DIVA 300 – Final Report

December 8, 2009

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Here are the details on the two internships this semester for my DIVA 300 class – the first being the Motion Capture Studio at Emily Carr University and the second being CODElab, a look into surveillance during the Olympics taking place here in Vancouver in 2010. Click final_report_john_deveaux for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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Did you have a transformative experience over the internship? How you may have changed since starting the internship?
MoCap – “John has grasped the principles of motion capture quite well. He has already exhibited thoughts of how to use the technology in areas outside the norm.” The paradigm shift for me in working with Rick in the school’s motion capture lab was seeing the ways in which the technology can be applied to multiple products, company and individual requirements. From biofeedback, to ergonomics, the applications for MoCap are endless.
CODElab – I and the CODELab artists mutually admitting errors were made and working to rebuild our collective relationship together.

How you may use the skills that you’ve learned in the future?
MoCap – I am presently building my own company to provide ongoing project management consultation with some key friends of mine; Paul Cordick who was a Producer/Project Manager at both Mainframe Entertainment and Electronic Arts along with Kirk Hutton, who just completed his MBA. Both of them will be assisting me in developing our business plan, scope/vision of the company and identify key clients and competition – having my own company will allow me the freedom to create and develop the projects that I truly want to work on.
CODElab – Learning how to setup and edit a Wiki page will greatly help me in the near future as one of my company’s first clients requires a wiki page to be setup and content input and maintained.

Do you have goals for continuing with the internship? Was there an on-going relationship that was developed or a network of contacts that will benefit your practice?
MoCap – Not directly with Rick in the MoCap lab, but he asked that I keep him in the loop as to the progress that the company makes moving forward.
CODElab – I will be doing some additional research for the CODELab artists later on this week for the project Wiki page and will be meeting with Simon later on in order to finalize what he needs me to look up. On a long term basis, I am not sure if I will be working with them down the road, but if our paths cross in the future, I would be open to talking with them to see if there are areas in which we can join forces.

Comment on the working relationship with the organization, working in a collaborative environment, the organization’s flexibility and communication about the projects.
MoCap – Not really applicable here as Rick and I were 1 on 1 all of the time and did not have a major project that needed to be worked on or completed by the end of the internship. That being said, I had a very good working relationship with him and would definitely work with him again in the future.
CODElab – There were a few bumps along the road in my internship with CODELab but at the end of the day, we were able to move forward based on mutual respect for one another and a common interest in putting forward a kick-ass art piece.

How your expectations of the internship changed over time? (what you ended up actually doing vs. what was initially proposed.)
MoCap – The complexities of the software itself are so immense that constant trouble shooting and tech support was required. In those instances where Rick was madly working away to try and solve the problem, rather than pester him with questions, in some instances it was better to just stand back, shut up and let him work the problem.
CODElab – Do to some miscommunications, the only concrete item that I have produced so far for CODELab was the Wiki page that I briefly showed during the mid-term assessment: http://codelab.blprnt.com/wiki/index.php/Information_on_the_Olympic_Games

Mention the tasks and accomplishments that occurred after the midterm presentation
MoCap – Working with Rick this week to ascertain whether data could be captured without the black rubber mats being laid out in the studio. By moving the mats off of the floor and dialing up the threshold of the cameras, we were able to prove that while possible, the square footage of area that is seen by the cameras is greatly diminished which would result in limiting the movement of the actors within the space.
Since the infrared cameras are very light sensitive, a potential project coming down the pipeline was looking to see if they could do mocap without the mats, as they are cumbersome to move and stack and also emit a fairly potent smell each time they are moved. The studio needs to be aired out as a result which means more time is lost
CODElab – still to be determined…

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DIVA 300 – Critical Review

November 25, 2009

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Here are the details from one of the performances that I saw over this past weekend’s Interactive Futures conference here at Emily Carr. Click critical_review_john_deveaux for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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t2:Echo – by Henry Daniel

Due to the fact that my schedule was quite full this past weekend along with the fact that I get quite severe motion sickness from watching 3D movies, ride films and IMAX movies, I was not able to see most of the presentations that were shown at this year’s Interactive Futures conference at Emily Carr. That being said, the one performance that I was able to see in at least some form was t2:Echo by Henry Daniel.

While I was not able to see the entire performance, due to the fact that the concourse gallery walls that were blocking my seeing most of the actual dancers’ performances. On top of this, I was also helping direct the audience members to their respective locations, facilitating their viewpoints and actively going to get benches for more vertically challenged people to stand on.

By positioning the dancers in two separate yet interlinked locations, the director was able to create a bridge between the performances. This was further articulated by the video coding and processing for telepresence technology that was used to create the concurrent ghosting effect that was seen on the wall of the ECUAD concourse gallery and the main display screen in the IDS Motion Capture studio.

The ghosting effect that was projected onto the concourse gallery wall showed the dual performances and interlaid them onto one another and provided a somewhat random video playback quality as each dancer took centre stage in front of the crowd. They also entered the stage from multiple entry points and once their rotation in each location was complete, they then ran either to or from the concourse gallery and IDS MoCap studio in order to continue their respective performances there.

I have never seen a live dance performance like this before and it was quite the sight to see, as the dancers themselves were able to glide through the space with the greatest of ease and truly encompass it. From what I could see, it was a beautiful and creative bridging of technology and human performance into a multi-faceted co-locative art piece and would enjoy seeing more performances by Henry Daniel and his accompanying dance troupe.


Internship Mid-Term Report

October 28, 2009

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Here are the details on the two internships that I am working on this semester for my DIVA 300 class – the first being the Motion Capture Studio at Emily Carr University and the second being CODElab, a look into surveillance during the Olympics taking place here in Vancouver in 2010. Click mid_term_report_john_deveaux for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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IDS Motion Capture Studio Internship
http://crossfitmocap.wordpress.com/
– blog setup to provide project info to participants and show progress
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=177700972600&ref=mf
– Facebook user group setup as well with video links on group wall

LEARNING OUTCOMES
– Rick’s philosophy on learning is to be fluid and allow for creative freedom
– he did not want me helping with mundane tasks such as answering email
– seeing as how he has no set schedule, he wanted to have as much fun in the process
– on his own, he would calibrate the cameras by running back and forth = boring
– having me working with him, gives him a greater chance to explore new outcomes
– “If I have to do one more damn US Marine with a machine gun walk cycle again…”
– CrossFit coaches and athletes were brought together with artists for group meeting
– much easier to learn by bringing in and suiting up actors to have them perform
– ability to work with the performers and fine tune walk cycles or isolated movements
– unfortunately, we had a major software glitch which nixed our live MoCap filming

– Rick pulled up some pre-recorded footage to show multiple data captures instead
CFmeeting2a
CFmeeting3a
CFmeeting4a
CFmeeting5a
CFmeeting6a

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 1

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 2

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 3

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 4

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 5

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CODElab Internship
UPDATE
http://codelab.blprnt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
– Wiki page setup as a collective of project information and outcomes
http://codelab.blprnt.com/wiki/index.php/Information_on_the_Olympic_Games#Olympics:_
Secured_.E2.80.94_Past_and_Present

– researched previous and future Olympic cities’ security and surveillance activities
LEARNING OUTCOMES
– overall project is still open-ended as far as final outcomes
– I foresee my continued responsibilities as becomming a researcher
– our first task was to get a video camera and go around Granville Island and record
– criteria asked for unique and creative locations in order to record people and events
– possible location of setting up a “Ministry of Mis-Information” at Granville Island info board
surveillance1a
surveillance2a
surveillance3a


DIVA 300 – Internship Scope of Work Report

September 29, 2009

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Here are the details on the two internships that I will be working on this semester for my DIVA 300 class – the first being the Motion Capture Studio at Emily Carr University and the second being CODElab, a look into surveillance during the Olympics taking place here in Vancouver in 2010. Click John DeVeaux – Scope of Work Report for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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IDS Motion Capture Studio Internship

OVERVIEW
– Motion Capture Studio located here at the ECUAD Intersections Digital Studio
– Rick Overington is the studio tech who runs the operation
– major motion picture and local computer games companies use the studio space
– 20 Infared Passive Optical System to cover most of the floor space in the studio
– Motion Buider is the software application and is also good for pre-visualization
– full body suits which have 30-50 sensors sewn in are used to capture the data
– the system is unable to capture both bodies and facial features at the same time
– computers, cameras and the studio space need to be calibrated for each shot

– wand wave / L-Frame / Floor Calibration are the steps used to calibrate

Mocap

INTERNSHIP OUTCOMES
I want to incorporate CrossFit athletes and coaches into the Motion Capture Studio to serve both as a diagnostic tool to help provide real-time live data to athletes and coaches on their body dynamics as they do individual exercises, but to also merge this data into an artistic format as well.

I would like to work with some of the animation students at Emily Carr and create 3D character avatars which could then be animated with the motion capture data recorded from the original athletes to either match their actual likenesses or go really crazy and make the avatars look completely different (ie: men becoming women, humanoid looking animals, aliens…you name it).

I ran my idea by Rick on Monday and he said it would be great to work together on a collaborative project so that I could have an actual self-directed portfolio piece at the end of my internship, rather than just work on other peoples/companies’ projects. In addition, the owner and coaches at CrossFit are also very interested in what the Motion Capture Studio could provide to help enable their athletes propel themselves even further.

http://www.crossfit.ca
– CrossFit Vancouver homepage

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=crossfit+vancouver&search_type=&aq=f
– YouTube page listing of the CrossFit Vancouver workout videos

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CODElab Internship

OVERVIEW
CODElab will be a large-scale participatory new media artwork that will coincide with the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games from February 5th to 22nd, 2010 and be part of the larger CODELive event going on throughout the Vancouver area. Live capture nodes will be installed throughout Granville Island where visitors will be able to interact with artist and student facilitators via custom-designed balloon cams, umbrella cams, shoe cams and the like will record, transmit and present video with nontraditional perspectives and cutting-edge visuality.

CODElab

WHAT THIS ALL MEANS
– evolving process – the project guidelines will be set by the group
– roving, moving capture nodes for CODELab between the observer and the observed
– bodystorming vs. brainstorming – quickly create a conceptual idea and take it into the public sphere and test it out to see if it will actually work
– who will be our audience – project workers, ECUAD, Granville Island, Vancouver residents, 2010 Olympic visitors, the interwebz…
– orange and white colour scheme was decided upon for CODELab
– orange is significant of colour coded terrorist alert / being on alarm (CODE ORANGE)
– orange is the rabbit hole to engage the audience and bring them in further once they more and more CODELab orange coloured objects

PROJECT DELIVERABLES
http://delicious.com/search?p=codelab+ecu&chk=&context=main|&fr=del_icio_us&lc=
– setup a delicious site to bookmark important corresponding information
– a project Wiki site is being developed as a base for final outcomes and data captures

INTERNSHIP OUTCOMES
I had the opportunity to see the artists’ previous project, GLOCAL, at the Surrey Art Gallery last year and was absolutely blown away at what they had achieved. I hope to get hands-on experience and knowledge on building an immense data capture project and to further visualize it with Processing so that I can create and expand my own projects to their full potential.

http://www.glocal.ca/


UT vs. Halo: You’ve been served

January 29, 2009

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While not exactly World of Warcraft, but here is a saweet Machinima video that I came across today – check this $hit out…
– FlashAddict

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Reading Media Culture – Friday’s class notes

January 19, 2009

FIRST WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT DUE NEXT WEEK – NEEDS TO BE PRINTED – NOT EMAILED!!!
Summarize in 500 words (2 pages) one of the readings for next week
– Digital Encounters – deal with animation and interface
– Introduction to Gramophone – linking technologies / theorizing military and ideological reasoning behind the technologies

MEDIATION
– film, video and media were used to expand our minds to make us speculate and understand what Egoyan was up to when he made the film, Calendar
– we are all media consumers, producers
– medium = plural of media = collective of mass types of media
– ceramics, painting, writing = media as well (think outside the box to what is considered media and artists who create them are still media makers)
– systems or vehicles for the transmission of ideas or entertainment = transportation method
– media are the materials that communicate – early examples, hieroglyphs, alphabet, radio, moving image…
– the human body produces a form of mediation such as shown in the public performance (dance, spoken word, music…)
– Calendar had multiple types of media and media technologies listed
– translation, transcription and interpretation or size have an effect on the distribution method and overall interpretation that the media has on the audience (ie: watching a movie on your iPod vs. watching it on an iMax screen)
– all media give shape to experience – human experiences are affected
– selectivity of media and method of distribution helps set the tone of the piece (amplify, extends, restricts or prohibits)
– may open or close doors (reveal, conceal)

Issue of memory / morality
– rise of video distribution has enhanced the dissemination of culture, thought, ideas and art can be compared to the Guttenberg press – more people who can read and access information
– the loss that results is that people do not have to remember anything when they can simply look it up
– medium is another term for language (create dialog and communicate with an audience and articulate an idea or way of thinking)
– The medium is the Message
– mode of transmission that forms part of our total environment
– in the film Calendar, the telephone becomes a medium that mediates communication between two people on either end of the phone
– character relationships are mediated through the various technologies shown in the film (phone, video camera, answering machine, many different languages, written notes and letter, human body of Egoyan’s wife in the way she interacts with the guide)

Marshall McLuhan
– canadian scholar who embraced various media technologies during the 1960’s
– the professor in the film Videodrome, by David Cronenberg was a satire of him


– book called Understanding Media – Extensions of Man and Guttenberg Galaxy
– metaphor of a paradox – medium is the message – global village
– most important = tools to provide understanding technology
– all technological advances produce a new type of sensorial experience and alters human embodiment and reaction to the technology
– seduction and power of media technology – humans become mesmerized by technology
– called his ideas prose so they are designed as thought pieces to change perspectives in the reader
– writings were prophetic – anticipated the persuasiveness of the extent of media technologies available to the general public today
– cross-disciplinary media has further contributed to his idea of the global village and is being documented by a new generation of media savvy artists
– size of the day changed for many with the introduction of the electric light = communication media with no overt content
– message of electric light = purest form of information because it makes thing instant – acceleration of time
– invention of electrical light irrevocably changed human culture (revolutionary media)

“The message of electric light is like the message of electric power in industry, totally radical, persuasive and decentralized. For electric light and power are separate from their uses, yet they eliminate time and space factors in human association exactly as do radio, telegraph, telephone and TV, creating involvement and depth.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gutenberg_Galaxy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Media

Mothlight – Stan Brakhage

– this is used as an example of McLuhan’s ideation about technology being required to disseminate information
– the purest form of watching this film would be to watch it on film and have the actual light to shine through the moth wings onto a screen

MEDIA SPECIFICITY ESSENTIALISM
– what are the properties common to all media and what and what are the specific to individual types of media – what are the properties associated with that media? (ie: film vs video vs photography vs print vs painting vs sculpture…) – what is essential for the medium to consist of in order to convey the associated ideation to the audience?
– McLuhan talks about when we use the medium for a particular purpose, it becomes a part of that purpose (form of content)
– subscribe to the idea that the medium that is chosen to convey the art that that technology becomes prominent and has a voice
– technologies become interpretative frameworks – representation is a major theme of this course
– what messages are encoded in the choices made in how they publish their work
– ie: Fast Film
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td6UObEEaQQ
– brain shifting = ability to question to what you as the audience are viewing – what is the artist trying to convey to me and not in any other way?
– process by media and process of mediation interact with one another
– personal, social consequence of particular types of media – introduction of TV changed the family dynamic (eat dinner at the table or in front of the tv)

FUJI – by Robert Breer (1974)
– an experimental animation – very original for its time – good use of rotoscoping – animating over existing film stock and combining film footage with animated overlays
– framing an artwork is a method of mediation (process of inclusion and exclusion)
– composing the frame and deciding more importantly what is in the frame is also an act of mediation
– framing devices used in both Calendar and Fuji
– page 375 (bordwell & thompson) – use of rotoscoping – use of motion picture footage and print over it with frame by frame animation or otherwise manipulate
– original derivation comes from motion picture (series of images)
– motion capture is a form of rotoscoping (different but related)
– Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly are contemporary examples of this process
– window frame of the picture frame is on display in Fuji = frame within a frame
– 24 views of Mount Fuji is mediated by this footage of the place on the train and looking out of the window and then further extrapolated by the rotoscoping
– technological applications that appear in the film (line art, colour splotches) become mediations in their own right as well as existing as the sum of the piece
– perspective is dictated by the person who took the footage (north american tourist visiting Japan and the inaccessibility to outsiders = culture is alien to him)
– commentary on representation – as a cultural outsider truthfully represent that culture or that cultural icon in a media presentation
– the subject matter is further mediated by his body language and interaction with Japanese people on the train
– he’s not trying to be politically correct and act with reverence to such an iconic Japanese symbol – he was simply trying to illustrate his personal connection to Mt. Fuji as a tourist and as an artist — he’s acknowledging his own subjective, highly mediated experience of Mt. Fuji

Calendar – by Atom Egoyan
– deals with issues of tourism and also uses framing devices
– various storylines run through the film and they each have their own transmission mode
– the film itself exists as a signature medium to begin with – base layer for the other transmission methods to be projected
– video footage within the film acts as above as a frame within a frame so as the audience to experience and feel different emotions then the base film itself
– video camera is mobile and handheld lacking the resolution of the high-end production film camera
– a trauma has been inflicted on the Armenian people by the Ottoman/Turkish empire – not overtly referenced yet that is the reason why the Churches were abandoned and now revered as holy shrines
– they were the headquarters of religious identity and for the christian armenian population but also their own headquarters of population control (christian dogma being forced on the masses)
– cultural tourist in Armenia but also in his own marriage – without knowledge of what the significance of the churches signify, but more importantly without knowledge of the significance of the growing relationship between his wife and the guide
– ideation of separation and language barriers are developed and referenced
– obsession – he becomes paranoid at the aspect of feeling estranged of losing understanding of the situation
– interesting duality in the fact that Egoyan himself appears in it and plays the part of the fool and not understanding the importance of what the churches represent to the history of the massacre of the Armenian people – he would eventually make a future film called Ararat which specifically addresses this massacre, which is still denied by the Turkish government to this day
– further framing is shown in Egoyan’s kitchen as he has multiple dinner encounters with several different escorts, yet whom each are a different cultural background and speak different languages
– the phone scenes are further compared as each escort asks to use the phone and make outgoing calls vs. his ex wife making incoming calls
– there is a sick fascination for Egoyan to reconstruct the visceral and deeply hurtful experience of losing his wife in order to create the urge to write the letter
– forced alienation is the message being portrayed in each location (Armenia, kitchen)
– idea that memory is as collective as it is individual – community of two and individual conscience of the cameraman
– engages in a pathetic way in how he responds to his lack of interest in the history behind the churches and also in his pathetic attempt to write the letter but only with the reconstruction of traumatic memories with the escorts

http://www.ecuad.ca/~rburnett/calendar.html

A new type of media permeates the scene, a new problem of memory can be observed. (positive and negative charge – change for both good and bad)


Reading Media Culture – MHIS 206 @ Emily Carr

January 13, 2009

Fast Film – Virgil Widrich

– element of self reflection
– delight as educated film viewers watching the ingenuity of the animation
– patterns of juxtaposition of the different films put together to form a cohesive narrative
– distributed attention – I have the desire to watch the film again frame by frame in order to absorb greater meaning from the film clips
– inter textuality = film implicitly or explicitly alludes to or references other films
– the film lionizes the art of film making
http://www.widrichfilm.com/fastfilm/

Cinephilia = people who love film disproportionately

A Cinemaphile or Cinephile is most respectably noted as a person who dedicates their life to the academic study of cinema. The earliest cinephiles were that who bore the French New Wave or La Nouvelle Vague – André Bazin, Jacques Donial-Valcroze and Alexandre Astruc amongst others and film movements.

Could be a colloquial name for someone who is an avid fan of movies. From knowing hundreds and thousand of small facts and anecdotal stories to do with all their favourite films, being able to perfectly repeat large portions of script from their favourite films – all from memory (imitating all the various characters as they go), to collecting all the merchandise, associated paraphernalia, movie posters, various versions of the movie, cinemaphiles go above and beyond what most usual filmgoers would accept as a ‘normal’ filmgoer’s appreciation, sometimes to the point of absolute devotion.

This term is somewhat interchangeable with the word ‘cinephile’, and both can be (and are) used to mean the same thing. The word ‘cinephile’ is more often used in Europe, especially in French, to describe a devoted movie lover (the word ‘cinephile’ having an obvious root in the French word ‘ciné’, which itself is derived from the word ‘cinéma’).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinemaphile

– spectatorship = how to understand how we process information – why did you have an emotional response to a film?!?!?
– how do you respond to the psychological and emotional response to film and film characters?

STAR SYSTEM
– specifically in the interest of stars and stardom – Enquiring minds want to know!
– Replete – film about the star system

CULTURAL STUDIES
– phenomenon of studying stars, (Ie: National Enquirer, People Magazine…) – obsession with Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
– feud between Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood in regard to the film Flags of our Fathers (no black characters portrayed – even though all of the flag bearers were white in real life)

CASABLANCA

– film convention of the time with the cut and time delay that the audience reads the screen to assume that Rick and Ilsa had sex in the 3 second cut in the scene
– clothes are still on and unruffled when the camera shows them again in the morning – was able to get by the censor board = plausible deniability

– but also wanted to push the envelope as far as naughtiness went at the time – period of censorship

Reel Bad Arabs
This groundbreaking documentary dissects a slanderous aspect of cinematic history that has run virtually unchallenged form the earliest days of silent film to today’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Featuring acclaimed author Dr. Jack Shaheen, the film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs–from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding “terrorists”–along the way offering devastating insights into the origin of these stereotypic images, their development at key points in US history, and why they matter so much today. Shaheen shows how the persistence of these images over time has served to naturalize prejudicial attitudes toward Arabs and Arab culture, in the process reinforcing a narrow view of individual Arabs and the effects of specific US domestic and internationl policies on their lives. By inspiring critical thinking about the social, political, and basic human consequences of leaving these Hollywood caricatures unexamined, the film challenges viewers to recognize the urgent need for counter-narratives that do justice to the diversity and humanity of Arab people and the reality and richness of Arab history and culture.

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (ISBN 1-56656-388-7, Olive Branch Press) is a 2001 book by Jack Shaheen where he surveyed more than 900 film appearances of Arab characters. Of those, only a dozen were positive and 50 were balanced. Shaheen writes “Seen through Hollywood’s distorted lenses, Arabs look different and threatening.”.[1]

He contends that the movies with the most anti-Arab content are: Rules of Engagement (2000), The Delta Force (1986) Death Before Dishonor (1987) and True Lies (1994).

Included on the “worst list” is:

* Back to the Future (1985)
* The Black Stallion (1979)
* The Black Stallion Returns (1983)
* Bloodfist VI: Ground Zero (1994)
* The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
* Chain of Command (1993)
* The Delta Force (1986)
* Freedom Strike (1998)
* Iron Eagle (1986)
* Ishtar (1987)
* Killing Streets (1991)
* Navy SEALs (1990)
* Operation Condor (1997)
* Protocol (1984)
* Rules of Engagement (2000)
* The Taking of Flight 847 (1988)
* Terror in Beverley Hills (1988)
* True Lies (1994)

Inspired by the “worst list”, a 9-minute-long trailer called “Planet of the Arabs” [2] was assembled. This short was an Official Selection at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Sut Jhally directed a 2006 video called Reel Bad Arabs about Jack Shaheen’s thesis.
http://www.reelbadarabs.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reel_Bad_Arabs