Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meet the Poster Printer

The library has a fun new addition: meet the poster printer! This dashboard-sized behemoth prints large-form posters for presentations and events. No longer will you have to awkwardly print out paragraphs and glue to them to CVS posterboard; you can design the whole poster with software available at the New Media Center. Price varies by size and starts at $4.50 for a 2-foot poster.

As finals season is revving up, keep this in mind if you need to make a poster for a research presentation. This will be especially useful next semester for students in a research symposium or working on an Honors capstone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Silent Film Online is free, substantial

Ends up that the lost Hitchcock isn't the only silent film you can find online now. The American University Library now has a subscription to Silent Film Online, a database of streaming silent films. This isn't a tiny collection: it has heavy hitters like Nosferatu, Battleship Potemkin, and Metropolis.

If you're an active member of the AU community (student, staff, faculty, etc.), you are able to view these films at any time. That's over 150 hours of historically important silent films available at any time. This is an incredible resource!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hitchcock first's film found! Watch online for free

Attention Hitchcock aficionados: one of the legendary director's first films, 1923's The White Shadow, was recently recovered in New Zealand and has been made available for free online. It is currently the earliest surviving Hitchcock film.

The film, long presumed lost was only partly recovered. About half of the silent film (42 minutes) has survived, so don't watch it for the story. Even with what little remains, though, Hitchcock's style (in its infancy) and his eye for dramatic staging are still pretty apparent.

The release of The White Shadow comes on the heels of a recent surge of Hitchcockmania, likely helped by the release of the Anthony Hopkins-starring biopic Hitchcock this past weekend.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hot Docs: The First Amendment in the 21st Century

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we've recently added to our collection.

The First Amendment in the 21st Century (DVD 10620-10627) is an eight-part series that highlights landmark free speech cases from the Supreme Court. Each lasts roughly half an hour and includes digital supplemental material, including briefs and case summaries. Subject matter ranges from exclusionary memberships to speech protections for government employees.

Official description from Ambrose Video:

Guided by the nation's top First Amendment scholars, this series brings into focus critical First Amendment issues in the technological world of the 21st century

This series examines eight First Amendment cases decided by the United States Supreme Court, cases that will guide in the understanding of how the First Amendment is still securing our liberties in the technologically rich and rapidly changing world we live in. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Learn Photoshop like a preschooler — with puppets!

The end of the semester is upon us, which means that term projects and presentations are rearing their ugly heads. If the activity in the New Media Center is anything to go by, professors from across campus are now expecting students to use media in their presentations. This is expected for graphic design, film, and communications classes, but for a political science student who's never touched Photoshop, it can be intimidating.

If you're new to the world of media software and need someone to explain it to you like you're a toddler, look no further than "Fafa's Photoshop Tutorial," a video tutorial on the basics of Photoshop as presented by puppets. It's equal parts adorable and informative for first-time users.

Remember that if you need personal, human help with media software, the New Media Center staff are available to help out whenever we're open.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Settle down for the weekend with Thanksgiving television

The officially sanctioned "holiday season" starts this Thursday with Thanksgiving. But unlike other big cultural fixations, Thanksgiving doesn't have any classic movies associated with it. If you want the best Thanksgiving stories, you'll usually have to turn to television.

With that said, here's a list of the Thanksgiving movies and television episodes in our college. Any DVDs checked out from Media Services before the holiday weekend will be due on Monday, November 26th.

Safe travels and happy Thanksgiving!


Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: "Pangs" - HU DVD 2837
The Office: "" - HU DVD 4035
The Simpsons: "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" - HU DVD 6585
Seinfeld: "The Mom & Pop Store" - HU DVD 6668
The Sopranos: "He is Risen" - HU DVD 6811
South Park: "Starvin' Marvin" - HU DVD 6952
South Park: "Helen Keller! The Musical" - HU DVD 6962
Friends: "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" - HU DVD 8502 
Friends: "The One With the List" - HU DVD 8506 
Friends: "The One With the Football" - HU DVD 8510  
Friends: "The One With Chandler in a Box" - HU DVD 8514 
Friends: "The One With All the Thanksgivings" - HU DVD 8518  
Friends: "The One Where Ross Got High" - HU DVD 8522 
Friends: "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" - HU DVD 8526  
Friends: "The One With the Rumor" - HU DVD 8530
Friends: "The One With Rachel's Other Sister" - HU DVD 8534
Friends: "The One With the Late Thanksgiving" - HU DVD 8538
The West Wing: "Shibboleth" - HU DVD 8859
Friday Night Lights: "Thanksgiving" - HU DVD 9016
That '70s Show: "Thanksgiving" - HU DVD 10357, Disc 1


What's Cooking - HU DVD 251
The Ice Storm - HU DVD 4051

Streaming video

Desperate Crossing: Untold Story of the Mayflower - Streaming video

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Acquisitions – November 2012

In the past month, we've added 293 new titles and television series. They run the full spectrum from educational films about landmark Supreme Court cases to The Avengers and Magic Mike. We're continuing to add more television, including cult favorites such as Sports Night and American Horror Story. We have dozens of brand new documentaries, including the controversial 2016: Obama's America. Plus, we're adding all sorts of movies that you've requested through our suggestion box.

Look forward to individual posts about some of the more interesting documentaries we've added. In the meantime, read on for a complete list of what we've added this month.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

P.T. Anderson's tracking shots dissected

Last month, I mentioned a new film journal that analyzes famous film scenes through the lens of architecture. It seems that this is a big year for space studies in films, because now, an entrepreneuring blogger at the British Film Institute has created a video essay diagramming some of Paul Thomas Anderson's trademark tracking shots.

Kevin B. Lee makes a very compelling case that, by analyzing how Anderson uses long takes, you can develop an appreciation for how he gradually created a signature style. While his work in Boogie Nights owes a debt to Martin Scorsese, his later shots in There Will Be Blood are much closer to the slower, conservative style that Anderson is renowned for.

The video essay is terrific, but for the full experience, see the movies for yourself.

Hard Eight - HU DVD 5549
Boogie Nights - HU DVD 8
Magnolia - HU DVD 1458
Punch-Drunk Love - HU DVD 677
There Will Be Blood - HU DVD 4196

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New streaming video databases from Alexander Street

The American University Library recently gained access to two new, exciting streaming video databases via Alexander Street Press. They include a combined 413 hours of video! These new resources are well worth checking out if you have interest their subject matter. 

LGBT Studies in Video

Collection features documentaries, interviews, and feature films exploring LGBT history, gay culture and subcultures, civil rights, marriage equality, LGBT families, AIDS, transgender issues, religious perspectives on homosexuality, and other topics.

New World Cinema: Independent Features and Shorts, 1990-Present

An online streaming video collection, delivers approximately 200 full-length feature films from independent distributors such as Kino Lorber, First Run Features, Film Movement, and MK2, along with some fifty award-winning shorts.

(This database is particularly impressive; it includes major films,  including Michael Haneke's award-winning The Piano Teacher.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

AU professor debuts documentary series on Showtime

Time for a little AU horn-tooting: a faculty member and frequent patron of Media Services got their television debut last night!

American University professor Peter Kuznick has spent the past four years working with filmmaker Oliver Stone to write a new documentary TV series, Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States. The series covers 65 years of American history, offering a scathing and critical view of America's role in the world from World War II up to present day. The series premiered last night and is already making some waves.

If you're able to watch Showtime, do your university proud by watching an episode or two. Untold History airs Monday nights at 8 PM. You can also pick up the book companion co-written by Dr. Kuznick.

Monday, November 12, 2012

TONIGHT: Women in Documentary Filmmaking with Dr. Aufderheide

Tonight, friend of Media Services Dr. Patricia Aufderheide will present in the Butler Board Room on the role of women in documentary filmmaking. The event is part of a School of Communications series on American women hosted by American University faculty members. Aufderheide recently led a presentation about fair use copyright law at last month's Digital Future Forum. Don't miss out for a second time!

The presentation starts tonight at 6:30 PM. Be there!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Close the week with a Glengarry Glen Ross double feature

This weekend, AU's Department of Performing Arts will be putting on Glengarry Glen Ross, the Pulitzer-winning 1984 play about cutthroat businessmen in a race for the top. AU's production is putting a twist on the classic with an all-female cast rather than the typical male ensemble. Tickets are available through

The name Glengarry Glen Ross might sound familiar even if you aren't a theater person. You've probably heard of the 1992 film adaptation starring Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, and Al Pacino. If your weekend plans involve going to Katzen, the film is essential viewing for comparison with AU's version.

As of this posting, Glengarry Glen Ross (HU DVD 1675) is still available. Come and get it while it's still [expletive deleted] here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Academy goes digital, opens archives for all

Digital collections are really exciting. Fragile resources that could previously only be handled in person are now available for anyone to view online. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the governing body in charge of the Oscars, is the latest to jump on this trend. They've uploaded their massive archives of film publications for the public to browse. This is an enormous and invaluable repository of memorabilia, periodicals, and personal items at anyone in the world can now see.

The collection mostly covers the early years of film, with some emphasis on the silent era. Perhaps the most interesting items are the Alfred Hitchcock Papers, including candid on-set photos and production items from some of his biggest films, and an assortment of sheet music used for silent films.

As with so many research tools, the Academy's archive is educational and fun to browse.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 makes three years of news searchable

The wizards of have created another excellent streaming video tool. Just in time for all the election retrospectives and analysis to begin, the Internet Archive presents TV News Search & Borrow, a site that allows you to search through three years of major news programs and share clips with others. This is a great collaborative tool for quickly finding soundbites from the news for academic research... or just fun.

For instance, here's a bit from CNN Newsroom about Romney's famously silly "binders full of women" remark. Finding and creating the clip was as easy as setting a date range, searching for "binders full of women," locating a good segment, and clicking the "Share" button. You can narrow your search further by network or program. For example, here's a search for every time Comedy Central mentioned Paul Ryan.

Compared to similar transcript services offered by LexisNexis, this is incredible! Not only is it free and open for anyone to use, but you also get access to the raw video and can easily send it to others or embed it in your presentations.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Watch last-minute campaign and election movies

After what feels like two grueling years, the presidential election is finally upon us. The first polls open in about 12 hours and close in about 24. This has been a knockdown-dragout fight to the finish... but if you're reading this, you're probably part of the AU community, so you've gotta love it.

If you aren't obsessively checking fivethirtyeight or the AP newswire, and if you have no pressing responsibilities (like class or a job), there are still a few hours left to get your political fix. Our Pinterest page for US political campaigns and elections has 44 documentaries and feature films about elections, from tense fictional scandals (The Ides of March, HU DVD 2884) to in-the-moment documentaries of real political wins (The War Room, HU DVD 1013). Give the list a browse and watch one that gets you fired up and ready to go.

For those on campus during election night, there will be results parties in the Ward Circle Building (Rooms 1 and 2), the SIS Founders Room, and the Tavern. The library may additionally be showing returns in The Mud Box.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Now available: More popularly requested titles

We do listen to the suggestions you make for our collection. If you need further proof, we've now added the following titles. Many of these titles were either submitted via the suggestion box. Others we've just overheard people requesting and walking away dejectedly after learning we didn't have them. Your voices have been heard!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - HU DVD 8644
Prometheus - HU DVD 10496
The Avengers - HU DVD 10501
The Walking Dead: Season 1 - HU DVD 10531
Paranormal Activity - HU DVD 10543
Red State - HU DVD 10548
Stand By Me - HU DVD 10555
The Last Samurai - HU DVD 10583

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Win our copy of Moonrise Kingdom!

Moonrise Kingdom showed up in Media Services today, and we're giving away our digital download copy!

For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post with the names of three of Bill Murray's characters from Wes Anderson's movies. We'll pick a winner at random from our Facebook, Twitter, and blog pages.

EDIT: The giveaway is over. Thanks to everyone for participating, and congratulations to Daniella Napolitano for winning!