BTW: Referencing My 2009 Annual Report.
- Specs. Hardware: Mac Pro / 2.66GHz Quad-Core / 8GB ¶ Software: Excel 2004, Photoshop CS4, After Effects CS4, Final Cut Pro 7.
- Workflow. I sketched an outline on paper, then ordered it in Google Docs and turned that into sixty Photoshop compositions. That took about two weeks. Then I sequenced those compositions into a slideshow of still images and synced them in Final Cut Pro to a Creative Commons track. After Effects doesn’t play nicely with music so I spent the next two weeks working deaf, working exclusively off the timecodes from Final Cut Pro. (ie “Okay, the pie graph needs to finish its rotation at 2:41:20.”) The first day I saw it with music was January 31, the same day I posted it.
- Music. I’m not saying I did anything fantastic to the music track, but I did have to sync the slides to the rhythm, making adjustments for longer segments (any of the “top five + other” bar graphs, the travel maps), cutting and blending the song so it complemented the content of the video. I am saying that Animoto won’t do this automatically. iMovie won’t do this automatically. And teachers consistently overrepresent the capability of those tools.
- Data Sources. I maintained active records in Google Tasks before transferring them to an Excel sheet biweekly which I backed up fastidiously over the course of the year. Perish the possibility I might lose it. ¶ I collected all music records passively through last.fm, which became significantly more accurate after I outfitted my car with a 30-pin iPhone cable and began tracking car audio. ¶ I also collected my mobile phone statistics passively through AT&T’s online billing system, which kindly exports data to Excel.
I don’t see any of my students buying this pitch but here it is anyway: I would have had to release this video somewhere in April if I didn’t have a working knowledge of a) the degree measure of angles, b) proportions, c) percents, d) coordinates, e) 3D space, f) modular arithmetic, and g) linear interpolation. I even calculated an integral.
Here’s just one example. You noticed the little animated counters running all throughout the project? Problem: you want the counter to read “0” at 773 frames into the composition and “44651” at 795 frames:
Solution: a linear equation!
- Guilt. I watched a continuous 20 days and 23 hours of television and movies. I could slap qualifiers all over that statistic but you’re still talking about nearly a month spent proximate to a flickering light.
- Battlestar Galactica. Not worth it.
- Guilt II. 18 gallons sounds like kind of a lot of beer when you put it that way.
- Margin of Error. I’ll put the average margin of error for the project somewhere below 1%. And I’ll wager the sleep statistics are the worst. I had to remember to take a screenshot of my iPhone’s clock wallpaper twice a day at the two times of the day that I was the least likely to remember to take a screenshot of my iPhone’s clock wallpaper.
- 2.5 Minutes. I’m really happy with the length of the piece. That’s, like, 2.4 days per second!
- Editing. For every statistic I included there were two I cut. There were albums and songs; incoming calls, outgoing calls, outgoing messages, fastest rising message recipients as well as fastest falling; places where I drank beer, number of people with whom I drank beer; repeat vs. first time movie viewings, number of people with whom I watched movies; plus a host of Twitter statistics and a Wordle visualization of my 2009 text message content which were, predictably, pretty dull. ¶ The most poignant graph that I cut for length was this one, which features both my father’s cancer diagnosis and, relatedly, the fact that I drove the length of the US in one month without leaving California.
What a strange project.