As part of our Visual Story course at Carnegie Mellons Entertainment Technology Center we were required to briefly analyze visual imagery in a piece of media. I choose the game Shadow of The Colossus as my subject matter.
As the game begins with an eagle in the distance. The eagle descends into a mountain range flying rapidly, in a titled manner past our hero creating a momentary clear diagonal, and frame within a frame. The combination of techniques draw our eyes into that area of the screen where we our introduced to our hero clearly contrasted in brighter colors against the dark mountains.
As our hero continues to travel under the cover of darkness, we see the moon peer out from the canopy. the contrast between the moon and the dark leaves draws our eyes in which the director then uses for a smooth visual transition to the next scene which has a horse’s feet moving at the position of the moon.
As our hero approaches his destination he encounters a pass. Our eyes are drawn to our hero in his bright cape, and the glowing pass which contrasts with the stone grey scene. The techniques help setup our eyes on to our hero and where he is heading.
From suburbia to rock heaven and back again, Almost Famous is a story of an out of place boy sent into the unknown, to return with the truth.
Warning there be spoilers ahead! Read at your own peril!
The Heroes Journey of Almost Famous begins with our protagonist William, and his known world. William is a boy ahead of the curve, being significantly younger than his classroom peers.
Despite Williams gifts, he has his share of troubles due in part to two differences:
Where are your pubes? – incident in Williams High School.
Looking out of place when brushing his hair in the bathroom due to not having a beard
His joy when others are corrected – incident with the ‘Xmas’ painter where William happily looks on
An intense interest in his mother’s interests – whilst cooking soy cutlets
Nobody includes him. They call him “The Narc” – this is indicative of Williams dislike of drugs, a quality presumably gained from his mother
Due in part to internalizing his mother’s choices at a young age, William is an abnormality in the ordinary world, and he is scorned by his peers for it. Williams mother, and their home is what he knows, and is thus symbolic of the known world. The known world is not without conflict though.
Troubles manifest themselves through William’s sister who rebels against against the known. During this time William is shown not only to have a limited awareness of his problem, but is unable to influence his world.
Watching helplessly Williams mother and sister fight infront of him. Ultimately Williams sister abandons the known for the unknown world, though not before aiding William. Williams sister increases his awareness of a need for change, through her music records.
Introduction: As part of Visual Story at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center we created a 3-4 minute video with a given main character and conflict. We created For Rent, choosing a mysterious stranger and don’t touch anything.
Time: 48 hours | Roles: Director – Writer – Producer| Team Size: 5
Our final video was a highly streamlined effort. We first conceptualized an idea based on Ingrid Michaelson’s song The Chain. Our artist then created storyboards, and using those boards we created a rough ‘film storyboard’ with music.
Next we faced location scouting, in this regard the issue we encountered was not having a pure white background as per our storyboard. We adapted to this by finding a suitable ‘black out room’ to provide an all black background. Meanwhile we made a shot list from the rough storyboard that we had created.
With a shotlist, and locations to shoot we purchased necessary props, and went about filming on thanks giving.
As usual on set we changed the storyboard in various ways such as:
Thematic use of red
Inclusion of shots such as limited space, panning techniques
Use of props such as the teddy bear
Lighting e.g. using a sparkly dress to attract attention
After fifteen hours of filming, several hours of editing, the film was complete. It was well received by our peers and professors.
Finally we submitted The Chain to the student category of the Telly Awards.
Introduction: Developed on the Oculus Rift with PS Move, DinoRancher had guests play atop a Triceratops armed with an electric lasso. The goal of the guest was to shepherd a herd of Stegosaurus to safety, protecting them from danger.
Story: You are a DinoRancher armed with your electro lasso and trusty trike. Travel across the desolate wasteland, and protect your herd from those nasty predators!
Integration of the PS move into Virtual Reality
Trike movement system
Design Goal: To create an experience that made the guest feel like a cowboy travelling through the desert protecting a herd of dinosaur from predators.
My Contributions: As producer I arranged meetings, delegated pending tasks, and contributed creatively. In addition as a programmer I was responsible for setting up the games environment which included, asset preparation, level design and developing agent behavior.
Introduction: Developed on the CAVE with Makey Makey, NoseDive had guests play in the CAVE environment using airplane controls we constructed using Makey Makey.
Platform:CAVE, and Makey Makey in Unity 3D | Time: 2 weeks | Roles: Programmer – Game Designer – Producer | Team Size: 5
Story: Our game had our guests take the role of make shift pilots thrust into having to fly a plane to safety through a terrible storm when the captain has become incapacitated.
Adapting to the CAVE environment.
Creating an authentic flight simulator experience with an easily understand story.
Design Goal: To create an authentic story of saving the day through the game we created.
My Contributions: For NoseDive I was producer, designer and programmer. Being producer involved scheduling and coordination of our teams artist, programmer and sound designer. In addition I assisted my fellow programmer with environment and Unity prop setup.