Thursday, June 30, 2011

75th Anniversary of Gone with the Wind

Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the novel by Margaret Mitchell. Gone With the Wind was published in June 1936. Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her sweeping novel the following May. It was made into an equally famous motion picture starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. The movie had its world premiere at the Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta December 15, 1939.

Check out this little video about Margaret Mitchell.

Of course, Gone with the Wind is part of the Media Services Home Use Collection. Check it out this month!

Gone with the Wind - HU DVD 9

Ethnographic Video Online - Hundreds More Titles Added!!

Ethnographic Video Online of Alexander Street Press provides the largest, most comprehensive resource for the study of human culture and behavior – more than 750 hours and 1,000 films at completion. The collection covers every region of the world and features the work of many of the most influential documentary filmmakers of the 20th century, including interviews, previously unreleased raw footage, field notes, study guides, and more.

Ethnographic Videos Online is always adding to their vast collection, so check back from time to time. You can find them by clicking on the Search Databases link under Research on the American University Library homepage. The Ethnographic Videos Online link will take you to their homepage where you can do searches, browse titles, and watch videos right on their site. The only catch is that the library bought a subscription, so if you're not in the library, you will be asked to authenticate, to prove that you're a current AU student.

Check 'em out!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Remove Scratches from DVDs with Liquid Metal Polish

The Consumerist blog lead us to an old post on the Wise Bread blog which discusses several interesting methods for removing scratches from CDs or DVDs. Suggested methods include using tooth paste, a banana, chewing gum, and most effectively - Brasso, or any liquid metal polish.

This video shows you how it's done, but as a reminder, never try this at home with an American University Library Media Services DVD. Just return and report any problems you have, and leave the repairs to the trained professionals: us!

DC is now down to one Blockbuster

[This Blockbuster is located at 410 8th Street, SE Washington, DC ]
Now that spotting an open Blockbuster location is a novelty that merits a double take, and scores of other video rental chains have vanished, movie fans who want to rent some DVDs for the road have had to change the way they operate.

According to a Washington Post trend story, the lack of DVD rental stores complicates road trips. Noting that D.C. is now down to its last Blockbuster, the reporter talks to renters who lament the changing times.
Read more here.
[As seen on the Consumerist blog]

Friday, June 24, 2011

Copyright Settlement of the Day

Back in 2009,’s Andy Baio produced Kind of Bloop, a chiptune tribute to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. It was one of the biggest early success stories for crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

Today, Baio announced he had paid $32,000 in a copyright settlement — not over the music, which he licensed from the publisher, but over the album cover, a pixel art version of the iconic Kind of Blue cover photographed by Jay Maisel.

Maisel sued Baio for copyright infringement, seeking “either statutory damages up to $150,000 for each infringement at the jury’s discretion and reasonable attorneys fees or actual damages and all profits attributed to the unlicensed use of his photograph, and $25,000 for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations.”

Baio believed he had a “fair use” defense, based on the fact that the pixel art could be considered a “transformative work” that comments on the original. Unfortunately, proving that in court would likely have cost him more than 10 times as much as he paid in the settlement.

“My lawyers and I firmly believed that I was legally in the right,” he told Gizmodo. “But it doesn’t matter, fair use doesn’t protect you unless you’re willing to pay to defend yourself.”

--taken from

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eva Gabrielsson on the Diane Rehm Show

Eva Gabrielsson: “’There Are Things I Want You to Know’ About Stieg Larsson and Me”

Seven years ago, Swedish journalist and author Stieg Larsson suffered a heart attack. He died without ever knowing the success of his Millennium trilogy. The books – "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" - have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. Larsson’s longtime partner, Eva Gabrielsson, says the books could not have been written without her, and she’s now locked in a bitter dispute with the author's family. They disagree on the rights and income from the books, and the publication of a possible fourth book. Gabrielsson has written a new memoir in which she details her version of the story. The book is called "’There Are Things I Want You to Know’ About Stieg Larsson and Me."


Eva Gabrielsson author, architect, and political activist. Her new memoir, "'There Are Things I Want You to Know' About Stieg Larsson and Me" details her more than 30 years with Swedish
novelist Stieg Larsson.

[As seen on the WAMU Diane Rehm Show site.]

Listen to today’s show here:

Diane Rehm Show 6.22.11

The film version of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy can be found here in Media Services.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – HU DVD 7891
The Girl Who Played with Fire – HU DVD 7892
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – HU DVD 7893

Monday, June 20, 2011

AFI SilverDocs Film Festival 2011 Kicks Off Today in Silver Spring, MD

The AFI Discovery Channel SilverDocs Film Festival kicked off today. It runs from June 20 – June 26. There are many ways to keep up with the film festival. They have the SilverDocs web site, which also contains the “festival genius”, a guide to all the films that includes brief summaries, Youtube trailers, and show dates and times.

You can follow the SilverDocs on Twitter @silverdocs or find them on Facebook, where they have a SILVERDOCS Facebook fan page.

These guys are really covering all the bases because they’ve even got a SilverDocs tumblr, which is a blog that is currently highlighting titles in the film festival with eye-catching stills and links back to the film descriptions and show dates and times on their official site.

Finally, they have a Silver Docs Youtube Channel with video of the kick-off party and trailers for some of the films being shown this week.

Here’s the AFI SilverDocs 2011 Sizzle Reel:

Media Services Has a New Facebook Fan Page!!

Media Services now has a new Facebook Fan Page. We've had a Facebook page for a few years, but we're now migrating to a fan page for easier access. We welcome all friends and alumni of Media Services to like and frequent our new fan page, and that includes YOU!

Visit the new American University Library - Media Services fan page, and don't forget to hit the Like button.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Filmography - Health and Fitness

The Media Services contribution to the Library Subject Guides is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library ALADIN catalog (

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

Here’s a sneak peak at what can be found in the HEALTH AND FITNESS Filmography

All jacked up: Hungry for the truth? 2008. 1 videodisc (110 min.). "All jacked up is an angst-driven portrait of four teenagers who discover the truth about their obsessive, addictive, and emotion-fueled eating habits.” DVD 4040

Ayurveda the art of being. 2004. 1 videodisc (102 min.). Ayurveda, the "science of life", one of the oldest holistic medical systems in the world. Originating in India more than 5000 years ago, and spreading to Tibet, China and Japan, this uncanny intersection of science, medicine and magic is only now receiving serious study in the West. DVD 872

Beauty mark Body image & the race for perfection. 2009. 1 videodisc (53 min.). "[Diana] Israel, a Boulder-based psychotherapist and former champion triathlete, talks candidly about her long and agonizing personal struggle with eating disorders and obsessive exercising, fearlessly confronting her own painful past as she attempt to come to terms with American culture's unhealthy fixation on self-destructive ideals of beauty and competitiveness. The film lends context to Israel's personal odyssey with fascinating insights from athletes, bodybuilders, fashion models, and inner-city teens, as well as prominent cultural critics and authors" -- Container. DVD 6876

Healing and the mind. 2009. 3 videodiscs (318 min.). Ancient medical science told us our minds and bodies are one. So did philosophers of old. Now modern science and new research are helping us to understand these connections. Bill Moyers talks with physicians, scientists, therapists, and patients -- people who are taking a new look at the meaning of sickness and health. He discusses their search for answers today? How do thoughts and feelings influence health? How can we collaborate with our bodies to encourage healing? DVD 5711 - 5713

Incredible human machine. 2007. 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (96 min.). Brilliantly designed and marvelous in its mechanics, the human body is incredible. With stunning footage and powerful first hand accounts, take a fantastic journey through an ordinary day in the life of the human body. Witness striking feats of medical advancement, from glimpses of open-brain surgery to real-time views of Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler's vocal chords. Meet athletes and other unique people who push the human body to its ultimate limits. Take an exhilarating tour of the human body, from the inside out, to reveal the miraculous everyday workings of the incredible human machine. Features cutting-edge medical technology and groundbreaking CGI views. An update to the 1975 documentary. DVD 4660 and Streaming video

See the full Health and Fitness filmography here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Todd's Thoughts: Web 2.0 and the Redefintion of Everything

Ok, so maybe this should be Todd's Tips, but this is something worth thinking about.

With the wild connectivity supplied to us by Web 2.0 technology forces us to re-define our notions of communication and information. As we link, we link ourselves to other people and ultimately to the Web itself. And, as Professor Michael Wesch of Kansas State University suggests, we link ourselves to the machine; we become the machine. This notion is perhaps a bit buried in the mythology of the Matrix, but it's not very far off.

It's really worth taking a few minutes to watch his video about the way Web2.0 is changing us as sentient beings:

DMS Help: The "Sin City Effect"

The so-called "Sin City effect" is a color-correction technique in which a range of colors is left saturated with color while the rest of an image (can be still or video) is completely desaturated to black and white. The effect is called the "Sin City effect" because it was used widely in Robert Rodriguez' film "Sin City."

But you don't need a Hollywood post-production budget to do it. In fact, all you need is Final Cut Pro and a few minutes.

Check out the video below and stylize your next project:

DMS Help: Cool Text Effects in Photoshop

Is your text feeling a little flat in your latest Photoshop project? Feel like your words need a bit more flare?

Here' s your answer: 50 Photoshop tutorials that show you how to bring new life to your text. Check them out and make your text demand attention.

DMS Help: Creating Grunge Effects in Photoshop

The grunge style is in. Contemporary design is loaded with images that seem to have been left out in the rain. Even so the grunge style is often very visually appealing. But how do you create these effects?

Actually, the grunge look is easier than you think. Here's a list of 40 great tutorials on how to create a variety of grungy effects in Photoshop.

Take a look and get grungy.

What is AR?

"AR" is an acronym for "augmented reality." For those who don't know AR is adding digital images, text or information to a real-time image/video of the real world.

Take the photo to the left, for example. The iPhone user is pointing the camera on his phone at a building. The application then provides the rest of the information and overlays it on a visual layer.

Take a look at this video, it's a more fun application of AR:

Virtual Ribbons from James Alliban on Vimeo.

I know it seems like this technology is WAY beyond anything you can do at this point, but it's not. You can do it in Flash. Check out this tutorial from Adobe and learn just how easy it can be to create amazing AR applications.

DMS Help: Learn Any Adobe Product on Adobe TV

Need to learn how to use an Adobe product fast? No problem. Just tune in to Adobe TV.

I know, sounds weird right. But it's not. In fact, it's really quite awesome.

Adobe TV is a massive online repository of videos about Adobe's multimedia production software. Not only are there a HUGE number of tutorials spanning beginning to advanced techniques, there are also tons of instructive interviews with industry professionals on a wide variety of topics like video production, photography and web design.

Check out Adobe TV. You won't be disappointed. Especially since it's all free!

Interactive Media: Flash, pt 5 - Getting Started with Action Script

Action Script 3.0 (AS3) is Adobe's programming language. It is used in the applications Flash and Flex to develop interactive web applications, interactive animations and games.

AS3 is a complete and fully functional object-oriented programming language which can handle a vast array of interactivity-related tasks such as handling key stroke and mouse click events to playing video and audio to handling AR input via a webcam. Moreover, since AS3 is part of the Flash platform it is fully integrated with Flash's drawing and animating capabilities and therefore allows referencing pre-made art and objects in your very simple.

So what's the catch, you ask? The catch is that AS3 is not the easiest programming language to learn. But never fear, Adobe is here for you.

One of the very best places to begin learning AS3 is a series of videos presented on Adobe TV: Actionscript 1:1 with Doug Winnie. In nearly 50 short videos, Doug takes you through AS3 programming step-by-step. By the time you're half way through you'll know enough to begin developing your own games. Check out Doug's videos and start creating your own interactive media.

Interactive Media: Flash, pt 4 - Getting Started with Animation

Once you get to the point where you can draw in Flash with some competency you need to learn how to animate.

For those of you who are AU students, the best place to go for this type of training is But, if you're not or you just want to learn how to do some pretty amazing stuff with Flash animation (such as 3D graphics or even augmented reality), Adobe's Developer Connection website has a large number of tutorials on animating in Flash. Most of these tutorials are text tutorials, though there are a few videos, but don't let that dissuade you. You can learn some REALLY amazing things from these tutorials.

So check out the listing and learn to make some amazing animations and more.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Filmography - War and the Media

The Media Services contribution to the Library Subject Guides is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library ALADIN catalog (

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

Here’s a sneak peak at what can be found in the recently updated WAR AND THE MEDIA Filmography:

Bill Moyers journal. Bill Moyers journal: Moyers collection. 2007. 1 videodisc (58 min.). "Tracing a President's steps in escalating war, this edition of the Journal looks back to Lyndon Johnson's deliberations on U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Using a compilation of excerpts from taped conversations in which LBJ wrestled with what to do in Southeast Asia, Bill Moyers draws a parallel between two very different men united, across time, by their role as Commander-in-Chief. “Granted, Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan is not Vietnam, and this is now, not then. But listen and you will hear echoes and refrains that resonate today,” says Moyers."--Container. DVD 6797

Frontline journalists: Death and danger in Afghanistan. 2008. 1 videodisc (50 min.). This documentary showcases the chaos and extreme dangers that journalists face in the most war-torn areas of the world. DVD 4209

Imaginary witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust. 2009. 1 videodisc (92 min.). This documentary examines the American film and television industry's response to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi persecution of the Jews before, during, and after World War II. Uses film clips, newsreel footage and interviews of filmmakers and Holocaust survivors. DVD 8070

The war briefing. 2008. (60 min.). Examines the policy choices the next president will face as he inherits an overstretched military, frayed alliances, and wars on two fronts. Features strategists and diplomats discussing how to correct past failures and how to shape a realistic foreign policy approach in the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Presents on-the-ground reporting from the deadliest battlefield in the mountains of Afghanistan and follows the trail to the militant safe havens deep inside the Pakistani tribal areas. DVD 1085 and Streaming video

See the full War and the Media filmography here.