CSUSM TA FALL 2015 [BLOG 7]

This will be the final blog entry for my Teaching Assistant internship at CSUSM. I also have to say that this is my final time in being a teaching assistant at CSUSM since I would like to try something new for my final semester. These last two weeks have been quite busy for the students and myself since Finals and projects were coming at an end. I personally have been in a very stressful state and I really do feel that I need a break that is longer than just Thanksgiving break.

Lab Only Days 12/2
I only went to the lab hours on the 12th of December since the 25th of November was just a day from Thanksgiving and I thought that there wouldn’t be any students coming in. A class buddy of mine (not in VSAR 303) even told me that there was nobody in during the lab hours, so I guess I saved up on gas. Other than that, I had some students come into the lab hours since it was a week before their final projects. The final project is all about incorporating text into their film, and it seems like most questions that were given to me were not about text. Instead, most questions were about audio levels and exporting settings. Since this project is more experimental, it gives students lots of freedom in what they want to do

11/23 Interview Project Screening 2
On this day, Pr. Allard proceeded in screening the rest of the interview projects that were not shown on the first day. Pr. Allard had the rest of the class work on their Final Project that involved Text and Image after screening. Some students left early in order to actually start the project, while some stayed in to gather ideas. While walking around the class during lab time, I talked to students to check out their ideas. Many students had different ideas and some of them were even thinking about using their phones to film. For the students who had no ideas, I showed them examples of Text & Image projects from past students who took VSAR 303. I even showed them my project that I id as well:

11/30 Hands-On Quiz 2
Pr. Allard assigned another Hands-On Quiz for students on this day. Much like the last day of doing the first Hands-On Quiz 1, Pr. Allard and I would instruct individual students to do certain tasks on Adobe Premiere. Unlike the first quiz which was basic interface handling, this quiz was more about doing editing. Before taking the quiz, students were instructed to import 4 clips, create a sequence, and have in and out points on the clips. When taking the quiz students would be instructed to put their clips in the timeline, fix audio levels, adding effects, and create L and J cuts. Most students did rather well, but some students had trouble in creating L and J cuts since they either didn’t know how to do it or didn’t know what it meant. Many students demonstrated many different ways to do the L and J cuts and also fixing colors in the video.

Project: Animatic
Th animatic that I’m working on for my After Effects class is really coming through. At the moment I’ve been drawing the characters and set pieces and implementing them to the video. I find it to be VERY time consuming, but it’s totally worth it for how it looks as of now. I have my character look much more animated by stretching, scaling, and tweaking keypoints in After Effects. As of now, I’m hoping to finish this before Wednesday even though I’m working on an extreme time crunch!

Here’s some progress shots of my animatic:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ip2lyoi6kmp9cx9/fang_week14_hw_updated_animatic_v1.mp4?dl=0

 

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CSUSM TA FALL 2015 [BLOG 6]

These past weeks of 11 and 12 have been one of the most busiest weeks yet. That is because finals start on the 14th of December. However with most arts and tech courses, I’ve found that many professors want final projects to be done a week before finals week. With that in mind, there’s a crazy time crunch with students and their work. So far the weeks have been busy for me personally, but from what I know is that many students are quite stressed as well.

Lab Hours: 11/11 & 11/18
It was the 11th in which students mostly came to lab hours since they were finishing their interview projects. Many of them just had quick questions and wanted suggestions, critiques, or a nice little chat. As I checked out their work in progress edits, I was quite impressed how quickly they all learned using the camera and audio equipment. All the shots shown to me were shot really well with great lighting and composition. Some shots were questionable, but overall all were done very well. The editing that was shown to me was great as well. Many students had great b-roll footage edited in making the interview look more interesting. Very few students had audio issues since they mostly sounded nice and clear. Students who had audio peaking were able to fix it easily by adding keyframes to drop the audio in Premiere.

The 18th was actually a rather empty lab day since by that time people were already done presenting their projects. Only one student came in for help with lessons and that was about it. I did my regular thing of finishing up homework from other classes.

11/9 Hands-on Quiz 1
During this day of class, Allard and I were giving students their first Hands-on Quiz. For this quiz, the instructor (Allard and I) would give an individual student some instructions to follow. The quiz went through the VERY BASICS of editing using Adobe Premiere. First steps were to instruct the student to open up Premiere, create a project folder, and save it in a directory in a USB storage device. The next steps was to create a sequence, import files, and create “in” and “out” points. The last steps involved creating layers and inserting the clip into the timeline. The quiz was in fact, very easy considering how every student knew how to do almost every step. The only steps that some students have problems were creating a sequence and adding layers. It seemed that every student passed the quiz since it was very easy.

Aside from the Hands-on Quiz, Allard and I  went over the students’ interview projects. The project was not due this day, but he wanted to see that the students already had their shots done and were in the editing (post production) phase. Allard and I visited each group to check out their progress shots to give out pointers and critiques. Much like I said before, I was impressed by the students’ work.

11/16 Interview Project Screening
The students’ Interview Project was due this day so that they can present it to Allard. Since it was screening day, there was no work to do but to watch all the projects done by the groups. After screening a project, Allard would go in detail about the quality of the projects by praising and critiquing each work. I actually did not watch the students’ works (which I think I should have) since I was rather busy working on projects and homework from another class. However from what I heard from Allard was that he was very impressed by every groups’ projects.

Other projects
At the moment, I have a rather big project I’m working on. This project is for my After Effects class in which I’m creating an simple animated trailer for a comic series that I’ve created. The planned outcome for this project is to make it like a motion comic involving minimal character animation while still looking like my comics. I’ve already created a simple animatic for the trailer which has simple sketches.

My expected outcome is to make the animatic look like my comic series: Dat Punk Timbo. Here’s an example of one of my comics involving the character, Timbo, who is the yellow guy.
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While this isn’t part of my animated trailer, here are some other animations I’ve done using After Effects:

CSUSM TA FALL 2015 [BLOG 5]

The 9th and 10th week of school has been a very interesting one. On October 2th, Allard and I went over audio equipment, however November 2nd a fellow classmate and friend, Chris Allen, took my position as the teaching assistant. On Nov 2, Tony went over lighting equipment and I wasn’t present during that day since I was still in LA. That is because because on October 30th to November 1st, I was exhibiting my art in an artist alley for Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo 2015.

Lab Hours: 10/28 & 11/4
Before I get into talking about the interesting things, I’ll talk about my lab hours. Unfortunately, there weren’t as many people who came in for these two LAB-ONLY days. I was mostly left alone working on homework from other classes. The homework wasn’t anything interesting either since they were papers I had to write. One paper was about a documentary as the other was about power and culture.

10/26 Audio Equipment
With this lecture, I did the same as I did for other equipment lectures. I operated one camera while Allard would operate another. I operated a camera that had its viewfinder be projected onto a TV. I had to record Allard point out small fine details on the camera equipment in which I zoomed in to get a good view of the camera. Allard checked out 2 camera sets, audio equipment, and some lighting gear as well. The camera sets were the same as the past sets that Allard has been checking out which consist of: a VIXIA, Manfrotto Tripod, headphones, and HDMI cables to project the camera screen on a TV. The audio equipment included beachteks, lavalier, shotgun mics, and shotgun mic mounts. The lighting gear came in a box that had 3 stands for 3 lights. Allard did not really go through lighting because that day was saved for the next class that I did not attend. This day was an audio day so the lecture was mostly about how to set up the audio gear. The camera was placed on top of the beachtek while being plugged into the camera’s mic. A shotgun mic was placed on top of the camera as it was plugged into the beachtek’s left audio input. The lavalier was plugged into the beachtek’s right input and it was clipped onto the camera’s hand strap. Overall the look of the camera with all the audio gear was a mess since there were so many plugs and Allard talked about that. He said to arrange the wires so that nothing was in the way of the camera’s viewfinder. Setting up the audio equipment isn’t very complicated when you get past the plugs, but I cound that Allard ran into a common mistake with the lavalier which made for an awkward moment. The lavalier kit comes with two units which consist of a receiver and transmitter unit. Allard made the mistake of using the transmitter unit as a receiver since he plugged it into the camera so he couldn’t hear anything coming from the lavalier. The receiver is supposed to be plugged into the beachtek while the transmitter had the mic attachment. Despite it being an awkward moment or Allard, it was a good example to show the students the importance of knowing how to plug in the audio equipment. Aside from plugging in the audio gear, Allard went over adjusting the mic’s recording level using the beachtek. In order to do this, you would adjust the left and right knobs and find out what recording level was best so that it would not peak. Another thing that Allard went over was about the different options to record with audio if there one of the equipment stopped working. Allard recommended charging equipment overnight and keeping spare batteries for the beachtek, lavaliers, and battery powered shotgun mics. If the beachtek was to go out of power, one would be left with using a lavalier or battery powered shogun mic for audio. Rather than having to plug in the mics into the beachtek, you would have to plug in the mics into the camera’s mic input. The audio equipment was a long one, but I think it went over all the important details for audio equipment.

Activities outside of class: Comikaze Expo 2015
Once again, I went to exhibit my artwork at a convention and this time it was at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo 2015 which was held in the LA Convention center. It went on from October 30th to November 1st.
20151030_110337This comic convention is the biggest one I’ve exhibited in so far and I have to say it has been my greatest exhibiting experience so far. The crowd over here were so much varied in their interests and much of my artwork appealed to them. I think its because my style in my artwork is very influenced by western media which consists of lots of American cartoons and comics. I was able to make great sales and even meet a few artists from San Diego that I will be seeing again in future conventions. Comikaze was is definitely a convention that I will return to again for next year.

You can read more about my Comikaze Experience over at my artist blog.

CSUSM TA FALL 2015 [BLOG 4]

It was onward to the 7th and 8th week of school and my workload has increased greatly. October is ending and assignments are rushed for midterms and class projects are getting finished. Week 7 was all about working on lessons while on week 8 Allard had students screen their first project.

Week 7 10/12 and LAB HOURS 10/14,10/21
Week 7 which was on 10/12 was a day to work on lessons or their project. Allard and I helped any students who needed any help. The lab hours were also quite busy too. Not much students come in during my lab hours, but at least 3 or more people came in to get assistance. The common questions that I got from students were about video framerate and export settings on their videos. One of the requirements in Allard’s first project was to shoot in 30fps (frames per second), however some students did not know how to change the framerate on their cameras. They did not shoot in 30fps either because they couldn’t tell or because they didn’t know how to change the settings. Some people can’t tell the difference between 30fps and 60fps and it seems that I found out that not everyone can tell the difference. 30fps looks smooth already, however 60fps is way smoother in terms of movement. I tend to play lots of video games on computers and many times computers run games differently. A game running at a high framerate (usually 60) means that the computer is running the game well. While low framerate means that the computer isn’t optimized for high graphical detail. Some times a game runs at 60fps, but when lots of particle effects (like explosions) occur, the framerate of the game might drop and things don’t look as smooth as 60fps. I’ve encountered this quite a lot so I’ve been able to tell the difference between 30fps and 60fps. For the students who couldn’t tell the difference, I simply showed them a comparison video which helped them quite a lot. For the students who shot in 60fps, there was a way to reduce the framerate in their export settings which was the next thing that I helped students with. The fact that Premiere has so many export settings scares many beginners and some people may export a small video that has a huge file size. The best export setting was to put their videos as h.246 since it compresses the video to small file size while still retaining good quality. In order to fix the 60fps issue, I let students know that it can be changed to 30fps in the “Basic Video Settings” in the Export Settings. By unchecking the box next to framerate, you can choose different framerates as low as 10fps for the video.

Aside from just assistance with the program, I gave small critiques and suggestion for students’ first project. Their first project was all about filming a simple task and making sure the actions flowed in the project. I was quite impressed by the very nice shots that students had in their projects. It seemed like many of them knew how to frame a shot and also work with good lighting. I assisted in some students’ work that had strange flow to them. In order to fix the oddities, I suggested taking out an extra shot in favor of keeping things short and sweet. I also suggested arranging clips differently as well. I critiqued on some of the camera work done since some students had some awkward shots. The shots were either a bit too wobbly or were out of focus.

Week 8 10/19
This day was the day that students were to finish their first project since Allard was screening them. As first projects, I’d say that many students did very well. A lot of people filmed a friend or family member doing a simple task like cooking and waking up in the morning. It was entertaining to see everyone’s different approach to doing similar tasks since many were filled with humor. Not everyone’s project was screened that day, but I have to say that everyone did an overall good job with their first projects.

CSUSM TA FALL 2015 [BLOG 3]

The 5th and the 6th week of school has passed and things have been picking up quite a lot. It’s October and that month is always a very busy month for school since many courses assign projects during this month. Professor Allard has assigned his students to work on their first project. This project was all about filming someone doing a specific task using only hard cuts and no special effects.

Lab Hours: 9/30 & 10/7
Allard has been assigning students to doing Adobe Premiere lessons. These lessons are found in the book “Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book” which was a required text for students to purchase. These lessons done from the book give students a better understanding of how to use Adobe Premiere by following instructions to do simple edits. The required text is actually the 2014 version while the version being used in class is 2015, so there are minor changes in how students would do the lessons. Due to version differences, some instructions in the lessons were skipped or done differently. After finishing these lessons, students were to upload their copies of the lessons into the school’s “screening station” servers so that they can be graded by me. I pretty much grade every students’ lessons by using an Excel sheet and I write down whether they completed them or missed some instructions. I grade the students’ work by following a grading guide created by Allard that goes through every lesson that needs to be done. Aside from grading, I have to find which parts of the lessons in which students missed the most. That way Allard and I could go over those parts with the class so they can understand it.

So far most Students are doing very well with the lessons, but there have been some students who have been coming into the lab hours to get help from me. It’s nice to see that the lab hours have been getting much more busier now. As usual, I’m still using these lab hours to finish up homework and sometimes get other work done.

9/28
This day, Allard asked me to pick up 5 sets of equipment for the class from Arts Checkout. Each set of equipment included a VIXIA camera, Manfrotto Tripod, and headphones. One set was used for an in class demonstration of how to use the camera, while the others were given to 4 different groups of students. Allard’s demonstration of using the VIXIA was short since it was just a quick review of how to use the camera. After the short review, 4 groups of four people were chosen to go out and practice doing different types of shots. The students were assigned to do a wide, medium, close up, tilt, pan, and tracking shot with the cameras. I went outside with the students to check up how they were shooting with the cameras.

The groups seemed to have selected their roles since there was always an actor/actress, cinemetographer, support, and equipment manager. I say that they selected their roles because nobody seemed to take turns, but this was not a bad thing at all. The actor/actress was usually the lively person who seemed fun for the camera. The cinemtographer was the person always behind the camera and operating it and they were like the directors. The person doing support was helping with sound and helped out the actor. As the equipment manager was the one who seemed to know the most about using the equipment. Everyone seemed to do rather well with their teamwork. After shooting, the groups returned to class and they uploaded their shots into the screening station server.

10/5
The equipment that Allard checked out were only 2 VIXIA cameras and an HDMI cord. Students did not really use equipment this day since Allard was screening the footage that all the groups did on the previous week. The cameras that were checked out were connected to a TV to show the students’ footage. Every student had their own different “story” to tell with their different types of shots. That was because Allard told the students to try and create a simple movie without using Premiere to edit it. However it seemed like every student thought that they were going to edit the footage so many of the shots included people saying “action” and “cut”. This was mostly dismissed by Allard since he mostly wanted to see how well everyone did with their shots. After screening the groups’ footage, Allard instructed students to start editing their first assigned project. Students were told to import their footage to premiere and start working on their edits.

CSUSM TA Fall 2015 [Blog 2]

So far the 3rd and 4th week of school has passed by and work has been picking up its pace. I now know my lab hours since I discussed my schedule with both Professor Allard (Tony) and Professor Berman. Right now, my lab hours on Mondays are 9:30AM-12:30PM as for Wednesdays its 10:00AM-1:00PM.

Lab Only Days: 9/16 and 9/23
Much like last spring semester, I used my lab hours to finish homework or relax when I got the chance to. Every time I come into Arts 340, I still have to tidy up the place so its presentable and ready to be a teaching environment. All I have to do is to organize the chairs, straighten up the computers, and clear the tables of any mess. Aside from that, I also make sure keyboards, mice, and headphones are still working or else I have to fill out a “faulty equiptment” form.  So far I’ve had about 3 students come into my lab hours for help. They mostly asked me to clarify lesson instructions they had to do for Allards class.

Demo Day
9/14
This day was quite a busy day in Tony’s Intro to Video class because he had me help him with his demo with the equipment. The first half of the class I did not do much since Tony was assigning workstations and did a lecture/discussion. Alber Rascon, Head Technition, also came into the class to give an introduction to checking out arts equipment. It was the 2nd half of the class in which I did more assisting since Tony was doing a demo with certain filming equipment. The equipment that he checked out for the demo was a Vixia HD camera, Manfrotto Tripod, a pair of headphones, and HDMI cables to connect to a TV. Tony bascially introduced the basics of using the Vixia cameras by showing the class its functions and settings. Aside from that, he talked about he importance of setting up a tripod along with recording with headphones. After talking about the camera’s functions, Tony then proceeded to do a lecture on different types of shots: wide, close-up, pan, tilt, etc. This was when I actually did some more of the “fun” work in which I demonstrated each shot and got to fiddle with the camera. I tried to be a bit entertaining with the demos by doing silly shots of Tony just so the class wouldn’t be snoozing.

Absence
9/21
I was absent on this certain day since I was actually out of town that day due to a pre-planned trip I made. However it was all good since that day Tony stated that he did not really need me. Tony just discussed storyboards, went over assigned readings, and did a demo about logging into the school’s server to upload their assignments.

OTHER ARTISTIC ACTIVITY
Although most classes I’ve been taking at CSUSM are more about video work and graphic design, I actually really want to pursue a career in doing cartoons and illustration. Some of people may already know that I really like to draw since I’m constantly doodling in class in my notes and sketchbook. Aside from just doodles, I actaully do lots of digital artwork in which the subjects are usually stylized cartoon characters, pinups, and comics. I’m always looking for new inspirations and some of the places I go to look for that are at comic and anime convetions. At the conventions, I always go to the artist alleys in which I meet aspiring artists who set up a table to display their artwork. While seeing awesome artwork is fun, I find that meeting the artists themselves is better because they all have stories to tell about their art and themselves. Over the past years I’ve always wanted to exhibit my artwork in an artist alley, and I’m finally doing that right now.

20150917_210130

A friend and I have booked tables to exhibit our artwork at a convention called Touhoucon. It took place in the Anaheim Hilton Hotel and was an event about spreading the word about collection of Japanese video games known as Touhou. It took place during the dates September 18th to the 20th. I didn’t just exhibit artwork, but I was also selling my pieces to people who took interest in my art. I was selling prints, t-shirts, and commissioned art. The convention wasn’t the biggest, but there were sizable crowds in this convention. I was able to meet lots of new people along with artists and I had such a great time. By the time it was all over on the 20th I could have came back home from Anaheim and attend class on the 21st, but I was too exhausted from all the fun I had exhibiting my artwork. I instead spent the night at my friend’s house and returned on the 21st and relaxed. However relaxation didn’t last long because I had lots of work to make up afterwards…

You can read more about my experience exhibiting my artwork at Touhoucon on my artist blog.
I’ll be exhibiting my artwork once again at Comikaze which will be on October 30th to November 1st.

So far I am still enjoying the task of being a teaching assistant. I hope that I will learn some new things for the next following weeks.

CSUSM TA Fall 2015 [Blog 1]

Once again, I find myself being a Teaching Assistant! However this time I will actually be needed for a specific class rather than contacting professors if they required assistant.

The class that I’m currently assisting is Introduction to Video. This course is being taught by Professor Allard (or Tony) and it’s an introductory course to video production. It’s a class that’s only on Mondays from 1PM to 5PM. Most enrolled students are new to using cameras, equipment, and using Adobe Premiere while some of them have experience. Some of the students are some class buddies I had in previous classes so I was able to able know their knowledge on video production.

WEEK 1: 8/31
There was not much going on the first week mainly because it was just the first day. Tony and I just introduced ourselves, the course, and activities the class was going to do. Simply put that the first day was mainly a short syllabus review.

Week 2: 9/7
This day was Labor Day so that meant that there was no class during that day since Tony’s intro to video class are only set on Mondays. However I did not yet know my lab hours so I had to talk to Johnathan Berman to help me out.

MEETING 9/8
There was an intern meeting this day and I was able to meet up with other fellow interns. Out of the many interns, 4 of them were buddies that I’ve taken classes with as well. It was rather interesting knowing that many students were interning outside of CSUSM. One of the students was a photographer for sports as another student designed clothing or purses (not sure, memory fuzzy). I didn’t stay long because the meeting was held the same time as my Spanish class, but none the less, it was great to meet other interns.

Overall I’ve been feeling extremely busy with my current schedule and hopefully being a teaching assistant will be another fun learning experience.