by Timothy Brown
Keynote, a presentation tool available on the Mac, iOS, and iPad OS, is a great application for creating kinetic typography in presentations and/or video.
Start a New Project
Start a new project by selecting a theme. Once you are inside the application you can change or customize the aspect ratio or size of your document. For example, on the iPad. select the three dots at the top right and select "document set up." Here you can select a "theme" or choose "Slide Size." The menu includes 4:3, 16:9, 3:4, Square or 1:1, and Custom.
Keynote comes with a unique transition feature called "Magic Move." Magic Move allows you to re-position, resize, change color, and opacity of any element when you transition from one slide to the next. Tap the first slide of your presentation and select "Transition" and then "Magic Move.".
You will be prompted to duplicate the slide. If you do not receive a prompt, duplicate the slide manually by tapping on the slide and selecting "copy" and then "paste" or by using the folio or desktop keyboard to enter command/D. Once the slide has been duplicated, you're ready to proceed.
Change the position
Begin by changing the position of the text you duplicated from the previous slide. This step can include moving the text to another position, rotating the text, or moving the text outside the frame. As you do this, you can introduce additional words.
Change the Size
In addition to changing the position, you can change the size or scale of your words. By using this option, you can de-emphasize words from the preceding slide while highlighting new words that you introduce in the next slide.
Change the Color
With "Magic Move" you may also find it useful to change the color of your words. Similar to changing the size and position, by changing the color, you can give words an emotional quality. Color changes can also be applied to backgrounds.
Change the Opacity
By changing the opacity of your words, you can cause words to fade away or gradually disappear. This can be applied to words that are stationary or words you choose to re-position. By changing the opacity, you can vary the degree of meaning each word evokes. Opacity can be changed under the "Style" menu. In the example below, I adjust the opacity in the word "WERE" as opposed to moving it outside the frame.
You may want to consider the option to move groups of words at one time. You can do this by pressing and holding on one word and then selecting the other words until they are all selected. Or, you can select "group" from the dialog menu, if you want to animate the words as a group rather than individually. Below, "all instructors" and "TO REALIZE" are animated together as a group.
Animate New Words
By default, Magic Move creates a smooth cross dissolve whenever you introduce a new word or phrase. The word gradually appears as the next slide is introduced. If you want to animate the word, add it to the previous slide, but place it outside the boundaries of the frame. In the duplicate slide, move it to the place where you want to appear.
Magic Move + Animation
Magic Move is unique because you can transition between slides and animate individual elements within each slide at the same time. However, you can embellish your presentation with additional animations. For example, select a word in your slide you would like to animate and select "animate from the dialog menu. From here, you have build-in, action, and build out options. Since words can be animated by using "Magic Move" and "Animation," you can avoid confusion or ambiguity by choosing one or the other. Below is an example of how I use the anvil animation. Magic Move, however, gives your presentation a smoother flow.
Magic Move in Keynote operates like a touch of magic. Elements move seamlessly into each slide adding flow and continuity to your presentations. Therefore, you have the ability to create professional projects as presentations and/or videos. If you are interested in the latter, make sure all slides are set to advance "automatically" rather than by tapping to advance. You can add sound to your presentation, although you have more flexibility on your Mac than your mobile device. Use the three dots or "more options" menu to export your project as a video.
Create Your Own
Kinetic typography gives added meaning to the words you present. You can enhance narratives, quotes, and commentaries in ways you cannot do with static words. Most importantly, you can use your own creativity to find original solutions to common themes or subjects. You can check out my final project below. For other examples of kinetic typography, check out this example of a quote by Stephen Fry.
by Timothy P. Brown
The primary purpose of cinema is to make a subject dramatically interesting. Filmmakers identify situations or moments in time when people are confronted with a human or societal crisis and invite the viewer to experience them through imaginative identification.
Law enforcement’s use of big data and policing technologies, a topic we plan to discuss in a future program, engenders similar conflicts, providing the substance for thoughtful analysis, and great cinematic storytelling. I have identified three films that address this topic in dramatic fashion: Enemy of the State, Minority Report, and, most recently,Anon. Each film identifies conflicts that drive the narrative, placing law enforcement and big data policing at the center of the action.
ENEMY OF THE STATE (1998)
“The only privacy that’s left is the inside of your head.”
Enemy of the State(1998), directed by Tony Scott, is a spy-thriller that begins by identifying a conflict right away: privacy or national security. The opening scene takes place at Occuquan Park, Maryland, at 0645 hours, where NSA Security Advisor, Thomas Brian Reynolds (Jon Voight) and his team of NSA agents murder Congressman Phillip Hammersley (Jason Robards) who refuses to support the passage of the Telecommunications, Security and Privacy Act. The NSA agents use their access to national intelligence systems to uncover anything that may expose their clandestine operation. The agents intercept a telephone call from Daniel Zavitz, a nature photographer, who confesses to inadvertently recording the Hammersley murder through a motion-activated camera he planted in the park. Zavitz is tracked down by the NSA and dies in a traffic accident while trying to escape, but not before he runs into an old college friend, Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith), an attorney from Georgetown. Zavitz placed the videotape inside Dean’s shopping bag, making him the NSA’s new primary target.
The computational machinery that the NSA uses to track Dean’s whereabouts becomes the cinematic fuel that drives the subsequent action scenes. The NSA agents use tracers to track Dean’s cell phone, pager, shoes, watch, pants, and pen and satellite imagery to pinpoint his locations. Dean’s credit cards are canceled, he is fired from his job, his wife kicks him out of the house, and his friend, Rachel Banks (Lisa Bonet) is murdered. Dean’s life appears doomed until he meets his informant in an ongoing mob case, Brill (Gene Hackman). Brill (discovered later by the NSA as Edward Lyle, a formal NSA agent) reluctantly joins Dean in taking down the corrupt NSA agents. The film heads towards its dramatic conclusion when Dean manufactures a conflict between the mob boss, Pintero (Tom Sizemore) and the NSA who vie for possession the videotape.
A gun battle ensues and multiple people are killed, with the exception of several “Ops,” a few restaurant employees, and Dean who later crawls out from under a table.
The film concludes with Larry King’s newscast about the privacy act, and Dean’s wife Carla (Regina King) posing the question:
“Who is going to monitor the monitors of the monitors?”
MINORITY REPORT (1982)
“Algorithms and big data models simply take inputs,
Andrew Ferguson, How Cops Are Using Algorithms to Predict Crimes, Wired, (YouTube)
Minority Report(2002) by Stephen Spielberg is a science fiction film that is set in Washington D.C and Northern Virginia in the year 2054. The conflict that drives the plot is predictive policing. Can the system prevent crime from ever occurring or is it tainted by bias and human flaws? The movie stars Tom Cruise, as John Anderton, Chief of Precrime, who uses an amalgamation of data to pinpoint where people are located and determines what day and time crimes will occur. The algorithms used to generate and compile the data are fictionalized in the form of three psychics or Precogs, who use their collective powers to see crimes before they happen. The Precrime department assures “that every American can bank on the utter infallibility of this system.” Captain Anderson, who has complete faith in the system’s accuracy, is challenged by Danny Witwer (played by Colin Farrell) who is sent to investigate the system’s effectiveness:
“What are you looking for?”
“There hasn’t been a murder in six years. There is nothing wrong with the system, it is perfect.”
“Perfect, I agree. But if there’s a flaw, it’s human. It always is.”
A critical juncture in the film occurs when Captain Anderton confirms Witwer’s suspicions and discovers the existence of a Minority Report. The report includes inconsistencies noted in the Precogs pre-visions.
A sub-plot is introduced that makes gender an important factor in the film’s development. One of the three Precogs is a woman named Abigail, the system’s most valued asset. Captain Anderton uncovers the truth about Abigail and confronts Director Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow):
“I just wanted to congratulate you. You did it.”
“You created a world without murder.”
“And all you had to do is kill someone to do it.”
Abigail was the progeny of Ann Lively, a former “junkie” who later cleaned herself up and demanded to have her daughter back. Burgess kills Lively and stages two murders, one recognized by the Precogs as the “real” crime, and the other as an “echo,” which he knew the system would reject.
The film ends by calling into the question the film’s essential conflict: Can predictive policing maintain its objective integrity or is it threatened by human motivation?
“What is the world coming to when our murderers don’t tell us who they are?”
Anon directed by Andrew Niccol, is a futuristic sci-fi-techno-film that identifies anonymity as the central challenge that law enforcement faces to ensure absolute transparency. Building on some of the themes introduced in Minority Report, crime prevention depends on a pervasive system of surveillance that makes anonymity a threat to the social order. As detective Charles Gattis (Colm Feore) makes clear:
“We rely on transparency. We can’t control what we can’t see. We require persistent identity.”
In this high tech futuristic society, computational data is accessed through the mind’s eye of every citizen. The average person can view, share, upload, and exchange information (photos, memories, financial transactions), but law enforcement has special access to proxies and portals that allow them to access any past event.
In the film, detective Sal Frieland (played by Clive Owens) is the main protagonist who is assigned to lead an investigation into a series of murders. The case is difficult to solve because the suspect is anonymous.
The police department suspects a female as the murderer, the personification of “Anon” (Amanda Seyfried), otherwise known as “The Girl.” Law enforcement cannot detect her identity or her whereabouts because she has developed a sophisticated algorithm that erases the memory of those she meets. She is also capable of hacking the mind’s eye of others, forcing them to see what she sees, and erasing their personal memories. Frieland goes under cover as a wealthy stockbroker and hires “The Girl” to erase his memory of a Call Girl (Alyson Bath) - an encounter he purposely arranges in order to discover The Girl’s methods. Frieland inquires into her need to remain anonymous and she responds by revealing the irony of his question:
“You invade my privacy, it’s nothing. I try to get it back, it’s a crime.”
Gender, race, class and sexual orientation are some underlying layers that are slipped into the film, alluding to questionable motivations like bias. For example, a black man is shot while pulling out a bible from his pocket (mistaken for a gun); two lesbian women are shot in the midst of an intimate moment; and a black female house servant is accused (correctly) of stealing jewelry, but is ignored by detective Frieland because he is annoyed by the woman’s presupposed position of privilege. In spite of the fact that every location is documented by sophisticated mapping technologies, human beings still have the tendency to interpret the world subjectively and/or manipulate the technologies to produce less than objective outcomes.
Male dominance in the law enforcement profession is also prevalent throughout, supported by the realization that the actual murderer is a white male, Cyrus Frear (Mark O’Brien), who manages to infiltrate the police department, while simultaneously hacking the The Girl’s algorithms and setting up an anonymous proxy.
The tension between transparency and anonymity is maintained throughout the film, dramatizing the societal conflict between privacy and surveillance that seems virtually impossible to reconcile.
All three films, Enemy of the State, Minority Report, and Anonidentify conflicts or a series of conflicts, and develop narratives that are dramatically interesting. By focusing on policing technologies, the films are entertaining and thought-provoking, leaving us with two plaguing questions that strike at the core of our societal beliefs: Are policing technologies infallible or are they tainted by bias and human flaws? Is public safety a priority or is it privacy and individual rights?
One of the most rewarding I experienced at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art was having the opportunity to work with Yvonne Wells. Wells is an African American artist and quiltmaker out of Tuskaloosa, Alabama. The MMFA owns a number of her quilts and offers a traveling exhibition called "From Heart to Hand: African American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts."
I first met Wells while working on an education component for the exhibition "Piecing Together History: The Civil Rights Quilts of Yvonne Wells." The education component consisted of a web-based interactive project created in html5, but stored locally on the iPad to serve as a kiosk. The project can also be viewed on the web, although the dimensions of this project were designed to be featured exclusively on the iPad (the website is not responsive, so it may be hard to appreciate on smaller mobile devices). This project consisted of various recordings featuring Yvonne Wells talking about select quilts in the exihbition, which documented her personal reflections of the civil rights movement. The recordings were made by the Museum's curatorial department, which I edited and combined with images to form animated video slideshows. Each video pans and zooms to focus on different features of the quilts as Wells describes them. The project also included four video interviews with the artist, some of which were produced by the curatorial staff, while others were taken from rare video footage with the artist (in the version that is currently online, I substituted those videos for interviews I conducted for a later project). To strengthen the education component, I added a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a timeline of events that was also referenced in the Civil Rights Memorial designed by Maya Lin. The project was rewarding on so many levels. For one, I had a chance to work with a living artist, which is always a rewarding experience, and I had a chance to partner with the curatorial department in a way that felt more integral to the overall development of the exhibition.
I was fortunate enough to revisit my journey into the life of Yvonne Wells when the MMFA decided to feature an exhibition of photographs by Jerry Siegel titled "Creator/Created: Jerry Siegel Portraits and Artists from the Permanent Collection." In my effort to strengthen the educational components of the exhibition, I proposed to conduct video interviews with the artists featured in the exhibition, many of whom were still alive and living in Alabama and Georgia. This project required that I visit the home of Yvonne Wells to conduct a video interview that documented her life and development as a quilt maker. Traveling with a camcorder, light stands and remote microphones, I conducted the interview in her living room to create an organic and homegrown atmosphere. I felt that we needed more visuals, so Wells graciously agreed to set up a large quilt behind her. Since Wells worked as a teacher and educator for many years, it was not surprising to hear how astute and articulate she was at describing her development as an artist and her passion for quiltmaking, which she described as "art." The videos that I recorded during this meeting were added to the Museum's YouTube channel and were later added to this online version which I posted years later. The project for the Jerry Siegel exhibition also included video interviews with 15 other artists, including Cal Reed, Charlie Lucas, and Dale Lewis, to name a few. Eventually, the videos were incorporating into iPad interactive kiosks that were installed in the exhibition, along with the photographs by Jerry Siegel. The kiosk also included additional photographs by Siegel that were not included in the exhibition and documentary footage of Siegel working with high school students during a photography workshop.
It was such a pleasure to interview the artists in the Montgomery Museum's collection and I will always cherish the opportunity to meet Yvonne Wells.