Although it took me awhile to figure out what to do for the methodology module, I am very happy with the project I ended up choosing. As I explained in my first post, I decided to the the image visualization module. My original plan for this was to look at a series of movies, then I changed it to covers from billboard top 100 songs. Neither of these plans worked out, so I decided to change things up again. As I explained in my second post, I chose to look at Taylor Swift songs, planning to eventually focus on how her music videos have changed over the years along with her own personal evolution. In my third post, I explained the process of downloading, extracting, and visualizing the different music videos. My fourth post contained the resulting images that I created using the frames from the videos.
I have enjoyed working on this project so far, although it has been frustrating at times. Extracting frames and generating images is definitely time consuming. I am looking forward to continuing the project by using the information I have learned throughout this module to further explore and analyze my findings by hand-coding my own website.
The first step that I took toward visualizing Taylor Swift’s music videos was to download the YouTube videos. I did this through Command Prompt by using youtube-dl. Once the videos were downloaded, I used FFMPEG to extract frames from the videos. This was a more complicated process than I was expecting. We practiced extracting the frames in class, and I thought I remembered the process, but it turns out that I didn’t. I failed to extract the frames many times before realizing that I needed to be very specific with the code that I used. Once I figured this out, it was pretty easy to extract the rest of the frames, although it was very time consuming.
Once I had all the frames extracted, I used IMJ to generate various barcodes, montages, and plots. I thought it was pretty fun to watch them generate in front of my eyes! I decided to extract a barcode, a barcode showing only the average colors, a montage, and a plot from each video. This took quite a bit of time. I had trouble saving some of the images after I generated them, but I solved this problem by taking screenshots when I needed to. I will share the generated images in my next post.
In the time since my last post, I have begun to work on my project. After going through many billboard top 100 lists and starting to compile images, I realized that my goals for this project were way too big. It was taking me hours to download the images, and I was ending up with much fewer images than I wanted. As opposed to thousands of images, I was spending hours trying to download mere hundreds.
I decided to switch the theme of my project. I am still doing the methodology module, but I came up with a new idea. People always talk about Taylor Swift and her evolution throughout the years from a young country star to a more mature pop artist. I had the idea to look at her most popular music video from each of her six albums. I will compare them and see how the videos change throughout the years. Most people consider her music to be darker and more mature than it used to be, so I will see if this is obvious in her music videos.
I have gone back and forth quite a bit about what to do for the Digital Methodology Module. From the beginning, I have been planning to do the image visualization option. At first, I thought it would be really cool to look at a series of movies, such as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. I wanted to make barcodes or plots of the individual movies and then compare them. For both of those series, the movies tend to get darker as they go, and I wanted to see how much you could tell about the individual movies by using software to compare them.
However, I soon realized that this plan wasn’t going to work. I didn’t have any of the movies downloaded to my computer, and none of them were on YouTube. I also realized the huge amount of space that it would take up on my computer. I began to look for another option on YouTube. I found a movie that was in the public domain, but was in black and white. I considered using this for awhile, and even downloaded it to my computer, but decided that I wanted to experiment with colors.
I began to think of other ideas for the project. One of the first things that came to mind was music. Music is such a big part of so many people’s lives, and tells us a lot about the opinions and current happenings of society. I decided to look at music throughout the years by comparing album covers of the top 10 songs every week. I currently am planning on looking at multiple years worth of music and comparing them to each other. I hope to find out how music has changed over the years, how long most songs stay in the top positions, and what this tells us about society.
I am excited about this project, and I think that it will be very interesting. I am a little nervous about how time consuming it will be, but I am already working to plan out how to get everything done and create a final project that teaches me something and that I am proud of.