What we should have said: An alternative ending to The Twilight Zone, To Serve Man
I got the idea for this video from the ds106 alternative ending video assignment, except that one asks you to create a video, while I just did a mashup of other Twilight Zone episode scenes instead.
I wanted to do something that would use most, or ideally, all, of the episodes that all of us were to watch in the ds106zone (the May/June edition of ds106), sort of as a way to end my video work for the class by using things we had all seen. So I found clips that would work as what humans might have said and done to the Kanamits in order for “To Serve Man” to have a different ending.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t clips from every one of the episodes that were assigned for all to watch. So, for example, there is nothing here from “Eye of the Beholder,” or “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” I can’t recall if there is any other episode we all were to watch that didn’t make it in. I also added in some scenes from a few episodes I watched on my own, including “Howling Man” and “The Lonely” and “Bewitchin’ Pool.”
The process was fairly easy, though time consuming—rewatch episodes and decide what to use, then get the clips and import them into iMovie, where I put them together. Usually I didn’t include any transitions; only in one place did I use a cross dissolve—where Michael Chambers is lying in the spaceship at the beginning, and there is the wavy dissolving of his scene, showing a flashback. I used a cross dissolve to make the transition to the next clip smoother. Otherwise I just put them together with no transitions (what’s that called…jump cut?).
The only problem I ran into is that the video quality on some of the clips is no good. I think that’s because I had to import them into iMovie as “large” files rather than “full size,” because my poor little laptop is nearly completely full and I couldn’t make two copies of all of the clips (one original, one in iMovie) full size. The one from “The Invaders” at the end is especially egregious, though in a way it looks kind of cool, like comic-book style. When I get back home to Canada and have a computer with more space, I can do better video work!
Tina and Telly: A story of true friends
This video is a remixed version of, and a response to, Brian Short’s “Tina and Erich: A Love Story.”
Though Brian’s video is great in many ways, I thought a truer video would be one that showed how lovable Talky Tina is, and how Telly Savalas would, behind the scenes, love her and do nice things for her. That’s a real love story, not that mean one Brian Short did.
My goal was not only to make this video much nicer to Tina than Brian’s, but also even cheesier. Thus, I added super cheesy music and video effects.
I took Brian’s original video and imported it into Apple iMovie, then cut out some parts by selecting them and choosing “split clip” (under the “clip” menu). I then selected the parts I wanted to cut and used the “delete” key.
I also wanted to make some of the clips in the original video run backwards to create the effect that Telly is actually being nice to Tina, not mean. I selected the parts I wanted, then used “split clip” again to separate them. Then, I clicked on the little “gear” symbol on the clip itself, and, under “clip adjustments,” ticked the “reverse” box.
I played around with slowing some of the clips down through the same route—under the “clip adjustments” section after you click on the “gear’ on the clip there is an option for slowing the clip down by any percentage you choose. You can also choose “slow motion” under the top “clip” menu in iMovie, but that gives you fewer options for speeds.
Brian’s video had some great repeats of clips, in which the same thing is done a few times, or the same shot is shown several times, moving in closer each time. I tried to replicate something like that in my own version, with a shot of Telly. I added a repeat of one of the clips of him, with the cigarette, by just selecting the clip and copying/pasting it right after the first one. I also used a “cross dissolve” transition between them to help it look smoother rather than a jump.
I did it originally three times, but that was a bit much, so instead I chose one repeat plus a “Ken Burns” effect on the last shot of the clip. This was done by selecting part of the clip, using “split clip” again, and then clicking on “crop, rotate and Ken Burns” on the middle part of the screen, right below where you edit the project. I had to play around with that a few times because I needed the “start” of the Ken Burns pan to be in the same place as the end of the previous clip, or the shot would jump going into the Ken Burns effect.
Finally, I used a special effect on the last clip: under the “clip” menu at the top, click on “special effect.” I used “flash and hold last frame,” which is how I got the last clip of the video to look as it does.
Of course, I added a few cheesy transitions here and there, lengthening them for effect as well.
This was actually the part that took the longest. I did most of the editing on the plane to Northern Queensland (from Melbourne, Australia) where I’m on holiday right now—3.5 hrs. Then I spent two evenings looking for music. I wanted something really sweepingly emotional and over the top, something that would fit with the repeated shots/clips that seem overly romantic in the video. I just couldn’t find anything that fit exactly, so ended up with something that is a bit too happy and bouncy in comparison to what I was looking for.
I was only looking in two places for music at first:
Vimeo Music (which has some CC-licensed songs, and others that cost $1.99 for a license that allows you to use it for one project only, and http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/, which has music by Kevin MacLeod, who seems to compose music for film and stage projects (that’s a guess).
After an internet search I also found the Free Music Archive, which has lots of great music, but I didn’t find anything there either.
So of course, I turned to Twitter and asked people where they like to find free music, using the #ds106 and #ds106zone hashtag. I got several very useful suggestions from @cogdog, @techsavvyed, @scottlo, @indieschoollib.
soundcloud.com (which has some cc-licensed music)
And Ben Rimes has a nice page with several resources for “copyright and royalty-free media.”
The song I used was from ccmixter.org, called “We are in love,” which says it’s by “nhomas, featuring Shannonsongs,” though I don’t quite know what that means.
1. The music I used is licensed CC-BY-NC, so I think that means I should license the whole video that way? Right?
2. But the only option on YouTube for licensing was CC-BY or “standard YouTube license,” so I chose CC-BY and tried to make it clear on the description that the video is licensed CC-BY-NC. Why doesn’t YouTube allow more CC options? Or does it and I just don’t know how to find them?
3. The video quality of my version is significantly worse that Brian Short’s original. I used the “export” function on iMovie and exported it as a “large” movie. Maybe it’s because I downloaded from YouTube and then edited and then re-exported, and it loses quality that way?
I have another video project in mind that requires pulling numerous clips from Twilight Zone episodes, but with the very spotty wifi and phone data service I’m experiencing while on holiday, I don’t think I’ll be able to get those clips onto my computer well until I get back home to Melbourne next week. So I’ll be a bit behind in getting my second video project done!
I had a Skype conversation with Rocky Lou last week to do a reflection on my experience in the ds106zone, and I decided to add some more audio and make it a full LoDown episode.
I wish I could say that I was sitting outside in the nice warm sunshine while talking with Rocky Lou, but no. It’s been rainy and cold here in the Australian winter, and I just recorded some ambient sounds from outside and added them to our conversation—a little trick Rocky Lou taught me to help cover up any places where you’ve edited pieces of the audio out. I thought it might be useful for others to hear that piece of advice. It worked really well.
At first I recorded ambient noise outside on my back patio, but I didn’t like the sound very much. Lots of just boring old hum/city noises and not too many birds. So this morning I stopped at a local park after dropping my son off from school and recorded there. I managed to record an Australian magpie, the sound of which really reminds me of being here…so I’m quite happy about that.
Rocky Lou and I talked for about an hour, so I had a lot of editing to do to get this LoDown down to less than 15 minutes. I don’t even want to say how much time I spent on this. Let’s just say I have even more respect than I already had for Scottlo, doing it every day for so many weeks. Wow.
I had to upload this as an .aiff file because the mp3 sounded really weird for some reason—sort of distorted, and with a weird echo. I didn’t have time to figure out what was going on before I had to catch a plane to leave town for a week.
Update a month later: Just looked back at this post and realized I never wrote down what Talky Tina told me on Twitter as a way to help solve this bad-sounding MP3 problem. She said that when you export to MP3 you get a dialogue box and you should set the kbps to 192 for better quality MP3 sound. I haven’t tried that yet, but wanted to write it down for future reference for myself and others.
Amateur tip: don’t record your own voice when your sinuses are stuffed up.
Here’s the intro video I did for ds106zone, which I play a couple of clips from in this LoDown.
I got the music from the Vimeo Music Store. At first I tried to find things for free from http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/, but I couldn’t find anything I like. So instead I downloaded “Infinity Bitch” by Los Halos. Cost me $1.99 U.S., but I think the song works. Too bad the licenses on Vimeo Music only allow you to use the songs for one project. Grrrrr.
For the radio play I helped to create, I also decided to make a commercial—we had two commercials in our play, both of which were made by one of the members of the group.
I decided to make a commercial for ds106 itself. I didn’t even look to see at the time if there was such an audio assignment; I just looked now and there is not, so I think it’s time to create one.
My first thought, and the one I went with, was to use various clips from what others have done or created in this summer 2013 version of the course, the ds106zone. So I started thinking about what I had heard during audio week, and what would fit an ad for ds106.
Then I just added in some narrative to suggest reasons why one might want to participate in ds106, including the ability to make gifs, make audio, and get smack-talked by Jim Groom. I also wanted to highlight that it’s something you can do anytime, not just during a specified time period.
I used Audacity for this project, and downloaded the audio I wanted to use from other participants through Soundcloud (see credits, below).
I then used Soundflower and Audacity to record some audio from Jim Groom’s ds106zone LoDown #18, in which he talks a great deal of smack about some recent audio work. That part was really fun. I had a hard time picking and choosing what to include, as there was so much smack talk available. I decided not to pick on any one person and what he said about their audio, and just to combine a few of his reactions, such as “what?” “what is going on?” “I mean, come on!”—hoping thereby to capture the flavour of what he was saying without singling out any participant’s work.
Finally, I used Soundflower and Audacity to record some audio from Scottlo’s ds106 LoDown #15, which included a Scottlo Drive By Counting Lesson by Andrew Forgrave, which asks Scottlo to learn to count by twos to twenty in Hindi. I just took out the “can you dig it?” and “again, again, again” portions; the first seems to be a recurring theme in ds106 radio, and the second is something that fits, to me, ds106—one can keep doing it again, again, again.
During that counting lesson, Scottlo says at one point: “you can do it at home,” meaning his listeners could try to count along at home with him. But it fits perfectly as an ending for the ad, since, of course, one can and often does do ds106 at home.
I recorded my audio first with the mic that is on my Apple earbuds, but I didn’t like the sound quality. I didn’t think I had any other choice, so I went with it, and got version 1 of this commercial.
But when I sent out a tweet saying I needed to buy a decent mic, my partner showed me that he had already bought one last year. Cool! So I used that for this second version, and it sounds much better, I think.
Here are sources for the elements I used in this ad—thanks to all of them! I love building on work by others!
ds106 bumper mashup by Rochelle Lockridge soundcloud.com/rochelle-lockridge/ds106-bumper-mashup
“Moonglow” by Brian Short soundcloud.com/brian-short/moonglow
ds106zone LoDown #18 by Jim Groom: scottlo.com/?p=1648
Parts of The Twilight Zone, “It’s a good life” episode.
This commercial is licensed CC-BY-NC-SA, since one of the elements used in it is licensed as such. This blog post is CC-BY, though.
Here is a radio play written, recorded and edited by five open, online participants in the May/June edition of ds106—the ds106zone, entitled Not Just For Life, but For Existence. Or perhaps, Not Just #4life, but #4existence.
Hint: Listen with headphones so you can hear it in stereo, and see if you can hear what we did with the L/R channels during one of the scenes.
Special thanks to Scottlo for his major part in the play!
Nope. I’m not going to give you the story here and give it all away! You need to listen to the play itself.
I will say that it may not make as much sense to those who are not participating in the ds106zone as to those who are or did. I’ll just say this:
- All the UMW students in the course had to create a radio play in groups, and the open online students could choose to do so and form their own groups, which we did.
- There is/was a daily podcast for the ds106zone course, called the #LoDown, done by Scottlo, who is living in Saudi Arabia. (Search for “LoDown” on Scottlo’s radio blog for the episodes). There has been a bit of discussion in the course when Scottlo said in one of these that it’s a fair bit of work to produce them each day, and he invited others to fill in as guests sometimes (which they have).
- Scottlo came up with the idea of participants doing a radio play, and in the process he introduced us to the radio dramas of Arch Oboler. You can hear many of them on the internet archive, here. We included part of one of them in our play.
- Jim Groom, the instructor for ds106zone, talks a lot of smack in ds106, including to Scottlo for whining about doing a LoDown every day and trying to get out if it by getting guest hosts. Groom himself did a LoDown episode, during which he talked a good deal of smack about certain assignments that had been done that week.
- Talky Tina has been quite a presence in the ds106zone, on twitter and in her blog. She doesn’t like being called “creepy.” Ben has been calling her “creepy” on twitter (e.g., here) and creating pictures and poems about her (in response to her poem about him) that bug her and now she has taken the gloves off. If anyone knows who is “behind” Talky Tina, they’re not talking.
- Hank Soda is a major player on ds106radio. I think he may be a character that someone else plays, but I honestly don’t know.
We came up with the idea and wrote the script collaboratively, using Google Docs and also a collaborative scriptwriting site called “Plotbot” (http://www.plotbot.com).The Plotbot site worked fine—it allowed you to use a script structure, with dialogue, actions, transitions, etc., and it allowed anyone in the group to make changes. It kept track of versions and comments, though I couldn’t get the links to previous versions to open for some reason.
At the moment, though, the plotbot website seems to be down. Good thing that didn’t happen while we were recording or editing! Let that be a lesson: be sure you have backup copies of your work in case the application you’re using goes down, or loses data, etc. I didn’t make a backup of our script, which was stupid. Lesson learned.
We recorded our parts together, in a Google Hangout—Brian recorded it, using the method he discusses here. Then Scottlo recorded his separately. We found sound effects on the web (see below for attributions) or recorded them ourselves. I found some music through this website, which provides soundtrack music for audio and video projects with a CC-BY license.
Then it was time to edit and put sounds and music together with dialogue. We distributed this work by scenes or sections, with one person trying to do a whole scene so the mp3 file could just be uploaded to a shared dropbox folder.
That didn’t work with the middle scene, though, which was quite long—I did a lot of that one, but had to stop at 2am one night and hand it off to Brian. But that caused some difficulties, though, because I had to give him the Audacity files (rather than an MP3, say), which are very, very big. My computer spent all night trying to upload them to dropbox, and failed. Brian then suggested zipping the files (duh!), which only took 3-4 hours to upload. But it worked, and he was able to finish the scene and put all the scenes together.
I don’t know how much time others spent editing, but let me say it was a very long process for me, much longer than I expected. I spent at least 10 hours doing the editing and mixing for the music & narration in scene 1, some of scene 2, and all of scene 3. I really, really enjoyed doing it, though. I spent time not only timing the sound effects with what was going on, picking the right parts of the sound effects, etc., but also adjusting levels during our group conversation in scene 3 so that the quieter voices came up in the mix more. I also played around with ways to distort Scottlo’s voice when he starts to fade out and fall asleep; I wanted it to get all choppy like it was breaking up, but I didn’t know how to do that and ran out of time to try to figure it out.
I found that I have a passion for this stuff, that I really, really liked doing the mixing and editing. I didn’t mind spending a lot of time, though I certainly haven’t gotten much sleep over the past few days.
A huge thanks to all the members of this group, who all contributed to the project in various ways, from helping to write the script, to finding/recording sounds, to making commercials, to editing. We all rock.
And special thanks, again, to Scottlo for agreeing to record some material for our play, even though he said he didn’t have time to participate in making the play in a deeper way. Your role was pivotal!
This radio play is licensed CC-BY-NC-SA, partly by agreement of the participants, and partly because one of the elements in it is licensed as such.
Many of the sound effects came from the freesound website, and many of those were licensed CC0 (more or less public domain; no attribution required). The ones that do require attribution are listed below, along with some other credits.
1918 mantel clock ticking, by daveincamas: http://www.freesound.org/people/daveincamas/sounds/27086/
Ship’s horn, by inchadney: http://www.freesound.org/people/inchadney/sounds/157284/
Bird chirping (used for Twitter sound), by jppi_Stu: http://www.freesound.org/people/jppi_Stu/sounds/130233/
Water filling up glass from faucet, by Ch0cchi: http://www.freesound.org/people/Ch0cchi/sounds/15287/
Mouse clicks, by Eelke: http://freesound.org/people/Eelke/sounds/158056/
Computer gibberish, by lysander darkstar: http://freesound.org/people/lysander%20darkstar/sounds/60136/
Radio static, by digifish music (www.digifishmusic.com): http://freesound.org/people/digifishmusic/sounds/74929/
Chair squeaking (when sitting down), by MaxDemianAGL: http://freesound.org/people/MaxDemianAGL/sounds/120174/
Title music (beginning and ending): Phantasm, by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com)
In Scene 2, over parts of Scottlo’s dialogue: Darkest Child, by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com)
Scottlo LoDown ending from this episode (#19): http://scottlo.com/?p=1655
Scottlo LoDown beginning from this episode (#15): http://scottlo.com/?p=1614
Beginning of Arch Oboler radio play, “Where are you?”: http://archive.org/details/otr_devilandmro
Talky Tina commercial by Paul Bond
Radio static plus the songs “Twilight” (by The Band) and “Twilight Zone” (by Golden Earring), by Paul Bond
DS106 commercial by Christina Hendricks