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Paul Bond

Morning in Baltimore - notes on episode 11 #wire106

2 min read

01epigraphThe title of this episode is "A New Day." In the script, it specifically refers to the new mayoral administration and to the New Day Co-op that Prop Joe runs with the other drug kingpins. The epigraph is "You play in dirt, you get dirty," which is what McNulty says about Officer Walker. "Dirt" is referenced a few other times in the script - when the kids are plotting payback on Officer Walker, when Bunk presses Prez for help with getting Randy to talk, and in the discussion of city finances: "Finance, of course, doesn't deal with the dirt under the nails tangibles, unless you consider the money itself to be dirty."

"A new day" could also refer to the major crimes unit getting back to business. Daniels calls it "morning in Baltimore." Lester goes back to the unit's office and turns on the lights, symbolic of a new day/morning, and starts digging in the dirt and reviewing case files. There's some eloquent visual storytelling going on in the scene. We see a box labeled "subpoena returns," so we know we're looking at the trail of dirty money. We see Freamon pull a folder for Ed Bowers, and the scene cuts to a fundraising gathering where the new mayor is hobnobbing with the city's elite and gets introduced to Ed Bowers. We go back to Freamon looking at a subpoena for Maurice Webber, then cut back to Carcetti in conversation with another person. His name tag reveals him to be Maurice Webber. We can expect the new mayor to quickly find dirt under his fingernails.

 

06reopening01 06reopening02 06reopening03 06reopening04 06reopening05 06reopening06 

 By intercutting those two scenes, and juxtaposing just the right shots and just the right dialogue, we get all that information in a fraction of a minute - another example of masterful editing.


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Paul Bond

Acting Commissioner Burrell #wire106

1 min read

faison1Earlier in his career, before he acted as Commissioner of the Baltimore Police, Ervin Burrell had a number of other jobs, including truck driver and apartment building superintendent. He also worked for the New Orleans PD. Here we see him in Cat People, the 1982 remake of the Jacques Tourneur classic of the same name.

CAT_PEOPLE1CAT_PEOPLE2

The top picture makes him look like a saint while the lower one makes him look like Shaft. My wife questions my choice of movies. But Cat Videos approves!

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Paul Bond

There's never been a paper bag... #ds106 #wire106

2 min read

Inspired by the WaffleStomper, I thought I'd try remixing a song and some speech. Keeping with The Wire theme, I was also inspired by the speech that Major Colvin gave about the history of the paper bag. I decided to mix that with Blake Leyh's closing theme, The Fall (YT). I used MPEG Streamclip to get the audio for both. When I put them together in Audacity, I saw that the speech was about twice as long as the music:

twotracks

So I had to do some editing. I went at it on both fronts - shortening the speech and lengthening the music. If you look at the speech, you see a lot of flatline segments, the pauses between his words. Taking them out entirely would make it sound unnatural, but they can be edited aggressively. Every place I saw a length of silence, represented by the flat line in the waveform, I removed a large part of it.

speech

This shortened the speech significantly, but it was still longer than the music. Editing that was trickier. I selected three passages and looped them by copying and pasting. The trick was to listen to the pattern in the music and figure out where it repeats. That way I could duplicate the sections without disturbing the flow of the music. I don't think I did a really good job with getting the splices right - if you focus on the music you can hear where I edited it. On the positive side, it's only jarring in a couple spots. I used the Amplify function to boost the voice and the mixer slider to bring down the volume of the music.

Paul Bond

Little Melvin #ds106 #wire106

2 min read

08deacon

A minor character who makes his debut in this week’s episodes is the Deacon. I’m not sure if he has a name beyond that. He’s played by Melvin Williams, a former Baltimore drug kingpin who served as a partial template for Avon Barksdale. Simon wrote a series of articles about him for the Baltimore Sun. I couldn’t find them online, but did find a blog post discussing them. Many of the characters in The Wire are built from real people that Simon and his co-authors have encountered, or have been for that matter. The series takes that a step further by weaving real people into the story. Detective Ed Norris is played by Ed Norris, former Baltimore police chief. The character Omar was inspired by Donnie Andrews, who has a bit part in some episodes. Jay Landsman is based on Jay Landsman, who plays Colvin's second-in-command. Felicia "Snoop" Pearson is portrayed by Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, who was a product of the environment seen in the series. Simon talks about the city of Baltimore as a character in the series, which we see in the photography and authentic settings, but I think the blurring of real and fictional characters also contributes to that.



UC Berkeley professor Linda Williams wrote (PDF) about these connections in studying the ethnography of The Wire. I'll have to read that more closely.

Paul Bond

Julie Andrews in #wire106 #ds106

1 min read


Sandy Brown Jensen wroteall about The Wire and their adventures for today's Daily Create. I vaguely remember Julie Andrews' role in the episode, "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Mac-11s." I knew there was a GIF of it out there somewhere.


Paul Bond

Wire106 audio ideas #ds106 #wire106

1 min read

Looking through past posts on the wire106 site, I found a bunch of ideas that people had posted, including Travis, Jeremy, Desa, Imran, Nicholas, IenMelinda, Danielle, and La Kisha. Most of them are already in groups. If you're looking for a group and you like someone's ideas, maybe you could ask if they can use some help. If you have some ideas and you're looking for collaborators, put your ideas out there with a call for help. But let's get this done today so everyone can get started.

Paul Bond

The Vignelli Canon #ds106 #wire106

1 min read

canon-1
Another design resource that's worth looking at is The Vignelli Canon. It's a short booklet by Massimo Vignelli, who was a superstar in the world of graphic design. The booklet is light on text and heavy on space and imagery, so it's a quick read. His purpose in writing it was to share his knowledge for the benefit of other designers. As he says, "Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best."

Vignelli did most of his work in the pre-Internet era, when graphic design meant ink on paper, so some of the information is not so relevant to our online environment, but the principles still stand. So take a look at it, and let us know what you think.

Paul Bond

Wanted: for DWI #ds106 #wire106

2 min read

mcnulty


I thought the idea of a Wanted Poster assignment was perfect for wire106. Hats off to Kris for making it. McNulty ought be get hauled in for his escapades in the last episode, so I thought he’d make a good subject. But I’m all about the animated GIFs, so I took it down that route. I used the same poster generator as Kris because I’m lazy, but it stopped my GIF from animating. So I made a new layer on top of my GIF and changed the Image Size to match the poster that the site made. I copied the poster, minus the part with the picture, and pasted it on the top layer of my GIF. I had to resize the poster layer a lot until it lined up right. Then I decided I didn’t like the color image on the sepia toned poster. I looked for an easy filter in Photoshop but didn’t see anything I liked. So I repasted the poster, this time without leaving out the image. Then I changed the layer blending mode to Screen, which sort of washed out the color of the GIF. Since the image is on the poster layer as a constant, it gives a double-vision effect during the animation, which suits his intoxicated look.

Paul Bond

Gif me the money! #ds106 #wire106

1 min read


When I saw this shot I knew I had to make a gif. I just wish that truck wasn't moving in the background, because then you'd just have this endless rain of bills without making the looping so obvious. I could freeze the truck, I think, but that would mean editing all 26 frames, which is a little more effort than I feel like investing. Yes, I'm lazy. 

Paul Bond

Wire106 - comic book style #ds106 #wire106

2 min read

Bendis posted this on Tumblr. It comes from a poster shop called New Flesh, which is a term I normally associate with Dr. Oblivion. It could make for an interesting visual or design assignment. With the image editing filters available, it is not too difficult to make a photo look like an illustration, and the poster is just juxtaposing shots rather than engaging in any kind of sequential art storytelling. 



You could make panels from a single scene, or an episode, or multiple episode. You would have to pick shots that can be cropped in interesting ways to give the poster some variety and drama. That might be harder than it seems because the shots that stand out do so because of the way they’re composed, so cropping might weaken them. The elements that make it look like a comic book page are panels of various shapes and sizes, panel borders, gutters between panels, and captions. The illustration style helps too, although the effect is achievable without it. The other hallmark of comic book storytelling is word balloons, which aren’t used here.

So it’s an idea. If I follow through and do it I’ll write something up for the assignment bank.