For my semester project, I recorded and edited a video about the game Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The video is a tutorial on mildly advance Brawl play. My weakness was focus, especially for a long duration.
Within this essay, I will be looking back and reflecting upon my project as a whole. To do this, I have split the essay into a number of separate sections, the first one being “Realization of Interest”, which analyzes the beginning of the project in its developmental stage. The next section, “Action Taken on Interest”, describes what I have been doing throughout the semester up until now. Following that is “Research on Interest/Action”, which goes over the media that I used to aid myself during the project. The fifth section, “Reflection on your learning process, decision making ability, success and failures, insights, and expectations”, comes next, containing the actual reflection and looking back on the project, as well as the final results. To wrap it up, there is a “Conclusion” at the end.
Realization of Interest
I have never been able to stay concentrated for long durations of time, both on a short and long-term basis. Whenever I am working on an essay or doing homework, I always get distracted. If I think about a project and even plan it all out, I never get started. If I ever had a new year’s resolution, it would never be kept. Eventually, I realized that I simply lacked focus, in all terms of the word.
As the gamer and nerd that I am, I’ve watched a large number of online videos depicting videogames and other media, edited to be more amusing, engrossing, or just plain awesome. Over time, I began to take more notice and appreciate the large amounts of effort put in by the various film creators. When prompted by this semester project to pick a weakness, focus and video editing immediately came to mind, as they go hand in hand. Video editing, as with other types of artistic skill, such as drawing, painting, cannot be done without concentration and focus, which is required to learn and use the various techniques and skills related to editing. The patience of collecting footage is also another factor.
I chose Brawl as the subject of my video because it was an easily accessible, digital form of entertainment that I had a rich, full understanding of. True, I had various other games and media, such as Warcraft, animes, etc, but Brawl was simply the one I was most familiar with. To get the complete experience, I decided to record my own footage, as opposed to using stuff that was already online.
I had first intended to capture footage by connecting my Wii to my computer directly, but when I did as so, the game suffered from large amounts of input lag. Thus, I was forced to find an alternative method. Eventually, I settled with merely recording via a VCR then transferring from there to my computer. This method caused a reduction in quality, but, alas, it was unavoidable.
Action Taken on Interest
To begin my semester project, I casually began looking up stuff about video editing. I knew about a few video editors, such as Windows Movie Maker or *shudder* Photostory, but I wanted something a bit more… advance. While watching some videos on Youtube, I came across various editors described in the video descriptions. Some notable ones spotted included Adobe Premier Pro and Sony Vegas Pro 8.0. I chose the latter, simply because it was more accessible to me at the time. For the next few days after installing the program, I played around with the tools and features, creating small, random, little things. Realizing that this method of learning was much too slow, I began to view and read tutorials, which greatly accelerated the learning process.
While I was gaining familiarity with Vegas Pro, I began to move on the recording front by installing a capture card into my computer. After a few heart-stopping moments where my hard disk would not load, I finally got it work. My hard work was for naught, though, as there was a large amount of input delay, rendering the game unplayable. Thus, I ended up resorting to taping my recordings then transferring it from the VHS to my computer.
Throughout the entire project, I read up on Brawl, played it much more actively, learning a few new techniques. While I already knew various advanced techniques, such as short hops and hugging, I learned and used some new ones, such as teching, smash direction influence, and momentum cancel. To make recording easier, I made a pseudo-storyboard, where I outlined each technique, how it was done, what it did, and why to do it.
I recorded most of the footage alone, but had a friend to help with some of the more difficult, multi-player parts. Bluntly, I just took a large amount of raw video of all the techniques. After importing the video from the VHS to my computer, I began to cut the large clip into smaller ones, and began editing, messing around with key points and effects. The editing took a lot more time and work than first expected, but was a fun endeavor nonetheless.
Research of Interest/Action
- For a list of all resources, go to Resources
In order to aid myself in my project, I used a number of resources, which varied in form, from poetry, articles and books to interviews, online videos, and even a full-blown feature film. Each one helped in, some in the area of focus, others as tutorials on how to edit. In total, I had one film, three other media, three interviews, one of which was done myself, five poems, and one non-fiction book.
The one film that I had was Super Size Me, a 2004 documentary that featured and was created by Morgan Spurlock. It followed a thirty-day period during which Spurlock limited himself to only eating McDonald’s food in order to demonstrate the drastic lifestyle effects as well as the damage to one’s psychological wellbeing. Throughout the film, the Spurlock often regrets his decision, but decides to focus on his goal and continues. I applied his situation to my own. He is doing he wants to do, but, in the process, wishes he had picked something else, but nonetheless, continues on to the finish. I wanted to learn how to edit videos, but I did not want to work or practice.
Of the three other media that I used, the first was a video by a YouTuber named Pittimus84. It was named How to use Sony Vegas Pro 8.0 and was uploaded on the third of January of this year. It detailed the basic features of Sony Vegas Pro 8.0, the program I used to create and edit videos. By watching it, I gained a number of basic tools and features that would have taken me a bit longer to figure out on my own. Some things I learned included how to adjust the speed of clips, overlap clips for transition effects, and how to add effects, specifically for short durations.
The second piece of other media was a Youtube video by Izaw91. Focusing on the same subject as my own video, SSBB Combo Video: Linkaggedon was a prime example of skilled video editing. Though I probably will not know, and currently do not know how to do half the stuff used in this video, I still learned some editing techniques by watching. For example, I was able to see an example of synchronizing the audio with the video, as well as how to use various effects correctly, such as zooming in at an angle for emphasis. The third piece of other media, also a Youtube video focusing on Smash, was Advanced How to Play (SSBM) by Wak017. It is what my product will be similar too. It is also a tutorial video, but on a different game (Melee instead of Brawl). As the two games are of the same series, many of the techniques are the same. As such, I can follow this as an example when I create my own video. For example, the format of displaying its usefulness, how it applies to each character, etc.
Of my three used interviews, I conducted one myself. The first one, titled The Competitive Brawl: Hugs and Gimpy weigh in on SSBB was done by Dac Vak in late 2007. It is an in-depth interview with two prominent players in the Smash world. As with all professionals in any fields, they have directed large amounts of time on their subject, or, in other words, stayed focus. The second interview was much more high scale, being between two prominent game developers, Sakurai, creator of Kirby and Brawl, and Iwata, Nintendo’s president and CEO. Iwata Asks: Super Smash Bros. Brawl detailed the creation of Brawl and the amount of focus. I felt, after reading it, that if someone could put that much effort into creating an entire game, then I could at least focus on creating a small video. My last, and personal interview, was done of IM with a professional, well-known smasher that went by SCOTU. I asked a number of questions about to which he replied. I inquired about specific aspects about how focus played a role in his career. When I asked him if focus had played a large role in his getting to his point, he replied, “being able to put your full mind behind the game is one of the fundamental traits to playing the game well… I would say it’s a requisite.”
I used five poems as resources. The first, called Stay in Focus, was written by Michael Charles Messineo. It described how to focus on something, or, more specifically, how not to get distracted. Auto Focus, written by a blogger called alcoholic_poet, was my second poem. It explored a person who lacked focus in the beginning, or put it on “autopilot”, and how, in the end, because of his lack, ended up alone and lost. D.H. Lawrence wrote the third poem, called Patience. Though the poem did not totally apply to my situation, still gave useful advice. “So many hours that sit in the bank and yield no interest. Counting. Always counting the minutes.” This line kind of shows how, when I focus, or do not focus, on something, I tend to let the minutes slip by, instead of correctly utilizing them. The forth poem, titled Love, Hope, and Patience in Education, was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The poem, as with the last, did not directly apply to my situation, but gave advice in the same, interpreted way. My last poem, Focus Up Ahead, was written by James O’Brien. It, like the previous two, did not focus on my situation, but could still be interpreted to apply.
My non-fiction book was written by M.J. Ryan and was titled This year I will--: how to finally change a habit, keep a resolution, or make a dream come true. Within the book, Ryan explained how to focus on a goal and create a concrete and practical plan to follow through while dealing with all of life’s other difficulties. By reading this, I found various strategies to make it easier to focus and work on things. Such strategies include making mile markers and more short-term goals, how to find more time in daily lives, and stay focused.
Reflection on process, ability, and results
Thanks to this semester project, I have come to realize that I really cannot force myself to get motivated an excited about something. I started with the idea that I would not procrastinate and would gradually work on this project from day one. Instead, I ended up doing it in large spurts, even holding a large amount for the end. Yes, I was eager about the project and glad to be able to do something I enjoyed, but if I do not truly want to work on something I… just cannot work on it.
The project itself, when I did it, was fun, but mildly tedious. The editing consisted of copying, pasting, and cutting, with the exceptions of a few effects that, after learning them, did not take much effort at all. The most entertaining part of the project was, surprising, research, and, unsurprisingly, recording footage. Though I did not want to do the project, I was totally for playing more Brawl, learning new techniques, and incorporating them in my play style. Having a friend over for much of the time did not hurt either. The only error I encountered was the video capture card that I had first intended to use did not work, so I was forced to use an alternative, and thus, the VHS.
The outcome of my project is a tutorial video about competitive Brawl. It goes over at least ten different techniques that from the basics of competitive play. Nearly all of the techniques are those that I find most useful. Each one has a space in the video that details the name, a how to, what it does, and the benefits it holds. For example, the pivot-grab technique, I display the name, then how to do it, followed by some clips of it being performed. Then I go the applications, showing how it counters various other attacks, with clips for those as well. This format is followed for each technique, though it has minor differences depending on the situation.
The project did not truly benefit me in any way aside from making me realize I am not that strong willed about things that do not interest me. It did allow me, however, to understand video editing much more thoroughly, which is a plus. If I had to do this project over again, I just would not procrastinate as much.
This semester project taught me that even if I am willing, I only concentrate on what I truly believe is important to me in some way. If it is not, I will eventually get it done, but I will get distracted much along the way, and thus, not put my entire effort and focus into the endeavor. As such, my focus has not changed much. I am still the procrastinating, unfocused person that I was a few months ago, aside from the new knowledge about video editing.
As with other school projects, this one probably will not affect me with any lasting effect. I would even daresay I will have forgotten by it come summer, but eventually, I would remember it, fondly. It might, however, cause me to make other videos on other materials. The greatest effect it might ever have in my life would be giving me a new hobby.