Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco

Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco
Information Source for the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center

Monday, August 12, 2013

Movie Week with Lina Hoshino

In Week 5 of the internship, a filmmaker named Lina Hoshino came to the NJAHS office buildng to work with us interns on making a mini movie. The previous week we were told to write a rough draft of our script and collect photos that we may want to use. Since I didn't read the instructions carefully enough, I just went on the Internet and looked for photos. Then at about 9:00 p.m. on the day before we were supposed to begin the movie workshop, I realized that I wasn't allowed to use Internet photos unless they were uncopyrighted...which they weren't. This resulted in a mad scramble to find and take as many pictures as I could the night before, but there weren't many photos to be found. On the first day of the workshop, we shared our scripts out loud, which was not something I wanted to do. My script had no central theme, it wasn't worded that well, and I thought it was too personal. Just as I expected, the advice the other interns and Lina gave me included establishing a main idea for my script. Lina gave us time right after to edit our writing, and during that time I shifted the theme of my story. I discussed my script with her in private and made more changes, and then I brought it back to her. She approved it. The next day I had more pictures, except most of them were all photos of nature. I learned to scan them and then I transferred them into my computer. I went upstairs and recorded my script about twenty-five times. During that hour I kept tampering with the script, which was one of the reasons why it took so long. Then I listened to the recordings on the laptop and picked out the best versions of my voice, since I had recorded the whole thing in paragraphs. I started working in Final Cut Express, a movie-making app, where Lina showed us how to insert our voiceovers and add pictures. I edited the voiceover by cutting out a lot of parts and making sure everything transitioned smoothly. The hardest part of this movie project was the pictures. Finding them, transferring them, adding them, and editing them. In the beginning, when I was inserting pictures for the first time, most of them were logos or objects or nature views. I didn't have enough photos of myself or other people. When Lina saw the rough draft of the movie, she said I needed more pictures of people and that I should include less photos overall so the audience could focus on what I was saying. I took her advice, and I ended up making the movie a whole lot better. I emailed my mother asking for any kinds of family photos or pictures of friends and she sent a boatload within the next ten minutes. The second most difficult stage was the transitions and special effects. Adding the transitions was a pain because 1) I didn't know what they were, and 2) Every time I added a transition between two clips I had to "render" everything, which was time-consuming. Also, creating the photo effects was very confusing at first. Lina explained to me how to do them but I was still baffled. However, the next day, I figured it all out using my common sense. The results, though they took forever to get, made the screen look like it was shifting during each photo. The final step was the inclusion of the title and credits, which I had put off because I wasn't sure if they were mandatory. Both were pretty easy to create, and I had fun with the title especially. I'm actually really happy with how my project turned out, because it expresses an important part of me without making it too personal and awkward. There were some minor issues with my voiceover and the transitions could have been smoother, but it is a story that I wouldn't mind sharing with my friends and family. Instead of a few days, the making of the movie actually stretched to almost a week, but that extra time made the movie that much better.