasionally came across like the film was on repeat even one minute in because of this. But, since this isn’t Hope’s fault it is still a fascinating look into the minds of those who inspire our future technology advancement.
The Rocky Revival of Vinyl Records by Poh Si Teng and Erica Bernstein published September 14, 2014 by The New York Times
The Business section of the New York Times published this multimedia film/report on the small but booming business of creating vinyl records in a digital world. Though the black block cut-outs for text is in the style of The New York Times digital shorts, it is distracting and takes away from the image of the factory. Blocking footage of the small warehouse that is in high demand, despite back orders, directly after the owner talks takes away from fully showing the small establishment and limited employees. The focus on the machinery involved, from the tight shots to images of the aging technology was a strong and simple visual of how technology has advanced but stil doesn’t entirely satisfy the vinyl-loving community.
The music selection used for the employee who isn’t passionate about his job, doesn’t own a turntable and doesn’t have a huge appreciation for the music he reproduces on vinyl was in stark contrast to the hipper tunes used for his boss. The choice in music alteration depending on the subject interviewed (in this case, the unimpressed employee) was indicative of a generation, long since passed, who didn’t understand the appeal of The Beatles and Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show when Lawrence Welk was on television at the same time. Though vinyl is a step backwards it is starting a new movement within the music industry. And due to this fact, The New York Times rightfully cast a light on this growing business that has a resurgence within the hipster crowd, who just like the the budding hippies of the 1960s, felt a need to start a movement and found music to be the most universal movement of them all.
Thank you to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store, the employees and customers!
If in the Tucson neighborhood of Hedrick Acres take one day to visit these top 10 attractions to make your day worthwhile. Start with number 10, bright and early in the morning, then work your way to number one. Enjoy!
University of Arizona bike theft map of 2011-2012