Thursday, December 24, 2015

Florence American Cemetary

While in Italy, my family was able to visit a fallen family member who was lost in WWII. My great uncle Pvt. Frank J. Nagy, died in Italy on April 22, 1945. Ironically, this was the same day that Hitler admitted defeat after Russian forces overtook Nazi defenses in Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin. Although it wasn't until May that the German Forces surrendered.

When approaching the memorial, surrounded by forests on all sides, there is a small bridge one must cross before approaching the actual head stones. The valley is clearly visible from a major highway and looked after by two caretakers. There are over 4000 American soldiers buried on the 70 acres of land given to the United States by the country of Italy.

The two small buildings that flank the bridge before crossing into the memorial space are used by the care takers and visitors. One is an office for the care takers to use in their daily tasks. The other is a small state room and bathroom area for visitors. Around the state room are brochures in English and Italian explaining what the memorial is and where to find a specific soldiers headstone. Also in this room are flags visitors may take out to be placed in memory of a loved one, fallen in battle.

My great uncle Frank was located easily thanks to the location given to me by my uncle James, and I took a moment to think about Frank, his service and sacrifice.

My son placed a flag in Frank's memory and asked lots of questions about the memorial.

We then walked up to the memorial buildings which are filled with more information about the war, a marble mosaic map of the movements of the Allied troops in Italy, and a chapel.

Each wing is dressed with fountains in a central space, surrounded by recessed spaces filled with text related to the soldiers buried in the cemetery, the unknown soldiers, and the missing. A large wall lists all of the unaccounted for soldiers by name.

There is one solider listed in the memorial who was given the Medal of Honor and 5 groups of brothers who are buried together as well.

It was a beautiful place, well suited for the memorial. I was honored to be the first person from our family to make the trip. It took 2 attempts, several buses and a few hours of confusion; but it was well worth every minute.

Thanks to my uncle James Nagy for reminding/suggesting that I make the trip to this wonderful memorial while I was close to the location. I hope this serves as a testament to my great uncle Frank Nagy and what he did for our country.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Final Project - Brian Head Sled

Our idea was a shuttle, going from St. George, Ceder & Las Vegas to Brian Head, for youth that didn't have a means of transportation. It was geared towards 12-20 somethings and mostly the snowboarding crowd and their parents.

Group Roles:
  Breanna: Created a Web Banner
  Janet: Created the Vehicle Body Wrap
  Jenilee: Created a Post Card Mailer
  Keshara: Created the Website
  Michael: Created the Logo

For my part, I made the Logo. But I also helped out with the overall style of the graphics used in the vehicle wrap, the website, the mailer and the web banner.

I have many years of experience in graphic design, and I love making graphics for skate competitions, so this was right up my alley.

Style Guide:

Main Logo: 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mise-en-Scene : American Beauty

American Beauty: The "It's just a couch" Scene

American Beauty 2.jpg

Our roles:

- Director : Breanna
- Director of Photography : Mike
- Production Designer : Karli
- Art Director : Megan
- Make-up & Wardrobe : Jill

Director of Photography - Video - The video director of photography (D.P.) is in charge of the overall visual look of the video, as seen through the camera. They recommend which cameras and lenses to use for the production. They design the shot's framing, and the camera movements in conjunction with the director. They are also in charge of the camera crew, lighting design and collaborating with the gaffer.
Original DP for this film was Conrad L. Hall, listed as Cinematographer. He was DP on such memorable films as Road to Perdition and Marathon Man and television shows like The Outer Limits.

For American Beauty - the "It's Just a Couch Scene":

  • I would work closely with the Director, Art Director and Production Designer to see where to place the cameras and what the scene needs to have for shots. What is needed for the interaction in this scene.
  • I would also need to know what the wardrobe for the scene was, to make sure that there was no bright color that might not work with the lenses or camera settings I was using. So I would have to work with the Wardrobe department.
  • I would have to choose which lenses to use on the sound-stage/set, possibly a 50mm and a 30mm, maybe an 80mm in a few places, but keeping it wide in most of the shots seems to be what we would go for this kind of scene.
  • I would also make sure the lighting was used properly for the exterior lighting that comes through the windows, making sure it was the correct daylight effect. The film seems to be overcast most of the time, either because of the location of exterior shots and the time of year; or due to the mood of the film, making it an intentional decision to make it gloomy and sad weather wise.
  • Also coordinate the lights inside the room, if any are needed, to light the scene. In some cases the light from the windows might not be enough, but its hard to tell if additional light was used in this scene. There are a few dolly moves and camera tilts to time out. So that would be coordinated with the Director and Camera Assistant to make sure those went smoothly. Using the rule of thirds in each scene needs to be balanced out as well, and overall, it seems to be used for the entire scene, with the exception of the final scene where Carolyn goes up the stairs.
  • At the point where Lester moves in close to kiss Carolyn, the camera slides in for a tight shot on a dolly, moving in close for the intimate moment. But when Carolyn interrupts the kiss, just as she is about to let go, she breaks the mood with her comment about the couch and spilling beer, Lester moves back on the couch and away from her, then stands up, and the shots are wide again.
  • Overall, in each separate shot for this scene, the camera moves from far away at the beginning to closer, and then back out far away by the end of the scene. This was used to illustrate the moment visually, to bring the viewer into the scene with greater depth. The camera tilts down with her when Carolyn sits down, keeping her performance in frame at all times.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Composing a Frame

I searched through my photos from the past few years and also took some new ones at the petroglyph canyon in Snow Canyon.
This is the result.


I took this one in San Francisco while walking through Chinatown.

This was on the way to Idaho, somewhere in Nevada, last summer.

Squirrel on the walk through the Hot Springs in Yellowstone.


Petroglyphs in Snow Canyon.

Bridge over Flaming Gorge, with an Osprey flying over.

Petroglyphs in Snow Canyon.

Rule of Thirds

Experiments with light.

Petroglyphs in Snow Canyon.

Petroglyph Trail in Ivins.

I feel like a few of these contain both diagonal and rule of thirds elements, but I wanted to balance out the images through the page. 
I hope that was alright.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Design Evaluation

Design in Campaign:

I love animated movies and I drove down to California this weekend. So, being exposed to a large amount of billboards might have played a role in this post.

I decided to take a look at some advertising for animated films. Specifically, the ones on billboards. You only get to see these for a moment if you are driving past, maybe 10 seconds. So the ads have to be good and catch your attention.

If you are a child who can't read the billboard, there has to be some imagery to get your attention, and make you want to ask your parents to take you to see that movie. This is what I found.

The Bad:

This isn't engaging, just large font. I know what it is, but will a child understand? It also doesn't show any hint as to what the film is about. It only gets creative with Megamind's head coming out of the top of the billboard, and that isn't much. Despite these plain billboards, the film did very well.

At least this one is trying to get the story behind the film in the ad. It shows the characters, some action, and it engages you a bit more, but I think they can do better. Take a look at the other "Lego Movie" ad below.

Again, large font, but what does it mean? I see some aliens peaking up around the edge of the frame, and alien ship over the top and I see what looks like Earth, but I'm not sure. Would a child understand this?

This ad is almost a mix of the "Megamind" style and the "Mars Needs Moms" one. The name is big and bold at the center. A few faces are peaking out of the snow around the bottom, and Olaf is centered. While not the main character of the film, I'm sure this is an attempt to appeal to the child that sees this ad and knows the character from the commercials in the theaters. He is also breaking through the edge, like Megamind. 

The Good:

This is simple. It uses bright orange to grab the viewers attention and a third dimension which isn't the easiest thing to do with a billboard. For a child, it will either scare them or make them laugh. Right away, they know its for them. The words are small and off to the side, making the face of the Lorax draw your attention. 

This one is good to talk about juxtaposed with the other "Lego Movie" billboard. The first example had a flat image and didn't break out of the edges of the frame. This version on the other hand appears to explode not only from all sides, but also out towards the viewer. It looks like the lego characters are about to fly off the billboard and right at you with a little depth of field and motion blur. This one definitely grabs a child's attention, and maybe even, their imagination, which is what lego is all about.

I know this isn't much of an example, but I like how they used the billboard in a way that looked like it was tampered with by the characters of the film. If anyone has seen "Monsters Inc.", and most children have, then I would think that they know Mike and Sulley. It uses the edge as a barrier for Sulley to hide behind, and Mike almost looks like a three dimensional solid taped to the billboard. Also, the simple letters, M and U are easy for a child to read. Giving them a reward when they understand the meaning, ingenious.

For this one, I think they were just going for a laugh. But the use of the edges and the shading to make the feathers look as if they are not part of the billboard, but floating in front of it. This is a great way to make it stand out. Again the small letters don't clog up the image, so young viewers get the idea. Even the glasses look like they are popping off the billboard.


I feel like I can judge the designs as good or not, but from a child's perspective, I'm only guessing at what works on that level. I'd like to share a video with some creative uses of the space on and around the billboards that I stumbled across in my research for this topic. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gestalt: Eccles Building

Law of Similarity:

Law of Proximity:

Law of Pragnanz:

Law of Continuity:

Law of Closure:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Contrast, Balance, Harmony

This was my son's first burger at In-n-Out. I wish I'd gotten a little lower to hide the stools behind him better and if I'd had a better lens with a shallower depth of field, maybe a prime 50mm, I could have given more impact by setting it between his nose and hands. I like the way that the red chair curves into his back and seems to come out on the other side as his shirt. There is also a balance in the red upper left and the darker gray on the lower right. I have to admit, its not one of my better photos, but it captures the moment of his first burger.

I took this in Moab, UT. On a trip to Arches, my brother-in-law posed for me under one of the arches. I like how he is placed low in the frame, while the arch hangs over him.

A group guide in Peru. She had a great smile and was a fun person to learn about the culture and history from. This is a good example of the rule of thirds, because I have her framed to the right, while the stairs up to the ruins or out of focus to the left. With only a few color pops in the back ground, the green and the blue, the image is almost all browns, flesh tones and white.

This woman offered to be my wife, as part of the exhibition they gave us. We learned how they made the dies to color their cloth. Unfortunately I was already married and my wife was there to protect me. I like this picture because it looks like a dutch angle, but she is actually leaning to the side while I was square with her. The bowl she is using and the hat she wears makes an interesting balance in the frame.

I just couldn't get enough of the women in uniform in Cusco. I wish I'd noticed that the guy walked through as I took this, because she moved away not long after that and I wasn't able to capture a better shot of her. She was riding a motorcycle around the town square.

One night, I stayed in a campsite near a small mountain town along the Inca Trail. Outside my tent was this cute fella tied to a tree who was also my alarm clock that morning. My favorite part of this picture is the hair and the texture it ads to his face. Then there is the bridle made of a nylon weave or something hand made there in the mountains. It has another texture and color that draws a line around his face. He is framed in green almost all around, with just a hint of blue sky in the upper left.