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Students mix Web and cinema

May 16, 2008 -- A red carpet wasn't necessary when the Cinema 623 class premiered its final projects May 16. The class launched, "CineShred," an edgy and diverse collection of online projects that blend cinema and Web technology in online movies.

Screenshots from some of CineShred's projects.

The annual class, called "Cinema as an online medium," is taught by Professor of Cinema Jan Millsapps, and changes from year-to-year as students experiment with changing Web technology in their projects. This year's class favored Web 2.0, which enhances interaction and collaboration between content creators and viewers. In traditional online media, viewers passively watch a video clip. While Web 2.0 allows viewers to actively drive the plot.

"Imagine a movie in which we're riding down a street in a car with a character and suddenly there's a link to the Google Earth street view of the location where this shot was filmed," Millsapps said. "Or think of an online movie in which filmmakers ask visitors to visit their site to direct the action remotely."

The students projects range from "Craigslist the Musical," where participants videotape themselves singing the Craigslist ad of their choice, to "Three Days a Year," whose authors created movies of themselves based on suggestions sent in by visitors to their Web site. Many of the students' sites feature forums and blogs where visitors can comment and contribute to the content.

As technology evolves, it's likely the class next spring could take the projects in a totally different direction.

"Because the Web evolves so rapidly, this class changes radically each time I teach it," Millsapps said. "I knew we'd do something different this year, but wasn't sure what. It's the students who decide which way we'll go."

-- Michael Bruntz


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