For this weeks assignment, I decided to solve a personal problem of mine, here on the ITP floor. I have spent quite a bit of time helping my classmates in understanding and using Max/MSP/Jitter, and I find that there are a couple topics I have ‘tutored’ people on repeatedly. Instead of repeating these instructional sessions, I decided to start a lecture series on topics within Max/MSP/Jitter that I have been asked about a lot. There aren’t any full-time faculty members here who deal with Max, so I feel these videos could serve as a strong resource for students.
This first lecture series deals with serial communication, and how we can get our Arduinos and Max communicating. Modeling after Daniel Shiffman’s video lectures, I wanted to use a green screen in some fashion because it seemed to work well in blending the physical atmosphere an instructor can give, while still displaying the digital content and screen clearly. However, I have spent most of my time as a tutor, not a lecturer, and so I feel more comfortable explaining things with paper and pen, on a horizontal surface. And so, my green-screen was placed on a table top, with the camera pointing downwards, so that when I wanted to I could pull out a white sheet of paper and start drawing. This allowed me to also point at pieces of my code with my bare hand.
I learned a great deal making these first three videos. For starters, I found that creating a ‘real-life’ tutoring session, where the content is not edited and the lecture is given straight through, doesn’t translate well when put into small lectures. My talk are FAR longer than I anticipated, and while I originally thought having the video be unedited (like Shiffman’s) would be advantageous, I see now that my videos could be of higher quality with some junk-cuts. Secondly, I found the quality of the videos I made to drag the overall presentation down. I used a webcam for the green-screen, and my computer’s built-in mic for the audio. While they worked fine, the quality takes away from the overall experience. And so, I plan on continuing these videos, but next time with a far more professional setup, and keeping plenty of time afterwards for editing.
Also, after listening to this, I decided that I, myself, would definitely not enjoy listening to this video. My voice just drones on and on. I’ll just chalk that up to the “needs better editing” part, but also I need to make these lessons FAR more visually appealing. I’m having an idea of continuing to use a desktop as my surface, but to make the green-screen aspect just another piece of paper I pull out, making it more of a show. We’ll see next time…