Wednesday, December 21, 2011

5 Most Valuable Minutes from "Taxi Driver"




The 5 minutes I thought was most valuable was from 8:40-13:40 of this video. This scene was selected because it seemed to best represent the recurring motifs that are scene throughout the movie. The scene starts out with Travis pointing the gun and posing in the mirror then saying "You're dead". The next scene shows the city with the smog in the background to represent the filth and the water also represents cleaning up the city. This relates to the rest of the movie because Travis goes through internal suffering because he lives in a world full of crime, hate, and "scum". The juxtaposition with these shots shows how Travis wants to clean up the city through violence as he points the gun practicing then cuts to the water. I think this is what the director intends when he puts these to shots together.

The next scene starts out with Travis walking in the store and in a short time, he ends up killing a black person who was just trying to rob the store. This shows how Travis sort of looks down on blacks as he thinks they are causing to many problems and are the ones who make the city the bad place that it is. This is the first time Travis kills someone in the movie so the audience sees how he has grown in character becoming the anti-hero that he is.

Then later on, after the scene where he kicks the TV over, Travis is waiting outside the Palantine campaign as Palantine is giving a speech where the audience hears him say "We the people have suffered". This is also important to the film because it adds to Travis' anger and motive to want to kill Palantine as he is eyeing him with bad intentions. Since Palantine represents the people, Travis believes he may be causing the city to be so bad and is encouraging the "scum" to thrive and support him.

After this, there is an interior monologue of Travis writing a letter to his parents. He is sending a card, but he lies about his life and how he has a girlfriend and is in the secret service. He seems to be a little irrational as he is writing to his parents, but does not know there birthdays and says that July is the month of their anniversary, father's day, and mother's birthday. This shows how Travis is starting to mentally deteriorate which the audience can see that Travis is becoming more darker and becoming the anti-hero.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Intensified Continuity

According to David Bordell continuity has intensified in Hollywood cinema because there has been new advancements in style and techniques in filming that have evolved over the years. Advancements such as more rapid editing, bipolar extremes of lens lengths, more close framings in dialogue scenes, and free-ranging camera.


More rapid editing:
Between 1930-1960 hollywood films contained between 300 and 700 shots and the average shot length (ASL) was around 8-11 seconds. In the 1960s, American and British filmmakers were experimenting with faster cutting rates: ASL around 6-8 seconds. 1970s, most films had an ASL between 5-8 seconds and around a thousand shots. In the 1980s, ASL averaged around 4-5 seconds and 3- 4 for those movies influenced by music videos and in action pictures. Most films were around 1500 shots and near the end of the 90s, movies contained 3000-4000 shots and an ASL between 3-6 seconds. "Some action sequences are cut so fast (and staged so gracelessly) as to be incomprehensible". Most scenes include conversations and shot/reverse-shot exchanges are applied and the eyeline match of the characters can serve as an establishing shot so longer shots are not needed.  

Bipolar extremes of lens lengths:
1910s-1940s, the normal lens had a focal length of 50mm, longer lenses (100-500mm) were used for close ups and swift action at a distance. The 1930s relied on shorter lenses (25-35mm) for good focus in several planes or full shots, which became the normal lens. 1970s, wide-angle lenses provided establishing shots, medium shots, and close-ups. "Even more filmmakers turned to the long lens. Thanks to influential European films like A Man and a Women (1966), the development of reflex viewing and telephoto and zoom lenses, an influx of new directors from television and documentary, and other factors, directors began to use a great many more long-lens shots". Long lenses could save time and multiple-camera shooting. The long lens can frame close-ups, medium shots, over the shoulder shots, and establishing shots.

More close framings in dialogue scenes:
1930s-1960s, directors played out scenes that cut off actors at the knee or mid-thigh level, which called for lengthy two-shots. Two-shots were replaced by singles only showing one person. The filmmaker must find ways to emphasize certain lines or facial reactions in scenes that rely on rapidly cut singles. "in many films the baseline framing for a dialogue became a roomy over the shoulder medium shot. So the filmmaker began to work along a narrower scale, from medium two-shot to extreme close-up single". A reestablishing shot may not be needed when actors change positions. Tighter framings permit faster cutting.

A free-ranging camera:
1920s, prolonged following shots were developed and became prominent at the start of sound cinema. "thanks to lighter cameras and stabilizers like Steadicam, the shot pursuing one or two characters down corridors, through room after room, indoors and outdoors and back again, has become ubiquitous". Crane shots now serve as casual embellishment and now less marks a film's dramatic high point. Push-ins build tension and are used at a point of realization. Circling shots were a very common way to present people gathered around a dinner table and arching cameras showed lovers embracing. Sometimes the camera movement may serve as a point of view shot. A long shot is unlikely to be a static one.


Continuity has intensified because movies were increasing in durations and number of shots, so techniques were developed to save time, convey the meaning of the shots more clearly, and keep the attention of the audience.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The American Anti-Hero

Between 1945 and 1980 emerged the golden age of the American anti-hero. This is more of a human hero popularized by the male movie star. There are four reasons why heroes changed in American film after WWII. Americans wanted: 1. new kinds of heroes since it was a new country after the war; 2. their heroes to rebel against the status quo; 3. human heroes who were like real American heroes who were true representations of life; 4. its heroes to reflect the true american spirit. The american cinema is a reflection of the culture. America had lost its innocence and needed new kinds of heroes to lead the way.


New Kinds of Heroes:
"The anti-hero gained popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, probably due to the cynicism during and following World War II. People were relating to the hip non-hero who was not involved in world problems but devoting his time to overcoming his own personal problems" (Epstein and Morella 5). People were relating to the non-hero who was not involved in world problems but devoting his time to overcoming his own personal problems. John Garfield made a name for himself in the 1940s. His characters were visceral and palpable individuals who were only concerned about what they could gain or lose. This was also true to human nature and much more realistic than the traditional hero who always did the right thing. The anti-hero was daring the audience to relate to doing wrong or being wrong even for the wrong reasons. The anti-hero would come to represent America's growing uneasiness and skepticism about true courage and heroism. The 1950s would see the paranoia of the Cold War take hold of the country and create a sense of fear and hate in the people. Characters started to embrace the duality in the nature of man.

Rebelling:

"The anti-hero is rarely happy in situations that please other men. He prefers conflict and struggle rather than comfort and certainty. His sense of self-actualization or righteousness is achieved through war or strife. In Homer's story of Odysseus, as in so many contemporary films, the goal of the warrior/hero is not long life, but glorious life followed by glorious death" (Fitch www.usask.ca).The ingredient of the anti-hero is the need to rebel and in the early 1950s America was concerned with fighting and conquering Communism. This gave rise to a revolution of father figures who represented  America's citizens whose lives were being shattered by overbearing authority figures. Rebels are anti-heroes who fight authority figures no matter what the cost. America would fight battles from Korea to Vietnam; while nothing much was gained almost everything was lost. The rebel anti-hero was just as stubborn and just as tragic. The 1960s would be the most profound period in the golden age of the anti-hero. As much as the rebel anti-hero was rebelling against the American standard, America itself was born through rebellion and revolution. Rebelling was and still is an American characteristic. What would separate the 60s anti-heroes from all others was their uncanny ability to inspire and move their audience even through failure. Their humanity would be their most powerful weapon.



Human Heroes:
"In America, 1968 was merely the most apocalyptic year of a momentous decade. During that period the myths underlying the foreign policy of containment, the belief that domestic affluence ensured social peace, and the basic optimism that dominated American life and spirit since the Second World War were buried forever. For many Americans their image of themselves, their society, and their place in the world underwent a painful transformation. Despite the fact that it ultimately ushered in a period of intense social and political conservatism (whose force and grip on power has still clearly not abated) it left hope that this was no permanent state of things-that some form of social and cultural rebellion could rise again" (Auster and Quart 67-8). Heroes seemed to be all too human during the 60s.They all had rebel hearts, but few  ever reached their goal or were successful. They would continue to fight worthwhile battles, but in the end nothing would be gained. Anti-heroes became these characters that were supposed to be representations of real people or real Americans.These human heroes bore little resemblance to their successful forefathers, who seemed to all live happily ever after. Anti-heroes still convinced the audience they could be the heroes of old and win out or at least survive.


The True American Spirit:
Towards the end of the 60s and into the 70s filmmakers began to tweak the anti-hero, giving the role a darker or even non-heroic quality. America during this period was just as morally ambiguous. Whether it was sexual liberation or drug use or politics, audiences yearned to see the true American spirit. The anti-hero became a darker, edgier character, who was just as confused as the average American. People began to wonder if heroes, in general, were real or even needed. Anti-heroes of the late 60s and 70s embodied the idea of the American spirit. They explored what life in America was and what it meant to be an American.



The American anti-hero contradicts the classic hollywood ideology because of how it represents a sense of reality in everyday life. The classic hollywood ideology involves characters who are more heroic and accomplish good things that seem unselfish and more superman like. However the anti-hero tends to focus on individuality and accomplishing the problems that seem more realistic to the people of America and is something that the audience can relate too. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Arrival of a Train" and "Damsel in Distress"

1. The camera work between both movies were very different. In the Arrival of a Train, there is only one long continuos shot that is stationary. The train moves into the shot and unloads its passengers and also the shot is angled so that the tracks create a diagonal line or graphic vector. In the Damsel in Distress, there are a lot of mid-shots and long shots between each character. The shots in this movie are much shorter, but there are a large number of them. The shots create more intensity as they have shots of nearly all the characters and objects involved in the movie, like shots of the train, girl on the tracks, the man, and the dog.   This movie tends to focus on key characters in each shot, while in Arrival of a Train, focuses on the train and everybody getting off the train as a whole.

2. In the Arrival of a Train, there is no editing at all, which makes this movie a form of realism. There is only one sequence shot, in which the footage has not been edited.  In Damsel in Distress, the shots are cutting back and forth to create more suspense, which is more of a classicism style because of the continuity cutting. There are more edits in this movie as it switches between each object or character that pushes the story forward.

3. The characteristics of the narrative in Arrival of a Train are more of what is actually happening in the scene at that moment. There is no intensity as the train arrives and it doesn't manipulate the effect that the audience would get from a normal arriving train, which is why it's a form of realism. This narrative is more self told, it doesn't imply anything to the audience, the audience ends up figuring out the story as the shots past since there is no foreshadowing or focus of one main aspect. The characteristics of the narrative in Damsel in Distress are more told through the cutting of the shots. The audience can infer that the man is racing against the train to save the women from being crushed by the train. There is more of a story taking place unlike in Arrival of a train where it is not really a story, but just an event. The narrative in Damsel in Distress is more opened to the audience because the shots capture and focus on many different specific characters and the event that takes place between them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advanced Editing Notes: 3. Soviet Montage and 4. Realism

3. Soviet Montage and Formalism

a. Pudovkin's concept of constructive editing is that meaning is created through the juxtaposition of shots and not the shots. He used close ups put together to create a unified meaning. He believed that long shots were too close to reality and that filmmakers should only use close ups, textures, and symbols. He believed these montages were the most effective way to convey the idea underlying real life.

b. Kuleshov believed that ideas in cinema are created by linking fragmentary details to produce a unified action. The Kuleshov effect shows that emotion is produced not by the actor's performance, but by the juxtapositions. Films that involves a character who has little dialogue at all use this effect like in the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks. He is all alone on the island and the audience is shown his emotion by his actions.

c. Eisentein believed life was about constant change and conflict of opposites. Also believed that each shot must be incomplete, contributory rather than self-contained. It needs conflict of thesis and antithesis produces a new idea. Produced contrasting images in the collision montage of Odessa Steps. In the Odessa Steps scene, there is fast cuts and short shots of the many different individuals in the scene. Some of the characters in the film like the mother and the baby are not filmed all at once, but at different times.

4. Andre Bazin and Realism

a. Andre Bazin believed that editing could destroy the effectiveness of a scene. Distortions in using formalist techniques, especially thematic ediing, can violate the complexities of reality. Formalists were egocentric and manipulative. Classical Cutting was also seen as potentially corrupting. The technique encourages us to follow the shot sequence without our being conscious of its arbitrariness.


b. What realist filmmakers strive for in their work is using long shots, wide screen, lengthy takes, deep focus, panning, craning, tilting, or tracking rather than cutting to individual shots. This makes the film seem more real and uncorrupted.


c. Techniques that realists use in their filmmaking is reduced editing, deep focus, and synchronized sound were used, as well the cinematography mentioned in the above answer.

Short Film Critique: Blinded

Rationale: The film the my group members and I made was titled Blinded. This is a dramatic film that is about a man who sacrifices his eyes for his blind girlfriend who seems to be oppressed by the world she lives in. When she admits that she will marry her boyfriend once she gets her eyes, the boyfriend donates his eyes to her, without her knowing. After she finds out that the man is blind, she tries to cope with it, but realizes that its to much to handle and leaves him and doesn't find out to the very end.

Commentary:
My main area of responsibility for the film was cinematographer. It was my duty to get all of the shots as best as possible and I made sure that I applied my knowledge of film techniques that would ever more enhance the shots of the film. For example, sticking to the rule of thirds was very helpful as many of the shots throughout the film were excellent because of this and they didn't look amateur. Also another technique that I applied was the 180 line where the camera was placed on one side facing the actors in a certain direction. The camera would only shoot footage that the actors were positioned in the same area facing the same direction or else it would have looked confusing if i switched back and forth between against the 180 line because then the actors would look as if they keep changing directions. Besides taking on cinematography, I also provided feedback for the final edit of the film as the editors were working on which is the best way to go abut things in the edit.

Problems that arose in my area of responsibility was shooting in the bright day time and then transitioning from the bright day to the inside of a house with little lighting. What made shooting when it is really sunny outside a challenge is that I can barely see the screen of the camera because the screen wasn't bright enough to compete with the power of the sun. Some shots I felt could have been improved like the scenes that took place outside of bart when the actors are leaving the bart station. But because I couldn't see the screen, I didn't know what the shot looked liked and how should I adjust the ISO in order to determine how much light I should let in for the camera. There is this one low shot where it looks as if the camera was on the ground and the actress falls right in front of it. During this shot, I wasn't able to see the screen and I did this shot blindly and the shot is not as compelling as it would have been if I came in tighter on the shot. Another problem was shooting in areas that had really low light, like in the bart station while the actors are walking up the stairs and also in the house where the most important scenes take place. In the bart station, even though I could have made the camera capture more light, I didn't want the footage to turn out grainy, so I only did it to where I possibly can to not have that effect. In one of the shots, When they are walking up the stairs, I didn't realize that the boom pole was in the shot because it was dark and the boom blended in with the surrounding environment. It was also difficult when shooting inside the house because there was really low lighting and my limits to where the amount of light the camera lets in without making the footage grainy was reached and it still remained too dark.

How I solved the problems that arose in my area of responsibility was with the lighting kit. Since we knew that filming in the house was going to be dark, especially after school where it gets darker faster because of daylight savings time. The lighting kit really helped when I was filming in the house because it was much easier to see the characters. However, I thought the lights were too bright, even with the diffuser on them, because they created shadows in the house, which I thought looked unrealistic and unprofessional. Though it can be argued that this scene takes place during the day and it can be the sun shining through the window, it still seems un-plausible because the shadows are projecting up against the wall and in reality, the sun would be shining downwards making the actors shadows on the floor. Still, the shots were much better than before. But we didn't reshoot the scene that takes place at bart because it would be too much work for just a little shots and no one had the time to actually go film there again.

Problems that occurred in the film as a whole was the overall factor of time management. Though nearly all of the members were free to shoot any day, our main actress wasn't which hindered the film from being any better because we were missing a lot of shots that would have help the audience better understand our film. This also effected the final edit because when all team members are reviewing the footage, we noticed that we needed to extend some shots, include shots, capture a shot differently, and fix the continuity errors that also arose. Without time to reshoot because our actress was unavailable on numerous days that we planned to shoot, getting these shoots was impossible as there was no time left to get them. An example is when the scene where she leaves her boyfriend ends and it cuts to her waving while saying "bye guys" seemed confusing. It seemed confusing because we didn't have a shot to show that she has other friends and was having a good time with them. But since we didn't have this, the message was not conveyed as clear as it should have been. Because of the actresses schedule, meeting the deadline for our film was really difficult because we stilled needed more scenes to film and had to shoo them by a certain time. The scene in the park and the scene where she finds out that the boyfriend is blind were really rushed. That scene was shot in a matter of five-seven minutes because we really had no time to shoot. The shots came out not too good because I didn't have time to set up the camera and position it to where the scene looks the best so the quality of shots may have gone down in this scene.

How our teamed solved these problems of missing shots, was in the edit. The editors had to cut each scene so that the story made more sense and even had to cut out some dialogue and place some shots out of order. Like the park scene, this scene was supposed to go after the scene where the audience is first introduced in the house as the characters were supposed to come directly from bart to the house as they are wearing the same clothing. But since we had no other scenes as supporting context for the park scene, we had the put that scene in between the bart and the house. Though it can be argued that the park scene could have taken place before the bart scene and that it was shown to give insight on the audience and his motives to give his eyes up. As for the time management problems, they were typically impossible to fix.

I thought the final film, as a whole, was generally good. I thought there should have been some scenes that could have been conveyed more and needed other scenes to help tell the story better and promote character development. The cinematography was really well  done and it helped show the story by creating meaning in shots such as close ups. The acting was not as compelling as it should have been because the dialogue seemed really simple and scripted and the actress didn't seem to grasp the concept of 'acting', which made the film's effect on the audience not as much intense as was intended. The edit was very good considering that many of the shots were missing, but the story still made sense and the effects such as the echoing voices in the beginning made the feeling of the film more dramatic, which was really good. However, what I didn't like about the film was the music. I realized when our film was screened to the class, that the music was copy righted. I thought this was really difficult to cope with because it was added without the consent of all team members and it also isn't allowed in the film. Though overall, the film needed more shots to convey the narrative and story even better, as well as the acting, but overall it was good (could have been better).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trailer Review- 300



This trailer is for the movie "300" where a Spartan army has to battle against the great Persian army. This movie depicts the actual Battle of Thermopylae between cities of Greece and the Persian Empire. King Leonidas leads 300 of his soldiers into Thermopylae to defend his city from a Persian invasion lead by King Xerxes. He takes only 300 as he cannot go to war without the oracle's consent and has an excuse that they are his body guards and he is just going for a walk. During the movie, The army ends up fighting against thousands or millions of Persians. There is a lot of action such as fighting and a lot of intense scenes of the many battles the 300 Spartans endure.

The cinematography is very enjoyable as it has a different style and graphic as most movies. The cinematography makes the setting seem dark, which adds to the feeling of the movie as a whole and also makes it more intense. The close ups on the people also make the movie seem intense as the closeups put the audience closer to the subject a giving the feeling that we are there. There are a lot of long shots of the scenes with fighting and most of the trailer is composed of these type of shots. This makes the movie seem really entertaining and gives off the message that there is a lot of fighting.

The editing starts of with scenes that seem slow and transitions through each of these scenes with a fade in and out. These scenes establish the setting and story. Then we hear voices that are yelling and are followed by a lot of fighting scenes. The fast cutting between different fighting scenes makes the movie more intense and the voice over transitions show characterization of the two different armies, as the Persian army seems weak, while the Spartan army seems strong and unstoppable. This is also emphasized by the scenes that seem to show the Persian army losing and the Spartan army killing and overcoming the many different obstacles they face that seem to be impossible to manage. The feeling of impossibility also glorifies the Spartan army and portrays them as unbeatable. Then the trailer ends with the title.

The sound starts off dramatic in the begging scenes that show the sympathy portrayed in the establishing shots like of King Leonidas' family. Then the music turns into a certain type of rock music that fits with the fighting scenes that come after. This also makes the movie seem more action affiliated making it more intense as well. This type of music categorizes the movie as an action because of the emotion the audience gets from it. The sounds that we hear in each scene seems to be of one noise like the scene with the giant rhino. This characterizes each scene as they all have one different sound that is emphasized over the others in the scenes. This gives the audience insight on what types of different action that is going to be in the overall movie.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Run Lola Run Presentation Critique: Sound



My groups presentation focused on the sound design of the movie Run Lola Run. My slides are 4-6, Sound effects, Emotional Effects, and Symbols and motifs.

I. Interpretation
Sound Effects: The director uses many expressive sounds to emphasize many objects or actions within the shot. Lola falling down the stairs is an example because there are many sounds that a person wouldn't normally here and this gives awareness to the audience by making the fall seem more dramatic than it actually is. Since these sounds seem to be enhanced, it creates focus for the audience and also gets their attention. In one scene , the gun dropping makes an expressive yet almost surreal sound effect. This is the scene where many drops the gun when Lola gets shot and this is the only sound we here. The sound makes the noise of a heavy metal barbell hitting the floor instead of a more realistic noise. This id to grab the audiences attention because since the sound of the gun seems very heavy, it can mean that Manni has to deal with more weight on his shoulders and how he feels down and shocked by Lola's injury. 

Emotional Effects: Sound is constantly used to express the emotion of the characters. A faced paced beat is used to create a rise in tension throughout shots where the main characters seems most agitated, worried, or in most motion. When Lola speaks on the phone with Manni or when she is running, there is a faster tempo or beat. The sound also gives insight on what the characters are feeling. In conversation scenes, there is no sound which creates a sense of calmness and leads the audience into focusing on dialogue. This sense of calmness may serve to create a bigger surprise in the audience in the next scenes with a much faster pace.

Symbols and Motifs: Rapid beats may symbolize warped time as Lola runs to Manni in which she has 20 minutes to get the money, but it seems to last way longer. This shows how the time frame can be seen through sound as a faster tempo means Lola has less time as to no tempo or sound at all makes it seem like Lola has all the time in the world. This makes her 20 minutes seem impossible to achieve. Sound of camera flashes is a common motif throughout each run to represent a flash forward, as well as the flash forwards style. The tempo is a repeating motif as well, as a fast paced tempo is used throughout action scenes, but not in scenes with conversation. This shows a pattern between slow paced vs fast paced scenes as there is a certain tempo affiliated with the type of scene.

II.  Strengths of the Presentation
Some of the strengths of my presentation was that I was able to not use my note-card at all. I believe this allowed the audience to follow what I was saying and not become lost. This also allowed me to control my pacing because if I've noticed that when people read off their notes, then tend to read fast and the audience can understand what they are saying or have time to think.

III. Challenges and Areas for Improvement 
Some challenges that I faced was that when I am presenting, I tend to forget what I am going to talk about, so I start relying on what parts I remember. This is a challenge because I don't say all of what I want to say and then I feel like I am not portraying the important points and the overall message. Areas for improvement include using good film language or terminology. One student did say that it would have been better if I included more sound terms to get a better understanding or to show how much I know. I can also improve on speaking skills and learning not to get nervous would really help me stay calm and focused, which would help me present better.

Short Film Treatment 1: Fear

Logline:  A mystery... a boy is stalked by a HAUNTING figure.

Trucking shot starting from the right to the left of a boy doing push-ups in his room. The camera stops at the boys face. The boy does one more pushup. Establishing shot of the whole bedroom. Extreme closeup of the alarm. The alarm goes off at 6:00. Extreme closeup of the boy's face. Then back to the alarm, then boy's face (this repeats multiple times while getting faster and faster). Closeup of the alarm, the boy's hand slams it to turn it off. Close up of the boy sitting on his bed, rack focus to the agenda board behind him. The board reads "6:00". The boy sits there with a blank stare on his face. The camera pans over to the left, there is a dark shadowy figure of a man standing in the doorway staring.  The lights go out. Long shot of the house with all the lights going off. We hear a loud scream. cuts to black.

It's a bright day outside. From a distance away we see the boy walking towards the camera (in slow motion). Medium close up of his face, His face his happy. The boy is walking through a busy street. (still in slow motion) The boy walks past the camera covering what's in the background. and as he gets out of the shot, all we see is what's in the background.

Point of view shot. The boy is running from something (the camera is filming from his perspective). The camera turns, we see the shadowy figure chasing us. The bot wakes up from his dream. We are in his room. Close up of the clock. It is 6:00 exactly.

It's a bright day outside. From a distance away we see the boy walking towards the camera (in slow motion). Medium close up of his face, His face his worried. The boy is walking through a busy street. (still in slow motion) He walks toward the camera. As the boy passes the camera and is out of the shot, from a distance we see the same shadowy figure that was in his doorway.

We are back in the room. The boy does his daily routine of pushups. The boy stands up and turns to the mirror. He looks to the mirror to see the same dark figure in the reflection, standing outside his window. The boy turns to the window to see no one there. Close up of the clock. The clock reads 6:00.

The boy sits outside on a park bench. It's a nice day outside.

We are in the house. Close up on the ticking clock. It is almost 6:00. The ticks get slower and slower. Cuts to the opening scene where the boy is doing pushups . . . cuts to where he slams the alarm. Cuts to long shot of the house. The power goes out. We hear a loud scream. The front door of the house slams opens and the dark shadowy figure comes out. It quickly runs to the side moving out of the shot. It suddenly pops in front of the camera revealing a scary monstrous face. Cut to black.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Broadcast Critique: "Psychology"

Me and my partner focused our broadcast segment on the new psychology course in Capuchino High School.

I came up with the idea when me and my partner were trying to decide what topic we should base our segment on. While we were deciding, I wanted to have a topic that was new to our school and can be really informative to the students and I realized that the new psychology course would be perfect for this. We knew that the interviewees had to be the teachers who teach the course and some students who have enrolled in the class. We wanted to have more than one teacher and more than one student to interview so there would be variety in their answers, which would be more informative and more interesting to the viewers. In order to gather our interviews, we made appointments with the teachers for when they wanted to be interviewed and we also asked around for students in the course who wanted to be interviewed. Our interview questions were very focused and to the point of the topic because they questioned what the course is about and how its different from other classes, but at the same time they gave responses that made the course seem very fun and interesting. Me and my partner both came up with ideas that made the piece different from other segments, by shooting our b-roll so that it would match the topic of the segment while it still portrayed what the interviewee was saying. Like the book that flipped through different subjects as she talked about how the course was different. Also instead of asking the questions in a voice over, I asked the question on camera that made it look like I needed psychological enlightenment.

Our backgrounds that we chose for out shots were areas around our school since our school is where the psychology course takes place. But we wanted interesting backgrounds that would keep the viewers interested and would make the piece more professional. I'm certain that I filmed the teacher interviews and the b-roll while my partner filmed the student interviews and me asking the questions, which will make most of the shots similar in style and focus. Most of our b-roll was what we were filming in the moment and was not staged, except for when I asked the questions to the camera. With the b-roll and interviews, I took the rule of thirds into account and based many shots off of that, especially in the interviews with the waist shots. Zooming was used with shots we were unable to get close enough to and also to create more focus on what was being filmed, but there wasn't that much b-roll because a lot of unnecessary shots would take away from the focus and meaning of what the interviewees are saying. We avoided excessive zooming to give the shots better quality and give the audience a sense of awareness. For outside shots, I would take into account where the sun is facing and would make the people face the sun while talking to the camera to get more better lighted shot and so the interviewees wouldn't appear dark. The overall audio was good, but many factors would distort it like the construction going on in the background or if the mic was not close enough to the speaker.

I came up with the idea to talk to the audience when i asked the question because by asking the audience what they don't have the answer to, would make them more likely to want to find out what it is that they couldn't figure out. In the intro, I asked the question to the camera while walking towards it to give make it as if I were asking the audience to make them pay more attention to me. Our segment was very informative and I believe it covered the overall message of what psychology is about and why it is interesting. Our voice over questions do very much blend together with the interviews because they address a new topic that the interviewees would answer. I decided to end the piece with a different person speaking to the audience because we made it seem as if I was enrolling in the class, and he told them that they should enroll to.

Our b-roll reflects the audio very well, because it matches what is being said as well as the tone, which makes it more interesting to the audience. We did transition in our audio and video by using a question and answer structure where I would ask the question and they would answer and then I would ask another question and it would continue. There weren't any special effects or animation, but we came up with ideas where we manipulated many camera techniques to make it look like we had special effects, but they really weren't. For example, one shot would show me on the right side of the wall then would pan over to show me on the other side. We did this shot in one take, where I would stand on one side, then my partner would pan very slowly, so once I was out of the shot, I would walk behind him and stand on the other side. In the edit, we sped up the pan so the audience would have a more difficult time in trying to figure out how we did that. So we used a lot of camera techniques to film all of our shots, but didn't incorporate any special effects, which I believe the segment wouldn't have been as interesting if special effects were included.

Overall, what I liked about the piece was how me and my partner were able to create ideas that made this piece very different from others and especially the unique way of how the questions were filmed, which made the segment funny and entertaining. If we had more time, I would probably shoot some more shots over again because the audio wasn't that great in most shots. I would say the most important lesson that I can take from this is that always find a way to make a specific piece creative and would add more to what the piece is about and the overall meaning that it gives to the audience. Also always consider what would make the piece interesting to you because if it's interesting to you then it will be interesting to others as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Character in Time


An old man waits at a bus stop in the busy modern streets of London. He seems as if life has no meaning as he stares down towards the road in front of him. Something catches his attention and he slowly glances to his right, fixing his eyes upon an old, abandoned zoo entrance. He starts walking toward it.

Inside there are old cages and pathways. The old man walks through as if he is very familiar of the place. He comes across an area with a sign that reads "Turtles". He walks up to the old worn out fence, running his fingers across the chain links as he continues to walk beside it. The old man stops and turns, resting his forearms on the railing. Everything is now new: he is back in the 1939. He looks inside to see himself waxing giant turtles, while everyone else watches with enjoyment. He remembers how he worked so hard to support his mother and his younger sister, while his father and older brother had joined the war effort. Nobody knew the war would last so long.

The old man looks up out of his flashbacks and into the present. He slowly walks to the edges of fence and further. He eventually reaches a opening. He looks out in the open to find that the rest of the zoo had been replaced by an enormous crater.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cinematography Focus: Short Film- "Spider"

"Spider" by Blue-Tongue Films


Please take the time to watch this video before you read the analysis. Its about 8 minutes . . . without ending credits.


The short film that I decided to analyze, focusing on cinematography is Spider. This short film was directed by Nash Edgerton and produced by Nicole O'Donohue. This dark comedy teaches the audience the valuable lesson that its all fun and games until someone gets hurt. There are two characters who seem to be in a relationship and the female character is mad at the male character over what seems to have been a prank. Well the male character decides to pull another prank, but his friendly joke goes horribly wrong and will eventually effect, not only his girlfriend, but himself as well.


The film starts out with an establishing shot of the cars to show where the action is going to take place in order to prepare the audience for the next scene and also introduce the setting of the short film, in which takes place on a busy highway in an urban city. The director uses this shot, to start out the short film, instead of starting out with an establishing shot in the car because he wants to show how this setting will contribute to the plot of the short film and also the climax. The director then switches to another establishing shot in the car, so he can create an eye-line match between characters as he uses close-ups on their faces in future shots. This gives the audience a sense of awareness for the position of the characters in the car.  

As the short film progresses, the plot reaches a point where the characters get out of the car. The director uses this shot to show where each of the characters are from the point of view of the other character. This shot shows the depth of field, in which the focus is on the mid-ground to establish the character's position. Since the foreground and background are blurred, the audience is forced to turn their attention to the mid-ground. This shot also provides structure for the plot as it tells the audience the position of each of the main characters, one being in the store and another putting gas in the car.


As the characters re-enter the car and drive along, the director uses this shot to make the z-axis line face the audience and show the audience where the actions of the foreground, mid-ground, and background are taking place. As this character jumps from mid-ground to background, it surprises the audience as she jumps from the slow action of the mid-ground to the fast, intense action of the cars in the background. I think this shot gives a shocking effect on the audience because throughout the short film, the pacing is slow paced with the characters, but as this character enters fast pace action, the audience is surprised by the sudden contrast in the two forces of the shot. Therefore I think this shot is what really captured the effect of the audience and made the short film more amazing to watch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Production Portfolio: "OUTLET"

Rationale:


The film our group made is called "OUTLET" and our working plan was to show how a boy uses basketball as his outlet to escape from his life. I thought it would be a great way to use sound to bring out the meaning of the film. I wanted to experiment with matching sound bridges to show the purpose of the film. The intended audience should be people who use certain things to escape from their problems. I thought this was a good idea because it was a useful way to incorporate sound into the project.


Word Count: 96

Commentary:

My areas of responsibility is mainly sound designer, but i have helped contributed with acting and have given some ideas with directing, cinematography, writing, and a little editing. One member in my group has taken the responsibility as script writer, cinematographer, and mostly director and the other member in my group has taken the responsibility of editor and has helped with sound design as well. In general, the whole group worked as a team has has contributed to each area of responsibility to an extent. This is a picture of me on a basketball hoop filming one of the shots for our basketball scene. Me and all of my group members have given advice to each other and has helped each team member with their area of responsibility. But all of us has mainly focused on our original areas of responsibility and have contributed the most work in their main responsibility or job.

Challenges that arose in my area of responsibility was finding the right music and sounds to fit the mood of the whole movie that would help increase its understanding and main focus. I mainly used the natural sounds of the actual scene and I had to follow the cinematographer around with a boom and shotgun mic to get each sound.I designed the soundtrack for the climax of the movie where the boy makes the final basketball shot. I made the soundtrack using the garageband app and have mixed together certain sounds that would be good for a dramatic or intense scene, which is the climax. I manipulated some sounds to match or create a soundbridge that serves as being a trigger for the boys flashbacks and what he's trying to escape from. For example, the transition from a basketball slamming on the floor and a book slamming on a desk had different sounds, so I had to copy the book sound and slow that down to replace the original book sound. This made the sound more deeper and similar to the basketball to show the connection. I used a heartbeat for most of the movie to show that its dramatic and to bring out the main character. 

Problems I solved had to do with finding the right sounds and making sure they were relevant to the story or movie and not random at all and also matching sounds. Some of these problems I solved by thinking of things that would be heard in a basketball game which is the dribbling of a basketball, the voice of a teammate and I also thought since basketball players put their bags on the sidelines, there could be a phone ringing as well. I matched these sounds to show that they are a trigger for the main characters by manipulating it to make it similar. Without the sound then the message of the film would become unclear, but it also depends on the cinematography to portray the message as well.

Problems that arose in the film as a whole was finding the setting of each shot, when and where, gathering all the actors for the film, and we also had problems with continuity. The problem with setting is that when we shot the basketball scene the first time, it was raining and we didn't finish the scene, so we were waiting for the next time it was going to rain and this was at a elementary school. Since we had to get a basketball team we needed a fair amount of actors, but some actors were busy at different times. Also since we didn't finish certain scenes that same day, we had to do it another day which effected the continuity of the movie.

We solved the problem of gathering all our actors for the movie by making plans ahead of time to make sure everyone was free to film or if a person was missing the we would find a replacement for that person. Since we couldn't find another raining day for the basketball scene and there were kids at the elementary school we had to reshoot the whole scene at another school so we can continue with continuity. But other continuity problems occurred with the cinematography, but these couldn't be fixed since we not capable of reshooting because of the weather. But we edited the movie to make the continuity issues less obvious so people won't notice them.


Overall I think the finished project is fairly good, but I would like to be able to correct some of the mistakes or improve on what we can do to better portray the message. I find the movie a little confusing, if I didn't know what the movie is about then I probably would be more confused. It is not the story that seems confusing, I think the way it is portrayed in the cinematography is what makes it a little confusing. Like in one scene I was next to the main character when the basketball was in the air, but then the next shot shows a different person which makes it confusing because the actors changed positions, which should have been caught by the director. Many shots seemed really short and there were a lot of tiny little shots that made up the movie and were all different. There are big problems with continuity that the cinematographer didn't take in consideration that it effects the movie. Many shots didn't portray the message well and were to short for the audience to know what is going on. In general, I thought the cinematography could have had more work into it. I think the story is a good way to incorporate sound into the project since sound triggers are used to carry on the story and inform the audience about what the movie is about and the purpose of the story as well. Therefore I only think the cinematography and maybe directing could be improved on.

Word Count: 984

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oral Presentation Critique

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTJ2zW6gTko&p=257829588E1CC975

I start of with explaining what the movie is about, so the plot, and mentioning the characters portrayed in the film and their major roles. I mention the director and the other films he produced, comparing it to my film extract. There is factual based background information about the film as well as the setting and culture.

Scene analysis is used to show the character's emotions and its motivation for these emotions. does a good job of explaining the mis-en-scene, such as the characters, setting, and props. Addresses the socio cultural context by showing how the characters relate to the people who they are trying to portray. Evaluates the scene and show the importance of specific shots. Connects the characters to their culture, which they are acting as Irish Americans, and shows the elements that bring out the culture.

Shows how lighting and shading is used and the meaning behind its importance. I talk about the how the characters act which also connects to the culture in the movie because of their emotions and reactions. I show the importance of props and how that also brings out the characters in the film. I think I do a good job of explaining the importance of the scenes and the characters and also relating to the socio culture.

Mark: 19
 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oral Presentation- Part 3 Narrative and Scene Analysis

The Departed

Narrative

The film is constructed by showing the increasing tension of the main characters as each character tries to find out each others identity throughout the movie, which creates accelerating suspense in the audience. One of the characters is a police officer who is an informant for an Irish mob in Boston, Massachusetts, while the other is an undercover agent in the same mob who is an informant for the police. As the story goes on, each character grows increasingly aware of each other trying to find their identities.

The narrative is organized by plot since the audience is not aware of how much time has passed. It is clearly organized by plot because each scene is kept flowing by continuing the story of the main characters.

I don't think the film uses other principles besides narrative sequencing because the film is probably known for the plot and doesn't really try to focus on other aspects like time or themes.

The nature of our engagement with the characters is that we are exposed to each character's emotional effect as they are trapped by betrayal and loyalty in each other's individual stories.

Film Language and Representation     http://www.craigerscinemacorner.com/Reviews/departed.htm

Characters and issues are represented through the setting which involves mainly Irish Americans living in the corrupt society of Boston as the police clash with the mobs through double agents.

The style and effect of acting and performance is based on the Boston setting, so each actor has to speak in a Boston accent and each character has the attitude of someone from Boston which are people who are tough and assertive. The acting creates a convincing effect due to accents which some characters have two accents from different parts of Massachusetts, while others even have Irish accents.

Meaning is created by shots because there are a large amount of mid shots since there is always someone talking to someone else, so it creates the meaning that in order to hide something a person has to be sneaky since people are always there.

I think there is a lot of open forms because the characters conversations are faced towards the audience and away from other actors. The conversations are addressed to the audience to inform them of what's going on and what the characters are thinking.

Meaning is created by editing and sequencing by allowing the story to go in order instead of jumping through back and forth through time, it's just a continuous story. The meaning of this is to show how the tension builds in each character which will release at the end.

Lighting is used to show meaning because the bad guys in the film are usually shot in a shaded area which means that they are sneaky in way, while most of the good guys are shot in well lighted areas to show the opposite.

Meaning is created by music because in some scenes they play music from an Irish American band that has an Irish style in the music to show the culture, as well as setting.

Meaning is created by location by the story taking place in the big city of Boston which creates a scary feeling since both characters are trapped by scary people such as the mob in a scary city.

The movie does use metaphors such as a rat running across the hand rail in the ending after all of the main characters dies. This is a metaphor because throughout the movie the characters refer to rats to the people who are double agents who inform the enemy of their business.

Meaning is created by special effects by showing how characters die and they die right in front of the audience so nothing is missed. This created meaning because it shows or lets the audience understand what will happen to the main characters if they are found out by their enemy.

The emotional information that is conveyed through the filmmaking process is that fear each character has to protect their life while maintaining their loyalty, not to be discovered and punished by their betrayal.


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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oral Presentation Part 2- Historical and Socio-Cultural

 The Departed

II. Historical and Institutional Factors

Institutional factors that may be important to the film are the producers, Brad Pitt and Brad Grey (also a producer is Graham King). Their film production company is Plan B Entertainment which currently holds a release deal with Paramount Pictures, along with Warner Bros. (which distributed "The Departed") and 20th Century Fox. This was essential to the film "The Departed" since it won an Academy Award for Best Picture at the 79th Academy Awards. It also won Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The film's historical significance has a lot to do with actual people. An Irish-American mobster who was an FBI informant named James Bulger; John Connolly, an FBI agent who typed off Bulger; and an undercover state trooper who joins Bulger's mob. Characters in the movie are based on these actual people. Since "The Departed" is a remake of "Infernal Affairs", its significance of history of film is connected to this movie which is a 2002 Hong Kong film.

III. Socio- Cultural Context

The film is a representation of Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. It relates to Irish Americans, specifically Irish American mobsters also representing the Boston metropolitan area which focuses on Irish mobs and the state police. The specific audience could include Irish Americans who connect to the culture and history of Boston since it was heavily incorporated into the film. The reason it was made like this was because the writer, William Monahan was born into an Irish American family in Boston which in the movie includes riots of the 1970s.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Sound Treatment

Logline: A boy grows increasingly aware of his girlfriend who won't stop following him he will have to make a choice at the end.(during each scene, sounds of the place/environment the scene takes place)

Treatment: A boy is seen walking through the streets (music plays suggesting he is very cool). He sees a girl and (as he walks past her, music plays very calm and soothing) she ends asking him for his phone number and he gives her his number.

In the girls room (close up of hand with phone seeing and hearing her dial. Phone rings in boys room and picks up. we see them talking on the phone (to shots in one frame showing both people). Shot of the clock reading 7:10(can hear the clock). we see both faces: boys seems tired and somewhat annoyed while the girl is blabbering and taking really fast. fade in shots of them over time. fade to the clock reading 12:25. fade to boy and girl in same frame. boy is sleeping while still on phone while girl is still talking really fast not noticing that the boy has gone to sleep. fade shot off the scene. (throughout this whole scene, sounds of enjoying girl voice plays).

Boy is seen walking through the streets. he sees the girl and he and the audience can hear the enjoying voice everytime she walks in the scene. he stares blankly at her and she comes up to him saying hey lets go hang somewhere and she grabs his arm and they go off somewhere. next shot they are seen sitting somewhere and she is still blabbering on and on. the boy has a blank stare on his face(sounds of annoying voice when closeup of boy). sound of car passing(sound bridge to him walking on the street)

boy walking on street and hears ennoying voice of the girl. looks behind and sees the girl. starts walking really fast and gets away.

boy is the store looking at the shelf of food. hears the enjoying voice and looks around worried. sees the girl and he avoids her.

shot fade in to boy picking up phone in his room. can her the dial tone. shot of both boy and girl in the frame. girl picks up shes, outside somewhere. boy tells her something that upsets her. he hangs up. frame expands only to girl in the frame. shes outside his house walking away. boy looks out the window confused.

-end

The film meets the requirements because it sets up a leitmotif for the characters so when the girl comes into the scene an annoying voice can be heard. Each scene has the sound of each enviornment like hearing cars or the clock or the phone. Each action in the film should have a specific sound relating to what the character is doing. there's a sound bridge from one scene to the next with the sound of the car passing to the scene on the street.









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Monday, January 24, 2011

Oral Presentation: Part I Genre and Audience

The Departed
 
1. The genre of the film is a crime/drama/mystery/thriller.

2. The features determining genre is the setting which takes place in New York and the plot which involves mobs and violence.

3. This is connected to the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs because The Departed was a remake of this movie.

4. This was Directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan and Scorsese appreciated the works of Hong Kong cinema and liked the script Monahan put together.

5. The creators have and intrest in New york especially with Irish-American main characters and also appreciate other filmworks.

6. Connects to other works by the Italian-American male protagonist and his concern in society. In most of his works, the setting  takes place in New York.

7. Theme is that identity affects one's actions, emotions, etc.

8. The target audience is people who enjoy a good mystery movie especially one that is an intense story about the undercover work of the police as well as the mob.