Monday, April 29, 2019


Smarty's hardest subject this year by far is Media Studies. The first term was not bad, because it was mostly theory about different forms of media. The second term, however, was mostly "production" where students had to work individually and in groups to produce different types of videos. The schedule was quite aggressive, especially in the beginning, and Smarty was struggling quite a bit having no experience with video productions. However, she was hanging in there and doing her part bravely in group projects. Her first group project was "a poetic documentary", and she was a director/editor for that one. Her group chose to do a project on refugee crisis, and the result was quite impressive (they also had a very good "camerawoman" for this project). Their second group project (this time with a group of just two people) was an animation project. This time Smarty was responsible for filming, and her partner was responsible for story boarding and editing.
Smarty chose to do stop-motion animation for their project. She took a stop-motion animation class when she was in the third grade and somehow was left with an idea that stop-motion animation is easy. Well, she discovered quickly that making good characters with movable parts that actually remain in one spot once something is moved is really hard. Luckily, her father is an expert in video processing, and he really helped her by walking her through many complexities of this project including setup, lighting, and character making. Smarty had a false start with a clay human figure, however, her father convinced her to do a short walking animation test, and she could see for herself that the movements are very jerky and scenes with several characters would be next to impossible. She switched to these "apple characters", and her Dad came up with an idea to give them 3D-printed boots with magnetic soles to keep them stable.
In total, Smarty spent at least 15 hours on this 30 seconds video, but she said that their video was by far the best in class. She did get top marks for it, but her total second term grade at just under 92%. Now a lot of her final grade will depend on her last project of the year and on the final test. The last project, also a group project, is a "digital marketing" project where each group will create a 3 min "infomercial" marketing their school. Smarty is pleased with her partners (who, by the way, at least 3 or 4 years older than her), and I can't wait to see what they will come up with. But, frankly, all of us can't wait for this subject to be over - it would have been a much better experience with fewer projects and more time for each.

Your Turn

What is the hardest subject for your kids?

3 comments:

Joyful Learner said...

The video is adorable! We dabbled in claymation for fun when K was younger but we learned it takes a great deal of patience and time.

K’s hardest subject is PE.

MaryAnne said...

Projects can become monsters, for sure!

The magnetic soles on the character shoes is brilliant. The video is lovely. Claymation is absolutely a ton of work.

Ticia said...

She did an amazing job! The boots are a brilliant idea.

Stop motion videos are amazingly hard to do, so that takes a lot of hard work to persevere.