The Look and Feel of Woodside Queens

•November 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

One of the most impactful storytelling techniques is video. According to Walter Benjamin in his essay, “The Storyteller”, one of the main characteristics of a good story is the oral and interpersonal nature of the recounting of one’s experiences. I hope to tell a story of what I’ve experienced this semester in addition to what the citizens of Woodside are currently experiencing in regards to gentrification.

One of the main reasons (aside from displacement) residents of Woodside fear the entrance of larger corporations and building projects into their neighborhood is because it would alter the look and feel. The residents’ constant push back against any incoming plans, such as the recent Mega Church project that was canceled because of the high levels protests. For the video portion of my project, I want to visually depict what gentrification would look like in this neighborhood.

I think that a documentary-type video would be appropriate to accomplish this. First, I think it’s important to understand the history of the neighborhood. How Woodside used to look and how it became an enclave could be portrayed through old photographs and screenshots of newspaper clippings. Those photos in juxtaposition to footage to show what Woodside looks like now would provide a contrast of what used to be and what is now.

I would also like to portray what could be as well. There are many enclaves and neighborhoods throughout Queens that have been gentrified and have lost their “look and feel”. Providing images as well as footage of these neighborhoods (specifically Jackson Heights and Long Island City) could provide a scope of what’s to come for Woodside.

I would also use audio/footage from interviews with citizens of Woodside (and potentially citizens of those neighboring areas) to provide the context of what’s happening for the video. I want to use as little narration as possible. If the interviews combined with the visual elements could push the narrative forward as much as possible that would be ideal.


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

•November 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

As I have currently only recorded sounds of the ecology, I am planning to add interviews to my sound draft. I am especially looking to add two interviewee subjects – one, a volunteer of the site, and another, a visitor who regularly visits the site. I’m seeking to gather information form them on their own observation with the precocity of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and their predictions of what will the future hold for the ecology and its species.

As I look to incorporate the sound of the ecology in a large portion of the sound, I’m planning to use the sounds I have gathered and those which I will gather, as a background of the interviews as well as in between the interviews.

As the ecology has variety of sounds, I’m looking to incorporate some kind of effect, which would disrupt the harmony of the sound in order to signal for the alarming precocity, as well as layer sounds of different species living in  the ecology in order to emphasize on the variety and richness of life which calls the ecology home.

I will certainly incorporate the sound of airplanes which pass regularly above the site, as this is something which is inevitable to hear when at the site, and also actively and continuously disrupting the natural habitat of thousands of living species on the site.

In the editing process, I am looking to layer the sounds and create an experience for the listener which will both transition them at the site, as well as inform them about the ecology.



The Interviews of Surveillance

•November 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

cinematography and video editing has always been my best talents, but due to certain limitations, I am wary I won’t be able to get specific footage to best help me convey the overall point and precarity in my ecology. These limitations include the interviews I had planned on doing at One Police Plaza with Jennifer Rodriguez, and finding people of color in the community who would be willing to be on camera. The main footage I aspire to acquire are in One Police Plaza, and Jennifer has gone MIA on me for whatever her reasons may be. Since she works in the facial recognition department, she has access to all of the camera viewings in the city, and also has the agency to grant me permission to come in and record them in action as well as video record valuable information and statistics that are very hard to find online.

The video recordings at One Police Plaza are very important because there are some clips I plan to show people while interviewing them, to see their reactions and how it affects him/her. For every pedestrian I interview for the video, I want to make a short “reaction” clip showing their face with a small video screen in the bottom right of the video I’m showing them from One Police Plaza. I plan on making this a montage introduction for the video portion of this project. Their reactions will prove how people in the neighborhood are unaware and desensitized to the precarity. I strongly feel this will engage my audience, and though I originally intended my target audience be people of color, I realize everyone should be aware; so how do I make a video that will cater to everyone alike and still get the point across?

In my audio rough cut, Jamie noticed the vernacular that my interviewee and I feel comfortable speaking in, and though its supposed to be a space where we can talk as we like and feel comfortable, Jamie had a point when she helped me realize that it may not be pleasing to some people and will more than likely disengage from everything. Even though this could happen either way, I notice that there has to be a balance in including some sort of professionalism when conducting interviews in these target locations. I have to make sure that everyone can understand and be affected when hearing the audio and watching the video.

I know I can still get this done right, but due to lack of resources and education in my target areas, it is going to be difficult for me to find people who can speak fluent English and/or in coherent sentences. So that balance of professionalism is going to have to subside in some moments and hope that people can still achieve close aesthetic distance when engaging.


~ Rocket G.




Bayway Projects

•November 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment
      Our theme this semester has been describing the various affects that are present in our chosen ecologies. In regards to my chosen ecology in the “Bayway Projects”, the production of sound and video are two powerful platforms to expose to my intended audience the affect that exists those who inhabit that community. I will be discussing the techniques I will be using throughout the production of my video, and the intended audience I am attempting to reach.
To start, the location for production shots and sequences are going to take place are at the lone three housing complexes and the few nearby bodegas and chicken shack restaurants that the residents have as their main accesses for nutrition within the Bayway community. This is important because both housing facilities are located on two separate blocks directly across the street from one another; it so happens that these buildings are surrounded by three food establishments whose contents would be considered inferior nutritional options at best. I want to make visually evident to my intended audience through my video, both sections of the building so that they are able to see the whole landscape of what constitutes, and has contributed to existing precarities; this includes, but is not limited to, liquor stores, Dunkin Donuts, Emily Supermarket, Bayway Fried Chicken and Iva Supermarket. I plan on filming an up-close shot of the centralized location of the entire layout of the housing projects which is building 305. This will be recorded during daylight hours from 12pm to 1 pm, during the week, a time where most children will be attending school. This will give me more accurate shots without any disturbance or interruption that minors may cause while being filmed.
 From there, the following shot will be pulling out of building 2 door 305, showing a view of the courtyard. This shot serves as a process of showing off the affect that many residents experience feeling deserted or alone. Since around this time period, there is less foot traffic with fewer people about, I find this shot to be more suitable for my intended audience as a way to show and express how some residents feel about their current situation while in the housing projects, which again I find to be feelings of abandonment and loneliness. The abundance of exposed windows and the excellent natural lighting that this area has, should do well to depict the affect within the first couple of shots.
The following shot will be achieved simply by holding the camera in a stationary position and pointing it from the building and walking towards the Fried Chicken restaurant. Buildings one and two are the closest to these food establishments, which also contains a liquor store. More likely than not, the following shot would include two older African American males sitting in front of Iva supermarket. They are always posted up sitting in between the supermarket and the chicken shack. Sometimes I catch them consuming alcohol beverages early in the morning however, I have not decided if I will include a shot of this. However, if I do I feel this would tie into the affect feeling of abandonment.
The following shot will record the beginning blocks of 825 and 830 Clarkson ave which are the two buildings that are on separate blocks. By contrasting the look of building two with building one, I am able to contrast the affects of the 2 separate blocks with one shared identity within their living quarters. This shot will be achieved simply by holding the camera up in a stationary position and pointing it at that the buildings from four different angles. Most likely this shot will include residents walking from across the street from building 2 to building 3 which will depict how the two facilities interact socially. Residents hardly ever stop walking across the street from each other. By showing shots off of people walking from one desired building to another, we can express the nature of human movement and also show the unity present among the people who occupy these spaces.
Another shot capturing the feet of traveling residents of the buildings can be achieved simply by mounting the camera at a low angle in a stationary position. This will be during the hours of 4 pm to 5 pm when there is more foot traffic and sunlight is still in abundance. The shot itself will not be long in length, as it serves as the focal point of the video. The shot has the purpose of showing off the interaction of the people walking in and out of Emily supermarket, in addition to, interaction on both sides of the buildings.
In addition,  from looking at these 2 works of media, it is possible to see how “captured” and recorded through different means and techniques of production. My intended audience mainly consists of the people who do not understand what entails and surrounds the low incoming housing community. I want them to consider other lived experiences, and recreate that affect of emotion that I felt in the films, “Gasland” and “Food Inc”.
To summarize, the key takeaway from these recording is not just that media creation in itself, but the idea and notion that one can capture and record different types of affect through different production techniques; it is the message that is delivered. Audiences will always have a difference of opinions about everything, and I am aware of the fact that what is inspiring for one person can be very dull to another. My main intention is to get a message across to an individual that has never exposed to this type of environment and help touch their heart.



El infantero

The Sights of Port Morris

•November 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment

What I want to capture with my video, are both the entities of Port Morris that are being silenced, and the entities that are silencing. I want to make clear in my video, the ways the residents are affected by the air quality, and the noise levels . The neighborhood is so overladen with highways, factories, trucks, and warehouses that I want my video to capture the things and people that are overshadowed.

The polluting structures of Port Morris are loud, and are consistently emitting noise.  I want to show how visually, they seem to dwarf the neighborhood of Port Morris with wide long structures that emit foul odors, and visibly emit foul air. One way I plan to ensure that this translates through video, is to shoot various parts of the neighborhood, and record sounds of the neighborhood separately, and overlay the sound and visuals together. I am cognizant of the fact that it is important for the voices of those who inhabit and struggle within Port Morris are heard. I plan to record interviews with social justice advocates who fought on issues regarding the quality of air in the Bronx.

The factory and warehouse structures dwarf the voices in the neighborhood both in their political clout, and sound. In the video, it will be much easier to show the actual  structures themselves that emit sound, where they do so, how they do so, and their frequency. I intend to show the highway, and the abundance of trucks, all entities that contribute to the high levels of pollution in the neighborhood. I want to give a sense of what inhabitants of Port Morris see on a daily basis, and the sights they see and air they experience on an average stroll throughout their neighborhood. I want to show structures that are a part of the neighborhood that are not factories, or warehouses, and where they are located, and the distance between each of them.

What are some businesses that are located in the area? Are there any type of business’ that are over-represented? Any essential business’ that are underrepresented or missing altogether?  These are all questions that I plan to have answered in my video at the end of all filming and editing. To film and record I am using a camcorder, and premiere to cut, and edit the footage and audio.






Dead Horse Bay & Freshkills Park: The Past & Future of NYC Waste Management in Video

•November 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment

If my project is going to effective & affective, video will be undeniably the most crucial part of it. No one is going to be moved to make lasting behavioral changes without some sort of fear factor coming into play- exactly what video can provide. Film is the perfect channel in which my project actually becomes influential over simply interesting, so the film portion is going to be essential in perfecting.

Although I am no director or film master (yet alone even intermediately skilled, I was able to already work with a video recorder and sample with video editing on adobe premiere, understanding where I need to improve for when I go to capture footage of Freshkills Park (I need to be still, use a tripod, and shut the hell up in attempting to narrate anything). When I took the trek to get to Dead Horse Bay, I made sure to bring a video camera along with me, as the weather was nice and the tide was low (providing the perfect setting to capture what I needed).  Described especially in my previous post. I made sure to film extensively the amount of garbage of the now-closed Barren Island landfill that is being uncovered slowly by the elements. Garbage from over a hundred years ago until recently litters the shoreline, and tons and tons are to be uncovered far into the future. The video footage I was able to capture perfectly embodies the main message of my project: your trash isn’t going anywhere even if you can’t see it.

Dead Horse Bay: My First Video!

Plastic, glass, aluminum, metals, cloth- any recyclable waste that people discard of via the “garbage”, also known as municipal waste, is not going to disintegrate in my lifetime, your lifetime, your kids lifetime, or their kids lifetime. And even if it does disintegrate in that time, it releases methane and other green house gases into the atmosphere during the process- the biggest reason why incineration sites cannot be used often. Even landfill give off immense quantities of greenhouse gases due to the conglomeration of acres and acres of trash that make it up, like the 2,200 acres that makes up Freshkills Park.

Freshkills Park was once the biggest landfill in the world, containing almost 200 million tons of garbage in Staten Island. It was shut down and capped in 2001 due to immense pressure from the citizens of its general toxicity and revolting odors into the surrounding area. So, after its capping, they have been doing what was once done to Dead Horse Bay and the Barren Island landfill and converting it into the soon-to-be largest park in New York City. It’s not open to the public yet, but I was able to get in touch with a representative of the park and they have put me into a professional photographer tour group so I will be able to capture footage as well as interview the tour guide on November 10th.

I am extremely excited for this adventure and understand how important the footage I capture there will be in order to compare it to the footage of Dead Horse Bay and portray the other overarching theme of my project: past & future mistakes. Even though I’m sure the infrastructure of the massive engineered nature park is much better then the attempts made at Dead Horse Bay, the concept is identical. The trash is not going anywhere, it is constantly releasing methane and other dangerous gases into the atmosphere, and it will be there long enough for the elements to attempt to degrade it at the seams- points I will make sure to, kindly, make during the interview opportunities I get.

Anyway, once I get the desired footage of Freshkills I will combine it with the footage of Dead Horse Bay to create my final video project. The project will be created to affect the viewers to not only change their behavior for good, but to be inspired to even take action in changing waste management as we know, no matter how small their actions may be. The scariness that are landfills and the idea that landfill capping is the perfect solution needs to be understood on a deeply mental and emotional level, something that only visualization can provide to shake someone to their core- and that is exactly why my video portion is the most crucial part of the entire project. The affect and effect that video has will be inevitable is influencing the viewers one way or another.





Newtown Creek and its precarity through audio

•November 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment

While I was working on revising my audio rough draft, I’ve taken a lot of good points we went over in class into accounts. I considered having more than one subjects for my audio recording which I originally thought may not be a good choice as I wanted to focus on the quality of one interview. But after thinking about how it could make my audio sound too subjective in informing the listener and creating the sense of precarity for my ecology, I decided to cut some parts of my audio recording. I’m going to cut off especially the parts where I speak over my interviewee, which I should not have done. I tried scheduling an interview with her again, but I don’t think it will happen before I submit my revised audio recording.

Then I’m going to insert some interview clips that I got from some NYU Tandon students who were visiting the Nature Walk by clipping specific parts of the recording where they talk about the precarities of the ecology. It’s a little challenging to cleanly cut off the specific parts because it was extremely windy by the water. But I tried my best to use the noise reduction tool to remove the background noise as much as possible and integrate it with my original interview clip. I tried to juxtapose two recording clips from different interviews that point out at similar aspects of precarities about the ecology so it appears as less subjective.

I’m also going to use my audio clip where I only recorded natural sounds of the ecology as an intro to my recording so that it transitions nicely into the interview. I’m going to have the audio clip to fade into the sound recording and fade out to the interview. The reason that I want to use the sound clip of natural sound is that it captures a mix of natural sounds and industrial sounds. The recording captures the sound of birds chirping but also the sound of factory machines running loudly. The mixture of the sound is exactly what the current state of Newtown Creek is — while there’s some nature that has been restored very recently, the Creek is still a place that is surrounded by factories with contaminating chemicals that threaten the water. I wanted to place it before the interview begins so that it brings the listener into the affect of the ecology first before he/she is introduced to the interview that will further inform the listener about the precarities. I’m going to fade out the interview with the same audio recording for the natural sound since my interview clip ends abruptly in my rough draft.

For both portions of fading in and fading out, I plan on emphasizing the sound of the factory machines by increasing its volume to override the peaceful affect from the birds chirping sound and bring the focus to the precarity. I think this sound manipulation will help me portray Newtown Creek to the listener with more of an industrial atmosphere and signal the source of its precarities more clearly during my sound recording.