Please come and meet the students who have worked so diligently to create the multi-media mural projection! On Wednesday, June 29th, the students from SCH Academy and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program will present at ISTE from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The students will demonstrate the tools they learned and used to create the components of the projection including, GarageBand, Motion and Final Cut Pro. They will happily share the process of planning, of meeting with community members, of brainstorming, and collaborating. You can find them at PACC Broad St Atrium, Table: 1.
We are in the final stages of finishing Mural in Motion and we are going at full speed. Eric Okdeh took students out last week to get some video to fill in the holes and Karen Kolkka took a morning hike to gather a few more shots of Kelly Drive. Elizabeth (student) is busy constructing the very fast paced fourth section and Deirdre (student) is completing her green screen cut outs. I presented the first three sections (out of four) to an arts panel at the Mural Arts Program headquarters, and they gave us some constructive feedback and new ways to think of the work.
There are many details to attend to in order to do this projection, and we have a mighty team at both Springside School and the Mural Arts Program supporting the work of the students. This is truly a collaborative effort!
5/6/11 Karen Kolkka
The plan for today’s session was to have teams of students work together to create additional footage and animations needed for the projection as well as gather images and manipulate them using Photoshop. Ellen and Eric worked with two teams in the Mural Arts computer lab. In the Mural Arts garden behind the building, I worked with three students whose goal was to capture video footage of people in motion in front of a green screen.
The dynamic was relaxed and easygoing. Everyone seemed interested and willing to help with the different roles. Several students worked together to set up the portable green screen and find a place in the garden with the most even lighting. Once the gear was set up students took turns behind the camera and in front of the green screen. The goal was to capture footage of people in motion and included people running, walking, making jump shots, and dancing. The students gave one another direction and helpful tips. Needless to say there was a sense of collaboration and of fun.
April 15, 2011
After gathering photos and video from Downtown Philadelphia, the next task was to weed through all of the media. Eric, Karen and I began making categories for all the student work. Since we met with students once a week, we needed to have a sense of all of the media before deciding how to proceed before the next class meeting. We knew we needed to represent the history of Philadelphia in order to achieve the “City in Motion” theme we established after the community meeting so we decided to begin by using the shots of historical Philadelphia first. In addition, I introduced the program, Motion to the students who hadn’t used it. Students divided into groups working in Motion and those working with historical stills. Liz and Katie were given the geometric first section to work on since they are both experienced Motion users.
We met in the heart of downtown Philadelphia to gather photos and video footage that could be used in the mural. The starting point for the outing was the corner of Broad and Locust. From there students formed into two groups and one headed west toward Rittenhouse Square, the other headed north toward City Hall and Love Park. The goal was to capture images of people or objects in motion as well as images of statues, buildings, and the patterns and textures of the city. The students were excited to get started and took turns using the cameras. The day was overcast but the rain held off. The outing was a success and while future sessions included gathering more images, much of the original material will be used in the final projection.
Mural Arts begins the planning stage for each mural with a meeting with the community to gather ideas to shape the mural. Since our projection is a one time performance and the location of the mural is in a business district, we knew this meeting might be different than most. However, we were incredibly energized by the ideas generated at this meeting. We made a list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and constraints and then talked through the ideas in the room. This group of businessmen emphasized that the projection provides an opportunity to show Philadelphia as the vibrant city that it is. They asked us to go beyond the Liberty Bell and cheese steaks to show the “Urban Energy” of the city. We discussed our notes at the next class meeting and began to work around the idea of a “City in Motion.” We also brainstormed visual ideas for our photo shoot the following week.
May 1, 2011
At Springside, I had a student creating QR codes for an outside event in the ViDCAST studio. Stephen, Elizabeth and I began discussing QR codes and the artistic possibilities of using the codes. Suddenly someone (don’t remember who) said, “Hey why don’t we use QRs in our projection.” We had fun imagining the image of all of the ISTE educators holding up their Smartphones (kind of like the famous photo of an audience watching a 3-D movie complete with dorky glasses). This idea is on hold until we finish the majority of the projection but have your QR app ready if we decide to go through with it!
We decided to begin the work by having the students construct songs in GarageBand. The idea was that our animations and any other visual ideas would be timed to this sound track and we wanted both visuals and music to be varied and dynamic. I love teaching GarageBand because everyone finds sounds that they get excited about. Our laptops have all of the GarageBand Jam Packs so the students had a large variety of sounds to work with and none of the pieces sounded alike. We worked for two class times (2 hours each) on this music and we were incredibly happy with the results. The pieces were then transferred to Logic Pro to compile and master a sound track. The music dictated that the piece would be in four sections: an introduction, percussion and vocal section, slower string section and a fast paced ending. In addition, one student (Henry) recorded an original piece with vocals that will play during the credits. Here are a few samples of the student’s work:
As part of an early planning meeting for the Mural in Motion project, I created a plan for a ten-minute piece and produced a short video (below) to show how the project would progress and the types of technology that the students would learn. One thing I learned from my research of projections is that it is important to use very bright colors while keeping a limited color palette. In addition, animation really speaks when you incorporate the elements of the wall you are projecting on to and using the wall as a large-scale video screen is death to projections. I decided that we would create the projection using Motion, a motion graphics program that comes with the Final Cut Pro Suite because it allows for manipulation of drawn media as well its ability to animate video and photos. As an initial global plan, our mural would progress from an introduction of geometric shapes that play off of the squares in the building. This section would progress to a section that incorporated images of Philadelphia and the last section would combine the elements.
At the meeting between Mural Arts and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) , I was introduced to the noted muralist, Eric Okdeh, who would bring his sizable Mural Arts background and knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator and Final Cut to the project. In addition, we added yet another artist and Springside teacher, Karen Kolkka who would help out as part a community service requirement of her Masters Degree course load at University of the Arts.
Once we began the Mural in Motion project we needed to begin dialogue with ISTE so we could work together to present this exciting piece to the attendees of the ISTE conference at the end of June. The conference draws over 15,000 educators from all over the world and is a hotbed of ideas for forward thinking educators. I had a lot of wonderful conversations with the co-director of the Special Interest Group for Art Educators (SIGAE) co-headed by Jaime Kasper(Fine Arts and Humanities Advisor for the Pennsylvania Department of Education) at the last ISTE conference and she helped me get in touch with the ISTE administration. I was very thrilled when Anita McAnear the Program Chair for ISTE called to find out about the project. She has been incredibly supportive of this project and helped us get a description in the program and a Student Showcase for the students to present their work. We also coordinated the start of the mural so it would coincide with the end of the Keynote address on Sunday June 26th around 8:30.
After being given the go ahead by Mural Arts to begin working on the project, we needed to find a wall to project on to. We knew we had to find a wall that was in the vicinity of the Philadelphia Convention Center and Frank Aloise, the Director of Finance at Springside School suggested we go look (of course it had to happen during lunch so we could eat at the Reading Terminal Market). We parked right next to the Convention Center and the great wall of the Fabric Workshop and Museum at 12th and Arch immediately struck us both. This is a street that is used by conventioneers to get to most major hotels. There is parking lot beside the wall, which was really important in order to have enough space to project from. We began discussions with Fabric Workshop about using this perfect location.
The idea for this project was hatched when I was at the International Society for Technology in Education conference last year in Denver. As an educator of the Arts and an active composer and video artist, I felt that students could really wow this immense audience of interested educators. I began to wonder what that would look like. I have been fascinated with the idea of doing a large-scale projection and scoured the Internet for examples thinking that this would be something we could attempt. At the beginning of the school year this idea was put on the back burner as I took on new responsibilities at Springside. However, somehow Jane Golden, the visionary leader of the Mural Arts Project, was visiting Springside School one morning and I was introduced to her as part of a tour of the school. As she was leaving, I asked her if she ever thought of doing a large-scale projection and her eyes lit up! She had thought of it and we began a series of conversations about collaboration between Mural Arts students and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy students.