Taking a look at text

My latest assignment for my digital media convergence class has been to pay more attention to text on TV. Text- it’s a simple concept and an element that goes virtually unnoticed in movies and on TV shows, but even so, it plays a vital role in media- even if it’s just to display the title and credits. The way a text is revealed is something that many people put a lot of thought into. Text has the power to set the mood for a scene and to establish pace as well as energy. The type of font that is used, what color it is, how it comes onto the screen, how long it stays there for, what its background is, and how it leaves the screen are all things that must be thought of- there is a reason behind everything.

I took a look at the text used in the show I watch every week, Glee. The title is presented 1 minute and 17 seconds into the show, and it is timed perfectly with the music in the background so that it pops onto an all black screen right on beat when the music strikes a certain chord. The word “glee” is what is seen, and it is in all lower cases placed in the center of the screen in all white letters, which obviously stands out against the black background. The title stays on the screen for a good 4 seconds while the choir voices fade out and are proceeded by natural sound from wherever location the next scene takes place. This tactic provides nice foreshadowing into where the audience will be taken next, and it’s a smooth transition that’s believable and seamless.

The acting credits appear at the beginning of the show immediately after the title page is revealed. The names are in the same font and color as “glee” on the title page. This provides unity and strings the two together. The credits blend in well and provide no distraction from the action on screen. They all fade in and fade back out over the duration of approximately 1.5 seconds. They all appear on the bottom of the screen in different locations (either lower left corner, lower center, or lower right corner).

I learned from paying attention to Glee’s text that even a simple delivery can still be effective. Glee doesn’t use fancy graphics or dazzling colors, but their title page makes just as much of an impact as the flashy stuff would because of the fact that it is so simple. A black screen with white text and simple lettering is powerful in it’s own sense, and most importantly that’s the style that fits the show. Text, if not done right can really take away and distract from the content of the show, but Glee is able to master the art of text so that it flows well and compliments the show in every way.

Posted in TV

Glee- a closer look

I am not at all ashamed to admit that I watch the television show Glee each week. In fact, not only do I watch it, but I throughly enjoy it and I look forward to it every 7 days. However, when I am watching Glee, it is for relaxation and entertainment purposes. I’m not scrutinizing the shows content, analyzing its symbols, or critiquing its editing technique. I’m watching to simply enjoy myself and in order to do that, I end up surrendering myself to the show and therefore accepting all its unrealistic elements, stylistic choices, and even possible imperfections. However, this last time I watched Glee, I decided to watch the show like normal and then rewatch that same episode, but this time searching for things I had never noticed before. I watched it as if I were a television critic and as the creator/producer of content that I hope to one day become.

For starters I noticed that there is background music at the beginning of each episode. It’s the same music each time, but it fits so seamlessly into the background that I had never consciously been aware of it before. There is dialogue spoken over this music, and the most interesting thing about this choice of music is that it is not typical soundtrack music with instrumentals, but instead the music is primarily voices. The music is essentially provided by an upbeat choir, and the pitch of their voices rises with the drama of the scene. It’s an effective tool that helps to provide easy transitions from one scene to the next as well as helps to heighten the drama of the dialogue.

I also took note of something that I normally would never think to even notice before- camera movement. I studied how the camera moved in certain scenes and what the style was for camera movement throughout the whole episode. I realized that there are a lot of camera movements in general, such as pans and zooms, rather than quick cuts. In large-scale scenes with many characters for example, the camera tends to move up and down and across the scene to establish setting, instead of just cutting to different shots of the environment.

Finally, what I noticed that surprised me the most out of anything else is that during a competition on stage, the glee team (New Directions) has a lot more people performing with them then the audience is familiar with. I noticed that there are extras added in during performances (regionals in this episode’s case) who are not present in other scenes throughout the show when the team is at school or at practice. These people are mixed in with the bunch to create the illusion that there are more people than there really are on their glee team. The video I have added here is of one of the team’s performances where it is obvious that there are more people on stage than who are actually in the club. 

Normally as a viewer I simply accept what I see is happening on my screen and I go with it because I want to believe it and I want to be entertained. I had fun taking a different perspective for once though and I was able to pick up on a few interesting elements that I never would have noticed if I hadn’t. I learned a lot as a viewer but also as a producer. From now on I choose to be an active and educated viewer rather than just a mindless one. I challenge you to do the same.

Posted in TV

My street photography gallery

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Health on a biscuit

Fast, cheap, greasy food is something that this country certainly does not lack. In fact, the number of fast-food restaurants in the country now exceeds a whopping 280,000 (http://www.technomic.com). Taking a look around at my new university surroundings here in the Burlington area of North Carolina, I have seen more fast food chains concentrated in one area than I have ever seen before. It makes sense, I live in a college town and fast food is quick, simple, cheap, and delicious. Healthy, however, it is not, but I want to change that.

I was given the opportunity to change the health status of fast fast products in a small way just last week through a contest in which my DMC class took part in. This contest is through Biscuitville- a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant located in North Carolina and Virginia. If you haven’t guessed already, they’re claim to fame is the biscuit. This particular contest was titled “Brand your Biscuit,” and the idea was to submit an original biscuit idea to Biscuitville, and I just knew that I had to create a biscuit like no Biscuitville (or fast food restaurant for that matter) has ever seen before. I decided to create (gasp) a healthy biscuit.

My biscuit is called The Cali Classic, and it consists of a classic flaky Biscuitville biscuit in the form of a sandwich including fresh avocados, tomatoes, and melted provolone organic cheese. My whole idea was to bring together tradition and flair into this one of a kind biscuit creation perfect for vegetarians or simply just health conscious people.

The Cali Classic is a very unique product that will appeal to many tastes and will reach a different type of consumer than most of the current Biscuitville products. It’s essentially introducing a whole new concept into the restaurant and therefore into the lives of Biscuitville’s customers.

Everyone wants to be healthy, but most people would prefer to do it at their own convenience and in an easy way that’s as cost effective as possible. I took this Biscuitville opportunity to help people with this lifestyle choice in the form of The Cali Classic.

At my university I constantly hear students voicing opinions about our food services offering more healthy options and vegetarian alternatives. That proves to me that young people care about their health and they have the desire to consume healthy products that make them feel good about themselves and the choice that they’re making. People want to eat healthy tasty food and The Cali Classic, is fresh, organic, and simple, yet still has the familiarity of a classic Biscuitville biscuit.

I’m not sure yet how The Cali Classic has fared in this contest, but my fingers are crossed for this healthy option. Biscuitville has the opportunity to start a trend- a health food trend among fast food restaurants. We could just have a revolution on our hands.

Take a look at the video I have posted here to see how easy healthy eating really can be- you can even try making your own Cali Classic at home!