The Art of Media: Photography (Middle Reflection)

I have gotten a DSLR camera after quite some time and I have been experimenting witch what type of images I like to take. At the moment it is a lot of pictures of my dog as he is such a model. I think I am starting to get the hang of using this DSLR the more I use it and it makes sense on what I need to do when an image looks a little off. I know what settings to tweak, what angles to change and the composition I need to rethink to make the image better.

Due to the number of pictures I have been taking, I have been able to think more creatively in terms of shot composition for my film projects which I have found very interesting.

At this point I just want to keep taking pictures of whatever I can to see if I can think of new ways to see things in terms of a composition standpoint for films.

Sumo Robotics: Final Reflection

After weeks of working on my small sumo robot, I got nowhere because I did not know what I was doing. I got the code imported into my Arduino, built a small box, and connected all the components together but I could just not get the robot itself to work. At this point I was lost and did not what to do. The activity is coming to an end in about 4 weeks which was not enough time to get our robots working. I was not the only one struggling with building our robots, actually, everyone was at the same stage where I was: Everything put together but everything was not working. For sessions upon sessions, we got nowhere, doing nothing because we had no idea what to do until 2 weeks left in the activity our supervisor, Mr. Weaver, gave us a simple programmable and modular robotics kit which we would build. This kit was really simple to build and relatively simple to code compared to starting from scratch. It came with its own software, its own application on your mobile device and it worked.

As seen above, the two videos shows the simplicity of the robotics kit which we used which then we would play with for the remaining sessions. By then it was too late and the season was over. Not much happened afterwards, we gave back the components which we used for our initial sumo robot which none of us were able to make functional, and we went away with our tiny robot which we use for random things like driving around our desk when we’re bored.

If anything, this activity was fun. I have always been interested in robotics and building things since a young age, and this activity was something which reflected that. Even though I was not able to create a functional Sumo Robot from scratch, I was still able to create a small programmable robot which was more fun as it actually worked.

Personally I want to go into engineering, whichever engineering course I take, I will still be building something which I love to do. With the many things I have learnt in this activity, I was even able to learn how to build my own keyboard which I am using to type this reflection right now. As time goes on, I will continue to build things and my next project is to build my own computer which will be used for playing videogames, editing my short films and productivity work.

Singapore: CAS Home Based Learning

We are just about to end our first week of Home-Based Learning (HBL) as the Singaporean government announced Circuit Breaker. Due to this whole situation, we have not been able to go to school, go outside, see other people, exercise in public spaces so basically we are stuck at home in fact, I had gone out to meet a friend in the lobby in the past few days and the situation was so serious that I got into trouble for being in close proximity to someone whose not my immediate family with the police.

These past few days have been a bit strange as this is the first time we have ever done something like this. However, it has not been that bad as it has been a lot easier to focus on our own study spaces alone rather than being in a classroom full of peers and friends which can sometimes be distracting. At the same time, learning at the comfort of our home has also been quite a challenge as we have a tendency to sleep in or to get distracted with the things around us such as our beds, laptops, and phones with no one able to scold us or stop us. 

We have been stuck in our rooms or study spaces almost all day staring at a computer screen which can take a toll on wellbeing and our eyes. Taking breaks more than we are used to seems to be a way to help us moderate our time on screen. In fact, due to there being no other activity, I can spend up to 10 hours on the computer in a day which is extremely unhealthy. 

Lastly, our sleep schedule has gotten even worse than it would if we had normal school as we stay up even later than normal because we can wake up a little later. Many of us students have been getting off our screens and straight to bed right after all of our class has ended to get off our laptops and get back some of the missed hours of sleep.

Sumo Robotics: Working My Way Through Challenges

Expectation:

Going into Sumo Robotics, I was expecting a kit that we would be given, build the kit then make modifications that would help us in the sumo ring. Thinking that this activity was going to be easy that it would be something I could easily breeze through.

Reality:

Something I was not expecting was learning the basics of coding. We had to completely make the Sumo Robot from scratch, something which was completely new to me. As a child, I was always interested in building robots, legos, and figures but most of them were fairly simple. In this activity, we were given an Arduino (brain – where the code goes) and a pair of servos. We were expected to build a small 10cm by 10cm sumo robot by the end of the 2 seasons and I had absolutely no idea where to start.

How I was able to Overcome the Challenges:

I was previously a DT: Systems and Controls student which was a 2-year course in IGCSE which specialized in Electronics, Structures, and Mechanisms of Design Technology. Coming into this, I had no previous knowledge of how to code or how to read code, therefore, I had to learn the very basics of coding so I could build the robot. When I was learning how to code, I asked for help from our supervisors and we found a code online for free which was easy to read and understand. Using that I was able to just make some small edits to control my servos and to the sensitivity of my sensor.

Now the real challenge of it all was building the body of the robot itself. Prototyping has always been something I have not been great at so I wanted to work on that purely visualize what my final product was going to look like, and practice working with card/cardboard for prototyping.

Update on CAS Experience

My CAS Experience so far:

Currently, I am on the track of completing all my CAS requirements. Although due to this whole epidemic of COVID-19 especially here in Singapore, it has affected my service and activity as we are not allowed to be within a large group of people. Realizing that I might not be able to finish my requirements due to this virus, I am still holding onto what I have done as thinking it will be enough for CAS. My service has changed from being a local service to more of a college service which still meets the requirements so that is all good. On the other hand, my activity which is Basketball within the Filipino community which is weekly is being postponed due to the whole COVID-19 outbreak, it is starting to creep up on me that maybe I might not meet the requirements if this virus lasts a lot longer than I think it will.

At the same time, CAS takes up a lot of my time which leaves me less time to work on everything else such as studying, preparing to start my Extended Essay, starting my IAs for all my subjects and so on. I just need to be more organised in how I set up my schedule so that I can manage everything in IB.

Sumo Robotics: How I got into Robotics/Making Things

I have always been into building things. Anything from lego, little figures, car models and so on.

In my IGCSE course, I took Systems and Control which is a Design Technology course based around electronics and mechanics. I was never great at it because it has always been hard for me to grasp concepts. Although a hobby of mine has always been something to do with robotics and mechanics. I personally have no experience when it comes to writing code or making a robot from scratch because the closest thing I got to that was using a Lego Mindstorm in middle school. I remember telling myself at the age of 8 that I wanted to be a robotics engineer when I grow up and saving up for 2 years to get a Lego Mindstorm which I never got because I just used the ones we had here at school. That driving force of wanting to become a Robotics Engineer does not exist anymore since I don’t exactly know what my passions are anymore so I am just experimenting with things at the moment.

At the age of 11 I remember I bought my first and only radio controlled car which took me a year of saving up and doing some chores. I loved that thing and played with it every single day after school until one day I decided to take it out on a track which had a lot of ramps and after a few jumps, the front shock towers (suspension) of the car broke due to the material being brittle and slightly old. The car was released in 2004 which means that the RC car had been sitting at the shop for quite a while. I was never able to repair it because I never knew what the part was called or in general, what the chasis model was.

Now, almost 6 years later, I have lost that passion of making things which is why I decided to join the Sumo Robotics club here at school. The club makes little robots which try to push each other out of a ring hence the name Sumo Robotics. I want to see if I can learn some new things and implement it into some future projects I might do. I don’t know how to code and only know the basics of electronics so I want to build my skills on those.

 

The Art of Media

How I got into Film

I have always been interested in the creativity aspect of photography and film. Actually right after my grade 9 trip to Bhutan, I decided to make a short video about what the experience is like. My video was not great, it was my first ever video I have ever created using Adobe Premiere Pro and to be fair, I did not really focus on getting any footage during the trip. Two years later, I am now a HL film student because after discovering Adobe Premiere Pro, I actually really got interested in film. At the same time, I have a few friends who are really interested films which got me into it too.

How I got into Photography

Due to the fact I am interested in Film, I decided to try photography not only for my CAS requirement but also just to experiment with a new hobby. I have not actually started just yet because my “Changing the World Through Photography” activity does not start until Season 2 of activities. Although I have started taking photos on my phone but not just random photos, I am trying to see if I can portray some sort of story through them.

I am planning on getting my first DSLR camera in a few weeks which will help me with both my photography and film so I can really get into it.

Just recently I was able to try out Adobe After Affects, Photoshop and Lightroom which will help me with both film and photography.

My Bhutan Film from 2017

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