Posts Tagged ‘youtube’

Two Recent Projects

When Fairy Tales Collide, 2009 © TODD SCHORR

When Fairy Tales Collide, 2009 © TODD SCHORR

I’m excited about two recent projects that I’ve produced at the San Jose Museum of Art. Both are video projects around exhibitions and in both cases we are using the typical platforms of YouTube, iTunes, mobile tour for delivery. Additionally SJMA is now a partner of ArtBabble and the videos are available there.

The first project is a series of videos that were created to help promote and inform around the exhibition Todd Schorr: American Surreal. A colleague of mine and I flew down to Beverly Hills for the day to interview Schorr about his influences, technique and many of his works of art. Todd Schorr was welcoming to us and offered a bounty of information which we filmed in high definition video to later be edited down to the videos for the exhibit.Todd Schorr’s work has a lot of depth to it and contains a lot of nostalgia from his childhood. This includes classic cartoons, monster movies, comic books, pulp magazines, and toy models. Additionally, Shorr incorporates a lot of commercial iconography, knowledge acquired from his years as a commercial designer.

Back at the museum we broke down the video we had into four different informational segments and one preview/promo video. The promo video consists of pan and zooms over several key Schorr painting while interspersingsmall snippets of the day in Beverly Hills to whet people’s appetites for more of the interview. All of this was layered over an old song that I found online by the Raymond Scott Quintette called Powerhouse. Scotts music was purchased by Warners Brothers and musical director Carl Stalling incorporated it into many of the classic Looney Toons cartoons. The music fits perfectly with the subject matter.

We were fortunate enough to be featured on several heavy traffic blogs such as Drawn, Boing Boing and Laughing Squid which bumped up the views considerably. The preview video is closing in on 20,000 views as of the writing of this post.

Enjoy the videos!

The second project centered around the exhibition Ansel Adams: Early Works. After a lot of brainstorming around the idea of social media we decided to ask outsiders to participate in the exhibition by submitting their own photos.

The idea was to make a video asking people the question, “Is it you?” throughout. Each time the question popped up an arrow would point to a person who was taking a photo in Yosemite National Park. Interspersed between all the people would be shots of some famous landmarks within Yosemite itself. At the end a final question is asked — “Are you the next great photographer?” Instructions are then shown stating “Submit your photos to be part of the exhibtion.”. Once there the user finds out more guidelines for submitting their Ansel Adams inspired photo.

We had thrown around the idea of having the general public vote for their favorites in the Flickr group. The winner would then be represented in a separate spot in the exhibition. Instead of being exclusive it was decided to be more inclusive. There will be a monitor set up in the gallery which will deliver a looping slideshow of all the photos.

I’m pretty excited by the concept and the video production (it might be my best video to date). I was fortunate enough to travel to Yosemite to shoot the video which was shot entirely in black and white HD. One of the challenges was to film people with their faces obscured to avoid any clearance issues. The last shot of the video took a stroke of luck to obtain.

Here’s how it looked in the gallery with the kiosk set up:

SJMA Ansel Adams Flickr Project from Chris Alexander on Vimeo.

Cultural Connections – Road Trip Video

On December 2, 2008 I was fortunate enough to speak to a large Cultural Connections group at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The topic of the night was visitor participation in the museum experience and included myself along with Stephanie Pau, Manager of Interpretation at SFMoMA; Kathleen McLean of Independent Exhibitions; and Catharine King, Vice President of Exhibitions and Programs from the International Museum of Women. We were all asked to speak by Mandy Smith of Cultural Connections who put together an outstanding program that was attended by about 70 people from Bay Area organizations, institutions, and companies. The group was engaged and had a lot of great questions which made for fun and lively discussion.

The topic I spoke on was a recent video that we made for our exhibition Road Trip at the San Jose Museum of Art. The video acted as both a marketing tool to promote the exhibition and a vehicle for gathering postcards for an interpretive component in it.

Thanks to all that attended and to Mandy Smith for asking me to speak! Here are the slides from the talk:

San Jose Museum of Art Website

URLS: and

Parts: XHTML and CSS Development, PHP Hacking, Cloud Computing, RSS Development

SJMA Interactive Landing Page

SJMA Interactive Landing Page

SJMA Artist of the Week Podcast Page

SJMA Artist of the Week Podcast Page

Summary: Adding a page to the San Jose Museum of Art website is no easy task. What was required to make the two pages above work was a lot of hacking of the PHP code and tweaks to the CSS file. It’s difficult trying to stay within the confines set up by the original developers of the site.

The first page is a page that was created for the main purpose of acting as a landing page to our digital content. The museum has been actively building a large archive of audio and video around exhibitions and artwork which we wanted to make available to the public. The videos are embedded around the site on the various exhibition pages so they can be difficult to find. By going to the Interactive page you can quickly access which exhibitions have media content available. Additionally the page has images culled from the SJMA Flickr group and various ways to access our content, i.e. iTunes, YouTube, Flickr and plain old RSS feed, as well as a description of our iPod Touch Tour.

The second page was created in conjunction with our Artist of the Week PodCast which we created in November and December of 2006 for the exhibition New Year, New Gifts. The exhibition drew from the museum’s permanent collection and featured a lot of work that had recently come in. For the podcast we selected 8 works in the exhibit and each week for 8 weeks we delivered a new episode showcasing the artist of one of those works. My colleague, Lucy Larson, and I were fortunate enough to win a 2007 MUSE Award for the museum in the area of Extended Experience. This page utilized the web service Odeo to allow us to embed the audio on the page.

Road Trip Postcard/Promo Video

Our challenge for this project was to create a video that would both promote an exhibition that had little marketing budget and at the same time front load an interactive/interpretive component in the exhibition. For the exhibition we were featuring an area where visitors could read postcards from around the world. The postcards came from viewers of the video which instructed them to send a fun, quirky postcard from a road trip they might be taking.

After strategizing, the museum came to the conclusion to again utilize the YouTube platform. After much brainstorming and story boarding we came up with a concept video (shown above) of a person traveling to a bizarre roadside attraction (in this particular case a giant cement artichoke in Castroville). In the video you would never actually see the persons face, but you would see the events that led up to the attraction. One of the noticeable aspects of the video are a pair of high heeled stilettos that emerge from an opening car door. Additionally, the person would purchase a post card at the attraction, fill it our and send it. There would be no actual sound recorded by the camera. Instead there would be sounds that were found via sound effects websites.

Screen shot from California Camp Bug Blog

Screen shot from California Camp Bug Blog

The video was shot on an HD video camera in about a day’s time and then assembled back at the museum with Final Cut Express in about two days. Finding the right sounds for each of the scenes met with some challenges. Once completed, the video was uploaded to YouTube. To drive traffic to the video we contacted many travel blogs and asked them if they would showcase it.

The video is currently the most successful one on YouTube for the San Jose Museum of Art with over 80,000 views. It was posted at one point on the YT homepage as a “Featured Video” where it accumulated most of those views. We received over a hundred postcards from around the globe and the video has been featured on many blogs. There are around 55 comments about the video and we at one point had 8 video responses to it. The response to the video has inspired us to create a video serial around the shoes to promote other upcoming exhibitions.

Presentation: YouTube – MW2008

I was flattered to be asked, through our YouTube Channel, by David Hart at New York MoMA if I would be interested in presenting at Museums and the Web 2008 about how we utilize YouTube at the San Jose Museum of Art. I was quick to accept because this would be my first conference speaking engagement. Also on the panel were Allegra Burnette, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Daniel Dark, The Indianapolis Museum of Art; Jennifer Rossi, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and Nicole Minor, The Exploratorium, USA. The idea for our panel presentation and discussion built on a presentation at Museums and the Web 2007 put on by the Indianapolis Museum of Art about posting videos to YouTube. Our idea was – so now you have a video on YouTube now what? My section dealt on how to make your video viral in a marketing campaign. The session was very well attended with attendees spill into the aisles and standing out in the hallway and lined up against the back wall.

The paper that we collaborated on Beyond Launch: Museum Videos on YouTube is available on the Museums and the Web 2008 website. Thanks to David and Allegra for putting it all together!

Here is the presentation that I gave:

The San Jose Museum of Art’s YouTube Channel can be found at