Thursday, September 30, 2010

JCHC First Look: 105th Editing

I thought I'd share some updates on my 105th video project on this dreary, wet day in Brookville.  Yesterday, I finally finished doing the last of the video screen captures from Google Earth that will act as the primary focus for the project.  So, today I started sitting down and putting everything into iMovie.  The way I'm editing this is by year; 1861 will be it's own video, as will 1862, 1863, and so on.  I also have separate videos for my title sequence and the credits.  This will essentially allow the viewer to select the year in which they would like to view.

Now that everything is in place in iMovie, I sat down with a pencil and a sheet of paper to write narration for the movie.  Here is a picture of the mess:

While drafting the narration, I realized that there is need for more supplemental visuals in the video.  This will help to break up the monotonous virtual tour of the Google Earth screen captures.  If you take a close look at my narration under 1861, you'll notice I have marked where a "Secession Graphic" will fit into the video.  I searched to find something that I liked and could use, but this was not very successful.  So, I decided to make my own.  Here is what I came up with:

I think that this will work nicely in the video to show the Confederate States and when they actually seceded from the Union.  This is the first of what will probably be many supplemental slides that will be created over the course of editing.

These slides aren't the only thing that I've been working on today.  I also started some music editing for the video.  I found a Library of Congress page with primary sources for Civil War Music.  On it, I found a download for a version of the Civil War era song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"performed by the Airforce Band of Liberty.  I wanted to see what music would sound like in the intro for the project, so I used GarageBand to adjust the audio levels to fade in and out in the timeframe that I needed:

After the initial editing, I put the newly created .mp3 file into the iMovie.  Take a look and listen to what the intro the the 105th project might end up looking like:

That may or may not be the actual music that I use in the final version of this, but I wanted to play around with some audio to get an idea of what the end product will be like.

Feel free to leave comments or ask questions.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: Starting Wednesday, Oct. 6th

Hello everybody!

I've been hard at work on the 105th video project like always, but I thought I'd take some time to share some news.  Starting next Wednesday, groups of students will be visiting the JCHC.  While visiting, they will tour the museum, take a walking tour down Main Street, venture into the Jefferson County Court House, watch a Bowdish Model Railroad show, browse our gift shop, and conduct a scavenger hunt exploring our exhibits.  Today, I had the pleasure of completing the scavenger hunt myself.  I found it to be pretty enjoyable, and I think the kids will feel the same way.  It takes you on a self-guided tour of all the exhibits, and forces you to learn new things in the process.

I'll be sure to share some of the happenings of next Wednesday on the blog.  This should turn out to be a really fun and entertaining day at the museum, and I am definitely going to have some stories to tell!

On a side note:
If you haven't already done so, check out our Facebook page and our Twitter page.  "Like" or "follow" us for up-to-date news and event info.


Friday, September 24, 2010

JCHC Updates: Facebook and Twitter

I thought today I would share some new things that I've done for the JCHC and the blog.  First of all, you might notice the new header image I added to the top of this page.  I designed the image to give a better overall look to the blog.  I used Photoshop to make the simple image, and I found the fonts that are used at a really cool website.  It's called FontSpace, and it's home to thousands of free fonts for you to download and use.

Today was also spent connecting the JCHC beyond my blog and our website.  Social media is a huge medium right now that only continues to grow.  I thought it would be appropriate for the JCHC to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account to keep our patrons updated with news and special events.  I also added a box on the right-hand side of this blog that shows the Facebook updates right here on this page.  Here are the links:



Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, share us with your friends and family, and keep updated!  Enjoy!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

JCHC Fun Fact: Civil War Music

While editing and piecing together video today, I realized this project is lacking music.  I normally work with Pandora Radio playing in the background, so I never really noticed until I paused it to record some narration.  Sure, I could have the narration drive the videos, but that would be boring.  I would definitely be bored watching it, and I'm sure our patrons would also lose interest quickly.  To find a solution to this problem, I did what anybody would do; I searched for "civil war era music" on Google.  I figure putting authentic music in the video would be much more meaningful and appropriate.  On my search, I came across the "Music of the American Civil War" article on Wikipedia.  Reading through the article I found a very interesting fact that struck me.  Take a look at this passage from the article:

"Musical duels between the two sides were common, as they heard each other as the music traveled across the countryside. The night before the Battle of Stones River, bands from both sides dueled with separate songs, until both sides started playing Home! Sweet Home!, at which time soldiers on both sides started singing together as one.[15] A similar situation occurred in Fredericksburg, Virginia in the winter of 1862–3. On a cold afternoon a Union band started playing Northern patriotic tunes; a Southern band responded by playing Southern patriotic tunes. This back and forth continued into the night, until at the end both sides played Home! Sweet Home! simultaneously, to the cheers of both sides' forces.[16] In a third instance, in the spring of 1863, the opposing armies were on the opposite sides of the Rappahannock River in Virginia, when the different sides played their patriotic tunes, and at taps one side played Home! Sweet Home!, and the other joined in, creating "cheers" from both sides that echoed throughout the hilly countryside.[17]"

This amazes me!  Just think, two armies fighting each other by day, both sides suffering numerous casualties and wounds at the hands of one another, and by night, they are engaged in a friendly music competition that ends in a unity.  This, to me, represents the American Civil War very well.  A war fought between brothers, united on many fronts, yet divided and separated by differing views.  It's very poetic.

That Wiki article is also nice because it shows some key songs during the war, arranged by year.  So, I did a search on to see if I could find some of these songs in a compilation, and I found two that I'm going to further look into.  They are:


Both look like they'd be useful resources for this project.  I'll have to listen to some samples of the compilations to see what will be the best for my needs.

I hope you enjoyed learning a new bit of information about Civil War music.  I know I did!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

JCHC First Look: 105th Menu Setup

A busy day requires two posts :)

I've been working with iDVD to design a format for the project that will allow interactivity through the touch screens in our museum.  What I had in mind was a menu in which you could select a particular year that the regiment was active, and then you would be shown a video of the events that occurred during that year.  I started fooling around with the iDVD program to see what I could come up with.  Here is an early version of what I'm envisioning:

This setup will ideally allow you to just "touch" one of the years and be taken on a visual journey through that year.  We'll see how this all comes together in the future.


JCHC First Look: 105th Title Slides

Back to work this week on the 105th video project.  Instead of spending my day fooling around with Google Earth again, I figured I would spend some time with the overall design of the video.

The first thing I decided needed some work was the opening title for the video.  So, I spent some time with Adobe Photoshop CS5 designing a basic title.  What I came up with was an image of an old Civil War era map on a piece of tattered and worn parchment paper.
Take a look:

The process for making this involved me finding this parchment texture through the Google Image Search:

Then, I had to find a map texture to overlay on the parchment.  Once again, Google Image Search was used to find this:

Once I had the two images that I desired, I did a bit of simple photo editing with Photoshop to layer the images together and blend them into one.

The next step was to add the title text.  For this step I first made a slide with "Tracking the Wild Cats:" and then made a slide with "Tracking the Wild Cats: The Story of the One Hundred and Fifth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers."  By having two slides that are just slightly different, I was able to transition them together to get a neat effect.

Check out the test video:

That about does it for now...
Time to go work on some more slide design for the video.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.


Friday, September 17, 2010

JCHC First Look: 105th Video Test

Today, I decided to start experimenting with screen capture and video editing.  The software that I use to capture the video from Google Earth is called iShowU.  I tested out a few different video screen capture software for Mac OS X, and this one does everything that I want and is relatively easy to use.  For the editing software, I'm running iMovie '08.  In middle school, iMovie had just come out on the market, and my school actually offered a class in iMovie editing (which was one of my favorite classes I've ever taken).  The software has changed a lot since the last time I was an active user, so I'm still getting used to some of the features that this newer version offers.

I did a few tests to see how the editing will work on this video and compiled it into a preview to share.  By no means is this anywhere close to what the final project will look like, but it does offer a little taste into what the end result will include.


Sorry about the end of the video.  I was having a little trouble getting the timing down for the narration, but I wanted to share this preview.  This is still very much a work in progress.  Whenever I have more clips to share, I'll definitely post them.

-- For anybody that uses YouTube, feel free to subscribe to my new channel.  It will be the host to all the videos I make while working at the JCHC.  --

As always, feel free to contact me for questions or comments.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

JCHC First Look: Tracking the 105th

I've been hard at work on a project dealing with not only Jefferson County history, it also has deep ties to Civil War history.  For those of you who don't know, the American Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865.  Next year, being 2011, marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  In Pennsylvania, there is a statewide partnership of history organizations coming together to create a project called Pennsylvania Civil War 150 (PACW 150).  PACW 150 will honor and commemorate the lives lost and the freedoms gained through the war.

Because of PACW 150, you can expect new exhibits within the JCHC starting next year.  This is where my project comes into play.  Right here in Brookville, a group of young men were formed into the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.  They were active in the war from 1861 all the way to 1865.  Here at the History Center, we thought it would be a good idea to display some artifacts from the 105th, share their photos, and most importantly, tell their story.  Since my goal here at the JCHC involves using technology throughout the museum, I started planning a project that will present the story of the 105th in an interactive manner.  In the museum, we have some touch screen monitors that include some narratives to go along with the exhibits.  My goal is to use one of these monitors to display a video made by using Google Earth that displays not only the locations the 105th found themselves, but also narratives of the events at each major location (battle information, outcome, assignments, etc.).  I envision being able to walk up to the touch screen, touch what year you'd like to hear about, and then being taken on the journey with the 105th.

Yesterday, I finished plotting the points within Google Earth for this project.  Here is what it looks like:

Each of the yellow pushpins represents a certain date that was important to the 105th.  At each of the pushpins, a balloon filled with text pops up, describing the events that took place at that location on that date.  Here is what one looks like:

Once I have all the balloon captions to my liking, the next step will be to screen capture the "flight" from one pushpin to another.  At each pin, the balloon will pop up and the text will be visible.  However, my plan is to also narrate the video once all the screen capture is done and I start the video editing.  Click here for a very low quality example of what video will eventually look like.  (Note: the software used to take this screen capture is not the same that will be used to make the actual video...the choppiness will disappear in the final project)

That about wraps up the first look into my first project at JCHC.  Be sure to check back for more updates in the near future.  If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

JCHC Grad Assistant Blog: Introduction


My name is Nathan Pearce.  In the spring of 2010, I graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Secondary Education Social Studies.  I decided at that time that I wanted to continue on and get a graduate degree.  So, I enrolled in Clarion University's Master of Education program with a concentration in Technology.  The same time that I applied for the Master's program, I also applied for a position as a graduate assistant.  Fortunately enough, the History Department at Clarion offered me a position at the Jefferson County History Center in Brookville, Pennsylvania.

This blog is my attempt to document and share my work while at the JCHC.  My position as graduate assistant is one that has a lot of flexibility.  Since I do have a background in Social Studies education and I am currently learning how to properly use and incorporate technology for educational purposes, I am focusing my efforts at the Historical Center on technology.  I'm currently learning how to manage the website (bear with me!).  I am also working on an ambitious project dealing with the Civil War.  Using Google Earth, I am plotting the different locations of major happenings of the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers (these guys were mostly from Jefferson County) and documenting the battles and events in which they were exposed.  I plan on making an interactive display using a touch-screen monitor that will provide a narrated, visual tour through these locations.  This display will be incorporated in our future exhibit on the 105th.

Be on the lookout for images, links, and other media dealing with my projects and work as the graduate assistant at the Jefferson County History Center.