Loft Blog
Filmmaking Workshop Recap #2: Pre-Visualization PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 August 2014 14:14

Howdy filmmakers! So...this is a long overdue post as our second week of the filmmaking camp was some time ago but better late than never. We talked over some important things that week--pre-visualization--that ended up going hand-in-hand with last week's topic of camera manipulation. 

Pre-visulazation is such an important step in the filmmaking process (and one that I will admit that I have never enjoyed). It involves the process of breaking down the script into a shooting script, shot list and storyboards in order to shoot your film. Each tool helps the filmmaker to understand what they are trying to say with their film and what is most important for them to capture on screen. Pre-visualing a film ahead of time provides a blue-print and a map to begin filming, helping to map which beats you are going to capture on screen. The beats are the meaty stuff--the tear-jerker moments that people remember. 


There is a "traditional" Hollywood model for shooting and a standard for how to arrange shots, much like the standard for writing scripts. It involves getting four shots: a Wide Shot that will establish what's going on followed by a series of Medium and Close-Up shots. An old Hollywood technique (that is still used today in big-budget movies) is to get a Master Shot. This means setting up the camera and letting it run for the whole scene.


When designing shots, it's important to think about shot sizes and how they will impact the emotions of the audience. We change shot sizes because they provide variety, emotion and interest to a movie. If a movie was the same shot size the whole time, it would be boring. There are many different types of shots used by filmmakers today and the list is endless because shot sizes are open to interpretation. That being said, here's a list of the ten most commonly used shots: 


1. Establishing shot and/or Master Shot (NOTE: They're NOT the same thing)

2. Wide Shot or WS

3. Full Shot or FS

4. Medium Shot or MS

5.Over-the-Shoulder or OTS

6. Medium Two Shot or M2S

7. Close-Up or CU

8. Extreme Close-Up or ECU

9. Insert Shots or INSERT

10. Reaction Shots or RXN 


 Check out this great link for more descriptions on shot sizes. 


At the end of the session, we broke off into groups to practice capturing these shot sizes using flip cameras. The next session built off the information learned here by delving into ways to manipulate the camera to get the shots you want...but more on that later. 


In just three days is the last session for the summer but not for the year. Stay tuned for information on filmmaking workshops starting this fall! 


Adios for now. 





From Teens For Teens: The Giver / Lois Lowry and Page by Paige / Laura Lee Gulledge PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 08 August 2014 00:00

The Giver The Giver by Lois Lowry

I loved reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. She did a very good job on getting me interested by the good details of the characters and of what is going on. Every chapter I read got me deeper and deeper into the book and more interested. It is about a twelve year old boy named Jonas who lives with 2 parents and his 7 year old sister Lily. As he gets older he has an assignment of being the next Receiver of Memory. Who I love is the Giver, he is the guy that transfers memories onto Jonas and helps him to do his job when he gets too old. I recommend this book to others that would like to travel though the Giver's memories and whoever would like to read about other communities. This book is really awesome!

(Ivette C., Evanston teen)

Page by Paige Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

This is a great book that makes you reconsider a lot of things in everyday life. Normally I go through graphic novels pretty quickly, but I stopped a lot during this one to think about its meaning. Paige, the main character, moves to New York and has to adjust to her new surroundings. This book shows her literally trying to sort through all of the thoughts in her head. With romance, emotions, and thoughtfulness, I would personally rate Page by Paige 4 out of 5 stars. It's more for girls.

(Owen T., Evanston teen)


Maker Corps : A Farewell PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 August 2014 15:48

altIt is that time of year, folks. School supplies purchased, pencils sharpened, and the last beach-days upon us: the end of summer. Well, with the end of summer also brings the end of Maker Corps @ EPL for another year. Of course, we had to end our summer with a bang. In our final few weeks we finished up with some of our favorite programs. First of these: Artbots! (For those of you who have constructed your own artistic robots, this will be a bit of review) Artbots are essentially simple robots made from deconstructed electric toothbrushes, pool noodles, and markers. We had a blast with kids and parents making the little motor guys, and now our finished art pieces hang in both the Chicago Avenue Main Street Branch and the Children’s Room of the Main Library!

altWe also had a T-shirt transformation program in the Loft. Teens from all over came and created handbags, scarves, and bracelets recycled from used shirts. Though it was a quiet group, they each left with a great new accessory. That same evening, the library, as well as all of Evanston celebrated the National Night Out! Thanks to all of you who came out and celebrated with us! For a few hours the ramp outside the front of the library was full of origami, circuitry, a photo booth, and even a fire truck!

In our efforts to have an exciting program every single day of our last week, Grace and I also occupied some lobby space in the main library for Pop-Ups! First, we had friendship bracelets where braiding, stitching, and looming all lead to some great jewelry. Our final pop-up was one of our favorite programs of the summer: paper tube roller coasters. We spent a few hours building a great marble creation which can now been tinkered and played with in the children’s room.

altOver the course of the summer, Grace and I have had the opportunity to work with so many scientists, artists, and makers from all around the Evanston community...allow us a moment to reflect…

In the past two summers it has been great getting to know all of the library staff  and patrons at large. It has been especially exciting to see and get to know the kids who have come multiple of our programs. We have both learned a lot about technology, improvising with supplies, and being inventive with our programming.Thanks for the great making!


Ruth: “BANG”

Grace: “what was that?”

Ruth: “that was our dramatic ending”.


Prince of Shadows / Rachel Caine PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 00:00

altWow! I have to confess I wasn't sure how the writer of the Morganville Vampires series would handle Shakespeare's classic, but Prince of Shadows exceeded all my expectations and then some. Beautifully drawing the complicated web of familial politics ensnaring the main characters growing up in Verona, Caine has written a romantic, witty, thrilling kind of book in which the famous play is made clear in relevant and current ways. The twist? This story is told from Benvolio Montague's point of view. It is Benvolio's job to watch over the watch the heir of Montague, Romeo, and keep him out of trouble. Instead Benvolio finds himself also in love with a gorgeous enemy!  Highly recommended reading, especially if you are attending Muse of Fire's Romeo and Juliet in Evanston's Ingraham Park this summer or if you are going to read the play in school this year. 


(Martha, Childrens Department)

 In August and September, check out Muse of Fire's production of Romeo & Juliet in Ingraham Park directed by Muse of Fire's founder and Artistic Director, Jemma Alix Levy.  There will also include Muse's  first-ever indoor, evening performances: Romeo & Juliet at Evanston Public Library  Outdoor performances Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm, August 9 - 17, 30 - 31, and Sept. 6 & 7.  Indoor performances at 7:30pm, August 22 - 24, and 29-30.

The End Games / T. Michael Martin PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 00:00

altIt’s all just game.  The End Games brings a whole new meaning to the idea of a game especially when people’s lives depend on winning it.  Michael and his little brother Patrick have been playing the game for weeks.  They battle monsters, whose skin hangs off their bodies and who echo whatever sound they pick up.  Michael and Patrick have had plenty of close calls, but the Game Master always provides them with the clues they need to stay safe.  At least that’s how the book starts off- but then the reader sees that nothing is what it seems and when Michael and Patrick finally find a safe zone the other players they met there have their own rules to play by.  Everyone is out for themselves in order to survive the game. Full of action, mystery and drama The End Games is sure to please readers. 


(Renee, the Loft)

From Teens For Teens: Rules / Cynthia Lord and Under the Never Sky / Veronica Rossi PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 August 2014 00:00


Rules by Cynthia Lord

When I read Rules, by Cynthia Lord, I loved it. It's about a girl named Catherine who wants a normal life. But her brother has autism and she thinks it's hard to work with him. I thought this book was very good because it made me understand how people deal with autistic children. Also, it made me understand what it would feel like to live with someone who is autistic. I would recommend this to anyone.

(Emilia C., Evanston teen)


Under the Never SkyUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

I really liked the depth of the characters in this book. Aria is a naive Dweller, and unlike other books, she doesn't magically instantaneously adapt to the outside world. I also liked how Perry did everything for the good of his tribe, and his nephew Talon. I would give it a 4.5 stars because the beginning was a little boring, but the rest was a page turner.

(Samantha S., Evanston teen)

Maker Corps Update PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 08:55

It’s been a busy few weeks for Maker programming at EPL! Basking in our newfound newsletter fame, we have been running around doing programs in the Loft, the children’s room, the North Branch and the Chicago Avenue-Main Street Branch. In the second week of July, we started off strong with a series of circuitry programs. First, we decided that we missed a program we did last year: squishy circuits. As it turns out, Play Dough is conductive, and you can buy kits full of leds and buzzers that you can hook up and power through the Play Dough. We sat in the children’s room and invited people to play with us for awhile and it was a huge success, drawing kids of all ages to make and wire everything from butterflies to cats to bridges.

altAfter that, we did two different light-up art programs. It seems that you really never can have enough ways of building circuits, because we had a great time testing out different methods. We did a few paper circuit workshops. For some of the younger ages, we used templates for where to hook up the LEDs, for older we left it up to the kids to decide. The older kids also made paper lanterns with some origami-style folding and hole-punching. Some great projects came out of the workshops, including a self portrait and a night/day landscape.

The next week, we packed up and set up shop in North Branch to do a paper rollercoaster program. We were a small group, but we were mighty! We made two different marble runs out of paper towel tubes, popsicle sticks and an outrageous amount of scotch tape, each standing at least two fight high. The kids were really clever with this project and build all sorts of loops and walls. One even made a very complicated “mixer” that sent the marbles into 4 different tubes in an effort to randomize them. This rollercoaster is still standing at the North Branch, so make sure to go check it out!alt

Finally, we kept up the electronics theme this week with DIY videogames at North Branch and Artbots at the Chicago Avenue-Main Street Branch. Using a website called “Scratch,” we helped several teens learn basic coding skills and created lots of maze games and fun little videos that we could control either through the computer, or through a contraption called a “MaKey MaKey.” A Makey Makey is basically an interface with the computer, so you can do things like substitute the space bar with a banana, or anything else conductive like play dough, Swedish fish or pennies. Lots of the kids had already used Scratch, but none of them had seen a Makey Makey before, so it was really cool to see them explore the new possibility of making their own controller out of candy.

Artbots are a completely different game. With some very enterprising third-graders, we tore the motors out of dollar store toothbrushes and implanted them into cut-up pool noodles. Then, we decorated the pool noodles to look like rock stars, basketball players and ballerinas and set them in motion! The secret of artbots is to attach markers to the bottom. That way when you flip the switch, the robot creates art for you! We made some great pictures which you can see taped up on the green wall at the Chicago Avenue-Main Street Branch, and we’re excited to repeat this program with younger kids next week!

(Ruth & Grace)


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